WHY THIS TRIP
The luxurious Origin & Theory Galapagos Cruise and Machu Picchu trip offers the best of each destination: great wildlife viewing in the Galapagos, and amazing culture and history in Peru. The Origin and Theory yachts have 2 naturalists on board, meaning your nature walks have fewer travelers to each guide. In Peru, you take in the very best Inca sites in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, and culminating in a deep exploration of the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. World-class local guides get you away from the crowds for this fascinating exploration of the Inca Empire and the Enchanted Islands.
This trip can be taken going to Peru first and then the Galapagos, or to the Galapagos first and then Peru. Either way is great! The description here is for Peru first.
Your exploration of the Inca Empire begins with your arrival into Cusco in the morning on the second day of your trip (the first day is for international travel). You’ll meet your guide for lunch at the Coffee Museum and then take to the streets for a walking tour of this fascinating city.
Next you’ll explore Sacsayhuaman, a massive ruins complex just outside of Cusco before heading to the Sacred Valley of the Incas to visit the ruins and markets of Pisac. Most people go to Pisac in the morning, so you’ll be missing the crowds by spending more time around Cusco before going there.
You continue your exploration of the Sacred Valley with a visit to the fascinating circular ruins of Moray and the spectacular saltpans of Maras (with an optional hike), followed by a traditional Pachamanca lunch at an organic farm. A Pachamanca is a traditional way of preparing food in the Andes. In the absence of a stove an oven is built out of stones, the stones are heated with a wood fire and once brought to a very high temperature, the stones are placed carefully with the vegetables meat and seasoning. The food is then covered with grass and banana leaves before being covered by a mound of earth. After 45 minutes the meal is ready and we have the pleasure of digging our delicious potatoes, yams, corn, fava beans, lamb, pork, alpaca, and chicken straight from the earth. If there is time, you can explore the town and ruins of Ollantaytambo. Late in the afternoon, you head by train to Aguas Calientes for the night.
Finally you arrive at Machu Picchu! In the morning, you enjoy a private guided tour of Machu Picchu with your incredible guide. If you want, you can get optional permits to hike Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain, two short and very steep hikes that give you a birds eye view of the ruins (additional cost). Or you can wander around Machu Picchu ruins on your own, soaking in the amazing site. In the afternoon, you return to Cusco.
Leaving Cusco the following morning, you travel to Guayaquil, Ecuador. It’s not possible to get from Cusco to the Galapagos all in one day, so you have a quick overnight stay in Guayaquil. But that’s okay! You can try encebollado, an amazing seafood and onion soup.
The following morning you hop on a short flight to the Galapagos Islands! Ecoventura, the operator of the Theory and Origin yachts, has a well-deserved reputation for offering quality trips while also being leaders in sustainable tourism. They are dedicated to using tourism in the Galapagos as a means to protect the islands for perpetuity, and were among the first Galapagos companies to receive the Smart Voyager certification.
A trip on the Origin or Theory will be a top Galapagos luxury cruise experience, as the yachts have well thought out itineraries designed to allow passengers to really experience the best of the Galapagos Islands. They visit many of the more remote but less visited sites in the islands.
Additionally, the yachts have 20 passengers each so that there are 2 naturalists on board each boat, giving a guide to passenger ratio of 1:10 instead of the standard 1:16 on most other boats.
Menus have recently been updated to provide more fresh gourmet food, and dining will be a highlight of the trip. The yachts also have an open bar for local beers, wines, and liquors (premium drinks have additional cost).
The use of snorkeling equipment (mask, fins, snorkel), wetsuits, beach towels, kayaks and even stand up paddle boards (SUPs) are all included in the cost of the cruise. Likewise mineral water, soda, juice, coffee and tea are available at no cost.
LOCAL OPERATORS: AMAZONAS EXPLORER & ECOVENTURA
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.
Ecoventura: Since 1990 Ecoventura has been providing thoughtful, fun cruises in the Galapagos Islands. For travelers who appreciate small groups, quality accommodations, ideal guide-to-passenger ratio and eco-friendly, sustainable cruises, a trip on the Letty, Theory, Origin, or Evolve provides a safe, thrilling adventure in which great care is taken to keep the Galapagos biologically pristine. The cruise ships are comfortable, eco-friendly and becoming friendlier in order to further reducing the company’s carbon footprint. The company supports environmental education and marine conservation projects in the Galapagos and Galapagos communities by employing locals, purchasing local supplies and sponsoring a local school and a nonprofit.