Ecuador, Galapagos & Peru Explorer


Ecuador, Galapagos & Peru Explorer

Was From $ 11,595 AUD
Now From $ 9,856 AUD


This unique adventure focuses on South America’s heaviest hitters – the Galapagos Islands, the Inca Trail and the Amazon Jungle. Take 24 days to explore these wildly different parts of the region. Snorkel the turtle-filled waters of Leon Dormido, then walk the cobblestone streets of Cusco. Sit on black-sand beaches watching sea lions lounge and later conquer the 4200-metre-high Dead Woman’s Pass. Witness breathtaking natural beauty among the surreal landscapes of the Ecuador Highlands and Galapagos, then wonder at the man-made elegance of Machu Picchu. This tour offers immersive and active adventure led by locals in two bucket-list favourite destinations.

Trip Name
Ecuador, Galapagos & Peru Explorer
Last Updated
  • This trip gives both trekkers and non-trekkers the chance to visit Machu Picchu with Inca Trail*, Quarry Trail and train options.
  • Admire the ingenuity of Inca engineering in the Sacred Valley and contemplate how stone was excavated to build the structures still standing there.
  • Explore Cusco, South America's oldest continuously inhabited city. The city has ancient foundations, an interesting blend of Incan and colonial influences, and seemingly endless things to do and see.
  • Snorkel the incredible marine life-filled waters of Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido, one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos and an absolute highlight for many travellers.
  • Encounter the wildlife wonders of the Galapagos Islands up close. Giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas and more await.
  • Hike to the top of one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos – the Sierra Negra – and peer into the second-largest caldera in the world.
  • Marvel at the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano – one of the largest active volcanos in the world – while hiking through Cotopaxi National Park.
  • Live like a local as you’re welcomed into a family home in a sustainable community high in the hills of Ecuador, getting your hands dirty and helping with everyday tasks like reforestation projects, organic gardening or jam making, to name a few.


ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. DEMONSTRATIONS & STRIKES: Demonstrations and protests, often in response to local labour or social issues, occur regularly in Peru. National strikes can be called at short notice and can cause disruption to road networks leading to inevitable itinerary changes. We will do everything possible for these changes to be at little or no extra cost; however in such circumstances we find that travellers may need to use their contingency funds to cover the costs of itinerary changes. HEAVY RAIN ON THE INCA TRAIL If it rains heavily for a number of consecutive days, the terrain at the third campsite (Wiñaywayna) can become unstable, increasing the danger of landslides and making it unsafe to camp. This occurs mostly during the wet season (December to March) although it can also happen at any time of the year. Your trekking guide may assess that it's safer to spend the third night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), or if available, to camp at Puente Ruinas campsite. You may need to use your contingency funds to cover any additional costs. An letter can be provided for lodging a travel insurance claim for these costs.

