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Galapagos and Machu Picchu Family Adventure

$4,699$4,999

This is the ultimate active Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu adventure for the adventurous families. In 14 days you will experience the very best of Machu Picchu and the Cusco area with an itinerary built for families, including hiking, biking, chocolate making, participating in traditional barbecues, and visiting remote Inca ruins, including arriving on foot into Machu Picchu on the 1-Day Inca Trail trek. Next, you fly to the Galapagos Islands and the Machu Picchu to hike, bike, sea kayak and snorkel your way across 3 different islands.

Trip Length: 14 Days
Destination: San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island and Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands, and Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and the 1-day Inca Trail in Peru
Lodging: 3- and 4- Star Hotels
Activities: Day hikes, sea kayaking, biking, snorkeling, Inca ruins, SUP’ing

Click button below to request trip details and check available dates.

WHY THIS TRIP

For the adventurous family this is the ultimate active Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu adventure. Designed with families in mind, you will travel with other families to hike, bike, sea kayak and snorkel your way through the Galapagos Islands, before experiencing the best of Machu Picchu and the Cusco area with whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, chocolate making, traditional barbecues, and Inca ruins, including arriving on foot into Machu Picchu on the 1-Day Inca Trail trek.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hike, bike, sea kayak and snorkel your way through the Galapagos Islands
  • Stay on 3 different islands in the Galapagos
  • Experience a true multisport adventure with top adventure guides and equipment
  • Arrive to Machu Picchu on foot via the Gate of the Sun, even if permits are sold out for the full Inca Trail trek
  • Full Day exploration of Machu Picchu
  • Hike on Inca trails to explore popular and lesser know Inca sites with your knowledgeable local guide
  • Relax each night at a comfortable hotel

Starting with an overnight at a scenic and interesting hosteria (local inn), you will know upon arrival that you are off on a charming adventure that is perfect for the whole family. From there you he Galapagos Family Adventure is the perfect choice for those wanting to explore the amazing flora and fauna of the Galapagos, but who don’t want to be cooped up on a boat, and want more action than just slow-paced naturalist walks. On this Galapagos Multisport, you will be hiking, sea kayaking, snorkeling, and mountain biking alongside the world famous wildlife of the Galapagos, spending more time out in nature recreating than on any naturalist cruise.

The itinerary has been set up to take advantage of the best parts of each Island. Thus, on San Cristobal, you’ll kayak along the North Coast to see sea lions, blue footed boobies, and marine iguanas, and snorkel with sea lions, white tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, and more. On Isabela, you’ll visit Tintoreras; considered one of the best sites to see many of the highlight animals you associate with the Islands, like penguins, iguanas, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks. Also on Isabela, you’ll take on the challenge hiking up Volcan Chico, making it a far more rewarding and exhilarating hike than the shorter hike most cruise passengers do to the caldera. On Santa Cruz, you’ll be hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling to see Giant Tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and the famous Darwin’s finches.

Next, in Peru you will get off the beaten path to explore the most interesting Inca sites and local villages on an itinerary set up to keep you away from the main tourist crowds on an adventure trip specifically designed for the needs of the modern adventurous family. With education, plenty of activities and enough time to relax, this trip will appeal to everyone from 8 to 80 years old.

Cusco, the former Inca capital where Spanish colonial architecture is built on top of Inca stone foundations,  is your base for this great multi-activity adventure. Cusco is a fascinating city full of culture, history and good restaurants, cafes, and bars. From Cusco you explore rarely visited ruins on horseback, raft and canoe the scenic, fun and safe Rio Urubamba and descend by mountain bike into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You trek the famous one-day Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas.

This trip is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate the most demanding teenager who is looking for non-stop action as well as the younger more relaxed crowd looking to try some fun and stimulating sports. At the same time, the trip builds in enough time for relaxing that even the parents feel they have had a vacation.

LOCAL PERU OPERATOR: AMAZONAS EXPLORER

For more than three decades Amazonas Explorer has led high-quality trips and alternative adventures throughout South America. Based in Cusco, its professionally trained guides, cooks and support crew bring their passion and skills to the travelers they serve and, in turn, build rewarding careers for themselves. This talented staff of local experts is focused on providing you with safe and comfortable adventures, all centered on making your holiday as memorable as possible.

LOCAL GALAPAGOS OPERATOR: ECUADOR ADVENTURE
A pioneer of the multi-sport experience in the Galapagos, Quito-based Ecuador Adventures provides meaningful, fun and safe eco-adventure experiences reflecting the company’s strong commitment to sustainable eco-tourism in Ecuador.

Click the “+” to see details

DAY 1: Arrive Lima, overnight at airport hotel

Fly to Lima Peru, arriving anytime (most flights arrive late evening), and rather than drive an hour into town only to return to the airport in the morning, overnight at the airport hotel so you can catch a morning flight to Cusco the next day.

DAY 2: Fly to Cusco; Transfer to Sacred Valley for Local Lunch & Pottery Making

On arrival at Cusco airport your guide will meet and accompany you on the 90-minute transfer to the Sacred Valley hotel. It is recommended that your flight arrives by 10 a.m. You are sure to want to stop along the way for photos at the many fantastic viewpoints.

After checking into your hotel you head to a local restaurant for lunch. A visit to a local potter rounds off the day. You will have the chance to craft your own special souvenir under the watchful eye of master craftsmen.

Finally your guide will take you back to your hotel where you can rest for the night and enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful rural area.

Accommodation:
3 Star Hotel: Villa Urubamba or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: San Agustin Monasterio or similar

Meals Included: Lunch

DAY 3: Pachamancas, Stand-Up Paddle Boards, & Salt Pans

 

 

maras salt pans-800

A day of variety awaits you today. A 40-minute drive takes you to the shores of Lake Piuray. Set amidst fields of corn with fantastic views across to the snow-capped Urubamba mountains, this really is a special place.

You will help prepare a Pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian meal where meat and vegetables are cooked on hot stones in a hole in the ground. Once the food is cooking, you can enjoy some fun on the water with the world’s highest fleet of stand-up paddle boards.

This fantastic new sport is spreading fast across the world and you will struggle to find a better backdrop to take your first steps. Under the careful instruction of your expert guides, you will soon pick up the skills needed to head out across the lake.

Once off the water, it is time to uncover your earthen oven and enjoy the succulent food you prepared. Finally you drive 15 minutes to the spectacular Salt Pans of Maras. Worked by hand for generations these are a photographers dream. You then hike an old mule track, used to carry salt down to the valley.

Accommodation:
3 Star Hotel: Villa Urubamba or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: San Agustin Monasterio or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Today you will join the famous Inca Trail for the final portion to Machu Picchu.

You take an early train to start your hike along the Inca Trail. A few hours of climbing takes you to the beautiful Inca terraces of Wiñay Wayna where you enjoy a box lunch lovingly prepared for you by Alex our cook. A further gentle two hours, a final set of steps, you pass through the old Incan gateway, turn to your left and there it is: Machu Picchu unfolds before your eyes. Built over 500 years ago this is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. And rightly so. Words do not do it justice.

Tonight you spend the night in the town below, perhaps enjoy the medicinal waters of the hot springs, but above all dream about tomorrow and your chance to explore fully the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Accommodation:
3 Star Hotel: Killa Inn or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: Hotel Santuario or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5: Machu Picchu: Stones, Sacrifices, & Spectacled Bears

 

p-18497-machu_picchu_15-800_1_2.jpg

A 20-minute bus ride takes you back to Machu Picchu. Arriving before the crowds your guide will show you around and explain just how the Incas managed to build with such precision and such beauty, on such a remote hilltop.

From altars used for human sacrifices, temples carved in the shape of condors through to stones used to tie the sun, this is a history lesson everyone will enjoy. If you are really lucky you may even see Paddington Bear.

After a fantastic day, in a fantastic place, you board the train to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery on your journey to Cusco.

Accommodation:
3 Star Hotel: Casa Esmeraldas or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: Hotel Casa Andina Classic San Blas or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

DAY 6: Sacsayhuaman, Tunnels, & Chocolate Making

 

Sacsayhuaman

A leisurely day today, beginning after breakfast with a 15-minute drive to the old Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Standing guard above Cusco, the huge ramparts boast stones up to 28 feet high weighing 140 tonnes. How the Incas moved them into place remains one of the world’s great mysteries.

After climbing to the top of the ramparts for a spectacular view of Cusco, it is time to play. Sacsayhuaman boasts an impressive system of tunnels just waiting for you to explore. Finally a 20-minute walk takes you back down to Cusco where you are free to relax and enjoy some lunch.

Late afternoon is chocolate time. You probably know you like it, but do you know how it is made? Your hosts will explain where it comes from and the story behind this most popular of foods before helping you make your very own bar of Peruvian chocolate. It’s the perfect gift to take home for a loved one. That is, if you don’t eat it first.

