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Upon arriving in arriving on Baltra Island transfer to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz for an introductory briefing and lunch. Set sail This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos.
After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, nesting place for a Galápagos highlight: flightless cormorants. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola).Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)- The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas.
After breakfast, we land at this cove on the northwest of Isabela. An uphill hike takes guests to the rim of a crater, Darwin lake, filled with salt water and to a dramatic viewpoint. After our walk, we take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming or snorkelling. Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)- After lunch we disembark at Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. Here we can admire corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. First we enjoy a snorkel from the beach, with the chance of swimming with flightless cormorants. We return back on board for our expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.
In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem. Santa Cruz Island-We have several options available (mountain biking, kayaking in Tortuga Bay, hiking) for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz.
A short walk leads us to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Near Post Office Bay, we explore the north shore of Floreana along narrow channels teeming with life. We then head back on board for lunch. Champion Islet and Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)-Following lunch and a siesta, we take to the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago.
We disembark at Baltra Island in order to transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Welcome to Guayaquil and Ecuador!. At the airport you will be greeted by a member of our staff who will escort you all the way to your hotel, This tropical city the financial and commercial center of the country, lies on the banks of the Guayas River, thirty miles inland from the Gulf of Guayaquil. The people of Guayaquil are outgoing and open, they enjoy their city and are fiercely proud of their heritage. It is not surprising to hear the drama of Guayas, a brave indigenous leader, who in his desperation to avoid falling into the hands of the Spanish conquerors, decided to kill his wife, Quil, before drowning himself in the waters of the river.
Today you fly to Lima. Upon arrival into Lima airport, you will be met by our representative and will be transferred to your hotel. Our representative will assist you with check-in procedures and provide you with a detailed itinerary, vouchers covering all the services included in your tour and additional information on the organization of your Peru trip. You will also receive a contact information sheet with all the hotel details as well as our offices contact information for each city and a 24-hour emergency number.
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour to the most attractive and important sites in Lima, the "City of Kings". The tour includes Lima's Historical centre, passing by Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and its Religious Art Museum. Finally visit the residential Districts of San Isidro and Miraflores, passing by the Huaca Pucllana, a Ceremonial and Administrative Centre of the Lima Culture built in the II Century A.C. that the Incas considered as "Ñaupallaqta" or Sacred Town.
Today you will be transferred from the hotel to Lima airport in order to board your flight to Cusco.Upon your arrival to Cusco's airport you will be met by our representative who will assist you with your luggage and drive you to the hotel for your check-in. This afternoon you will go on an escorted sightseeing tour of the city of Cusco, archaeological capital of South America. Cusco also has the finest examples of Inca history and architecture. A visit of the city's most important historical monuments, The Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Koricancha Temple, and a visit to the surrounding ruins of the Kenko amphitheatre, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, and Sacsayhuaman Fortress. Return to your hotel.
Visit Pisac Markets where you will have the chance to interact with the local folk and even barter with the merchants. After lunch, end the day with a visit to the Incan fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo. This fortress was constructed in order to guard the entrance to this part of the valley and protect it from possible invasions of tribes from the jungle lowlands, and was later the scene of Incan resistance in 1537, when Manco Inca’s forces faced Hernando Pizarro’s troops.
Between 04.00-04.30am our private transport and staff will pick you up from your hotel. We drive to Piskacuchu (2700m/8856ft), a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco –Machupicchu railroad, which is the starting point of the Inca Trail. We begin our hike by crossing the bridge over the Urubamba River and walking along its left shore as it flows northwest along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, we arrive in Miskay (2800m/9184ft), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the impressive Inca city of Llactapata (2650m/8692ft).
We wake up at around 6:00 am and after breakfast, we begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. Along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass – 4200m/13776ft). We also cross an area of the so called cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows, and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus).
This day is the longest but also the most impressive and the most interesting, due the number of archaeological sites and the lush cloud forest area that we cross. From Pacaymayo we climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970m/13022ft). Halfway up, we stop to visit the archaeological complex. This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Tonight we enjoy our farewell dinner at our camp.
On this fourth and last day we get up at 4.00 am to leave Wiñaywayna an hour later and climb to the Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we may see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machupicchu. From Intipunku we descend into Machupicchu, and 40 minutes later we enter the citadel from the highest point through the ¨House of the Guardians¨. We then descend to the control point where we register ourselves and leave our backpacks. We immediately begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. In the afternoon return to Cusco by Train.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the City of Puerto Maldonado. 3 days / 2 nights La Hacienda Concepcion jungle tour (Shared) Meet on arrival in Puerto Maldonado and transfer by boat to the lodge. Walk through the trails inside Hacienda Concepcion. Interpretation of primary and secondary rain forest: its components, uses and transformations by the human being, and its relevance for the world. Approximately 2-hour walks.
Navigation in Canoe around Lake Sandoval . 50-minute walk towards the Tambopata National Reserve and 1-hour walk through “Terra Firma” forest. Environmental interpretation of the reserve, forest and oxbow lake . Return to the lodge by foot (Access to discretion during months of rain). Visit the interpretation centre and walk through treetops and wetlands. 25-minutes transfer by boat to the INKATERRA CANOPY WALKWAY interpretation centre to learn about its construction. Ascend the towers and cross the bridges that connect the treetops. 15-minute walk towards the Anaconda Walk wetlands. Return to lodge by boat Walk in the Hacienda Concepcion trail system. Approximately 2- hour walk.
Boat back to the city and visit the INKATERRA butterfly house. There several of the 3,800 Peruvian species are preserved and reproduced. Transfer to the airport for your flight from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco.