Galapagos & Peru Adventure Trip Notes

Galapagos & Peru Adventure

Last Modified: 27 Jan 2016
Galapagos & Peru Adventure
Trip code: GGSYC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Amazing wildlife – both on land and underwater – is the drawcard of the remote Galapagos Islands. Discover these unique creatures, as well as this region's outstanding natural beauty, by foot, boat and bike. Back on the mainland enjoy the delights of Peru – from the tough but rewarding Inca Trail to the joy of interacting with friendly locals and experiencing cities full of colour, energy and passion.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeWhat to take
ThemesSingle travellersHealth
MapAccommodationSafety
ItineraryMealsTravel insurance
Culture shock rating TransportResponsible Travel
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical preparationJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesFinish point Responsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeEmergency contactCarbon offset
Spending moneyEmergency fundsFeedback
TippingVisas
Important notesIssues on your trip
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently. Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara. Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
Themes
Explorer
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America, sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres with a view of Volcan Pichincha on the horizon. With Colonial style buildings, a cosy Old Town and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, you may like to take a stroll this evening and see some sights. We’ll be back in Quito at the end of the trip, giving you a chance to further experience the city.
Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for more information.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Isla San Cristobal
Welcome to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands. As you start this trip on the Galapagos Islands and join other travellers arriving from Quito, you have two options for joining the group. You can meet the others at San Cristobal Airport at 11.30 am or you can meet them at the hotel (Casa de Nelly) when they arrive at 12.30 pm. Check in time for the hotel is 12 pm. Please advise us where you plan to join this trip no later than 15 days prior to departure.
After joining up with the group, head out together to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve the unique Galapagos wildlife. Next, make our way to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center, southwest of Isla San Cristobal. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. From here you can also see Kicker Rock, an eroded volcanic formation protruding from the sea which has become an emblem of the island.
Soon after, travel to Las Loberias where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim with sea lions, and maybe even some sea turtles. Continue back to town for a 'Welcome to Galapagos' dinner of the islands fresh seafood and local produce.
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in Loberias
  • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center
Optional Activities
  • Wetsuit (shortsleeve) hire for 7 days - USD40
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Isla San Cristobal
Our second day in Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride to either Leon Dormido or Isla Lobos (approximately 45 minutes), and along the way observing the famous Galapagos marine life. On the way, you might also be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies, and you might go snorkelling with playful young sea lions. On arrival at the islet go snorkelling, keeping an eye out for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark.
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Leon Dormido or Isla Lobos visit
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Isla Floreana/Isla Isabela
Take an early morning boat ride today towards Floreana Island, which should take about two and a half hours. On arrival to the island, snorkel in the clear blue waters and then break for lunch. Afterwards venture to a black sand beach which belongs to the Witmers, decedents of some of the first settlers on the Galapagos. The town here, Puerto Velasco Ibarra, has about 150 residents and an intriguing history involving deaths, disappearances and murders. Later in the afternoon, wave goodbye to Floreana and continue to Isabela Island for the evening. When you arrive at Isabela, you'll need to pay a port fee of USD 5.
Included Activities
  • Snorkeling in Floreana
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Isla Isabela
Start your second day on Isla Isabela with a leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon, where you might see Flamingos. This mangrove-lined path leads to Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. The centre has almost a thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own. After an informative visit, board small pangas for Tintoreras or Shark Alley. On arrival, hop off for a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas. Snorkel in a calm inlet with colourful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom.
In the late afternoon, return to town in search of your own sandy resting spot and enjoy your first Isabela sunset, arguably the most beautiful of all the islands.
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley
  • Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Isla Isabela
Start your last day on Isla Isabela by heading towards the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos and the second largest crater in the world. Weather permitting, take a challenging hike of around 13 kilometres up the rocky mountain, which takes between five and six hours. Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support. After the hike, make your way back to town in the late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner. Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isabela, so please take your plastic rubbish with you.
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Isla Santa Cruz
Begin the day with a with a kayak excursion in a protected bay. While here, search for the protected Galapagos penguin – the only penguin found close the equator. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. After lunch, head to Isla Santa Cruz, the tourist capital of Galapagos. Check in to the hotel and then go for a short walking tour of Puerto Ayora to visit the local fishermen's market.
