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Peru machu picchu in sunlight c michael edey pura
Ecuador galapagos islands land iguana endemic to the galapagos islands ecuador
Ecuador galapagos islands sally lightfoot crab colour contrast with lava
Peru sacred valley quenco village shepherd walking highlands

Machu Picchu & Galápagos Holiday

Walking meets wildlife as you explore the grandeur of Peru's Andes with your private guide, then meet fearless wildlife on a small-boat Galápagos cruise.

All your questions answered

Helping you find the right holiday for you is important to us, so here's a few common questions about this trip to help. If there's anything you'd like to know that's not covered here, send us over a message or you can also give us a call on +44 1273 676 712 and we'd be only too pleased to help.

What flexibility will I get with any Covid-19 restrictions?

First thing to say is that throughout the pandemic we have frequently been praised by Which? as a tour operator to trust, so you're in good hands. Your safety is always our top priority and we want you to be able to fully look forward to and enjoy your holiday with peace of mind.

Even as restrictuons ease, our policy remains as it always has - we view quarantines as a travel restriction on a par with lockdown, in-country restrictions at your destination or FCDO advice against travel, and we will offer the same flexibility as in those situations; defer to new dates or a full refund at the point at which your trip is imminent. In these cases, we define imminent travel as a month prior to departure.

Read more: Covid-19 FAQs

What is the payment process and is my money completely safe?

We take a 15% deposit to secure your holiday, with the remainder due four weeks before your departure, rather than the usual eight weeks.

Your money is 100% protected through our ATOL licence if your trip includes a flight booked through us, or through our ABTOT bond if it does not. Either way, this protection provides a cast iron financial guarantee and helps you book with complete peace of mind. Because the contract between us exists here in the UK, you get this protection regardless of where you live

When is the best time to go?

In Peru, there is a dry season and a wet season. The best time to visit Peru is during the dry season which is between May and October. You can expect warm sunny days and clear skies with chilly nights in the Andes (Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu).

The wet season is between November and April, with the wettest months being January and February which are best avoided. We still recommend travel in November, December as well as late March - April as long as you are prepared for some rain. It is quieter, the scenery is greener, and international flights will cost less.

The Galápagos Islands lie on the equator so temperatures and weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant all year round. As such, there isn’t really a bad time to visit. The wildlife is always extraordinary.

There are generally two seasons – Cool/ Dry ( June to November) and Hot/Rainy ( December to May). Although it can still rain in the dry season, and heavy persistent downpours are rare even in the rainy season. The main difference between the seasons is the water temperature and the sea conditions. The sea temperature starts to cool around June with August and September seeing the coolest temperatures and choppiest seas. The differences are not extreme, you are just more likely to want to use a wetsuit for snorkelling in August and September than you are in April.

The dive season is December – June when the waters are calm and visibility at its best. The wildlife is always abundant and never far away but if you have an interest in a specific species then let us know so we can advise accordingly.

To sum up: the best months to combine these two destinations would be April, May and June as well as October, November and even December.

When is peak season?

June to September is the busier period in Peru but we always steer you away from crowds so the trip still works very well in this period. Galápagos is a popular year-round destination.

How far ahead should I book?

This somewhat depends on when you want to travel and what you want to do. There are two key factors on this trip – permit availability for the one-day trail In Peru, and the fixed departure dates of the Galápagos boats. If you have specific dates, we advise you book at least 12 months ahead to secure your dates. The more flexibility you have, the better.

How much carbon is produced on this trip and how is it mitigated?

Total carbon generated on this trip: 3,878kg per person
Carbon mitigated by us:
6,204kg per person

As Yvon Chouinard, of Patagonia, Inc. rightly declared: “To do good, you actually have to do something.”

Therefore, for every kilometre travelled by road, air and sea on your Pura Aventura holiday, we carbon balance it by a mile - i.e. by 160% of your trip's carbon, from your front door and back again, irrespective of whether we book your international travel or not.

This is one of the travel industry's most ambitious and innovative schemes and has recently been praised by Wanderlust, Condé Nast Traveller and The Independent.

Is this trip suitable for solo travellers?

The services in Peru and up in Quito are all private whereas in the Galápagos you can pair up with a cabin-mate of the same gender. In short, if you are happy with the investment, the experience as a solo traveller would be great - lots of company and shared meals as well as time to explore a little on your own.

