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From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon with Galápagos Cruise

From the Inca Empire to the Peruvian Amazon with Galápagos Cruise

18 Day River Cruise Lima to Quito

Vacation overview

Experience the archaeological treasures and scenic beauty of Peru with the fascinating untamed rainforest of the Amazon and the stunning marine life and tropical waters of the Galápagos Islands. This amazing river cruise vacation offers a little something for everyone!

Begin in the cosmopolitan city of Lima with a guided sightseeing tour, a visit to the Larco Herrera Museum, and a special welcome dinner in an ornate family-owned mansion. Fly to Cusco and descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas for guided tours of the ceremonial site of Kenko, where ancient rituals were performed, and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman. Of course, no vacation to Peru is complete without visiting astonishing Machu Picchu, built around 1450, and sitting majestically above the Sacred Valley. Stand in awe as you witness one of the most majestic images in South America, if not the entire world! Next, you’ll embark on a journey to one of the world’s vastly unexplored regions where biodiversity is at its greatest—the mighty Amazon. Board one of the world’s most luxurious small ships, the Delfin III, and enjoy fine wine, famous Peruvian cuisine, and all-inclusive comfort while venturing deep into the Amazon jungle in search of elusive wildlife. Take naturalist-guided panga rides through the river tributaries, swim with pink dolphins, and visit native communities—all while returning to your plush five-star yacht.

Before this cruise adventure is complete, you’ll get a chance to explore the beautiful Galápagos Islands onboard the 16-passenger Treasure of Galápagos! Have your camera ready as your Naturalist points out colonies of sea lions, pelicans, albatross, marine iguanas, flamingos, blue-footed boobies, short-eared owls, and other birds. You’ll also have a chance to snorkel in the tropical waters and perhaps get a look at sea turtles, sharks, and rays. A perfect ending to this trip of a lifetime!

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Itinerary

 

Day 1   LIMA, PERU

Welcome to Lima—Cosmopolitan, Colonial, and Pre-Columbian Culture

Enjoy free time today before your Andes and Amazon adventure begins. Explore the fascinating Peruvian capital—where high rises tower above ancient temples and colorful colonial architecture.

Day 2   LIMA

Peruvian Treasures, Presidential Palaces, and Pizarro’s Conquests

CLASSIC Take a Guided Walking Tour of Lima to see the colonial Old Quarter, Plaza de Armas, the presidential Government Palace, and the Lima Cathedral. Visit San Francisco Monastery to see the famous catacombs followed by the Larco Herrera Museum—with the world’s largest private collection of pre-Columbian Peruvian art.

DISCOVERY Later, enjoy a Culinary Experience with an authentic Peruvian welcome dinner in the exquisite, historic mansion—Casa Garcia Alvarado.

Day 3   SACRED VALLEY

Alpacas, Llamas, and Ancient Rituals of the Andes

CLASSIC Fly to Cusco, the ancient Andean city and former capital of the Inca Empire. A Guided Excursion into the Sacred Valley reveals the hillside Temple of Sacsayhuaman. Marvel at the remarkable inca stonework of this 15th-century fortress that was once the site of the largest battle between the Incas and the Spanish. The Spanish were ultimately victorious in 1536, disassembling part of the site to build homes in Cusco and leaving behind the ruins we find today. You will also see the Inca military post of Puca Pucara and visit the ceremonial site of Kenko where ancient Peruvian rituals and sacrifices were performed.

DISCOVERY Take a Guided Tour of Awanakancha to encounter llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos and learn about their vital role in Peruvian culture. Continue to the old mountain village of Pisac. Take time to shop in Pisac’s large Indian market for treasures such as alpaca sweaters, woven blankets, and handmade jewelry.

This evening, enjoy dinner featuring Andean and Western dishes with wine.

Day 4   SACRED VALLEY

Stone Temples and Formidable Fortresses

CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the adobe village of Ollantaytambo this morning to visit the ruins of an Inca fortress. See the massive stones and amazing engineering design, including the Sun Temple and Princess Baths fountain.

DISCOVERY Join an Escorted Visit to a native Incan home to experience the way of life that has endured since the 13th century.

MACHU PICCHU

Andean Heights and Hidden Secrets of the Inca’s Lost City

CLASSIC Join a Guided Excursion aboard the 360° Machu Picchu Train boasting spectacular panoramic views of the lush countryside of Urubamba Valley from its panoramic windows and an observation outdoor carriage. Travel by rail to Aguas Calientes to take the winding road to legendary Machu Picchu.