Included Activities
  • Isabela Kayak Excursion
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 8 Isla Santa Cruz
Your second day on Isla Santa Cruz begins with a visit to the higher part of the islands to observe the giant tortoise roaming in its natural habitat. In the afternoon, take a walk to Tortuga Bay, a gorgeous beach accessible only by foot. Choose to go swimming, sunbaking or bodysurfing - or do all three. Finally, make your way back to town for one last dinner on these enchanted islands.
Included Activities
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay visit - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 9 Isla Santa Cruz/ Quito
Itinerary amendment:
Due to Maintenance works at the Charles Darwin Centre the visiting hours have changed for the period of September 2015- January 2016
During this time we won’t be able to visit the centre on day 9 as per the itinerary.
Instead the visit will be on the morning of day 8 before the Highlands and Tortuga bay visit.
Before leaving Isla Santa Cruz today, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre and museum are essential stops for anyone interested in the archipelago's natural and human history. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. You can even get close to giant tortoises which are being raised for the repopulation program. Afterwards, say goodbye to the Galapagos and take a flight back to Quito.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 10 Lima
Important:
Your flight from Quito to Lima is NOT INCLUDED in this trip. Please ensure you have booked this flight. Please book the flight for today (day 10) of this trip
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru.
While Peru's capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was built on top of an existing palace and temples that belonged to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city's attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical centre.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre - so there's no need for you to visit the downtown area prior to the trip. Flanked by streets of ornate colonial mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro.
If you arrive early, we recommend you take a walk around Miraflores. Go from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to LarcoMar via Larco Avenue. Alternatively go to Parque del Amor (Love's Park) for a nice view of Lima's beaches. Other things to see and do include a tour to Pachacamac (approx 30 km from downtown Lima), the Museo de la Nacion and the Gold Museum. Limenos (Lima's residents) are friendly and there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes to sample ceviche, a local seafood speciality.
Explore the 16th-century monastery of San Francisco which boasts a fresco of the Last Supper that has a distinctly Peruvian flavour: the disciples pictured dine on guinea pig and drink from gold Inca cups. The monastery's catacombs are the real drawcard - they've been Lima's underground cemetery for hundreds of years.
There are many fine museums in and around the city including the Museo del Tribunal de la Santa Inquisicion, which gives a fascinating insight into the Spanish Inquisition.
Visit the Archaeological Museum, which offers a look at Peru's succession of ancient cultures.
ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
Included Activities
  • Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima Gastronomic Experience Urban Adventure - USD42
  • Road to Pachacamac Biking Urban Adventure - Free
  • Lima Coast Biking Urban Adventure - USD45
  • Lima Discovery Urban Adventure - USD30
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 11 Amazon Jungle
Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado (approx 2 hrs).
Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take us to their office in town where you'll leave most of your luggage in a safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for our next two nights in the jungle. Then take a motorized canoe up river to our jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area.
Once you arrive at the lodge there is time to unpack and unwind before a short orientation and briefing on the lodge.
Tonight we will enjoy dinner at the lodge before heading out on an optional 'night jungle' walk.
Included Activities
  • 3d/2n Amazon Jungle stay
Accommodation
Jungle Lodge (2 nts)
Day 12 Amazon Jungle
Head into the jungle with our local, multilingual guides and encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. We may spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccary, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach us about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants.
The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.
Day 13 Cuzco
Fly from Puerto Maldonado to Cuzco (approx 35 mins).
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,450 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Museum - where you can learn more about this infamous plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries - and the local San Pedro market.
The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco's picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city's greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a silver-covered Neoclassic altar.
There are several impressive Inca ruins within the city. The most easily accessible is Coricancha, which was the Inca empire's richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its sturdy walls.
The Boleto Turistico (Tourism Ticket) is a good option if you want to visit the many museums in Cuzco. This ticket also includes the archaeological around Cuzco such as Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Some museums in town, like Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum can only be accessed by purchasing the Boleto Turistico.