Accommodation:
3 Star Hotel: Casa Esmeraldas or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: Hotel Casa Andina Classic San Blas or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast,

DAY 7: Depart Cusco

In the morning you are free to wander around Cusco, explore the cobbled side streets of the San Blas artist district or stare in awe at the Inca treasures in the many museums.

This afternoon we will take you to the airport to fly to Lima and then on to Guayaquil, Ecuador.  (Breakfast)

Accommodation: Guayaquil Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

DAY 8: Fly to Galapagos. Hike to Frigate Hill and Snorkel Punta Carola

GPS49 Friggates Sky
In the morning you will transfer to the airport in Guayaquil for your flight to the Galapagos. Upon arrival inSan Cristobal Island you have a welcome lunch and a short briefing before the adventure begins. Your first stop is the San Cristobal Interpretation Center, where you will learn about the geology and natural history of the archipelago. You continue on a natural lava trail through a unique dry forest ecosystem, where you identify cacti, acacia, palo santo, and Galapagos cotton.

Your destination is Frigate Hill, where you will enjoy your first encounters with local wildlife. Frigate Hill is famous for its bird life, including the namesake frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, gulls, herons, Darwin’s finches, warblers and mockingbirds. After enjoying the wildlife and scenic views, you stop at beautiful Carola Beach, where you can enjoy a quick swim or snorkel before relaxing on the beach to take in a colorful sunset. The rest of the evening is open for you to dine and explore peaceful Puerto Baquerizo Moreno at your own pace.

Accommodation: Casa Opuntia or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: Kayak and Snorkel In San Cristobal’s Northern Coast

GPS08 Kayak Beach with Lion

Today’s journey will take you to some incredible offshore snorkeling sites and along the best kayaking route in the Galapagos! We start paddling along the northern coast, exploring bays and coves full of wildlife as you paddle at a leisurely pace. You may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo. The visiting site depends on the week day and the National Park regulations. In the afternoon, you return to your hotel for your last evening in San Cristobal Island, where you are free to choose you own dining options and take a final stroll through town.

Accommodation: Casa Opuntia or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10: Transfer to Isabela, Mountain Bike and Explore Tintoreras (Isabela Island hotel)

Galapagos Penguin near Tintoreras (Isabela Island, Galapagos)
This morning, you board a small plane for a fast inter-island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest and youngest island in the Galapagos, still being formed by five active shield volcanoes, which make Isabela one of the most volcanically active places on earth. After settling in, you head out on a mountain bike to explore the beautiful coastline on an exclusive trail that takes you through an incredible variety of coastal ecosystems. You begin with a visit to the Wall of Tears, a massive wall built with lava rock that dates back to the era when Isabela was used as a penal colony, and prisoners were forced to build the wall to keep them from going stir-crazy.

As you continue riding along the coast, you explore pristine white sand beaches, mangrove forests, and brackish lagoons. This area is filled with bird life, including oystercatchers, herons, flamingos, finches and many shore birds, as well as the ubiquitous sea lions and marine iguanas. After your ride and a rejuvenating lunch, you visit Tintoreras, a set of small, rocky islets tucked in Isabela Bay. Tintoreras’ islets are filled with wildlife, most notably the Galapagos penguin, the only penguin that lives on the equator. You will also see sharks, sea turtles, sea lions and more as you explore the small coves and beaches of Tintoreras.

Accommodation: Casita de la Playa or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11: Volcano Discovery Hike in the Isabela Highlands (Isabela Island hotel)

Trekking Chico Volcano on Isabela Island (Galapagos)
Today you head to the highlands of Isabela Island and into a world of modern geological history. The continuing volcanic activity on this island is a microcosm of the dramatic geological events that have formed the Galapagos Islands over millennia. After driving up to the trailhead, you hike into a young dry forest ecosystem. Your destination is the rim of Sierra Negra, an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005.

Upon arrival, you take in breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive crater, over six miles across at its widest point. If conditions are clear, you will also enjoy views of Isabela’s other volcanoes, the Perry Isthmus, and beyond. If you feel energetic, you can continue your hike to Volcano Chico, a secondary crater that has a wild landscape of puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations. In the afternoon, you return to Puerto Villamil to enjoy your last afternoon on Isabela’s exotic white sand beaches.

Accommodation: Casita de la Playa or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 12: Transfer to Santa Cruz Island. Research Station Visit, Hike With the Giant Tortoises and Explore Los Gemelos

Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoises (Galapagos)
After bidding a fond farewell to Isabela, you board a fast boat for a scenic ride to Santa Cruz Island. After you arrive, you head to El Chato reserve in the Santa Cruz highlands, home to several subspecies of Galapagos giant tortoise. Hiking through El Chato’s beautiful highland scenery with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience. As you hike, you see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, and finches. You’ll also visit a freshwater lake where frigate birds gather to wash the salt off their feathers.

Your next stop is a group of massive volcanic tunnels that were created by underground lava flows. According to legend, pirates once used these tunnels to hide from pursuing Spanish ships and stash plundered Inca gold. After walking through these fascinating geological formations and reliving some pirate stories, you continue to Los Gemelos, a pair of volcanic sinkholes near the top of the island. Los Gemelos are covered with a beautiful endemic Scalesia forest. As you hike through this unique environment, you keep an eye out for the elusive short-eared owl and other endemic wildlife. You return to town in time to relax on the beach for a while and dine at any of Puerto Ayora’s many outstanding restaurants.

Accommodation: Hotel Fernandina or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13: Sea Kayak in Punta Estrada and Hike to Tortuga Bay

Kayaking in Santa Cruz (Galapagos Islands)
After breakfast, you head back to sea in a kayak to paddle around Divine Bay and Punta Estrada. This outstanding route takes you along calm turquoise waters that wind through high-walled lava channels. Within the channels, white-tipped sharks and rays cruise under the clear water, and colonies of blue-footed boobies, tropicbirds, herons, crabs and marine iguanas perch along the steep cliffs.

In the afternoon, you hike to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful white sand beach and the preferred nesting site for thousands of black sea turtles. To reach this isolated beach, you hike a 6-kilometer trail through a beautiful dry forest, home to hundreds of land iguanas. After a relaxing afternoon on Tortuga Bay’s pristine beach, you return to Puerto Ayora to spend your last evening in the Galapagos at leisure in the archipelago’s most populous town.

Accommodation: Hotel Fernandina or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14: Depart Galapagos to Mainland Ecuador for Your Flight Home, or to Explore More of Ecuador

Today you are transferred to Baltra Island for your flight back to the mainland. Fly from Guayaquil (or Quito) to Lima (international flight not included). Overnight at Lima airport hotel.

Accommodation: None
Meals Included: Breakfast

Getting To and From the Trip: 

Trip Start: You will need to arrive in Lima, Peru, on Day 1 of the trip. Your hotel is at the airport.

Trip End: Trip ends at the Quito or Guayaquil airport on Day 14 of the itinerary .

How Do I Get To and From the Trip:

This trip starts with pick up at the Quito Airport in Ecuador & ends with drop off at the Cusco Airport in Peru. You will need to purchase the following flights*:

  • Home – Lima – Cusco – Guayaquil– Home
  • NOTE: Your flights to/from the Galapagos are arranged through Ecuador Adventure, the operators of the Galapagos portion of this trip. These are not included in the listed trip rates, but will be added on to your total trip cost and have not been included in the listed flights above.

* For assistance with international flights we partner with Exito Travel, a flight company that specializes in flights to/from/within Latin America. Once you know your trip dates, we can connect you with them to finalize all the necessary flights.

** All international flights will need to depart from Lima. This may require you to overnight in Lima depending on your flight schedule. We can assist you with any additional hotels needed once you know your flights.

Trip Start: Your trip begins upon arrival at the Lima, Peru airport, where you will walk across the street to your hotel. You will be met upon your arrival at the Cusco, Peru airport on Day 2 of your itinerary.

Trip End: Trip ends at the Quito or Guayaquil airport on Day 14 of the itinerary .


This trip is a complete package, starting in Lima Peru, and ending at the airport in either Guayaquil or Quito, Ecuador. International flights and domestic Peru flights are not included, but can be booked through our travel partner Exito Travel. Round trip flights from Guayaquil or Quito, Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands and back are also not included in the trip price but will be arranged for you through the local Galapagos tour operator and will be added to your trip invoice.  Depending on your flight schedule, you may need to overnight in Lima at the end of the trip. We can help you arrange a hotel and transfer services if this is necessary.

We can also help you add to your journey with trips to the Amazon, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca or any other destination in South America.

2017 PRICES: 

Group Departures (trip operates with a minimum of 4 people):

With 3 star hotels in Peru: 

Adults: $4,999.00
Kids (8-18): $4,699.00
Single Supplement $1,110.63.

