Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos adventure holiday
As this is a tailor-made itinerary, we can change it to suit your own needs, wants, time and budget. Enquire now to start planning your own adventure with one of our travel experts.
Description of Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos adventure holiday
If you’re going to see South America, why not see multiple countries? Neighbours Peru and Ecuador present an Andean feast of culture and landscapes, and you can spend some time on the Galapagos Islands afterwards.
This trip is so adventurous, it takes you into the Andes twice – once in search of Machu Picchu, and again for trekking around Cotopaxi or Otavalo. In these dramatic landscapes – cloud forests, high mountain, lush valleys, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for fun activities – such as mountain biking, horse riding, trekking and ziplining.
After arriving in Lima, Peru you go straight into the Amazon for three days in a jungle lodge, from which you can venture out on foot and by canoe, in search of wildlife. From here you transfer to the Sacred Valley where you’ll spend a day with the Misminay Community, learning about their traditional crafts and practices, before perhaps a spot of mountain biking in the surrounding mountains. You can’t visit the Sacred Valley without seeing Machu Picchu, and you’ll get a day exploring – the ruins of this Inca city have one of the most stunning settings in the world. After a day in Cusco, it’s time to cross over to Ecuador.
Your introduction to Ecuador starts with its capital, Quito, but before long you’re off out in nature again, this time in the Mindo cloud forests. Ecuador also has its fair share of the Andes, and so you can decide whether you want to trek near Cotopaxi, the snow-capped volcano, or visit the town of Otovalo in the mountains, a place where the main draw is the market, which is full of beautiful crafts made by the Otovalo people.
From mainland Ecuador it’s a short flight to the Galapagos Islands. Famous for their amazing nature encounters, these islands can be explored in many ways, depending on your interest – whether by cruise, island hopping or beach hotel, you’ll be able to experience unforgettable wildlife in near-pristine settings.
This holiday focuses on connecting you to the communities that you visit – whether spending a day with indigenous peoples in the Sacred Valley, or spending time among craftspeople in Otovalo, this trip focuses your money directly into local areas, where it will protect the land and traditions – hopefully for many visits to come.
1 Reviews of Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos adventure holiday
Reviewed on 20 Sep 2023 by Nick Redman
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
In some ways that's a difficult question to answer as we visited so many amazing places that all gave us memorable experiences but if we had to choose one it was the Galapagos cruise at the end of the holiday. The boat crew were so friendly and helpful and the guide was excellent in terms of his knowledge and ability to get that across in an interesting and informative way. However, the pinnacle was the wildlife encounters both on land and in the water when snorkelling. We swam with sea lions, penguins, turtles and even white tipped reef sharks not to mention the myriad fish. There are no coral reefs in the Galapagos but the lava walls provide an excellent habitat for many species of brightly coloured fish that seem to have no fear of humans and quite happily swim up to and around you. Amazing!!
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
We started our tour in the Amazon and finished in the Galapagos with the city tours and local cultural experiences in the middle. This seemed to work really well as we finished on a definite high. We spent a long time at altitude ie over 2,800 mtrs and much of it at 3,400 mtrs going up as far as 4,900 mtrs (16,000ft). Don't underestimate the impact this can have on you and be prepared to manage this through medication and local herbal products such as Cocoa or Muna tea if you are prone to altitude sickness. I suffered quite a lot of headaches whilst at altitude but paracetamol and other painkillers generally sorted the problem.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Absolutely! We visited a number of local communities such as the Misminay in the Peruvian Andes, the Uros people on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and one of the communities on Taquille island, also in Lake Titicaca. It was fascinating to learn about their way of life, get involved in some of their activities eg preparing a meal and brick making and to sample their fare. It was also really interesting to learn about their traditional crafts such as weaving and knitting. Of course, there was also the opportunity (but importantly not expectation) to purchase their handmade wares which we did on a number of occasions completely willingly as great mementos of our visit. Their hospitality was superb and we felt very much that they really enjoyed teaching us about their way of life.
With regards to the environmental aspects, we felt that our presence was an important part of the process of getting the message back on the importance of preserving ecosystems. The guides were very clear on what was expected of us as visitors and the importance of keeping our distance from the animals and not interfering with their natural behaviour. This was particularly the case in the Galapagos where the wildlife population showed no fear of humans. We were informed on many occasions of how our financial contributions eg the $100 entry fee to Galapagos were contributing significantly to the conservation efforts there.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Without a doubt, this holiday was one of the best highlights of our lives and that is no exaggeration. Everything went smoothly from start to finish and we couldn't be more grateful to the amazing guides and local representatives that made it so. The itinerary that we put together with Sam from the tour operator was perfect and ensured that we had a great balance of adventure, culture, wildlife encounters and relaxation. The hotels were all excellent and the internal flights efficient and comfortable. Most importantly of all, the holiday has opened our eyes to the superb benefits of visiting South America and has given us memories that will be with us for the rest of our lives and that we can share with others. Just awesome!
PlanetBy choosing a Slow Travel approach we have put environmentally-friendly tourism at the heart of our operations, encouraging people to make sure any trip to Peru and Ecuador is a fully immersive and meaningful adventure that also benefits the places we visit.
As well as the community-based initiatives mentioned in the ‘People” section, we also handpick accommodation with a focus on environmental responsibility, such as the charming jungle lodge in Mindo built specifically to protect the flora and fauna of the local cloud forest habitat. Similar stories can be found in the Amazon, Cotopaxi, and Galapagos properties we prioritise when arranging the itinerary.
Simply by visiting the Galapagos, as well as other national parks on the mainland, you are also helping to support important conservation efforts. Indeed, the Galapagos provides a great example in how responsible tourism can thrive, providing both the opportunity for people to experience its wonders, but also limiting the human impact on the archipelago through strict national park regulations.
PeopleThis in-depth itinerary focuses on visiting places and taking part in activities that allow you to become fully immersed in community-based tourism initiatives. A day with the Misminay in the Sacred Valley for example helps fund local education and health facilities, and provides direct income to prevent community members having to leave the area for other jobs, making it easier to also preserve their culture and traditions. Similarly we spend a day in an agricultural community, with money going directly into the pockets of the local small farmers and artisans who host us.
We handpick locally-owned hotels (boutique independent ones where possible) to keep more money locally rather than going to international chains, and partner exclusively with a ground agent renowned for their ‘community first’ approach, where they collaborate directly with the locals on how they want tourism to operate in their own region. This results in a fairer, warmer, and more authentic experience.