For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit: http://yanapay.facipub.com/
Included Activities
  • Coca Museum
  • Orientation Walk - Cuzco
Optional Activities
  • Cathedral Visit - PEN25
  • Coricancha Archeological Site - Cuzco - PEN12
  • Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 14 Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
Visit a local community on route to Ollantaytambo
The town of Ollantaytambo has been built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish.
Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
While in town, why not have a meal at Hearts Cafe, part of a project supported by the Intrepid Foundation.
Included Activities
  • Private bus to Sacred Valley and local community visit
Optional Activities
  • Ollantaytambo Ruins - PEN70
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 15 Inca Trail, Quarry trail or Train option
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Classic Inca Trail, hiking the Inca Quarry Trail or staying in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (6 kg maximum).
Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal.
Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and inflatable camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.
Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.
Notes: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and inflatable camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.
Route 3 Train:
After spending the night in the Ollantaytambo, leave around 9.30 am and take a short drive to the town of Pisac. Pisac is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local Empanadas. Arrive back into Cuzco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to San Pedro Market in order to buy some things for a picnic tomorrow. In the late afternoon, you’ll have an option to visit the Choco Museum where you can try some artisanal chocolate that is prepared in house from cacao beans into a chocolate bar. Be sure to sample some of the delicious hot chocolate.
Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Included Activities
  • 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or Quarry Trail) and a guided tour of Machu Picchu
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 16 Inca Trail, Quarry trail or Train option
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.
Route 2 Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.
Route 3 Train:
Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cuzco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (between one and three hours) back to Cuzco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cuzco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time to go shopping, or perhaps visit Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops. Your tour leader will be able to give you some suggestions or point you in the right direction.
Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 17 Inca Trail, Quarry trail or Train option
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around two to three hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.
Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.
Route 3 Train:
After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about one and a half hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another one and a half hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour the following day (dependent on ticket availability). Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs at Aguas Calientes.
Notes: Included lunch on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu entrance and Guided Tour
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 18 Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train (Machu Picchu)
Route 1 Inca Trail:
This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking by 5.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over Machu Pichu ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with tourists).
Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am this morning along the winding road to Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 30 minutes. At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.
Route 3 Train:
Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cuzco.
For all trails - after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well-deserved shower and a pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.
Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 19 Cuzco
Enjoy free time to relax, shop and explore more of Cuzco's sights. Rest weary legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas. For those who can't get enough active adventure, why not try mountain biking in the hills that surround Cuzco.
Optional Activities
  • Mountain biking - USD35
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 20 Puno
Travel by local bus through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approx 6 hrs). There will be a couple of stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers.
Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, sitting at 3,820 m above sea level. From the shoreline, the water stretches out almost as far as the eye can see, its expanses just waiting to be explored.
Optional Activities
  • Sillustani archaeological site - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 21 Lake Titicaca (Home stay)
Take a tour of the lake by slow motor boat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros originally built their islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes. The islands are built from many layers of totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. As the reeds closest to the water begin to rot, more layers are added on top. These reeds are used for making everything on the islands, including the boats which can last up to 12 months.
To get a closer look at daily life in the Lake Titicaca region, we'll be welcomed into local homes for an overnight stay on a local community. Make the most of your visit by helping your host family with their daily activities or trying to chat in the local language, Quechua. A game of soccer is also a great way to make local friends.
Our homestay is a mudbrick house. Rooms have beds and many blankets, there are shared drop toilets but no showers.
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca boat tour & homestay
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Day 22 Puno
This morning after breakfast board the boat again for a visit to Taquile Island (approx 1 hour), where knitting is strictly a male domain and women do the spinning. This is a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. An uphill trek of about an hour brings us to the main area of the island and after the visit we descend about 500 steps back to our boat.
Transfer back to Puno by boat (approx 3 hrs).
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 23 La Paz
Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero, where we cross the border into Bolivia. The first stop is the Peruvian migration office where you'll be asked to leave the bus and proceed through Peruvian migration. Then walk via a bridge to the Bolivian side, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus, which will continue to La Paz. About 30 minutes after crossing the border there's another stop where the army will again check your documents.