With 3 star plus hotels in Peru (much more charming): 

Adults: $5,129.00
Kids (8-18): $4,829.00
Single Supplement $1,110.63.

Private Departures: please inquire

2018 PRICES: 

For 2018 pricing, please inquire using the “I Am Interested” button above or by calling 1-866-386-4168.


INCLUDED: 

PERU:

  • All transport in private vehicle
  • A private, qualified, English-speaking guide
  • 3* accommodation in Urubamba, Cusco, and in Machu Picchu Pueblo (upgrades available upon request)
  • An emergency first-aid kit and oxygen
  • All meals provided are indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to all ruins in the itinerary, including Machu Picchu
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu ruins
  • Bus tickets between Machu Picchu Pueblo and the ruins
  • Train tickets as described in the itinerary

GALAPAGOS:

  • Accommodations in standard and tourist superior hotels (see accommodations tab for more details)
  • Meals as described in itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • Inter-Island air and boat transportation
  • Adventure and protective equipment (not including wetsuits)
  • Professional English speaking guide, adventure and naturalist guides.

NOT INCLUDED: 

PERU:

  • National or International flights (can be booked on your own or with our travel partner Exito)
  • Personal belongings
  • Airport taxes (if applicable)
  • Personal or medical expenses
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Tips
  • Services and meals not indicated
  • Entrances to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain ($80* per person)
  • Lima services (hotels, transfers, & tours) can be added upon request

Note: Permits to hike Huayna Picchu Mountan or Machu Picchu Mountain are not automatically included in this trip. Before you confirm your trip to Machu Picchu, consider whether or not you want to do one of these hikes, and let us know what you decide. For more details: http://www.detourdestinations.com/blog/should-you-hike-huayna-picchu-mountain-or-machu-picchu-mountain

GALAPAGOS:

  • International flights (our partner Exito Travel can arrange these for you)
  • Airfare to/from Galapagos (will be arranged by Ecuador Adventure & added to your total trip cost)
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100 per adult / $50 per child under 12)
  • Migration Transit Card ($20 per person / can be pre-paid)
  • ECOGAL transportation fee ($10 per person)
  • Beverages in restaurants
  • Dinners
  • Wetsuits (can rent locally)
  • Personal and medical expenses
  • Insurance
  • Gratuities and Tips
  • Potential overweight baggage fees on Galapagos inter-island flight(s) Note: Guests are allowed 1 checked luggage of no more than 20 lbs + 1 small carry on

* Permit fees subject to change


ADDITIONAL EXPENSES TO CONSIDER:

PERU:

  • National or International flights (can be booked on your own or with our travel partner Exito)
  • Airport taxes (if applicable)
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Tips (optional)
  • Services and meals not indicated
  • Entrances to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain ($80* per person)
  • Lima services (hotels, transfers, & tours) can be added upon request

Note: Permits to hike Huayna Picchu Mountan or Machu Picchu Mountain are not automatically included in this trip. Before you confirm your trip to Machu Picchu, consider whether or not you want to do one of these hikes, and let us know what you decide. For more details: http://www.detourdestinations.com/blog/should-you-hike-huayna-picchu-mountain-or-machu-picchu-mountain

GALAPAGOS:

  • Airfare to/from the Galapagos (approximately $560* per person)
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100* per person; $50* per child age 11 or younger)
  • Transit Control Card fee ($20* per person)
  • ECOGAL transportation fee, if applicable ($10* per person)
  • Gratuities for guide(s)
  • Wetsuits, available for rent in person
  • Beverages
  • Dinners
  • Insurance
  • Ecuador departure tax (usually included in your international flight cost)
  • International flights

* Fees subject to change


 

 

 

Plan Your Trip

2017 Group Departures:
March 18 – 31; June 3 – 16; June 17 – 30; June 24 – July 7; July 22 – August 4; July 29 – August 11

2017 Private Departures
Private Departures can depart on any day from March through December, pending availability

This is a family trip so every departure was designed with families in mind:

2017 Group Family Departures:

March 18 – 31; June 3 – 16; June 17 – 30; June 24 – July 7; July 22 – August 4; July 29 – August 11

Trip Start: Your trip begins upon arrival at the Lima, Peru airport, where you will walk across the street to your hotel. You will be met upon your arrival at the Cusco, Peru airport on Day 2 of your itinerary.

Trip End: Trip ends at the Quito or Guayaquil airport on Day 14 of the itinerary .

How Do I Get To and From the Trip: 

Trip Start: You will need to arrive in Lima, Peru, on Day 1 of the trip. Your hotel is at the airport.

Trip End: Trip ends at the Quito or Guayaquil airport on Day 14 of the itinerary .

How Do I Get To and From the Trip:

This trip starts with pick up at the Quito Airport in Ecuador & ends with drop off at the Cusco Airport in Peru. You will need to purchase the following flights*:

  • Home – Lima – Cusco – Guayaquil– Home
  • NOTE: Your flights to/from the Galapagos are arranged through Ecuador Adventure, the operators of the Galapagos portion of this trip. These are not included in the listed trip rates, but will be added on to your total trip cost and have not been included in the listed flights above.

* For assistance with international flights we partner with Exito Travel, a flight company that specializes in flights to/from/within Latin America. Once you know your trip dates, we can connect you with them to finalize all the necessary flights.

** All international flights will need to depart from Lima. This may require you to overnight in Lima depending on your flight schedule. We can assist you with any additional hotels needed once you know your flights.

PERU: For all your transportation in Cusco, you will be in a private van with your guide, fellow travelers, and driver.  Between Machu Picchu ruins and Machu Picchu Pueblo, you will be on a tourist bus. From Machu Picchu Pueblo to Cusco, you will take the Vistadome Train or similar, and have a private van transfer from the train station to your hotel in Cusco.

ECUADOR/GALAPAGOS: All necessary overland, island and inter-island transportation is included for this trip.

  • Transfers and Land Excursions: 4×4 vehicles
  • Water Excursions:  Speedboat
  • San Cristobal Island to Isabela Island:  Flight on a small passenger plane (40 minutes)
    • Note: Guests are allowed 1 checked luggage of no more than 25 lbs + 1 small carry on
  • Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island: public speedboat (approx 2 hours), followed by a 1.5 hour drive to the Baltra Airport (you will take a public ferry to cross the Itabaca Channel from Santa Cruz to Baltra Island).

Getting to the Galapagos: Your round trip to the Galapagos Islands will be arranged for you through Ecuador Adventure, the trip operator. Flights generally depart early in the morning to the Galapagos, and return mid morning, arriving in the late afternoon back into Quito or Guayaquil. The cost of the tickets will be added to your invoice.

While this trip includes all of your accommodation needs throughout the 13 nights, you may want to overnight in Quito, Guayaquil, or Lima, depending on your international flights. We can add these on for you if need be.

  • For most Lima layovers we recommend the Costa del Sol, Ramada Inn. It is a short walk across the street from the airport and super convenient for brief stop overs. For longer stays Miraflores (downtown, shopping district, parks & beaches) & Barranco (bohemian, artsy neighborhood) are happening areas to stay. These are about 45 min – 1.5 hours from the airport. Traffic dependent.
  • Click the links below to view our recommended Quito & Guayaquil Hotels.  Let us know which hotel you’d like us to add on for you and we’ll book your pre & post hotels for you.
  • You can also opt to spend time in the Galapagos after this trip:

PERU: Cusco is great starting point to explore Peru. You can extend your stay in Cusco, and explore the area by mountain bike, stand-up paddle board, rafting and kayaking, horseback, and hiking.

If you want to go further afield, you can take the luxury train or a comfortable bus to Puno and Lake Titicaca (we recommend spending 3 or 4 days on Lake Titicaca). You can catch a short flight to the Amazon (flying into Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos) to check out the incredible wildlife. We recommend spending 4 to 6 days in the Amazon. You can take a flight or an overnight bus from Cusco to Arequipa, and from there explore the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons.

ECUADOR/GALAPAGOS: Trips to the Galapagos begin and end with a flight from mainland Ecuador (either Guayaquil or Quito), so it is very easy to explore more of Ecuador before or after the Galapagos trip. Quito is a fascinating city with a colonial center that is a World Heritage Site, and it is worth some time. Additionally, in just a few days it is easy to visit high Andean volcanoes, stay in historic haciendas, explore the cloud forest, or visit the Upper Amazon Basin.

In addition, we specialize in trips to Chile, Argentina, Patagonia, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. 

