Experience two life-list destinations—one cultural and one natural—on a rewarding journey that will have you exploring Peru’s Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu as well as the unique wildlife of the Galápagos Islands.

Starting at: $9,793 * Price includes special offer * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Machu Picchu
 A pair of Blue-footed Boobies
 Quechua woman out for an afternoon stroll Credit: Lola Akinmade
 Llama overlooking Machu Picchu
 Exploring the renowned stone work of Machu Picchu
 The site of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley
 Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
 Terraced landscape of Písac in the Sacred Valley
 Town square in Lima
 The historic city center of Cuzco
 A tortoise and a traveler
 Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs
 Mother and baby seal
 Seals basking on the beach
 A colorful Sally Lightfoot crab
 A frigate bird
 Iguana on the Galapagos Islands

Machu Picchu and the Galápagos

16 days from $9,793 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Experience two life-list destinations—one cultural and one natural—on a rewarding journey that will have you exploring Peru’s Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu as well as the unique wildlife of the Galápagos Islands.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Our tour with the Smithsonian to South America [Machu Picchu and Galapagos) was without a doubt one of the most fun, enjoyable, and educational journeys we have taken. Our fellow travelers quickly bonded and we are still in contact with many of them. We look forward to our next adventure with educated and thoughtful people.

- David L.

This was our first time with a tour group. An excellent experience in every way! The tour directors, expert, and guides were incredibly knowledgeable. I'm so glad we chose Smithsonian Journeys!

- Steve and Nancy S.

"The [journey] to Peru and Ecuador was meticulously planned. Its quick pace allowed us to cover a large number of places and this was a big plus. The Smithsonian Expert provided the crucial context of the pre-Inca and the Inca civilizations. He was a great source of knowledge to everyone: during his illuminating lectures, but also during the excursions to many places and museums that we visited together. One of the best trips that my wife and I have undertaken because of itinerary, the expert and tour directors, and excellent accommodations. We are already planning the next trip with the Smithsonian!"

- Andrew K.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Overview

Experience two of South America’s most celebrated destinations on a journey that combines the Inca treasures of Peru with the natural wonders of the Galápagos. Venture into the realm of the Inca, exploring a string of World Heritage sites, including historic Cusco, the sites of the Sacred Valley, and the “lost city” of Machu Picchu. Then spend three magical days in the Galápagos, discovering the unique endemic wildlife that Darwin once studied. Encounter  giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, and much more on nature walks, yacht cruises, and snorkeling excursions. Along the way, stay in a stunning hotel adjacent to Machu Picchu’s ruins and plant native trees from your lodge in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Highlights Include

  • Cusco and the Sacred Valley: In the World Heritage site of Cusco, examine a fascinating collection of indigenous artifacts at the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, or MAP, housed in a historic mansion. Witness the cut-stone building style of the Inca on a visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, and join an local family for a traditional meal. Gain insights into Inca history and Andean culture during excursions to Pisac, Chinchero, and Ollantaytambo.
  • Machu Picchu: Enjoy two guided visits to the “lost city of the Inca,” exploring with a nimble small group; and stay overnight at the nearby Belmond Sanctuary Lodge to experience the spirit of Machu Picchu once the crowds are gone. 
  • The Galápagos Islands:  Stay in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island and immerse yourself in the incredible natural phenomena of the Galápagos. Explore lava tubes, plant endemic trees to help maintain the island’s natural balance, and set out by privately chartered yacht to explore neighboring islands, including North Seymour and Santa Fe.
  • Active Adventure: Experience the natural wonders of the Galápagos while swimming and snorkeling and during nature walks and yacht cruises.
  • Wildlife: Observe a wide range of endemic animals with naturalists, including giant Galápagos tortoises, sea lions, iguanas, colorful marine life, blue-footed and red-footed boobies, and frigate birds. 

Our tour with the Smithsonian to South America [Machu Picchu and Galapagos) was without a doubt one of the most fun, enjoyable, and educational journeys we have taken. Our fellow travelers quickly bonded and we are still in contact with many of them. We look forward to our next adventure with educated and thoughtful people.

- David L.

This was our first time with a tour group. An excellent experience in every way! The tour directors, expert, and guides were incredibly knowledgeable. I'm so glad we chose Smithsonian Journeys!

- Steve and Nancy S.

"The [journey] to Peru and Ecuador was meticulously planned. Its quick pace allowed us to cover a large number of places and this was a big plus. The Smithsonian Expert provided the crucial context of the pre-Inca and the Inca civilizations. He was a great source of knowledge to everyone: during his illuminating lectures, but also during the excursions to many places and museums that we visited together. One of the best trips that my wife and I have undertaken because of itinerary, the expert and tour directors, and excellent accommodations. We are already planning the next trip with the Smithsonian!"

- Andrew K.

