Active Adventures |  Iguana -  Peru and Galapagos Explorer

Cuzco, Peru to Quito, EcuadorOur 13-day ‘Iguana’ trip has been a long time in the making. Inside two weeks, you’ll experience the absolute best that Peru and the Galapagos Islands have to offer. You’ll travel in comfort and style, get off the beaten track, stay in fantastic locally owned accommodations, meet the locals and experience some of the world’s most iconic landscapes and monuments - all in typical Active Adventures style of course.You’ll cycle into the Sacred valley of the Incas, hike the Huchuy Qosqo Trail, experience Machu Picchu and explore the wonders of Cuzco. And that’s just Peru!After flights north to Quito, you’ll head to the Galapagos Islands where you’ll snorkel with seals, hike around one of the world’s largest volcanic craters, sea kayak near Isabela Island, get up close to all manner of wild creatures and relax on isolated beaches. If you’re only likely to visit this part of South America once in your life, we’ll make sure it’s a trip that you never forget.

  • Highlights

    Explore a lava tunnel

    Explore Cuzco, Lima and Quito

    Explore Machu Picchu 

    Hike and cycle in the Sacred Valley of the Incas 

    Hike Sacsayhuamán fortress

    Hike Sierra Negra Volcano and Santa Cruz Island

    Hike to Huchuy Qosqo

    Kayak Isabela Island

    Kayak Isabela Island

    Meet giant tortoises and iguanas

    Ollantaytambo archaeology tour

    Snorkel Kicker Rock

    Swim with turtles and rays at Kicker Rock

  • What's Included

    All accommodations
    Charming hotels in the Galapagos Islands and in the cities.
    Local lodges in the smaller villages.

    All activities
    This trip has exploded in popularity. Afterall, where else can you find a trip that allows you to hike and bike in the Andes, and then hike, bike, kayak and snorkel in the Galapagos? And then throw in market visits, Inca ruins, Giant Tortoise and the Charles Darwin Research Centre, and you have an epic adventure.

    All guiding services
    You’ll have an experienced Active Adventures guide with you for the duration of the trip. And of course you'll also have specialist local guides in select locations.

    All meals
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner, except days ten and eleven where you'll be free to eat dinner where you choose.

    All transport
    Airport transfers on the first and last days.
    International flights from Peru to Ecuador.
    Domestic flights to and from the Galapagos Islands.
    All boat transport.

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    Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
  • Itinerary

    DAY 1 - ARRIVE IN CUZCO, HIKE SACSAYHUAMÁN FORTRESS

    Our trip starts in Cuzco, the heart of the Inca empire. After lunch, we’ll set off for a walk around this amazing ancient city and up to Sacsayhuamán fortress overlooking the main Plaza and Cuzco Valley. The fortress is a magnificent archaeological site representing a set of jaguar’s teeth with massive, perfectly fitted stones weighing up to 130 tonnes each and was the place where the Incas made their final stand against the Spanish conquistadores. No one really knows what the Incas used Sacsayhuamán for – some say it was a sanctuary and temple of the sun, others say it was a granary, and yet another theory is that it was the place where the old Inca king would play football using the heads of his enemies! No matter who is right, you’ll have a lot of fun hearing all the stories this amazing area inspires. Later, we’ll take a walk through the colourful Cuzco street markets. If you prefer, you can take some time to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Cuzco’s lively town square and meet up again later for an evening meal.Hotel Royal Inca I or Hotel San Agustin, Cuzco (Lunch, Dinner)Hiking Distance: 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), 1-2 hoursElevation Gain: 200 metres (656 feet)Elevation Loss: 200 metres (656 feet)

     

    DAY 2 - CYCLE SACRED VALLEY, VISIT PISAC MARKET, HIKE PISAC RUINS

    We’ll head into the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas this morning, stopping just above Cuzco, where we’ll jump on our bikes and ride down through breath-taking scenery, dotted with local villages and surrounded by the massive green slopes of the Andes. We’ll finish our ride in the small town of Pisac, where we’ll have a chance to check out the colourful mercado artesanal. From here, we’ll begin a spectacular hike up to the Pisac ruins. It’s a heart-pumping walk up through ancient agricultural terraces – you’ll never forget the views of Pisac and the Urubamba Valley! After exploring the ancient complex, we’ll descend the original Inca stairways and head further into the Sacred Valley. Our home for the night is the small village of Yucay, in the heart of the Peruvian Andes.Sonesta Posada Del Inca, Yucay (All meals)Sacred Valley Biking Distance: 20 kilometres (12 miles), 2-4 hours (flexible)Pisac Ruins Hiking Distance: 7 kilometres (4.3 miles), 2-4 hoursElevation Gain: 450 metres (1,476 feet)Elevation Loss: 450 metres (1,476 feet)

