TOLL FREE
galapagos-tourists
machu-picchu-peru
uyuni-salt-flat-bolivia
Check Availability
Please complete all required fields
Please enter a valid email
Email and confirmation Email doesnt match
There was an error sending the form, please try again!
Send

The Best of South America: Machu Picchu, The Galapagos Islands & The Uyuni Salt Flat 18-Night Itinerary

Some people wonder what can be combined with a trip to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, while others ask what to do in addition to visiting Peru’s Machu Picchu. So why not travel to both destinations? In fact, why not even add a third – like Bolivia’s mind-boggling Uyuni salt flat? Individually, these 3 top the list of South America’s most popular travel experiences, which makes combining them into a single trip almost a no brainer. Flying to the almost mythological Galapagos Islands, you’ll swim and snorkel among some of the richest marine life on Earth, become transfixed by the 150-year-old giant tortoises that symbolize this living laboratory of evolutionary change. From there, it’s off to the intoxicating nation of Peru to experience the glorious Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. A visit to this “Lost City of the Incas” is a much-anticipated highpoint of many people’s trip, as this awe-inspiring ancient city clearly retains its air of grandeur and mystery. It’s then off to the Salar de Uyuni, an expansive, 4,000-square-mile salt flat almost the size as the island nation of Jamaica. This dazzling white expanse framed by mountains and volcanoes, the Salar de Uyuni is not only the largest salt flat in the world, but also one of the highest. All and all …an otherworldly experience. Experience these three destinations with Surtrek – experiences that will undoubtedly inspire you to think differently about our world.

Reviews

“I enjoyed the scenery and the exotic wildlife on the islands very much. The airport transfers in both directions went smoothly and the service on board was very good.”Nikola Dimitrov

Highlights

Middle of the World Tour, Tintoreras, Wetlands, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Puno, La Paz, Uyuni Salt Flats

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Welcome to Quito
Day 2: Quito City Tour & Middle of the World Tour
Day 3: Flight to the Galapagos Islands – Santa Cruz Highlands – Puerto Ayora
Day 4: Speed Boat Ride to Isabela Island - Tintoreras
Day 5: Sierra Negra Volcano - Wetlands
Day 6: Free morning - Speed Boat Ride to Santa Cruz
Day 7: Island-Hopping Tour to an Uninhabited Island
Day 8: Transfer to Baltra airport – Flight to Guayaquil – Flight to Lima – Welcome to Lima
Day 9: Flight to Cusco, Private Car through the Sacred Valley –Visit the Pisac Market
Day 10: Train through the Cloud Forest, Private Tour of Machu Picchu
Day 11: Huayna Picchu hike and travel by train back to Ollantaytambo - ride back to Cusco
Day 12: Private Tour of Cusco’s Historic City Center
Day 13: Cusco - Puno
Day 14: Uros & Taquile Floating Islands
Day 15: Puno – La Paz
Day 16: La Paz City tour and Moon Valley
Day 17: La Paz – Uyuni – Colchani
Day 18: Uyuni Salt Flats
Day 19: Colchani – Uyuni – La Paz
South America Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Welcome to Quito

When you arrive in Ecuador’s capital of Quito — which lies at 2,800 meters above sea level at the foot of the Pichincha Volcano — you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel.

Read More
Day 2
Quito City Tour & Middle of the World Tour

On this one-day tour, we will visit the historic district of the Ecuadorian capital, enjoying this urban jewel and its artistic and architectural treasures. One of the largest and best preserved colonial centers in South America, Quito’s “Old Town” area was declared the first “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO, in 1978.

The visit to the historic center begins with the Basilica del Voto Nacional, one of the largest churches in Ecuador and one of the most important works of Ecuadorian neo-gothic architecture. While the outside of the building stands out for its stone carvings that represent plants and animals of the country, the inside consists of 24 chapels. Beneath the structure are crypts in which lie the remains of several former presidents of the Republic, and on top of the 100-meter-tall church is a beautiful gazebo that also serves as a small cafe.

