Machu Picchu - Insight Vacations

Treasures of the Incas with Quito & the Galapagos Islands Cruise (Luxury Gold - Summer 2017)

Duration: 18 days Visiting: Peru, Ecuador

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Delve into the mysterious world of the Inca empire on this stylish exploration of Peru. Every detail is taken care of as you journey from the pulsating capital of Lima, to the mist-cloaked mountains of Machu Picchu and halcyon waters of South America's largest lake. All the while enjoying the complete comfort of a Luxury Gold itinerary. Against a backdrop of ancient ruins, indulge in classic Peruvian dining that draws inspiration from ingredients both native and contemporary, at Huaca Pucllana. In Cusco, meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, an expert in traditional weaving, to learn how the TreadRight foundation is helping protect this ancient skill. Enjoy two nights at the award-winning Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel where your elegant room comes complete with a fireplace to warm you each evening.

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  1. Day 1

    Arrive Quito

    Welcome to Ecuador. On arrival you will be met and taken to your hotel.

  2. Day 2

    Quito Sightseeing

    (Relaxed Start) A drive north takes you to the Equatorial Line Monument called 'Middle of the World'. Here you get a truly rare experience to stand in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres simultaneously. Visit the Ethnographical Museum, presenting the history of the Indian cultures of Ecuador. Drive to the historic centre of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can breathe in the colonial history of Ecuador. Enjoy a guided walk through this culturally diverse city and take a closer look at the heart of the city. On the way to San Francisco Square, pass the church of La Compañia, which has the most ornate and richly sculptured façade and interior. Afterward, visit one of the oldest streets in Quito, La Ronda. In the 1930's painters, poets and writers lived on this street. In the evening, enjoy dinner the historic old town at Theatrum.

  3. Day 3

    Fly to the Galapagos Islands and Board La Pinta

    This morning, fly to Baltra, in the Galapagos Islands, where you will be met and transferred to the Itabaca Channel. Take a ferry across the Channel to Santa Cruz Island. Board a coach bound for the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, where you’ll learn about the unique highland ecosystems and biodiversity. After lunch, travel to El Chato Reserve, one of the best places in the archipelago to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. A short ride takes you to Puerto Ayora where you’ll board the yacht, La Pinta.

  4. Day 4

    Observe the fascinating wildlife

    After breakfast, a panga (dinghy) ride takes you to Eden Islet, located off the coast of Santa Cruz. Here you can observe blue footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s a chance to snorkel and, if weather conditions permit, a ride in a glass-bottom boat. The tiny island of Sombrero Chino gets its name from its appearance: a Chinese hat. This islet, only formed fairly recently, makes a beautiful visit as one explores the wildlife along its 1,312 foot (400 metre) long trail, which begins at a crescent-shaped beach.

  5. Day 5

    Bartolomé Island, Pinnacle Rock and Sullivan Bay

    In the morning, a Galapagos icon awaits: Bartolomé Island. A great way to start the day is with an ascent up a wooden staircase for spectacular views from the top. Next, a dinghy takes you for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, followed by free time to choose from a variety of activities. After lunch, take the pangas to Sullivan Bay, a white coral sand beach great for swimming and snorkeling with a trail that runs above a lava field that flowed here less than 100 years ago.

  6. Day 6

    Explore Genovesa Island

    In the morning, begin your day with an easy stroll to observe marine and land birds, with more options available for the more leisure-focused or adventure seeking traveller. The afternoon starts with a panga ride alongside the cliffs before disembarking for a steep climb. Once at the top of the stairs, the land is flat, allowing for a captivating walk to the other side of this small island, observing large colonies of Nazca boobies, frigate birds and storm petrels and the elusive short eared owl.

  7. Day 7

    Back to Lima

    Your journey ends at Baltra Island where you are taken to the airport for your flight to Lima, Peru, where you will be met and taken to your hotel. At 19:00 join your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Reception and an opportunity to meet with your fellow travellers over drinks and a light meal at Nos, Chef Virgilio Martinez's new restaurant in Lima.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Lima, 'City of the Kings'

    (Relaxed Start) Experience Lima through the eyes of a Local Expert as you are introduced to the beautiful 'City of Kings'. Explore the UNESCO listed Historic Centre of Lima; view the imposing cathedral, and visit the San Francisco Monastery with its shadowy catacombs lined with skulls and bones. A Highlight Lunch is included in the trendy, bohemian district of Barranco at one of Lima's most up-and-coming restaurants, Amor Amar. Continue exploring Barranco and visit the workshop of Victor Delfin, one of the leading sculptors and painters in Peru, best known for his monumental El Beso, a large sculpture unveiled in 1993 in "Love Park" in the Miraflores district. Meet Victor and his wife—who was his muse for the sculpture—at his home. Then, over a hot chocolate or authentic café pasado, listen to an expert barista spill the beans on Peruvian coffee. As evening falls, the restaurant terrace at Huaca Pucllana overlooks the illuminated ruins of a 1500-year-old pre-Inca pyramid. In contrast, the cuisine at the evening's Highlight Dinner is 'new Andean', exquisitely executed by one of the capital's celebrated chefs.

