5 flights (longest 2.5 hours); 2 train journeys; 1 road journey (8 hours, including stops); 4 nights on board the Galápagos M/Y Sea Star. The journey from Cusco to Puno is by bus. If you would prefer to travel by train please contact one of our consultants for further information. Due to the cancellation of the train service later in 2017 this option is only available for the January and February departures of this tour.
On this tour we use mid-range and superior hotels and a small motor yacht with private facilities and air-conditioning.
Examples of hotels include:
• Lima: Hotel Casa Andina Select Miraflores
• Cusco: Novotel
• Sacred Valley: Hotel Pakaritampu
• Machu Picchu: Casa Andina Classic
• Lake Titicaca: Posada del Inca (Lake View rooms)
• Guayaquil: Oro Verde
• Galápagos Islands: M/Y Galápagos Sea Star
On board the cruise all cabins have lower berth beds, panoramic windows, air conditioning, safes and hairdryers. There is the option to extend your cruise to 9 nights should you wish.
On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.
Breakfast daily; lunch day 4; full board cruise days 11-14.
• Cusco: city tour and Sacsayhuamán
• Sacred Valley: tour of ruins and villages
• Machu Picchu: guided tour of the ruins
• Lake Titicaca: Uros Islands and Sillustani
• Guayaquil: city tour
• Galápagos Islands: guided island visits and snorkeling
Summary of nights
15 days, 14 nights: Lima 1; Cusco 2; Sacred Valley 1; Machu Picchu 1; Cusco 1; Puno 2; Lima 1; Guayaquil 1; Galápagos cruise 4.
Included in the journey price
• Services of Journey Latin America tour leader (Peru)
• Naturalist guides in the Galápagos Islands and a local guide in Guayaquil
• All land and domestic air transport
• Accommodation as specified
• Use of snorkel and fins in the Galápagos
• Meals as specified with full-board in the Galápagos (excluding all drinks)
• Excursions as specified
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and insurance
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions
• Wetsuit for snorkelling ($7USD a day)
• Galápagos Islands entrance fee $100USD
There are optional excursions which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $100 should cover participation in the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:
• Machu Picchu: revisit the ruins (additional cost)
• Machu Picchu: climb Huayna Picchu (this excursion must be pre-booked due to availability issues so please let the office know before travel). Please note that this is a vigorous climb, involving very steep steps and uneven terrain. It would not be recommended for anyone suffering from vertigo. For more information, please contact your travel consultant
• Lima: city tour
• Galápagos Islands: All your excursions during your cruise are included, although you may choose to do some extra snorkelling or swimming from the boat or beaches
The unit of currency in Peru is the sol and in Ecuador is the US dollar.
A budget of around $45USD per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday price, drinks and the odd souvenir.
Your costs for the Galápagos trip will be a $100USD national park entrance fee, which is payable locally and subject to increase. To hire a wetsuit in the Galápagos Islands is $7USD a day.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can change into local currency in Peru or use as valid currency in Ecuador, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.
Credit cards are not accepted onboard the cruise.
Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $2 per person per day for guides and r drivers.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
On your Galápagos cruise, there is often a single 'kitty' tip organised for all on board. The convention is usually $15 per person, per day, although this is a suggestion, and tipping is of course a personal choice. You will be given specific guidance on board.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6 per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
Given the limited facilities in the islands and the costs related to air evacuations, visitors to the Galápagos are strongly encouraged to obtain travel insurance which includes air ambulance services.
International departure tax from Lima and Guayaquil is usually included in the ticket.
There are some very early mornings and a couple of long days of travel on this trip. All walks are optional, and you can discuss with your tour leader which are suitable for you around Machu Picchu. The streets in Cusco are cobbled and steep and you must be cautious at altitude. Whilst on the Cruise, to visit the islands you will have to transfer onto smaller 'Zodiac' crafts. The crew will be there to assist.
The rainy season in the Andes runs between November and April when there are showers most afternoons. The dry season is in June, July and August when the sun is strong during the day, but at night the temperature drops dramatically (from freezing point to 10°C). May, September and October are less predictable, with both rainy and sunny spells.
Lima is covered in a dull grey mist for much of the year, although the sun does break through between November and March. It almost never rains in Lima, and temperatures are moderate.
In Cusco and the highlands, June to September can be very cold at night, but days are usually extremely clear with sun. November to April are the wettest months of the year – note that rains tend to be in short, heavy bursts, rather than continual showers, with rains clearing towards the end of April. Nights are cold throughout the year at altitude.
In the Galápagos, from January to April it’s hot and the sun is strong, with some sudden showers. May to July, and October to December is cloudier; August and September it’s often cloudy and cool, and a stiff breeze makes the waters choppier. High and Low seasons reflect demand rather than the best time to go. Many boats are in dry dock in September
Your stay in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Lake Titicaca is at high altitude (2,800-4,000m). A small minority of visitors may suffer temporarily from altitude sickness. Symptoms vary; most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. If you don’t recover in a day or two speak to your tour leader; in very rare instances it is necessary to descend to lower altitudes. Most people are unaffected and if you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of suffering any symptoms.
Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.
Clothing and special equipment
For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well on the Galápagos Islands. Long-sleeved shirts will protect you from insects.
Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block, hat and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for ocean swimming (Galápagos). You can hire snorkelling equipment but may prefer to bring your own. Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for embarking and disembarking on wet landings. Bring a light waterproof jacket in case of rain. For June to November departures, wetsuits are recommended (which can be hired), as the waters can be chilly for snorkelling.
Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and cards.
Due to luggage restrictions on the train to Machu Picchu, you will leave the bulk of your baggage in the Sacred Valley, which will be waiting for you on your return to Cusco. You can take up to 5kgs per person on the train. An overnight holdall is recommended to separate your luggage for the time spent away.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America and Galápagos.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets. You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Cases of Zika virus have been reported in parts of Latin America. If you’re pregnant, or planning to be, you should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Clients with a different nationality should enquire or check with the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Consulates.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online
This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.