This Perfect Travel Itinerary to Visit Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Peru Travel Blogs | 0 comments

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Machu Picchu, acclaimed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, ranks as a premier destination in South America, closely followed by the enchanting Galapagos Islands.

Embarking on a journey to both Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands is an experience every traveler should indulge in at least once in their lifetime.

The best time to visit the Galapagos and Machu Picchu sites are during the Spring (April to June) and Fall (September to November) when the weather is notably mild and pleasant in both locales.

Allow us to recount our springtime voyage to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands in June, and you’ll grasp the reasons behind this recommendation.

Top Tours Destination: Galapagos Machu Picchu Tour Package

Day 1: Welcome to Cusco!

Today, we warmly welcome you to the city of Cusco. Upon your arrival, we will escort you to your hotel, where you can relax and acclimatize at your leisure.

Cusco is situated at an elevation of 3,400 meters (11,200 feet). Cusco’s high altitude means that it’s common for visitors to experience mild altitude sickness symptoms. Locally known as ‘soroche’.

To combat this, we suggest taking it easy on your first day and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Cusco boasts a rich cultural heritage. With a blend of Incan and Spanish influences evident in its architecture, cuisine, and customs.

Cusco City Tour Peru
Cusco City Tour Peru

Day 2: Exploring Cusco

Today, you will have the opportunity to explore the captivating Cusco City Tour. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, you will visit the stunning Plaza de Armas. The main square of Cusco, and marvel at its architectural beauty. Next, you will head to the Qorikancha temple, an ancient Incan Sun Temple that was later converted into a Spanish church during colonial times.

In the afternoon, we recommend visiting Sacsayhuaman, a remarkable Incan archaeological site located just outside of Cusco. This impressive complex is renowned for its massive stone walls that were built without the use of mortar and feature intricate designs and sculptures. It’s truly a must-see for anyone interested in ancient civilizations.

Day 2: Sacred Valley Connect with Aguas Calientes Town

Today, you embark early on a journey to explore the hills above Cusco and the breathtaking Sacred Valley, en route to Machu Picchu. June’s weather is cool yet ideal, boasting 70 degrees with abundant sunshine interspersed with clouds. To ensure comfort, we suggest packing layers to adapt to the changing conditions when the sun momentarily hides.

Your adventure begins with a visit to the ancient Inca site of Pisaq. Followed by a vibrant experience at the Pisac Market. After hours of exploration, you’ll enjoy a lunch break amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Sacred Valley. The journey continues to the majestic ruins of Ollantaytambo, a testament to Inca engineering and architecture.

In the afternoon, a train ride takes you to Aguas Calientes, setting the stage for an overnight stay before the anticipated visit to Machu Picchu the following morning.

Lares Trek | Sacred Valley | Machu Picchu 7 days
Machu Picchu Tour Package 5 Days

Day 3: Visit Machu Pichcu

Prepare for an early start tomorrow with breakfast at 5 am, before boarding the morning bus to Machu Picchu. The ride up is a scenic journey lasting about 20 minutes, culminating in a breathtaking view of the sunrise over Machu Picchu a truly stunning spectacle!

For those planning to visit Machu Picchu. Make sure to do so in the morning to avoid the crowds and before the clouds set in.

In the afternoon, you will return to Cusco at 7 PM.

Machu Picchu best time to visit
When is the best time to do the inca trail

Day 4: Chinchero Maras Moray Tour

This full-day journey from Cusco takes you to Chinchero, a charming village renowned for its master weavers. Where you’ll find a beautiful seventeenth-century colonial church and impressive Inca archaeological sites atop a hill surrounded by breathtaking mountain views.

Here, you’ll also witness a live demonstration of traditional handmade weaving at the Chinchero co-op. The adventure continues with a visit to the remarkable Inca ruins of Moray, an ancient Incan agricultural laboratory.

Next, you’ll explore the ancient salt pans at the Maras Salt Mines or Salineras de Maras. Which has been the primary salt provider for Cusco and continues to supply many nearby communities and the Sacred Valley.

Maras Moray Half Day Tour
Maras Moray Half Day Tour From Cusco

Day 5: Optional Activities in Cusco

If you still have some time left in Cusco. There are plenty of other activities that you can do to make the most out of your stay. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take a cooking class and learn how to prepare traditional Peruvian dishes such as ceviche or Lomo Saltado.
  • Go on a horseback riding tour through the picturesque countryside and visit local villages.
  • Explore the vibrant San Pedro Market and try some delicious local delicacies.
  • Take a day trip to the breathtaking Rainbow Mountain Tour, also known as Vinicunca, and marvel at its colorful stripes.
  • Go on a hike to the beautiful Humantay Lake, nestled in the Andes mountains and surrounded by stunning landscapes.
Colorful Rainbow Mountain
Rainbow Tour 1 Day Tour

Day 6: Cusco Cooking Class

Today, immerse yourselves in the vibrant life of Cusco City. Exploring its majestic Cathedral and bustling market streets, with the added delight of witnessing a local festival – a common and lively weekend occurrence here. There was ample free time for lunch, allowing for a leisurely break before returning to the hotel for a serene evening, or perhaps a little more souvenir hunting.