     

    DAY 3 - EXPLORE CHINCHERO, HIKE TO HUCHUY QOSQO

    We’ll set off early this morning and head to the remote market village of Chinchero. Said to be the birthplace of the rainbow, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time 500 years while we explore the cobbled alleyways and beautiful town square – still the main trading centre of the Incas from over half a century ago. From Chinchero, we’ll drive past the Piuray Lagoon and on to the Andean village of Tauca, where we’ll begin our hike to Huchuy Qosqo. The dramatic mountain views of the Urubamba range and deep valleys below are off the charts! As we make our way over the Pucajasa Mountain Pass, we’ll pass through high mountain meadows, lagoons and indigenous communities that have little contact with the outside world. Shortly before lunch we’ll arrive at the spectacular ruins of Huchuy Qosqo (Little Cuzco), thought to be the remnants of an Inca hideaway village. After lunch, we’ll hike down to Lamay village and drive a short distance to Ollantaytambo, where we’ll take an unforgettable train ride down to the sub-tropical village of Aguas Calientes. You’ll have a chance to wander around this colourful little town before dinner and relax after a full day of hiking!Aguas Calientes Hotel, Aguas Calientes (All meals)Hiking Distance: 13.5 kilometres (8.4 miles), 5-7 hoursElevation Gain: 579 metres (1,900 feet)Elevation Loss: 1,524 metres (5,000 feet)

     

    DAY 4 - VISIT MACHU PICCHU

    After an early breakfast, we’ll head up to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, where we’ll meet our local guide who will show us around this fascinating ancient city. Afterwards, you’ll have all morning to explore the many passageways and stone structures of this mysterious place on your own. We’ll also have the chance to hike to the Sun Gate for a unique perspective on these remote Inca ruins, set high on top of a mountain surrounded by lush peaks. After plenty of time to explore Machu Picchu, we’ll take a scenic train ride back to Ollantaytambo, known to the locals simply as ‘Ollanta’.Hotel Samanapaq, Ollantaytambo (All meals)Hiking Time: 1-3 hoursElevation Gain: 200 metres (656 feet)Elevation Loss: 200 metres (656 feet)

     

    DAY 5 - OLLANTAYTAMBO ARCHAEOLOGY TOUR, HIKE TO LAS SALINERAS

    Ollanta is dominated by two large ruins and is the best surviving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobblestone streets that have been inhabited since the 13th Century! The Ollantaytambo ruins offer a fascinating insight into Inca archaeology, so we’ll spend the morning with a local guide discovering the site, placing our travels into context. Later, we’ll take an incredible hike into the majestic Valle Sagrado de Los Incas. After a visit to the town of Maras, we’ll hike down to the salt pans of Las Salineras with the Rio Urubamba and the Sacred Valley below us. These unique salt terraces have been used since Inca times and provide a great opportunity to hone your camera skills. A hot spring at the top of the valley discharges a small stream of heavily salt-laden water that the Incas diverted into shallow pools to produce salt, and this is still done today.Hotel Royal Inca I or Hotel San Agustin, Cuzco (All meals)Hiking Distance: 4 kilometres (2.5 miles), 1-3 hoursElevation Gain: 200 metres (656 feet)Elevation Loss: 200 metres (656 feet)

     

    DAY 6 - FREE MORNING IN CUZCO, AFTERNOON FLIGHT TO LIMA

    Cuzco is the archaeological capital of the Americas and it’s a fabulous place to wander around and get a taste for an ancient city arriving in the 21st century! Walk along Cuzco’s central streets, lined with massive Inca-built stone walls that form the foundation of the city and blend into the colonial and modern architecture that has been added over the years. You can take some time this morning to explore Cuzco’s most popular temples, museums, churches and fortresses. There’s no shortage of great food and entertainment in Cuzco, with restaurants to suit any taste, cafés for coffee in the Plaza de Armas and great bars with local music. This afternoon we’ll take the short flight to Lima and arrive in time to have dinner together as a group.Hotel Allpa, Miraflores, Lima (Breakfast, Dinner)

     

    DAY 7 - FLY TO QUITO AND EXPLORE THE OLD TOWN

    This morning we’ll take a flight from Lima up to Ecuador’s capital. Quito is a mesmerising city to visit, with its cobbled streets and towering cathedrals, nestled in a valley flanked by majestic mountains. On a clear day, several snow-capped volcanoes are visible from the capital. As well as being in a beautiful location, this colonial city is rich in history and much of the old town is well preserved, the buildings are unchanged and to walk down the narrow streets is to step into bygone eras. After lunch we’ll go and explore the Old Town, and then in the evening we’ll chat with our guides about the Galapagos journey that lies ahead.Hotel EB, Quito (All meals)

