Trails, Turtles & Treks (Start Guayaquil, End Cusco)

Want to see and do it all? Can’t decide whether to hike the iconic Inca Trail or discover the world’s number one destination for wildlife, the Galapagos? Well my friend, this is the trip for you. Say hello to giant tortoises, puffer fish & Peruvian llamas, before embarking on a once in a lifetime adventure to one of the man-made wonders of the world, Machu Picchu.

Destination: South America

Travel Dates: From 18/03/2017 to 26/01/2018

Duration: 14 days

Company: Contiki

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  • Accommodation
    13 nights accommodation: 3 nights camping & 10 nights twin-share hotel accommodation
    4 flights & transfers
    Transportation in a private air-conditioned coach, mini-coach or van
    Sightseeing tours of all major areas

    23 meals: 13 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 6 dinners

    An experienced & professional Trip Manager
    English speaking local guides

More Information

Day 1
Guayaquil to Isabela Island
After our flight, we'll make our way to the cute little town of Puerto Ayora, but not before your first taste of the incredible natural habitat here - en route we'll stop to check out the famed giant tortoises in their natural surroundings, and some of the incredible old lava tunnels (some over 1km long) winding their way under the island of Santa Cruz.
We’ll stop for lunch before getting out on the water for our first boat ride to Isabela - this nature haven is home to land and sea life that will astound and amaze. Once we arrive on the island we'll head to town for our first night in the Galapagos National Park.
As you chill and get to know your travel buddies keep an eye out for the friendly reintroduced wild tortoises roaming around. Tonight, relax over dinner & get ready for two nights in this beautiful spot.

Day 2
Isabela Island
This morning we’ll grab some kayaks & get out on the water around Las Tintoreras where we’ll set out in search for the Galapagos Penguin – the only penguin found north of the Equator! On return, spot colourful fish as you snorkel the underground lava tubes. This area is often frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom, so make sure you are on the lookout for these incredible creatures as you snorkel through the clear blue water.

Then this afternoon we’ll walk to the Wall of Tears. From 1945 to 1959 this place held prisoners who were forced to build this wall stone by stone. At 25m tall, it took thousands of lives during its construction. Legend has it that cries of those lost can be heard at the site.

Day 3
Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island
This morning we’ll head to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the island’s natural history on a guided tour, before we take off Santa Cruz Island.
Before heading to Santa Cruz Island, you can choose to chill or get active, it's up to you! If you feel like getting out and about, this afternoon’s optional activity is a guided trip to the gorgeous Tortuga Bay. After a half an hour stroll along a path you'll arrive at a stretch of white sandy beach where marine iguanas sunbathe. You also have an opportunity to kayak in the bay in search of sharks, rays, turtles, and great blue herons. This pristine beach is absolute heaven!
Not ready to wield a paddle? No worries – this is the perfect opportunity to sun bathe, body surf, surf, or look for marine iguanas, lava gulls and the famous blue- footed boobies. If you aren’t feeling up for the walk, take to the streets and go local or head to town to shop for souvenirs or relax.

Day 4
Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island
This morning we’ll pay a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, once home to one of the island’s most famous residents, the world-famous Lonesome George – who was 100 years old when he died. Here you’ll observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas brought back from the brink of extinction and learn about this centre and research facility.
Later we're back on the boat as we head to our next island, San Cristobal. - keep an eye out for bathing sea lions that the island is known for! This island is made up of four volcanoes – all extinct – and later, we’ll head up into the highlands for a scenic downhill bike ride. Starting at a panoramic viewpoint called La Soledad, we’ll bike through the tiny town of El Progreso and five different and varied vegetation zones until we reach a beach La Loberia beach. From there you can check out some of the other locals - we’ll be able to watch cute sea lions sun bathing, playing and vying for our attention.
Tonight, it’s all about relaxing over drinks at one of our favourite local spots while watching the sunset.

Day 5
San Cristobal Island
Today we take to the water to get our last glimpse of the famous and equally incredible underwater world of Galapagos. First we’ll cruise along the coast in our boat where our Local Guide will point out the species of shore birds like the Great Frigatebird and other native species.
We begin our stay in search of wildlife and then we are off to Kicker Rock (or Leon Dormido as it’s known by the locals) the remains of a tuff cone - Kicker Rock rising a massive over 143m out of the ocean (that's about 50 floors in building terms).
We’ll check out the underwater landscape as we head along the edge and through a channel of this drastic compact ash formation. Your Local Guide will keep you in the know as we look out for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, chocolate chip starfish, and, with any luck, a Galapagos Shark or two. Don’t worry, they won’t be as interested in you as you are in them, so it's perfectly safe.
Later we’ll head to Puerto Grande, a beautiful beach which is our final stop for the day. After lunch on board, spend your time swimming in the turquoise water or snapping photos of Kicker Rock in the distance. We’ll head back to town late afternoon where we'll be treated to one of the best BBQ’s in the Galapagos at one of the local’s favorite spots to celebrate a great Galapagos trip.

Day 6
San Cristobal Island to Lima
Today we fly to Lima & we get acquainted with the city before we meet up with more of our group.

Day 7
Lima to Cusco
Your Peruvian adventure starts today, meet up with your fellow explorers before your Inca Trail Trek

Day 8
Cusco to Sacred Valley
Say farewell to Cusco this morning as we make our way to the Sacred Valley of the ancient Incas.

