Peru and Galapagos adventure holiday

“A burgeoning piñata of priceless adventures, hiking the Inca Trail one day, snorkelling in a volcanic crater the next. Sleeping in a tent one night, a yacht the next. Go on. Smash it.”

Highlights

Cusco | Inca Trail | Sacred Valley |Machu Picchu | Quito | 8 day Galapagos cruise on yacht | Isabela Island | Santa Cruz | Turtle Bay | North Plaza | Devil’s Crown snorkel

Description of Peru and Galapagos adventure holiday

hike to mountainous temple ruins - Machu Picchu in the afternoon light - snorkel with sea lions - tales of conquest and human sacrifice - relax on deck as you cruise the islands - hike over fossilised lava flow


Combine two once-in-a-lifetime experiences at a balanced pace. Walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu over 4 days, avoiding the crowds, and get the most from colonial Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu with your local guide.

Then spend 8 days on a comfortable yacht cruise around the unique Galapagos Islands, maximising your wildlife experience with walks, snorkelling and kayaking. The Inca Trail involves high altitudes but the walking pace is very relaxed with rest stops and is fully portaged.

Note on Inca Trail permits: there is a strictly regulated system in place governing the number of permits available to trekkers and staff on the Inca Trail. This system means that the Inca Trail is usually fully booked for approximately 3 months after the date of enquiry. We therefore encourage clients to book early to secure their places on the Trail.

Although usually a tailor made holiday, we also operate small group departures from time to time - please contact us for available dates.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be booked to depart at a time to suit your requirements from Mar to Nov
Our top tip:
As with all holidays that include the Inca Trail, book early, as permits go like hot cakes. And bring plenty of cash for tips.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Moderate, but tailor made to account for individual needs.
Accomm:
Mixture of tents, yacht and hotel.
Included:
Internal flights, accommodation, Inca Trail permits, camping equipment, porters and entrance fees, most meals, guides.
Solos:
Tricky, as prices depend on a group of min. 4 people for Inca Trail.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Peru and Galapagos adventure holiday

Environment

We take longer to walk the Inca Trail, keeping you away from the overcrowded and environmentally depleted campsites. Instead you stay at peaceful campsites where numbers are very low and therefore environmental impact minimal. We are scrupulous about carrying everything out with us.

We work with a selection of boats in the Galapagos, carefully chosen for their sustainable credentials. In all cases we pay for you to become a benefactor of the Galapagos Conservation Trust for a full year. The GCT issues guidelines as to the sorts of tourist visits that have least impact on the sites - those guidelines are that small boats, owned and operated locally, are the best bet for the preservation of the Galapagos.

Most of our boats are SmartVoyager certified. Boats are only able to gain this accreditation by meeting a set of strict conservation standards for protecting the environment & wildlife. In general, the boat owners and most of the crew on our boats come from the islands, which makes the enterprise sustainable.

Community

We only run our own dedicated Inca Trail departures exclusively in conjunction with a small family business in Cusco. We have our own team of local guides and porters in place in Peru. We can be sure that we are only working with the best and most experienced guides. It also means that we work with a single community to provide portage services thus ensuring a stable and reliable source of income for local families.

Our porters come from the community of Chacllanca, about 45km from Cusco. Generally they are subsistence farmers who supplement their earnings by working on the Inca Trail. Our two head chefs, Virgilio and Herlin are in charge of getting the teams together and are therefore the bosses. Your team of porters is usually therefore made up of friends, family and neighbours who respect one another and work well together. Needless to say, we adhere strictly to the Porter Protection Policies in place on the Inca Trail.

Reviews of Peru and Galapagos adventure holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 29 May 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The bus ride to Machu Picchu.....hair-raising but not to be missed.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Try to prepare for the difference in altitude, especially if staying in Cusco.
All hotels provide coca leaf or tea which is very helpful, or purchase coca sweets.
A light diet is essential.....and don't drink too many "pisco sours"..... Alcohol at altitude will ruin your holiday !