We will continue on to the always vibrant Plaza Grande (“Independence Square”), which is surrounded by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We will then visit the church of the “Compañia de Jesus” to find its impressive interior inlaid in gold.

Your tour of historic Quito will end with a birds-eye view of the city from the panoramic “Virgin of Quito” monument atop El Panecillo Hill, which overlooks the capital. This will give you a chance to appreciate Quito from above, and – if the weather permits – to catch a view of the spectacular “Volcano Avenue,” two parallel mountain ranges containing eight of the country’s ten highest peaks.

From here, we will continue our journey 15 miles north of Quito to the Mitad del Mundo (“Middle of the World”), the monument on the equator that was built to commemorate the French scientists who in the 1830s made history by determining the shape of the planet thanks to their studies at this location.

Next to the monument is “Middle of the World City,” a village built in a colonial style – with a main square, a church, a post office, a bullring, restaurants and several souvenir and crafts shops.

The highlight of this visit is the equatorial line running along the latitude of 0° 0’ 0.” Here, you will be able to stand with one foot in each of the earth’s hemispheres – a great photo op!   We will also visit the Intiñan Solar Museum, where you will have the opportunity to perform various unusual experiments like balancing an egg on a nail, losing weight in a second, or straddling the equatorial line that separates the two hemispheres. You will return to the hotel for the night.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 3
Flight to the Galapagos Islands – Santa Cruz Highlands – Puerto Ayora

In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel in Quito and driven to the airport for your flight to the Baltra airport, in the Galapagos Islands.

Upon arrival at Baltra airport, you will travel by bus to the Itabaca Channel, followed by a 5-minute ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island, and then an hour’s drive to the town of Puerto Ayora. En route, we will stop at a Highlands reserve to see amazing Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild. You will also have a chance to walk through lava tunnels before having lunch at a local restaurant.

We will reach Puerto Ayora in the afternoon, where you will check in at your selected hotel and still have plenty of free time to explore the town at your leisure.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 4
Speed Boat Ride to Isabela Island - Tintoreras

Today you will leave for Isabela Island by speedboat – a voyage of about 2 1/2 hours, depending on sea conditions. Upon our arrival, you will check in at your hotel and still have time to leisurely explore Puerto Villamil, the island’s main town.

In the afternoon, you will visit Las Tintoreras, taking a short boat trip across Isabela Island’s harbor. After passing the sea lions and pelicans that bathe in the sun on the fishing boats there, you will reach the small island of Las Tintoreras. Here, you will take an easy walk through the bizarre lava landscape with its huge colonies of marine iguanas. A colony of sea lions also live here and it’s common to see whitetip reef sharks resting in the water near the shore. The views from here will be lasting memories that you’ll carry for the rest of your life! The treacherous black lava field, the emerald green sea, the red mangroves, and the cloud-capped volcanoes of Isabela Island create an afternoon backdrop you’re not likely to ever forget.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 5
Sierra Negra Volcano - Wetlands

Following breakfast, you’ll head out for the Sierra Negra Volcano. After driving to the highlands of Isabela Island, you will start hiking up the volcano’s slopes to the edge of its crater. The Sierra Negra — reaching an altitude of around 1,500 meters, and having an outer diameter of approximately 9 kilometers — is the second largest lava dome in the world. You will hike along the cone to the resting place on the ridge’s northeast side. You will have lunch at Campo Duro, which is a charming organic farm whose owners prepare their food with locally grown fruits and vegetables. Cooked on a lava-rock grill, you can enjoy a delicious lunch that will be followed by a walk through fruit tree trails. Or, you can opt to just take a nap in one of their hammocks and breathe the clean, pure air beneath a huge Mango tree.