  9. Day 9

    Lima and on to the Sacred Valley

    Board your flight for Cusco and drive to Peru's Sacred Valley. Stretching between the old Inca capital of Cusco and the legendary city of Machu Picchu, this was the fertile homeland of the Inca Empire. Visit the colourful Sunday market in the town of Chinchero, one of the most traditional markets in all of South America, where you'll be surrounded by locals in their traditional dress, buying and selling their wares. Then, meet Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, a Quechua and scholar, president of the Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cusco and recipient of a TreadRight Foundation grant. Enjoy lunch with Nilda and learn about her mission to preserve traditional weaving techniques and why weaving in Peru is much more than just an art form. View weavers at work, learn about weaving patterns and Andean beliefs. Later, check into your luxurious resort and relax before dinner at your hotel.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring the Sacred Valley

    (Relaxed Start) Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading to the little town of Maras to meet with a local family, giving you the unique opportunity to learn the local arts and crafts of the region. View the spectacular terraced salt pans dating back to Inca times, a patchwork landscape of pinks, tans and browns. Families have passed down caring for these salt pans for generations and today maintain them in much the same way they did long ago. Experience the ways in which they care for the salt pans and how their way of life depends on this tradition. In Moray, view the Incan ruins of circular terraces said to have been used for agricultural experiments. Experience a typical, trendy Peruvian meal, a caja china lunch of fresh vegetables and slow-roasted meats, all cooked in a wooden box. After lunch, witness a private Pachamama Ceremony, or 'Payment to the Earth', as a local shaman performs a centuries-old ritual of expressing reverence to the Earth as a source of life. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy your resort's facilities.

  11. Day 11

    Journey to Machu Picchu

    Start the day with a visit to the town of Ollantaytambo, a National Archeological Site. Settle in to the panoramic viewing cars of the Vistadome train for the scenic journey to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch is included upon arrival at your resort, reminiscent of an ancient Andean village. Explore nature trails winding past waterfalls and gardens as your Local Expert explains the fascinating cloud forest ecosystem. Discover a working tea plantation and the world's largest private collection of indigenous orchids. In the evening, learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour before enjoying dinner at the hotel.

  12. Day 12

    Mysterious Machu Picchu

    Today, you have the entire day to discover the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu, recently named one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World'. Meet your Local Expert for a walk through the enigmatic 'Lost City of the Incas'. Learn about its history and the people who once lived there as you explore the site. Witness the great Temple of the Sun, Sacred Plaza and the intricately carved Intihuatana, believed to be an ancient sun clock. After an included lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge, there is more time to explore the archaeological site at your own pace, or perhaps visit the local town and browse its market before dinner.

  13. Day 13

    Return to Cusco

    (Relaxed Start) Return by train to the Sacred Valley and tantalise your taste buds with a Highlight Lunch at a Pachamanca Feast, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked underground. At a local camelid farm, get up close and personal with llamas, guanacos, alpacas and even the rare and precious vicuña, known for their soft and highly prized wool. Arrive at your stylish hotel, only steps away from the Plaza de Armas. Built atop ancient Incan ruins and situated around a 16th century convent, your hotel is a veritable museum in the historic city of Cusco.

  14. Day 14

    Colonial Cusco

    Join a Local Expert to explore Cusco and its surroundings. Visit the Temple of the Sun at Korikancha and the formidable citadel of Sacsayhuaman, made of gigantic boulders, and the city cathedral. Visit the local market where you can practice your bartering skills. Set out for San Blas, Cusco's artisan centre, where you visit an unusual candle shop and learn about its importance to the locals. After, enjoy some free time on the Plaza de Armas for shopping. In the evening, enjoy a candlelit Highlight Dinner at the reputed MAP restaurant.

  15. Day 15

    Lake Region of Peru

    (Relaxed Start) After departing Cusco in the morning, board your included flight to Juliaca before a drive to Puno, situated on the edge of the majestic waters of Lake Titicaca. Arrive on Esteves Island and your lakeside hotel.