The afternoon experiences a unique culinary adventure. Starting with a visit to the market alongside your chef to carefully select fresh ingredients for your cooking class and farewell dinner.

This hands-on experience will teach you to prepare a variety of exquisite dishes, making your final night in Peru exceptionally memorable by sharing a splendid meal with new local friends.


Amazon River Cruise – All Inclusive

Day 7: Flight to Galapagos

Following a delightful breakfast, you’ll embark on a flight to Ecuador, marking the beginning of our Galapagos adventure. Typically, flights connect via Lima and arrive in Guayaquil by late afternoon. The aerial views of Ecuador are stunning, with majestic waterways and lush jungles unfolding beneath you.

Upon arrival, a hotel driver will meet you, assisting with your luggage and offering a brief city tour en route to our centrally located hotel. Nestled near the Malecon and Iguana Park, the hotel is conveniently situated just 10-15 minutes from the airport. You’ll have the evening at your leisure to explore the area, enjoy dinner, and relax before we set off for the Galapagos Islands the following morning.

The anticipation for the upcoming adventure in the Galapagos is palpable, and I am equally excited to explore what lies ahead!

best time to visit machu picchu and galapagos
Galapagos Island and Machu Picchu tours

What To Do in the Galapagos 

Since the Galapagos are a collection of islands, there’s an almost unlimited number of things to see and do in the Galapagos.

For this portion of your Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands tour, you can fill your itinerary with a variety of experiences.

From diving expeditions that get you up close and personal with the region’s unique marine life to visits to wildlife centers where expert guides will teach you all about the species that call these islands their home.

Or, for those who want to experience a bit of everything, why not choose a luxury cruise that shows you the best of the islands?  

Galapagos 5 Days Catamaran Tour

This morning another highlight of this epic trip begins with the short flight to the Galapagos Islands, a land of magical wildlife and other-worldly landscapes. For the following five nights, you will cruise the islands from the comfort of the upscale catamaran, Endemic, or similar. This supremely comfortable boat has a maximum of 16 passengers, a specialist naturalist guide. A highly qualified crew, and a dedicated cruise manager to ensure you maximize your Galapagos experience.

The comfortable suite accommodation includes floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and private balconies. Wetsuits, snorkel gear, stand-up paddleboards, and glass-bottomed kayaks are all included, and your guide will ensure you learn all about the area’s bird, marine, wildlife, and volcanic landscapes during the daily land and sea-based excursions.

The native Galapagos wildlife is notoriously tame so you can get up close and personal with waddling penguins, prehistoric iguanas, lumbering giant tortoises, and playful sea lions.

Marvel at skies alive with Darwin’s famous finches, red-throated frigates, waved albatross, and blue-footed bobbies. And swim in waters brimming with over 400 species of tropical fish, manta rays, sharks, and huge turtles.

Land-based excursions can include trekking the volcanic landscape, exploring the misty cloud forest, visiting the giant tortoise reserves, and tours of the Charles Darwin Research Center.

While sea-based excursions might include scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling alongside huge sea turtles, sea lions, penguins, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, marine iguanas, and colorful reef fish.

The itinerary has been designed to be time-efficient with most traveling undertaken at night, so you awaken in a new location every morning.

Cruising is a wonderful way to appreciate the ecological diversity found in the archipelago and as you sail through the water. You can spot rays, whales, and dolphins, not to mention the neon-phosphorescence glittering under star-filled skies.

Catamaran Galapagos Tour
Glapagos & Machu Picchu

Ecuador 2 Nights

Even though it’s now time to leave the greatest wildlife show on earth. The adventure continues with a two-night stay in Ecuador’s delightful capital, Quito. Your base is the beautifully restored 18th-century mansion, Casa Gangotena, a luxury boutique hotel overlooking San Francisco Plaza in the heart of Old Town.

A fusion of historic charm, contemporary design, and modern comforts, Casa Gangotena is a wonderful hotel from which to explore Quito’s cultural delights. Quito’s Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the largest and best-preserved colonial quarter in South America. A stroll around the cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, historic churches, delightful markets, and charming plazas is a lovely way to soak up the atmosphere.

For wonderful views of the city and the surrounding volcanoes, take a walk up to the sculpture that overlooks the city. La Virgen del Panecillo, or ride the cable car El Teleférico (known locally as TelefériQo) up the slope of the dormant Volcán Pichincha to the summit, Cruz Loma. Other highlights include enjoying a chocolate tasting session and a trip out to the Equatorial Monument where you can stand in the Middle of the World.

With a latitude of 0º, you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere. Inside the monument, you will find the Ethnographic Museum, with exhibits that focus on the different regions, geography, and peoples of this region. Finally, after enjoying the trip of a lifetime and with some incredible memories of the sights you have seen, people you have met, and experiences you have enjoyed, it is time to make the journey home.


Each itinerary Machu Picchu Galapagos we design is crafted with you in mind, serving as a flexible starting point. We are ready to adjust or completely customize it, ensuring it aligns perfectly with your unique preferences.


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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde, owner of Tour Leaders Peru & Travel Advisor and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own amazing Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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