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Cosmos Mysteries of the Inca Empire with Peru's Amazon & Galápagos Cruise (1308)

21 days from Lima to Quito 
On this Peru tour—with a Galápagos Islands cruise—delve into the past, learn about the local culture, and experience beautiful scenery as you visit ancient ruins, enjoy guided sightseeing, and marvel at the flora and fauna found in the Amazon and Galápagos Islands.

History comes alive on this tour through Peru. Imagine what life was like in the 15th century as you tour the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, where you'll see this famous Inca complex set in a majestic setting. More history awaits at Ollantaytambo, the archaeological site of the Incas’ resistance during the Spanish conquest, and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, a fortress with some of the best examples of Inca masonry. Also enjoy guided sightseeing in Cusco.

On this Peru tour, you'll also learn about the local culture. On your motorboat tour of Lake Titicaca, visit Taquile Island, where you'll see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past, and the Uros Floating Islands, where you'll learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, and boats from totora reed. In the Incan town of Ollantaytambo and in Sillustani, visits with locals in their homes give you insight into their way of life. Spend time at the Indian market in Pisac and in Awanakancha, learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, and guanaco) to Inca culture.

But that's not all…you'll also spend time in the Amazon, where you'll enjoy canoe rides and walks in search of the thriving flora and fauna. Accompanied by knowledgeable Naturalists, you'll appreciate the Amazon both during the day and at night. Also experience the thrill of cruising for three nights in the Galápagos Islands. Swim and snorkel in search of sea life, explore the islands, marvel at the many bird species, and enjoy seeing giant tortoises, sea lions, blue and red-footed boobies, land iguanas, and much more.

History, local culture, amazing scenery, thriving flora and fauna—this Peru and Ecuador tour designed for savvy, value-minded travelers has it all!

Cosmos Highlights & Sightseeing

In Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca.

Cosmos Hotels

PERU’S AMAZON Tambopata Eco Lodge (NP)
LIMA Jose Antonio Lima (F)
SACRED VALLEY La Casona Yucay (MF)
MACHU PICCHU El Mapi Hotel Machu Picchu (F)
CUSCO Jose Antonio Cusco (F)
PUNO Eco Inn Puno (F)
QUITO Grand Mercure Alameda (SF)
GALÁPAGOS CRUISE Galápagos Legend (F)

Itinerary (2018)

