Amazing Peru & the Galápagos

19 days

Peru’s ancient monuments and the unbridled nature of the Galápagos is simply intoxicating. Your adventure begins with explorations of Peru’s dramatic landscapes; the Sacred Valley, the lofty heights of Machu Picchu and the fascinating culture and history of Cusco. Tracing the pathways of the Inca, one is left in awe of this ancient yet advanced civilization. From Peru, your historical journey takes you to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito, exploring the centuries-old Hispanic architecture and ornate churches. The dramatic contrast of the Galápagos will plunge you into natural surroundings with barely a hint of humankind. Exploring the islands, you will revel in the many sights and creatures to be found in this distinctly unique archipelago.


  • Culinary experience in Lima
  • Dramatic mountainscapes of Sacred Valley
  • Agricultural plateaux of the Inca
  • Walk in Incan footsteps
  • Machu Picchu citadel
  • Up close to endemic wildlife 
  • Snorkel among Marine life 
  • Kayaking along dramatic coastlines
  • Excellent naturalist local guides



Arrive Lima, Peru

Your journey begins in Lima.  Belmond Miaflores Hotel offers breathtaking ocean views, a tranquil place to decompress after your international flight.


Culinary Explorations in Lima

Your morning excursion will have a distinctly culinary theme, as you explore one of the most iconic and picturesque markets of the city. Your host and guide is a master of cuisine, and will inform you of the wide array of unusual and unique ingredients to be found here. You will also be able to sample a variety of Peruvian dishes, but be sure to save room for lunch, which will take place at the traditional restaurant of famed Peruvian chef, Hector Solís.

After enjoying these culinary delights, the tour’s focus moves towards the history and architecture of the ‘City of Kings’. You will visit the historical center of Lima, taking in the Plaza Mayor, where the Government Palace, City Hall, the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace are located. From here, your tour takes you to San Francisco Monastery, featuring the intriguing catacombs that give an impressive insight on how religious life was during Spanish colonial times; the catacombs served until 1808 as a burial ground.

Your tour concludes at Casa Aliaga, one of America’s best-preserved colonial mansions. Built in 1535 by Don Jeronimo de Aliaga, a member of Pizarro’s conquering forces, Casa Aliaga is still inhabited by the original Aliaga family, whose heirlooms include beautiful original furniture.


Transfer to Sacred Valley

A short flight takes you high into the Andes, arriving at Cusco.  The next few days are spent in the heart of the Sacred Valley at  Sol y Luna Lodge.  Explore the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, an impressive Inca architectural masterpiece located on the top of a hill, the largest structure built by the Incas.  Be part of a very special ceremony of sound and traditional offerings to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. This ceremony evokes the spirit of healing; taking part of this ritual are many sacred medicines like palo santo, tayta sayri, mama coca, agua Florida, condor’s feathers, grandfather puma, and numerous essences and Incenses. Lunch is at Hacienda Huayoccari, the residence of the Lambarri-Orihuela family, who are the descendants of one of the most prestigious families in Cusco. The Hacienda has breath-taking garden views over the Sacred Valley.


Mara & Moray, Sacred Valley

Visit the circular terraces of Moray, an agricultural “research laboratory” for the Incas, who studied temperature variation from one terrace to another in order to develop different crop varieties. Across the Urubamba Valley you’ll see dramatic snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba and Urubamba cordilleras.

From Moray, you will explore the town of Maras, which grew in importance in the 17th century because of its “salineras” or saltpans. 


Ollantaytambo Ruins, Sacred Valley

Exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas further, you will explore one of the finest remaining Inca archaeological sites. The Ollantaytambo ruins are scattered across a large area along a mountain ridge. At this incredible site, you will find the largest known Inca cemetery, a residential settlement and ceremonial baths. Further down the mountain is the temple complex constructed from exquisitely-carved pink granite, featuring a sun temple, ceremonial alters, water channels and wells.


Aguas Calientes, Sacred Valley

Board the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes and the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, offering the most outstanding views of the Urubamba River, which cuts its way through green fields beneath the high peaks of the Andes.  Machu Picchu “Lost City of the Incas” is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the new world. Delve into the wonders and mysteries of this Incan city on a private guided tour. Explore the main temples and hidden corners highlighted by your guide and rarely visited by larger tourist groups.