In the afternoon, you will go biking at the “Humedales”, the wetlands of Isabela Island.  With a little luck, you will be able to see flamingos in the lagoons. You will also cross lava tunnels that are very popular among marine iguanas. Afterwards, you will continue to the "Wall of Tears," one of the most touching human-built monuments in the archipelago. The huge stone mound (8 meters high and around 200 meters long) was built in the 1940's by prisoners of a penal colony that was here from 1946 to 1959. After the visit you can enjoy the sunset at the beach in front of your hotel!  The perfect end for a day in Paradise!

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 6
Free morning - Speed Boat Ride to Santa Cruz

Today you have a free morning to relax at the beautiful beach in Isabela.

Early in the afternoon, you will head on the speedboat back to Santa Cruz and you can enjoy visiting the small stores in Puerto Ayora before resting at the hotel.

Read More
Breakfast
Day 7
Island-Hopping Tour to an Uninhabited Island

Departure:  8 a.m. (Approximately)

Travel time: After being picked up from your hotel, a 40-minute bus ride will take you across the island to the Baltra Channel, where you will embark onto a passenger boat that will have a restroom and plenty of room to relax for the 40-minute journey to North Seymour Island.

The Tour: The tour begins with a guided tour by a National Parks-accredited bilingual (English/Spanish-speaking) guide. We will trek along a 2.5 km trail through the nesting sites of the largest breeding colonies in the islands. Here you will find Blue-footed boobies, Magnificent and Great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls. This will also present a chance to see sea lions, Galapagos land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards and pelicans.

At the conclusion of the land tour, you will return to the boat for a hot lunch and refreshments before traveling to Las Bachas Beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island. Here you can go snorkeling or take a relaxing walk along the beach. During the snorkel, it's possible to see many colorful types of reef fish, various rays, benign Whitetip reef sharks and Green turtles.  Returning to the Baltra Channel, the bus will then transport you back to your hotel.

Return: Approx. 4 p.m. (depending on sea conditions).

(*) North Seymour Island — 1.9 sq./km and located approximately 7 km north of Baltra Island — is the site of one of the largest and most active seabird breeding colonies in the islands. It is a very dry island with no natural sources of water, leaving the animals, namely the land iguanas, to rely on the succulent flowers of cactus plants for nourishment. Whatever time of year, there is always some kind of courtship, mating, nesting or chick rearing to observe.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 8
Transfer to Baltra airport – Flight to Guayaquil – Flight to Lima – Welcome to Lima

Enjoy your last look at these “enchanted islands,” a unique and wondrous paradise! You will then be accompanied to the Baltra airport for your flight to Guayaquil. Once in Guayaquil, you will take the international flight to Lima.

Welcome to Lima, our guide will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel.

Read More
Breakfast
Day 9
Flight to Cusco, Private Car through the Sacred Valley –Visit the Pisac Market

You will wake up refreshed and enjoy a complimentary breakfast in your hotel before we escort you back to the airport for your morning flight to Cusco. Watch the windows as the desert coast rises into the snow-capped peaks of the Andes! We will be waiting for you when touch down at our Andean airport and will bring you to the historic city center of Cusco for a delicious lunch. Then, before you can feel the altitude, we will whisk you into the Sacred Valley.

Just 15 minutes outside of Cusco, you will stop at the vibrant market in the pueblo of Pisac, where locals come from miles around to sell their wares. Upon conclusion of your market visit, we will bring you to your hotel in the heart of the Sacred Valley.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 10
Train through the Cloud Forest, Private Tour of Machu Picchu

Prepare for a climactic day! In the morning, we will board the train in Ollantaytambo for our journey to Machu Picchu. Watch the cloud jungle pass by through the large glass windows! After a bus ride to the gates of this wonder of the world, lunch will be served on-site at the Sanctuary Lodge. You will then ascend stone steps, through heavy tree cover to finally emerge at the top of the world – Machu Picchu.  The incredible Inca stone construction will be spread below, alternately hidden and revealed by clouds. Your expert guide will give you a private tour of the ancient city.

