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Properly Pisco’d

Trip Length

Trip Code

15 days GSIG

Maximum Passengers

16 people

Countries Visited

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Peru

Start City

End City

Cusco, Cusco, Peru Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Properly Pisco’d

 

In 1535 the Galapagos Islands were discovered by Fray Tomas de Berlanga, the Bishop of Panama. In 1835, Charles Darwin first arrived on the HMS Beagle. In 1959 the Government of Ecuador declared the archipelago’s uninhabited areas as a national park. Then in 1978 the Galapagos was designated the first UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Properly Pisco’d


Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco

Head out to the markets in Pisac, grab yourself a Cusqueno beer and start getting acclimatised (you're 11,500ft above sea level, after all).

Day 2-5: Inca Trek


There will be a few tough days. Dead Woman's pass on Day 2 will test you, but it's worth all the sweat and tears when you watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu's Gateway of the Sun. Pretty apt name.

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

 

Day 6: Quito

Today you need to make your way to from Cusco to Quito to join the second leg of your trip. The Cusco to Quito flight is not included and needs to be booked independently. Transfers to and from the airport for this flight are also not included but can be booked on request if required. On arrival in Quito you need to go to the Rio Amazons Hotel. Details below:

 

Rio Amazonas Hotel

Cordero 1342 y Amazonas
Quito Canton 17211714
Ecuador

+593 2-255-6666

 

The rest of the day is free to explore Quito, the capital of Ecuador. La Paz, in Bolivia, is the actual highest capital city in the world, but it doesn't have a judicial building. Who would've thought a judicial building could make such a difference?

Attend a welcome meeting in the evening, check with the hotel reception for details

Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level and at this altitude you may possibly experience some effects from the high altitude, we suggest that you avoid any strenuous activity on this day

Wander through the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and explore the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco, see The Baroque art and architecture when visiting the churches, monasteries and public buildings

Perhaps head for one of the many viewpoints over the city, El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf) offers views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes, the 30-metre high statue of La Virgen de Quito sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city

La Cima de la Libertad, the site of Ecuadorian independence from Spain also offers great views

Day 7: Fly to Baltra, visit Bachas beach

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

It's time to get your cruise on. Hope you remembered thongs (aka flip-flops), bathers (aka togs, swimmers, swimming costume or swimsuit) and pajamas (aka PJs or jammies) First stop is Las Bachas beach, popular with sea turtles and flamingos.

Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to the Galapagos Islands (you may depart as early as 4am)

A US$10 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival - have cash on hand for these transactions to save time
You'll be met and transferred to the boat (the Nemo III) when you arrive

You'll be assigned cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over lunch
Santa Cruz Island is a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle, and marine iguanas are also commonly seen

The sand here is particularly white and soft - it's made of decomposed coral

The rocks provide great snorkelling and are the perfect habitat for the Sally Lightfoot crabs

A saltwater lagoon near to the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel, and also look out for great blue herons

Day 8: Isla Genovesa

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Genovesa is a collapsed volcanic island. We guess some volcanoes just can't handle the pressure.

Sail overnight to reach Genovesa the archipelagos north east outpost

Dolphins are often spotted in the waters around Genovesa while the island itself has abundant wildlife

All three kinds of boobies live here, including the rare red-footed booby, and numerous other species such as tropic birds and frigate birds

Walk the steep path known as Prince Philip's Steps to the heart of the seabird rookeries

Look out for storm petrels on the islands rocky plains

Cool off with a snorkel

See breeding colonies of seabirds and frigates and other birds such as lava herons, swallowed tail gulls, mocking birds and hopefully the vampire finch on Darwin Beach

Pass by tide pools with Sea Lions and Diamond Sting Rays and perhaps encounter manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels while snorkelling

Day 9: Isla Santiago and Cerro Dragón

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Lots of iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions and Galapagos fur seals on the menu today. No, not the eating menu. The seeing menu. Two different things.