ACTIVE Take a Guided Walk to explore the “Lost City of the Incas” high atop the Andes once overlaid with dense forest. Learn about the lives and mysteries still hidden in this ancient citadel and the amazing structures built by the pre-Columbian masters of this sacred land.

DISCOVERY Enjoy your overnight stay at the foot of the mountain where Machu Picchu is found with a gourmet Peruvian dinner.

Day 5   MACHU PICCHU

A Miraculous Sanctuary in a Tropical Mountain Cloud Forest

CLASSIC Take a second included Guided Excursion to Machu Picchu. Set out early to see the sunrise over the ruins, explore the terraces or perhaps venture up to see the Sun Gate, once used as the ancient entrance to the Sanctuary.

After lunch, return to the Sacred Valley by train and then continue on to Cusco.

Day 6   CUSCO

Conquistadors, Churches, and the Colorful Culture of Peru

CLASSIC Take a Guided Walking Tour of Cusco and learn about the Inca culture and the Spanish invasion that threatened their way of life and very existence. Visit Santo Domingo Monastery, originally called Koricancha and built by the Incas as a Temple of the Sun with extraordinary engineering and masonry design. Continue to the Plaza de Armas to visit the Cusco Cathedral.

Enjoy free time this afternoon to explore Cusco’s colorful culture.

DISCOVERY Tonight, an elegant dinner includes wine and a menu inspired by Peru’s eclectic mix of cultures.

Day 7   IQUITOS

Turn-of-the-Century Barons and the House that Eiffel Built

CLASSIC Today, you’ll travel by air to Lima and then onto Iquitos where you take a Guided Orientation of this 19th-century boom town with ornate homes built by the “rubber barons” of the day, such as La Casa de Fierro (The Iron House) designed by architect Gustave Eiffel.

NAUTA–PERUVIAN AMAZON RIVER (EMBARKATION)

Travel to Nauta and embark the luxurious vessel, the Delfin III, to cruise the Peruvian Amazon in comfort and convenience. Settle in to your spacious suite before meeting your onboard Naturalist and Cruise Director.

DISCOVERY Attend an onboard Welcome Reception to gain an overview of your upcoming Amazon experience. Your Naturalist Guide will offer information about the animal species of the Amazon ecosystem, the native villagers you’ll meet, and the spectacular plant life that thrives in this astonishing environment. See the two powerful Amazon tributaries—the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers—which converge to create the mighty Peruvian Amazon.

Later, on board, enjoy an unforgettable dinner featuring Peruvian cuisine with the freshest local ingredients.

Day 8   PERUVIAN AMAZON

Spider Monkeys, Pink Dolphins, and Peru’s Favorite Cocktail

CLASSIC Rise early this morning for your first glimpse of the majestic Amazon at sunrise to experience the sights and sounds. After breakfast, take a Guided Panga Ride down one of the Amazon’s tributaries in search of the incredible wildlife. Your Naturalist Guide helps to spot capuchin, howler, tamarin, and spider monkeys, as well as iguanas, sloths, freshwater pink dolphins, and a stunning array of birdlife. Watch for the extraordinary giant Amazonian water lily.

CLASSIC This afternoon, a Guided Excursion to Pacaya Samiria National Reserve allows you to witness the activity of exotic birds, including trogons, macaws, parrots, falcons, and jacamars.

ACTIVE Take a refreshing Swim in this unique area of the Amazon—with the chance to encounter the Amazon’s amazing pink dolphins.

DISCOVERY Join in an onboard Cooking Class to learn about native fruits, vegetables, and fish. You’ll learn about local ingredients for delicious recipes. In the evening, enjoy a Mixology Lesson to create Peru’s famous cocktail, the Pisco Sour.

Day 9   PERUVIAN AMAZON

Exotic Birds, Night Creatures, and Natural Remedies

ACTIVE Join a morning Naturalist Guided Walk to explore tropical flora, including epiphytes, orchids, and indigenous jungle vegetation below the rainforest’s canopy.

DISCOVERY Attend an onboard Nature Presentation about indigenous and medicinal plants, fruits, and vegetation used in the Amazonian culture for centuries.

CLASSIC This afternoon, a Guided Excursion to the Amazon community of San Francisco introduces you local villagers who have called Amazonia their home for generations.

ACTIVE Join a Night Safari Excursion to spot nocturnal creatures, including caiman, frogs, bats, and boa constrictors. You will also have the chance to try fishing for piranhas!

DISCOVERY Later tonight, enjoy Live Entertainment by the Delfin III crew of local performers to celebrate your Amazon adventure with music and dance.

Day 10   IQUITOS (DISEMBARKATION)

A Manatee Introduction and an Amazon Farewell

DISCOVERY This morning, disembark and bid your ship’s crew farewell. On the way to Iquitos, join an Escorted Visit to the Manatee Rescue Center to learn about these endangered Amazon species and the conservation efforts to save these gentle giants before flying to Lima.

Day 11   LIMA–QUITO

Fly from Lima to Quito. Take free time today to relax and prepare for your upcoming Galápagos adventure, or walk through the historic city to sample ceviche or helado (Latin-American ice cream). Dine out tonight or ask about the best clubs for music and dancing.

Day 12   QUITO

A Gold Altar, Artistic Avenues, and Two Hemispheres in One Day

CLASSIC Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Quito that showcases the colonial city’s historic sites, including the impressive Legislative Palace with its enormous sculpted mural of Ecuadorean history. You’ll also see Independence Plaza and visit the 16th-century San Francisco Monastery, and La Compañía Church—the exquisite Jesuit cathedral with its spectacular Spanish baroque architecture—more than 160 years in the making.

DISCOVERY Take a Guided Walk down Calle La Ronda—one of Quito’s oldest streets—with a wealth of artist’s workshops and galleries where you’ll meet local artists and learn about their original works. Later, visit a local chocolate factory for a tour and a tasting to discover why Ecuador is one of the world’s finest chocolate producers.


CLASSIC Your day in Quito ends with a Guided Excursion to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo—a monument to the Equator—the “middle of the world.” Stand in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at the same time at the exact location of the Earth’s Equator. Observe the equatorial effects of the dual-spiraling directions of water and balancing eggs on end.


This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner with delicious regional cuisine.


Day 13   BALTRA–GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS (EMBARKATION)–SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

The Theory of Evolution—and Giant Babies

This morning, take a flight to the Galápagos island of Baltra where you’ll embark on your five-day cruise aboard the Treasure of Galápagos.

DISCOVERY Join your naturalist on a Guided Excursion to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station— established to help conserve the Galápagos’ natural habitat and protect the famous giant tortoises. While here, learn about the tortoise-rearing program and see many of the various islands’ tortoises.

Later on board your ship, join in a briefing of the next day’s adventures, and enjoy a Captain’s welcome with cocktails and dinner.

Note:
The ship’s itinerary may vary according to Galápagos National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, and seasonal changes to create the perfect cross-section of sites visited.

Day 14   SANTIAGO ISLAND

Volcanos, Marine Life, and Lunar Landscapes

DISCOVERY This morning, you will find yourself anchored in the western-central part of the archipelago where volcanoes are still active, attributing to the dramatic scenery. Take a Naturalist Led Excursion of Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island where you will walk on newly-formed (less than 100 years ago) lava flows reminiscent of the lunar landscape. You can catch sight of lava lizards, marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and even the Galápagos penguin.

This afternoon, cruise to Bartolomé Island.

BARTOLOMÉ ISLAND

Hike the Summit, Snorkel, and Swim

ACTIVE Take a Guided Hike to Bartolome’s 114-meter summit for spectacular panoramic views of the region with two beautiful bays and fascinating formations of lava flows and spatter cones, including the iconic Pinnacle Rock. Later, take a snorkel and swim off the beach here—home to playful sea lions, Pacific green turtles, white tip reef sharks, and Galápagos penguins.

Day 15   NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND

Masterful Marine Iguanas and Birds of a Different Color

CLASSIC Take a Naturalist-Led Excursion to see colonies of remarkable bird species, including blue-footed boobies, great frigate birds, and magnificent frigate birds—with its inflated red chest and nearly 7-foot wingspread. Watch for gulls and herons of all assortments.

ACTIVE Take a Guided Snorkeling Excursion in the aqua blue waters just off North Seymour Island’s shore—teeming with sea lions and amphibious marine iguanas—found only in the Galápagos.


This afternoon, cruise for the sandy island of Mosquera Islet.

MOSQUERA ISLET

A Sea Lion Haven of White Coral Sand

DISCOVERY Take a Guided Walk on the white coral beaches to the islands’ largest congregation of Galápagos sea lions. You’ll see a wide variety of shore birds reflecting the island’s amazing biodiversity—from the deep-gray lava gull to the yellow-crowned night heron.


