Exploring the sprawling site of Machu Picchu and the fascinating Galapagos Islands are two extraordinary experiences worthy of any traveler’s bucket list.
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose just one to visit on your next vacation. With our all-inclusive Galapagos cruise packages, you can experience both the ancient ruins of Peru and the otherworldly landscapes and wildlife of the Galapagos on a single vacation.
Discover the incredible things to do and see on an unforgettable Galapagos and Machu Picchu cruise vacation.
Stand On The Equator
On a Galapagos and Machu Picchu tour, you’ll stop in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Visit the Inti Ñan Solar Museum, an interesting attraction dedicated to astronomical geography and the home of the “official” equatorial line.
See the solar chronometer in action, an instrument that dates back to 1865, which can tell the time, date, and season all via solar projections. Don’t forget to snap a picture with one foot on each side of the line that marks the middle of the world.
Meet The Animals Of Española Island
Get up close to the endemic species and curious creatures of Española Island, like the Española mockingbird, the Española lava lizard, and the waved albatross. Española Island is the only place in the world where you can witness the mating process of this rare bird, which is a stunning spectacle that involves bill circling, head bobbing, and exaggerated walking.
Visit A Sea Turtle Nesting Beach
Aside from serving as an early post office site for pirates and buccaneers, Floreana Island is also home to flamingos, stilts, white-cheeked pintail ducks, and sea turtles. Head to Cormorant Point and walk across one of its beaches, where you’re more than likely to spot a sea turtle nest.
Spot Whales Off A Volcanic Island
Isabela Island, the largest of the Galapagos islands, was formed one million years ago after six volcanoes joined together. This volcanic island is one of the best places to spot whales in the Galapagos, where over 16 species of whales have been seen. You’ll also be able to see penguins, pelicans, marine iguanas, and other unique animals of the region.
Snorkel Around An Ancient Volcano
At Isabela Island, dive in for some deep water snorkeling at Vicente Roca Point, an ancient volcanic rock, where you’ll see multiple endemic marine species including parrotfish, puffers, and Port Jackson sharks. Don’t worry—this is one species of sharks that won’t bite.
Hike Through A Palo Santo Forest
Santa Cruz Island, the Galapagos’ second-largest island, is a large, dormant volcano that hasn’t been active in more than a million years. Take a walk at one of the longest hiking trails in the Galapagos at Dragon Hill (named after the vast population of land iguanas that live there) and breathe in the fragrant air of the Palo Santo trees, cacti, and cotton plants that line the area.
Learn About Evolution At The Charles Darwin Research Station
Science enthusiasts and animal lovers can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. As the hub for the Charles Darwin Foundation, the station conducts research, promotes environmental education, and is home to a special breeding program for the endangered Galapagos tortoise.
Sample Lima’s Culinary Scene
On a Galapagos and Machu Picchu vacation, you’ll also discover Lima’s award-winning culinary scene during an all-encompassing tour of its food and flavors. Head to Surquillo Market, one of the best food markets in Lima, where you’ll be able to try local produce, fresh ingredients, and appetizers such as yellow chiles, fish ceviche, and tangy hot sauce.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of Lima’s gourmet restaurants, and later stroll through bohemian Barranco, one of the city’s chicest neighborhoods, where you’ll find hip coffee shops, beautiful museums, and eye-catching street art.
Try your hand at a mixology class, where you’ll learn how to master one of Peru’s famous pisco sour cocktails. Finish off your day with an overnight stay at the Westin, a chic, modern hotel with a wellness-focused spa and sleek indoor pool.
Walk On A Former Battleground
Near the city of Cusco, you’ll find the Sacred Valley, a peaceful area blanketed by hills and full of ancient Incan ruins and history.
Visit the ancestral town of Ollantaytambo and see the Ollantaytambo Ruins, which are some of the best preserved in Peru.
Climb the steep steps of the terraces and take in the stunning view from high above. Learn about the battle that took place in Ollantaytambo between Inca Manco and the Spanish conquistadores, which was one of the few that the Incas won against the Spaniards.
At the top of the terraces, you’ll also see an unfinished wall of six monoliths made from enormous stone blocks that were carried from a quarry across rivers and over hills.
Visit A Traditional Peruvian Ranch
Stop for lunch at Wayra Ranch, a spectacular ranch in the Sacred Valley, where organic ingredients and seasonal dishes are always on the menu. Taste local Andean dishes such as trout carpaccio and yellow ahi chili rice in an outdoor setting as you take in an entertaining Peruvian Paso horse riding show and Marinera dance performance.
Then rest and relax at Tambo del Inka, a luxury hotel in the Sacred Valley with breathtaking views of the Andes mountains and its own private train station that takes you straight to Machu Picchu.
Experience The Magic Of Machu Picchu
Once you step onto the hidden hills of Machu Picchu and witness the magical ruins of this architectural marvel that remained hidden from the outside world until 1911, you’ll understand why this ancient Incan citadel is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Built around 1450 A.D., Machu Picchu contains over 200 structures, including temples, astronomical towers, and agricultural terraces. Many details of Machu Picchu remain a mystery not to this day, including the site’s purpose and how the Incas managed to carry granite stones that weighed over 100 tons to the site without wheels or iron tools.
During your visit, stop at the Intihuatana Rock, a sacred stone that might have once been used as a sundial or an astronomical observatory by the Incas. The stone is said to have energetic charges and that if you reach your hand out, you might be able to channel its mystical energy flow.
Enjoy Lunch With A View
Feast on a lunch full of traditional Peruvian flavors at the Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel located in Machu Picchu. Their restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing you to enjoy spectacular views and spot exotic butterflies and birds as you dine.
Before heading back to Cusco on the Belmond Hiram Bingham train, a luxurious 1920s style carriage train named after the explorer who discovered Machu Picchu, you’ll also be treated with a cup of local coca leaf tea, which helps soothe the altitude sickness that can sometimes occur in the city, located over 11,000 feet above water.
Admire Ancient Religious Sites
Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest inhabited city in South America, is a treasure full of history and culture.
During your overnight visit, you’ll stay at the stunning Belmond Palacio Nazarenas hotel in the heart of Cusco. This restored 16th-century mansion has beautiful colonial architecture and interiors, and features the city’s first outdoor swimming pool.
Stop in several popular landmarks including Coricancha, which is also known as the Temple of the Sun. Coricancha was one of the Inca’s most sacred temples, and the remaining structure (most of it was destroyed after the Spanish conquered Cusco) is a sight to behold.
Located in the heart of the city’s colonial square is the Cusco Cathedral, another can’t-miss landmark. Built in the sixteenth century, this architectural marvel also houses an impressive collection of colonial paintings.
Book your unforgettable vacation to Galapagos and Machu Picchu by browsing itineraries on our website, or calling one of our vacation specialists at 1-888-751-9303.