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Discover the natural wonders of the Galápagos and the magnificent cultural treasures of Peru. Explore the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, hike to ruins in the Urubamba Valley, examine pre-Columbian artifacts at Lima's renowned Larco Herrera Museum, and witness the sunrise on magical Machu Picchu.
Walk and snorkel among the abundant and fearless wildlife of the Galápagos Islands.
See day break over the ruins at Machu Picchu from the fabled Sun Gate.
Discover the monumental ancient fortresses of the Sacred Valley of the Inca.
Take in the splendor of Cusco's architecture, a rich mix of Inca and Spanish colonial styles.
Itinerary - 16 Days
Day 1 — U.S./Guayaquil, Ecuador
Depart for Guayaquil and upon arrival, transfer to our hotel.
Day 2 — Guayaquil/Galápagos
This morning, fly to the Galápagos Islands and board our comfortable expedition ship. During lunch, we begin our exploration of the islands. (B,L,D)
Days 3 through 8 — Exploring Galápagos
In keeping with the nature of an expedition, our itinerary is flexible, allowing you to take advantage of this extraordinary wildlife sanctuary. You will have the opportunity to go on nature walks with local naturalists; swim; snorkel; or explore the waters by kayak, glass-bottom boat (Endeavour II only), or Zodiac. (B, L, D daily)
Listed below are some of the islands we may visit during our expeditions:*
Walk to the top of Bartolomé's volcanic cone for a stunning view of Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding white sand beaches. You may also have the opportunity to swim with Galápagos penguins.
Follow a path along a series of tide pools and underwater caverns in search of Galápagos
fur seals, marine iguanas, sea lions, and Sally
Isla Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, a breeding station for endangered native species. Learn about the Darwin Foundation and their giant Galápagos tortoise breeding program. Later, travel into the highlands where wild tortoises forage.
Spend the early morning on the lookout for dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and the unusual ocean sunfish, the Mola mola. Explore caves and hidden lagoons by Zodiac, and snorkel among sea turtles.
At Champion Islet, snorkel among sea lions, or
peer into an underwater world in a glass-bottom
boat (Endeavour only) while keeping an eye out
for the endangered Floreana Mockingbird. Those
interested can visit Post Office Bay—if you see a
letter addressed to someone who lives near you,
the tradition is to deliver it by hand.
Discover the marine iguana haven of Punta Espinoza as we hike over lava flows. Galapagos hawks and sea lion nurseries are also found as we explore this island.
See Darwin's finches, boobies, and waved albatross on this birder's paradise. Walk among vivid green and red marine iguanas, and observe sea lions up close on a pristine white-sand beach. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Galápagos/Guayaquil/Lima, Peru
Depart Galápagos this morning and fly to Lima, Peru via Guayaquil, arriving in the early evening.
Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel (B,L)
Day 10 — Cusco/Sacred Valley of the Inca
Fly from Lima to Cusco this morning and drive to the Inca site of Moray, believed to have been an agricultural laboratory where priests would test soils and crops. Enjoy a traditional Peruvian lunch at the parador overlooking the ruins. Stop at a colorful local market before an optional visit to the pottery studio of Pablo Seminario, featuring ceramics made with ancient Peruvian techniques and designs. Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Sacred Valley of the Inca
After breakfast, enjoy a talk by National Geographic grantee Peter Frost*, who has been exploring the Andes for 35 years. In 2001 and 2002, Peter led National Geographic Society-sponsored expeditions into the remote region of Vilcabamba, Peru, finding and exploring the previously unknown Inca and pre-Inca site of Qoriwayrachina (National Geographic magazine, February 2004). Travel further into the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo and explore the massive stone fortress where the Inca won their greatest victory against the conquistadores. Visit the family-owned hacienda Casa Orihuela for lunch, then see the family's private museum filled with colonial artwork, and witness the delicate dance of paso horses during a presentation of traditional horsemanship. Back at the lodge, meet National Geographic grantee Nilda Callanaupa, who has helped preserve and revive traditional Inca textiles. Learn about her ancient craft and watch a weaving demonstration. Gather for a captivating performance of folkloric stilt dancing tonight. Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu
Travel to Machu Picchu this morning. Join a guide for an introduction to the site and then stay overnight at the historic Belmond Sanctuary Lodge—sharing Machu Picchu with only a handful of visitors. (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Machu Picchu/Cusco
Before sunrise, hike up to the Sun Gate, the final checkpoint of the Inca Trail, and watch day break over the timeless ruins of Machu Picchu. Spend the rest of this morning wandering through the site on your own. After lunch, board the train back to the Sacred Valley, then head to Awanacancha, a farm where llamas and alpacas are bred. Continue to Cusco, a city of astonishing charm and beauty that was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Our home here is an exquisite 16th-century monastery just steps from the city square. Take a stroll in the elegant arcaded courtyard and admire the 16th-century antiques and paintings decorating the halls before a special dinner with opera singers in the vaulted dining room. (B,L,D)
Day 14 — Cusco
Delve into the legacy of the Inca and the Spanish during a full day of exploration in Cusco. Examine the massive stone boulders that make up the 15th-century Sacsayhuaman fortress, site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Spanish conquest. See the Coricancha, a 17th-century cathedral and convent built atop the ruins of an opulent Inca temple. Then enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to stroll around this beautiful city or relax at our historic hotel. (B,L)
Day 15 — Cusco/Lima
Return to Lima this morning. Browse pre-Columbian artifacts at the renowned Larco Herrera Museum, and wander across the Plaza Mayor. Following a traditional Peruvian lunch, the afternoon is free to enjoy the beautiful Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel and surrounding area. (B,L)
Day 16 — Lima/U.S.
After breakfast, transfer to the Lima airport for your return flights. (B)
National Geographic Endeavour II National Geographic Islander
* Please note: Itineraries vary subject to the Galápagos National Park regulations. Each itinerary will include Isla Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, and a selection of the other stops listed in the itinerary.
Prices are per person, double occupancy, except those marked solo, which are based on single occupancy.
For a single cabin on the Islander during the regular season, add $5,040 in Category 1 and $5,530 in Category 2. For a single cabin on the Islander during the holiday season, add $5,580 in Category 1 and $6,100 in Category 2.
International airfare to/from Guayaquil and airfare between Ecuador and Peru is not included in the expedition cost. Group flights between Guayaquil/Galapagos/Guayaquil/Lima and Lima/Cusco/Lima is $1,455 for adults; $1,195 for children (under age 12 at the time of travel) (subject to change). Please note: the pricing above is valid for 2018 departures booked by June 1, 2017.
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.