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The Galapagos Islands – Western Itinerary

Feel the thrill of encountering the flora and fauna that famously inspired Darwin—and in his footsteps, generations of nature lovers. Undiscovered by Europeans until the 16th century, the Galapagos Islands hold a central position in modern scientific and evolutionary history. In a place where human presence is relatively minimal, take the opportunity to observe and photograph these remarkable species up close—either sitting quietly to watch blue-footed boobies or snorkeling with inquisitive and playful sea lions.


NOTE: This program information is current as of 6/7/2023.

Program Highlights

  • During a full day tour of Quito, marvel at the gold leaf interior of the Jesuit church of la Compañía—a fine example of the mix of European influences and indigenous art called the Baroque school of Quito; enjoy a lunch of Ecuadorian specialties; and view a unique collection of pre-Columbian art.
  • Observe with remarkable proximity the diversity of endemic species such as the Nazca and blue-footed boobies; giant tortoises; marine and land iguanas; the flightless Galapagos cormorant; and the famous Darwin’s finches.
  • Discover the myriad of aquatic wildlife in the clear waters of the world's second largest marine reserve.
  • Snorkel with sea lions, colorful tropical fish, and sea turtles—or observe them through a glass-bottom boat.
  • Explore secluded inlets and stroll sweeping white sand beaches such as Punta Espinoza, where flightless cormorants nest nearby and sea lions, Galapagos penguins, and turtles can be seen frolicking in a fine display of multi-species tolerance in the nearby lagoon.
  • Visit dramatic and historic places, including the Charles Darwin Research Station—the iconic site of Galapagos National Park research and conservation efforts—most notable for its captive breeding program for the Galapagos Giant Tortoise; and Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island, one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin featuring a "lunar landscape" of lava fields.
  • What’s included: 2 nights at the 5-star Casa Gangotena hotel in Quito (or similar) prior to embarkation;  4 nights aboard the Isabela II with exploration by panga boats and glass-bottom boats, naturalist-led hikes and excursions, and evening lectures, 1 night at Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel – Quito (or similar) after disembarkation; a welcome reception in Quito, plus 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners; a city tour of Quito; all excursions and presentations; complimentary use of kayaks, paddle boards, shorty wetsuits, and snorkeling equipment; Galapagos National Park entrance fee and transit card; internal airfare (from Quito to the islands on Day 3, and return to Quito on Day 7); gratuities to local guides, hotel porters, and drivers in Quito; and airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times.

Itinerary

Day 1: En Route from U.S. / Arrive in Quito, Ecuador
After an evening arrival in Quito, transfer to your award-winning hotel for a comfortable night's sleep.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena – Quito 

Day 2: Quito
Head out for a full-day, guided tour of historic Old Town. A local expert will take you through a Quito neighborhood, where you'll visit with local artisans, including shopkeepers, hat makers, and confectioners. Explore the San Francisco Market—one of the oldest in the capital. There, learn about unique Ecuadorian fruits and vegetables, as well as local culinary traditions. Stop by a chocolatier to learn how cacao beans are processed, and taste the finest chocolates of Ecuador! 

Next, head north toward the political heart of the city. Following a brief narrative, stroll to the Jesuit church of la Compañía to admire its stunning gold-leaf interior. Relax and enjoy a lunch that highlights the unique and diverse flavors of this culturally rich South American country. 

In the afternoon, head to the Casa del Alabado Archaeological Museum inside a restored 17th-century colonial mansion to view its collection of pre-Columbian art. This evening, gather with traveling companions for a welcome reception and prepare for your upcoming adventure.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena – Quito (B,L,R) 

Day 3: Quito / Flight to Baltra / Santa Cruz: Highlands / Puerto Ayora – Embarkation
Arrive by plane to Baltra Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. After a short, scenic drive across Santa Cruz Island, arrive in the Highlands to enjoy lunch. 

Later, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to gain an understanding of the extensive conservation efforts that have gone into maintaining and improving the environment and biodiversity in this remarkable archipelago. See the Galapagos giant tortoise up close and learn about the various stages of tortoise care and development, including a visit to the baby tortoise house.

