Machu Picchu & Galapagos Expedition Cruise
A sublime mix of culture and wildlife, history and nature, this 2 week holiday is a succession of highlights and superlatives!
Machu Picchu and Galapagos Expedition Cruise
15 days from £6,995 pp
Explore the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites of Cusco and Quito with an expert guide showing you the sites, wander among the terraces and temples of Machu Picchu immersed in its magic and mystery, step ashore on the Galapagos Islands dodging iguanas and boobies, slumbering sea lions and scuttling crabs, a ‘living museum’ some 1,000kms from the mainland.
All this awaits you. And we’ve chosen some characterful accommodation for you. In Cusco you’ll stay in the former home of a marquis, with a fine open courtyard and 17th century murals.
At Machu Picchu your luxury casita is in 12 acres of tropical gardens frequented by hummingbirds, and in Quito you’ll stay at one of the best addresses in town, opposite the cathedral and Presidential Palace.
That’s hard to top, but Silver Galapagos comes pretty close, an all-suite expedition vessel with the top class facilities you’d expect of a Silverseas cruise ship. This will be two weeks you’ll never forget. You’ll want a diary to record each day’s events, and a camera to capture special moments, but most importantly just enjoy every moment to the full.
Short Galapagos Cruise Summary
- Lima 1 night
- Cusco 2 nights
- Machu Picchu 1 night
- Cusco 1 night
- Quito 2 nights
- Silver Galapagos 7 nights
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DAY 1: SATURDAY
A local representative will be waiting to meet you at Lima airport, to accompany you the short distance to the airport hotel, a perfect place to rest after your flight. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the indoor pool or revitalise your body with a massage at the spa. With a restaurant and bar on site you’ll have all you need for the rest of the day.
DAY 2: SUNDAY
You’ll be back to the airport this morning for the flight to Cusco, where you’ll be greeted and transferred to your city centre hotel, part of which is an impressive 17th mansion. You’ll have a free afternoon to explore the centre of Cusco, as you adjust to the altitude – Cusco is at 3,300 metres above sea level. Breakfast
DAY 3: MONDAY
After breakfast your guide will call for you, to lead you on a tour of the city’s main sites. This is a World Cultural Heritage Site and long-time Inca capital and you’ll learn about its history. The tour will also visit Sacsayhuaman, site of an Inca temple on the northern fringes of the modern city. You’ll be dropped off back at the hotel and can chose how you spend the afternoon. Breakfast
DAY 4: TUESDAY
This morning you’ll board the Vistadome train for the 3 hour ride to Machu Picchu, travelling in style as, from your air conditioned coach, you watch the scenery through the picture windows. On arrival you’ll go up to the citadel. You’ll have a comprehensive guided tour of the site with plenty of time to ask questions of your guide and take photos. A late lunch will be served at Sanctuary Lodge, and this evening you’ll stay at the lovely Inkaterra Machu Picchu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 5: WEDNESDAY
You’ll have the chance to go back to Machu Picchu this morning, strolling around the site at will, pausing to gaze at the views and soak up the atmosphere. Many of the buildings have been reconstructed to give an idea of how the temples, palaces, plazas and homes would have looked in the 15th century. In the afternoon you’ll take the train back to Cusco and a guide will take you back to your hotel. Breakfast
DAY 6: THURSDAY
Today you’ll be transferred to the airport for the flight to Quito, where you’ll be met and escorted to your hotel, Plaza Grande. One of the best addresses in town, this was once the home of Juan Diaz de Hidalgo, conquistador and one of the city’s founders. Settle in and enjoy the creature comforts and the grandeur of your surroundings, the rest of the day is free. Breakfast
DAY 7: FRIDAY
Your guide will call for you after breakfast, to take you on a tour of this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. You’ll visit both old and new towns exploring some of the fine churches, monasteries and palaces. The tour usually concludes at El Panecillo, the top of a hill where you’ll enjoy sweeping views back towards the valley and city. This afternoon you can look round some of Quito’s shops and galleries at your own pace. Breakfast
DAY 8: SATURDAY
Having breakfasted you’ll be transferred to the airport for the 4 hour flight to Baltra. A Silverseas representative will be waiting at the airport to escort you to Silver Galapagos. After settling in to your suite you’ll be introduced to the expedition team and will have time to get to know your fellow passengers. Full board
DAY 9: SUNDAY
Awake to one of the best known views in the Galapagos! This morning you’ll land at Bartolome, to gaze across the beach to Pinnacle Rock, a sharp spire of rock pointing into the sky. There will be time to stroll along the beach or go snorkelling, before returning so Silver Galapagos for lunch. Later you’ll follow a trail from Espumilla Beach inland to some large palo santo trees where you should see different species of Darwin’s finches. If conditions don’t permit the landing at Espumilla, you’ll visit Buccaneer Cove, whose sheltered waters are ideal for snorkelling, kayaking and panga (dinghy) cruises. Look out for rays, white-tipped reef shark, fur seals and marine birds. Full board
