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Peru & Galapagos Cruise


PRH14Q
14 NIGHTS
FROM £4,695
International flights quoted separately
See the highlights of Ecuador and Peru in one visit, on this fabulous holiday that included historic Quito in the Andean Highlands, the markets of Otavalo and a Galapagos Cruise with glorious wildlife. Then fly to Cusco in Peru to visit Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas & the famous lost city of Machu Picchu. English speaking city guides, all transfers & excursions included.
Ecuador & Peru Highlights - Blue footed boobie
• 
Quito
• 
Otavalo excursion
• 
Andean Highlands
• 
Galapagos Islands
• 
Santa Cruz Island
• 
Lima
• 
Cusco
• 
Sacred Valley
• 
Ollantaytambo
• 
Machu Picchu
• 
Quito
• 
Otavalo excursion
• 
Andean Highlands
• 
Galapagos Islands
• 
Santa Cruz Island
• 
Lima
• 
Cusco
• 
Sacred Valley
• 
Ollantaytambo
• 
Machu Picchu
Day 1
You will be met at Lima Airport and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city - the largest in Peru and its gastronomical centre.
Day 2
This morning enjoy a half day tour of historic Lima, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well preserved architecture.
 
Founded in 1535, Lima was re-named the "City of Kings" when it was conquered by the Spanish and became the most important city in the region. On the main square, the Plaza de Armas, you can see many imposing colonial buildings with their intricate balconies - including Government Palace, where the changing of the guards takes place. See the beautiful Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and the City Hall. The baroque Torre Tagle Palace, a couple of blocks east of the main square, adds to the city's charm.
 
Our next stop is the 17th century Santo Domingo Convent, which is also a World Heritage site. We then drive through the modern financial district of San Isidro for a tour of Huaca Huallamarca, a pre-Incan adobe pyramid.
 
Afterwards we head for the residential district of Miraflores, stopping off at the Parque del Amor (Lover’s Lane), with its incredible views over the Pacific Ocean, before being transferred to Lima Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Cusco Airport and transferred 2-hours to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
 
Check into your hotel in this region that is renowned for its many ancient Inca ruins, including the amazing citadel of Machu Picchu. Balance of the day is at leisure to rest and acclimatise to the altitude.
Day 3
Today enjoy a shared tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
 
Our first stop is at Chinchero, a small picturesque Andean village. Enter the home of a textile artisan, where you will see some of his original work and learn about his techniques and creative process.
 
We continue to significant Inca ruins dating from the end of the 15th Century and visit a beautiful traditional church. We also stop at the Racchi viewpoint, for one of the best views of the Sacred Valley.
 
After an included lunch we visit the citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to protect the northern entrance to the Sacred Valley from invasion, and later the centre of Incan resistance against the Spanish. The fortress and walled terraces of this town provide some of the finest examples of Incan architecture, with the six rose-coloured monoliths of the Temple of the Sun being particularly outstanding. The village itself is the best surviving example of Inca urban planning, with stone-paved streets that have been used since the 12th Century.
Day 4
Today transfer to Ollantaytambo Station for the air-conditioned Vistadome train to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu - an amazing 1.5-hour journey to this magnificent mountain top city situated in a beautiful cloud forest, that was abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911.
 
This legendary "Lost City of the Incas" is without a doubt one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built on the summit of Machu Picchu (meaning "Old Peak"), on a natural saddle between steep forested mountains, it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River some 3,400 m above sea level. With its giant walls, terraces and ramps that appear to have been cut naturally out of the rock escarpments, Machu Picchu's history remains shrouded in mystery as the Incas did not leave any written records.
 
At the gateway town of Aguas Calientes, leave the train and board the bus for the 40-minute zig-zag ride up to this 14th century citadel for a guided tour (please expect queues for the bus). Here we visit the Main Plaza, Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds.
 
In the afternoon return by bus to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo, continuing 2-hours to Cusco by train or road.
 
Note: You must take your passport with you today, as this will be needed to gain entrance, which is restricted to 4-hours (based on either a morning or afternoon schedule). It is mandatory to enter with a guide and you cannot take selfie sticks, tripods, umbrellas, food or alcohol onto the site. You may not wear high heels or hard soled shoes and smoking is prohibited. If you leave the sanctuary for any reason (eg for lunch), re-entry will not be permitted. Only one bag not exceeding 11 lb (5 kg) is allowed as hand luggage on the train. From January to June parts of the rail track may be impassable at times due to mud slides, when a bus transfer will be substituted.
Day 5
Today enjoy a half day shared tour of the magnificent colonial city of Cusco, built on Inca foundations and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Comprising a fascinating mix of colonial churches, monasteries and extensive pre-Columbian ruins, almost every central street in this city has remnants of Inca walls.
 