Day 1ARRIVE IN LIMA, PERU.
 Welcome to Lima, where you will be met by a Cosmos representative.
Day 2LIMA–PUERTO MALDONADO–TAMBOPATA ECO LODGE.
 Fly to Puerto Maldonado, entry to Peru’s Amazon Jungle. Take a MOTORBOAT journey up the Tambopata River to view turtles, caimans, monkeys, and birdlife. Arrive at your Amazon Jungle lodge within Tambopata National Reserve. This afternoon, head out with your Naturalist in search of saddleback tamarins, brown capuchins, agoutis, blue-morpho butterflies, trogons, toucans, and many other species commonly spotted here. As night falls, head out on foot to search for nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)
Day 3TAMBOPATA ECO LODGE.
 Enjoy a Naturalist-guided CANOE RIDE & WALK to see the flora and fauna that thrive in the Amazon. After lunch, head back out with your Naturalist to learn about the endemic plants in this region and spot some more wildlife. This evening, venture back out by CANOE with your Naturalist to appreciate the sounds of the jungle at night. (B,L,D)
Day 4TAMBOPATA ECO LODGE.
 For more insight into the Amazon, let your Naturalist know what included adventure you would like to take advantage of today—it’s your choice! (B,L,D)
Day 5TAMBOPATA ECO LODGE–PUERTO MALDONADO–LIMA.
 Return to Puerto Maldonado and fly to Lima. Heralded as the “City of Kings” by Spanish conquistadors, Lima retains vestiges of its opulent past with its colonial buildings and world-class museums. (B)
Day 6LIMA.
 Sightseeing today focuses on Lima’s colonial heritage. Founded in 1535, Lima was once capital of Spain’s South American Empire. Visit the baroque 11th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, with Spanish and Moorish architecture throughout. Continue to Plaza Mayor, where you will see the Government Palace that houses the presidential palace and was once the home of Francisco Pizarro, founder of Lima and conqueror of Peru. Nearby, see the cathedral where Pizarro’s remains are buried. The remainder of your day is free to explore. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening. (B,D)
Day 7LIMA–CUSCO–SACRED VALLEY.
 Fly to Cusco high in the Andes and upon arrival, descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop at AWANAKANCHA and learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, and guanaco) for Inca cultures. See them up close and learn how their coats are transformed into precious weaving fibers used in ancient weaving techniques still in use today. Continue to PISAC, a charming village with an infamous INDIAN MARKET, where you have plenty of time to browse the many colorful stalls selling handicrafts ranging from alpaca sweaters and blankets to painted vases and sterling silver. Later, arrive at your hotel in the peaceful Sacred Valley. (B,D)
Day 8SACRED VALLEY.
 Start the day with a visit to the village of OLLANTAYTAMBO and the Inca ruins of the same name. Explore the archaeological site that was the scene of the Inca resistance during the Spanish conquest—the only place ever to resist Spanish attacks. See how the temple area at the top of the terraces was the perfect defensive stronghold, then visit a LOCAL HOME in this Incan town to experience life in a traditional village, which has been remarkably well preserved. Next, visit the SEMINARIO CERAMICS WORKSHOP to learn about Peruvian ancient and modern art. End your day at a local chicheria for a taste of a chicha, a typical Inca drink in Peru. (B)
Day 9SACRED VALLEY–MACHU PICCHU.
 Board the VISTADOME train that cuts a path through the picturesque Urubamba Valley bound for Aguas Calientes, the quaint town closest to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Ascend the mountainside through tropical forest to the sacred refuge of MACHU PICCHU. Listen as your guide recounts the many accomplishments of the Incas as you tour the terraced ruins dating back to the 15th century. The ruins went undiscovered for nearly 400 years after they were abandoned when the Inca Empire fell to the Spanish. Many mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu remain to this day. (B,D)
Day 10MACHU PICCHU–CUSCO.
 Enjoy some free time this morning to explore the mountain town of Aguas Calientes; perhaps visit the local market, quaint boutiques, or take a walk along nearby trails. Later this afternoon, return to Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire. (B)
Day 11CUSCO.
 Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Cusco that focuses on the city that was once the political, military, and cultural epicenter of the Incas until the Spanish toppled it. In fact, Inca foundations can still be found in Cusco, with the Spanish baroque structures built on top. Visit the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, where these two forms of architecture are melded together with the temple of both cultures atop one another. Also, see the CATHEDRAL in the Plaza de Armas, housing a magnificent collection of artwork, including a depiction of The Last Supper that portrays the apostles dining on cuy (guinea pig). Continue to the hillside overlooking Cusco for a visit to the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN. Some of the best examples of Inca masonry can be found at this fortress, where stones weighing up to 350 tons are pieced together to form a complex that could house up to 10,000 men. Learn about the ceremonies and battles that took place here, then see the ruins of Kenko and Puca Pucara before returning to Cusco. (B,D)
Day 12CUSCO–JULIACA–PUNO.
 Fly to Juliaca, then transfer to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Legend says the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of the lake by the power of the sun god to found the Inca Empire. (B)
Day 13PUNO. EXCURSION TO LAKE TITICACA.
 Experience fascinating LAKE TITICACA today as you embark on a motorboat tour of the highest navigable lake in the world and its manmade islands. On TAQUILE ISLAND, see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past. This is evident by the Spanish peasant dresses made of Andean textiles—the islanders make some of the finest in all of Peru. Continue to the UROS FLOATING ISLANDS, a group of approximately 40 artificially made islands. Learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, boats, and many other resources completely of tortora reed, a centuries-old practice. Enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 14PUNO–JULIACA–LIMA.
 Return to Juliaca, stopping at the pre-Incan burial grounds of SILLUSTANI en route. See the above-ground tombs, chullpas, in which the Aymara Indians buried their high priests. You will be welcomed into one of the locals’ HOMES for an inside look at life here. Later, a short flight returns you to Lima, where you will transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 15LIMA–QUITO, ECUADOR.
 Board a flight for Quito. (B)
Day 16QUITO–BALTRA (EMBARKATION)–GALÁPAGOS CRUISING.
 Fly to Baltra and visit the highlands of SANTA CRUZ, marked by extinct volcanoes, lava tubes, and astonishing plants. Here, witness giant tortoises in a natural reserve and learn about efforts to conserve these ancient creatures. Continue to the port where you will board the Galápagos Legend. (B,L,D)
Day 17GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: GENOVESA ISLAND.
 Wake up at at GENOVESA ISLAND and encounter a small fur seal grotto before taking a walk up Prince Philip’s Steps where you will see large nesting colonies of Nazca and red-footed boobies. Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels can be observed flying in all directions and, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a Short-eared Owl. After lunch on board, visit DARWIN BAY to observe frigatebirds, red-footed boobies, herons, lava gulls, and many other bird species. (B,L,D)
Day 18GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: SANTA CRUZ & SANTA FÉ ISLANDS.
 Back on SANTA CRUZ, walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingos are often found. Climb DRAGON HILL, an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas. At SANTA FÉ, a large sea lion colony greets you on its white-sand beach. Walk through a cactus forest in search of the endemic Santa Fe land iguana, the largest in the islands and distinctively paler. This island is home to a number of endemic species, including the Galápagos Hawk, Galápagos Snake, a variety of finches, and one of the four species of Galápagos mockingbirds. (B,L,D)
Day 19GALÁPAGOS CRUISING: MOSQUERA ISLET–BALTRA (DISEMBARKATION)–QUITO.
 Your final visit takes you to MOSQUERA ISLET. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions and is an excellent site for observing shorebirds such as herons and Lava Gulls. Take a dip in the waters and snorkel to see the abundant sea life. Later, disembark and fly to Quito. (B)
Day 20QUITO.
 Included sightseeing showcases Quito’s treasures: Independence Plaza and the 16th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, and the Jesuit’s LA COMPANIA CHURCH with its stunning golden altars. (B)
Day 21QUITO.
 Your vacation ends after breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Cosmos Meals