Walk on Pahoe-Hoe lava from an eruption that occurred in 1897

Hopefully see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and sometimes penguins

Learn about the geological history of the islands from your guide as you walk

Set sail for Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill), on Santa Cruz's north coast

Walk to a brackish lagoon frequented by lagoon birds including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos

Walk further to see views of the bay and the western area of the archipelago - this area is a nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station

Bird watch, perhaps see Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers

The path can be challenging

Day 10: Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Research Station

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

The Galapagos giant tortoise is basically just a big tortoise. If that doesn't sound that exciting, just consider other things that increase in awesome as they increase in size: mountains, lakes, icebergs, burritos, smiles, paychecks, TV screens, dinosaurs - the list goes on.

Visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos
Puerto Ayora is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station

Perhaps go to the visitor centre and museum - learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos and see giant tortoises up close

Spend free time exploring Puerto Ayora, check your email or have a drink at a local bar and see the local’s way of life

Head to the highlands of Santa Cruz for a total change of scenery

Travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests, where you'll see Unique Scalesia cloud forest, dome shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world famous woodpecker and warbler finches as well as vermillion flycatcher

Day 11: Isla Isabela and Tagus Cove

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Isabela is a pretty name for an island, which is fitting, because this is a really pretty place. If you think that sounds lame then we can't be friends anymore.

Visit the archipelago's largest island, pay a USD$20 island entrance fee

Spend the morning at Punta Moreno on the south west coast

Enjoy beautiful blue lagoons and rocky terrain in the Galapagos, with a backdrop of 3 active volcanoes, flamingos, and incredible lava formations

Walk on top of the black lava field with views of Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul, perhaps see brown pelicans nesting on top of the mangroves, lava and candelabra cactus, and Lava lizards

Walk by brackish water lagoons covered with several different plants where pink flamingos, ducks and black neck stills res

Reboard the boat for some snorkelling

Visit Tagus Cove  for around two hours - snorkel, check out ancient graffiti on its walls, observe flightless cormorants, penguins, blue footed boobies and a variety of waterfowl

Day 12: Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinoza and Bahia Urbina

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

It's not often the words 'lava' and 'cactus' are mentioned in the same sentence. But soon it's all you'll be talking about, because today you'll walk among actual lava cactus.

Visit nearby Fernandina Island, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands

The northeast tip, Punta Espinosa, is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano

Walk around the peninsula and see lava cacti, marine iguanas piled on top of each other, barking sea lions along the beach, flightless cormorants, tiny penguins, and Sally Lightfoot crabs

Look out for the biggest predator of the Galapagos Island, The Galapagos Hawk

Snorkel in clear waters to see turtles and sea Lions swimming and feeding on the shore

Visit Urvina Bay  - a very interesting place

Go for a walk and find shells, coral, Darwin´s Finches and the beautiful colour of the Galapagos cotton, as well as land iguanas and Galapagos giant tortoises

Day 13: Isla Santiago - Playa Espumilla and Buccaneer Cove

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Buccaneer Cove is a real-life pirate hangout. Well, it was during the 18th and 19th century at least. They used to anchor in the bay (a good hiding spot) to repair ships and head ashore to fetch salt, tortoises, fresh water and firewood. Yeah, they used to eat tortoises.

Puerto Egas is a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay and northwest of Santiago Island

See volcanic tuff formations, along with marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, California sea lions, Galapagos fur sea lions and lava grotos

Visit tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow and home to sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish

Snorkel with California sea lions and Galapagos fur sea lions
Espumilla Beach, on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay, is an important nesting site for marine turtles, it also has waves and is also a favourite among beach lovers

Perhaps see Galapagos hawks up close, ghost crabs, blue footed boobies plunging for fish and brown pelicans, as well as the Palo Santo Forest and some lava formations

View the geology of volcanic ash (Tuff) of Buccaneer’s cove

Find remains of objects used by pirates in centuries past, hence the name Buccaneer Cove - Darwin camped for a nine days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife

Maybe snorkel again

Day 14: Daphne – Baltra – Fly Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Make one last opportunity to spot some high-flying bird action on Daphne before partaking in some high-flying bird action yourself on the flight back to Quito.

Visit Daphne island, a peculiar landscape shaped by volcanic activity

Do some bird spotting and find a variety of seabirds such as blue-footed and masked boobies, terns, petrels and even frigate birds

Farewell the Galapagos Islands and head to the airport for your flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour

Upon arrival in Quito Airport, transfer back to the hotel for an overnight stay

Day 15: Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Brekkie. Goodbyes. Home. Until next time, compadre.

