Jewels of South America: Galapagos & Machu Picchu - Ocean View Double

  • Port

    Manta, Ecuador

  • Activity Level

    Strenuous

  • Excursion Type

    All

  • Wheelchair Accessible

    NO

  • Cost

    USD USD USD USD

    Price over $151
  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    6 days/ 5 nights

  • Meals Included

    Yes

Day 1 (L/D)

Transfer from the ship in Manta to Guayaquil Airport -- a four-hour drive. At the airport, your luggage is inspected by the Galapagos National Authorities to avoid the introduction of any harmful seeds, plant or organisms to the islands.

Board a flight to the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival at Baltra airport, a Galapagos Naturalist Guide will welcome us and help with our luggage and guidance towards the public bus that heads towards the Channel of Itabaca which separates the island Baltra from Santa Cruz. A public ferry crosses the azure waters of the channel to Santa Cruz, which will take approximately five minutes.

On Santa Cruz, board a private vehicle to transfer to Puerto Ayora on the other side of the island. Driving through the rural areas of the island, travelers can experience the agriculture of the archipelago as well as the diversity of its flora. Surrounded by wild landscapes and different species, keep a lookout for the finches that are famous for being the basis of Darwin´s theory of evolution.

Lunch is served at local restaurant in the Highlands.

This afternoon, watch the famous Galápagos land tortoises in their natural environment and learn how the private ranches here assist in the protection of these special animals. Listen to the tortoises as they eat leaves from the trees and crash through the undergrowth -- they are beautiful but perhaps not graceful. Tortoises of all ages and sizes gather here. The small, young ones have bright, shining carapaces; the older ones move more slowly and sport some serious cracks in their shells -- evidence of a long life.

The well-known lava tunnels are another amazing experience. Formed by the lava floods from the nearby volcanoes, they tumble from the highlands down to sea level. The roof is collapsed in several spots. Nevertheless, a longer intact section allows a 30-minute hike and offers you a chance to explore until the tunnel gets too small, leaving you to wonder what undiscovered mysteries lie beyond. Your guide will share in detail the story of the origin of these tunnels.

Continue to the hotel for check-in. Dinner and overnight in your ocean view room at the Red Mangrove Hotel (or similar) after an exciting and memorable day.

Day 2 (B/L/D)

Today you will take a full-day boat tour to ONE of the following nearby islands:

Bartolomé

An early start this morning (6am) brings you to Itabaca Channel, where you step aboard a yacht for a day in paradise -- beautiful white beaches, clear water, and a wealth of wildlife to observe.

Enjoy breakfast while watching the sunrise at sea during the two-hour boat trip. There is also a chance of spotting dolphins and other marine residents very close to the boat in the early hours.

There will be either a dry or wet landing on Isla Bartolomé, where you'll discover a fascinating moonscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones -- lava bombs, spatter and cinder cones. Due to its geographical location, Isla Bartolomé's lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable.

Hike the 300 steps to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands -- Santiago, North Seymour, Baltra, Santa Cruz and Rábida -- and the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. The rock is home to thousands of sea birds, and is the most photographed landscape in the Galapagos Islands. Change clothes and head to the beach. The dinghy-ride provides an amazing encounter with the diminutive Galápagos penguin.

Step ashore for a short walk through the dunes to the northern beach and a pelican nesting area. In the bay, small white-tip reef sharks swim and are easily observed from the shore.

Back at the southern beach, the shallow sea invites you to go swimming and snorkeling with the Galapagos penguins, sharks, starfish, rays, sea turtles and plenty of other exotic and colorful fish. Enjoy the diversity of native residents such as marine iguanas, sea lions, pelicans, and many more.

Lunch is served back on the boat.is served back on the boat.

Your day trip ends with a late afternoon return to the Red Mangrove Hotel (ocean view accommodation).

Seymour & Bachas

Breakfast at the hotel.at the hotel.

Starting at 8am, this trip offers the golden chance to get to know North Seymour Island and Bachas beach.

Head to Itabaca Channel, where you step aboard a yacht for the one-hour cruise to Seymour Island.