How active is this trip?

In Peru, the activities are not very demanding but you are at altitude which can make things a little more challenging.

We pace the days to allow for acclimatisation with the least active days at the start of your time in Sacred Valley. It is important to know that as you have your own private guide it's much easier for us to adapt the itinerary to suit your energy levels, be that increasing or decreasing walking times. If you want to do more, you can. If you don’t feel like a hike on a particular day, we will suggest alternative options.

The Royal (one-day) Inca Trail is the toughest hike. It is only 11km in distance but it is at altitude with some steep uphill sections. The highest point on the walk is 2,800 m. We set a gentle pace with lots of breaks over six or seven hours. If you enjoy hiking and are generally active, this will be a moderate hike for you.

The hike to Tambo Machay on the day you travel to Cusco takes you to over 4,000m. Again, it is not a long hike (13km), it is largely flat, and we set a slow pace covering the 13km over six hours. It’s a beautiful hike but if you don’t want to do it, you can skip ahead to Cusco by road.

The focus in Galápagos is primarily wildlife, but you do spend most of your time out and about in the great outdoors, so it is not a sedentary trip by any means. There is some gentle hiking, though the islands are volcanic, which means that you are often walking on quite sharp lava. There are also lots of opportunities to swim, snorkel and sometimes kayak.

Will altitude be a problem?

You will notice altitude, yes. Cusco is at around 3,400m so you will very likely notice shortness of breath, at least when you first arrive.

However, we carefully pace your time in the Andes to allow for acclimatisation by starting in the Sacred Valley. At 2,900m it is high but the real impact of altitude tends to click in above 3,000m so, for most people, those few hundred metres make a big difference. With your own private guide, the pace is entirely flexible.

It is completely normal to feel a little short of breath and nauseous when you first arrive, as well as a loss of appetite, as your body adapts to the thinner air. This is regardless of age, health and fitness levels and usually passes in 24 hours. Drink lots of water both before and during your time at altitude. Arriving well-hydrated helps!

Machu Picchu is at 2,430m so you shouldn’t feel any effects at all by the time you arrive. Quito is at an altitude of 2,850m but you will be well acclimatised by the time you arrive here.

How comfortable will I be?

Really quite comfortable. You can see the hotels, lodges and boat that we use for this trip by asking us for full details, but overall, expect 3- 4* type levels of comfort and a first-class motor yacht in Galápagos.

Each hotel has been chosen for its sense of place, level of service, and warmth of its welcome. This itinerary is based on M/Y Beluga. Cabins are reasonably spacious and have lower beds ( as opposed to bunks). The crew and guides are fantastic and deck space is ample making her feel pleasantly airy and spacious in general.

Given the amount of time spent out and about exploring the islands or up on deck looking for wildlife, cabin size is rarely a critical element of your Galápagos holiday. We do work with other vessels, so please speak to us and we can discuss the options.

Will I meet the locals?

The focus of this holiday is undoubtedly the wildlife and landscapes but you will certainly interact with people as you go along. On your walks in the Andes you will meet locals usually on their way to the village to buy supplies. You’ll see that colourful woven fabrics really are worn by shepherds in the high mountains. You will meet landowners who lost all their land in the 1960s and had to start again. You will meet villagers who never had anything to lose. You will help out in the kitchen of a local family and eat dinner together.

The Galápagos Islands are primarily about the wildlife, though the human history of the islands and the struggles of conservation create a fascinating context for the wildlife. Also, having this much time in the company of Ecuadorian crew and an expert guide allows you time to also gain a wider understanding of your host country.

What might I not have thought of?

The marine life of the Galápagos. The underwater world of the Galápagos doesn’t often get as much attention as the wildlife on land. The marine life is just as abundant, colourful and fearless. Swimming alongside sea turtles is an incredible experience that you are unlikely to ever forget.

Can I make changes to this trip?

Absolutely. We can tailor your holiday in any number of ways. Consider extending your time in Peru to include destinations such as Colca Canyon and Arequipa. You can maximise your time and experience in the Galápagos with a stay on one of the inhabited islands before or after the cruise. Mainland Ecuador has a lot to offer and you can spend time in the Amazon, cloudforest or the volcanoes of Cotopaxi before you head off to Galápagos. Just drop us a line to start the conversation.

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