Countries Visited: Peru, Ecuador

Destinations Visited: 

Countries Visited: Peru & Ecuador

Destinations Visited: 

PERU: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Inca Quarry & Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS: San Cristobal Island (Frigate Hill, Isla Lobos & Leon Dormido), Isabela Island (Tintoreras, Wall of Tears & Sierra Negra Volcano hike), & Santa Cruz Island (El Chato Tortoise Farm & Los Gemelos in the Highlands, Tortuga Bay & Darwin Station)

Green Certifications: 1% for the Planet

Trip Sustainability: 

Amazonas Explorer recognizes that tourism has the potential to create many problems. Here are their beliefs and goals to create more sustainable trips and to help eliminate these problems.

  • They try to further reduce their impact on the environment and conserve energy when possible.
  • They endeavour to become a paperless company and prefer the use of e-mail and on-line banking where possible.
  • They use re-cycled paper where available in the office, for brochures and adventure-dossiers. They make full use of the recycling paper and plastic rubbish has finally come to Cusco.
  • They are committed to running small groups tours, to exploring new routes away from the busiest areas and to operating these tours where possible in conjunction with local communities, maximizing the benefit to local areas and minimizing the impact on the environment.
  • They educate clients and locals on how to preserve the fragile environment and endangered species they encounter. This includes on-going guide and porter awareness programs, and thorough pre-departure information and in-country briefings for travelers.
  • They continue to carefully dispose of all their waste. All non-biological waste, and as much non-biological waste, as possible is carried out and disposed of correctly. On the Apurimac rafting trip, all human excrement is also carried out. On other trips they carefully bury all biodegradable waste below the high-water mark, at the official deposits on the Inca Trail, or as deep as possible elsewhere.
  • They employ as many locally trained guides as possible, using foreign guides only where their overseas expertise is essential.
  • All food produce is purchased locally and they try to minimize the amount of imported foreign goods on trips, using locally grown fresh produce where possible. They are developing new menus to minimize the use of canned and packaged products, and encouraging cooking with local Andean products. They bulk purchase items when possible to reduce excessive packaging and reduce the need for constant trips to shops.
  • They work to reduce the use of all plastic products (bags, bottles, etc) to the absolute minimum, and to recycle what little they do use.
  • They use as much locally made equipment as possible, designing and modifying equipment using local ideas and materials, and only importing equipment otherwise unavailable, or not of sufficient quality when available locally.
  • They encourage the most efficient use of fossil fuels, using the most suitable and efficient transport options available, ie cooking with gas not kerosene or firewood.
  • They have introduced recyclable glass bottles whenever possible on trips, and not disposable plastic bottles, while at the same time encouraging travelers to do likewise.
  • They continue to educate clients in local customs and languages where possible so as to promote local pride and not bring offense.
  • They are committed to encouraging sustainable tourism projects in conjunction with local communities.
  • They are committed to providing all staff a realistic wage and correct working conditions. This will include regular staff training in Responsible Tourism management, on-going assessments and quality control of Staff conditions, health insurance policies for porters, and correct clothing and equipment made available.
  • They encourage responsible tipping. Nothing for nothing – locals are rewarded for helping set up camp and pose for photographs but not for doing nothing.
  • They encourage the purchasing of local weavings directly from the local women encountered en-route.
  • They are actively looking at new ways to reduce their carbon footprint,and minimize the use of excessive transport where possible without compromising our service.
  • They have reduced our attendance at International travel shows and encourage ‘face to face’ meetings with our agents using Skype instead.
  • In 2007 Amazonas Explorer joined www.onepercentfortheplanet.org and chose to support the local NGO Ecoan www.ecoanperu.org for its 1% donations.

According to Peruvian legislation, the definition of a porter is “an independent worker who offers his services and who with his own body carries gear, personal equipment and other goods necessary for touristic expeditions.” Each individual can establish working relationships with one or more employer, subject to the laws being obeyed by the operating company.

  • The payment for porters has been established as a percentage of the UIT (an official tax code) by INRENA and the ministry of employment. Amazonas Explorer pay their porters the correct amount on time for their work done in accordance with this legislation. This wage has been agreed by Amazonas Explorer and their porters and is also accepted by the Porters’ union in Cusco.
  • Porters are contracted by a designated Head Porter, and payment is made directly by the Head Guide, thus avoiding any intermediaries or other possible conflicts.
  • While the legislation is unclear at present, Amazonas Explorer pays the $15.00 per person Inca Trail Porter fee, and they do not take this fee out of their wages.
  • The Inca trail rules state that porters can not carry more than 20kg (44lbs) of company equipment and 5kg (11lbs) of personal equipment. Amazonas Explorer abides by this, and it is enforced by the Inca trail governing body at several weigh stations on the way.
  • They provide a large communal tent with carry mat floor for the porters to sleep in. It is not the dining tent used by travelers.
  • They provide their porters with plenty of good food. This is not the same menu given to the passengers, but it is nutritious, abundant, and what they are used to eating. They have their own cooking facilities so do not have to wait for the clients to finish eating before they get their food.
  • They provide the porters transportation from Ollantaytambo to the trail head. They also provide them with return train tickets (with designated seat allocation) from Machu Picchu Pueblo to Ollantaytambo. They do not take this out if their wages.
  • They only use registered Inca trail porters (as Inca trail rules stipulate) – these porters have to pass several forms of ID, character reference, a letter of good health, and to have attended an Inca Trail Porter Awareness course.
  • All porters work freelance. Amazonas Explorer provides them with accident insurance and work contracts for each period of work they do for the company.
  • They provide each porter with a uniform, a back support, a carrying frame, and footwear. (Please note the porters often prefer their own sandals.)
  • As good quality sporting equipment is unavailable in Peru, Amazonas Explorer encourages travelers to donate any excess outdoor clothes, sleeping bags, etc directly to the porters.
  • Tipping porters is also encouraged and guidelines are provided at the pre-departure meeting. The tip is administered by the travelers with assistance from the head guide whose tip is completely separate.
  • Amazonas Explorer holds an annual, end-of-season, porters’ party and football tournament. The 2008 hotly-contested tournament had over seventy participants; the final winners were the red team captained by Anacleto Suclli, Cook.
  • Amazonas Explorer is a member of www.onepercentfortheplanet.org. We support a local native-tree re-forestation program www.ecoanperu.org and planted over 57 thousand trees in 2014. These native-trees are planted in the water-tables above our porters’ villages. The porters are proud to be essential part of achieving these goals and maintaining the projects.

Ecuador Adventure´s tours are socially and environmentally committed to sustainable ecotourism practices. We are proud board members of ASEC (Ecuadorian Ecotourism & Adventure Association), and we also preside over the presidency position through our general manager. Through ASEC, we are able to contribute to Ecuador´s tourism industry at both an operational and political level. One of our larger direct impacts on the national ecotourism industry was helping to establish the first certification standards for nature-based hotels, and we are currently working on establishing minimum operational standards for adventure activities. We work closely with the International Ecotourism Society (TIES), abide by Leave No Trace camping and environmental standards, are members of Sustainable Travel International (STI), and are certified as sustainable tour operators by the Rainforest Alliance. Furthermore, our land-based tours have become a model for tourism in the Galapagos in which 70% of the funds from our tours are redistributed within the local Galapagos economy.

Activities: Beach, Cultural Tour, Day Hike, Multisport, Sea Kayak, Snorkel, Trek, Wildlife Viewing and Safaris

Activity Description: 

Each day you will be discovering your destination by hiking, rafting, snorkeling, mountain biking, and sea kayaking.  All adventure gear is provided for you (aside from wetsuits in the Galapagos Islands which can be rented in person for $5-10 per person / per day).  The Royal Inca Trail & Sierra Negra hikes are full day hikes (6-8 hours). Other hikes are around 2 hours.

Sea kayaking and mountain biking are 1 – 3 hours each. These activities can be tailored to fit your groups’ needs and pace (for private trips).  Snorkeling will be offered almost every day while in the Galapagos.

You will have a variety of activities each day, so you may start the day with a hike, then snorkel, then go sea kayaking in the late afternoon.  Frequent stops will be made during each activity to observe wildlife with your guide.  You will have a short briefing each night to prepare for the next day’s activities.

While challenging, these activities are not overly strenuous.  In general, you should be fit enough to enjoy these activities at a moderate pace so as to keep up with the group and get the most out of the tour.  If you are looking for a serious challenge or if you need a slower paced trip, a private trip is the best way to go because the itinerary can be altered to fit your needs (either by adding in extra activities or shortening some of the tours).

Safety motor canoes & vehicles are on hand during all kayaking and mountain biking excursions.

Trip Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous

Fitness Level: 

Basic fitness and a good attitude will go a long ways to making sure you enjoy the adventure.  Each day’s physical activities will be between 2 and 6 hours; if it’s on the longer side of that, you’ll have plenty of breaks and resting time.  The more challenging days are mixed throughout the itinerary with more restful days so you will definitely have some recovery time.