The journey to La Paz takes about 5 hours - don't forget that Bolivia's timezone is 1-2 hours ahead of Peru.
At around 3,600 m, La Paz feels like the top of the world. It's not far from it and vies with Tibet for the title of highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz is the centre of commerce, finance and industry. Despite the abundance of colonial architecture, La Paz's indigenous roots run deep, and the atmosphere in the market-filled streets is both modern and traditional.
Optional Activities
  • Chacaltaya tour half day (Pool) - BOB80
  • Tiwanaku archaeological site - BOB60
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 24 La Paz
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond Urban Adventure - USD37
  • Food With Altitude Urban Adventure - USD52
  • GGSYC - Single Supplement (GGSYC)
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
    Physical preparation
    On Day 2 of the Inca Trail or Quarry Trek you will be walking uphill from 3000 to 4500 metres above sea level before descending steeply through big steps and difficult terrain. While this demanding walk is the main challenge our passengers face on this trip, it's also one of the highlights and worth every minute of it.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN).
    Peruvian banks are allowed to reject dollar bills which are old, torn (more than one centimetre) and which have too many stamps on them. Please make sure you don't accept bills in such conditions as you may not be able to use them.
    The official currency of Bolivia is the Boliviano (BOB).
    The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).
    Please note that in Ecuador automatic money machines often limit the amount you can withdraw. This can be $100 or $200 per day depending on your card.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Please keep in mind that prices in the Galapagos Islands are more expensive than other areas in South America. We have adjusted the budget for non-included meals accordingly.
    Tipping
    Ecuador & Galapagos Hotel based trips- Tipping
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
    The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD4-5 per passenger per day for Ecuador Land and USD8-USD10 per passenger per day for Galapagos.
    Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD4-5 per passenger per day for Ecuador Land and USD8-USD10 per passenger per day for Galapagos.Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    In total, we recommend you budget approx USD5-USD10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
    If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
    Restaurants: Tipping is not expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. In more up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-12% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio or cubiertos.
    Porters (if applicable): While on the Inca Trail or Community Trek, we suggest PEN80-120 for all porters, assistants and cook.
    Your crew: Tipping is entirely voluntary. The crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it. On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person
    Important notes
    GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA FEES:
    A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment.
    When booking, please ensure that your details are correct and they match your passport.
    Your passport must match the booking details provided to us; otherwise it could cause issues with your transit card and internal flights resulting in purchasing a new card and flights at your own expense.
    DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:
    We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
    INTERNET IN THE GALAPAGOS:
    Some of the hotels in the Galapagos do have internet connections however it's often very slow and and may not always be functional.
    SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS
    Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.
    Group size
    Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (17 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts), Jungle Lodge (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt)
    Meals
    21 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 9 Dinners
    USD 370.00
    Transport
    Boat, Private vehicle, Private minibus, Kayak, Bus, Plane, Speed boat
    Group leader
    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
    Joining point
    Hotel Sierra Madre
    Veintimilla No 464 y Luis Tamayo
    Quito
    ECUADOR
    Phone: 593 22505687
    Fax: 593 22224950
    Finish point
    Hotel Osira
    Av. 20 de Octubre N 1494 Esq. Nicolás Acosta Plaza Mariscal Sucre (San Pedro)
    La Paz
    BOLIVIA
    Phone: 5912 2492247
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency:
    Intrepid's Ecuador operations office can be reached on:
    Outside Ecuador: +593 9 94014877
    From within Ecuador: 09 4014877
    Intrepid's Peru operations office can be reached on (use these numbers if you're in Peru or Bolivia):
    Outside Peru: +51 996 055 559
    Within Peru: 996 055 559
    Intrepid's local operations team can also be reached:
    If you’re in Chile or Argentina, please call +54 9 11 5348 8823
    If you’re in Uruguay, Brazil or Colombia, please call +55 21 96940 9208
    For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    ECUADOR TOURIST VISA
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Canada: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Not required
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not required
    United States: Not required
    Citizens of the Republic of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, require an appropriate visa to enter Ecuador..
