X

Looking for expert help?
Call us on:

Request a call back:

Our team is available during the following times to call you:
9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday | 10am-1pm Saturday
Galapagos Holidays & Tours

Galapagos Central Islands & Inca Discovery Tour

From €3519pp
Depart From
Quito, Ecuador
Departure Date
Multiple departure dates throughout the year
Duration
14 Days
Destination
Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru
Price
From €3519pp
Enquire Now

From the unique wildlife of the Galápagos to the towering peaks of Peru, discover two of South America's iconic highlights in one comprehensive adventure– explore the Galápagos aboard the Xavier III before flying into the Andean highlands.

As one of the larger tour operators in the Galápagos, our exclusively operated fleet of yachts offers great value and in Peru we run our own treks, ensuring the fair treatment of our porters and the quality of food and equipment as you follow the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Experience the intense variety and striking beauty of two of South America's most dramatic regions.

Please note this tour does not include flights from Ireland. We'll find the best value air fares based on you chosen departure dates.

Is this tour for me?

  • Travel Style: Classic

All of the highlights, culture, access, and I-can’t-believe-we-did-that moments, all at a great price.

  • Service Level: Standard

Comfortable tourist-class accommodations with character; mix of public and private transport.

  • Physical Rating: 4 - Demanding

Some high-altitude hikes or more strenuous activities, but accessible to most healthy travellers.

  • Trip Type: Small Group

Small group experience; Max 16, Avg 12

  • Age requirement: 12+

All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Day 1: Quito

Arrive at any time.

A tour operator representative will greet everyone at the hotel and brief the group on the various aspects of the tour.

If you are not able to attend the welcome meeting, a representative will leave all important information at the hotel’s reception indicating what time to be ready on day 2 of the trip. If there is any confusion on arrival, please do not hesitate to call the contact number listed in this dossier.

We recommend booking pre-nights in Quito for time to take advantage of the optional activities listed below.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting (1h)

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

Accommodation: Hotel Hilton Colon (or similar)

Day 2: Quito/ Puerto Ayora

Transfer early to the airport for the flight to the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival meet the Naturalist Guide, who will assist with the transfer to the Xavier, located in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Visit the Santa Cruz highlands and get up close and personal with giant tortoises.

Flights from Quito to Baltra depart between 6:40am and 9:40am depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into the Galápagos between 9:30am and 12:30pm with a short refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will generally arrive at the boat in time for lunch before the afternoon activity.

The National Park charges a visitor fee of USD100, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galápagos as well as ecological study, conservation, and infrastructure development in Ecuador's other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.

Highlands Giant Tortoises Visit, Santa Cruz Island

Head to Santa Cruz’s verdant highlands and the El Chato Reserve, a perfect place to see giant tortoises in their natural environment. Explore the reserve’s lagoon and lava tunnels, keeping an eye out for owls that often roost in the tunnels’ entrances.

Cruise Ship: Xavier III, Puerto Ayora – Chinese Hat

When it comes to our stellar fleet of Galápagos vessels, the Xavier is made for both great value and great service. The luxury of local and international cuisine, daily excursions to explore the islands, and picturesque views of the Galápagos from the outdoor deck. The ship travels at night so you will wake up in a new destination, ready to explore.

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 3: Chinese Hat/ Black Turtle Cove

Visit Chinese Hat for snorkelling opportunities and to observe the birds and sea lions before taking an excursion to Black Turtle Cove to see the marine life.

Spot Galápagos penguins and explore marine life that is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony at Chinese Hat as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen on the guided walk. Hike among the volcanic scenery, with good views to the cone of the island's volcano.

In the afternoon, take an excursion by "panga" to Black Turtle Cove to witness the extensive mangrove system and interesting waterway canals. Sea turtles and different species of rays can often be seen in this cove, offering a peaceful and fascinating glimpse into the diversity of the area.

Chinese Hat Visit (1h-2h)

Explore Chinese Hat’s beautiful landscape and spectacular white-coral sand beach followed by snorkelling with sea lions and penguins and swimming opportunities in the cove.

Snorkelling, Chinese Hat (45m-1h)

Snorkel right from the white-coral sand beach and come face to face with playful sea lions and large schools of tropical fish. Keep an eye out for marine iguanas and penguins too!

Black Turtle Cove Excursion, Black Turtle Cove

Explore the mangroves by panga to find rich marine wildlife between the fresh and salt waters. Keep any eye out for manta rays and sea turtles in this tranquil ecosystem. Whitetip reef sharks can also be seen gliding by.

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 4: Cerro Dragón/ Islas Daphne

Visit Cerro Dragón on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island to see land iguanas and a salt water lagoon frequented by flamingos and other species of birds. Continue to Daphne Island in the afternoon to spot birds and wildlife.

Cerro Dragón Visit (1h-3h)

Visit Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) for some prime birdwatching. Take a short walk from the beach to a hypersalinic (saltier than the ocean) lagoon frequented by pink flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks, and other species of birds. Pass through a Scalesia tree forest; endemic to the area, there are only 400 specimens of Scalesia trees left in the world.