Minimum Age: 8

Maximum Age: 85

Minimum Group Size: 1

Maximum Group Size: 16

Typical Group Size: 6

Months Offered: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Best Time to Go: 

PERU: This trip is great at any time, except during the rainy season, which is why this trip does not operate in January and February. In December and March, the rain will usually come and go throughout the day. July and August are dry but cold. May is the most popular month, as it is warm and dry.  However, permits tend to sell out quickly during this time.

ECUADOR/GALAPAGOS: The Galapagos Islands is a fantastic destination at all times of the year, with there being no one best time to visit. The wildlife viewing is good all year round, as the temperatures don’t vary much and most wildlife does not migrate and thus is on each island year round. The major exception to this is the waved Albatross, which leaves the Galapagos from January to March, so if you want to see the Albatross you need to visit from April to December.

There are two seasons in the Galapagos, and each will have some precipitation. The Galapagos only receives about 10 inches of rain a year, so it is not a very rainy destination. From June to November the cold Humboldt Current sweeps northward from Antactica, cooling the air and creating an inversion over the islands, meaning the lowlands are dry and the highlands are cool and misty, and the days are often cloudy. The air temperatures are pleasant during this season, but the water temperatures are chilly and wetsuits are recommended for snorkeling. Additionally, the seas are rougher during this season, with the roughest seas occurring in September.

From December to May, the Humboldt Current is not present in the Galapagos, so the water is warmer, and the air is generally clear and warm. There are periods of heavy rain during this season, but the rain usually doesn’t last long and then sunshine returns. The water is generally warm enough that wetsuits aren’t needed for snorkeling, and the seas are relatively calm.

Peak season in the Galapagos is not based on when the best wildlife viewing occurs, but rather on holiday travel and school holidays.

Food and Special Diets: 

All dietary requirements from vegans, lactose intolerant, gluten allergies, and general dislikes can be catered for, so long as prior warning is given when booking the trip.

Drinking Water: 

Boiled, filtered, or iodized water is provided for drinking for your day hikes. Please bring a refillable water bottle. While you’re in hotels in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu Pueblo, you will be responsible for procuring your own drinking water.

Equipment Provided: 

In Peru, all rafting, camping (with the exception of a sleeping bag, which is available to rent), and extensive first-aid kit with oxygen is included.

In Ecuador, all adventure and protective equipment is included on this trip (high-flotation life jackets, high-impact helmets, touring and sit on top sea kayaks, front-suspension mountain bikes, snorkel, mask and fins).  NOTE: Wetsuits are not included in the Galapagos, but can be rented locally (prices range from $5 – $10 per person / per day). Ecuador Adventure’s equipment is professional grade and top-of-the-line, specialized to withstand the rigors of adventure sports and designed to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment. They also carry spare equipment in case of breakdown and are constantly maintaining and replacing equipment to keep them up to their high standards.

KAYAKS:  Ecuador Adventure purchased all new PRIJON sea kayaks in 2013.  Prijon kayaks are made in Germany and are very light weight and comfortable.  They have a router adjustable to any size of person along with several waterproof easy to access compartments for storing personal items.

LIFE JACKETS: NRS professional-grade life vests are provided to each traveler.

Boat Specifications:

Special Equipment You Should Bring: 

  • Trekking poles and protective tip covers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Day pack and rain cover
  • Refillable water bottle (with 2-liter capacity, minimum)
  • Water-proof jacket & pants and/or rain poncho
  • Good, well worn-in hiking boots
  • Personal first aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, antiseptic cream, after bite, anti-diarrhea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication. (Amazonas Explorer carries an extensive first aid kit & Oxygen on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only)

 

For a complete packing list, see the Suggested Packing List under the More Info Tab.

 

HOTEL / LODGE AMENITIES:  Breakfast, Restaurant, Swimming Pool, WiFi

BOAT AMENITIES: You do not stay on a boat on this trip

CAMP AMENITIES: You will not be camping on this trip

ROOM AMENITIES: Twin Beds, Double Beds, Queen Beds, Safebox, Telephone, Hot Water, Private Bathroom, Shower, Soap and Shampoo, Towels

ROOMING OPTIONS: Double, Triple, Single, Single Supplement

DESCRIPTION:

SACRED VALLEY HOTEL OPTIONS
3 Star Hotel: Villa Urubamba or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: San Agustin Monasterio or similar
4 Star Hotel: Sol y Luna or similar

CUSCO HOTEL OPTIONS
3 Star Hotel: Casa Esmeraldas or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: Casa Andina Classic San Blas or similar
4 Star Hotel: Hotel Picoaga or similar

MACHU PICCHU PUEBLO HOTEL OPTIONS
3 Star Hotel: Killa Inn or similar
3 Star Plus Hotel: Hotel Sanctuario or similar
4 Star Hotel: Hotel Taypikala or similar

GUAYAQUILHotel Oro Verde or similar

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND
Hotel Miconia
Casa Opuntia

ISABELA ISLAND
Wooden House
Hotel Albemarle

SANTA CRUSE ISLAND
Hotel Mainao
Hotel Fernandina
Villa Laguna

 

 

Local Tour Operator:

For more than 30 years Amazonas Explorer has used a different approach in leading high-quality trips and adventures in South America. While the company had its beginnings in adventure tourism, its success in building a strong team of knowledgeable guides has enhanced its ability to offer a range of innovative cultural tours. By raft, bike, foot, horse and even paddleboard, travelers are immersed in their surroundings to explore in unique ways the highlights of southern Peru, the company’s home turf. Every adventure with Amazonas Explorer is treated with impeccable care and top-notch services, all focused on the client’s comfort and safety.

The current owners, while originally from the United Kingdom, have lived and played in the Cusco region for more than 20 years. The itineraries they’ve crafted are based on places they love and activities they enjoy. Their obvious love for Peru shines through in the company’s efforts to maximize benefits to local economies and to promote responsible tourism across the country. Beginning in the home office, its professionally trained guides, cooks and support crew are well cared for as they build rewarding careers for themselves within the hierarchy of the company. With more than 20 office staff and a Peruvian team total of nearly 200, Amazonas Explorer prides itself on being a great place to work. On an Inca Trail hiking trip, for instance, it is likely you will have the support of porters who have been with the company more than 10 years. Amazonas has a porter protection policy in place and all employees enjoy the provisions of proper working conditions, fair wages, quality gear, and insurance.

Dedicated to sustainable tourism projects in alliance with local communities, Amazonas Explorer purchases local food and, when available, local equipment and gear. Its exceptional cultural experiences include engagement with local people and opportunities for travelers to purchase local crafts and weavings directly from their source. The largely paperless company takes significant steps to further reduce its carbon impact by minimizing its impact to the environment with small group sizes, smart transportation choices, recycling whatever it can, cooking with gas not kerosene or firewood and carefully disposing of all waste generated on trips. Above all, the entire crew of experts holds collective focus on safety and on providing memorable experiences that are equal to none. Amazonas Explorer is also a member of One Percent for the Planet, donating annually its time and money to reforestation efforts in Peru’s Lares Valley.

Guides:

Amazonas Explorer staff are true professionals dedicated to making your trip an unforgettable experience. From your first contact with our office sales staff to your guide’s briefing, the driver who picks you up from your hotel to the porters who carry your camping equipment, the cooks that prepare your meals to the muleteers who load the mules, our aim is to make your stay with us as comfortable and as memorable as possible. We love what we do, we love where we live and above all we love to share our knowledge of and respect for all the beautiful places we are going to show you.
Efrain Valles, Amazonas Explorer Guide

Efrain Valles – Trek guide and Tour Conductor
A graduate of Cusco’s Tupac Amaru University, Efrain’s knowledge of Peruvian history, culture and fauna together with his fluent English makes him one of our most popular trekking guides and tour conductors. His latest trip involved exploring the central highlands of Peru to set up a new trip for Christian Aid and he also leads all of our “Traidcraft- Meet the people tours”. His dream is to compete in the London Marathon.

Zacarias de Ugarte – Trek guide and Tour Conductor
Zacarias comes from a family of guides who were amongst the first to explore Peru and its potential as a travel destination. His ability to share his love of Peru, his wild sense of humour and deep love of all things Peruvian makes him one our most popular trek leaders and tour conductors. Several of the photos on this website were taken by “Zac” whilst leading trips for Amazonas Explorer.

Wilo Cardenas – Trek and Cultural tour guide
Wilo started out as a porter but decided to put himself through college where he met up with Efrain and Zacarias and then joined Amazonas Explorer as a trainee trek leader. Several years later, he leads his own treks, tours and has even been seen on a bike. His wicked sense of humour makes him great fun to be around but you might not want to believe everything he says!