Transfer by dinghy to the rocky coast near a small Palo Santo forest consisting of gray and silver trees that are leafless most of the year. Seymour is famous for its large colonies of birds. The very special male frigatebirds, with their red pouches, attract females in breeding time, and the famous Galápagos blue-footed boobies can be observed here. These seabirds have a wedge-shaped tail, long pointed wings and, for courtship, the males lift first one, then the other blue foot into the air and dances to impress the female.

Other highlights of this excursion are a beach with small cliffs, and a chance to observe seagulls, sea lions, marine iguanas and pelicans. Your freshly-cooked lunch consists of two courses, and is served on the boat. During siesta time, the yacht navigates to Bachas Beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island.

Take a short hike to a flamingo pond just behind the beach, and afterwards refresh yourself with a swim or snorkel at this isolated beach with white sand and turquoise water. Sea lions, rays, tortoises, and tropical fish may join you in your underwater experience.

Your day trip ends with a late afternoon return to the Red Mangrove Hotel (ocean view accommodation).

Plazas & Punta Carrion

Breakfast at the hotel.

An 8am start brings you to Itabaca Channel, where you step aboard a yacht for a day on South Plaza Island. This is one of the smaller islands of the Galápagos. Plazas welcome travelers with a bright, colorful red and green carpet of sesuvio -- an endemic plant -- and the loud, friendly barking of several sea lion families. The turquoise water of the ocean perfectly complements the white sandy beaches and the black lava rocks of the coast.

Take an easy hike alongside basking sea lions and land iguanas, which are found on most parts of the island. The trail leads to the highest cliff, where swallow-tailed gulls wheel through the air and blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds glide gently on the wind. Bring along binoculars for close-up views.

The view from the highest point, looking out over the ocean and the powerful waves breaking against the cliffs, is an experience you won't forget.

Afterwards, the trip continues to Punta Carrion, where lunch is served on board the yacht. This is a great spot to snorkel and swim among rays, sharks, and hundreds of colorful tropical fish.

Your day trip ends with a late afternoon return to the Red Mangrove Hotel (ocean view accommodation).

Santa Fe

Breakfast at the hotel.

Formed by uplifting, rather than by a volcano, Santa Fe is known for having one of the most beautiful coves in all the Galápagos. Some of the island's endemic species include the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, land iguanas, various types of finches, and the Galapagos mockingbird. Your visit includes a hike on a trail past salt bushes, where Galapagos hawks and Santa Fe land iguanas tend to roam. Playful sea lions will usually accompany swimmers and snorkelers during beach time.

Your day trip ends with a late afternoon return to the Red Mangrove Hotel (standard accommodation).

Day 3 (B/L/D)

Today, take a full-day boat tour to one of the following nearby islands: Bartolomé, Seymour & Bachas, Plazas & Punta Carrion, or Santa Fe (see above for descriptions).

Day 4 (B/L)

After breakfast, transfer to Baltra airport for your flight to Guayaquil and an onward flight to Lima. Here, your guide will assist you with check-in at the Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport Hotel (or similar). Dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 5 (B/L/D)

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight from Lima to Cusco. Meet your guide upon arrival, and start your city tour.

Visit the Coricancha -- the Temple of the Sun -- built by the Inca Pachacutec (1438 - 1572). During the Inca empire, homage was paid to the sun (Inti) and there was a time when the temple was covered with gold. The arrival of the Spaniards signaled the end of Incaic era and the temple became the foundation for the Convent of Santo Domingo built right over the top of it.

Admire Cusco's cathedral -- the imposing monument in the Plaza de Armas. Its construction began in 1560 and ended almost a century later in 1654. Hundreds of stones were extracted and transported from Sacsayhuaman Fortress for the building of the cathedral.

After lunch, head to the Sacsayhuaman fortress. Strategically located on a hill overlooking Cusco, the fortress was constructed without mortar, like many other Inca structures. Yet the enormous stones (some weighing 200 tons) of the remaining walls fit so tightly that not even a thin blade of grass can slide between them. The craftsmanship is a stunning example of the Inca's sophisticated construction techniques and architectural skills.