Daphne Island Visit

Travel to Daphne, a tiny conical island, home to nesting blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, Darwin's finches, and a variety of marine life. Observe from the boat as this island is dedicated to scientific research. This island was where Dr. Peter Grant conducted a long-term study of Darwin's finches.

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 5: Islas Plaza/ Santa Fé Island

Land at South Plaza in the morning for wildlife spotting opportunities. Afternoon visit to Santa Fé Island for guided walks to observe the wildlife and plentiful marine iguanas. Opportunities for swimming and snorkelling with the sea lions.

South Plaza Island Visit

Visit South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible birdlife. Spot red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters.

Santa Fe Island Visit

Visit Santa Fé for amazing wildlife watching opportunities. Hike towards the cliffs along the island's northern shore to view the forest of giant prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), which is home to endemic land iguanas. It is also one of the best locations to see sea turtles, sea lions, and maybe even get a glimpse of a whitetip reef shark from the panga.

Optional Activity: Snorkelling (Santa Fé)

Enjoy some amazing snorkelling right off the beach in Santa Fé. Swim with playful sea lions, and search for sea turtles, rays, and reef sharks while getting great views of large schools of brightly coloured tropical fish.

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6: San Cristóbal Island/ Quito

Visit the Interpretation Centre on San Cristóbal Island before flying back to Quito.

Transfer to the group hotel upon arrival, and enjoy one last night on the town.

Flights from San Cristóbal to Quito depart between 11:30am and 1:30pm depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into Quito between 4:00pm and 5:40pm with a refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will arrive back at the hotel in the early evening in time for dinner.

Interpretation Center Visit (1h-2h)

Learn about the history of the Galápagos Islands from the very beginning of their volcanic origins through to today’s conservation efforts. Tour the Human History exhibit to learn about the islands’ discovery and colonization, and discover the natural history and variety of flora and fauna that make the Galápagos so fascinating.

Accommodation: Hotel Hilton Colon (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7: Quito/Lima

Fly to Lima and enjoy the coastal city and wander through the neighbourhood of Miraflores.

Your transfer to the airport and your flight to Lima are included in this trip. Please note that this flight is unescorted and your transfer will be waiting for you at the Lima airport and will bring you to your hotel.

Meet and Greet Hotel Welcome Meeting

On Day 1 of the tour, a tour representative will meet you at the hotel to go over the details of the tour, providing a schedule, documentation/vouchers, and pick-up times for all included activities. The representative can also answer any questions about the tour or the general area.

Accommodation: La Castellana Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8: Lima/ Cusco

Hop on a flight to Cusco. Enjoy a free day of shopping and exploring the city. Opt for a city tour.

Take a transfer to the airport for the flight to Cusco. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring this fascinating city, and getting used to the altitude.

Free Time In Cusco (Full Day)

There's plenty to see and do in Cusco, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like visiting Museo Inka, Museo de Historia Regional, and whitewater rafting. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

Accommodation: Hotel Prisma (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9: Cusco/ Ollantaytambo

Enjoy a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley. Stop at the G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op before visiting a local pottery making community.

Break for lunch at the G Adventures-supported Parwa community restaurant in Huchuy Qosco. After lunch, opt to head out on a hike to the Ollantaytambo storehouses and look out over the ruins. Or, wander around the cobblestone streets and visit a local Chicheria (corn beer bar).

G Adventures for Good: Ccaccaccollo Community and Women's Weaving Co-op visit

Visit the Ccaccaccollo community centre which G Adventures travellers' donations helped create in 2005, thereby enabling local women to sell traditional textiles to travellers. See local weaving and dyeing techniques used to create garments and souvenirs, and learn how the Planeterra weaving co-operative has impacted the community and those who visit it.

This includes the purchase of alpacas to provide a steady supply of wool, looms, and sewing machines as well as several training courses on production, sales and small business management. 

Cuyo Chico Pottery Making Demonstration, Pisac

In the rural village of Cuyo Chico in the Sacred Valley, a group of families joined together to create a small business based on their traditional adobe ceramic crafts. Using clay from their surroundings, they mold bowls, plates, and all manner of decorations.

Learn about the ceramics process as well as the traditional adobe brick-making that forms the basis of houses throughout the valley, all while taking in a spectacular view of the Pisac Ruins. After the demonstration, peruse the items for sale directly from the artisans in their shop.

G Adventures for Good: Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley

Contribute to sustainable tourism in Huchuy Qosqo, a small village of 65 families in the Sacred Valley, by eating at the Parwa Community Restaurant. Learn how the resident-run restaurant was kickstarted by G Adventures and the Multilateral Investment Fund, to become a successful farm-to-table program that boosts the local economy and several spin-off microenterprises.

Accommodation: Hotel Inka Paradise (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch

Day 10: Inca Trail

Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where the Inca Trail begins. Ease into things with a straight forward day of hiking, the meandering streams, stunning Andean scenery, and ancient Incan ruins will give you plenty to look at.

Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.

A crew of local porters, cooks, and guides will take care of all the details for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear so you’ll only need to carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc.