DAY 10: MONDAY
This morning you’ll explore Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela, the largest of the islands. This is the site of a half collapsed volcano, so you can see right into the caldera. From the panga you’ll get views of penguins and flightless cormorants. Later you’ll alight at Punta Espinosa on neighbouring Fernandina Island. The black lava forms an impressive backdrop for sea lions, flightless cormorants and vividly coloured Sally Lightfoot crabs. Full board
DAY 11: TUESDAY
Back on Isabela your guide will lead a hike from Tagus Cove to Darwin Crater Lake. On the way you can expect to see Galapagos mockingbirds and yellow warblers. Back by the shore you can go snorkelling or kayaking. In the afternoon you’ll take a panga cruise through the mangroves at Elizabeth Bay, with good chances to see turtles, sea lions and penguins. You may also spot pelicans and herons stalking fish and crabs. Full board
DAY 12: WEDNESDAY
Floreana has been a popular landing site over the centuries, providing shelter to pirates, whalers and now tourists. Post Office Bay was established as an unofficial posting point, where sailors would leave letters in the hope that others passing through would collect and deliver them. You can take a panga ride along the coast where sea lions bask on the rocks and pups play in the shallow water. Later at Punta Cormorant you’ll set foot on a beach coloured green by crystals, a location used as a nesting site by turtles. There’s a lagoon here which is often frequented by flamingos, ducks and finches. You’ll have time to go snorkelling before returning to the ship. Full board
DAY 13: THURSDAY
Today you’ll encounter giant tortoises, for many the emblem of the Galapagos Islands. The Galapaguera Cerro Colorado on San Cristobal is part of an ongoing conservation programme and you’ll see these creatures, young and old, and will have the chance to learn about their history and the programme’s future aims. After lunch you’ll have options to go swimming, snorkelling or kayaking from Cerro Brujo. This is also an excellent location for bird watching, with boobies and pelicans among the many resident species. Full board
DAY 14: FRIDAY
On Santa Cruz you’ll visit Los Gemelos, twin pit craters, where tall scalesia trees resembling oversize daisies, flourish. This is a good place to see the rare vermillion flycatcher. As ever, your guide is with you to explain all that you see and point out interesting features you might otherwise miss. In the afternoon you’ll tour the Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre, where you can see both the domed and the smaller saddle-back tortoise, learning about each species. Tonight you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner aboard Silver Galapagos. Full board
DAY 15: SATURDAY
After breakfast it’s time to pack your bags and bid the crew and expedition team goodbye. You’ll be transferred to the airport in Baltra for the flight back to the mainland, to check in for your onward flight. Breakfast
2019 Price from (pp sharing): £6,995 (ex. international flights)
Includes: Meet & greet at Lima airport, airport transfers in Cusco and Quito, twin share accommodation, meals as shown, private guided tours of Cusco, Machu Picchu and Quito, entrance fees on tours, including shuttle bus and second entrance fee to Machu Picchu, Vistadome train to Machu Picchu, train back from Machu Picchu to Cusco, return flights from mainland Ecuador to Baltra (Galapagos), 7 night cruise on Silver Galapagos in an Explorer Suite low season, Galapagos excursions as offered by the Silver Galapagos with a bilingual naturalist guide, snorkelling and kayaking equipment on cruise.
Excludes: International flights and taxes, domestic flights within Peru, flight from Cusco to Quito (we can book these for you with your international flights – see below), visas (not currently required by British passport holders), travel insurance, meals not shown as included, drinks, Galapagos National Park Fee currently US$100 but liable to change and to be paid locally in US$, tips, items of a personal nature
Getting there: This holiday starts in Lima and ends in Quito. International return flights from the UK and the necessary domestic flights will cost from around £1000 per person, subject to season and availability. We normally book these for you.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice, though the Galapagos cruise departs on a specific day of the week, so this precise itinerary, using Silver Galapagos itinerary ‘A’ (west), begins in Lima on a Saturday. Silver Galapagos offers an alternative itinerary, ‘B’ (north-central), which can be used for this holiday. Click here for information. NOTE: You can use a different cruise vessel if you prefer, in which case a different departure day might be required and the price will alter according to the vessel chosen. Please click here for the full collection of Galapagos yachts.
This airport hotel offers a full range of services, many available around the clock. The various eateries offer 24-hour service to fit in with your travel plans. There’s free Wi-Fi. Take advantage of the spa which offers massages, a jacuzzi and steam room, all helping you de-stress after your journey. There’s an indoor pool, and a hot tub for a relaxing soak. Rooms feature comfy beds, minibars, Wi-Fi and en-suite facilities. If you plump for a top-of-the-range suite you’ll have your very own jacuzzi, too.
