See the best of Peru and the Galápagos Islands on this epic 15-day adventure. Spend the first week exploring Lima's coastline, the charming streets of Cusco, the famous Machu Picchu, and the Inca monuments of the Sacred Valley. Then fly to Ecuador, where you'll have a day in colorful Guayaquil before continuing to the Galápagos for a week of hiking, snorkeling, boating, and wildlife spotting.


  • Hike around the colorful scenery at Rainbow Mountain
  • Explore the ancient Inca ruins of the Sacred Valley
  • Tour Machu Picchu with an expert guide
  • Snorkel around incredible rock formations at Los Túneles

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, Explore  Lima
Day 2 Guided City Tour Lima
Day 3 Fly to Cusco, Explore Cusco
Day 4 Day Trip to Rainbow Mountain  Cusco
Day 5 Transfer to the Sacred Valley Ollantaytambo
Day 6 Train to Aguas Calientes, Visit Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco Cusco
Day 7 Day Trip to Maras, the Ruins of Moray & the Salt Mines of Salineras Cusco
Day 8 Fly to Lima & Guayaquil (Ecuador), Explore Guayaquil
Day 9 Fly to Isla Baltra (Galápagos Islands), Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz Isla Santa Cruz
Day 10 Kayak in Tortuga Bay & Tour Isla Santa Cruz Isla Santa Cruz
Day 11 Speedboat & Snorkeling Excursion of Los Túneles Isla Isabela
Day 12 Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano Isla Isabela
Day 13 Standup Paddleboarding & Dinner by the Sea Isla Santa Cruz
Day 14 Explore an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 15 Transfer to Isla Baltra, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Explore

Welcome to Lima
Enjoy a beautiful evening in Lima and check out Lima Metropolitan Cathedral

Welcome to Lima! Your driver will meet you in the arrivals hall and take you to your hotel. The capital of Peru was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Known for its scenic coastline and buzzing food scene, cosmopolitan Lima offers an excellent introduction to Peru's culture and history.

You'll have the afternoon and evening free to walk around and explore, sampling classic dishes like ceviche and trying a pisco sour, the national cocktail. Get some rest at your hotel before a formal tour of the city on day two.

Day 2: Guided City Tour

Highlights of Lima-  City Tour
Today you'll take a closer look at Lima and its sights, like Plaza San Martín

After breakfast, you'll go on a guided tour of Lima. Begin by taking in a panoramic view of the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca temple from the fourth century. Then you'll visit the Parque del Amor in the district of Miraflores with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Stop at Plaza San Martín, where you'll have time to take pictures.

The next stop will be Plaza Mayor. Stop in the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace. Visit San Francisco Monastery and its Catacombs, then head to the Bodega & Quadra Museum, ending the tour at the Santo Domingo Convent, where you'll climb the observation tower. Return to your hotel to spend the rest of your afternoon at leisure.

Day 3: Fly to Cusco, Explore

Arrival to Cusco and Tour of the City
Discover Cusco as you amble its streets and visit the Cathedral and Convent of Santo Domingo

This morning, catch a domestic flight to Cusco. Your driver will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. In the afternoon, begin a city tour and consider visiting the Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo, and Koricancha (an Inca temple). Continue to the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman. The building was probably used for religious purposes, but the Spanish assumed it was a military structure due to its location and style.

Continue to Qenko, a sacred place where ancient ceremonies were performed in honor of the sun, the moon, and the stars. Visit Tambomachay, a religious site linked to water and the regeneration of the earth. You'll have the evening free to enjoy in Cusco.

Day 4: Day Trip to Rainbow Mountain 

Day Trip to Rainbow Mountain - Vinicunca
From Cusco, visit Vinicunca or colorful "Rainbow Mountain"

You'll leave your hotel in Cusco early in the morning to begin today's adventure. With your guide, you'll pass through Cusipata before arriving at the hamlet of Llactoc, where you can spot herds of alpacas and llamas. Here you'll begin a two to three-hour hike, walking through beautiful landscapes with snow-capped mountains in the distance. Finally, you'll reach Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain).

Spend one hour at the summit, then descend and transfer back to Cusipata for a traditional lunch. You'll return to Cusco in the early evening. 

Day 5: Transfer to the Sacred Valley

Cusco - The Sacred Valley
Pinkuylluna, an ancient construction in the Sacred Valley

First thing in the morning, begin your journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You'll visit the popular Pisaq Market, renowned for its quality handicrafts, followed by lunch in Urubamba and a walk through the fortress of Ollantaytambo.

When it's time, you'll transfer to your hotel in the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo).

Day 6: Train to Aguas Calientes, Visit Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco

Experience the wonder of Machu Picchu

After breakfast, take the local train to Aguas Calientes, the base for most Machu Picchu adventures. The ride takes you through a valley and into the Urubamba River canyon, then into the cloud forest as you near Machu Picchu. Ride a bus up to the 15th-century Inca citadel at 7,970 feet (2,430 m). This masterpiece of engineering served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Inca Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

The site was rarely home to more than 800 people, and during the royals' absence, a mere 100 servants would remain at the site to maintain the grounds. Machu Picchu was abandoned 100 years after construction and remained largely hidden from the outside world until the early 20th century. Your guide will lead you around the site and explain the complex's different buildings and curious corners. After the tour, take the bus back to Aguas Calientes to connect to your train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to Cusco.