Day 16   SOUTH PLAZA ISLAND

Tracing Darwin’s Footsteps and Audubon’s Muses

DISCOVERY This morning, take a Naturalist-Led Excursion to South Plaza Island to observe wildlife, including sea lions, land iguanas, marine iguanas, and hybrid iguanas (only found on this island and a result of a cross between land and marine iguanas). You will see blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon’s shearwaters, and many other species.

This afternoon, cruise to Cerro Brujo on San Cristobal Island.

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

Blue Herons, Blue Lagoons, and a Sleeping Lion

ACTIVE Take a Guided Walk at the site where Charles Darwin first visited the Galápagos. See the volcanic remains of magnificent Kicker Rock—also called León Dormido (Sleeping Lion). Walk beside one of the island’s blue lagoons to see a number of migratory birds, including pelicans and great blue herons.


Day 17   GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS (DISEMBARKATION)–SAN CRISTOBAL–QUITO

The Geological Genesis of a Magical Archipelago

DISCOVERY This morning, cruise to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for a Naturalist Guided Tour of the San Cristobal Interpretation Center. You’ll learn about the Galápagos’ fascinating volcanic origins, remote location, climate, and the arrival of diverse species that inspire both imagination and science.

This afternoon, you’ll say farewell to the magical islands of Galápagos and fly to Quito. This evening, spend free time relaxing or enjoy one of Quito’s many fine restaurants.

Day 18   QUITO

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Vacation Highlights

Day 1 Arrive Lima, Peru: Welcome to Lima

Day 2 Lima: Walking tour, visit San Francisco Monastery and Larco Herrera Museum; welcome dinner at Casa Garcia Alvarado

Day 3 Lima—Cusco—Sacred Valley: Visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Kenko, visit Awanakancha to see various camelids from the region, and explore Pisac Market

Day 4 Sacred Valley—Machu Picchu: Visit the Ollantaytambo ruins; take the 360°Train to Machu Picchu; walking tour of Machu Picchu

Day 5 Machu Picchu—Cusco: Enjoy a second included entrance to Machu Picchu; return on the 360°Train to the Sacred Valley and continue to Cusco

Day 6 Cusco: Walking tour of Cusco, visit Santo Domingo Monastery and the Cathedral

Day 7 Cusco—Lima—Iquitos—Nauta (Embarkation)—Cruising Peruvian Amazon: Fly to Iquitos via Lima; Iquitos orientation tour; board the Delfin III; onboard welcome reception; wildlife viewing excursions during the afternoon and evening

Day 8 Cruising Peruvian Amazon: Wildlife viewing excursions during the morning and afternoon; cooking demonstration and Pisco Sour-making lesson

Day 9 Cruising Peruvian Amazon: Wildlife viewing excursions during the morning, afternoon, and evening; visit Pacaya Samiria National Reserve; endemic fruit presentation; kayaking; piranha fishing; special farewell dinner

Day 10 Cruising Peruvian Amazon—Nauta (Disembarkation)—Iquitos—Lima: Disembark the Delfin III; visit the Manatee Rescue Center; fly to Lima

Day 11 Lima—Quito: Welcome to Quito

Day 12 Quito: Walking tour, visit San Francisco Monastery, La Compania Church, La Ronda Street, a Chocolate factory, and the Equatorial Monument; welcome dinner

Day 13 Quito—Baltra—Galápagos Islands (Embarkation)—Santa Cruz Island: Fly to the Galápagos Islands; embark Treasure of Galápagos; visit Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island

Day 14 Galápagos Islands Cruising: Santiago & Bartolomé Islands: Naturalist-guided walks on each island; snorkeling

Day 15 Galápagos Islands Cruising: North Seymour Island & Mosquera Islet: Naturalist-guided walks on each island; snorkeling

Day 16 Galápagos Islands Cruising: South Plaza & San Cristobal Islands: Naturalist-guided walks on each island; snorkeling

Day 17 Galápagos Islands (Disembarkation)—San Cristobal Island—Quito: Disembark Treasure of Galápagos; visit San Cristobal Interpretation Center; fly to Quito

Day 18 Quito: Your vacation ends this morning

  • Maximum elevation on tour: 11,200 ft.
  • The ship’s itinerary may vary according to water levels, National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, and seasonal changes to create the perfect cross-section of sites visited.
  • Small Group Discovery - We never allow more than 24 passengers on our Small Group Discovery vacations, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the destination and local culture.

No Excursions are available at this time.


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