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I think the local people benefit in many ways from visitors to their countries, apart from economically they form friendships .
I am not sure that the environment of the Galapagos Islands is being sufficiently protected, the resident population should be encouraged to learn more about conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was the culmination of lifetime dream.......top of my 'bucket list'.....
Definitely NOT to be missed......Fabulous !!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Sandra,

Many thanks for taking the time to write your review of your recent holiday to Peru and Galapagos. To hear you had such a great time on your top bucket list trip is absolutely wonderful.

I'm very glad that our efforts in working closely with local people were apparent to you. Forming a connection with the people who live in the destinations we work with is something we hold as fundamental to all of our trips, we believe travellers should come away with a clear sense of each destination, more than anything that means getting to know the locals.

Regarding your point on the protection of the Galapagos, while I'd absolutely agree much more is needed, there is a good deal of work being done to encourage their conservation locally. Much of this is in fact funded by visitors to the islands, for example with the national park tax, (although it's true that this is not always in a very visible way)!

Thanks also for sharing those tips for other travellers, hopefully many others in our holiday information proved just as useful.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to post your review, and I hope we can tempt you to another trip of a lifetime soon!

All the best,

David

Reviewed on 30 Apr 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Standing at the sun gate looking down upon MP exhausted but elated after completing the Inca Trail hike

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The Inca Trail hike is not a walk in the park! Whilst there is not much pre-work that can be done to overcome the altitude issue, plenty of walking with poles beforehand will be very helpful


3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes definitely. Wherever possible our guides made sure any benefits went back to the local community.


4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very well structured between 3 South American countries and 3 very different
experiences. Apart from flight delays which were out of anyone's control, the whole holiday went extremely smoothly

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Bruce & Kerry,

Many thanks for taking the time to post a review on the RT site, we're delighted to hear you had such a great trip.

I'm so pleased that it was apparent that the holiday benefited local people, this is something we work hard to make sure is the case with all our holidays. Having put this trip together myself though, I'm conscious that it was a journey with particularly close ties to local communities, both in terms of the Inca Trail and on your land-based Galapagos experience.

It sounds like you found the Inca Trail about the right mix of effort and reward. Hopefully our different way of pacing the trail helped make that difference with acclimatising to the altitude. Lovely also to hear that your arrival at the Sun Gate was the highlight - having hiked there 4 times myself, I couldn't agree more that it's a magical moment.

We look forward to having you travel to one of our other destinations soon, I understand that you might be looking to explore some of Spain…

All the very best,

David

Reviewed on 28 Jun 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It is hard to pick out any particular part that was any more memorable than any
other, given that there was an almost endless supply of sights and experiences
that were breathtaking. It was incredible to be surrounded for eight days by a
pure and unique eco system seeing all birds/creatures that have adapted to their
surroundings.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The boat was quite bumpy when going between islands which tended to be at night, so sleeping can be awkward, maybe wear ear plugs (engine can be noisy). But to travel to so many islands this needs to be done. Would recommend to take collins galapagos book to help identify birds etc.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I felt that all crew and guide on our boat were very environmentally conscious
and made us aware of any action we could take to reduce impact. I feel that our
holiday did benefit local people ie crew/guide.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was truly the holiday of a lifetime with unique experiences that i will
treasure. That was helped by a very well organised crew and an inspirational
guide who was in love with his islands.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Debbie,

Thank you for taking the time to review your holiday on the Responsible Travel site. We're absolutely delighted to hear you had such a wonderful time in Galapagos, it sounds like you really appreciated it for the unique place it is. We always want our clients to come back from holiday feeling refreshed and reinvigorated - but 'reborn' is truly a testament to a great trip!

Thanks again for the review, and for choosing to travel with us.

