Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour: Two of South America’s most spectacular sites in one trip
Days: 12-15 | From: $5,450/person
Enjoy world class cuisine and museums in Lima, then renew your sense of wonder exploring lost Incan cities and contemporary Peruvian culture. Spend a week exploring the Galapagos Islands on an intimate yacht, discovering scenery and wildlife found nowhere else in the world.
- Includes accommodations at first class hotels that reflect the best of local culture
- Includes excursions and tours with superb private guides
- Includes seamless logistics and careful attention to detail for a stress-free trip
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At a glance
1 night: renowned cuisine and world class museums
- Sacred Valley
1 night: Andean life and ancient ruins in this magnificent river valley
- Machu Picchu
1 night: time to explore this stunning icon in depth & at non-peak hours
2 nights: take in the captivating former Incan capital
2 nights: walk the streets of this colonial city
3-7 nights: enjoy a small ship expedition cruise through the Enchanted Isles
All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.
Welcome to Lima
Arrive to Lima, former capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas, and transfer to your first class hotel in Miraflores, Lima’s main cultural and commercial district. This is a great area for strolling around and is home to many of Lima’s best restaurants.
Private tours of Lima or visits to any of Lima’s museums can be arranged; we can also arrange culinary tours focusing on Peru’s increasingly renowned cuisine, or art tours for those with special interests.
Accommodations: Hotel de Autor
Located in the center of Miraflores, the 4-suite Hotel de Autor is a set in a beautiful private house. Each of the suites features either a private balcony or an old-fashioned clawfoot bathtub; the suites are large rooms with charming details and local artifacts. Definitely a unique experience, being in the Hotel de Autor is more like staying in a private home than a commercial hotel.Upgrades and alternatives: Hotel B, Miraflores Park Hotel, and others
Fly to the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Fly over the Andes to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. Your local guide will meet you at the airport and take you to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a long, fertile river valley surrounded by snowcapped peaks that lies between Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Visit Chinchero, a traditional small town situated on a plateau overlooking the Sacred Valley. Explore a colonial church with remarkable paintings and frescoes, which was constructed over the ruins of an Incan temple and is surrounded by impressive Incan terracing. Chinchero is also home to several highly-regarded weaving cooperatives known for their high-quality textiles. Peru is known for its intricate traditional weavings, many of which use symbols to tell stories or depictions of daily life.
Afterward enjoy lunch at a great small restaurant founded by a renowned local chef. Your private guide will be there to help you make the most of the entire experience.
Accommodations: Hotel Sol y Luna
The Sol y Luna Lodge is located in Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas, not far from the town of Urubamba. Peruvian art adorns each of the first class, comfortable adobe cottages, whose terraces offer spectacular views of the mountains. A place that does things the right way, this hotel has long been among our traveler favorites due to the superb accommodations, location, and service. The property offers two outstanding restaurants. There is also a stable with beautiful horses that can be taken out into the surrounding mountains on horseback riding excursions. This is a Relais & Chateaux property.*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch
Alternative lodging options: Albergue Ollantaytambo: For those who want to stay right in Ollantaytambo
Travel by train to Machu Picchu, one of South America’s most iconic sites.
Visit this remarkable site with a private guide, enjoy lunch at the famous Sanctuary Lodge, and then have the chance to explore the ruins on your own before returning to your hotel in Aguas Calientes.
Accommodations: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
This hotel sits on its own 12 secluded acres in Aguas Calientes, the town located at the base of Machu Picchu. The hotel is ideally located in natural surroundings, a short walk to the train station and the shuttles that take visitors to the ruins, but just outside the town, which is quite touristy. Guests follow stone pathways to their rooms, located in comfortable one- or two-story whitewashed casitas. Unlike the other hotels in Aguas Calientes, the Pueblo is set in a natural cloud forest, allowing you to experience the beauty of this unique ecosystem during your stay.*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Machu Picchu and Cusco
Return to Machu Picchu in the early morning to observe the ruins on your own. This is a great way to experience the site at your own pace when there are far fewer people around. You’ll also have the chance to hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu, or hike back along the Inca Trail to Inti Punku (the Gate of the Sun). There is a lot to see in and around Machu Picchu.
After visiting the ruins, catch the afternoon train back to Cusco, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.
Accommodations: Inkaterra La Casona Cusco
A Relais & Chateaux property, La Casona is set in a restored 16th-century colonial manor house, which was built over an Inca complex and later occupied by the conquistadors of Peru. Its 11 suites surround an elegant courtyard, and the hotel offers a dining room, dining terrace, lounge and sitting area. La Casona graciously preserves the site's historic details while offering modern comfort and amenities. An exclusive boutique hotel experience, and one of the top options in Cusco.*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch
Upgrades and alternatives: Palacio Nazarenas, Palacio del Inka
Private Tour of Cusco: History, Culture, Architecture, and more
Get to know Cusco with your knowledgeable private guide, visiting the historical highlights of this fascinating city. Visit Sacsahuaman, the massive Incan fortress on the hills above the city, where you can enjoy views out over Cusco and the entire surrounding area. Afterward enjoy the afternoon to explore more of the city on your own.
Cusco is one of the highlights of a trip to Peru, an intriguing place built on the foundations of the former Incan capital. You can observe massive Incan walls along many of the streets of the city. The city has a vibrant atmosphere and many excellent restaurants.