We start with a visit to the impressive Temple of the Sun (Koricancha) whose walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold. On the site of this ancient Inca palace and centre of worship of the Sun God, the Dominicans ordered a church to be built, which survives to this day  (Note: not open on Sunday mornings & religious holidays).  
 
We walk along the cobbled streets to the Plaza de Armas, the central plaza around which you will see many magnificent colonial buildings - including the Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Walking down well-preserved Loreto Street you can see the remains of Incan palaces, as well as old colonial buildings. If you walk down Hatun Rumiyoc, a cobbled street near the Archbishop's Palace, keep an eye out for the famous 12-sided stone that fits so perfectly you can't even insert a coin.
 
We then leave the city and visit the impressive walled fortress of Sacsayhuaman on the northern outskirts, believed to have been both a military and ceremonial centre. This enormous Inca structure has massive walls of hewn stone and is strategically located on a hill overlooking the city. We also visit Qenko - where the sun, moon and stars were worshipped - and Puca Pucara, which may have been a "tambo" or rest and lodgings for the Inca. Finally we visit an art workshop, where you will be able to see artists working in silver, paint and wood - the perfect place to see Andean art.
 
After your tour why not try a Pisco sour - the national drink. If you are feeling adventurous you can also savour guinea pig - the local speciality dish.
 
Note: You will need to carry your passport today to gain access to the site at Sacsayhuaman.
Day 6
Transfer to Cusco Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Lima Airport and make your own way on foot or by airport shuttle to your hotel situated near the airport.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city.
Day 7
Make your own way on foot or by airport shuttle to Lima Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Guayaquil Airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax in this important port, that is the largest city in Ecuador. Here the vibe is Caribbean, in marked contrast to the Andean region.
Day 8
Transfer to Guayquil Airport for your flight to the spectacular Galapagos Islands.
 
You will be met at Baltra Airport and transferred by bus to the boarding jetty. Here you will embark by panga boat (zodiac) on your Expedition Cruise through this magnificent archipelago, situated on the equator in the Pacific Ocean some 560 miles (900 km) west of the Ecuador mainland.
  
These volcanic islands are famous for their vast number of endemic species, studied by Charles Darwin during his historic voyage on the Beagle, which contributed to his Theory of Evolution by natural selection. Check in and relax in this astonishing marine reserve, where the unique wildlife does not seem perturbed by human visitors - allowing for extremely close-up encounters.
 
Please note that you need to be relatively mobile to enjoy an expedition cruise in the Galapagos, as you will be embarking and disembarking by panga boat (zodiac). All sightseeing with a naturalist guide, marine fees, snorkelling and medical care aboard the boat are included, but not the cost of medicines. Wetsuits are available for hire. Children < 6 years are not allowed on an expedition cruise.
Days 9 To 11
Enjoy cruising through the marine-rich waters of the world-famous Galapagos Islands, with shore excursions each day with a naturalist.
 
Your exact routing will depend on your departure date and the vessel you have selected.
Day 12
Disembark from your Expedition Cruise and transfer to Baltra Airport for your flight to Quito.
 
You will be met at Quito Airport and transferred to your hotel in the city.
Day 13
This morning we visit the equatorial monument that marks the Centre of the World at latitude 0º - about 16 miles (25 km) north of Quito. Here you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere and visit the Intiñan folk museum that showcases the different Native American groups living in Ecuador, their culture and traditions. There is also a colonial-style tourist village complete with main square, church, post office, bull ring and gift shops.
 
Afterwards enjoy a walking tour through the streets and main square of the historic Colonial Quarter, the largest and best preserved in South America. Take in its magnificent colonial architecture - including the Cathedral, President's Palace, Archbishop's Palace and the Municipal Building flanking Independence Plaza. You will see many mansions, monasteries and churches, and visit the Church & Convent of Santo Domingo. The city also has many cosmopolitan galleries and boutiques filled with contemporary paintings, sculptures and exquisite traditional crafts.
 
Please note: Quito walking tour is conducted at an altitude of 2,800 m and includes climbing stairs. As you will be visiting churches (except on Sundays, when this is not permitted), do not wear shorts or mini-skirts as these are not allowed.
Day 14
Transfer to Quito Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Lima Airport and transferred to your hotel situated near the airport.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city.
Day 15
Transfer to Lima Airport for your flight home.

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