Jewels of South America: Galapagos Islands & Machu Picchu Overland Adventure Single

  • Port

    General San Martin (Pisco), Peru

  • Activity Level


  • Excursion Type


  • Wheelchair Accessible


  • Starting At


  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    149 Hours

  • Meals Included


Ecuador's Galápagos Islands are one of the world's most remarkable destinations -- an open-air wildlife museum that stirs the explorer within you. The archipelago, located about 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador, is home to an astonishing variety of endemic species -- enough to inspire a theory that would change the world -- and proves an irresistible destination for adventurers and nature-lovers to this day. Then, discover Peru, the Kingdom of the Sun, with its mix of Native and European cultures. It is a country of antique cultures, where the traditional way of life is still evident, and of great scenic contrasts. It's easy to accept that Peru is one of the greatest treasures of the Americas -- of the 103 possible ecological zones on earth, 83 are represented here. The Spanish conquistadors came to Peru in search of gold, but they never found the most elusive prize of all -- the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu.

Day 1 (L/D)

This exhilarating and strenuous overland tour begins with a motorcoach transfer from General San Martin to Lima Airport, where you will board a flight to Cusco. You will have a boxed lunch to eat en route.

Upon arrival in Cusco, transfer to your hotel (Hotel Aranwa Sacred Valley or similar) for dinner and an overnight in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This is where the agricultural cattlemen and beautiful towns have concentrated since Inca times. An excellent climate, fertile lands and the waters of the Vilcanota River make Urubamba an important Peruvian destination.

Day 2 (B/L/D)

Breakfast at the hotel; then head further into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your route, replete with wonderful landscapes, will take you Ollantaytambo Fortress. Visit this site before heading to the Ollanta y Tambo station to board the train to Machu Picchu. It is a 1¾-hour train ride through the Urubamba River valley to the town of Aguas Calientes. The Urubamba River is located in the Sacred Valley approximately 9,350 feet above sea level. From the train station, it is just a short walk to the bus loading area, and a 25-minute ride p to Machu Picchu -- the Lost City of the Incas -- at an elevation of 7,874 feet. The bus ride is on unpaved roads but the end reward is to immerse yourself in the timeless history and intangible magic of this strange and wondrous ancient citadel. Your guided tour is an awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime experience and you will climb the switchback road up to the ruins of Machu Picchu. 'Discovered' in 1911, Machu Picchu, called the Lost City of the Incas, represents the cultural heritage of mankind. It is a stone city constructed by incredibly sophisticated techniques, even in present-day terms. Stone upon stone are fitted together perfectly without cement, with exquisite detail worthy of the world's greatest palaces.

Re-board the train for the journey back to the Hotel Aranwa Sacred Valley (or similar) in Urubamba.

Day 3 (B/L/D)

After breakfast, head to the Cusco Airport for your flight to Guayaquil (connecting in Lima) with a boxed lunch to eat en route. Dinner and an overnight stay at the Hotel Oro Verde (or similar).

Day 4 (B/L/D)

After breakfast, transfer to Guayaquil Airport -- a 45-minute drive. 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 in the islands, you'll meet your naturalist guide on Baltra and transfer by public bus to shores of the Itabaca Channel.

A short ferry ride brings you to Santa Cruz Island. On Santa Cruz, board a private vehicle to transfer to Puerto Ayora on the other side of the island. As you pass through rural areas, you will learn a bit about the agriculture of the archipelago as well as the diversity of its flora and fauna. 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. 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 at the Ikala Galapagos Hotel (or similar) after an exciting and memorable day.

Day 5 (B/L/D)

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


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.

Your day trip ends with a late afternoon return to the Ikala Galapagos Hotel.

Seymour & Bachas

Breakfast 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 Ikala Galapagos Hotel.

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 Ikala Galapgos Hotel.

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 Ikala Galapagos Hotel.

Day 6 (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 7 (B/L)

After breakfast, transfer to Baltra airport for your flight to Guayaquil. Transfer to Manta by road. A boxed lunch will be provided en route.


You must book this overland PRIOR to sailing. The cut-off date is 60 days prior to the call at General San Martin. Due to the popularity of this tour and strict booking conditions, cancellations fees start 90 days prior to the call at General San Martin. The hotel is subject to change. 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. 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. 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 and click on Passports, Visas & Vaccinations.