Galapagos cruise plus Ecuador and Peru

“16 day small group cultural and natural adventure in Peru and Ecuador. Experience Cuzco and Machu Pichu before flying to Quito for a week-long cruise around the Galapagos Islands.”


Cuzco | Machu Picchu | Quito | Santa Cruz Island | Charles Darwin Centre | Puerto Ayora | Plaza Island | Isla Rabida | San Cristobal Island | Kicker Rock | Sierra Negra volcano | Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre | Gardener Bay | Espanola Island | Elizabeth Bay | Floreana Island | Punta Cormorant | Post Office Bay | Dragon Hill | Genovesa Island | North Seymour Island | Plazas Islands | Turtle Cove | There are two different cruise itineraries depending on departure dates |

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.

Travel Team

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11 Sep 2019
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Galapagos cruise plus Ecuador and Peru

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Accommodation & 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.

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.

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.

Group Size:
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.

UK Office:
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.

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