Day 1 - Quito
Bienvenido! Welcome to Ecuador. Your South American adventure begins in the country’s capital of Quito – high in the Andes. You can expect to be greeted by the relaxed atmosphere that Ecuador does so well. You’ll notice a mix of modern and traditional houses dotted halfway up the surrounding mountain peaks that frame the city and an Old Town with ancient architectural jewels just waiting to be explored. Our trip officially kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm this evening, where you’ll meet your group leader and travel pals. If you arrive with time to spare, we recommend taking a wander through the cobblestone streets, checking out the eclectic market stalls or perhaps joining an Intrepid Urban Adventure tour through the city’s historic centre. Discover more here: Quito Legends and Culture Tour (urbanadventures.com)
Day 2 - Tena - Amazon
After breakfast this morning, you’ll wave goodbye to the country’s capital as we switch up the pace and make our way from the Andes to the Amazon on a local bus bound for Tena. Your lodge-style accommodation in Tena, on the banks of the Arajuno River, is only accessible by canoe so you can expect a little bit of adventure for the last leg of today’s trip – welcome to the jungle. You'll spend the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps exploring the eco-lodge, built with all-natural materials, and soaking up the atmosphere of this magical place surrounded by rainforest. In the evening, you’ll enjoy dinner at the eco-lodge, listening to the singing sounds of jungle insects and the flicker of the fireplace. Then, wander the area under the twinkling night sky on a special night walk with your locally-based leader guiding the way.
Day 3 - Tena- Amazon
Fuel up on breakfast this morning – we have a big day of adventures ahead. First up, you’ll get the chance to hike into the rainforest with an indigenous guide leading the way. Listen carefully as they point out local bird species and teach you about the incredible plant life that thrives here. You’ll be surrounded by one of the most magnificent landscapes on Earth, teeming with wildlife, so make sure you take a moment to breathe it all in. After lunch, you’ll visit an animal rescue centre to learn more about the local wildlife (and how we can help to protect them).
Day 4 - Banos
Take the opportunity to mingle with the locals and, perhaps brush up on your Spanish, on a public bus to Banos today. Surrounded by towering verdant mountains, home to hot springs and etched with waterways that lead to thundering waterfalls – we think you’re going to like it here. On arrival, stretch your legs with a leader-led walking tour of the city to find your bearings and get the inside scoop on the best places to grab a bite to eat. Then, in the afternoon opt to visit Pailon del Diablo, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the area. The 80-meter-high falls have a mighty strength that whips up a spray of water – showering anyone in its path. Expect stairs - a lot of them - but expect to forget all about them when you reach the view of Pailon del Diablo.
Day 5 - Cotopaxi National Park- Yunguilla Community Stay
Rise bright and early this morning as we hit the road for Cotopaxi National Park. This national park is home to three volcanos, including one of the largest active volcanos in the world – the park’s namesake, Cotopaxi. We’ll take to the winding trails that meander through the park for a hike through the area that sits below the dominating, snow-capped volcano. Keep your eyes peeled for foxes, white-tailed deer and Brazilian rabbits that call this area home. After some time to explore, you'll head to Yunguilla village, where members of the community will be waiting to welcome you to their home and show you a glimpse into their lives. This evening, enjoy a traditional homemade dinner and a chance to get to know your host family.
Day 6 - Yunguilla Community Stay
Today, you’ll be immersed in the local way of life as you spend the full day alongside your host family. There will be different jobs to participate in and experiences to enjoy depending on the time of season you travel. You may be invited to get your hands dirty with reforestation projects or organic gardening, you might learn to make jam or cheese or even get a little creative and work on traditional handicrafts. Whatever you get up to, the best part of today is simply spending time with the local family, getting to know their way of life, learning about their culture and even learning a new Spanish phrase, or three. This is your chance to feel like a local for a day and dive into the customs and cultures of this sustainable community high in the hills of Ecuador.
Day 7 - Otavalo-Quito
You’ll say adios to your newfound family and friends after breakfast this morning and make your way to Otavalo Market – this is one of the biggest markets in all of South America for handicrafts. Do you know what that means? It’s one of the best places for you to haggle for souvenirs. You can expect to find hats, tapestries, ceramics, textiles and so much more. And if shopping isn’t your thing – don't worry, simply watch as the bustling markets beat with the drum of locals busily selling their goods. After working up an appetite at the manic market stalls, you’ll grab a bite to eat (own expense) before making tracks back to Quito for the evening. This evening, perhaps rally your travel companions together for dinner. Ask your group leaders for recommendations on the best street eats or bars in the city.
Day 8 - Quito
The second half of your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm, where you'll meet your new group travelling to the Galapagos Islands. After the welcome meeting, join your local leader for a tour of Quito's historic center. Catch the Matro to the Parque de la Alameda and visit sites such as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a famous neo-Gothic church known for the details of its façade that represent Galápagos tortoises, Andean condors, and Amazon alligators. You’ll also visit La Compania de Jesus, considered by many to be the most beautiful church in the Americas. It's claimed that seven tons of gold leaf cover the interior whilst the exterior is decorated with statues, busts, sculpted heads, and a jungle of carved leaves. The tour will finish at San Francisco Square, where you’ll have the option to return to the hotel, or why not get to know your new travelling companions and dine in Quito’s Old Town – your leader will have plenty of recommendations!
Day 9 - Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
Early this morning, catch a flight to Isla San Cristobal, your gateway to the galapagos Islands! After joining up with your fellow travellers who are starting and ending their trip on the Islands, head to La Loberia where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim among sea lions, perhaps spotting sea turtles too. Return to town for a free evening. Perhaps head out with the group and enjoy some of the fresh seafood available.