Take a late afternoon stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Isabela II

Join the captain this evening for a cocktail and briefing on the exciting activities to come. 
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 4: Bartolomé / Santiago: Sullivan Bay
One of today's highlights includes a panoramic view of the Galapagos from a special vantage point—an overlook atop Bartolomé Island. On a pristine day, more than 10 islands can be seen from this viewpoint. After the morning hike, examine the environment by snorkeling or by glass-bottom boat. 

Return to the beach to board a panga for a cruise around Pinnacle Rock, formed by an eroded tuff-stone cone—light limestone created by the accumulation of small volcanic elements. Pinnacle Rock is home for a small colony of flightless Galapagos penguins that share the area with sea lions and other marine birds.

After lunch, explore Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago Island, featuring a white coral sand beach that's ideal for swimming. This location has some of the best snorkeling within the archipelago. See and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos by traversing the walking trail across a lava field that flowed here in 1897.

Tonight after dinner (conditions permitting), look up and experience the enchantment of stargazing. 
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 5: Santa Cruz: Dragon Hill / Santiago: Buccaneer Cove
The island of Santa Cruz is the only one with six different vegetation zones. Pit craters, Scalesia forest, cacti, and ferns are found here. After breakfast, set off on a walk, passing a lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks, and American flamingos. Continuing inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas. Afterward, snorkel from the shore in hopes of spotting rays and green turtles.

Later today, explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. Buccaneer Cove was used extensively by pirates, privateers, and whalers to set anchor and head ashore. It is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and intertidal organisms. The geology is fascinating, with layers of compacted tuff volcanic material that, due to wave and wind action, has eroded into different forms and shapes. Enjoy fantastic natural formations, such as the “Elephant Rock,” and an impressive natural cave.

Relish the available opportunities for snorkeling or relaxing with panga or glass-bottom boat rides. 
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 6: Isabela: Punta Vicente Roca / Fernandina: Punta Espinoza
Explore the captivating coast of Isabela Island by watercraft, seeking abundant wildlife, including colonies of Galapagos fur seals, the nesting sites of Nazca boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins, and marine iguanas. Depending on conditions, there may be a chance to snorkel along the cliffs, hopefully in the company of green sea turtles. Back on board, navigate along the Bolivar Channel, where nutrient-rich upwellings provide fertile fishing grounds for cetaceans.

Then visit the island of Fernandina, the youngest island of the archipelago and arguably one of the most pristine ecosystems on the planet. Punta Espinoza boasts an amazing combination of barren landscapes and abundant wildlife, all dominated by the lofty volcano at the heart of the island. Highlights to spot include hawks, penguins, huge numbers of marine iguanas, and the famous flightless cormorant, with its beguiling blue eyes.
Overnight: Isabela II (B,L,D) 

Day 7: Baltra – Disembarkation / Flight to Quito, Ecuador 
Bid a fond adiós to the Isabela II crew this morning prior to departing Baltra for Quito, where guests not continuing on the Machu Picchu post-tour will spend the final night.

NOTE: Guests continuing on the Machu Picchu post-tour will depart the main program from Quito on an evening flight to Lima, Peru.
Overnight: Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel (B,L)

Day 8: Quito / Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested times will take a complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, R = Reception

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

Guests should be sure-footed on stairs and able to walk at least one mile on rocky, volcanic, and uneven ground. Some optional nature hikes will be on irregular and steep terrain. Guests should also be comfortable managing wet beach landings and boarding small vessels, both from shore and the deck of the Isabela II. Also keep in mind that you will experience varying altitudes to which you may not be accustomed. 