Upon returning for an evening in Aguas Calientes. Enjoy an excellent dinner on-site at your hotel and fall into bed, lulled to sleep by the sound of the cloud forest around you.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 11
Huayna Picchu hike and travel by train back to Ollantaytambo - ride back to Cusco

After breakfast, we will go back to the entrance of the citadel to Hike the Huayna Picchu peak in order to get a full view of Machu Picchu – Huayna Picchu is just in front of Machu Picchu for the ones who do not know. In here, you shall reach the highest point. Also you have to consider that this is subject to availability, the hikes are limited and require advance notice.

After this visit, you will return to Aguas Calientes to take a train back to Cusco. 

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 12
Private Tour of Cusco’s Historic City Center

This morning you will experience the lay of the land as only true world travellers know how: on foot traversing hidden alleyways, historic plazas, and local treasures. After breakfast on your own, your private guide will proceed to illuminate Cusco’s rich tapestry woven by its inviting cobblestone streets, charming neighbourhoods, and astounding landmarks.

Your first stop of the day will be to the Santo Domingo monastery, perched atop the most sacred of Incan sites, the Qoricancha temple of the sun. Once bathed in 24-karat gold long-since pilfered by Spanish conquistadors, this temple is now an astounding blend of Incan stonemasonry and colonial architecture. We will then climb up to the bohemian neighbourhood of San Blas, known for its whitewashed adobe buildings and quaint blue balconies, home to generations of renowned Cusco artisans, before dropping back down to Plaza de Armas for a stop in at the colonial Cathedral. Top off your tour with a visit to a local indigenous market brimming with a rainbow of local fruits and traditional remedies, and make sure to pause to marvel at the 12-angled stone nestled in a wall that has withstood the test of time (as well as a couple of earth-shattering earthquakes!).

Upon conclusion of your tour your guide will leave you with suggestions as to where you find a delicious, local lunch, and you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to explore the Imperial City at your leisure!

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 13
Cusco - Puno

After breakfast, you will embark on a guided bus tour that will take you from Cusco to Puno.

Along the way, you’ll stop at the key points of interest that dot this breathtaking route. The first will be the church in the tiny town of Andahuaylilllas. Adorned with beautiful frescoes, gold leaf and incredible wood sculpture, this church is considered the “Sistine chapel of the Americas.”

Your next stop will be at the Inca outpost of Raqchi. Constructed on the Inca frontier, the stone and mud brick walls of the town were meant to repel invaders from the South.

After an enjoyable lunch en route, you’ll pass La Raya – the highest point on your route. Surrounded by glorious snow-covered mountains and buffeted by chilly winds, you’ll marvel at the artisans who offer their wares at the roadside market.

Finally, you’ll visit a pre-Inca site at Pukara before watching the flat golden plain turn into the building covered hills sloping into lake Titicaca that make up Puno!

We will meet you as you exit the bus in Puno and bring you to your hotel, where you’ll be able to take a hot shower and put your feet up, watching the lights start to twinkle on Lake Titicaca as night falls.

Read More
Breakfast
Day 14
Uros & Taquile Floating Islands

After breakfast in the morning you will trek through the Incan Sacred Lake “Titicaca”, to visit the Floating Islands of Uros. The inhabitants still practice some ancient rituals with influence of the Aymaras, living of the aquatic plant reed mace or bulrush. Then you will follow to the Island of Taquile, larger than Titicaca, in its summit awaits a panoramic view of Lake Titicaca. You will learn more about the inhabitants and their traditions and customs. They will receive us with their traditional clothing, which are an example of their social organization and cooperative work as a community. Then you will board our water boat and return to Puno.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 15
Puno – La Paz

Leaving the hotel early in the morning, you will go from Puno to La Paz crossing the Titicaca Lake. Then you will board a catamaran for a cruise to Sun Island, the mythical birthplace of the Inca Empire. You will disembark the vessel to visit Challapampa, a small isolated village on the north side of the island. The people of Challapampa receive visitors through an innovative program they have developed themselves, encouraging people to visit a typical home, school, chapel and a small museum they have organized. As a guest, you will be able to participate in authentic ancestral rituals, observe folklore demonstrations, and sail on board typical fishing boats. In the afternoon we will depart towards La Paz to spend the night.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 16
La Paz City tour and Moon Valley

