Combine the Highlights of Peru and Ecuador into One Adventure
From the formation of the Andes Mountain Range to the destruction of the Inca Empire, the wealth of the natural and cultural history of Ecuador and Peru are virtually unparalleled. Previously united as one under the Inca Empire, these two countries beautifully complement each other and provide tourists with an in-depth experience of the culture, traditions, and natural beauty of the region. Follow the Inca trails to the sacred city of Machu Picchu, explore the beating heart of the Amazon rainforest and its biodiversity, and delve into the Galapagos Islands that completely transformed our understanding of life in a single trip to this stunning continent.
Cusco & the Sacred Valley
At the height of its reign, the Inca empire stretched from modern-day Colombia to Argentina, and the gleaming capital city of Cusco sat at its center. Standing at the Plaza de las Armas, visitors can still imagine the Inca trails that once met at that very square and follow them into the horizon. Beyond the Plaza, Inca ruins lay hidden throughout the entire city, clear evidence of the unique skill-set of these great people. The surrounding Sacred Valley also holds several important Inca sites, such as the Temple of the Sun or Terrace of the Ten Niches. Many of the original Inca sites have been destroyed and built over, but you can still recognize the smooth stonework in the foundations.
The Sacred Valley also contains the world-renowned Inca site of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was once an entire Inca city, consisting of around 200 buildings. The town was discovered only recently in 1911, having sat for hundreds of years hidden from humanity. The remains of the temples, palaces, and homes give us a brief window into the world of this once thriving civilization.
The Ecuadorian Amazon
The Ecuadorian Amazon is easily one of the most bio-diverse regions on the planet and boasts an unusually rich array of plants and animals at every turn. Ecuador is a leader in nature- and community-based tourism initiatives and, thanks to that, visitors can access some of the most profound areas of the Amazon rainforest while enjoying the luxury of a sustainable eco-lodge. Trail excursions will bring you into the magic inner sanctum of nature as you observe the highways of leafcutter ants marching home, primates and exotic birds rushing through the canopy, and discover the medicinal plants that continue to sustain the indigenous people inhabiting these regions. The majestic trees that define this Amazon rainforest have a rich history of their own, and your naturalist guide will happily teach you the unusual tricks that each species employs to stay alive amongst the immense competition of this vibrant ecosystem.
The Galapagos Islands
Complete your South American experience with a trip to one of the most important natural sites in the world- the Galapagos Islands. From their impact on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to the pure beauty of their crystalline coastlines or towering volcanoes, the Galapagos Islands hold a lifetime of memories for any tourist. Explore some of the most unique life on earth, from salt-spitting iguanas to the flightless cormorant and blue-footed boobies. One of the most fantastic aspects of these islands is that life evolved in complete isolation for several millennia, meaning it never developed a fear of humans. Galapagos giant tortoises will happily continue munching on greens as you crouch down to observe the finches picking bugs from their skin, and curious baby sea lions will happily stagger towards you.
Each of these locations provides tourists with a unique insight into South America, as well as their beautifully stunning scenery and vibrant culture. Take advantage of your time on this continent and bring some of the most important aspects of South America into a single great adventure as you explore Peru and Ecuador.