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Machu Picchu & Galapagos Tour Extensions

Peru and Ecuador are brimming with fascinating destinations and sights. There are attractions for adventure seekers, archeology fanatics and lovers of culture and the arts. The only limit is the amount of time you have to visit them all. The following are some of the most popular extensions on trips to Machu Picchu or the Galapagos Islands.

Amazon jungle tours: Highly respected Amazon lodges are within easy reach of Cusco (Peru) and Quito (Ecuador), making the Amazon one of the most popular extensions to trips to either Machu Picchu or the Galapagos Islands. There is a wide range of Amazon jungle lodges which offer professionally guided forays into the jungle to spot wildlife and learn about the rainforest ecosystem. The lodges are for the most part fairly rustic, with more of an emphasis on ecotourism and appreciating the nature than on creature comforts. Among the lodges we work with are Posada Amazonas, the Tambopata Research Center, Manu Wildlife Center, Sacha Lodge, the Napo Wildlife Center, and Kapawi Lodge. For those who would prefer a more “luxurious” experience, there are also some lodges, such as Reserva Amazonica near Puerto Maldonado, and some luxury river cruises from Iquitos, that provide more deluxe accommodations while in the jungle.

Puno and Lake Titicaca: This vast, sapphire lake situated right at the ceiling of the Andes is renowned for its stunning vistas, dramatic sunsets and the traditional ways of life among the local communities. It’s an important place in Andean mythology: the lake is the legendary birthplace of the Inca civilization, said to have originated when the creator God Viracocha emerged from its crystal waters. Tours visit the islands from the lakeside town of Puno or from other communities, such as Llachon, from where we offer day and overnight kayaking excursions to the Taquile and Amantani Islands. Homestays are also possible on these islands, staying in rustic accommodations and getting an opportunity to enjoy the serenity of the islands at night and get a closer look at the traditional culture of the islands.

Cotopaxi National Park and the Ecuadorian Highlands: Cotopaxi Volcano National Park is Ecuador’s most famous national park after the Galapagos. Cotopaxi is the second highest peak in Ecuador, and one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Adventure seeking visitors come to climb its snow-capped peaks, trek around the mountain or take mountain biking tours along its downhill tracks. Others choose to relax at many of the nearby haciendas which offer beautiful views and a calm atmosphere. We offer day trips to Cotopaxi but more highly recommend spending a night at one of the historic haciendas near the National Park, such as San Agustin de Callo or Hato Verde. Spreading out the driving over two days helps you enjoy the place more and gives you the chance to get more views of the mountain itself, which during the day can often be fully or partially covered in clouds. If you have a few days, we recommend spending a couple nights near Cotopaxi and a couple nights up near Otavalo, Ecuador’s most famous market town. Otavalo is much better appreciated at a slower pace and not as a day trip (when it can seem like there’s a lot of driving).

Cuenca: An old mountain city in Ecuador’s southern Andes, Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its colonial era architecture. The city is particularly well known for its religious buildings, including the Old and New Cathedrals, two monasteries and countless churches. It’s also a vibrant modern city in many respects, with excellent restaurants and small hotels, a cosmopolitan feel, and a very diverse population. Nearly everyone who visits Cuenca ends up captivated by the place.

Please see our full list of Machu Picchu and Galapagos Tour Packages here.