Day 10 - Isla San Cristobal
Today begins with a 45-minute boat ride to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). On the way we might be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. There is also potential to swim among playful young sea lions. At Leon Dormido you can snorkel and look for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark. Currents can be quite strong so it's important you are a confident swimmer to participate in this activity. If you have any concerns, please ensure you speak with your leader. Eat lunch on the boat then head to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve them. Continue to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. Return to town in the late afternoon or early evening.
Day 11 - Isla Floreana
Take an early morning boat ride towards Isla Floreana, which should take about 2.5 hours. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as dolphins and whales. On arrival to the island, snorkel in the clear blue waters and then break for lunch. Afterwards venture to a black-sand beach which belongs to the Witmers, decedents of some of the first settlers on the Galapagos. The town here, Puerto Velasco Ibarra, has about 150 residents and an intriguing history involving deaths, disappearances and murders. Later in the afternoon, wave goodbye to Floreana and continue to Isla Isabela (approximately 2 hours). From Isabela Port it's a short transfer to the hotel where we will spend the night (approximately 15 minutes).
Day 12 - Isla Isabela
This morning, you’ll hop on a small Zodiac boat and cruise to Las Tintoreras (Shark Alley), looking out for blue-footed boobies and the famous Galapagos penguin. Take a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site, then snorkel in a calm inlet with colorful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is also frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom. Return to Isla Isabela and visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center, where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. After learning about the thousand turtles that are preparing for life here, you’ll head to a brackish lagoon to observe flamingos. Later today, take a kayak around the island before finding your sandy resting spot and soaking in your first Isabela sunset – arguably the most beautiful of all the islands!
Day 13 - Isla Isabela
Start your last day on Isla Isabela by heading towards the Sierra Negra Volcano – one of the Galapagos’ most active volcanoes and the world's second-largest crater! Weather permitting, you’ll take a challenging hike of around 17 km up the rocky mountain. After, make your way back to town for some free time to curl up with a book, soak your tired muscles or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.
Day 14 - Isla Isabela / Isla Santa Cruz
Jump aboard a private speedboat this morning and head to Isla Santa Cruz. When you arrive, leave your bags at the hotel and head to the Santa Cruz Highlands. Your first stop is a local farm, where giant tortoises roam the grounds. Here, you’ll have a cooking class with an expert chef who will teach you how to make the famed encebollado – a local soup considered one of the best in the world! This hearty dish uses slow-cooked albacore tuna and a Savoury broth made of onions, cilantro and spices. The dish is traditionally served with yuca (a starchy root vegetable) and garnished with lime and green onions. Enjoy the fruits (or soups) of your labour for lunch, then spend some time wandering the grounds with the slow-paced residents. After lunch, you’ll visit an organic sugar cane farm run by a local family for a trapiche tour (a sugar cane mill used in artisanal sugar production). See how the family harvests and processes sugar cane as well as cacao and how it really is a community effort.
Day 15 - Isla Santa Cruz
Take a morning walk in Tortuga Bay after breakfast. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. After returning to town for lunch, you’ll pass through a local fish market on the way to The Galapagos Conservancy. Here, they help protect the Galapagos' unique biodiversity. Learn how The Intrepid Foundation supports the Galapagos Conservancy Women in Sustainable Entrepreneurship (WISE) program, which provides critical capital for sustainability initiatives and builds the entrepreneurial capacity of Galapagos women. After, head to the Charles Darwin Research Station – an international non-profit organization that’s dedicated to the scientific research and conservation of the archipelago’s environment and biodiversity.
Day 16 - Quito
Say goodbye to the glorious Galapagos today and return to Quito by plane, with a brief touchdown en route in Guayaquil. Arrive in Quito for a free afternoon and evening. As gorgeous as the islands were, perhaps take advantage of the cosmopolitan food and bar scene in Quito and treat yourself to a nice meal.
Day 17 - Lima
Take an included flight to Lima, where you can use any free time to explore before a meeting at 2 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. After the meeting, go on a walking tour of downtown Lima, one of the most beautiful cities in South America, and an optional dinner with your group. Be sure to get your hands on Peru's national dish of ceviche during your stay.
Day 18 - Cusco (3450m)
Transfer to the airport and board your flight to lofty Cusco. The next stage of your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you. After the meeting, get acquainted with this charming city's intriguing blend of Inca and Spanish culture on a guided walking tour with your leader. Check out some of Cusco's main attractions, as well as its lesser-known sights such as the Qoricancha temple, San Pedro market, the main square, the 12-Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. End the walking tour with a visit to the Chocolate Museum where you will sample hot chocolate made from local beans. There’s also a small store where you can shop handicrafts and artisanal chocolate products. Don't miss the opportunity to sample mate de coca (coca tea) while here.
Day 19 - Ollantaytambo
This morning, drive through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood for the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced walls and the sacred river beneath. Stop for lunch in a local community, where you'll also get the chance to learn about their traditional lifestyle and maybe wrap your tongue around a few words of the Quechua language. If it’s market day, you'll have time to browse the local handicrafts on offer, such as beads and ponchos. Then, visit the AMA Restaurant in Urubamba for afternoon tea – this café is dedicated to working with single mothers throughout the Sacred Valley, where there are few opportunities for childcare and employment. As all the ingredients used here are grown and purchased locally, the establishment also prides itself on its organic and locally focused practices. Enjoy a coffee, tea or juice with a slice of vegan beet cake or a homemade cookie and continue your journey to Ollantaytambo. Check out the town’s fascinating archaeological site – ancient remnants of an Inca city with soaring views over the present-day settlement.
