The Galapagos islands are the stuff of legend. This collection of islands inspired one of the most important theories ever when Charles Darwin noticed the distinctive species there. Since then they have become a dream destination for many.
To access the Galapagos visitors must take a flight from Ecuador. This means a visit to the capital city of Quito which lies in a high Andean valley surrounded by volcanoes. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site itself thanks to a beautiful colonial city center. There are plenty of things to keep anyone happy with museums, unique churches, restaurants and monuments to visit.
The main thing which draws people to the Galapagos is the animals. They are famously chilled out and will not run away when humans approach. This means there are unbelievable photo opportunities and interactions with wildlife which cannot be had anywhere else. A basic trip lasts 7 days and visits a range of the islands to see all the different species on offer. Many are endemic such as the marine iguanas which evolved on the volcanic coasts.
After the ultimate wildlife experience the trips move on to Peru for the ultimate in cultural adventure. Machu Picchu is now known all over the world but it is not too long since Peru was cut off from the rest of the world. This means that for such a famous place it feels quite undeveloped and unspoiled.
Machu Picchu is a truly stunning destination. It is just over 120 kilometers from the city of Cusco in the high Andes mountains. All visitors must take a train or walk the Inca Trail from Cusco. Tickets for either of these options and entrance to the archaeological site must be purchased in advance to avoid disappointment. The trip winds its way down through the high valleys into the cloud forest on the ridges overlooking the Amazon forest. It is a spectacular journey.
Once at the site it is best to have a guided tour so that a local expert can explain about the history of the citadel and what it was used for. Features such as the sun temple and observatory are unique and fascinating. The Inca's were skilled engineers who had a world view based on the movements of the stars so it is best to understand the intricacies of the site from a local person.
The Inca Empire was one of the most fabulous things experienced by the conquistadors when they reached South America, they could not believe its riches. Combining a visit to Peru with the stunning Galapagos islands is the trip of a lifetime. When booking your trip make sure to check the weather with your agent. Also if there is a specific animal you want to see on the islands make sure it will be there at that time. Many of the seabirds, for example are only there when nesting.
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