Return to Machu Picchu

Today you will wake early to beat the crowds and take a bus to Machu Picchu, amble with your guide around the Inca citadel spending time exploring the ruins at leisure and investigating the temples and ruins further including the impressive Inca Bridge. Option to hike the summit at Huayna Picchu. Though quite a challenging climb, your hard work will pay off with unparalleled views Machu Picchu in its entirety, along with the valleys and mountains that surround it.

This afternoon board the gleaming blue and gold Hiram Bingham to relive a novel 19th-century rail journey from the summit back to Aguas Clients. Enjoy welcoming aperitifs, dinner and an excellent selection of wine. The Hiram Bingham features local music, and dancing is optional as you sip on delicious Pisco sours, arriving into Cusco for your next few days. 


Exploring Cusco

Cusco is the gateway to ancient Andean culture, and here the old ways are not forgotten. Expect to see plenty of colorful textiles and perhaps even a lively fiesta or carnival, where pagan tradition often meets solemn Catholic ritual.

The landscape is stunning, including both Andean peaks and lush cloud forest all in the same view. Often referred to as the ‘Archaeological Capital of the Americas,’ Cusco is also a beautiful city riddled with contrasts between the indigenous styles and the modern western world. It is these contrasts that have given Cusco its rare beauty.


Cusco to Lima

Today you will depart the Andes and return to the coast and Belmond Miaflores Park Hotel in preparation for your onward journey to Ecuador and the Galápagos. On arrival, you can enjoy the afternoon at leisure, perhaps visiting the spa or stretching your limbs with a private yoga class.

DAY 10

Onwards to Ecuador

Board your flight to Quito, where you will spend the night at Casa Gangotena, a boutique hotel in the city’s Old Town. The luxuriant hotel has an air of Victorian design, providing superb cuisine, a rooftop terrace, and a secluded garden to unwind after your journey.

DAY 11

Explore Quito on a Walking Tour

Enjoy a full-day tour of magnificent Quito and its surrounds. You’ll start by exploring the city’s historic district, soaking in this urban jewel with its artistic and architectural treasures. The tour will take in churches and monasteries plated in gold as examples of Catholicism’s sway towards region over indigenous custom. Your guide will also escort you to several colonial art museums and divulge many of Quito’s secret destinations, rarely seen by tourists.

DAY 12

Transfer to the Galápagos Islands & Leon Dormido

Today you fly into the Galápagos. Once aboard your vessel, you will be given a briefing by the purser who will familiarize you with the vessel, your schedule and daily activities, before allocating your cabin. Setting sail, your captain will take you to Leon Dormido, (Spanish for sleeping lion), a remnant of a vertical tuff cone formation, rising 500 feet from the ocean. A relaxed evening concludes your first day in the Galápagos, enjoying a cocktail reception with your captain followed by an elegant multi-course dinner.

DAY 13

Cerro Brujo & Punta Pitt

Sailing overnight, you will wake on the north side of San Cristobal, transported along the shoreline by Zodiac to observe the abundant birdlife. Brown pelicans soar on their immense wings overhead, while noddy terns and blue-footed boobies plunge into the ocean in search of fish. This is also a superb location to familiarize yourself with your snorkeling equipment and practice your kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding skills. Though a little challenging (but very safe and fun) to master, stand-up paddleboards give you a more elevated perspective from which you can better view waterlife.

After a delightful barbecue lunch, your adventure takes you onto land, exploring the winding pathways of Punta Pitt in search of several booby species along with a host of other birdlife. After a snorkeling excursion, return to the vessel for a relaxed evening after your first full day in the Galápagos.

DAY 14

Española Island & Gardner Bay

Having sailed overnight, you will wake to new horizons. Your first stop this morning will be Punta Suarez. This is a phenomenal site where you will get to see many of Española Island’s endemic wildlife on a walking tour. Species include sea lions, marine iguanas, Galapagos hawk, waved albatross, red-billed tropic birds and Nazca boobies. One of Punta Suarez’ most famous landmarks is a dramatic blowhole that sends plumes of whitewater skywards, casting rainbows in the sunlight.

