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Trip Report Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Amazon Rainforest + more

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My husband and I got back last week from a wonderful trip to Ecuador and Peru. I thought I'd submit a brief trip report. If anyone has questions, I'd be happy to give my two cents.

We arranged our trip through Peru Best Tours and Diana was our travel agent. She was very easy to work with and patient (!) as I rearranged the plan multiple times. We are usually independent travelers but, since neither one of us had ever travelled in South America, we enjoyed having Diana's assistance. We arranged our own international flights to and from the US but Diana arranged the flights within South America. Diana booked the hotels (after we chose them), arranged our tours and transport. It was wonderful to arrive at our various locations and have a driver greet us and transport us to our hotels.

ECUADOR

We landed in Quito, Ecuador and spent two nights there. We were supposed to have a group tour of Quito the day after we arrived but it ended up being a private tour which was a nice surprise. We stayed at the Patio Andaluz hotel which was very comfortable and well located. A highlight of Quito was a visit to the home and museum of Oswaldo Guayasamin which we did on our own.

We next flew to the Galapagos Islands and spent 4 nights aboard the Coral I. We opted for the cheapest accommodations on the ship which were not roomy but were fine as we spent most of our time on board enjoying one of the decks or in the lounge. The food was very good and our fellow passengers hailed from the US, Australia, Canada and Israel. Our guides were excellent and passionate about their islands (guides are all native born.) We visited multiple islands and enjoyed tours on smaller Pangas, hiking and snorkeling. Highlights were snorkeling with sea turtles, penguins and sea lions, seeing blue footed boobies, sea lion pups, Galapagos tortoises, iguanas and more.

PERU

Our next stop was Lima, Peru. We chose to stay at Second Home Peru, a B & B run by the daughter of artist Victor Delfin. Mr. Delfin has his studio there and we were able to briefly tour it and meet the artist while he was working on his latest painting. The home and grounds are filled with Mr. Delfin's artwork and it felt like a special privilege to be able to stay there. We opted for a room with an ocean view which we enjoyed but this also came with quite a bit of traffic noise. We were, however, able to sleep well. The home is located in the Barranco district which was fun to explore.

A highlight of our stay in Lima was a culinary tour arranged by our travel agent where we visited a local market, enjoyed tastings at various stops, learned to make both Pisco Sours and ceviche, and ended with a delicious lunch overlooking the Huaca Pucllana.

We then flew to Cusco where we stayed at the Esplendor Cusco. We spent one night there before traveling to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu and returned there after a one night stay in Aguas Calientes. The Esplendor is located a few blocks form the main square of Cusco which we realized was a good location as many events seem to be celebrated with great enthusiasm (noise) at the square the different days we were there. The hotel was very comfortable and kindly stored luggage for us so that we could travel lightly to Aguas Calientes. We arrived in Cusco in the afternoon and took it easy to help with adjusting to the altitude. We did take Diamox as prescribe by our MD and tried Coca tea. Both my husband and I felt only slightly dizzy that first day. When we returned to Cusco,we had a good tour of city sights and nearby ruins and also had fun exploring Cusco on our own. We love Peruvian food and restaurants we enjoyed in Cusco included Limo, La Feria and Incanto.

To be continued...

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