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Peru & Galapagos

This Exclusive Tour combines two of the greatest wonders of South America – The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Blessed are the curious for they will have adventures.” – Unknown

We arrive on Sunday in the tropical Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, where we spend the night in anticipation of our Mon morning flight to the Galapagos.

We visit some of the most beautiful islands in the famous archipelago, and have the chance to see all of the main species of wildlife that this tropical paradise is famous for. We enjoy a Shabbat with the Jewish community of Lima, the continent’s third-largest mega-city, and enjoy the contrasts of this great ocean-desert metropolis, from its modern shopping malls to its colonial buildings.

We explore the Andean highlands, from the city of Cusco to the sacred valley, and take the train through the Urubamba Canyon to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Pichu, the legendary lost city of the incas, which we explore with great excitement. Of course, all this is done while enjoying the comforts of the luxury hotels and gourmet kosher cuisine that Kosher Safaris is famous for!

ITINERARIES

 

This morning, we land on Baltra Island, and embark on our exciting cruise of the legendary Galapagos archipelago.

Our ship cruises towards the uninhabited, desert of Bartholomew Island, one of the most photographed landscapes in the Galapagos. Formed by different volcanic cones – lava bombs, spatter, and cinder cones, it is said to somehow resemble the moon.

The most famous feature of the island is Pinnacle Rock, viewed best from the top of a foot-path made of over 350 steps, that also rewards us with incredible views of the surrounding islands.

This is also our first chance to snorkel and to meet some of the marine iguanas of the islands as well as the rare Galapagos penguin.

 

Please Note that actual Galapagos itineraries are determined by operators in conjunction with National Parks and vary from time to time-

 

This morning, we visit South Plaza Island, home to amazing numbers of Galapagos wildlife. We walk through an impressive cactus forest, surrounded by land and marine iguanas, and at the highest point, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies can be seen. This is also the only place on earth where the Galapagos hybrid iguana might be seen!

North Seymour Island is one of the most visited islands on the chain, and with good reason: this small piece of land is encircled by an absolutely stunning coastline, with some of the world’s most magnificent waves, and hosts large colonies of sea-lions, marine iguanas, land-iguanas, as well as the famous blue-footed boobies and red greater Frigate birds.

The wildlife is everywhere you look!

 

On day 3, our ship arrives at San Cristobal, one of the Eastern most islands of the archipelago. At Punta Pitt, a short hike takes us up to a plateau that reveals some of the most colorful scenery and best views on the islands; it is home to one of the few colonies of the rare red-footed booby.

 

In the afternoon, we visit the Cerro Brujo formations, with great views of Kicker Rock, and lovely opportunities for snorkeling.

 

On day 4, we visit a sanctuary for the giant tortoises of the Galapagos, a species that is only found in one other site on the planet. We then proceed to San Cristobal airport for our flight back to Guayaquil, where we spend the night.

 

Today,  we fly to Lima, and tour the massive Peruvian capital, which is also the largest city in South America. Lima is also one of the largest desert cities in the world, and despite being on the Pacific Ocean, and having very high humidity, has a mild climate and gets hardly any rain.

 

The desert, mountain, and ocean surroundings are spectacular, and the city boasts incredible colonial architecture, Pre Inca ruins, and ultra-modern shopping malls. After spending the day enjoying the contrasts of this vast metropolis, we prepare for Shabbat.

We experience a lovely Shabbat in the upmarket suburb of San Isidro, home to Peru’s small but vibrant Jewish Community. We enjoy a lovely morning at the lovely community center which hosts the shul and a great Kiddush, and after a wonderful Shabbat lunch, enjoy a good walk through the neighborhood or/and a well deserved rest!

 

After Shabbat, we visit one of Lima’s night highlights, the world’s largest fountain display!

 

 

Today, we fly from Lima at the coast, to the Andean city of Cusco, at 3500m (±11,000) feet above sea level. We descend by road to Urubamba, in the heart of the “Sacred Valley”, where we check into our hotel. We enjoy the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel, acclimatizing for our intense day at Machu Pichu.

 

For those wanting to test their energy levels, a tour of the Inca Sites around Urubamba, as a warm-up for Machu Picchu, can be arranged.

 

Today, we take the train through the spectacular Urubamba Canyon to the village of Aguas Calientes. This village is the gateway to Machu Picchu – the lost city of the Incas – and is so remote it can only be accessed by this special railway.