Ramada by Wyndham Costa Del Sol Cusco
You’ll enjoy a warm welcome when you arrive at this former mansion, once home to the Marquis of Picoaga, with its stylish colonial architecture, central courtyard, murals and fountains. You’re just a short walk from the Plaza de Armas, the historic heart of the city, ideal for sightseeing. Rooms are divided between the original building around the courtyard and a newer wing. All provide comfortable accommodation and similar facilities such as flat screen TV, direct dial phone, Wi-Fi, safe and minibar. The older rooms have high ceilings and feature colonial-style furniture while the newer rooms have a crisp, contemporary feel. The restaurant offers a choice of regional and international cuisines at lunch and dinner time. The hotel bar with its open fire is the perfect place to end the day, nursing a nightcap as you talk to other guests before heading to bed.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu
Inkaterra Machu Picchu is set in 12 acres of landscaped gardens filled with pathways and terraced hills. It is perfectly positioned for exploring Machu Picchu citadel. The self-contained casitas (rooms) are scattered throughout the grounds and offer spacious accommodation, each with a sitting area with an open fire for cool evenings, and a spa-style bathroom. All provide peaceful seclusion. The restaurant serves Andean cuisine with a contemporary take creating delicious fusion food. There are terraces for al fresco dining. The hotel has a nature centre and there are walking trails in the gardens waiting to be discovered alone or with one of the resident guides. After a long day sightseeing you can treat yourself to a restorative massage or candlelit Andean sauna at the Una Spa.
Plaza Grande is an elegant five-storey building on the main square and retains many of the original features such as elaborately carved ceilings, glistening crystal chandeliers and fine wood panelling. You’re right in the heart of the city, perfect for sightseeing. This is an all-suite hotel, with modern features like air conditioning, Wi-Fi, cable TV, a minibar and a jacuzzi. Gorgeous gourmet meals based on Ecuadorian cuisine are served in La Belle Epoque, the main restaurant with decor reminiscent of 1940s France. If you want something a little more casual the Cafe Plaza Grande offers a variety of regional dishes. After a busy day sightseeing and shopping you’ll be glad to head back to the comforts of the hotel, to unwind in the lounge, enjoy a drink and maybe relax with a visit to the sauna.
Silver Galapagos is an Italian-built ship accommodating up to 100 passengers in spacious suites. During your cruise you’ll be led on a variety of shore excursions and panga (dinghy) rides, as well as having time to go kayaking and snorkelling, always returning to the comforts of the ship and attentive service of her crew. Suites are located across 5 decks and all are situated on the outside with either portholes or windows. They provide space to sit and relax, as well as comfortable beds, plenty of storage and private bathrooms where you’ll find a selection of toiletries. Amenities include a flat screen TV, safe and minibar stocked with drinks and snacks. There’s an indoor restaurant where the majority of meals are served, and a grill for more casual al fresco dining and cocktails. The large lounge is the setting for talks and briefings from your naturalist guides, while there’s a cosy library for catching up with reading. You’ll enjoy hot and cold drinks in the Piano Bar as you mingle with other passengers. The sundeck has ample seating and includes a jacuzzi for easing any aching muscles or simply relaxing.
La Casona de la Ronda is a charming colonial house in the heart of historic Quito. The en-suite rooms are a blend of traditional features and modern comforts. The restaurant, Cafe La Ronda, serves local and international cuisines. You can take coffee, tea, soft drinks or wine in the cosy lounge by the open fire. There is a lovely central courtyard and an unusual vertical garden. This has more than 150 species of plants including many orchids native to Ecuador. This hotel is an excellent base for exploring the city of Quito.
The Beluga is an elegant, comfortable motor yacht. She accommodates a maximum of 16 guests in 8 double cabins. All have a private bathroom with hot water shower. The yacht is fully air-conditioned. Beluga has lots of inside and outside space and different deck areas for relaxing These include a sundeck and a shaded seating area on the upper deck. There is a pleasant lounge, with large panoramic windows and a separate dining room. The food is excellent, and the yacht crew offer a great service.
Grace is named after her glamorous one-time owner, Princess Grace of Monaco and has an impeccable pedigree. Accommodation is a mix of suites and staterooms. All are beautifully furnished and have ample storage space for clothes and luggage. You’ll have a private bathroom with a range of toiletries and the very best amenities. Meals are served in the elegant dining room or outside on deck. The main salon is ideal for unwinding between visits to the islands. And the library has a wide variety of books as well as board games to help you pass the time. Sun lovers will spend happy hours on the sun deck. There’s also an open deck area at the bow with seating and a jacuzzi.
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We know and love the Galapagos Islands, and would delighted to help you plan your perfect Galapagos holiday.
Call 01473 599082 and speak to one of our Galapagos travel specialists today.