Ruben Apaza – Trek and Cultural tour guide
“Chino” as he likes to be called once taught Peruvian history at uinversity but decided he preferred the great outdoors and joined Amazonas Explorer where he has excelled himself leading treks and tours throughout Peru. To travel with Ruben is like having your own friendly professor along to show you round.

Nilo Gamarra – Trek and Cultural tour guide
Nilo’s quiet confident manner with clients has made him a firm favourite to guide many of our cultural tours and treks. His knowledge of Machu Picchu, Cusco and surrounding ruins and his ability to share his love of all things Peruvian, make Nilo a very popular guide.

Alain Abril – Multi-Activity Guide
Alain has been studying tourism for so many years now, we are wondering if he’ll ever finish his course as for much of that time, he’s been delighting our clients, families and travellers with his amazing abilities as safety kayaker, head river guide, bike guide, family trip leader, charity trek leader and full on expedition leader. There are very few trips Alain hasn’t been on and if he doesn’t tire you out by day, his “Cusco by night” knowledge is truly impressive too.

Efrain Castro – Head River Guide
Efrain has been guiding the rivers of Peru and South America for over two decades and his unflappability on and off the river makes him a plus to have on any river journey. He also cooks a delicious camp meal and makes a mean Pisco Sour for the all important “Happy Hour” when on multi-day raft trips.

Jose Soldevila – Multi-Activity Guide
“Pepe Negro” has been guiding Rivers and Bike trips throughout Peru and Central America since early nineties and has been seen in a number of TV shows guiding celebrities such as Bruce Parry in his “Amazon” series in 2008 and the BBC wildlife unit’s “Wild and Dangerous” series in 1999. Fluent in English and German, Pepe loves to guide our Jungle rafting trips and is a skilled ornithologist as well as excellent camp cook and has enough stories up his sleeves to make even the rainiest day a truly memorable journey.

Juan Carlos Salazar – Mountain bike guide and Trek leader
I first met JC or “El chato” at the tender age of 16 in 1993 when I dragged him out of his brother’s bike shop to become our first bike mechanic. 15 years later, he’s gone to university and graduated in tourism, learnt English and travelled all over Peru with Amazonas Explorer. His infectious smile and competent manner with groups makes him always popular and he is still a legend on a bike, coming second in his category in the 2009 Mega Avalanche downhill race. He looks after all our bikes, cooks a delicious Spaghetti and can tell you all about the Incas too.

Simon Leishman – Mountain Bike Guide and Tour Conductor
Originally from Cornwall in the UK, Simon has been living in Cusco for over ten years. He is a highly experienced mountain leader and expert Mountain bike guide and leads many charity trips each year as well as running trips for Amazonas Explorer.

Javier Salazar – Bike Guide and Mechanic
Juan Carlos’s little brother works for us as a bike guide and mechanic and is studying English and tourism in his spare time. Amazing on a bike, he recently came first in a local Cusco downhill race despite breaking his collarbone crashing only a few months previously.

Gabriel Gygax – Bike and Tour guide
Gabriel studied tourism in Lima and did his internship with Amazonas Explorer. Since then, he has led bike trips, coordinated treks and school groups, and swum down most of the rivers chasing his kayak. He is at present helping to develop our “Green Policy” and recently joined us on our latest recce trip to cycle from Titicaca to Cusco.

Richard Pethigal – River Guide
Richard originally hails from California but has lived on the beach in Brazil and in Cusco for as long as we can all remember. When not taking our gear boat skilfully through the dangerous rapids of the Rio Apurimac, he can be found high above the Andes, flying customers in his tandem Paraglider.

Marcia Cardenas – Trainee Guide
Wilo’s little sister, Marcia joined us as a trainee trek guide a few years ago and now helps out on the Inca trail where possible. Her infectious smile and good nature has encouraged many an exhausted traveller to make it up Dead woman’s pass and as her English improves she will become regular and sure to be favourite amongst Amazonas Explorer groups in the years to come.

Aaron Zarate – River, Trek and Climbing guide
Aaron’s fluent English and competent river and mountain skills has led him to become first choice for many of our trips and he has been reported to have been able to talk the hind legs of a llama so there’s never a dull moment when Aaron is around!

John Leivers – Trek leader and TV Fixer
There’s hardly a country in the World that Australian John hasn’t travelled in, driven across or lead expeditions to but he now calls Peru his home. His in depth studies of the Incas and never ending fascination with all things Peruvian makes travelling with John like having your very own Peruvian encyclopaedia on board. John has helped “fix” several of our latest TV programs from Bruce Parry’s “Amazon” to the BBC’s Human Planet filming of the ritual battle called Chiaraje. His ability to micro-manage complex projects like this makes him an invaluable member of our team. When not working, John is always off exploring in search of Inca ruins, ancient trails and one day we are hoping he will write a book about it so we can find out where’s he’s been!

Other guides, logistics and Support staff
Besides the above mentioned, Amazonas Explorer support staff include cooks, porters, drivers, hotel transfer staff, horse wrangler, muleteers, tree planters and other specialist guides etc. In fact enough to provide at least 5 football teams at our annual get together and when added to wives and children, the extended Amazonas Explorer team has well over 200 of us all involved. We like to think of it as one huge family with the common shared aim of making sure your holiday to Peru is as memorable as possible. We love what we do and we hope you’ll enjoy the time you spend with us as much we will enjoy spending it with you.

TMI (Too Much Information)

SUGGESTED PACKING LIST

  • Town clothes for night life in Cusco
  • Hiking shorts (quick dry)
  • Hiking pants (quick dry)
  • T-shirts (quick dry)
  • A warm fleece, down jacket, or wool sweater (available in Cusco)
  • Thermal underwear
  • Underwear and socks
  • Warm hat, gloves, & scarf
  • Water proof jacket & pants and/or rain poncho
  • After trekking trousers & t-shirt
  • Good, well worn-in hiking boots
  • Trekking poles & protective tip covers
  • After trek shoes (sandals)
  • Water bottles (2 liter capacity)
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglasses or contacts (if necessary)
  • Swim suit (optional)
  • Sun hat
  • Flashlight & spare batteries
  • Book, notepaper & pen (optional)
  • Suntan lotion with 15 SPF or higher
  • After sun care
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera & spare battery
  • Personal toiletries
  • Money belt
  • Passport
  • Day pack & rain cover
  • Personal first aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, antiseptic cream, after bite, anti-diarrhea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication. (Amazonas Explorer carries an extensive first aid kit & Oxygen on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only)

 

HOW TO PACK 

For your day hikes, you will need a day backpack, large enough to hold water bottles, rain jacket & pants, a warm layer, sun screen, insect repellent, camera, and snacks. The day backpack makes a good carry-on for your flights.

For your main luggage, you can use whatever type of suitcase, duffle bag, or backpack you prefer. The main bulk of your luggage and your main suitcase will be left at your hotels during the day.

Pro Tip: We recommend carrying on all of your most essential items on your flights to Cusco. This way, if your checked luggage is lost in transit, you will still be able to do the trek. For example, wear or carry on your hiking boots. Good, comfortable, and broken-in hiking boots are irreplaceable. Also carry on any prescription medications, sunglasses, and anything else that is irreplaceable for you. Everything else necessary for your trip (trekking poles, rain jackets & pants, etc. can be found in Cusco).

NOTES

  • New rules at Machu Picchu limit the number of visitors to Huayna Picchu.  Please let us know when booking your trip if you wish to climb this peak so we can include your permits.
  • We recommend trekkers carry 200 soles in local currency during the day for any personal expenses, or purchasing local handicrafts in the towns and communities you will be visiting. 
  • Most good quality sporting equipment is unavailable in Peru so if you wish to donate any outdoor clothes, etc they will be gratefully received by any of our staff.
  • 1491 – Charles Mann
  • Turn Right at Machu Picchu – Mark Adams
  • The White Rock or Cochineal Red – Hugh Thomson
  • Exploring Manu or Where the Andes Meets the Amazon – Kim MacQuarrie & Andre Bartschii
  • Field Guide to the Birds of Machu Picchu – Barry Walter
  • Exploring Cusco – Peter Frost
  • Lost City of the Incas – Hiram Bingham
  • The Inca Trail – Richard Danbury
  • Neo-Tropical Companion – John C. Kricher
  • Running the Amazon – Joe Kane
  • The Last Days of the Incas – Kim MacQuarrie
  • Birds of Peru – Clive Byers
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thorton Wilder
  • Conquest of the Incas – John Hemmingway
  • Into the Forest of the Night – John Simpson
  • Touching the Void – Joe Simson
  • Heart of the Amazon – Yossi Ghinsberg
  • Inca Kola – Matthew Paris
  • Inca Gold – Clive Cussler
  • Realm of the Incas – Max Milligan
  • Peruvian Wildlife  – Gerard Cheshire, Huw Lloyd & Barry Walker
220 Volt outlets are standard in Peru, although outlets in most hotels and tourist areas can accommodate 110 Volt appliances. Peru uses two styles of outlets: two-pronged plugs with flat, parallel blades (same as the US), and two round prongs. Most outlets are designed to accommodate both styles.

