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Peru and Galapagos for the Connoisseur

  • Sacred Valley
  • Machu Picchu
  • Cusco
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Guayaquil
  • Galapagos Islands
Peru and Galapagos for the Connoisseur Peru and Galapagos for the Connoisseur
£ 14978

Discerning travellers searching for rich culture, ancient history and unique wildlife will find this holiday encapsulating Peru and the Galapagos Islands a truly unforgettable experience.

From the relics of ancient civilisations - including Machu Picchu, the ‘lost city’ of the Incas - to the colonial splendours of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Peru offers you a wealth of historical and cultural attractions. You’ll visit traditional mountain villages, explore local handicraft markets and discover the world’s highest navigable lake.

From Peru, you’ll fly to Ecuador to board your seven-night Galapagos adventure aboard the ORIGIN or THEORY (two almost identical sister-vessels, and part of the Relais & Chateaux group). Each day of your cruise brings another island to explore and incredible encounters with tortoises, iguanas and inquisitive birds. You’ll drop anchor to go snorkelling and swimming with penguins and sea lions, and discover the unique geological history of this mesmerising archipelago.

21 days from
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    Peru and Galapagos for the Connoisseur

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    Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1 Overnight flight from the UK to Peru

    Overnight flight from London to Cusco, via Bogotá. This is the most direct and quickest flight from the UK to Cusco.

    Day 2-5 Sacred Valley of the Incas
    Sacred Valley of the Incas

    In the morning of day two you will be met at Cusco airport and driven straight to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The journey takes roughly 1 ½ hours and the Sacred Valley is at a lower altitude than Cusco, so a sensible place to acclimatise when arriving in Peru.

    Your hotel for the next four nights is the award-winning Explora Valle Sagrado. A stunning hacienda-style hotel, overlooking corn fields and with beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. There is an outdoor heated pool, spa, excellent bar and restaurant and the rooms are tastefully decorated to showcase the textiles and crafts associated with this part of Peru.

    The real highlight when staying at Explora Valle Sagrado is their excellent and extensive list of excursions though. With over forty different activities to choose from and their own vehicles and guides, the next three days will be spent exploring the many wonders of the region.

    From the fascinating archaeological sites of Ollantaytambo, Moray, Chinchero and Pisac, to the towering peaks of La Verónica and Incañan. You’ll have time to observe traditional Andean weaving techniques, browse local handicraft markets, go biking along mountain trails and soak up the history of the Inca Empire from the relics they left behind.

    All activities at Explora are chosen at the hotel, with the help of the hotel’s own guides. Activities are in small groups (normally around eight per guide) but can be on a private basis for an additional cost, but this must be confirmed in advance.

    Stay: Four nights at Explora Valle Sagrado – full board (including activities in small groups)

    Day 6 Machu Picchu
    Machu Picchu

    Today you board the luxurious Hiram Bingham on a memorable train journey from the Sacred Valley to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. You’ll pass an ever-changing landscape of lush fields, picturesque villages, dramatic mountains and the scenic Urubamba River, whilst onboard guides will explain points of interest en route. Enjoy a delicious three-course brunch on board before arriving in the town of Aguas Calientes.

    From there you will hop on a bus to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of this world wonder. You’ll have time to explore the wondrous terraces, temples, palaces and fountains, all beautifully preserved and surrounded on all sides by deep green forest. After the tour, you’ll take the train back to Cusco and be transferred to your exclusive hotel just behind the city’s main square.

    Stay: Three nights at the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas – bed & breakfast

    Day 7-8 Cusco

    Whilst in Cusco you will be taken on a guided tour of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage site home to attractions like the colonial Santo Domingo Convent, Plaza de Armas and Koricancha temple. You’ll also venture beyond the city to discover the temple and amphitheatre of Kenko, the red fortress of Puca Pucara and the magnificent fortress-temple complex of Sacsayhuaman.

    You can continue to explore the city alone or relax at your hotel, which has a stunning outdoor heated swimming pool and beautiful spa. 

    Day 9-11 Lake Titicaca
    Lake Titicaca

    On day nine you will take another train ride, this time from Cusco to Puno. The journey, though long, is rich in natural beauty and will take you from rolling Andean plains – dotted with grazing alpacas – to towering Andean mountains and deep valleys. You’ll be met at Puno station and be transferred to your hotel on the shores of stunning Lake Titicaca.

    Note: The Titicaca train between Cusco and Lake Titicaca takes around ten hours and only operates on certain days of the week.

    Straddling Peru’s border with Bolivia, the lake spans some 8,500 square kilometres and ranks as the world’s highest navigable lake. Its shores are populated by the Aymara and Quechua Indians who are some of the oldest peoples in the country. During your stay, you’ll be able to explore the area on trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding and bird watching excursions. As well as enjoying trips to archaeological sites, colonial churches and the lake’s made-made floating islands which are home to the Uro people.

    Stay: Three nights at Titilaka – full board (including activities in small groups)

    Day 12 Guayaquil

    After a final breakfast on the shores of Lake Titicaca, you will be driven to Juliaca airport for your flight to Guayaquil in Ecuador, connecting in Lima en route. 

    Prior to flying to the Galapagos a minimum of one night is required in Ecuador and you will spend it in the port city of Guayaquil, staying at a charming boutique hotel in the elegant neighbourhood of Samborondón.

    Note: Flights to the Galapagos depart from Guayaquil and Quito. We have suggested Guayaquil as it is a shorter flight to the Galapagos and it is at sea-level, unlike Quito. It’s also a shorter journey from the airport to the hotel.

    You’ll be ideally positioned for exploring sights like the Sánchez Aguilar Theatre, as well as enjoying coffee roasting, chocolate tasting and wildlife walks in the tropical grounds of Guayaquil Historical Park.

    Stay: One night at Hotel del Parque – bed & breakfast

    Day 13-19 Galapagos Islands
    Galapagos Islands

    On day thirteen you will fly to the Galapagos Islands, where you will board your exclusive yacht for a seven-night expedition cruise of the archipelago. Throughout the journey, you will enjoy daily panga, snorkelling, kayaking and island excursions alongside experienced naturalists guides, who will give you a fascinating insight into the islands wildlife, history and geology.

    ORIGIN and THEORY are two almost identical sister ships, both with capacity for up to twenty guests and are currently the only two ships in the Galapagos to be part of the Relais & Chateaux group. They’re also two of only a handful of boats which have an additional naturalist guide on board, which means group sizes for activities is never more than ten per guide (normally it is is sixteen per guide in the Galapagos).

    Note: ORIGIN & THEORY operate weekly seven night cruises from San Cristobal Island, departing on a Sunday.

    Over the next week you will explore the unique landscapes and wildlife of the islands. See blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds, colonies of sea lions and giant tortoises and snorkel with turtles, inquisitive fur seals and possibly even hammerhead sharks and whales. Explore beautiful sandy beaches, lava-tunnels and giant craters, each day returning to the boat for delicious food and drinks.   

    Stay: Seven nights onboard ORIGIN or THEORY – full board (including activities in small groups)

    Day 20-21 Overnight flight from Ecuador back to the UK

    On the final morning, you’ll stop by the Interpretation Centre before disembarking and catching a flight back to the mainland, where you will connect onto your overnight international flight back to the UK.


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    • We have travelled with TUTC six times, the most recent was to New Zealand last year. The trip was very well organised as usual, with excellent accommodation and a wide variety of experiences. We had booked to go to Australia with them this year but due to Covid this was cancelled, Ultimate handled the situation very professionally and promptly refunded the whole of our deposit without any quibble.

      DN, August 2020