  16. Day 16

    The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca

    Cruise Lake Titicaca, the most sacred lake in the world of the Incas, to the famous floating islands of Uros. Here the local people bundle reeds from the lake to build floating platforms, houses and canoes. Learn about their lifestyle and customs before continuing to the island of Amantani, known for its weaving, stone carvings and gorgeous landscape. Enjoy lunch hosted by local restaurateur, Gladys Quispe Yanarico at Samari. After, there is time to explore or purchase local handicrafts before returning to Puno where you can relax until dinner.

  17. Day 17

    Puno, Back to Lima

    (Relaxed Start) Head out to Sillustani on the shores of Lake Umayo, where the ancient Colla people interred their kings and nobility in enigmatic 'chullpas' or funerary towers. After exploring these impressive burial grounds, enjoy a scenic drive back to Juliaca for your flight to Lima. As the sun sets, be treated to a sensational seaside Celebration Dinner at CALA where pisco sours are the cocktail of choice. With the waves crashing beneath you, savour an inventive selection of Peruvian nouvelle cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

  18. Day 18

    Depart Lima

    Your Peruvian adventure draws to a close today. A departure transfer is included to Lima airport.




  • Lima: Over a hot chocolate or authentic café pasado, learn the secrets and discover the unique flavour of Peruvian coffee with an expert barista.
  • Lima: Experience the beautiful 'City of Kings' through the eyes of a Local Expert.
  • Macchu Picchu: Learn how to blend the perfect pisco sour.
  • Lima: In the artistic district of Lima, meet sculptor and painter Victor Delfín, best known for his monumental El Beso sculpture, at his workshop.
  • Sacred Valley: The Centre of Traditional Textiles and founder Nilda Callañaupa empower Quechuan women and men in the communities of Chinchero, Chahuaytire and Pitumarca to preserve and teach textile traditions that were disappearing.
  • Sacred Valley: Visit a family in Maras who offer a variety of authentic and regional craft workshops.
  • Sacred Valley: Witness the spectacular terraced salt pans, called Salinas de Maras and learn how the care of them is a family tradition in the region.
  • Sacred Valley: Watch as a local shaman performs a centuries-old ritual just for you and expresses reverence to the Earth.
  • Sacred Valley: Enjoy stunning scenery from the panoramic viewing cars of the Vistadome train.
  • Aguas Calientes: With a Local Expert, explore the cloud forest, visit a working tea plantation and an orchid farm.
  • Machu Picchu: Join your Local Expert for a full day discovery of the enigmatic Lost City of the Incas.
  • Sacred Valley: At a local camelid farm, meet llamas, guanacos, alpacas and even the rare vicuña and enjoy an insight into how their soft wool is used to make beautiful woven textiles.
  • Cusco: Join a Local Expert to explore the Temple of Korikancha, Sacsayhuaman and the cathedral.
  • Cusco: Practice your bartering skills at a local market. All purchases are later donated to local needy families.
  • Lake Titicaca: Cruise the lake and learn about the lifestyle and customs of the local people, who bundle reeds from the lake to build floating platforms, houses and canoes.
  • Puno: Explore Sillustani to view the stone burial towers 'chullpas' that have dotted the shores since pre-Inca times.


  • Lima: Enjoy a Highlight Lunch at Amor Amar in a trendy, bohemian district.
  • Lima: Located in an unparalleled setting within the compound of a 1500-year-old adobe pyramid built by the original inhabitants of Lima, the menu at Huaca Pucllana is creatively Peruvian, with fusion touches spicing up classic criollo cooking and created by one of the capital's celebrated chefs.
  • Sacred Valley: Experience a caja china lunch, a popular way to create a delicious meal in Peru, cooked in a wooden box.
  • Sacred Valley: Delight in a Pachamama Feast prepared in an underground oven and served in an exquisite garden.
  • Cusco: Dine at MAP restaurant, situated on the patio of the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. This contemporary Peruvian haute cuisine restaurant offers an artistic dining experience—candlelit for a dazzling evening ambiance.
  • Lima: Savour an inventive selection of Peruvian nouvelle cuisine on your Celebration Dinner at Cala, an oceanfront restaurant.
  • 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 11 Full Breakfasts (FB), 7 Lunches (L), 5 Dinners (D), 2 Highlight Lunches (HL), 2 Highlight Dinners (HD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).


  • Cusco: The stylishly decorated and luxurious JW Marriott El Convento is built atop ancient Incan ruins.
  • Sacred Valley: The elegant Tambo del Inka will ensure an indelible stay.


  • Be escorted by the crème de la crème of Insight Travelling Concierges - handpicked for every departure. This skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling with prompt delivery right to your door. Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus, we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • With Insight Flourishes, from time to time, your Travelling Concierge will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers on Day 1 and 12.