GALAPAGOS: The electricity current in Ecuador & the Galapagos is 110 Hz, generally with a two-prong wall socket (Type A & Type B).

You will be hiking through several small communities and small towns, and you will have opportunities to purchase drinks, snacks, and local handicrafts in these communities. Bring small denominations of coins, as it is unlikely that they will have enough change for larger bills.

In the Galapagos Islands as you will stay in hotels in town, you will have opportunities to shop for t-shirts and other items. Dinners in the Galapagos are not included so you will be selecting your own restaurants (with input from your guide) and paying for your own meals. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants, and there are ATMs in San Cristobal and Santa Cruz Islands.

Smoking is not allowed in Machu Picchu, in hotel rooms, or enclosed public areas.

Safety:

SAFETY FIRST
Amazonas Explorer pride themselves on their safety record, and plan to maintain their claim as being the safest and best equipped team on any expedition. While rafting, safety kayaks and cata-rafts are present wherever deemed necessary, and guides carry an extensive emergency first aid kit and satellite telephones on all remote expeditions.  The key to Amazonas Explorer’s Safety Policy is their highly trained and superbly motivated staff. The guides make decisions that put safety above all else. These decisions include walking around rapids, waiting out for better weather, route changes, and limiting trip participation if a traveler is too sick to continue. They expect travelers to abide by these decisions.

RISK ASSESSMENT
Amazonas Explorer has undertaken a risk assessment for all activities that they offer. Individual risk assessments per activity are available on request. Travelers should be aware they are taking part in adventurous activities in remote locations with inherent risks including possible personal injury. They should be prepared to accept such inherent risks and personal injury that may occur on a trip of this nature. A prerequisite of joining an Amazonas Explorer trip is all travelers must take out personal travel insurance that will cover personal injury (including search & rescue) should any accident occur while partaking in an adventure, details of which must be given to their tour guide at the start of the trip.

GUIDE TRAINING
Amazonas Explorer considers training to be vital investment to ensure the security and safety of all their trips. They also believe that trained guides are confident guides which help them to relax and enjoy the trip which the company firmly believe will massively enhance your own personal enjoyment. Their guides are all qualified in first aid qualifications, the more senior guides in Wilderness First Aid by NOLS, and the majority by multi-day local courses run by medical organizations in the local area such as Hampiland, O2, Clinica Paredes, Clinicas Pardo, and San Jose. With all of these organizations, Amazonas Explorer has close contacts and experience this ensures that they are able to organize visits by doctors and treatments as quickly and as comfortably as possible.

TREKKING GUIDES
All guides have the necessary Tourism University degree required to be a registered guide. This course includes Peruvian history, languages, International tourist circuits, geography, geology, company organization, and administration. They have up to date Wilderness first aid certificates and a working knowledge of hypothermia and altitude sickness. They are aware of emergency & evacuation procedures at any point.

SAFETY RESPONSIBILITY OF PASSENGERS
People traveling with Amazonas Explorer are expected to abide by certain basic safety rules including:

  • Informing the guide of any medical condition or any other factors that may affect your or another traveler’s safety
  • Respecting the guide’s decisions
  • Being responsible and taking care of individual equipment that is assigned you
  • Keeping covered to avoid sun exposure and insect bites
  • Drinking plenty of water to avoid sunstroke and dehydration
  • Understanding that you are entering National parks and there are certain rules concerning, litter, waste, and wildlife that you must abide by
  • Being honest with yourself concerning how comfortable you are and if your limits are being pushed.
  • Advising your guide if any medical emergency arises that it left untreated could jeopardize the safety of the entire group.

Medical Attention:

The trekking guides have up to date Wilderness first aid certificates and a working knowledge of hypothermia and altitude sickness. They are aware of emergency and evacuation procedures at any point. Guides carry an extensive first aid kit and Oxygen on all trips, but this is generally for emergencies only.

Staff/ Crew on Trip: You will have one guide for a group of 1 to 7 travelers. You will have one guide and one assistant guide for groups of 8 to 16 travelers.

DETOUR'S POLICIES

DETOUR’S DISCLAIMER
Detour acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, activities, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Detour, LLC and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other incident which may be caused by the negligence, defect, default of any company or person in performing these services. Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws, or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they are provided. Detour, LLC is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours /trips arranged by Detour, LLC. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects.

Cancellations: If you cancel the trip at any point after confirmation, you will forfeit a $100 per person handling fee to Detour. This is separate and in addition to the fees, deposits, and payments potentially owed to the tour operator (see information below).

Trip Changes:  If you decide to make any changes to your trip (changes to your itinerary, travel dates, tours, or accommodations) after it is booked, you will incur a $50 change fee per person, per change.  Unavoidable changes (such as those imposed by an international flight schedule change) will not incur this fee.  Adding on services before or after your confirmed tour will not incur this fee.

Rate Changes to Domestic Flights, Park Entrance Fees, Government Taxes and Fuel Surcharges:  The rates for all these items are subject to change at any point and these fees or fee changes can be imposed on any trip, even after a trip has been confirmed and paid for in full.  These rate changes are beyond the control of Detour or our local operating partners.  Oftentimes, these changes are imposed by government decree and take effect immediately.  While this is a rare occurence and the rate changes themselves are typically quite small, these changes are unpredictable and sometimes unavoidable.  Travelers are responsible for any additional costs or fees due to these rate changes, even after the trip is paid in full.

Passports and Traveler Details:  Passengers are responsible for sending up-to-date and correct information that is requested in the “Trip Reservation Form.”  If any of those details change, it is the passenger’s responsibility to notify Detour of the change before the trip departure.  If you need to renew your passport prior to your trip, you must notify Detour that you will be renewing your passport and you will have to email a scanned copy of both your old and new passports to Detour.  Additionally, you will have to bring both passports with you on your trip. Please make sure that you request to receive your old passport at the start of the renewal process.

Airport Transfers:  Airport transfer rates are based on group size with the assumption that all travelers will be taking the same transfer.  If some travelers in your personal group arrive or depart on different days or at different times, additional airport transfers will have to be booked and the passenger is responsible for this additional cost.

DETOUR’S DISCLAIMER
Detour acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, activities, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Detour, LLC and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other incident which may be caused by the negligence, defect, default of any company or person in performing these services.  Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws, or other such causes.  All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they are provided. Detour, LLC is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours /trips arranged by Detour, LLC. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects. 

DETOUR’S CANCELLATION POLICY
If you cancel the trip at any point after confirmation, you will owe a $100 per person handling fee to Detour.  This is separate and in addition to the fees, deposits, and payments potentially owed to the tour operator (see information below).

AMAZONAS EXPLORER’S DISCLAIMER
Amazonas Explorer’s trips travel through remote and rarely visited parts of Peru and they believe travelers should be aware that the remoteness that makes these trips so very special could also cause certain problems. Thus, while Amazonas Explorer endeavors to minimize the chances of anything unexpected happening, it has to be noted that no itinerary can or should be rigidly adhered to. This is the very nature of adventure travel and they expect travelers to be prepared for delays and slight alterations in itineraries. At certain times of the year, these trips may be run with the activities (walking, trekking the Inca trail, mountain biking, rafting and jungle) taking place in a slightly different order to those indicated in the itinerary. This is to best suit the weather, take in any local fiestas, or due to availability of permits for the Inca Trail. In all cases, they will advise you of any changes in the itinerary as early as possible. They have taken all these possibilities into account when planning your expedition, and have allowed sufficient leeway to enable them to successfully run these exceptional trips. You should also be aware that adventure travel, in particular trekking, white-water rafting, inflatable canoeing, mountain biking and traveling in remote areas such as southern Peru, does carry with it certain inherent risks that you, the traveler, will have to assume. You will have to take out an adequate travel insurance to cover these risks. National flight time tables are also subjected to local weather conditions. Please ensure your travel insurance covers any cost incurred due to delayed and cancelled flights. Excess baggage is also at the traveler’s expense. A pre-departure meeting will be held upon your arrival in Peru. It is highly recommended you attend. All travelers will be asked to sign a release and waiver form and must provide a photocopy of their passport, Peru entry stamp and details of their travel insurance.

