On this spectacular small-group journey to South America, travel to the continent's most extraordinary works of nature and humankind. First, explore the Sacred Valley of the Inca‚ Cuzco, capital of the Inca and Spanish-colonial empires‚ and enigmatic Machu Picchu. Travel by rail on a breathtaking journey to this architectural marvel, where an overnight stay gives you time to absorb its mystery and beauty. Your South America travel experience also includes a day trip to Otavalo, Ecuador, home of South America's most authentic native market. Your explorations culminate with an unforgettable four-night Galapagos cruise of the Galapagos Islands, one of the most pristine natural areas on the planet. Your Galapagos cruise vessel is a specially outfitted eco-cruise ship that combines the stability and comfort of a large ship with a full array of naturalist-guided shore excursions and small-group wildlife encounters. You'll agree — a trip that combines the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, travel to the wonders of Ecuador, and a Galapagos cruise is an unforgettable South America travel opportunity from start to finish!
South America travelers especially appreciate the opportunity to combine Machu Picchu travel with a Galapagos cruise aboard a luxury expedition vessel. Add the chance to follow the lengendary Inca Trail, and you have a small-group South America travel experience that is a wonder in itself!
Depart home / Overnight flight / Lima, Peru / Transfer to Sacred Valley (or depart 3 days earlier for Peruvian Amazon extension)
After your overnight flight to Lima, Peru, continue to Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of Inca, arriving on Day 2. Or, depart three days earlier for an optional Peruvian Amazon pre-trip extension. Enjoy your Welcome Dinner on Day 2. On Day 3, a full-day tour takes you to the town of Ollantaytambo, location of a remarkable Inca fortress that you pass on a walking tour. Cultural Connections: Travel as the locals do on a mototaxi ride around Ollantaytambo. Visit a typical chicheria, where you can sample chicha, the local maize beer. Cultural Connection: Enjoy a weaving demonstration on a traditional Quechuan backstrap loom.
Included Meals:1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sacred Valley / Aguas Clientes / Machu Picchu, Peru
Your small-group journey to Machu Picchu is a highlight in itself, as you board a Vistadome train for the spectacular trip along the roaring Urubamba River, with mountain peaks appearing around every bend. Arrive in Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Inca,” in the early morning, a perfect time for your tour of these dramatic terraced ruins. Your overnight stay just outside the ruins allows you to explore the ruins in the quiet of the late afternoon after daytime crowds and larger tour groups have departed, and again the next day before they have arrived. Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.
Included Meals:Breakfast & Dinner
Rise early on Day 5 to watch dawn break at Machu Picchu and take a second included walking tour later in the morning. Continue by train and motorcoach to Cuzco, a multi-layered city that was the capital of both Inca and Spanish Colonial empires
On Day 6, visit the massive ruins of the Sacsayhuaman fortress. Cultural Connection: Join a local family in their home for lunch. Afterward, explore Cuzco on a tour that encompasses the Incan Temple of the Sun. This evening, you may join an optional "Cuzco by Night" tour.
You'll have Day 7 at leisure to explore this interesting city on your own, with lunch on your own. If you like, join an optional "Cuzco Behind the Scenes" optional tour to learn how ancient practices carry their echo into the culture of today. Lunch in a local restaurant is included.
Included Meals:3 Breakfasts & 2 Lunches
Fly to Quito on Day 8 to begin the next phase of your discovery of the wonders of South America. Dinner is included after your arrival in Ecuador's capital.
Cultural Connections: On Day 9, delve into the culture of the mountain valleys outside Quito, beginning with a visit to a historic rose plantation to see how one of Ecuador's most important exports is cultivated. Afterward, try the hearty cuisine of the Otavalo region at a restaurant that practices indigenous cooking methods. Then, depart for the Otavalo market, one of the most famous markets in South America. Stroll among a dazzling array of vendors as local people shop and haggle for textiles, foodstuffs, pottery, and more. Try out your own bargaining skills, too!
On Day 10, enjoy a guided tour of Quito, including the historic town center, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the largest intact Spanish Colonial city centers. After an included lunch, visit La Mitad del Mundo — Middle of the World — monument, marking the exact spot where the Equator passes through.
Included Meals:3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner
Cruising the Galapagos Islands
This morning, fly to the Galapagos Islands, the Pacific archipelago that inspired Charles Darwin during his 1835 visit. Upon landing, transfer to the m/v Galapagos Legend, a ship designed for a Galapagos cruise. Over the next four days, visit six islands and make naturalist-led guided shore excursions.
This Galapagos vacation itinerary is determined by the Galapagos National Park and is therefore subject to change. Eight landings are included during the 4-day cruise. Your final itinerary will be mailed to you when you receive your final documents. Possible stops include:
San Cristobal: Visit the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Cultural Connection: Onboard discussion on flora and fauna.
