Cruise to Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands

Updated: Oct 06, 2013

It's no wonder that more people are traveling and vacationing on cruise ships. With a planet covered with nearly 80% water, we now have access to most of the world from floating resorts. Shore excursions to Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands are more affordable than you think. South American cruise ships may visit several "gateway" ports convenient to both the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador, and the ruins of Machu Picchu, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru.

 

Guayaquil, Ecuador - located on the Pacific coast of Ecuador & a prominent gateway to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuadorian Amazon jungle. Ask about our river cruises in the jungle. Full international airport services.
Lima, Peru
- located on the Pacific coast of Peru and considered the first of 3 gateway cities that visitors pass to reach the ruins of Machu Picchu. Full international airport services.
Santiago, Chile - located inland about 1 hour + drive from coastal port Valparaiso, Chile. Full international airport services.

Galapagos Islands
- No longer just a cruise-only destination, we offer affordable land-based tours with accommodations in comfortable, eco-friendly lodges that feature full bathrooms, exquisite local cuisine and connections to the local culture. In small groups, you'll hop by boat from island to island with a licensed naturalist guide to see marine iguanas, giant tortoises, penguins, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and more, up close and personal!

Snorkeling equipment is included for those who choose to see what lies under the surface of the water and guided hikes for those who are curious about the geological origins of the islands. Your trip can be as active as you choose. Select from 5 to 10 day tours. Ask about the "honeymoon" special or scuba diving tours.  Cost will vary depending on the number of days and the level of comfort you desire.

Machu Picchu - We offer 4 to 7-day excursion tours that will take you from the high-altitude Incan city of Cuzco, through the Sacred Valley of the Incas and to Machu Picchu in safety and comfort. Machu Picchu is not like European heritage destinations, where you step outside your hotel and hail and taxi and go.

Going to Machu Picchu requires careful planning and the coordination of multi-step logistics, including transfers, trains & shuttle buses. All the more reason to rely on our expertise. We take care of the details, so you can enjoy the trip. It's surprisingly affordable.

For those travelers who are sensitive to altitude, we can start your tour in the Sacred Valley, (2000' lower than Cuzco), visit the ruins of Machu Picchu, which are even lower, (8000') then save the visit to Cuzco for last. We can arrange the classic 4-Day Inca Trail hike or 7-Day lodge-to-lodge trekking on the Salkantay route.

While Lima, Peru is the main gateway to Machu Picchu, everyone passes through the secondary gateway, Cuzco, located at 11,000' in the Andes Mountains. There are numerous 1-hour daily flights between Lima and Cuzco. Lan airlines offers the most choices, but Taca airlines can be less expensive. And Star Peru & Peruvian Airlines are affordable, smaller competitors in this market.

From Cuzco, everyone travels by private vehicle and/or train to Aguas Calientes, unless they hike the Inca Trail. From Aguas Calientes, shuttle buses transport everyone to the Machu Picchu National Park entrance.  Cost will depend on the number of days and the level of comfort you desire. Please allow at least 3 days for your trip from to/from your cruise ship.  It's possible to exit the cruise from Port Callao in Lima, Peru and return to the cruise at General San Martin sea terminal near Pisco, Peru.

Other things to consider:

  • Most flights arriving in Guayaquil, Lima or Santiago will require overnight accommodations during your transition. We have staff and services available on request.
  • If you want to use this opportunity to extend your trip in Peru to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world or to Colca Canyon, 2 x as deep as the Grand Canyon, we have the expertise & resources to handle all your logistics.
  • The dates for any excursion can be customized based on the schedule of your cruise.
  • Inviting friends and passengers from the same cruise to join you makes your experience more enjoyable and our logisitics more productive. Our preference is to work with small groups, less than 20. For larger groups, we will break up into smaller groups, each with their own guide.
  • It is customary for Ecuador, Peru and Chile to charge airport departure taxes which range from $7 per person for domestic flights to $40 for international. Chile charges a "reciprocity" fee of $131 to US passport holders upon arrival. (cash or cc)
  •  Galapagos Islands charge $10 for a visitors card and $100 cash entry fee upon arrival at the Galapagos Island National Park (airport). Depending on how far in advance you book your reservations, it is advisable to stay updated on the fees. The Machu Picchu National Park entrance fee is included in the cost of the tour.

How far in advance should trips of this magnitude be planned?  Trips to Galapagos Islands require more advance planning than those to Machu Picchu.  It is not uncommon for travelers to contact us one year before their intended travel dates.  The first step is to contact us regarding availability.

When choosing travel insurance, we recommend coverage that includes underwaterwater and hiking activites.  Please read the fine print before you choose and make sure your activities are covered by your policy.  We offer travel insurance for soft adventures.