Machu Picchu & the Galápagos


Visit the mystifying ruins at Machu Picchu then travel to the fascinating Galápagos Islands to observe abundant wildlife, including giant tortoises, Blue-footed Boobies, and sea lions.

Starting at: $7,993 * Including airfare, airline taxes & departure fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu  Exploring the renowned stone work of Machu Picchu   Terraced landscape of Písac in the Sacred Valley  The site of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley  Quechua woman out for an afternoon stroll Credit: Lola Akinmade  The historic city center of Cuzco  Town square in Lima  Mother and baby seal  A pair of Blue-footed Boobies  Seals basking on the beach  A frigate bird  A colorful Sally Lightfoot crab  Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs  A tortoise and a traveler   The World Heritage site of Machu Picchu  Llama overlooking Machu Picchu
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SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of no more than 18 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.


Visit two of South America’s greatest treasures—the enigmatic ruins at Machu Picchu and the fascinating Galápagos Islands. Beginning in historic Lima, travel to the magnificent Sacred Valley to explore the stunning “Lost City of the Incas.” An overnight stay at the intimate 31-room Belmond Sanctuary Lodge offers a rare opportunity to see this breathtaking World Heritage site after all the tourists have departed. You’ll also explore the World Heritage site of Cuzco and Sacsayhuaman, and enjoy lunch with a gracious local family. Then embark on a four-night stay in the Galápagos Islands, Darwin’s “living laboratory,” at a beautiful hotel in the lush Santa Cruz highlands. During private excursions on a privately chartered yacht, observe the giant Galápagos tortoises, Blue-footed Boobies, sea lions, iguanas, and abundant birdlife. You’ll also enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and boat rides.

2016 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Lima, Peru

Depart today for the Peruvian capital. Upon arrival tonight transfer directly to your hotel.

Day 2 — Lima

Learn about the journey ahead at a briefing with your tour director, then visit the Larco Herrera Museum, with its renowned collection of Moche pottery from the north coast of Peru dating to the first millennium A.D. This afternoon take a city tour of the Peruvian capital followed by a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 3 — Cuzco and Sacred Valley

Today fly to Cuzco and continue to the beautiful Sacred Valley, a region of Inca sites and traditional villages. After visiting the Indian market at Pisac, reach your hotel in the mid-afternoon. Attend a native ceremony this evening, then gather for dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Sacred Valley

Visit the Incan farming town of Chinchero, where residents live much as their ancestors did. Next, explore Ollantaytambo known for its massive Incan ruins that continue to inspire wonder. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

Early this morning travel by train for the 1½-hour journey to Aguas Calientes, where you board a bus for Machu Picchu. Enjoy your first guided visit of the stunning “Lost City of the Incas” late this morning. Due to its small size, your group will move nimbly through the ruins and have the leisure to absorb the beauty and mystery of this site whose original purpose has been lost to time. Following the tour, check in at the 31-room Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, just steps from the entrance to the ruins. While most visitors see Machu Picchu on a day trip, you have the rare privilege of spending the night and seeing the ruins after all the tourists have left. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Machu Picchu and Cuzco

Today, before the day trippers arrive, begin your second guided tour of this World Heritage site. Then return to Aguas Calientes for lunch and free time before a mid-afternoon train to Cuzco. (B,L)

Day 7 — Cuzco

This morning tour the archaeological hub of the Americas, the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and World Heritage site. Make a special visit to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. Stop at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, an Incan masterpiece, then enjoy lunch in the home of a gracious Cuzco family. (B,L)

Day 8 — Quito

Early today fly via Lima to Quito, arriving late afternoon. This evening have a briefing and dinner at your hotel. (B,D)

Day 9 – Quito

Nestled in Andes foothills, Quito boasts a well-preserved historic center considered the finest in Latin America, as seen on your city tour that includes the Intiñan Museum and the Middle of the World Monument. (B,L)

Day 10 – Quito, Baltra and Santa Cruz Island

Fly to the island of Baltra then transfer to Sant Cruz, your island-based home for your Galápagos exploration. Enjoy your beautiful hotel set on 370 lush, unspoiled, and secluded acres in the highlands adjacent to Galápagos National Park in time for lunch. Then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see and learn about the giant Galápagos tortoises. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach

Embark on your first excursion aboard the Santa Fe, your privately chartered yacht. Set out for North Seymour, a flat, low-lying island with ample opportunities for close encounters with the magnificent Frigate bird, land iguanas, and lava lizards on your naturalist-led walk. After lunch, head back to Santa Cruz island, weighing anchor in the calm waters off Bachas Beach. Highlights of your nature walk here include flamingos, nesting sea turtles, and both aquatic and migratory birds, including Darwin’s finches (B,L,D)

Day 12 – South Plaza Island and Punta Carrion

Today’s destination is the small in size but rich in flora and fauna island of South Plaza. Boasting abundant wildlife and colorful flora, and surrounded by turquoise waters, South Plaza ranks as one of the most popular (and colorful) of the Galápagos islands. During your nature walk, you will have the opportunity to see such local residents as land and marine iguanas, bright orange Sally lightfoot crabs, Red-billed tropic birds, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies, and a male colony of sea lions (“the bachelors”). Then we cruise to Punta Carrion, where we have the opportunity to snorkel in the calm waters of a shallow cove teeming with colorful reef fish. (B,L,D)

Day 13 – Santa Cruz Island

Explore Santa Cruz itself, the second largest of the Galápagos islands. See the giant Galápagos tortoises in their natural habitat; Los Gamelos, the huge twin craters formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago; and Garrapatero, a secluded white-sand beach where there is an abundance of marine and terrestrial wildlife. Finally, explore the “lava tunnels” at your hotel: to literally walk through the naturally-formed tube through which lava flowed eons ago. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Santa Cruz Island, Baltra and Quito

Transfer this morning to Baltra for the return flight to Quito, arriving mid-afternoon. Tonight celebrate your adventure at a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. (B,D)