Explore two of South America's most important cultural and natural treasures—the World Heritage sites of Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands—in one exciting tour! Travel to Peru and venture to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and the "Lost City of the Incas," then fly to the Galápagos Islands to observe fascinating wildlife, including Blue-footed Boobies, giant tortoises, and sea lions. 

Starting at: $8,593 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Terraced landscape of Písac in the Sacred Valley  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  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 $8,593 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Explore two of South America's most important cultural and natural treasures—the World Heritage sites of Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands—in one exciting tour! Travel to Peru and venture to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and the "Lost City of the Incas," then fly to the Galápagos Islands to observe fascinating wildlife, including Blue-footed Boobies, giant tortoises, and sea lions. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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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 is a once in a lifetime trip -- an outstanding travel and learning adventure. 

- Mary H.

I would recommend Smithsonian Tours to anyone, from the novice to the most experienced traveler. Single travelers will certainly feel at home as well. I feel sure I will travel with Smithsonian again.

- Rosalee C.

"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.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

Save $200 *per person when you book by October 4, 2019 on this departure! Use promotion code LASTCALL online or when speaking to our travel specialists to secure these savings.

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

South America is home to many unique and amazing sites, and this popular tour features two of its most important cultural and natural treasures—the World Heritage sites of Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands. Journey first to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to learn about ancient Inca culture and ascend into the Andes, where you’ll experience the enigmatic site of Machu Picchu. Then immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the Galápagos Islands for three magical days and explore the unique wildlife that Charles Darwin encountered during the early 1800s.

Highlights Include

  • Cuzco and the Sacred Valley: Venture to the World Heritage site of Cusco, where you’ll visit the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, as well as Sacsayhuaman and meet a local family during a traditional meal. Come to understand the Inca culture, both past, and present, during excursions to Pisac, Chinchero, and Ollantaytambo.
  • Machu Picchu: Explore the stunning “Lost City of the Incas” as your small group moves nimbly throughout the site. By staying overnight at the nearby Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, you’ll experience Machu Picchu without the crowds—allowing you to feel its true spirit. 
  • The Galápagos Islands: Witness Darwin's theories of natural selection in a fascinating landscape during an exciting three-night stay on Santa Crus Island.  Here, you’ll settle into a beautiful hotel in the lush highlands and visit a family to see and learn about the giant Galápagos tortoises. Explore other islands, including North Seymour and Santa Fé, during excursions on a privately chartered yacht. 
  • Active Adventure: Experience the natural wonders of the Galápagos while swimming and snorkeling and during nature walks and boat rides.
  • Wildlife: In addition to giant Galápagos tortoises, observe sea lions and iguana, reefs teeming with colorful fish, and sea birds such as Blue-footed and Red-footed Boobies, Nazca 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 is a once in a lifetime trip -- an outstanding travel and learning adventure. 

- Mary H.

I would recommend Smithsonian Tours to anyone, from the novice to the most experienced traveler. Single travelers will certainly feel at home as well. I feel sure I will travel with Smithsonian again.

- Rosalee C.

"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.

Itinerary

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

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

The next morning, visit a prominent art museum in Lima. Then, encounter colonial Lima on an afternoon tour, followed by a welcome dinner at your hotel. (1B,1D)

Day 3 — Cuzco and Sacred Valley

Today fly to Cuzco and stop at the Incan site of Koricancha, dedicated to the Sun God, before continuing to the beautiful Sacred Valley, a region of Inca sites and traditional villages. After visiting the Indian market at Pisac, reach your hotel late this afternoon. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Sacred Valley

Explore Ollantaytambo, known for its massive Incan ruins that continue to inspire wonder. Then visit the Incan farming town of Chinchero, where residents live much as their ancestors did, keeping ancient Inca traditions alive. Attend a native “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 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 - 7 — Machu Picchu and Cuzco

Today before the day-trippers arrive, begin your second guided tour of this World Heritage site. Following lunch at the lodge, return to Aguas Calientes for some free time before your mid-afternoon train to Cuzco.

The next morning, tour this World Heritage site, including 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. (2B,2L)

Day 8 - 9 — Quito

Early today fly via Lima to Quito, arriving late afternoon. This evening enjoy a briefing and dinner at your hotel. Nestled in Andes foothills, Quito boasts a well-preserved historic center, as you see on a city tour that includes the Intiñan Museum and the Middle of the World Monument. (2B,1L,1D)

Day 10 – Quito, Baltra, and Santa Cruz Island

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 set off to see the giant Galápagos tortoises in the wild, and get an up-close look at how the locals live and work at El Trapiche. End the day with a chance to 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 11 – North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach

This morning 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 off Bachas Beach. Highlights of your nature walk here include flamingos, nesting sea turtles, and Darwin’s finches. Later this afternoon take part in a “Plant a Tree” program at your hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Santa Fe Island

Today’s destination is small in size but rich in flora and fauna: Santa Fé Island. During your nature walk, you could see such local residents as the Galápagos snake, rice rats, the Santa Fé land iguana, the smaller lava lizards, Blue-footed Boobies, and perhaps even the Galápagos hawk. 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

This morning explore the “lava tunnels” at your hotel: to literally walk through the naturally-formed tube through which lava flowed eons ago. Then transfer to Baltra for the return flight to Quito, arriving mid-afternoon. (B,D)

Day 14 – Quito

Enjoy a full-day excursion to a rose plantation outside the city of Quito. Here we will see how the flowers are cultivated, and learn what makes Ecuador one of the world’s most prominent rose producers. After our visit to the property, we will have lunch before returning to Quito. Tonight celebrate your adventure at a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 15 – Depart for the U.S.

This morning we enjoy a tour of Quito’s Botanical Gardens. These gardens offer a glimpse of Ecuador’s stunning biodiversity; the nation boasts more than 16,000 endemic plant species (more than all of Europe) and over 6,000 endemic species of butterfly. 

After our touring here we move on to the Iñaquito Market, a covered market spanning an entire city block and offering every fruit, vegetable, meat, and seafood option imaginable.  We then return to our hotel where we have time for lunch on our own.  This afternoon is at leisure for exploring, shopping, photography, or simply relaxing in our rooms.  Later this evening we transfer to the airport our overnight flights to the U.S. (B)

Day 16 – Arrive in the U.S.

We arrive in the U.S. this morning and connect with our return flights home.

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