JW Marriott Lima

Lima (Central) - Peru

Located in Lima's distinctive Miraflores district, this hotel offers superior service, luxury accommodation and an unbeatable location near top fine dining, notable historic sites, and picturesque public spaces. Stylish guest rooms feature spectacular ocean views and include amenities like marble bathrooms and designer bedding. Savor fine Peruvian dining at one of the two acclaimed restaurants, book a spa treatment at the Health Club, or break a sweat in the state-of-the-art fitness center.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Machu Picchu (Traditional) - Peru

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an intimate Andean village with terraced hills, waterfalls, stone pathways and 81 whitewashed adobe casitas tucked away in the cloud forest.

Libertador Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca (Scenic) - Peru

Located on a private island -- the Esteves Island -- Libertador Lake Titicaca offers unforgettable sunrises and sunsets from any point in the hotel. The hotel offers 360º views of the highest navigable lake in the world. From its private pier, guests navigate to islands lost in time where they can witness and participate from centuries-old traditions and crafts with their inhabitants. All 123 rooms offer stunning lake views and the modern amenities of an international luxury hotel. Los Uros restaurant offers international and local cuisine made with local produce, surrounded by one of the greatest views of the lake. At night, enjoy drinks at the Taquile bar.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
1002 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 05 June, 2018


    Trip: Perfect mix of events and free time - action packed and very enjoyable.

    Service: Action packed tour with exceptional local guides with the right amounts of tour visits, free time, group dinners, etc. Also well organised and any issues resolved very quickly and thoroughly. Fantastic experience.

  • 07 November, 2017


    Trip: It's what we wanted and why we booked this trip.

    Service: We booked the 7-day pre-tour for “Ecuador/ The Galapagos” before “THE TREASURES OF THE INCAS.” The former had flaws that really detracted from the expensive LUXURY GOLD concept. The latter was truly LUXURY GOLD!! We have been on six previous INSIGHT and seven previous *competitor comment removed by Feefo* tours so we have a good data base to judge tour guides. There were only FOUR of us (two couples) on the Galapagos pre-tour. Our Ecuador tour guide, Veronica, just seemed to be distanced from us. She was not rude, not uninformative, not disorganized, not unfriendly, but it was just like a routine job for her (in total contrast to our travel concierge, Roberto, on the second half of our vacation). Unquestionably, she presented a great city and area tour of Quito but the bottom line was she was UNRELIABLE. Why do I say this? 1) for our return flight from The Galapagos, she said that she or a co-worker would meet us at the airport to ensure we had no problems connecting to Lima. They had our flight itinerary but no one showed up! We waited for over 30 minutes but no one showed up! We went to a restaurant for dinner and continued to check the arrival area multiple times but no one showed up. 2) after visiting the equator, we received certificates acknowledging this fact. Unfortunately, my wife’s name was misspelled. Veronica had assured us, multiple times, even at the airport on our departure from Quito to The Galapagos, that she would have a corrected replacement upon our return to Quito. Guess what! No one showed up. There is one other disturbing aspect of the Galapagos excursion. When the cruise was finished, numerous other (non-INSIGHT) travelers flew directly to Lima, arriving in a few short hours. The four of us INSIGHT travelers were booked back to Quito and had a FIVE HOUR layover causing us to miss the Welcome Dinner/Meeting and not arriving at our hotel until WELL AFTER MIDNIGHT. Not a great way to start an altitude-challenging tour when we were already relatively near the start of the tour. WHY were we booked with SUCH inefficient flight schedules????????????????? While the flight scheduling was not Veronica’s fault/issue, in hindsight, I regret the amount of gratuity given to her. The above comments certainly don’t reflect Luxury Gold treatment. We mentioned the above issues to Roberto, our TREASURES OF THE INCAS travel concierge. He was immediately apologetic for this treatment saying he would get the certificate, even if it had to be mailed to us later at home. Later on during this part of our trip, Roberto compensated the four of us with a dinner on a night it was not included. We thought that this was most gracious and totally turned around our soured perspective resulting from the disappointing aspects of the first part of our vacation. In addition to the corrected certificate which we did, in fact, receive at home, Roberto could not have been a better travel concierge. He personally assisted me get my broken glasses repaired by walking me to an optometrist in Lima and acting as a translator to the establishment which was able to help me out. Roberto’s positive attitude about every aspect of the trip (high altitude concerns, all of the points of interest we visited, the Peruvian way of life, his personal life story, how to best experience HIS country) and towards every person in the group, was most impressive. What an organized, hard-working , efficient, caring, smart young man. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him, hear his life story, and be shown his country which he is obviously most proud of. We have always loved traveling with INSIGHT (since 2001) and certainly will do so again, in spite of the disappointing aspects above. Sincerely, *personal information removed by Feefo*

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