Inca Trail Hike (5h-6h)

Get your blood pumping on this first day of hiking the Inca trail. The trekking is fairly easy and serves as good training for the next few days. Pass rambling rivers and a small village, and enjoy scenic mountain views; it’s just a taste of what’s to come.

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 11: Inca Trail

Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman’s Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax.

Inca Trail Hike (6h-7h)

Trek over progressively spectacular and steeper terrain on your way to Warmiwañusca (aka Dead Woman’s Pass), the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769ft). Be prepared to face strong Andean weather (blazing sun or cold winds) around the pass.

Take the hike slow, and drink lots of water along the way – amazing views are waiting as a reward. Enjoy some ample time to rest and relax after reaching the camp; most campers arrive around early afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 12: Inca Trail

Cross two more passes and ruins along the way. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley.

At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft).

Inca Trail Hike (9h)

Cross two passes and more ruins along the Inca Trail on the last full day of hiking. Traverse Runquraway at 3,950m (13,113 ft), and then reach the second pass at 3,700m (12,136 ft). Spot the gorgeous Cordillera Vilcabamba and the Urubamba Valley in the distance on a clear day. Camp at either the Phuyupatamarca ruins or the Wiñay Wayna ruins.

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 13: Machu Picchu/ Cusco

The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore until noon as permitted by the tourist ticket. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows.

Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon.

Inca Trail Hike (1h30m)

Wake around 03:30 to reach the Sun Gate as early as possible. Head to the checkpoint and join the lineup to wait for the gate to open. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu (fingers crossed for a clear day). Hike down to Machu Picchu (about 45 mins) for a 1.5 hr guided tour of the site, and free time to explore. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge (a 15-min walk one way) for no additional charge, if time allows.

Catch the bus outside the Machu Picchu gate after your visit for a 25-min downhill ride to Aguas Calientes. Eat and relax before the train ride back to Cusco this evening.

Machu Picchu Guided Tour (1h30m-2h)

Rise and shine – the best time to see the Lost City of the Incas is in the early morning light. Follow the local guide to Machu Picchu to learn about its history at a leisurely pace. Gain local insight into the Inti Mach’ay cave, Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Water, the Temple of the Condor, and the Room of the Three Windows. Take time to sit and feel the energy of this 15th-century site, now both a UNESCO World Heritage site and voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World (in a worldwide internet poll).

Optional Activity: Inca Bridge Visit, Machu Picchu

Use any leftover energy from your Machu Picchu hike to visit the Inca Bridge site nearby (thought by some to be a secret back entrance to Machu Picchu). Trek up to the bridge that's cleaving to a 579m (1,900 ft) cliff, and soak in amazing views of cloud forest along the way.

Accommodation: Hotel Prisma (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 14: Cusco

Depart at any time.

Optional activity: Cusco City Tour (45PEN per person)

Enjoy a half-day tour of Cusco's main sights. Walk around the Plaza de Armas (main square) and explore this city steeped in one of the world's most alluring and ancient cultures. Visit Qenqo, Koricancha, the Cathedral, Puca Pucara, Tambomachay, and the archaeological site of Sacsaywaman.

Meals included: Breakfast

Price is per adult sharing and includes:

  • Accommodation:
    • Hotels (6 nights)
    • Aboard the Xavier in twin-share cabins (4 nights)
    • Camping (3 nights)
  • Meals:
    • 13 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners 
    • Allow USD185-240 for meals not included
    • Drinks and tips on board Xavier not included
  • Transportation:
    • Plane (internal flights)
    • Motorized yacht (Xavier)
    • Van
    • Train
    • Hiking
    • Public bus
    • Panga (fishing boat)
  • Staff & experts:
    • CEO/ Naturalist Guide while in the Galápagos Islands (certified by the Galápagos National Park Authority)
    • Local G Adventures Rep in Lima, Cusco and Quito
    • Specialist Inca Trail CEO on hike
  • Activities and excursions:
    • G Adventures for Good: Ccaccaccollo Community and Women's Weaving Co-op visit, Ccaccaccollo
    • G Adventures for Good: Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley, Lamay
    • Cruise the Galápagos Islands aboard the Xavier (4 nights)
    • Incredible wildlife encounters
    • Daily opportunities for swimming and snorkelling
    • Flights to and from the Galápagos Islands from Quito
    • Snorkelling equipment and wetsuits aboard Galápagos yacht
    • Sacred Valley guided tour
    • Pottery making demonstration
    • Inca Trail hike with local guide, cook, and porters (4 days)
    • Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Please ask us about adding great value:

  • Flights from Ireland- we'll find the best value fares for your chosen departure date
  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply. 

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

Enquire about this holiday

Fill out the form below and one of our travel experts will be in touch with more information and to help you book.

Your time is precious, make an appointment with our expert consultants on your....
Questions? Live Chat

0000

Join Our Mailing List

Dreaming of a holiday? Sign up to our mailing list to receive our weekly special offers

We are moving home after 20 years!

Yes, we are excited to let you know that Sayit Travel is being incorporated in to its parent company Shandon Travel. Nothing has changed! We're still your one stop shop for all your travel needs.

Find Out More Ok, got it!
We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. Read More