The adventure ends today after breakfast


Your Trip

What to know

On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park and a US$10 transit fee.  A US$20  fee is also to be paid on arrival on Isabela Island.

Nuts and Bolts

The services of an expert English-speaking naturalist guide and a crew of eight onboard the Galapagos vessel.

Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands.

Accomodation on board the Nemo III

All Zodiac and shore excursions during the voyage.

All meals aboard the Nemo III.

Use of snorkelling equipment including a wetsuit during the voyage

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

Accommodation

Meals

Not Included

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, entrance fees, US$10 Galapagos transit card, US$100 Galapagos National Park fee, US$20 Isabela Island fee, other meals, drinks, optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.


On The Ground Payments
Please note: The Galapagos National Park fee and transit card, USD110 are not included in the price of this tour. These must be paid locally in cash on arrival in Baltra, Galapagos.

Entrance

You must pay US$110 entrance fee to Galapagos Islands National Park upon arrival at Baltra or San Cristobal Airport in the Galapagos (this includes the $10 transit card fee). This has be paid in US dollar cash (credit cards are not accepted). If your trip visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$5 park fee to be paid upon arrival in some sites.


Important Information

Local contact numbers: (Peru / Bolivia) PEAK South America +51 99605 5559 or +51 97009 4823 Local contact number: Peak Ecuador After Hours Emergency: 09 94014877 calling from inside Ecuador or +593 9 94014877 calling from outside Ecuador

TREKKING IN PERU:

 

Very Important - Correct Passport Details: In order to obtain your permit to trek the Inca Trail it is vital that you provide Gecko's with accurate details of the passport you will be travelling on in Peru. If you are travelling on a different passport from what is shown on your permit, you will be refused entry at the entrance to the trail.

 

Sister Companies- Please note that if there are less than four people schedules for your trek to Machu Picchu it is likely that you will be trekking with clients that have booked through one of our sister brands.

Book Early: The Peruvian Government has introduced strict quotas on the number of permits issued for hiking the ‘Classic’ Inca Trail route. These can often be sold out months in advance. To apply for your group’s permits, we will need your deposit, passport details and date of birth, so we ask that you book your holiday early. In the event that we are unable to obtain permits for the ‘Classic Trail' we will use the alternative 'Quarry Trail', an equally challenging trek culminating in a visit to Machu Picchu.

Meals during trek: Please note that we are unable to cater for those with a gluten intolerance (Coeliac) during the trek. Food labelling standards vary quite dramatically from country to country so it is not always safe to rely on ingredient labels in another country. Secondly, due to the remote nature of the trek and available cooking facilities, cross-contamination cannot always be fully avoided.

Typical meals during the trek: Breakfast (toast, fruit salad, ground corn tortillas, vegetable omelette, fried plantains), Snack (biscuits, tea, pop corn, chocolate bars, hot chocolate), Lunch (Vegetable soups, steamed trout, roast beef, quinoa grained, mashed or scalloped potatoes), Dinner (Chicken, rice, goulash, rosemary potatoes, chicken wrapped in tomato sauce)

 

SOME OTHER STUFF:

 

Public Holiday Inconveniences: Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, quite a few museums are closed on Mondays.

Hotel Breakfasts: Breakfasts in Latin America are simple affairs. They consist of tea or coffee, fruit juice, bread rolls, butter and jam. Eggs and fruit are sometimes available on request, for a small charge.

Meal requests/ allergies: Please note - any special meal requests must be noted on your booking form when making your reservation. We may not be able to cater for any late requests advised on arrival.

 

---- Alternative Itineraries for this trip - Machu Picchu ----

Quarry Trek

In the event that trekking permits for the 'Classic' Inca Trail route are unavailable, we will use the 'Quarry' route. The Quarry Trail, is an exceptional alternative to the 'Classic' trail.

This trek has all the components you expect from an Intrepid operated hike in the South American Andes: it’s safe, landscapes are breathtaking, there are opportunities to interact with local communities and to visit smaller and less known Inca archaeological sites.The overall distance hiked on this trek is approximately 26km, the maximum altitude reached is 4,450 metres above sea level. Since permits are not required for this trek, there

are no restrictions as when you book your trip.

 

INCA QUARRY TRAIL: The Inca Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. It's 26km long in total. The tail's highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level.