Gardner Bay / Suarez Point, Española: Land on a white coral sandy beach where you can spot a diverse collection of wildlife. Then, explore the island of Española and its geological curiosities and riveting wildlife. Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring El Soplador, a seaside blowhole that shoots water at upward of 75 ft. in the air! Cultural Connection: Onboard discussion on star observations.
Floreana: Explore Floreana's "Post Office." The bay is so-named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel that served as a post office for sailors passing through, who would take the letters with them to their destinations. Also, discover Cormorant Point, featuring an olive-green beach, black mangrove beds, and a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. Our explorations lead to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of eastern Pacific green sea turtles. Cultural Connection: Enjoy a barbecue dinner tonight.
Santa Cruz: Visit a private farm where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat during your Galapagos vacation. Walk inside lava tubes, and visit pit craters that were created by the collapse of surface materials into the fissures of chambers below. Then, stop at Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. You can also see giant tortoises here and many land birds.
Bartolome Island: View fantastic volcanic formations and look for Galapagos penguins, pencil sea urchins, and parrot fish.
Isabela & Fernandina Islands: After wading ashore at Urbina Bay (Isabela), explore the fossil beach and coral area. Look for giant tortoises, land iguanas, and flightless cormorants. In Espinosa (Fernandina), you’ll make a wet (wading) landing to see the Galapagos' largest colony of marine iguanas, as well as Sally Lightfoot crabs. Also look for hawks, sea lions, brachycereus cactus, and unusual lava formations.
La Rabida & Santiago Islands: Land at a beach of red volcanic sand frequented by sea lions. Enjoy a boat ride over reefs, with the opportunity for snorkeling. On Santiago Island, visit the dark sands at Puerto Egas. Observe hunting herons, oyster catchers, and more.
Included Meals:4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Disembark ship / Quito / Overnight flight / Miami, Florida
Circumnavigate the islet of Daphne, where you can see Darwin's finches, blue-footed boobie, Nazca boobies, and others. Your Galapagos cruise then comes to an when you disembark ship and the conclusion of your Galapagos cruise vacation. Depart for your overnight flight to Miami.
Included Meals:Breakfast & Dinner
Miami / Return home
Arrive in Miami and depart for your flight to your home city.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If any major changes occur in advance of your departure, you will be notified in writing by Vantage. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.
Please Note: The Galapagos Islands portion of this itinerary is subject to change based on requirements of the National Park Authorities and the order of site visits can be different than as outlined above. This is to preserve the environment and limit any impact by tourists.
|Vantage||Tauck Tours||Vantage Advantage|
|Journey||Machu Pichu & the Galapagos: Lost Ciyt of the Inca, Living Wonder of Nature||Peru and the Galapagos Islands||Lowest price per day and the best itinerary to fully experience Machu Picchu & the Galapagos Islands! Save $496 per couple per day!|
|Trip Length||14 days||15 days|
|Cruise-Only Price||$5,299 or $378 per day||$9390 or $626 per day|
|Small Group travel||Yes! No more than 28 travelers per departure!||40 passengers on ship||All the benefits of Small Group Travel!|
|Ship Accommodations||4 night Galapagos Islands cruise aboard m/v Galapagos Legend, a 100 passenger expedition ship – with daily shore excursions (average 2 per day)||6 nights Galapagos cruise aboard Isabela II, a 40 passenger expedition ship- with daily shore excursions (average 2 per day)||The Galapagos Legend ship is steel-hull which provides better stability, and comfort in this region compared to other ships like Isabela II|
|Extend Your Value||Popular extension to Iquitos - Peru's Amazon Jungle - from only $220 per day!||No extensions||Best value and extension option!|
|Sightseeing||28 sightseeing tours & Cultural Connections - a $4,030 value per couple! Including 8 Galapagos shore excursions with experienced Naturalists||Daily tours and shore excursions in the Galapagos||Most sightseeing plus exciting Cultural Connections planned to enhance your experience of nature and the Incan culture!|
|Single Supplement||Single Supplements from only $1799! Plus Free Guaranteed Share on select dates and Roommate matching on all dates!||$3,700||Single friendly pricing -Save up to $1901! Plus, FREE Single Supplement on the Iquitos extension - a value of $129!|
|South America Office||South America Office Yes – Vantage has office its own office in Buenos Aires||NO||Our Buenos Aires office buys direct & oversees its operations|
|Preferred Traveler Rewards||5% Vantage Travel Reward — of up to $720 per couple! To use towards your next Vantage journey.||$100 per person||BEST REWARDS PROGRAM IN TRAVEL! Save up to $520 per couple!|
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