Later on, we will leave in private transportation on a “discovery tour” to the most spectacular lookout point over the city. Surprisingly, it is located at the bottom of the Choqueyapu River canyon, with a background formed by the Royal Mountain Range “Giants” (the Huayna Potosi, Mururata and Illimani volcanos). Designed particularly for photo lovers, this tour then takes us to the Jach´a Apacheta lookout point, on the edge of the precipice of the city of El Alto. Then we will go to the K´Illi K´Illi lookout point and to the Laykakota Park (closed on Mondays), on the north-western side of the city. Afterwards, we will cross the Americas Bridge to visit the “Plaza de España” lookout point in the colonial neighbourhood of Sopocachi.

From there, an abrupt descent leads us to the “South Zone,” passing through Llojeta and the “Garden Cemetery,” and finally to the “Valley of the Moon,” a place where we will be able to walk between psychedelic-looking limestone formations.

In the afternoon, we will return to the hotel.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 17
La Paz – Uyuni – Colchani

You will be driven from your hotel to La Paz two hours prior to your departure to Uyuni. Upon arrival in Uyuni, you will be driven in a 4WD vehicle to the Salar de Uyuni (el. 3,650 m.a.s.l.), the world’s largest salt desert.

On the way, we will visit the unique Cementerio de Trenes — an expanse in which colossal, abandoned steam trains reside. Then, take a short sightseeing tour of Uyuni and its enticing food market before continuing to the town of Colchani. In Colchani, you’ll visit the quaint Museo de la Llama y la Sal (The Museum of the Lama and the Salt) and a salt processing plant.

We will check in at the hotel for a nice rest.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 18
Uyuni Salt Flats

Today you will be amazed visiting the Uyuni Salt Flats. We will stop in the middle of the Salar on Incahuasi “island.” This volcanic island is covered with giant cacti and stromatolites, which are the fossilized bacterial colonies that evidenced the first traces of life on earth.

In a 4WD, you’ll cruise on the blinding white carpet of salt and admire one of Bolivia’s most popular attractions.

Read More
Breakfast - Lunch
Day 19
Colchani – Uyuni – La Paz

In a private car, we will leave the hotel to the airport for a domestic flight (Uyuni – La Paz). Once arriving back in La Paz, you will take your international flight.

Read More
Breakfast

Prices

2019 - Price per person
RoomDouble
19 DaysUS$ 7,955 PP
*Price per person based upon double occupancy.
*PP (per person)
Included in the price:
  • Accommodations in selected hotels
  • All meals indicated in the itinerary
  • All transfers in the Galapagos Islands
  • All train tickets, bus tickets for tours, excursions and activities included in the itinerary. Including the round trip ticket for the bus-train combination to Machu Picchu.
  • Services of an English/Spanish-speaking naturalist guide
  • Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park
  • Galapagos Immigration Control Card
  • Train transportation Vistadome Train
Not included in the price:
  • International flights
  • Domestic flights
  • Flight Lima - Quito
  • Flight to/from the Galapagos Islands
  • Meals not specified - bottled and alcoholic beverages
  • Tips & personal expenses
  • Travel or medical Insurance
  • Baggage fees and other extras not specified in the itinerary
Check Availability
Reina Silvia
reina-silvia
Contact Us
Preferred method of contact:
Please complete all required fields
Please enter a valid email
Email and confirmation Email doesnt match
There was an error sending the form, please try again!
Send
Contact Us
X
Preferred method of contact
Please complete all required fields
Please enter a valid email
Email and confirmation Email doesnt match
There was an error sending the form, please try again!
Send
Call Back
X
Please complete all required fields
Please enter a valid email
Email and confirmation Email doesnt match
There was an error sending the form, please try again!
Send
Chat With Us
X