Machu Picchu and Galapagos Tour Itinerary Overview
Combining two of South America’s most coveted destinations, a Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour is an extraordinary experience. Not only does it give you the chance to get up close to endemic wildlife on uninhabited islands and gain insight into life in the Inca Empire, but it also gives you the chance to step foot in beautiful lands that few get the privilege of laying eyes on. In other words, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of tour and it must be done right.
This two-week luxury Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour itinerary thoughtfully curated by Totally Latin America is a must for everyone wanting to visit these destinations. It perfectly combines Machu Picchu and a Galapagos Cruise with stops in Quito, Lima, Sacred Valley, and Cusco — all without feeling rushed. Read on to find out exactly what the perfect two-week Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour entails, and how you can secure it for your next trip.
Machu Picchu and Galapagos Tour Itinerary
Day 1-2 Quito
Your two-week Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour begins in Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the best-preserved Spanish Colonial city in South America. Day 1 is about settling into your luxury hotel of choice for a well-earned pamper after a day of travel to make sure you’re well-rested for your upcoming adventures. If you have time, take the opportunity to visit one of the city’s top museums (we recommend the Museo Nacional del Banco Central de Ecuador) followed by dinner at an Ecuadorian restaurant to get acquainted with local culture and cuisine.
On day 2, you’ll be taken on a private tour of Quito complete with your own expert guide and transport. From Independence Square to El Panecillo and Middle of the World City, you’ll be introduced to the city’s best landmarks throughout the day. Of course, any personal sightseeing requests can be accommodated.
Day 3 Board your Galapagos yacht
On day 3 there will be an early morning flight to Baltra Airport (Galapagos), followed by a transfer to the yacht, the Cormorant II. Settle in on board by meeting the crew, getting a tour of the yacht, and a run-down of onboard safety protocols. The first evening on board will be all about soaking up the Galapagos scenery at sunset from the sundeck.
Day 4-7 Galapagos Cruise
Over the next five days, experience the wonders of the Galapagos on board the luxurious Cormorant II, a world-class 16-pax mega-catamaran run by an elite crew with a passion for Galapagos exploration. This particular cruise will visit the smaller and more remote islands of the Galapagos, culminating in a magnificent variety of landscapes and flora and fauna. Along the way, this is what you can expect to see and do on your 5-day sailing expedition:
Santa Cruz: Bachas Beach
Get an introduction to the Galapagos wildlife at Bachas Beach including hermit crabs and sea turtles, all of which live beside a floating pier left from WWII.
Genovesa: El Barranco
Take the zodiac to the craggy rock face of El Barranco and climb the Prince Philip’s Steps to the clifftop. The climb can be tricky, but the views at the top are worthwhile, as are the sightings of red-footed boobies and a wealth of other endemic birdlife.
Genovesa: Darwin Bay
Darwin Bay is one of the Galapagos’ most coveted ports of call and it’s easy to see why. Guests get the chance to kayak through its mangroves, snorkel around the bay, and walk beyond the beach, meeting everything from Nazca boobies to hammerhead sharks and rays along the way.
South Plaza Island
On a hike on this ancient volcanic island, visitors get the chance to see some of the archipelagos’ most unusual fauna, the opuntia cacti, and sesuvium. Add in red and yellow iguana and a giant colony of sea lions and you get one of the most otherworldly landscapes on Earth.
Santa Fe Island
Choose between a hike leading to a rewarding clifftop viewpoint overlooking the beautiful natural bay of Santa Fe and a hike leading through the prickly pear cactus forest beside the waterfront.
Pitt Point offers yet another unique Galapagos landscape, this time defined by its deep earthy rockscapes. From snorkeling and scuba diving to hiking up a cliff to find Nazca, red-footed, and blue-footed boobies nesting en masse, this port of call is pretty adventurous.
San Cristobal: Witch Hill
Witch Hill is home to one of the most beautiful powder-white beaches in the Galapagos, which you can enjoy by boat, kayak, snorkel, or on foot. Its beauty is highlighted by the abundance of endemic wildlife found around it including finches, mockingbirds, and sea turtles.
San Cristobal: David Rodriguez Breeding Center
On the last stop of this epic Galapagos cruise, passengers will get the chance to see how Galapagos sea turtles are conserved and cared for at the breeding center. Since conservation is an integral part of life in the Galapagos, it’s a pleasure to see it first-hand.
Day 7-9 Lima
On the last day of the Galapagos Cruise, you will be transferred to San Cristobal Airport where you will fly to Lima, Peru, via Quito or Guayaquil. After arriving in Lima in the late afternoon, you will have some free time to explore the city. We also recommend booking a table at one of the city’s best restaurants like Maido or Central to experience its iconic gastronomy scene.
On day 8, prepare for a full-day tour of Lima complete with a private guide and vehicle. Stops will include the Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima Cathedral, Huaca Pucllana, Miraflores neighborhood, and Love Park. Personal sightseeing requests can be accommodated too.
Since one day in the city isn’t enough, the second full day in Lima will be free for you to explore and/or relax at your leisure. This is your opportunity to visit more huacas, restaurants, and neighborhoods in the city, or perhaps indulge your mind in the local museums.
Day 10-12 Sacred Valley
After a few busy days in the sprawling capital city, wind back and relax in the Sacred Valley. At 2,800 meters above sea level, it’s the perfect place to slowly acclimatize to the altitudes that will be experienced over the next week.
Once known as a stopover for weary Inca travelers, the Sacred Valley is now home to luxury retreats featuring lush oases, pools, and spas. But don’t get too comfy on that sunbed because a local hacienda will be waiting to give you an insight into local life and the local craftspeople will be waiting to share their work with you at the Urubamba market.
Day 12 Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
Today begins the thrilling journey to Machu Picchu, starting with the morning train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. Allow the stunning mountain views to build up the anticipation of reaching the incredible world wonder. The coach from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will be waiting once you arrive. However, those up for the challenge can take on the steep 2-mile hike up.
At the top, a local guide will be waiting to take you on a private tour of the citadel, sharing stories of its past along the way. To stay long after the crowds have dispersed, ask TLA to book you a room at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel beside the citadel.
Day 13- 14 Machu Picchu to Cusco
Wake up early to see the beauty of Machu Picchu at sunrise before boarding the train back towards Cusco, the ancient Inca capital. The perfect place to eat a delicious Peruvian Andean meal and pick up some handmade souvenirs before heading home.
Your Galapagos Cruise
For this particular itinerary, TLA has chosen to include a 5-day Galapagos cruise on the Cormorant II, a brand new and highly anticipated mega catamaran. The ultra-luxury ship features spacious suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies, a dining room, bar, jacuzzi, sundeck, and an impeccable crew.
The Cormorant II was chosen for this itinerary because is one of the best luxury vessels sailing the Galapagos for both families and couples. However, the itinerary is flexible and TLA can switch it out for a different vessel and/or cruise itinerary for those who have something different in mind. Discover more luxury Galapagos cruise tours that are both suitable for the family and for seniors.
Tailoring your Itinerary
TLA has carefully and considerately planned every moment of this Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour itinerary to make it the best possible experience for all who choose to visit these once-in-a-lifetime destinations. However, we are also committed to creating bespoke itineraries that match our client’s unique requirements. Therefore, we are happy to adjust and alter this Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour itinerary to make it perfect for you. Whether you want to change the time scales or add or subtract elements of the itinerary, we can make it happen. To get started, reach out to Totally Latin America by messaging us here or calling on +1 855 217 9045.