Day 20 - Inca Trail
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be either hiking the Inca Trail (Route 1), hiking the Quarry Trail (Route 2) or staying in Cusco for two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes (Route 3). All routes visit Machu Picchu. While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. You won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cusco and travel with only a small bag for the overnight stay in Aguas Calientes. Route 1 Inca Trail Today, travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, your cook and your guide. Your first day will include uphill trekking to the campsite, which sits at 3100 m above sea level. On the way, you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal prepared by your cook. Route 2 Quarry Trail Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. From here, you’ll head to the small community near Qory Song’o (Golden Heart) hill, where you’ll climb to the top for the incredible views of the Soqma Perolniyoc, Pachar and Huarocondo valleys. There are also several sacred tombs in the area, protected by the locals, which you can explore with your leader and even see some of the original structures crafted from wood and leather. These remains have never been seen by travellers before, so you can be a part of this exclusive experience. Carry on to the Perolniyoc Cascade lookout, where you can stop for some snacks and photos. Arrive at the campsite, 3700 m above sea level, around lunchtime. After, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas. Route 3 Cusco: After spending the night in Ollantaytambo, take a short drive to the town of Pisac. Pisac is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local empanadas. Arrive back at Cusco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to San Pedro Market, where you have the option to buy some local favourites for a picnic tomorrow.
Day 21 - Inca Trail
Route 1 Inca Trail This is the most challenging day of the trek, as you ascend a 5-hour long steep path to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4200 m above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 m. Route 2 Quarry Trail This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A 3-hour walk takes you to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa, about 4370 m high. After enjoying the picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. After, make the 2-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4450 m. From here, descend to the sacred site that the Incas called Intipunku. This is a sun gate, where the sun will stream through at particular times of the year and there are views of the Nevado Veronica mountain year-round. The Incas built several sun gates, the most notable overlooking Machu Picchu. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away and at 3600 m. Route 3 Cusco Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cusco. From here you’ll take a 1 to 3 hour walk back to Cusco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites, including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cusco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time. Maybe visit the Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops before finding a great spot to sit down and enjoy some dinner.
Day 22 - Inca Trail
Route 1 Inca Trail Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay Pass at 3980 m. Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2 to 3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca at 3850 m, also known as the 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the 2-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site. Route 2 Quarry Trail Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo when you finish your trek, before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Spend the night in a hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu. Route 3 Train to Aguas Calientes After a 1.5-hour drive to Ollantaytambo, you’ll catch a 1.5-hour train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes. The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Quarry Trail. Spend the night in a hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.
Day 23 - Cusco
Route 1 Inca Trail This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu – one of the famed Wonders of the World. The day starts before dawn, with breakfast at 4 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking. Once the final checkpoint opens at 5 am, you’ll begin the final 2.5 hour trek to Intipunku (the Sun Gate). Weather permitting, you’ll enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. Route 2 and 3 Machu Picchu to Cusco Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for the Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters. This is a day to remember! For all travellers, after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to catch the bus to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll stop for lunch together. From here, take a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo, then drive back to Cusco, arriving in the evening.
Day 24 - Cusco
Your trip comes to an end today, and there are no activities planned. If you’d like to stay longer, just speak to your booking agent. You may want to consider purchasing a Boleto Turistico (tourism ticket) It gains access to the many fascinating museums here, such as the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum. Please speak with your tour leader about this for more details.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
17-08-202409-09-2024AUD $ 9,954-
14-09-202407-10-2024AUD $ 10,629-
12-10-202404-11-2024AUD $ 9,856-
09-11-202402-12-2024AUD $ 11,050-
16-11-202409-12-2024AUD $ 10,051-
07-12-202430-12-2024AUD $ 10,051-
21-12-202413-01-2025AUD $ 11,825-
11-01-202503-02-2025AUD $ 11,935-
01-03-202524-03-2025AUD $ 10,145-
15-03-202507-04-2025AUD $ 10,145-
12-04-202505-05-2025AUD $ 12,890-
10-05-202502-06-2025AUD $ 12,890-
14-06-202507-07-2025AUD $ 12,410-
05-07-202528-07-2025AUD $ 12,410-
26-07-202518-08-2025AUD $ 12,890-
16-08-202508-09-2025AUD $ 11,935-
13-09-202506-10-2025AUD $ 11,935-
11-10-202503-11-2025AUD $ 12,410-
15-11-202508-12-2025AUD $ 12,410-
06-12-202529-12-2025AUD $ 12,890-


Route 1 - Inca Trail: Camping with basic facilities (3 nights),Hotel (16 nights),Jungle Eco Lodge (2 nights),Homestay (2 nights). Route 2 - Quarry Trail: Camping with basic facilities (2 nights),Hotel (17 nights),Jungle Eco Lodge (2 nights),Homestay (2 nights). Route 3 - Train option: Hotel (19 nights),Jungle Eco Lodge (2 nights),Homestay (2 nights)


Plane,Speed Boat,Bus,Private Vehicle,Taxi,Train - Route 3 only