Location of Adventure
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and Peru
Group Size Limit
A very important feature of our Galapagos and Peru tour is the limited group size, as nature expeditions are best experienced with small groups of travelers.
Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
Our Private Leaders
Activities, accommodations and land transportation as detailed in the itinerary, airport transfers when using our preferred hotels, meals from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 15 (except lunch and dinner on Day 10 and dinner on Day 11), drinking water throughout the trip, soft drinks (soda, coffee, tea and juice) at meals, snorkeling gear and wetsuit, services of Natural Habitat Adventures professional Expedition Leaders, round-trip train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, most gratuities, taxes and service charges.
Travel to Quito, Ecuador, and from Lima, Peru, internal flights for the Galapagos and Peru (to be added to your invoice and subject to change through day of departure), lunch and dinner on Day 10 as well as dinner on Day 11, some gratuities, Galapagos tax and transit card (currently $120 for adults, $70 for children 11 and under, collected in advance), alcoholic beverages, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, etc.), travel insurance, optional activities.
For the Galapagos portion of the adventure:
Easy to Moderate
Our Galapagos adventures are quite busy with early mornings and long days filled with various activities. The activities on this trip consist of island walks, swimming and snorkeling. Trails are often rough and uneven, over sharp lava fields and loose rocks and gravel. Walking over slippery rocks is sometimes necessary when coming ashore. Passengers must be able to walk two miles to participate in this trip, walk up and down stairs, and be able to get in and out of our motorized pangas (rigid inflatable rafts), which can be very unsteady in rough water. A few wet landings, where we disembark from the panga directly into the water and walk up onto the beach, are included. Itineraries that feature a visit to Bartolome include a walk with more than 300 wooden steps to reach the viewpoint at the top of the island. Snorkeling is a big component of this trip, with excursions offered nearly every day, sometimes twice a day. While no snorkeling experience is required, prior practice is recommended and travelers should be comfortable swimming in moderate currents, near shore and in deep water. Our Expedition Leaders will also offer guidance for those in need of additional snorkeling instruction. Travelers are not required to participate in every activity.
Elevation: Please note that the first two nights of our adventure will be spent in the Andes mountain region of Otavalo, at elevations between 8,500 and 10,500 feet above sea level. The Quito airport is situated at 8,700 feet and the city of Quito (should you join our Extra Day Program) is at roughly 9,400 feet. The relative lack of oxygen at these elevations may manifest in altitude-sickness symptoms that can include headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nausea during the first few hours or days spent at elevation. Hydration and rest usually help symptoms to resolve, though participants may wish to talk with their doctor about taking along a prescription for a medication such as Diamox to better manage potential physical reactions to high altitude. We recommend arriving one day early to Otavalo or Quito to acclimate.
For the Peru portion of the adventure:
The bulk of the trip takes place at elevations between 8,000 and 11,000 feet, and guests should be prepared for possible challenges in adjusting to high altitudes. The journey begins with a flight from sea level to Cusco, where the elevation is 11,200 feet. We will have several hours of sightseeing here over two days, allowing time to adjust to the elevation. The relative lack of oxygen may manifest in altitude sickness symptoms that can include headaches, dizziness, tiredness, nausea and vomiting during the first few hours or days of the trip. Hydration and rest usually help symptoms resolve, though participants may wish to talk with their doctor about taking along a prescription for a medication such as Diamox to better manage potential physical reactions to high altitude. On Day 3 we travel over rough, sometimes bumpy mountain roads to crest a 12,700-foot mountain pass, then descend to 9,700 feet and ascend again to 11,400 feet at Pisac, in the span of approximately three hours.
Our visit to Machu Picchu, at an elevation of 8,000 feet, involves walking over uneven natural terrain and up and down irregular stone stairs within the ruins complex. While walking options of varying lengths are provided, guests should be able to comfortably walk one mile and/or for one hour in such conditions. They must also be able to get in and out of vehicles with ease. We do not recommend this trip for travelers with heart or respiratory ailments or those with bad ankles, knees or hips. All activities on this trip are optional, though minimum mobility levels must be met in order to participate.
Important Information About This Trip
Perhaps nowhere else on Earth is a more appropriate destination for Natural Habitat guests than the Galapagos Islands. With rare and friendly wildlife found at every turn, the islands provide a wonderland for nature travelers, which our Expedition Leaders unveil in a warm and intimate manner. The key to the success of our Galapagos adventures is the small group size. The Ocean Spray holds a maximum of 16 guests and two Expedition Leaders. Once we step ashore, we break our group down into even smaller groups. Splitting the group also allows our guests to move at varied paces, although guests must be able to walk over uneven terrain up to two miles, as well as disembark the panga in sometimes-rough conditions. In addition to land excursions, we have the opportunity to snorkel almost every day while in the islands. Another important and exciting element of this trip is a unique opportunity (optional, but included) to stay in the highlands of Santa Cruz at our first-class private camp, with accommodations in walk-in safari-style tents and tree houses overlooking the Pacific. On this private land the famed Galapagos tortoises roam freely most months of the year and often wander in close proximity to camp.
Our Machu Picchu adventure differs from most others in that we have an expert Peruvian NHA Expedition Leader with the group from the time you arrive in Cusco to the time you depart. This is the only way to experience in an integrated fashion the nature, culture and history of this fascinating region.
Please note: The itinerary provided is meant as a guideline, and is subject to change without notice. On rare occasions, it may be necessary to deviate from our regular itinerary for reasons beyond our control. In these instances we will provide the best available alternative.
We welcome children ages seven and older on scheduled departures. However, while some seven-year-olds are well suited for our adventures, others may not be ready for the requirements of group travel. We believe it's best to consider this minimum age limit a guideline – you, as a parent or guardian, are best qualified to decide whether your child would enjoy the experience without compromising the comfort of others. We strongly encourage you to speak with one of our Adventure Specialists about the specific requirements of the trip so you can make an informed decision. We do not permit children younger than seven on our scheduled departures due to safety regulations, physical limitations and concerns regarding group dynamics.
Since the areas we travel to on this extension are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for this program. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat, we require that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We recommend that your chosen independent insurance plan includes at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. Please note that we will add the cost of Natural Habitat’s medical evacuation policy to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, phone number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that our policy exists exclusively in the interest of our guests' safety.
To protect your investment and to provide peace of mind while you travel, we also strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance. Plans may cover everything from medical treatment to trip cancellations and delays, to lost luggage. Please contact our office if you would like more information about the medical evacuation or comprehensive travel insurance policies we offer through Travelex by calling 800-543-8917.
Getting There & Getting Home
Arrival: Please arrive in Quito no later than 4 pm on Day 1 in order to attend a welcome/orientation dinner at 7 pm.
Departure: You are free to depart after 11 pm on the final day, and most flights depart back to the U.S. around midnight.
Getting from the Galapagos to Cusco, Peru: When flying back from the Galapagos, you will need to deplane in Guayaquil (the first stop) and will not return to Quito. You will depart the same evening on a connecting flight to Lima and spend the night at an airport hotel in Lima. The next morning (Day 11) you will fly to Cusco. Assistance will be provided at the Guayaquil and Lima airports. At the end of the tour, you will return to Lima around 7:30 pm on Day 15.
We can best serve you if our Natural Habitat Adventures Travel Desk makes your reservations, as we are intimately familiar with the special requirements of this program and can arrange the most efficient travel. Please call us at 800-543-8917. Note that while we offer you the best possible rates available to us on airfare and additional nights' accommodations, you may find special web rates or better fares online.