Experience western South America's wildlife, charismatic cities and natural wonders

Prepare for a unique adventure packed full of ancient sights and breathtaking beauty as you travel from the bustle of Quito, visiting the breathtaking Galapagos Islands and experiencing the colonial history of the Incas in Cuzco. Discover the charm of the unique Galapagos wildlife, embark on an unforgettable Inca Trail trek along ancient pathways, take on beguiling Lima and get lost on the cobblestoned streets of Cuzco. Peru and Ecuador make up the real must-see corner of South America.

This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

Quito, Ecuador
Cuzco, Peru
Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
1 240kg pp per trip


  • Get acquainted with charming Quito, Ecuador's spirited capital
  • Snorkel the incredible marine life-filled waters of Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido, one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos and an absolute highlight for many travellers
  • Experience the wildlife wonders of the Galapagos Islands
  • Explore Lima's historic centre
  • Follow the forested path of the Inca Trail to amazing Machu Picchu
  • Wander the atmospheric streets of Cuzco
  • Admire the might of the Inca empire in the Sacred Valley


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

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. On day 1 there is a city tour to show the beautiful Colonial style buildings and help you explore the nooks and crannies of cosy Old Town. 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.
Welcome to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands.
We head 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.
Your second day at Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride out to Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido (said to look like the sleeping lion that its Spanish name translates to). Two towering volcanic rocks rise 500 feet out of the ocean, and a mild current in the chasm between them attracts hammerhead and harmless Galapagos sharks, as well as manta rays and schools of vividly coloured reef fish. This is seen as one of the best snorkelling spots in the whole Galapagos, and one of the best places on the planet to view marine life. A highlight of many travellers’ visits to the Galapagos, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes and along the way you can seek out famous wildlife like nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. When you arrive at Kicker Rock, strap on a mask and jump into the water, seeing sea lions do graceful cartwheels, reefs sharks drifting along the canyon floor, and sea turtles effortlessly propelling themselves through the water.
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.
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.
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 17 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.
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.
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.
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.
This morning you fly from Quito to Lima (This flight is not included in the tour cost and must be booked by you or your travel agent)
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru.
Please ensure you arrive in time for the important welcome meeting at 2pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. This will be followed by a walking tour of downtown Lima and an optional group dinner: a great time to try the local specialties.
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.
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.
Today you will take an included flight to Cuzco.

Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3,450 m) and then go on a guided tour of the city led by a local expert. You’ll be taken through the Plaza de Armas, the lavish Cathedral, and to the Coca Museum and San Pedro Market. You might feel overwhelmed by all there is to see in Cuzco, but there will be more time for you to go exploring at the end of the trip.

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 detailed information.
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley for about two hours. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. For lunch, visit a community that live in the valley and learn about the local lifestyle and language. If it’s market day, you may have the opportunity to browse the local handicrafts such as beads and ponchos. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where you’ll spend the night. If there’s time you may like to see the town’s archaeological site, which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement.
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 kilometre 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 kilometres 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 foam 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 kilometres 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 foam 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 Cusco 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.
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.
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. Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs at Aguas Calientes.

Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
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.
Your tour comes to an end today and there are no activities planned. As there was little time spent in Cuzco at the start of the trip, you may like to stay on for a few extra days to make the most of your visit here. We’ll be happy to assist in booking accommodation (subject to availability). If you decide to stay on, visit some of the sites you didn’t cover during your orientation tour at the beginning of the trip. These may include the Inca ruins of Coricancha, Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

Notes: You may want to consider purchasing a Boleto Turistico (tourism ticket) It gains access to the many fascinating museums here such as the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum (transport & guides not included).
Please speak with your tour leader about this for more details.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


13 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 3 dinners
Plane, Speed boat, Public bus, Private vehicle, Train
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (13 nights)
Included activities
  • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Snorkeling at Kicker Rock also known as Leon Dormido (6 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley (2.5 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit (30 Minutes)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
  • Cuzco - Coca Museum
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit
  • Trek - 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Quarry Trail)


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If you can’t find the dates you’re after here, click on the button below to find options for the next season. Please bear in mind that some of our itineraries can change from year to year, so this trip may differ slightly next season to the information shown on this page.

Next Season Dates

This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

For information about altitude sickness click here

Important notes

The Quito to Lima flight on day 10 is not included in the tour price.
Note that the first meeting of the second part of this trip takes place in Lima at 2pm on day 10, so preferably please book an early flight out of Quito
Please consider booking international flights with Lan so you can book this flight on an airpass. Contact us for more information.
**Airport transfers are included for these flights, however we must have flight information, no later than 15 days out from departure**

Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.

If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead.

The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.

Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.

Galapagos Park, Transit Card & Isabela Port 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.

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.

Some of the hotels in the Galapagos do have internet connections however it's often very slow and and may not always be functional.

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.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes


Our Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure trips score an average of 4.75 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.

2016 Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure , August 2016

2016 Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure , June 2016