The Sacred Valley was the heart of the Inca’s agricultural setting and an important ceremonial region, with the sacred sites of Cuzco at one end and Machu Picchu at the other and countless ceremonial sites in between. Our first stop is to one of these sites, Pisac. On our guided tour we will see two of the most important aspects of the Inca culture – terracing – a farming technique created by the Inca’s and their religion. We’ll take a walk before descending in the village below for a quick visit to the market. This will be great practice for those who have chosen the one-day hike to Machu Picchu tomorrow. Don’t miss the town’s huge wood-oven bakery!

After a stop for lunch in Urubamba we’ll make our way to one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns of South America – Ollantaytambo.
On our way, we can see the ‘salineras’ or salt mines of the area from a distance. For hundreds of years these pools, constructed by the Inca’s, have provided salt to the surrounding communities.

We’ll also make a quick stop to try the local brew “Chicha de Jora” (traditional beverage made from fermented maize) and play a traditional Peruvia game of “Sapo” (Frog) if you’re up for it.

We soon arrive to the town and archaeological site of the same name, Ollantaytambo, the last fully-functioning Inca town. We’ll wander around the site or visit the still inhabited Inca buildings before checking into the hotel.

Day 9
Inca Trail Trek
This morning the adventure will really begin! We will drive to Piscacucho village, at kilometre 82 of the Cusco-Machupicchu Railway, we’ll begin the hike up through the Valley of Wayllabamba, at a relatively easy pace to get acclimatised to the altitude. We'll hike until we reach the first archaeological complex of Llactapata. We'll then continue on until we reach the Wayllabamba campsite, our highest point of the day at 3,000m above sea level and will be our base for the night.

Km hiking : 11.5 Km

Average time hiking: 6 hours

Please note: This is a flexible itinerary. Space to trek the Inca Trail is in high demand with limited spaces each day. As a result, the 4-day hike may be on different days than specified.

Day 10
Inca Trail Trek
On our second day we begin our ascent, to a place called Yunca Chimpa, on the way we will see the nature and ecological change in the region. From here we will continue up to Llulluchapampa (3,750 metres). From this point we can see the Wayllabamba valley and Warmiwañusca (Located at 4,200 metres) also called Dead Woman Pass. We will then descend to our campsite at Pacaymayo (3,600m) in the afternoon.

Km Hiking : 10.5 KM

Average time Hiking: 7 hours

Please note: This is a flexible itinerary. Space to trek the Inca Trail is in high demand with limited spaces each day. As a result, the 4-day hike may be on different days than specified.

Day 11
Inca Trail Trek
The third day will start with an ascent to the Ruins of Runkurakay, an inca resting place and see us climb to Runkurakay pass which is 3,860m. We start the descent to the impressive Archeaological Site of Sayaqmarca (3,600m), a mysterious inca outpost. We'll continue to the Archaeological centres of Phuyupatamarca ”Town Above the Cloud"" (3,600m), then finish the day at our campsite and final site of the day, Wiñay Wayna ruins (Forever Young) located at 2,650m (8,694 ft.)

Km Hiking : 14 KM

Average time Hiking: 8 hours

Please note: This is a flexible itinerary. Space to trek the Inca Trail is in high demand with limited spaces each day. As a result, the 4-day hike may be on different days than specified.

Day 12
Machu Picchu to Sacred Valley
It’s our final morning on the trail and today we walk towards the Sun Gate, where you'll have your first glimpse of Machu Picchu and get the feeling that you've conquered an enchanted land! Explore the magical ancient ruins & imagine life as it was in the Inca times. Spend the day uncovering the mystery of these amazing Inca ruins before returning to the Sacred Valley for some much needed R&R.

Km hiking : 6 Km

Average time hiking: 3.5 hours

Please note: This is a flexible itinerary. Space to trek the Inca Trail is in high demand with limited spaces each day. As a result, the 4-day hike may be on different days than specified.

Day 13
Sacred Valley to Cusco
Today we make our way back to Cusco via the Sacred Valley.  We will stop at the weaving community of Chinchero, one of the great local causes supported by Contiki, ContikiCares & The TreadRight Foundation, in partnership with the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, launched a grants program in 2015 that seeks to support local artisans. You will visit the Cusco Centre for Textile Traditions, one of the first recipients of the new grants program. The centre employs more than 500 people from the Cusco region in an effort to maintain the more than 10,000 year old Andean weaving traditions. We will then arrive back to Cusco. Enjoy a free afternoon; relax with a book or wander the town before we meet up with the group for our farewell dinner.

Please note: This is a flexible itinerary. Space to trek the Inca Trail is in high demand with limited spaces each day. As a result, the 4-day hike may be on different days than specified.

Day 14
Depart Cusco
Don’t forget to swap addresses with your mates and Tour Manager, as our South American adventure ends this morning after breakfast.

Guayaquil to Isabela Island
Boat ride to Isabela Island
See Galapagos' famous giant tortoises
Visit the lava tunnels
Isabela Island
Visit the Wall of Tears
Snorkelling experience
Wildlife kayaking adventure
Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island
Guided tour of the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
Visit Tortuga Bay
Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island
See the island's famous sea lions
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
San Cristobal Island
Boat cruise & off shore bird spotting experience
Explore Kicker Rock
Indulge in our Galapagos BBQ feast
Visit Puerto Grande Beach
Cusco to Sacred Valley
Entry into the Sacred Valley & a guided tour of the ancient ruins of Pisac & Ollantaytambo
Try some local Chicha de Jora
Inca Trail Trek
Inca Trail and Machu Picchu guided tour
Sacred Valley to Cusco
Visit the weaving community of Chinchero, a TreadRight sponsored initiative

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