Maximum elevation: 9,350 feet in Quito, Ecuador

What's Included

  • 2 nights at the 5-star Casa Gangotena hotel in Quito (or similar) prior to embarkation
  • 4 nights aboard the Isabela II, with exploration by panga boats and glass-bottom boats, naturalist-led hikes and excursions, and evening lectures
  • 1 night at Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel (or similiar) after disembarkation
  • A welcome reception, plus 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • A city tour of Quito 
  • All excursions and presentations
  • Complimentary use of kayaks, paddle boards, shorty wetsuits, and snorkeling equipment
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee and transit card
  • Internal airfare (from Quito to the islands on Day 3, and return to Quito on Day 7)
  • Gratuities to local guides, hotel porters, and drivers in Quito 
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times

Accommodations

Casa Gangotena – Quito

The elegant, five-star Casa Gangotena is located across from Plaza San Francisco in the heart of Quito's Spanish Colonial Old Town. The hotel offers easy access to the rich culture, tradition, and charm of the city's historic center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. 

Embrace the property's well-adorned interior, featuring Art Nouveau and Art Deco elements dating back to the mid-1920s. Antique furniture pieces, restored painted tin ceilings, and endless hallways lined with Egyptian marble are among the unique qualities of this sophisticated and divinely comfortable hotel. See why readers of Condé Nast Traveler have voted Casa Gangotena among South America's top 25 hotels and resorts. 

During leisure time, stroll the gardens, enjoy tea on the patio, or relax on the rooftop terrace while admiring the spectacular sweeping views of Quito's historic district.

Luxury Room Amenities: Individual climate control, flat-screen cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, bathrobes and slippers, safe, and en suite bathroom with separate shower and bathtub plus L’Occitane sundries and hair dryer.

Portable oxygen tanks—to assist in preventing ill effects of altitude sickness—are available and may require an additional fee. Per the hotel's policy, oxygen will be provided after a consultation with the house physician or a release is signed. As the supply of oxygen tanks is numbered, these should be requested in advance through Orbridge's Guest Services department or at the time of check-in for best availability.

Isabela II

With a capacity of only 40 guests, the 183-foot Isabela II was designed to provide the ultimate in comfort and adventure while cruising the Galapagos Islands. Her 21 staterooms provide spacious, fully air-conditioned accommodations with en suite facilities. 

Guests can savor healthy, fresh, and delicious international and Ecuadorian cuisine at every meal. Enjoy her three public decks, dining room, lounge, library, hot tub, and fitness area. Relish the services of an enthusiastic crew who are committed to your comfort. 

Sailing by small ship allows for flexibility in the itinerary to maximize wildlife viewing, as well as access to exclusive ports. While on board, learn about the area's history, biology, and conservation from the ship’s multilingual naturalists. Experience all the Galapagos Islands have to offer through a variety of perspectives—hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, or riding rigid inflatable and glass-bottom boats.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, safe, and en suite bathroom with hair dryer and sundries (biodegradable shampoo, conditioner, soap, and shower gel). Additional towels are provided for shore excursions.

Stateroom Categories

Standard: Features a full-size bed, window, private bathroom. (128 sq.ft.)
Classic Double: Features a full-size bed, view window, private bathroom, and day bed. (139 sq.ft.)
Classic Twin: Features two twin beds, view window, private bathroom. (139 sq.ft.)
Premium Suite: Features a queen bed, view window, private bathroom. (170 sq.ft.)

Highlights

  • Onboard lecture program and services of a premier Expedition Leader and the ship's multilingual naturalist guides
  • Observation area and sundeck, bar/lounge, elegant dining room, boutique, and an intimate library with a rich selection of reference books on the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador
  • All onboard hand-crafted meals tastefully prepared with local flair
  • Shaded sun deck with a hot tub and fitness room
  • All of the equipment—and expertise—for kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding

Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel

Conveniently located near the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, the Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel offers comfortable and convenient accommodations for the last night of the program. Maintain your workout regimen with the well-equipped fitness center or simply relax by enjoying the on-site restaurant, bar, and indoor pool. Special extras are also available via the spa and room service. (Additional fees apply.)

Standard Deluxe Room Amenities: Individual climate control, writing desk, flat-screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, alarm clock, phone, coffee maker, minibar, safe, bathrobes, iron and ironing board, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

Optional Pre-Tour

Mashpi Lodge


The breathtaking surroundings of the Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve look and feel like a dream—misty clouds, crashing waterfalls, and endemic species of wildlife found in the Ecuadorian Chocó, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Take the unparalleled opportunity to visit both a cloud forest and a rainforest—each rich with a myriad of flora and fauna species in every layer from below the forest floor to above the canopy.