All the best,

David

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The utter fearlessness of all the animals -birds, mammals and amphibians in the Galapagos -nothing had prepared us for this. There is nothing like standing eyeball to eyeball with a fluffy white Booby chick and it doesn't try to run -or fly-away. All other wildlife viewing will be ruined forever after that!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


We also went to Machu Picchu and walked the Salkantay trail prior - we recommend that you ensure a full day at Machu Picchu and/or the local town of Aqua Calientes at the end of the trek in order to have an opportunity to visit the local museum and see the spectacled bears and vist the Sacred Valley and maybe even take in a bit of a shopping -we never had time to do any of thse things with only half a day to visit Machu Piccu and then the train journey back to Cusco.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutley -some barely spoke english, and those we communicated with were clearly from the local area. One of our most memorable and sublime meals was on a hillside looking across the steep valley to Machu Picchu. We ate at the table of a local farmer who had no electricity and no running water. We were served an entre of avocado with some vegetables, a main of trout caught in the river in the valley below with potatoes. And for desert a perfectly ripe banana grown near by. We hear a lot about 'food miles' and using local produce in trendy restaurant guides -but these local people live the dream and have been doing so since time immemorial -it is time we all looked at our priorities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic -it was everything we expected. Sometimes reality does not meet expectations but not so this time and we are both fairly well travelled. Everything went like clock work -we were met by guides at the airport and it was refreshing to stay in stylish, locally run and owned small hotels and not the big hotel chains. However -the clincher for us and what separates the men from the boys in any business is what happens when something goes wrong.

Due to a volcanic eruption in Chile a lot of flights to Buenos Aires were cancelled and it appeared I would not make my connection back to Australia. It was difficult to try and rebook flights over the phone with recorded messages in Spanish! However the tour operator of this holiday stepped in and organised new flights and the connection was made after all.

Reviewed on 14 May 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate after a gruelling 4-day trek and the tameness of the animals in the Galapagos.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you are fit for the trek - it is hard going; good shoes are essential. Antibiotics for food poisoning!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Hopefully, the guides were very aware of the impact on the environment and using local people as guides and porters helped the community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A wonderful holiday, slightly marred by camera bag being stolen, food poisoning on the trek and damaged knee ligaments. However, organisation was great and guides superb.

Read the operator's response here:

Probably worth commenting on a couple of points raised here. Firstly, we are trying to help the client establish what happened to her bag but at the moment it appears that it was left in the hotel in Quito. I'm concerned that the client's comment rather paints a picture of a bag being snatched which was definitively not the case.

Secondly, with regards food poisoning. I should say that we take this very seriously and have our guides watching the situation on the ground very carefully. However, whilst Mrs France travelled as part of a larger group, as far as we are aware, the other clients were unaffected. This rather indicates a cause of stomach upset other than food. We are proud of our food hygiene record on the Inca Trail, our chefs (Hernando and Virgilio) are scrupulous in their hygiene. It is very rare that our clients experience problems as a result of food given to them on the Inca Trail.

Leading on from this point, it is my understanding that the most common forms of poisoning are caused by viruses. This being the case, antibiotics are likely to do more harm than good. Please, please do not follow that particular (perfectly well intentioned) tip!

Reviewed on 17 Dec 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Galapagos Islands really are as good as expected - amazing wildlife - almost too easy to get great photos as the wildlife is so obliging but I am not complaining!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


1. Try not to fly with Iberia - I am not normally someone who cares who I fly with, but this airline seems in its own league when it comes to poor customer service / no information on late flights / outdated aircraft on long haul flights etc. I will go out of my way not to use this airline again. 2. Try to avoid Madrid airport - it is an architectural triumph but hopeless in most other respects.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Galapagos = 5 stars beyond doubt. Inca Trail = 4 stars, am being harsh as was a little cloudy (went in November) and a little more arduous than I expected. 4 stars overall, because the getting to and from London Heathrow to South America was not as passenger friendly as it could have been.

Reviewed on 22 Jan 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Coming through the sungate after a tough hike and seeing Macchu Picchu below.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Check everything that is organised for you and make sure you know exactly what to expect.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


No.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Memorable.