20 breakfasts, 7 lunch, 11 dinners

Related Cosmos Tours

1300 - Mysteries of the Inca Empire

Cosmos Pricing Details

Dates & Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Cosmos, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments, starting at $2,314 (based on Miami, departure in January 2018; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only. Required intra-vacation air segments: Lima/Puerto Maldonado; Puerto Maldonado/Lima; Lima/Cusco; Cusco/Juliaca; Juliaca/Lima. Air prices were effective on July 12, 2017 and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.

Gratuities for Tour Director, driver, and Local guides are available for pre-purchase on the base vacation. For vacations that include an extension to the base, pre-paid gratuities only include the base portion. Any additional gratuities would need to be paid on trip.

Galápagos cruise price is based on a Standard Plus cabin on the Galápagos Legend. Cabin upgrades are available; please call for pricing.

Galápagos cruise price includes Galápagos National Park entrance fee, transit card, and ship’s fuel surcharge ($170 value).

Prices based on double room occupancy.

Single Room Supplement:
$1,690 to $2,185

Triple Rooms are not available.

Extra Nights per person in Lima:
in single room $116; in twin room $63

Extra nights per person in Quito:
in single room $140; in twin room $79

2019 prices and itineraries are subject to change. Details will be available in July 2018.

Cosmos Notes

Visit a home in the Sacred Valley and help support local families of the region through Cosmos’ contributions.

Click Quote for a Cosmos Tour Date for our low price tour quote


Cosmos Tour Dates


Guaranteed Departure  indicates Guaranteed Departure
*Tour Land StartCosmos RetailRequest Quote
03/04/2018 $4,869.00
Guaranteed Departure 03/18/2018 $4,869.00
04/15/2018 $4,959.00
06/24/2018 $4,959.00
07/22/2018 $4,959.00
08/05/2018 $4,959.00
09/16/2018 $4,869.00
09/30/2018 $4,959.00
10/14/2018 $4,959.00
10/28/2018 $4,959.00
12/09/2018 $4,959.00
01/20/2019 $5,199.00
02/03/2019 $5,199.00
02/17/2019 $5,199.00
03/03/2019 $5,199.00
03/17/2019 $5,199.00
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