Spend your days exploring hidden paths, discovering colorful flora and fauna, and relaxing amidst the contemporary comforts of Mashpi Lodge, located within this private reserve consisting of roughly 70% lush primary forest in thousands of acres.

Itinerary

Day +1: Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Arrive at your hotel to relax and refresh before tomorrow's full day of activities.
Overnight: Casa Gangotena

Day +2: Mashpi Lodge / Mashpi Reserve
After an early breakfast, depart via group transfer, journeying through the northwest corner of Quito's Metropolitan District. Embrace the sweeping landscape along the western flank of the Andes next to Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world), which marks the equatorial line. Along the way, stop to stretch your legs before continuing the final descent into the Mashpi Reserve. Observe the changes in vegetation with every significant drop in altitude, following the course of the Rio Blanco.

After 3.5 hours, arrive at Mashpi Lodge, where the staff and your naturalist guides greet you and conduct a quick briefing.

Enjoy lunch, settle into your room, and perhaps take a brief rest. In the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to begin one of several optional activities. Take a guided hike to one of several waterfalls or follow the Howler Monkey Trail to the Life Centre, which educates visitors about the butterfly's life cycle and other wildlife found in Mashpi. Here, relax in lounge chairs set on an expansive observation deck to spot wildlife, and later, visit the adjacent butterfly house.

As the evening sets in, take an optional guided night walk along the Luminous Trail in search of large and small (and some transparent!) creatures, including frogs, snakes, insects, and even tarantulas.
Overnight: Mashpi Lodge (B,L,D)

Day +3: Mashpi Lodge / Mashpi Forest Canopy Exploration 
As morning breaks, listen for the bright songs from the menagerie of birds stirring around the lodge. A staggering 400 species of birds—including some 36 endemics—are estimated to inhabit the forest and flutter through the canopy. 

Mashpi is also home to a plethora of plant species, from ferns and bromeliads to a vast variety of orchid species—many newly discovered, which biologists come from the world over to observe.

For those who would like to enjoy the beauty of dawn in the forest, early morning activities are organized before breakfast. Spot birds and visit a hummingbird garden (host to 32 hummingbird species) with breakfast al fresco. The birds will be active and calling, and the views are often the most spectacular. 

After lunch, take an opportunity to view the Mashpi Forest canopy during a guided ride aboard the Dragonfly—an aerial cable car that offers a unique and spectacular way to see an expanse of the reserve. Go for the entire two-hour ride, or opt to combine the Dragonfly experience with a guided nature or waterfall hike.

Located close to the lodge, the Sky Bike makes for another unique and exciting way to explore the forest canopy. Designed for two people to use at once, you can pedal between two points of the forest approximately 655 feet apart. Next, climb the Observation Tower to take in the reserve in its entirety, and watch the sun set behind the clouds.

This evening, join fellow travelers to hear a collection of lectures by a resident biologist or naturalist, perhaps including “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi: the Camera Trap Project,” “The Chocó: a Biological Hotspot” about the formation and diversity of the Chocó, or talks about current scientific research projects.
Overnight: Mashpi Lodge (B,L,D)

Day +4: Mashpi / Quito / Main Program Begins
After a leisurely breakfast, take a group transfer to Quito to join guests arriving for the main program. (B,L)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Space is limited on the Mashpi pre-tour, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability. This pre-tour is not escorted by an Orbridge Expedition Leader, however, staff naturalists at the Mashpi Lodge are available for assistance with activity planning. 

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

Guests should be able to physically tolerate vehicle motion of a long (3.5 hours) drive on bumpy roads. Those prone to motion sickness are encouraged to bring appropriate medication to combat it. Guests should be sure-footed on stairs and able to walk at least one mile on rocky, uneven ground. Some optional nature hikes will be on irregular, steep, and/or muddy/slippery terrain (depending on the weather). 