Transfer to the Sacred Valley and to the Hotel Aranwa Sacred Valley (or similar) for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 6 (B/L/D)

In the morning, after breakfast, you'll drive further into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The route with wonderful landscapes will take you Ollantaytambo Fortress. You will visit the archaeological site here.

Next, head to Ollanta y Tambo Station to board the train to Machu Picchu. You will travel via panoramic railcar through the narrow, winding valley with its rugged gorges, spectacular snowcapped peaks and numerous archaeological remains. The train ride is an adventure in itself.

Arriving in Aguas Calientes, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

The highlight of your day comes next. It is just a short walk from the train station to the bus loading area. A 30-minute vertiginous bus ride brings you to Machu Picchu -- the Lost City of the Incas -- at an elevation of 7,874 feet. The bus ride is rather thrilling and features a number of hairpin bends, but the end reward is to immerse yourself in the timeless history and intangible magic of the strange and wondrous ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. Your guided walking tour explores the terraces and aqueducts leading to the Temple of the Three Windows. At the equinox, the sun's rays pass through the temple to light the Sacred Plaza. Visit the curious stone block believed to be a solar clock. As you explore this Incaic retreat perched between Huayna Picchu (Young Peak) and Machu Picchu (Old Peak), you can't help but be moved by the wonder of the place.

After your tour, return by rail to Ollanta y Tambo station; then, take overland transportation back to your hotel for dinner and accommodation.

Day 7 (B/L)

Early in the morning, take a boxed breakfast and head to Cusco Airport for a flight to Lima and an onward flight to Arequipa. Transfer by road to Matarani port with a boxed lunch provided.

Notes:

You must book this overland PRIOR to sailing. The cut-off date is 60 days prior to the call at Manta. Due to the popularity of this tour and strict booking conditions, cancellations fees start 90 days prior to the call at Manta. The hotel is subject to change. Special notes for Galápagos: While rare, it is possible that the National Park and force majeure conditions can cause unexpected changes in the itinerary. Your tour may not include a ship escort but is guided on the Galapagos Islands. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. Minimum age is 12 years. Each day in the Galápagos Islands includes a boxed lunch. Wear your swimsuit under your clothing each day; bring a towel, sunscreen and a hat. The day boat may not be exclusive to Holland America Line guests. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for guests with mobility limitations. Special notes for Machu Picchu: The tour to Machu Picchu requires traveling from sea level to an elevation of 11,200 feet in Cuzco, which may cause altitude sickness for some guests. Touring the ruins of Machu Picchu requires climbing many stairs and negotiating uneven and rugged terrain in rarefied air at 7,874 feet asl. Guests with a heart condition and/or known respiratory difficulties should consult their physician prior to booking this tour. There are two paths at the ruins from which guests may choose; both are fully guided. One requires moderate walking and the other requires considerable walking. If you cannot keep up with the group, or if you would rather tour the site independently, you will be given the appropriate information regarding where and when to meet back up with the guide. Wear comfortable, casual clothing in natural, breathable fabrics. Temperatures will change as elevations and time of day change, so it's best to bring shorts as well as long trousers, and clothing you can layer. A sweater or lightweight jacket will be needed for the cooler evening temperatures common in upland regions. Heavy, unpredictable, seasonal rainfall can change some operational aspects of this tour. Should this occur, Holland America Line will notify guests in advance of any significant changes and participants will be given the opportunity to cancel their reservation without penalty. Important: It is each guest's sole responsibility to obtain (before traveling) any visas, vaccinations and/or tourist cards that are required for participating in overland adventures or overnight tours, unless noted otherwise in the description. Please be aware that you may need a visa for any and/or all countries that you will depart from and travel through as part of your overland adventure or overnight tour, and for the country in which you will re-join the ship. For more information on visa requirements and applications please visit www.hollandamerica.com/cruise-vacation-planning/PlanningAndAdvice.action and click on Passports, Visas & Vaccinations. Ocean-view room designations apply only to the Galápagos portion of the tour.