Take in the natural and cultural highlights of the Galápagos and Peru on a compact trip that combines the legacy of the Inca with the incredible wildlife of the Galápagos. Explore the ancient imperial capital of Cusco, delve into the fabled Sacred Valley of the Inca and its stone fortresses, and ponder the mysteries of Machu Picchu. Then journey to the Galápagos Islands for four nights aboard the National Geographic Islander, and walk and snorkel among the famously fearless wildlife that thrives there.
Encounter unique species and pristine landscapes alongside a team of seasoned naturalists in the Galápagos.
Meet endangered Galápagos giant tortoises at a National Geographic–supported captive breeding program, and then observe these creatures in the wild.
Attend a weaving demonstration by a National Geographic grantee who has helped revive ancient Andean textile traditions.
Take a scenic train ride to Machu Picchu, and watch the sun set over the mountaintop citadel.
Itinerary - 9 Days
Day 1 — Lima, Peru
Land at the Lima airport and transfer to our hotel nearby.
Lima Airport Holiday Inn
Day 2 — Cusco/Sacred Valley
Fly to Cusco and enjoy lunch overlooking the elegant Plaza de Armas. Travel through the Urubamba Valley, known as the Sacred Valley of the Inca, to our base for the next two nights. Attend a demonstration of Andean weaving by Nilda Callañaupa, a National Geographic grantee.
Tambo del Inka (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Machu Picchu
Explore the stone fortress of Ollantaytambo before boarding the train to Machu Picchu, introduced to the world by Hiram Bingham in a 1913 issue of National Geographic magazine. Spend this afternoon exploring the spectacular ruins, lingering after most visitors have left. This evening, take the train back to the Sacred Valley.
Tambo del Inka (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Guayaquil, Ecuador
Return to Cusco and fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. Transfer to our boutique hotel, surrounded by gardens.
Hotel del Parque (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Galápagos Archipelago
This morning, fly to the Galápagos Islands. Meet our naturalist staff for an introduction to the islands and their diverse wildlife; then board our ship.
National Geographic Islander for the remainder of the trip (B,L,D)
Days 6 & 7 — Exploring the Galápagos
The Galápagos portion of our expedition begins and ends in Baltra. Each day we will have the opportunity to go on nature walks with local naturalists; swim; snorkel; or explore the coast by kayak or Zodiac. Listed below are some of the islands we plan to visit during our expedition.
Hike among tide pools and underwater caverns in search of Galápagos fur seals, marine iguanas, sea lions, shore birds, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.
Isla Santa Cruz
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in the town of Puerto Ayora, and tour the neighboring captive breeding program for endangered Galápagos giant tortoises run by the Galápagos National Park Service and supported by the National Geographic–Lindblad Fund. In the highlands, observe and photograph giant tortoises in the wild.
Isla South Plaza
Encounter a greeting party of boisterous sea lions and land iguanas. Thread your way through an impressive forest of cactus trees. Walk along seaside cliffs, where swallow-tail gulls and red-tailed tropicbirds perform aerial displays.
Isla Santa Fe
Swim from the secluded cove at Barrington Bay, and follow a trail through the island group’s largest cactus trees. Spot the Santa Fe land iguana and Galápagos hawks.
Sail north across the Equator into a flooded caldera. Go on hikes, search for fur seals in Zodiacs, kayak along the caldera, and snorkel among rainbow-colored parrotfish.
Day 9 — Galápagos/Guayaquil/U.S.
After breakfast, disembark the ship in Baltra and fly to Guayaquil. Settle into day rooms at the Hotel del Parque before your evening flight, or continue on to Quito for an optional two-night extension. Or, take advantage of a complimentary night at the hotel and fly home on Day 10. (B)
Please note: All departures are family friendly. Itineraries vary subject to the Galápagos National Park regulations. Each of our voyages include a stop on Santa Cruz and a selection of the other islands listed.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.