Accommodations

Casa Gangotena – Quito

The elegant, five-star Casa Gangotena is located across from Plaza San Francisco in the heart of Quito's Spanish Colonial Old Town. The hotel offers easy access to the rich culture, tradition, and charm of the city's historic center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. 

Embrace the property's well-adorned interior, featuring Art Nouveau and Art Deco elements dating back to the mid-1920s. Antique furniture pieces, restored painted tin ceilings, and endless hallways lined with Egyptian marble are among the unique qualities of this sophisticated and divinely comfortable hotel. See why readers of Condé Nast Traveler have voted Casa Gangotena among South America's top 25 hotels and resorts. 

During leisure time, stroll the gardens, enjoy tea on the patio, or relax on the rooftop terrace while admiring the spectacular sweeping views of Quito's historic district.

Luxury Room Amenities: Individual climate control, flat-screen cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, bathrobes and slippers, safe, and en suite bathroom with separate shower and bathtub plus L’Occitane sundries and hair dryer.

Portable oxygen tanks—to assist in preventing ill effects of altitude sickness—are available and may require an additional fee. Per the hotel's policy, oxygen will be provided after a consultation with the house physician or a release is signed. As the supply of oxygen tanks is numbered, these should be requested in advance through Orbridge's Guest Services department or at the time of check-in for best availability.

Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge was created by Roque Sevilla, a passionate environmentalist and former mayor of the city of Quito. The thoughtfully designed lodge is perched more than 3,000 feet above sea level within a private reserve between the rainforest and cloud forest. The area teems with rich biodiversity that provides endless opportunities for visitors.

This property has been recognized with nearly 20 prestigious awards since 2012, including Condé Nast Traveler – Reader’s Choice Awards – Top 20 Resorts in South America and World Travel Awards' Ecuador’s Leading Green Hotel. The spa at Mashpi Lodge has also been noted as Latin America’s Best Resort Spa  and as Ecuador’s Best Resort Spa  through votes cast by leading spa and wellness tourism professionals, as well as hundreds of thousands of spa consumers from across the globe.

Guests can relax in the serene atmosphere of this blissful hideaway, amidst the breathtaking views from the lodge's floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. The lodge was designed with sustainable materials and features décor that combines warm earth tones, steel, stone, and glass.

Visit the open-air terraces for seemingly endless treetop views, see biologists conducting studies and experiments in the resident research lab open to guests, take advantage of the full-service spa (additional fees apply), relax at the outdoor hot tub and yoga deck, or enjoy the Expedition Room where you can view a selection of nature DVDs or peruse materials in its extensive library.

The property also features a boutique that offers souvenirs, gifts and travel essentials, such as rain hats, other rain gear, socks, and more.

Room Amenities: One king or two full beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, reusable water flask, fresh filtered water, bathrobes and slippers, and en suite bathroom with premium sundries and hair dryer. Dehumidifiers, which may help you adjust to the relatively high humidity found in the rain forest, are available upon request at check-in.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • 1 night accommodations at Casa Gangotena in Quito and 2 nights accommodations at award-winning Mashpi Lodge
  • 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners
  • Entrance to Mashpi Reserve
  • Dragonfly aerial tram experience
  • Full guiding services, including interpretation on all activities and experiences within the reserve, and use of spotting scopes and binoculars
  • Specialized lectures and field presentations on research conducted in the reserve by local experts
  • Souvenir reusable stainless steel water flask for filtered water available throughout the pre-tour
  • Use of rain gear (waterproof poncho, rubber boots) and walking sticks
  • All transportation for excursions using vehicle transport in the reserve
  • All gratuities and porterage
  • Group transfers from Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport to Casa Gangotena during suggested arrival times, from Casa Gangotena to Mashpi Lodge, and return to Quito to join the main program

Optional Post-Tour

Machu Picchu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley


Travel to the mist-shrouded mountain citadel of the Incas. So remote and inaccessible that it was left untouched by the Spanish conquistadors, Machu Picchu was unknown to the outside world until Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911. During your time in the Peruvian highlands, you will have a chance to explore the famous city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Ride the train through the Urubamba Valley, marvel at the massive stone stairs at Ollantaytambo, and break bread in the home of a local Peruvian family outside of Cusco. 