AMAZONAS EXPLORER’S CANCELLATION POLICY
1: We will invoice you on confirmation of your trip at which time a 20% deposit is required to hold your reservation or payment in full if less than two months prior to departure.
2: Full payment is required two months prior to trip departure unless previously negotiated credit terms with Amazonas Explorer.
If the trip is cancelled by yourselves, we reserve the right to charge:
A) A $200 or 20% non-refundable deposit. This covers the cost of Inca Trail clients’ and porters’ permits purchased on client’s behalf.
B) 60-15 days prior to departure we charge 50% of price.
C) 14 days or less we charge 100% of net price
In exceptional circumstances and entirely at our discretion, we can offer up to 50% off net price as an advance towards a future Amazonas Explorer fixed departure trip.

INCA TRAIL CANCELLATION POLICY
With the new Inca Trail regulations in force, Machu Picchu has become a very expensive and inflexible place to visit. Any last minute cancelling or dropping out of the Inca Trail during the trip has certain repercussions. An outline of extra expenses incurred as a result of cancellation and continuing to Machu Picchu via the Sacred Valley is detailed below. These extra expenses may be paid for directly by the client in situ. Full payment in cash US dollars will be required prior to agreeing to make any changes or alternative arrangements. A full receipt from Amazonas Explorer can be given to the passengers to claim of their insurance to cover all expenses incurred.

AMAZONAS EXPLORER’S BOOKING CONDITIONS
The purchase of Inca Trail permits is strictly controlled by the Peruvian Institute of Culture (INC). There are only 500 permits for guides, porters, and trekkers per day. This has led to very competitive demand with permits often being sold out three to four months in advance. With regard to any trip that involves trekking the Inca Trail, we are therefore introducing the following booking conditions.
1: Space on the trip cannot be confirmed until:
A): Full client information (Full name, Passport number, Nationality and Date of Birth) are sent to us in order to purchase your Inca trail permit.
B): Amazonas Explorer has confirmed that an Inca Trail permit is available for the trip of your choice.
C) The USD $200 non-refundable deposit has been paid.
2: Clients must bring with them the passport with which the permit was issued – ie the passport number that was provided us with at time of booking – otherwise entry to the Inca Trail will not be permitted.
3: Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and local ruins entrance fees for 2015 have not yet been confirmed and should there be a significant increase, Amazonas Explorer will not be able to assume this extra cost and the extra will  have be passed onto the clients
4: Any changes will be entirely at the discretion of the INC and, if possible, will incur a penalty fee of $50 per change.

INCA TRAIL CANCELLATION
Amazonas Explorer reserves the right to charge the following additional costs for a full alternative service. Discretion may be used by Amazonas Explorer as to the implementation of these costs.
1. More than five days before: (100% of permits is lost, pax food can be cancelled, admin fee). Alternative arrangements for a private Sacred valley tour, hotels and a train (if available) to join group in Aguas Calientes would incur costs of approx $150 extra.
2. Less than 5 days before. (100% of permit & porters is lost, food may be cancelled, admin fee). Alternative arrangements for a private Sacred valley tour, hotels and a train (if available) to join group in Aguas Calientes would incur costs of $250 extra.
3. The day before: (100% of permit, porters and food is lost). Alternative arrangements for a private Sacred valley tour, hotels and a train (if available) to join group in Aguas Calientes would incur costs of $350 extra.
4. Day 1 of Inca trail: (100% of permit, porters and food is lost). Alternative arrangements for a private Sacred valley tour, hotels and a train (if available) to join group in Aguas Calientes would incur costs of $350 extra. The travelers, if turned back on the Inca trail, are accompanied to KM88 by an Inca trail guide and put on the train back to Cusco or Ollantaytambo (with or without the guide depending on the health and attitude of the client.) The Guide would then have to catch up with the group to ensure their continued safety & enjoyment.
5. Day 2 of Inca trail: (100% of permit, porters and food is lost). Alternative arrangements for a guide to accompany passenger to join group in Aguas Calientes would incur costs of $350 extra. The passenger involved would have to continue on the train to Aguas Calientes (again with or without a guide depending on passenger condition), and catch a bus up to Machu Picchu and enter Machu Picchu on their Inca trail permit (this is valid only 1 day, the next day is $32 entrance payable in cash). They could if desired then walk back up to the sun gate and wait for the remaining Inca trail groups to arrive.
6. Day 3 of Inca trail: (100% of permit, porters and food is lost). Alternative arrangements for the guide to accompany passenger to join group in Aguas Calientes would incur costs of $350 extra. The guide would then be unable to return to the main group.
7. Day 4-5: This evacuation is to Machu Picchu. No extra cost incurred. Passengers should note an emergency evacuation helicopter is not always available in Cusco, depending on where in Peru the helicopter is. The Inca trail is a serious undertaking with very steep, high & remote passes. Passengers should not expect an easy evacuation at any point. Passengers are advised to be educated in the symptoms of High Altitude sickness and have the strength of character to turn back if considered too sick to continue or a danger to other clients’ safety. Our Inca trail guides have the final decision regarding passenger safety.

7:00 am – Breakfast at your hotel
8:00 am – Guide picks you up at your hotel & drive to trailhead
9:00 am – Begin hiking*
12:30-1:30 pm – Lunch break
3:30 pm – End hiking & drop off at your hotel

*Hiking is at a slow to moderate pace with plenty of time for rests and exploring the ruins and towns on route. This itinerary is flexible depending on the weather and group health.

Most hotels in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu Pueblo will have wifi and/or computers available. Your guide will have a satellite phone in case of emergencies.

In the Galapagos Islands most hotels have wifi, but it often is very slow and may not work well.

PERU TIPPING
Tipping in many countries can be a problem and can add a great deal of stress to your holiday. This is a rough guideline to try and help you work out how much you should tip. Remember Tipping is entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received.

For background, Peru has a minimum salary of 800 Nuevo Soles (US$300) monthly for a 6 day 48 hour week. However in many of the lower paid jobs (eg waiters, porters etc) this is not always enforced. 2.60 Peruvian Soles are roughly the equivalent of GBP 60p, USD$1 and 1 Euro.

AIRPORT BAGGAGE CARRIERS
Strictly this is not a tip as these people make their living by carrying your luggage from the carousel to your bus. The general rule is one or two soles per bag.

HOTEL STAFF
If the hotel staff are helpful and friendly a tip of roughly one / two Soles per bag for the porters helping carry bags to your room, and for the breakfast staff, leave on the breakfast table a tip of roughly one Sol per person per breakfast. In many hotels this is not expected but the staff will be grateful.

DRIVERS
Generally drivers doing transfers from the airport to hotel or vice-versa don’t expect tips.  However if you have a driver for a few days then it is generally expected to tip. Again the service supplied (ie. did he drive safely, did he help with luggage, was he friendly) should determine the size of the tip. A reasonable average would be a total of 10-30 Soles a day from the group.

SPECIALIST GUIDES
On many trips you will have a number of specialist guides e.g. cultural, jungle, rafting, biking, or trekking guides. In most instances these guides have spent a number of years studying at Colleges or Universities to qualify as guides. Generally these guides will be with you for a few days but sometimes just for a day trip.

As a general guideline it would be expected to tip each specialist guide US$10-30 a day in total from the group. Again the group size, depth of knowledge of their area or specialist skill, command of English and friendliness should help determine the tip.

TOUR CONDUCTORS
On some of our bigger tours you will be accompanied by a Tour Conductor who will help deal with all the small problems that crop up when travelling in a foreign non English speaking land. Again it would be expected that the group would tip the tour conductor around US$10 – 30 per day. The group size, their friendliness, patience, availability and ability to resolve your problems should help determine their tip.

RESTAURANTS
As with most places in the world it is normal to tip in restaurants if the service was reasonable and the food good. A tip of 5% would be adequate, 10% is normal and 15% would be considered excellent.

SUMMARY

Airport porters Minimum 1-3 Soles per bag – compulsory
Hotel staff 1-2 Sole per bag / per breakfast
Transfer drivers Generally not expected
Drivers 10-30 Soles per day total from the group
Specialist guides US$10-30 per day total from the group
Inca trail cooks, porters 100-200 Soles per client divided up following advice of guide
Tour Conductors US$10-30 per day total from the group
Restaurants 5-15% for adequate to excellent food and service

We hope you find the above information useful, remember this information is a general guide, the only rule with tipping is that:  IT IS VOLUNTARY

Laundry: Laundry services are available through your hotels in Cusco, Urubamba, and Machu Picchu Pueblo, but you may not have enough time in each hotel for your laundry to be done. It will depend on the individual hotel. Laundry services are not available during the trek.

Laundry services are available in each town in the Galapagos Islands.

Food and Special Diets: 

All dietary requirements from vegans, lactose intolerant, gluten allergies, and general dislikes can be catered for, so long as prior warning is given when booking the trip.

Drinking Water: 

Boiled, filtered, or iodized water is provided for drinking for your day hikes. Please bring a refillable water bottle. While you’re in hotels in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu Pueblo, you will be responsible for procuring your own drinking water.

 

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