Accommodations: Inkaterra La Casona Cusco
Depart for Quito, Ecuador
Say goodbye to Peru and fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your local guide will welcome you at the airport and take you to your hotel, located in the picturesque historic center of the city.
Accommodations: Patio Andaluz
Housed within a 16th-century colonial home arranged around a central courtyard, Patio Andaluz enjoys a prime location just off the Independence Plaza in historic Quito. The hotel is within walking distance of the iconic Plaza San Francisco, the La Compañia Church with its impressive gold leaf interior, and the Theater Sucre. As is common in traditional Ecuadorian architecture, the hotel's rooms and their windows face toward the covered inner courtyards rather than out to the streets (which reduces light, but also noise). The hotel restaurant, El Rincón de Cantuña, serves Ecuadorian and Spanish cuisine along with a variety of South American wines.*Includes: Breakfast
Upgrades available: Casa Gangotena, Plaza Grande
Colonial Architecture and One-of-a-Kind Artwork
Set out with your private guide to explore historic Quito, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Visit the highlights of the colonial “Centro Historico,” and go up to a lookout point on the Panecillo for a great view of the entire city. Afterward, head into the new town to visit the remarkable Fundación Guayasamin, which houses the art collection of Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuador’s most famous 20th century artist.
Seeing both parts of the city gives you a great overview of some of the different neighborhoods in this diverse Andean metropolis.
Accommodations: Patio Andaluz
Fly to the Galapagos Islands
Fly from Quito about 600 miles out over the Pacific Ocean to arrive at the Galapagos Islands. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your vessel.
Visiting the Galapagos Islands is a unique experience: a combination of sheer natural beauty, amazing wildlife, beautiful vessels, and fascinating natural history.
Accommodations: Ocean Spray, 7 nights
This elegant ship is among the leaders in performance and comfort in Galapagos. With spacious cabins, and private balconies off every cabin, the Ocean Spray provides the intimacy of a small yacht while maintaining amenities often only found on larger ships. Excursion options include hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking, and all excursions are led by a top-quality bilingual naturalist guide. This is one of the premier options in the Galapagos and has received outstanding feedback from our travelers.*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Upgrades and alternatives: Cormorant, The Grace, Petrel, Origin/Theory, and more (Click here for full yacht list).
Cruising and Exploring the Islands
The exact itinerary varies from vessel to vessel, but you will spend these days exploring the islands in depth. Your boat will travel between several different islands so that you can experience a wide variety of the unique wildlife and environments that the Galapagos offers.
The giant Galapagos Tortoise, the marine iguana, the waved albatross, the Galapagos penguin, and flightless cormorants are just a few of the species you can come across. There will also be daily opportunities to snorkel, where you can see what’s below the surface: giant sea turtles, rays, and sea lions, to name just a few. Each day you will enjoy excellent cuisine and the company of an expert bilingual naturalist guide.
Accommodations: Ocean Spray, 7 nights
Return to Quito / Depart for Home or Your Next Destination
Enjoy a final morning in the islands before flying out from the Galapagos back to Quito, where you can connect with your international flight home or continue your trip in mainland Ecuador.
If you have a long layover before your flight, we can set up a visit to nearby hot springs or transfer you to a hotel to relax and have dinner before transferring back to the airport.
Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary
Add a few nights in the Peruvian Amazon, easily accessible from Cusco, or the Ecuadorian Amazon, a short flight from Quito.
Add extra days in Lima, Cusco, or Quito: All three are worth exploring on your own, and we can arrange a variety of activities, including city tours, culinary excursions, visits to ruins and historical sites, and active options such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Visit some of the highlights of mainland Ecuador, including local markets, volcanoes, the cloud forest, and historic haciendas.
Take part in a Pachamanca, a traditional Andean cooking ceremony on the shores of Peru’s Lake Piuray.
Hike to Machu Picchu: Get off the train at Kilometer 104 to walk the last four to six hours along the famous Inca trail. Or see our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu itinerary for information about hiking the whole trail over several days.
Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip.
Reviews From This Trip
Great attention to detail. Our leaders were amazing very knowledgeable and helpful. The trip was well planned and executed to perfection.Deb and Rick Greenswag
This was the most stress free trip we've ever taken. We normally do all our planning ourselves which can bring some anxious moments in foreign destinations. However, with Vaya we were always with experienced, thoughtful guides who took all the guesswork and uncertainty away.John and Penny Stanger
The trip was fabulous. Every detail went according to plan. Loved it!!Diane Bosek
All or our guides were fantastic. We enjoyed talking and listening to all of them.Steve Lammens
Why Travel with Vaya?
Deep In-Country Knowledge
Our travel specialists are all current or former U.S. expatriates who have lived, worked and traveled in the region. Collectively we have more than 35 years of in-country experiences.
Individual, Need-based Design
From the first phone call to after you get back, we’re here for you every step of the way. We listen, create, customize, advocate, prepare, guide and support experiences that go beyond the expected.
Stress & Worry-Free Travel
Through careful attention to detail in pre-trip preparation, final itinerary, travel transfers and in-country guides – we make sure that all details, logistics, and unexpected challenges are handled.