Galapagos cruise plus Ecuador and Peru
Description of Galapagos cruise plus Ecuador and Peru
This 16 day small group adventure in South America takes travellers to two of the continent's most exciting countries, Ecuador and Peru, from where a whole host of natural and cultural treasures await.
Starting off with a flight over Peru's cloud forested highlands allows travellers the chance to get a glimpse of what's in store prior to touching down amongst the Inca and colonial cultural heritage of Cuzco. Next stop is one of the world's most enduring ancient wonders, Machu Picchu, which we'll aim to reach by scenic train as early as possible so as to avoid the crowds. The visit to the iconic Inca citadel would be the absolute highlight of most tours of Peru, and South America, however, a short flight over the border and into Ecuador certainly conjures up some competition.
Touching down in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, at 2850m above sea level, is always breath taking, in every sense, but an onward flight to Baltra, in the Galapagos islands, signals the start of numerous amazing animal encounters to come. As your overland experiences turn to the water you'll be treated to a week-long Galapagos cruise starting, after a short ferry journey, from the island of Santa Cruz.
A couple of flexible cruise itineraries allow expeditions to go with the flow, and the weather conditions, with every effort taken to ensure as much animal action, and comfort, as possible. The size of this tour's Galapagos cruise ship is integral to lessening the impact on the environment and being able to reach islands and hidden beaches that are way beyond the dreams of larger vessels.
The Galapagos islands will form the backdrop to each and every day with seals, tortoise, iguanas and blue-footed-boobies providing ample excuses to reach for your camera. Nature walks on land and snorkelling safaris around sunken craters, help to complete this Galapagos cruise in style.
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PlanetAccommodation & Meals:
We spend 6 nights in comfortable hotels and 7 on a first-class boat. The Cachalote Explorer is an environmental conscious vessel that is equipped with a wastewater treatment plant to ensure that no residue goes into the sea. There are also tight regulations in place to prevent ecological damage such as: restricting use of electrical products, use of biodegradable products (like shampoo, detergent, soap), recycling of contaminants (oil and fuel) which are sent back to the mainland for disposal and water treatment. Staff members are also employed locally in Peru, Quito and Galapagos lodgings, therefore providing benefit to the community. Local ingredients are used wherever possible.
The Galapagos is renowned for its incredibly unique wildlife and conservation efforts. We try to make as little negative impact on the environment and wildlife as possible by enforcing a ‘leave no trace policy’. We visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz Island after driving to the highlands to look for wild tortoises. This centre is dedicated to protecting and conserving the ecology of the islands and carries out educational projects in support of conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Our entry fees help contribute to all the work going on here by improving demand, facilities and creating employment opportunities for scientists.
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.
Our locally-led group tours in Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the optional Sacred Valley tour benefit the community by providing local employment opportunities. We also hire drivers from the area and encourage clients to use their free meal times to support local restaurants and market stalls. The staple dish is chicken, but restaurants also offer a variety of beef dishes, and the more local delicacies of Alpaca and Guinea pig! Clients are really encouraged to use local businesses and to engage with people they meet in order to boost the economy and promote positive cultural exchange.
Local craft and culture:
There are several chances to support craftsmanship on the tour, especially our visit to Mercado San Pedro where it is a place for clients to try some local produce and expose to a variety of handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves. By buying something we are providing an avenue of income for these people. There is also an optional excursion to the Sacred Valley on which you can eat a traditional meal in the village and buy handicrafts. Our local guides are able to advise clients on which products to buy and which to avoid- for example, walking sticks made of wood are one to avoid as they are potentially a product of harmful deforestation activity.
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