 

A magnificent drive takes us up the canyon where we embark on our walking exploration of this truly incredible site, and see why it is listed as one of the 7 wonders of the world.

 

As we explore this hidden gem, we look out for the local wildlife, hoping to spot llamas and pecunyas.

 

 

Today, we rise early again, and drive up the Andes back to Cusco, where we enjoy a short tour of the historic city, which was once the capital of Inca empire, the largest empire in the Americas before Columbus.

 

We also visit the local Chabad, which is not just a regular Chabad House, but the “home away from home” for the thousands of Israeli backpackers who fall in love with this region during their post-army trips. After brunch in the Israeli fast-food restaurant in the courtyard of this historic building, we return to the airport and fly back to Lima, enriched with memories of the best scenery and wildlife in the region.

FAQ

These FAQ's are specific to this tour. For general info please visit our FAQ page.

Visas


  • Citizens of  most countries can travel visa free or obtain visas at the airport for Ecuador.  citizens of the U.S., most commonwealth countries, Israel, and South Africa, do not require visas to enter Peru either.
  • a special Galapagos entry permit needs to be purchased
  • Visa regulations change from time to time and differ from country to country , so all clients need to check their own requirements with the consulates of the countries they will be visiting at least 3 months prior to their trip.
  • Visitors must ensure that they have at least 4 blank VISA pages (not endorsement pages) in their passport and that there passport is valid for at least 6 months after the end of their trip.
  • though we try our best to provide up to date information, GKS cannot take responsibility for accuracy of visa information, which MUST be verified by the consulates of the countries concerned!

Arrival/ Departure


  • Some tours start in Guayaquil and end in Lima, others begin in Lima and end in Guayaquil

(Always check routing  and times with office before booking)

Security


  • Ecuador and Peru are relatively safe countries, but large-city crime is very much present and the usual caution should be taken particularly in Guayaquil, Quito, and Lima.
  • Like anywhere in the world today, the global terror threat is always there, and we keep all the finer details of our itineraries offline as a precaution, in ALL venues that we operate in around the world- exact venues and final dates of tours are only made known to confirmed participants.

Weather and Climate


  • Despite its tropical , the Galapagos region , as well as Peru experience significant climate fluctuations around the year, due to the effect of elevation and ocean currents.
  • The Galapagos is hot,humid, and sometimes rainy from Nov-May but has a cooler season from June-Oct where fog, light drizzle, milder weather and cold ocean temperatures are common- during this time, a sweater might be necessary at night.
  • the Coastal area of Peru around Lima has a coastal desert microclimate and heavy fog tends to role in from the ocean, cooling temperatures dramatically during the winter months from June-Oct in particular.  one seldom needs more than a sweatshirt, but a sweatshirt is often necessary during this time.The rest of the year, temperatures tend to be pleasantly warm most of the time.
  • The Andean highlands around Cusco and Machu Pichu can get very cold at night and in the early morning with temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s fahrenheit at night and 60’s and 70’s by day being normal throughout the year- the winter months from June-Oct tend to be sunnier but chillier.

Medical


All visitors to Galapagos are advised to bring medication for sea sickness.

There are  no required compulsory  immunizations for entry unless you have recently been in a yellow-fever endemic area, though some countries might require proof of vaccination or exemption for re-entry- seek advise from your travel clinic and doctor.

Altitude sickness is possible in the Cusco region- ask your doctor about
recommended precautions and ensure you do not have any medical conditions that preclude visits to high elevations.

Peru and Ecuador have reasonably decent medical facilities, but given the remote nature of the Galapagos and Machu Pichu areas, people with serious medical conditions should get the go ahead from their doctor before booking this or any of our tours.

It is essential to bring any medication you require and to ensure that your medical insurance covers you comprehensively whilst away

Currency


  • The unit of currency in Peru is the Sol which is currently valued at about  3.37 Sol =1$, although currency fluctuations can be rather drastic, as can the variance in the actual exchange rate offered.
  • The US dollar is used in the Galapagos.
  • Certain ATMs in the region accept most foreign Visa cards , but are UNRELIABLE, and a good combination of local currency, $US cash, and cards is usually the best way to go.
  • Many vendors in the region will ONLY accept cash, but many are all too eager for $US.
  • The GOOD NEWS is that being on an organized trip, you only really need cash for the small things, so its nothing to worry about!