Snorkel the incredible marine life-filled waters of Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido, one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos and an absolute highlight for many travellers.. Encounter the wildlife wonders of the Galapagos Islands up close. Giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas and more await.. Hike to the top of one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos – the Sierra Negra – and peer into the second-largest caldera in the world.. Choose your path to Machu Picchu – the classic Inca Trail, the less-frequented Quarry Trail or the cruisy train if you’d prefer a few extra days in Cusco.
This unique adventure focuses on two of South America’s heaviest hitters – the Galapagos Islands and the Inca Trail. Take 17 days to explore these wildly different parts of the region. Snorkel the turtle-filled waters of Leon Dormido, then walk the cobblestone streets of Cusco. Sit on black-sand beaches watching sea lions lounge and later conquer the 4200-metre-high Dead Woman’s Pass. Witness breathtaking natural beauty among the surreal landscapes of the Galapagos, then wonder at the man-made elegance of Machu Picchu. This tour offers immersive and active adventure led by locals in two bucket-list favourites.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 8 Dinner Included: 3
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Get straight into it with a walking tour to get you acquainted with the colonial buildings and help you explore the nooks and crannies of the cosy Old Town. Don’t forget, you’ll be back in a short while, so don’t be too stressed about cramming in lots of sightseeing.
Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
Welcome to San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands! As you start this trip on the Galapagos Islands you have two options for joining the group, as outlined in Special Information below. After joining up with your fellow travellers, head to La Loberia where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim among sea lions, perhaps spotting sea turtles too. Return to town for a free evening. Perhaps head out with the group and enjoy some of the fresh seafood available.
Isla San Cristobal
Today begins with a 45-minute boat ride to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). On the way we might be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. There is also potential to swim among playful young sea lions. At Leon Dormido you can snorkel and look for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark. Currents can be quite strong so it's important you are a confident swimmer to participate in this activity. If you have any concerns, please ensure you speak with your leader. Eat lunch on the boat then head to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve them. Continue to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. Return to town in the late afternoon or early evening.
Isla Floreana / Isla Isabela
Take an early morning boat ride towards Isla Floreana, which should take about 2.5 hours. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as dolphins and whales. On arrival to the island, snorkel in the clear blue waters and then break for lunch. Afterwards venture to a black-sand beach which belongs to the Witmers, decedents of some of the first settlers on the Galapagos. The town here, Puerto Velasco Ibarra, has about 150 residents and an intriguing history involving deaths, disappearances and murders. Later in the afternoon, wave goodbye to Floreana and continue to Isla Isabela (approximately 2 hours). From Isabela Port it's a short transfer to the hotel where we will spend the night (approximately 15 minutes).
Start your second day on Isla Isabela with a short bus ride (approximately 15 minutes) to the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. The centre has almost a thousand giant tortoises preparing for life on their own. Afterwards, head to a brackish lagoon to observe flamingos. In the afternoon, board a small Zodiac (panga) and cruise to Las Tintoreras (Shark Alley), looking out en roue for blue-footed boobies and the famous Galapagos penguin. On arrival, take a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site. Snorkel in a calm inlet with colourful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom. In the late afternoon return to town in search of your own sandy resting spot and enjoy your first Isabela sunset, arguably the most beautiful of all the islands.
Start your last day on Isla Isabela by heading towards the Sierra Negra Volcano (approximately 45 minutes by bus), one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos and the second-largest crater in the world. Weather permitting, take a challenging hike of around 17 kilometres up the rocky mountain, which takes 5—6 hours. After the hike, make your way back to town for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.
Isla Isabela / Isla Santa Cruz
Start the day with a kayak around Isabela before transferring by private speedboat to Isla Santa Cruz. Once you arrive on Santa Cruz head to a restaurant that offers a typical Eduadorian lunch package, simply referred to as ‘Menu’. This usually this consists of a fresh juice, a basic entree (usually a soup) and a main meal. These lunch deals are very popular throughout Ecuador so it’s a great way to eat like a local. In the afternoon enjoy free time to further explore the town or go on an optional excursion to the Charles Darwin Research Centre.
Isla Santa Cruz
In the afternoon visit the highland of Isla Santa Cruz to observe the giant tortoise roaming the wild. Afterwards visit a locally owned sugar cane farm. Here the farmers will show us the ways sugar cane is processed and turned into alcohol. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Later, head back to Puerto Ayora.
Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos/Quito
Say goodbye to the glorious Galapagos today and return to Quito by plane, with a brief touchdown en route in Guayaquil. Arrive in Quito for a free afternoon and evening. As gorgeous as the islands were, perhaps take advantage of the cosmopolitan food and bar scene in Quito and treat yourself to a nice meal.
Take an included flight to Lima, where you can use any free time to explore before a meeting at 2 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. After the meeting, go on a walking tour of downtown Lima, one of the most beautiful cities in South America, and an optional dinner with your group. Be sure to get your hands on Peru's national dish of ceviche during your stay.
Transfer to the airport and board your flight to lofty Cusco. The next stage of your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you. After the meeting, get acquainted with this charming city's intriguing blend of Inca and Spanish culture on a guided walking tour with your leader. Check out some of Cusco's main attractions, as well as its lesser-known sights such as the Qoricancha temple, San Pedro market, the main square, the 12-Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. End the walking tour with a visit to the Chocolate Museum where you will sample hot chocolate made from local beans. There’s also a small store where you can shop handicrafts and artisanal chocolate products. Don't miss the opportunity to sample mate de coca (coca tea) while here.
Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo (2792m)
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley for about two hours. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. Stop for lunch in a local community, where you'll also get the chance to learn about their traditional lifestyle and maybe wrap your tongue around a few words of the Quechua language. If it’s market day, you'll have time to browse the local handicrafts on offer, such as beads and ponchos. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where we check out the town’s archaeological site – a magnificent example of Inca urban planning – which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement. Spend the night in Ollantaytambo.