Itinerary

Day 1-2 — Depart the U.S. for Lima, Peru

Depart for Lima, arriving in the evening and transferring directly to your hotel.

The next morning, trace 3,000 years of Peruvian history at the excellent Museo de Arte de Lima. Then explore colonial Lima on an afternoon tour, followed by a welcome dinner at your hotel. (1B,1D)

Day 3 — Cusco and Sacred Valley

Fly to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca, set high in the Andes. Visit the Incan temple of Koricancha, dedicated to the Sun God, before descending into the the beautiful Sacred Valley. Here, Inca sites and traditional Andean villages are scattered among rolling fields and dramatic peaks. Make a first stop at Pisac, known for its colorful Andean market, and reach your hotel late this afternoon. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Sacred Valley: Ollantaytambo and Chinchero

At the far end of the Sacred Valley, discover the village of Ollantaytambo, where the old town, built upon the original Inca grid, is flanked by steep slopes covered terraced Inca ruins. Then ascend to the farming town of Chinchero, where Andean residents live much as their ancestors did, keeping ancient Inca traditions alive. Attend a Pachamama, or “offering to the Earth” ceremony, before dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

Early this morning, travel by train to Aguas Calientes, a scenic hour-and-a-half ride that follows the Urubamba River deep into the mountains. Upon arrival, board a bus for the final ascent to Machu Picchu. Set out with a guide for your first visit to the stunning “Lost City of the Incas” late this morning. Your small group will move nimbly through the ruins and ample time to absorb the beauty and mystery of this site.

Later, check in at your hotel,  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 next to the ruins and soaking up the mystique of the Inca citadel after all the tourists have left. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Machu Picchu and Cusco

Begin your second guided tour of this World Heritage site early this morning, before the day-trippers arrive. After lunch at the lodge, return to Aguas Calientes for some free time before your mid-afternoon train to Cusco. Upon arrival, check into your hotel in the historic city center and enjoy an evening at leisure.  (B, L)

Day 7 — Cusco

Set out this morning to get acquainted with this World Heritage site, once the epicenter of the Inca Empire. On a special visit to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, you’ll have an up-close look at gold, silver, and ceramic objects that shed light on the indigenous cultures of Peru. Continue to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a historic fortress that exemplifies Inca masonry. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before an afternoon at leisure. (B, L)

Day 8 - 9 — Quito

Early today, fly via Lima to Quito, arriving in the late afternoon. In the evening, gather for a briefing and dinner at a local restaurant. The following day, tour the beautifully preserved historic center of Quito, built in the 16th century atop an Inca city high in the Andes foothills. Your tour includes a visit to the Intiñan Museum and the Middle of the World Monument. (2B,1L,1D)

Day 10 — Baltra and Santa Cruz Island, the Galápagos

Fly to the island of Baltra then transfer to Santa Cruz, your island-based home for your Galápagos exploration. En route to the hotel, stop to see Los Gamelos, the huge twin craters formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Arrive at your beautiful hotel in the highlands adjacent to Galápagos National Park in time for lunch. This afternoon, observe giant Galápagos tortoises in the wild, and explore naturally formed lava tunnels on the grounds of your hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Santa Fe Island

Embark on your excursion today aboard the Santa Fe, your privately chartered yacht. Your destination is small in size but rich in flora and fauna: Santa Fe Island. During a nature walk, keep an eye out for local residents such as the Galápagos snake, rice rats, the Santa Fe land iguana, blue-footed boobies, and perhaps even the Galápagos hawk. Later this afternoon, take part in a reforestation program sponsored by your hotel, planting an endemic tree that is critical to the island’s ecosystem. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach

Embark once again aboard your privately chartered yacht, the Santa Fe. Your first destination is North Seymour, where an easy walk with naturalists will bring you up close to a wide range of species, from magnificent frigate birds to land iguanas and lava lizards. Return to Santa Cruz island after lunch and weigh anchor off Bachas Beach, where you’ll have the chance to see flamingos, nesting sea turtles, and Darwin’s finches on a nature walk. Then cruise to Punta Carrion, where you 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, Baltra and Quito

After a morning at leisure, transfer to Baltra for your return flight to Quito, arriving mid-afternoon. (B,D)

Day 14 — Quito

Set out on a full-day excursion to a rose plantation outside Quito. Learn how the flowers are cultivated and what makes Ecuador one of the world’s most prominent rose producers. Enjoy lunch before returning to Quito. Tonight celebrate your adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)

Days 15-16 — Quito/Depart for the U.S.

Get acquainted with the World Heritage site of Quito, built in the 16th century atop the ruins of an Inca city. Your morning tour includes Plaza de la Independencia in the Old City, the baroque La Compañía church, Carondelet Palace,  the Church of San Agustín, and the Monastery of San Francisco. The remainder of the day is yours for exploring, shopping, photography, or simply relaxing. This evening, transfer to the airport your flight home, arriving the next morning. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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