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Machu Picchu & Galapagos Tour Overview


The combination of Machu Picchu and Galapagos is hard to equal:  stunning archeological ruins and ancient culture, followed by one of the world’s highlight nature experiences.  The information below is an overview that covers the main considerations we will address with you in putting this trip together.  The single easiest way to get started on this trip is to give us a call at 800 342 1796 or email us.  We will be happy to explain everything to you and then, based on your situation, put together a personalized trip proposal for you to consider at no cost.   

What You Need to Know

If you want to get into the details before contacting us, the main considerations are the following:

  1. Figure out how long you want to travel
  2. Determine a general budget
  3. Find the right vessel for Galapagos
  4. Determine how active you want the Machu Picchu part of the trip to be

1.  Figure out how long you want to travel

This trip typically ranges from about 12 to 17 days. The more time you have, the more you can see and do.  With a 5 day cruise, you can do a minimum 12 day trip. With an 8 day cruise, you can do a minimum 15 day trip.  Extra time is always well spent in Peru, an amazing destination beyond Machu Picchu.  People often ask us about doing this combination trip in 10 days.  It’s not impossible, but we don’t recommend it.  It’s just not enough time given the amount of moving around that is involved. 

2.  Determine a general budget

This trip has a large budget range, determined mainly by the vessel and cruise length, and the level of hotels you choose to go with.  Not including any airfare, the trip usually ranges from about $4000 to $7500 per person.  Local airfare is usually about $1200 per person for the entire trip (Lima/Cusco/Lima/Quito/Galapagos/Quito).  We work with a Latin American flight consolidator who can often get considerably better rates on the flights, particularly if they are booked together with the international flights.

3.   Find the right vessel

Many of the best vessels do not offer 5 day cruises; they only offer 8 day or longer cruises.  A few excellent vessels do offer the shorter 5 day cruises.  If you have about 12 to 14 days to do this trip, you should consider a 5 day cruise.  If you have 15 to 17 days or more, you should consider an 8 day cruise.  Our Galapagos Small Ship & Yachts List has what we consider to be the best vessels in their respective classes and it’s a great place to start in figuring out which vessel to go with.  It indicates next to each vessel whether it does the shorter or longer cruises, and you can click through on each vessel to get more photos and information.  The cruises operate on fixed schedules, while the land portion in both Peru and mainland Ecuador is totally customizable.  As a result, the usual starting point is figuring out a vessel that you like and that has space for your dates.  

4.  Determine how active you want the Machu Picchu part of the trip to be

There are many ways to get to Machu Picchu, including taking the train, doing a one day trek along the last part of the Inca Trail (no camping and a great option for those looking for a more active itinerary), or trekking the Inca Trail (3 nights of camping, for the adventurous).  No matter how you get there, we always include at least one night near Machu Picchu so you have ample time to see the ruins when there are far fewer people there.  We can combine any of these options for getting to Machu Picchu with the Galapagos cruise. 

We would be happy to put together a free trip proposal for you to consider!  It can be modeled on our 15 day Machu Picchu & Galapagos itinerary, or customized in any way you would like.