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Combine Galapagos and the Inca Trail for a sunshine break

Friday, 3 February 2012 4:35 PM

If you're looking for a destination that allows you to combine seeing historic sights and exotic wildlife with wonderful activities, why not head to South America? In walking the Inca Trail before going on a cruise around the Galapagos Islands, you can do all of these things while soaking up the sun at the same time.

By embarking on Peru and Galapagos tours you will have the opportunity to explore some of the continent's most iconic landmarks and take in beautiful sights.

The first stage of your trip sees you traverse Peru's Inca Trail on your way to the historic Machu Picchu. Nestled high in the Andes mountain range, this ancient Inca complex was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007 and, upon coming here, you'll be able to explore the sprawling citadel up close.

However, there is plenty to see on the way to Machu Picchu and while the Inca Trail is just 28 miles long, the high altitude you are walking at requires you to take your time in completing it.

Initially, you will spend a couple of days in Cusco - the former capital of the Inca civilisation - where you can visit a range of beautiful buildings like the Church of la Compania de Jesus as you acclimatise.

From here, you will head to Ollantaytambo, the trail's starting point, where you can see the historic Manyaraki plaza and a variety of other Inca architecture before beginning your hike to Machu Picchu.

On your ascent through the cloudforest you will see a wide array of fauna and flora, not to mention being able to work on your tan in the process.

Stop off at Winaywayna for the chance to see some intricate Inca masonry, while the getting to the summit of Dead Woman's Pass - which is 4,215 m above sea level - sees you reach the highest point of the trail where you will be well placed to take in panoramic views of the mountain range.

While there is a wealth of wonderful sights to see during the trek, it is likely to be the first glimpse of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate that really takes your breath away. Here, you'll be able to see the citadel in its full glory as it is bathed in the warm sunshine before heading down from the vantage point to explore the ruins firsthand.

You can take a guided tour of the citadel and once you've taken in the sights, you'll be able to hop on a train back to Cusco. From here, you can embark on the second stage of your adventure family holiday - taking a cruise through the wonderful Galapagos Islands.

Initially, however, your tour of Ecuador will start in Quito - the nation's capital - where you will get the chance to explore the newly-renovated colonial centre prior to catching a flight to the archipelago.

Lying 600 miles to the west of the mainland, the region consists of dozens of islands and is famous for its rich biodiversity.

It is here that Charles Darwin carried out much of the research that would inform his theories on evolution and natural selection, so in taking a Galapagos cruise you'll get the chance to see some of the species that fascinated the scientist.

Head to the island of Floreana and you'll be able to see flamingos feeding and go snorkelling in the Devil's Crown crater prior to relaxing on the golden beach to top up your tan.

On Santa Cruz, meanwhile, you will find more sandy stretches in which you can chill out on, although you may also want to keep an eye out for sea lions and giant tortoises.

With so many wonderful things to captivate you, combining the Inca Trail trek with a cruise around the Galapagos Islands is bound to make for a wonderful holiday that you will never forget.

Discovering Machu Picchu is amazing

Adventures in the sun: trekking the Inca Trail

Not all holidays in the sun have to be about lounging on a tropical beach working on your tan - there are plenty of places to go and things to do if you want to be active instead. For the ultimate outdoor adventure, head to Peru and tackle the Inca Trail.

Cusco is home to a range of monuments

In focus: Cusco

If you’re planning a trip to Peru and want to tackle the legendary Inca Trail then you’ll need to spend time in Cusco. This city is the gateway to the Sacred Valley and a fascinating place to explore while you acclimatise to the altitude of the Andes.

Follow in Hiram Bingham's footsteps in Peru

Rediscovering Machu Picchu: following in Bingham’s footsteps

If you’re looking for an adventurous getaway in the sun, consider jetting off to Peru. This South American country has a lot going for it, but one of its most famous - and unmissable - attractions is Machu Picchu.

Trekking to Machu Picchu is amazing

Alternative ideas for active holidays in the sun

If you love catching some sun on your holidays but aren’t so keen on heading to Spain’s beaches or Florida’s theme parks, take a look at our suggestions for alternative destinations where you can have a fun and active getaway - and work on your tan at the same time.

seal

Best beaches for wildlife spotting

Beaches are not only about lying on the sand, getting a tan or swimming in the waves; they are also a natural habitat and haven for wildlife, not just in the sea but on the land too. If you know where to go then you can find some of the world’s best wildlife spots along the coasts and beaches. Here we’ve come up with a list of some of the best beaches for wildlife spotting.

Cancun has a great blend of sun and adventure

Combine sunshine and adventure in Cancun

If you're searching for a holiday destination that offers warm weather, Cancun should definitely be high on your list of places to go. Not only does the coastal Mexican city benefit from warm year-round temperatures, but it also provides plenty of scope to have exciting adventures as you work on your tan.

Help on a conservation project in the Galapagos Islands

Where are the best places to volunteer in South America?

South America is a continent full of fascinating places to visit and one way to really make a difference during your trip is to join a volunteer project. There are many options open to you, but here are three destinations where you can have a positive impact.

Explore the Amazon forest in Peru with Goway

Increased interest in Latin America

Growing demand for travels to Latin America has prompted Goway to launch a Travel Planner to the region. The Latin American Travel introduces intrepid travellers to many of the wonders present in the region, including Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

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