    PERU TOURIST VISA
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Canada: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Not required
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not required
    United States: Not required
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    HIKING IN PERU:
    The evening before you start your trek, you will be given a small duffle bag to pack your clothes for the next four days. Your weight allowance is 6 kg max. While you hike, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel in Cuzco.
    Your team of porters will carry your duffle bag for you, together with the food and camping gear. It's important to be aware that you will not have access to your items in the duffle bag until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group.
    Please see our 'Peru Trek packing' list for detailed information.
    INTREPID GALAPAGOS DUFFLE BAG
    In order to make luggage handling easier when embarking and disembarking speed boats on this trip, on day 1 of your trip you will be offered a duffle bag for you to consider using instead of your main luggage. The rest of your gear can be stored at your starting point hotel.
    The duffle bags have a capacity of 50 litres (measure 73x30.26 cm) and can carry between 12 and 15 kilos.
    Being located on the equator, Ecuador is a year round destination. In Quito temperatures do not fluctuate that much throughout the year with average temperatures around 19°C to 24°C during the day with lows of 9-10°C in the evening. There are two 'seasons', the wet and dry. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season is from October through to May. The surprisingly thing with Quito is its altitude and proximity to the equator means that the sun has a little more kick to it so it can feel like it's warmer than it actually is. Even on cooler days, if the sun comes out make sure you use sunscreen.
    The Galapagos weather is pretty reasonable all year round, so it is never freezing cold but it can get very hot [February-May being the hottest months]. The seasons are not exactly fixed and weather conditions are changeable around the ends of the seasons. Note that the "wet" season is still drier than many places in the world.
    Daily temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C with overnight temperatures dropping to around 10°C. Up in the highlands [which you will cross on your way from Baltra to Puerto Ayora] it is cooler and the garúa mist hangs about as a kind of permanent dampness, and sometimes descends to the coast as well.
    The waters surrounding the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current. Water temperatures sit around 20°C to 24°C from January through to May and drop to 18°C to 20°C from June through to October. Although you may be required to wear a wetsuit at this time of year the same currents that bring the cooler water temperatures also bring nutrients which means wildlife are very active at this time of year.
    We recommend, regardless of the time of year that you travel, that you pack light and pack clothes that you can layer. At all times of year it is suggested you bring a raincoat or rain poncho. You will also need to bring a good pair of shoes, they can be hiking boots, trainers or sturdy walking shoes.
    A small backpack or drysack is highly recommended to carry your camera, water bottle, sunscreen etc on excursions.
    If you are prone to seasickness you may wish to bring some preventative medication with you.
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
    Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
    Before your trip:
    Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
    During your trip.
    While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
    Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
    http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
    Zika Virus:
    “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in parts of Central and South America. This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull).
    In addition to the risk mentioned above WHO have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
    In line with the above, Intrepid recommends all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America.
    At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus.
    More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links:
    World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/”
    Safety
    LIFE JACKETS:
    Intrepid will provide life jackets for private boats, but cannot guarantee that all public ferries will have enough life jackets or life rings for all clients.
    WATER SAFETY:
    Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Ecuador include:
    * FUNDAR Galapagos, based on Santa Cruz Island, is an organization that works with the Galapagos community, to develop alternative and responsible approaches to local environmental issues. A key initiative is an organic farming program on FUNDAR’s Pajaro Brujo Reserve. Most produce in the Galapagos is imported from the mainland, and this program is creating opportunities for locals to grow organic food, encouraging healthier and more sustainable lifestyles within the community.
    Through the Intrepid Foundation we are raising funds in support of FUNDAR’s organic farming program as well as its weekly educational workshops for students on farming, reforestation and leadership skills.
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Peru include:
    * Living Heart focuses on improving the education, nutrition and health of disadvantaged Andean women and children near Cusco. Currently they provide free breakfasts, assist local schools with educational supplies and organise visits by doctors and nurses. They are also raising funds to build homes for orphaned children and abused women and children.
    * Kusimayo improves the living conditions of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in one of Peru’s poorest regions: the high plains of Puno. They provide daily nutritious breakfasts for a number of pre-schools in the area, as well as educational material, hygiene kits and basic kitchenware.
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 1705.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.