AUTHOR Caroline Eaton
Many of our guests want to experience as much as possible when they visit the Andean region of South America, and Machu Picchu, Cuzco and The Sacred Valley are three experiences that make an exciting addition to your Galapagos Excursion. They take you through a city centered on culture, ancient ruins and historic villages. After seeing the Galapagos wildlife up close it will be a fascinating change of pace to complete your adventure in Ecuador and Peru.
3 Reasons to Add a Peru Extension to your Galapagos Trip
1. Machu Picchu Ruins
The Incas built the estate around 1450, but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. It was known locally, but not to the outside world. American historian Hiram Bingham, brought Machu Picchu to international attention in 1911. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored. The restoration work continues to this day to give you a better idea of what the structures originally looked like.
When you show up early the ruins will be covered in morning mist from the river, but as the morning progresses, the fog rises and the intricate ruins are uncovered. You will be surrounded by rolling mountainside and one of the world’s most renowned archeological treasures.
Cuzco is an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site sitting 3,400 m above sea level and a must see in South America. The historical center is filled with Incan buildings and cobble stoned streets waiting for you to explore. The locals proudly maintain the cultures and traditions of their ancestors and will be happy to share their stories about their experiences.
Visit the cathedral and La Compañia, the convent of Santo Domingo and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The delicacy in Cusco is Cuy, otherwise known as Guinea Pig. While this might sound odd to eat, most travelers say it tastes similar to chicken, but we suggest you try it for yourself.
3. The Sacred Valley of the Incas
Just an hour away lies the narrow, winding Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you find picturesque villages like Pisac, known for its colorful market, and Ollaytaytambo built on top of original Inca foundations.
While you travel through the Sacred Valley try the locals cure for altitude sickness: the leaves of the Coca Plant. They make tea from the leaves and drink it as an antidote to the thin air. Another way to get your coca fix is through coca candy or simply chewing the leaves themselves.
Between Cusco and Machu Picchu there are several of the greatest temples and royal palaces in the country. While many tourists frequent this valley, the villages in the area remain very traditional and unchanged since days of the Incas.
Ecoventura offers two extensions to Peru visiting these 3 highlights of Peru. This tour departs on Sunday afternoon from Guayaquil when you arrive back from the Galapagos cruise.
Where will you stay?
We’ve hand selected our favorite hotels based on comfort, uniqueness and value to continue your stay after you debark your cruise.
For 39 years, Inkaterra has been practicing sustainable tourism initiatives in Peru. It focuses on preserving Peru’s nature and cultures and sharing them with the world. Each year Inkaterra focuses on providing authentic nature experiences in Peru, while rescuing, presenting and showcasing Peru’s culture and nature for the world.
Casa Andina is a Peruvian hotel chain that is inspired by each hotel’s region’s local culture. Each destination is designed around local architecture, the meals are inspired by the local gastronomy and the activities, music and decor offered are specific to that city.
On the banks of the Vilcanota River near the main tourist area, Sumaq Hotel is a family centered hotel within the Machu Picchu historical sanctuary. Surrounded by lush vegetation and breathtaking mountains you can use the ancient trails to walk around as you immerse yourself in the outdoor activities. The hotels sustainable practices in protecting the environment and social setting have been verified by the Rainforest Alliance.
High season is April through October so don’t wait to book your trip during these months as our favorite hotels fill up quickly. Contact us today to get more information about adding a Peru extension on to your Galapagos cruise and enhancing your experience in South America