Throughout the trek your gear (and camping gear) will be carried by horses (as opposed to porter).

The first two nights of the trek are spent camping and the third one at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters. Meals are prepared by the trek cook.

 

Day 1 - We leave Cusco early in the morning to drive to Ollantaytambo and onto Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas used to venerate the moon. A short drive from here takes us to Rafq'a, the starting point of our trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike. After an approx. 1hr walk we reach the small community of Socma.

A further 60min walk takes to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack.

From here we continue on to our campsite, at 3700 meters above sea level. All going well, we should reach our campsite by lunch time. After lunch we set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which used to serve as a check point during the times of the Incas

 

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

 

Day 2 - This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 3hr walk takes us to the top of the first pass, known as Puccaqasa (approx 4370 meters). After enjoying the views of the valley below we walk down for 30min to our lunch spot.

Rested and full of energy again we take on a 2hr hike to the highest pass of the trek: Kuychicassa (4450 meters).

From here we head down for 2hr to a site the Incas called Inti Punku, (meaning Sun Gate - this is not the Sun Gate where you enter the Machu Picchu site) with imposing views over the valley bellow and the Veronica mountain raising over the horizon.

Our campsites is a stone throw away at Choquetacarpo (3600 metres)


Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

 

Day 3 - Day three is all downhill hiking. The first stop is at the Kachiqata quarry, where we witness the work the Incas could not complete due to the Spanish conquest.

Approximately at midday we finally arrive to the town of Kachiqata - the end of this challenging and fascinating trek.

From here we visit Ollantaytambo and in the afternoon we travel by train to Aguas Calientes. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to
spend a late afternoon/early evening. Tonight we overnight at a simple but comfortable hotel.


Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

 

Day 4 - Today we take a very early bus (5:30am depending on weather conditions) along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes). In Machu Picchu we join the travellers who opted to hike the Classic Inca Trail option of this trip before taking on a guided walk of Machu Picchu.

 

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Non trekking Alternative – Machu Picchu by Train

The Inca Trail is a highlight of any visit to Peru and it is highly recommended to anybody who is up to the physical demands of a Moderate trek. For those people joining a Gecko's trip who do not wish to join the four-day hike, Gecko's can make alternative arrangements that allow additional time in Cusco and return transport and accommodation to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. Should you choose these alternative arrangements, the price for your Gecko's holiday remains the same.

You must notify Gecko's at the time of booking if you wish to take this option, which replaces the 4 Day Inca Trail.

Day 1 & 2: Cusco

Your time in Cusco is your own. Accommodation will be provided for these two nights and breakfast is included. Your tour leader will not be available during this period as he or she will be trekking to Machu Picchu with the rest of the group.

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Day 3 & 4: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Your tour leader will have provided you with your return train ticket to Machu Picchu and your accommodation vouchers for your stay in Aguas Calientes. Please make your own way to the station to depart on the early morning train to Machu Picchu. The train trip will take approximately four hours to reach Aguas Calientes. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes you should check into your hotel. Please refer to your accommodation voucher for the hotel details. All of the hotels are a short walk from the railway station.

In order to visit the site of Machu Picchu, you will take a bus up the steep zig zagging road to the entrance of the ruins. The buses depart regularly. The ruins are open from 7am to 5pm daily and we will cover the cost of your return bus fare to the ruins and the entrance fee. The vouchers can be used the afternoon of Day 3, or the following morning on Day 4. If you wish to visit the ruins twice, the second visit will be at an additional cost of approximately USD $70 (paid locally).

Those in your group who have trekked the Inca Trail will arrive at the site around 7am on day 4. It is possible to arrange to meet up with the other members in your group at the ruins, to join a fully guided tour of this ancient and mystical Inca City. Before taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, there is free time to explore the ruins at your own pace, soaking in the atmosphere. For the adventurous, you can climb to the top of Huayna Picchu, where you have the opportunity to see Machu Picchu from a unique vantage point. You can also make the short hike up to the Sun Gate for that classic photo of Machu Picchu.

In the afternoon of Day 4, we have time for lunch, before catching the train back to Cusco with your fellow trekkers.

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

19 June 2014


General Contact Details

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E-mail: sales@geckosadventures.com
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