Galapagos and Inca Trail tour
Description of Galapagos and Inca Trail tour
Prepare for a unique 17-day adventure, big on ancient sights and breathtaking beauty, as you travel in a small group from the bustle of Quito, visiting the Galapagos Islands, before soaking up the history of the Incas in and around Cuzco. Travelling by plane, train and both private and public bus, this is a full and fascinating introduction to Peru and Ecuador.
You start in Ecuador’s spirited capital, Quito, one of South America’s most attractive cities, sitting at an altitude of 2,850m with a view of Volcan Pichincha on the horizon. Beautiful colonial style buildings and the nooks and crannies of the Old Town unfold on a guided walking tour. From Quito, head to the extraordinary Galapagos, staying on three different islands to fully explore the region. You’ll hike, kayak and snorkel to get close to the wildlife, from sea lions, manta rays and turtles, to the iconic giant tortoises. Next, fly to Lima in Peru, wandering its Spanish-style streets and feasting on tasty fish ceviche in one of its many cafes, before flying to Cuzco where you’ll visit the Chocolate Museum – try the hot chocolate made from local cacao beans.
A bus journey takes you through the Sacred Valley, where maize crops grow on terraces carved into its sides, before hiking the Classic Inca Trail or Inca Quarry Trail towards Machu Picchu (it’s also possible to reach this ancient site via train and bus). This beautifully preserved citadel was built around 1440 AD. A guided tour explains its key features, but you’ll have lots of time to roam at leisure, too, snapping memorable photos and savouring this remarkable place, before heading back to Cuzco and home.
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PlanetThis trip to the Galapagos and onto ancient citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru has been designed to run with minimal impact on the regions we are visiting and to ensure that any effect our trip does have on the region is positive. Our trips provide travellers with real life experiences from the best local restaurant to try ceviche, to spending time with a local community en route to Ollantaytambo and (on market day) honing your bartering skills with local artisans. Throughout this trip we do everything we can to ensure that the financial benefits from our travels find their way to local businesses and community initiatives, rather than larger corporations. We stay in smaller, often locally owned properties and tend to favour traditional, often family run restaurants when dining together; great for sampling traditional local specialities!
Our staff ‘on the ground’ are all recruited locally, from your group leaders who will accompany each leg of your trip, to the porters who will support and assist you on your Inca Trail trek. Your guide on the Galapagos will be a qualified Naturalist trained by the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park and will be highly knowledgeable on the Islands themselves, the flora and fauna, along with the conservation and environmental issues affecting them.
On the Galapagos Islands we support the work of The Galapagos Conservancy, the largest source of private support for conservation efforts in the region. The 11,000 Friends of Galapagos are individuals and institutions who care deeply about the Galapagos Islands, and understand the scientific importance of preserving this one-of-a-kind ecosystem. Funds raised by the Galapagos Conservancy support the core operations of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) which will be visited on Isla Santa Cruz.
Throughout your trip you will be encouraged to take steps to ensure that your journey is as environmentally responsible as possible. We encourage all travellers to be respectful of their environment at all times and follow their leaders’ instruction with regard to interacting with the wildlife on the Galapagos. Whether snorkelling with playful sea lions, or attempting the perfect close up of a marine iguana, we require all travellers to listen to their leaders in order to maintain not only the environment, but also preserve the wellbeing of these amazing animals.
Your group leader will be on hand to assist with the appropriate disposal of rubbish en route, recycling wherever possible. There are no recycling facilities on Isabela Island, so we ask that plastic rubbish is taken with the group when we leave. On similar lines, group members are encouraged during the trip to use refillable water bottles with purification tablets rather than purchasing bottled water, contributing to the rapidly escalating problem caused by the copious number of plastic bottles discarded globally on a daily basis.
PeopleThe very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world through which we are journeying, this is our commitment as a global tour operator.
As a company, our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end. We run and support a variety of projects globally, from healthcare, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development and environmental and wildlife protection. Our own in house foundation has been in operation for over 11 years; a not-for-profit fund that has distributed over AU$3 million to more than 70 non-government organisations since 2002. Donations come from our travellers and are then matched by us dollar for dollar.