This afternoon, you will continue to Gardner Bay. This white sandy beach is home to a large colony of sea lions and impossibly turquoise waters. You will also have the option to kayak or snorkel at Tortuga Rock, viewing a wealth of marine life.

DAY 15

Punta Coromorant & Floreana Island

Located on Floreana Island, Punta Cormorant has striking olive-hued beaches due to unique mineral deposits. Sea lions bask on the sand, and the sounds of lava heron and blue-footed boobies fill the air. Your walking tour will take you to an inland saline lake where your naturalist guide will point out Bahama ducks, flycatchers and flocks of pink flamingos dining on the algae and crustacea that give them their distinctive coloring.

Lunch aboard is followed by a fascinating presentation on the human history of the Galápagos, before visiting one of the islands’ most distinctive historical sites: Post Office Bay. Erected by English whaling fleets in the late 18th century, a post barrel still stands. This was once used by sailors and even pirates to send letters around the world. No postage is required. Instead, the postal service relies on the integrity of its patrons. You may wish to search through the postcards left by previous visitors. If you see one addressed to a location near your home, you may choose to take it with you.

DAY 16

Pure Ayora & the Charles Darwin Research Station

When you awake this morning, the view will be completely different from the last few days. A harbor full of boats is bustling with activity at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. You will be transferred by bus to a higher altitude with beautiful geological formations including the lava tunnels at El Mirador and Los Gemelos (the twins), a pair of massive craters. Your guides will explain how they were formed. The highlight of the morning is a visit to Rancho Primicias, a privately-owned ranch where tortoises roam free. These slow-moving giants can grow to be over 500 pounds (225kg)!

Lunch is served back on board the yacht, and later in the afternoon you’ll learn about the most famous visitor to the Galapagos – Charles Darwin – as well as current conservation efforts, when you visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena or Charles Darwin Research Station.

DAY 17

Bartolome Island – a Return to Solitude

Escaping the bustle of Puerto Ayora, your day begins in the tranquility of Bartolome Island. Two options present themselves this morning:

Some may choose to take the slightly challenging hike around the island, ascending the 400 steps to one of Bartolome’s highest points for panoramic views of Pinnacle  Rock. Along the way, you will view fascinating geological formations created by ancient volcanic activity. For a more sedate morning, you may elect for a Zodiac circumnavigation of the island, searching for Galápagos penguins along the way. This will also provide the opportunity for some more snorkeling, spotting tropical fish and harmless reef sharks in the azure waters.

Lunch aboard is followed by another trip ashore, this time to the small islet of Sombrero Chino. This small outcrop is home to marine iguanas who navigate to the water between herds of snoozing sea lions. The area also has exceptional snorkeling – your last activity of another day filled with activities.

DAY 18

South Plaza & North Seymour Island

South Plaza is a small islet with tall cliffs and a trail amongst a variety of plants and animals. This atoll is home to a colony of bachelor sea lions, with dominant bulls in various stages of recovery from battles over prime beach territory. You’ll also have an opportunity to see land iguanas up close, and your naturalist guide will describe what differentiates them from marine iguanas.

During lunch, you’ll sail to North Seymour Island, where a spectacular sight awaits: frigate birds with red sacs inflated on their chests, seeking mates. The Galápagos Islands are home to two different species of frigates, great and magnificent, and your guides will teach you to identify the difference. Here you will also have a final opportunity to snorkel in deeper water, spotting sharks, sea lions, and starfish, along with a variety of tropical fish.

Before dinner, enjoy a champagne toast to celebrate a wonderful week at the Captain’s farewell gathering. After dinner, there is a special presentation from your guides, displaying images from your wonderful week in paradise.

DAY 19

San Cristobal, Flight to Quito & Departure

Your final stop in the Galápagos will be to San Cristobal. Prior to your departure from the Galápagos, you will have the opportunity to visit The Interpretation Center, offering a fascinating history of mankind’s presence in the archipelago. Stretch your legs on a short trail before boarding the bus to Baltra airport for the flight back to the mainland.

Depending on your arrival time, you may enjoy the luxury of an afternoon at the nearby Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel. Here, you can make use of their facilities, refresh and possibly take a short nap before your flight home.