Day 7: Day Trip to Maras, the Ruins of Moray & the Salt Mines of Salineras

Exploring The Salt Mines of Maras & The Ruins of Moray
See Inca ruins today and "muyus" like this one in Maras

Today you'll be dazzled at Moray and Maras' archeological and agricultural wonders on a full-day adventure. Depart Cusco in the morning and travel about 24 miles (40 km) to the town of Maras, with an interesting mix of Inca and colonial influences. Continue to the agricultural terraces of Moray and marvel at the ancient Incas' innovation.

Afterward, you'll descend to the salt mines of Salineras to see locals extracting salt from natural underground springs. This site features an impressive Inca monument of giant terraces in the shape of nearly perfect circles that is believed to have been used for agricultural experimentation. Buy a small bag of fresh salt to take home as a souvenir before returning to Cusco.

Day 8: Fly to Lima & Guayaquil (Ecuador), Explore

Snap those Instagram-worthy pictures of colorful Guayaquil

Catch a flight back to Lima and make the connection to Guayaquil. Welcome to Ecuador! Guayaquil, known as the "Pearl of the Pacific," is the country's main port. Transfer to your hotel, then spend the rest of the day exploring.

Stroll down the Malecón 2000, a riverfront boardwalk, then visit Las Peñas, a historic neighborhood known for its pastel-colored buildings. Climb the 444 steps from Las Peñas to the top of Cerro Santa Ana (Santa Ana Hill) to find a little chapel, a lighthouse, and a viewpoint that offers stunning vistas of the city skyline and the Gulf of Guayaquil beyond.

Day 9: Fly to Isla Baltra (Galápagos Islands), Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz

Plan your trip to Ecuador
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
A quiet beach in the Galápagos

Head to the airport to catch your flight to the Galápagos Islands! After arriving at Baltra Airport, a local guide will pick you up and transfer you to Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz. On the way, stop at a local farm in the highlands, where dozens of giant tortoises exist. Wander around on your own to appreciate these impressive creatures.

Enjoy lunch before continuing to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Witness firsthand the work of international scientists who come to the Galápagos to conduct environmental projects. Head to the nearby Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, where giant Galápagos tortoises live. This is the best place on the islands to see different tortoise species and learn about each one.

Day 10: Kayak in Tortuga Bay & Tour Isla Santa Cruz

Kayaking Adventure in Tortuga Bay & Afternoon Bay Tour of Santa Cruz Island
Marvel at bright blue waters off Isla Santa Cruz as you take to your kayak

Begin today's kayaking adventure with a 45-minute hike from Puerto Ayora to the heavenly Tortuga Bay, famed for its soft coral sand and spectacular scenery. Take a kayak out onto the water to see marine life up close and admire the coastline from a different perspective, observing colonies of marine iguanas and marine birds. Pelicans and finches are local to the area, and near the salt lagoon, you may spot flamingoes. After kayaking at the nearby cove, sunbathe on the beach before returning to Puerto Ayora.

In the afternoon, take a boat tour of the Bay of Santa Cruz. Stop at the small islet of La Lobería, where you can snorkel around sea lions and tropical fish. Afterward, head to the Shark Channel, where you may spot harmless whitetip sharks and blue-footed boobies. You'll also come upon the Canal del Amor, home to sea turtles and many tropical fish varieties. 

Day 11: Speedboat & Snorkeling Excursion of Los Túneles

Sea turtle
Spot a sea turtle while snorkeling near Isla Isabela
Meet your guide in the morning for a ride to the dock in Puerto Ayora. From there, catch a speedboat to Isla Isabela. One of the island's unique snorkeling spots is Los Túneles, characterized by geological formations, rock arches, and tunnels above and below the ocean's surface. Start in shallow water and look for tropical fish, rays, turtles, sea horses, and even whitetip reef sharks. 

Day 12: Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano

Lace up your boots for a day of hiking the Sierra Negra volcano

Hike around the crater of Sierra Negra volcano today. It's one of the largest shield volcanoes in the world, with a distinctive low profile and a nearly 6-mile (10 km) diameter crater. Your six-hour roundtrip hike to the volcanic summit will begin from Puerto Villamil. As you approach the crater, explore its lava landscapes and enjoy views of the Isabela and Isla Fernandina volcanoes. End your day with time on the beach or snorkeling through the mangrove forests of Concha Perla.

Day 13: Standup Paddleboarding & Dinner by the Sea

Puerto Villamil Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
Explore Puerto Villamil Bay on your standup paddleboard, keeping an eye out for wildlife
Today, explore Puerto Villamil Bay on a standup paddleboard. Navigate mangroves and the calm bay and be on the lookout for blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and frigates. Then put on snorkeling gear to go for a swim in Concha Perla, especially if you didn't get a chance to go yesterday. Catch a speedboat from Isla Isabela to Isla Santa Cruz later in the day for a special dinner by the sea.

Day 14: Explore an Uninhabited Island

Isla Bartolomé
See an uninhabited island in the Galápagos today, like Isla Bartolomé
Today you'll visit one of the following islands: Santa Fé, South Plaza, Bartolomé, or North Seymour. These uninhabited Galápagos islands allow you to see the archipelago's untouched natural habitats. After a boat ride, hike with your guide to see more wildlife and relax on the beach. At the end of your tour, return to Puerto Ayora.   

Day 15: Transfer to Isla Baltra, Depart

Sunset over Baltra Island
Watch beautiful sunsets during your time in the Galápagos
Travel from Puerto Ayora across the Itabaca Channel by ferry, then catch your flight to the mainland and on to your next destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Discover Peru & the Galápagos Islands - 15 Days
Map of Discover Peru & the Galápagos Islands - 15 Days