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How to Visit the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu

  |   Flights

The Galapagos Islands lie in the Pacific Ocean and are a province of their closest country Ecuador. The small islands are home to some the most unique and famous wildlife on Earth, most of which is entirely exclusive to the Galapagos, such as the famous Galapagos tortoises. While neighbouring Peru and its ancient ruin Machu Picchu has some of the most extensive remnants of the Inca Empire in South America, hidden away at the top of a mountain, and a pathway to the Amazon River and Rainforest – all of which can be accessed with a cruise or tour from Rainforest Cruises. Learn how to combine some of the most important sites in the world, for an unforgettable South American trip of a lifetime. 

Galapagos Blue Water Beaches

Galapagos Blue Water Beaches


How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

The best way to get to the Galapagos Islands is to fly – and while you can't fly direct, you can fly to Ecuador and take a short flight (around one to two hours) and arrive at either of the islands' two airports Isla Baltra and Isla San Christóbal. There are three main domestic airlines that fly to the Galapagos Islands, Tame, Avianca and LAN, and they usually fly from Quito in Ecuador, which usually connects in Guayaquil, or you can fly direct from Guayaquil – the largest city in Ecuador. There are usually several daily flights to the islands, but be aware that during the high season flights to Isla San Christobal do get booked up in advance. If you are travelling from North America, you can fly directly to Quito or Guayaquil via Houston, Miami or New York. Flights can be very cheap, particularly during the low season. Both American Airlines and Continental Airlines fly from North American destinations and also make connections with flights from Montreal and Toronto in Canada


The Best Way to See the Galapagos Islands

The best way to see the Galapagos Islands is via boat – on a Galapagos cruise you will be able to see so much more of the islands, and take in some of the larger and more predatory marine life, as well as view land animals from this vantage point. The Galapagos is made up of 13 large islands, six small islands and more than 40 islets, so only way to really see all of the Galapagos is by boat. With Rainforest Cruises you can take in the beautiful wildlife of the islands from the comfort and safety of a boat, that you can sleep and eat on, enjoy snorkelling in the Pacific Ocean and get the best views of the Galapagos' marine life.  

Sleeping Sealion, Galapagos Islands

Sleeping Sealion, Galapagos Islands

The Best Way to See Machu Picchu

The ancient site and one of the seven wonders of the world, is located between the Peruvian Andes and Amazon Basin in Peru, and so can only be reached by train or foot. Take the hassle out of organising your trip to Machu Picchu, and learn first hand about the historic site from an expert guide on a Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley tour. The tour takes you to the heartland of the fascinating, extinct civilisation of the Incas and their empire. Starting with the Sacred Valley, just 15 km from Cusco, the El Valle Sagrado is a must-see landscape, with its old colonial towns, markets and Inca citadels of its own. Its mild climate and serene environment makes it the perfect start to the tour. For the next stop, to Machu Picchu, the tour switches to the transport of a train. Take in the unaffected landscape surrounding the remote ruins that sit high up the mountainside, and visit the world heritage site before heading back to Cusco.  

View of Machu Picchu

View of Machu Picchu

How to Get to Machu Picchu 

Your tour begins in Cusco, Peru, and the best way to get to Machu Picchu is by train. You can, of course, walk the Inca Trail to the remote and untouched site, but the trail involves some steep and narrow climbs, and is primarily for the adventurous traveller. There are three train companies that offer the journey – Peru Rail, Inca Rail and MachuPicchu Train, all trains either leave from Cusco (Poroy Station) or from the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo Station). The arrival station, referred to as Machu Picchu is actually located in nearby town Aguas Calientes, around five miles from Machu Picchu. From here you can reach Machu Picchu easily by bus or foot (buses arrive every 30 minutes), and it can be a good place to stay for one night to see Machu Picchu first thing in the morning. 


Pacaya Samiria Nation Reserve, Amazon Rainforest

Pacaya Samiria Nation Reserve, Amazon Rainforest

Combining your Adventure: From the Amazon, to Machu Picchu to the Galapagos

With all of this in mind, why not combine your Galapagos Cruise and Machu Picchu Tour with a serene and unforgettable cruise through the beautiful Amazon Rainforest. This trip of a lifetime, would start with an Amazon Cruise in Peru – starting and finishing in Iquitos, which is located on the banks of the Amazon River and surrounded by the Amazon Rainforest. The boat glides through the Amazon River to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve home to flooded forests and some of the most biologically diverse wildlife and plant life in the world, like pink river dolphins, giant otters, sloths, and caiman. Next, after finishing your cruise in Iquitos, take a nearly four-hour flight to Cusco using a domestic airline, such as LAN or Star Peru. Flights are direct and usually inexpensive. Arrive in Cusco, and join the Machu Picchu an Sacred Valley Tour to take in the historic and untouched ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Next, after arriving back in Cusco fly to Guayaquil in Ecuador – the direct flights usually take around five hours, and LAN, Avianca and Copa all offer regular flights to the city. And finally, from Guayaquil you can connect with a short flight to the Galapagos Islands – and start your unforgettable Galapagos Cruise through the web of rugged islands filled with some of the most unique wildlife in the world.  


Contact Us with any questions you may have regarding Galapagos Cruises, Machu Picchu Tours or Amazon River Cruises. 

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


Geri Daniel loved her vacation with Rainforest Cruises.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on the cruise. Thank you again for the trip of a lifetime.
— Geri Daniel, Austin, TX
The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
We had a wonderful time. We were all impressed with the efficiency and organization of the trip from start to finish.
— Jeanette Johannson & Family, USA