Itinerary

Day 7: Depart Main Program from Quito to Lima, Peru 
Depart Quito and arrive in Lima, Peru for an overnight.
Overnight: Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport

Day 8: Lima / Cusco / Sacred Valley
This morning, fly east over the Central Andes' peaks and plateaus to the ancient capital of Cusco, Peru.

After arrival, meet the guide and transfer to the Sacred Valley. From harrowing mountain peaks and rural villages to roaming llamas and alpacas, the Sacred Valley of Peru is legendary. Photo stops are included along the way.

In the afternoon, have a late, light lunch with great views of the Sacred Valley. This 70-mile narrow strip of land in the Peruvian Andes runs roughly from the old imperial capital of Cusco to the enigmatic citadel of Machu Picchu. 

Transfer to your hotel to refresh for tomorrow's exciting expedition to the heights of Peru—and into its past, when the largest empire in pre-Columbian America ruled the Andes and beyond. 
Overnight: Sonesta Posadas del Inca – Yucay (B,L,D)

Day 9: Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu
After breakfast, make your way through the intimate cobblestone streets of Ollantaytambo, a "living" Inca town. Here, Inca descendants inhabit the largely unchanged homes of their ancestors and continue to maintain ancient customs and traditions. The massive fortress, perched among steep stone terraces carved into the hillside, is where the Inca won their greatest victory against the conquistadores. 

Journey to the rail station to board the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes, a town along the Urubamba River Valley that is a gateway to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

Disembark the train for a bus ride up the mountain. Lunch will be at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, followed by guided exploration of the ruins. 

As it lies before you, learn about the archaeology and history of Intihuatana (the Sun Dial), the Sacred Plaza, and the Temple of the Sun, with plenty of time to wander, hike, and take pictures of the photogenic site. 

Return to the village at the base of the mountain and then the hotel. Perhaps take a short stroll through the lush gardens at the hotel before dinner. 
Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 10: Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley / Cusco
After an early breakfast, experience the wonder of a quiet morning at Machu Picchu, imagining the sanctuary as it was centuries ago. Today have a more in-depth look at this amazing place and its surroundings by enjoying the sanctuary at your own pace. 

Pause for lunch before returning to the Ollanta Station to begin the return to Cusco. 

This evening, share impressions of your day while dining with your travel companions at a restaurant built with foundation stones of a colonial mansion.
Overnight: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 11: Cusco / Saqsayhuaman / Kenko / Villa Tipon / Cusco
Immersive excursions in Cusco this morning include visits to the colorful San Pedro market and Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun). From here, continue to Saqsayhuaman and the Kenko archaelogical sites. 

Relax with lunch at a private home and hear an informative discussion about modern Peru. Relish the opportunity to witness a traditional Pachamama ceremony. 

The rest of the afternoon is for you to enjoy at leisure. 

This evening, dine at a local restaurant offering exquisite Peruvian cuisine and a festive atmosphere.
Overnight: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 12: Cusco 
Today, discover the culture, food, history, and people of the magical city of Cusco!

Morning activities may include a visit with a historian or a stop at one of Cusco's intriguing museums. Visit with artisans who make Andean musical instruments or hats.

Did you know the instrument makers in Cusco are among the most skilled on the continent? This artful tradition goes back many generations. Instruments important to traditional Andean music include the guitar, violin, charango, manolin, banduria (a 16-stringed guitar played for carnival), recintu (a variation of the guitar), harps, and even drums. 

In the Peruvian highlands, hats symbolize not just protection from the elements, but cultural identity, social class, age, and family professions. A red felt hat called a montera can be filled with flowers, fruit, and other adornments. These are worn by Quechua women throughout the Sacred Valley. When worn at an angle, it also may tell others she is a widow. Traditionally, brown or green hats made from sheep’s wool indicate women of Andean heritage.