Read the operator's response here:

In the Galapagos we use boats that are owned by families local to the islands meaning that more of the benefit from your visit stays in the Islands - from staffing to provisioning to income. All of our clients visiting the islands are made benefactor members of the Galapagos Conservation Trust for a year. In Peru we work directly with our team of guides and porters ensuring fair treatment and consistency of work for our staff. Your visit also benefits the Dental Project Peru which works with high Andean communities around Cusco.

Reviewed on 16 Aug 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The whole Galapagos Island trip

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take very warm clothes for the night-time during the Inca trail. Make sure you have plenty of space on a camera memory card.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I felt that both guides/operators were extremely aware of the environment, and actually noticed that they were far more aware and active than other guides. In terms of benefiting local people, not specifically although I was very impressed that all guides were local.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10 out of 10!

Reviewed on 08 Aug 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Difficult to choose between the first sight of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate (incredible) and swimming with sea-lions in the Galapagos (amazing) as the most memorable part of the holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


(a) The Inca Trail is quite physically demanding. It's worth spending some time getting in shape before you go.
(b) Pack your clothes in waterproof bags. Despite the porters efforts to keep everything dry, when it rained on the last day many of our clothes got wet in the duffle bags. Would have been a bit miserable if we had still been camping - as it was we were able to dry things out at the hotel.
(c) It can get quite rough at sea in the Galapagos. Several people, including myself, were sick one evening. Might have been able to get better medication on prescription if I had known, as the over-the-counter tablets made me drowsy. If you do feel sick, go to your cabin & lie down - it was much worse on deck. Don't let this put you off - was still a superb trip & the yacht & crew were first class.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Hope so - we were impressed at the way tourism is being controlled in the Galapagos to minimise impact on the wild life.

4. Any other comments?


Definitely ***** - the best holiday we've ever had!

Reviewed on 18 Nov 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Most memorable - getting to the sun gate at Machu Picchu after the one day hike.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Tips - You will live and travel in walking footwear so make sure you get some boots or walking trainers that will go anywhere (day and evening). Take a rain poncho rather than a waterproof jacket, the poncho is easier to get on and off and will keep your rucksack dry. Pack as light as you can - It makes moving from one place to the next easier.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes I think local people benifited from our visit - tourism is growing and is obviously helping the economy, I just hope it will not spoil the real Peru/Ecuador. On the negative side, the Inca sites are becoming very busy and this must be having an impact on the environment.

4. Any other comments?


**** - We had a fantastic time something we will never forget. This operator was superb - very helpful with the booking, the guides were excellent and the whole experience went without a hitch.

Reviewed on 20 May 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Standing at the Sun's Gate looking down on Machu Picchu for the first time was awesome! Sitting on a beach having a young sea lion coming up to me and rub his whiskers against my leg was touching. Being accompanied by local guides who were professional in, and dedicated to, their to culture and history was very interesting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Two things I would have done differently in retrospect: Spend one more day at Machu Picchu itself to have more time just wandering around feeling the atmosphere (because we spent some of our day there climbing the Wayna Picchu - a must, but time consuming). Spend at least one day on the Galapagos mainland after coming off the boat to "wind down". I was so full of impressions and emotions, that coming so abruptly back to Quito felt a little awkward. Having a day just to stroll around the little town or sitting by the sea would have done the trick. This trip isn't the cheapest you can buy, but it sure was value for my money!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Definitely so. We know from our guide in Peru that they even have established a small health program for the village of our crew. There are strict rules for minimizing the impact on the environment both on the Inca Trail and in the Galapagos, and we were carefully supervised. From what we saw both those rules, and the weight rules of the porters union (Inca Trail), were strictly observed. That can't be said for all the companies we met along the trip. I think it's important to preserve the environment both for the locals, and to make the trip a better one even for those who come after us (it's a long term investment in the local ability to maintain their tourism industry and generate jobs - I don't know of any better ways of aid than to contribute through trading directly with local people).

4. Any other comments?


In Galapagos they said "Take only photographs, leave only footprints". That should be the way to go.

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