     

    DAY 8 - FLY TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    We’ll hop back on the plane for a short flight to Santa Cruz Island, in the heart of the Galapagos Archipelago. After settling in, we’ll take a short stroll into the amazing cloud forest highlands to explore - it’s hard to believe we were in the Peruvian Andes a few days ago! Once there, we’ll have a chance to see giant tortoises in their natural environment, along with intriguing birdlife like the vermillion flycatcher. Later, we’ll take a look inside the lava tunnels scattered throughout the highlands. These tunnels were formed by molten lava flowing beneath the surface, which left behind large tube-like caves, some almost a mile long!Posada del Mar Hotel, Santa Cruz Island (All meals)

     

    DAY 9 - VISIT TORTUGA BAY, CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION

    This morning we’ll hike to Tortuga Bay, one of the most stunning beaches in the Galapagos. Tortuga Bay is accessible only by foot and is home to hundreds of prehistoric-looking marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and pelicans. Later, we’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the breeding programs that are saving vulnerable species of tortoises and land iguanas. Also, there will be a chance to see different types of carapace that help differentiate the tortoise species. This afternoon, we’ll head to Isabela Island - the largest and Western-most Island in the Galapagos.Hotel Albemarle, Isabela Island (All meals)Hiking Distance: 6.5 kilometres (4 miles), 1-2 hours

     

    DAY 10 - HIKE SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO AND SEA KAYAK ISABELA ISLAND

    Our hike today will take us towards the summit of Sierra Negra volcano, rising nearly a mile above the ocean. See the lowland vegetation change before your eyes as we ascend through a lunar-like landscape on our way towards the top. This is one of the largest volcanic calderas in the world, and one of the most active. As we hike, we might be lucky enough to see Galapagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches and fly-catchers that inhabit this region. We'll head back down to sea level in time for lunch and then for a kayaking trip in the calm waters of Isabela Bay. Here we’ll have the chance to see some of the island’s most amazing wildlife up close. Marine iguanas bask in the sun, blue-footed boobies sit in pairs on the rock tops and Sally Lightfoot crabs scurry out of our way along the water’s edge. In the clear waters below us, rays gracefully swim by and turtles pop up for a breath of air.Hotel Albemarle, Isabela Island (Breakfast, lunch)Hiking Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles), 2-3 hoursElevation Gain: 65 metres (213 feet)Elevation Loss: 65 metres (213 feet)Kayaking Time: 1-2 hours

     

    DAY 11 - VISIT GIANT TORTOISE BREEDING CENTRE, SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND AND VISIT LA LOBERIA

    This morning, we’ll head to a Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre where we can meet these majestic prehistoric creatures and learn about the efforts being made to conserve the species. Later, we’ll take a short flight to San Cristobal Island and head to La Loberia - a beach that is home to a large sea lion colony and nursery. You’re not likely to see this many sea lions in one place anywhere else in the world! This evening, we’ll dine on local produce and fresh fish.Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin Hotel, San Cristobal (Breakfast, lunch)

     

    DAY 12 - SNORKEL KICKER ROCK AND CYCLE SAN CRISTOBAL HIGHLANDS

    Today we’ll cruise to Kicker Rock off the coast of San Cristobal, where we’ll either snorkel or don wet suits, snorkels and masks (and tanks for the divers – diving option add US$250) and explore the around the remains of an underwater volcano with a rock face rising 150 metres (500 feet) above the surface of the water. Afterward we can visit one of three beaches - Manglecito, Puerto Grande and Cerro Brujo and enjoy lunch here. After lunch, we’ll head to the town of La Soledad to bike down through the lush highland cloud forest that blankets the top of the island.Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin Hotel, San Cristobal (All meals)Snorkel Isla Lobos & Kicker Rock: 2 snorkels, 30-45 minutes eachORDive Isla Lobos & Kicker Rock: 2 dives, 30-45 minutes eachBiking Distance: 14.5km (9 miles), flat, 2-3 hours

     

    DAY 13 - VISIT INTERPRETATION CENTRE, FLY TO QUITO, DEPART

    This morning, you're free to visit San Cristobal Interpretation Centre to learn about the history and mystery of the archipelago, from its discovery and what makes it so special, to Charles Darwin’s visit and the present day efforts to protect this amazing World Heritage Site. Afterwards, we’ll take a short flight back to Quito on the mainland, and depart for home. We’ll make sure you return home relaxed and refreshed from all the great activities, fine food and friendly people you’ll have met while travelling with us in Peru and the Galapagos Islands.(Breakfast, Lunch)

 

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