Dine at a local restaurant for lunch and delight in leisure time during the afternoon. 

Explore Cusco's streets still flanked in places by Inca walls built with gigantic carved granite blocks. View the unique masonry up close to truly appreciate the astonishing perfection and mass of this true Inca marvel. 

This evening, celebrate the rich rewards of your journey during a special farewell dinner.
Overnight: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 13: Cusco / Flight to Lima / Depart for U.S.
After a leisurely morning, head to the airport for the flight to Lima. 

An Orbridge representative will meet guests in Lima to assist with connections to tonight's international flights. A hotel room for this evening will be provided for rest and comfort between flights. International flights begin departing Lima later into the evening and overnight. 
Room: Hotel Estelar Miraflores  (B,L)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D =  Dinner

Post-tour space is limited, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability.

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

Guests should be sure-footed on stairs of varying heights and able to walk at least two miles on rocky, uneven ground without assistance. Also, keep in mind you will experience varying altitudes to which you may not be accustomed. 

Maximum elevation: 11,200 feet in Cusco

Accommodations

Wyndham Costa del Sol – Lima Airport

Travelers appreciate this property for its convenient location directly across from the Lima airport. The hotel offers modern amenities and conveniences, including a restaurant, spa (additional fees apply), fitness facilities, and complimentary wireless internet access.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, cable/satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, alarm clock/radio, safe, coffee and tea maker, minibar, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Sonesta Posadas del Inca – Yucay

Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, this hotel is a former 18th-century, colonial-style monastery surrounded by beautiful gardens. Rooms offer the comfort of modern amenities and the charm of rustic decorative features. 

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Only a short walk away from Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes) and the train station, but worlds apart from its hustle and bustle, the Inkaterra is nestled on 12 quiet acres of forest with nature trails, waterfalls, and the world’s largest private collection of indigenous orchids. Relax in this lovely hotel's atmosphere of refinement and warm hospitality while exploring nature and encountering the wonders of the Inca civilization.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, complimentary Wi-Fi, and en suite bathroom with environmentally friendly sundries and hair dryer.

Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel

This luxurious property is situated near Cusco's main square, only minutes away from colonial buildings, restaurants, and shops. Built in a 16th-century mansion, its decor, sculptures, and carvings accentuate the colonial period. Each room is well-appointed and elegantly decorated with traditional furniture and frescoes.

Room Amenities: System supplying an additional 30% oxygen—to assist in preventing ill effects from altitude sickness (request at check-in to have this feature turned on), individual climate control, LCD TV, iPod docking station, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, minibar, and en suite bathroom with organic sundries and hair dryer.

Hotel Estelar Miraflores – Lima

Hotel Estelar is located in the heart of the upscale and suburban Miraflores District, known for its many galleries, as well as cultural and historical venues. These include Sala Luis Miró Quesada Garland, Virgen Milagrosa Church, Kennedy Park, Ricardo Palma Cultural Center, and Miraflores Central Park. Enjoy contemporary and spacious rooms, a rooftop pool with terrace, a large fitness center, and panoramic city views from Estelar's restaurant, Piso 21.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee maker, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

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Deluxe Accommodations Package (availability limited)
While all accommodations at the listed properties are exceptional, guests seeking more spacious rooms and additional amenities may choose to purchase the Deluxe Accommodations Package, which includes the following upgrades:

Sonesta Posada del Inca: Upgrade to larger Superior Suite, featuring a living area with sofa and flat-screen TV.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel: Upgrade to larger Superior Deluxe Room, featuring a seating area with fireplace.
• Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel – Cusco: Upgrade to larger Superior Deluxe Room adjacent to the inner courtyard and features a bathroom with jacuzzi tub and heated floors.
• Hotel Estelar Miraflores: Upgrade to larger Suite

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • 5 nights premium accommodations and a private room on departure day
  • 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 5 dinners
  • Fully guided tours and field presentations from local experts
  • All ground excursion transportation, including the Vistadome train through the Urubamba Valley
  • Luggage porterage
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, and wait staff for included meals
  • Airport assistance for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times

Terms and Conditions