It's been a little over a year since our last big trip to Thailand and Cambodia and we are itching for some exploring and gastronomic globe trotting.  Up next...Ecuador & Peru!  We're heading to South America for a little over 2 weeks on our very first organized/guided trip.  We typically like to do our own thing and create our own itineraries, but since the focus of this trip is two activities that you are required to have authorized guides for, the Galapagos Islands and hiking Machu Picchu, we figured this was the right trip to try out a guided tour.  So we did some research and booked this tour with G Adventures.  A few of our friends have vacationed with G Adventures in the past and they have a sustainable and local flavor focus, so it sounds like a good fit for us...fingers crossed!

 

In case you're interested in following along on our adventure, a high-level itinerary is below.  I'll get into the good stuff, all of the local cuisine that we are going to try to hunt down and try during the little bit of free time that we have, when I return.  All of the foodie related activities that I have on my list are recommendations from my fellow T-Bird alumni who are either from Ecuador or Peru or have lived there for extended periods of time...so I trust they'll be spot on, but I'd like to try everything for myself and have photos before recommending any food to you...

  • Monday, May 28: arrive in Quito, Ecuador
  • Tuesday: free day to explore Quito Ecuador, on our list:
    • Total tourist trap, but we'll likely go to Mitad del Mundo so we can take a picture straddling the equator and say we had one foot in each hemisphere at the same time.
    • Quito's Old City - the largest historic center in the Americas, so we'll spend some time exploring here.  Quito was the first city to ever be declared a UNESCO world heritage site, so allowing ourselves to soak in the city and culture just by walking around may take up most of our day.
    • If we're feeling touristy we may take a ride on the aerial tram, TeleferiQo to get a view of the city if it's clear in the afternoon
  • Wednesday - Sunday: fly to the Galapagos Islands and then living aboard a boat while exploring.  The day by day island jumping plan is below, but while in the Galapagos we'll be doing lots of snorkeling and taking little land hikes/excursions.  Camera in hand the entire time, of course!  
    • Santa Cruz Island
    • Cerro Dragon/Isla Eden
    • Isla Santiago
    • Bartolome/Chinese Hat
    • Mosquero/Baltra...fly back to Quito then fly to Lima, Peru early Monday morning
  • Monday, June 4: Free day to explore Lima, on our list:
    • Quick tour of downtown...Government Palace, City Hall & Cathedral around the Plaza Mayor
    • Lunch reservation at Astrid y Gastón, one of the top 50 restaurants in the WORLD!
    • Spend the evening in the Miraflores neighborhood (where our hotel is) and enjoy the sea coast area...possibly go to Puente de los Suspiros in the evening.  Maybe hit up a bar/dancing after a light dinner of Ceviche and evening Pisco Sours.
  • Tuesday: Fly to Cuzco and relax/start to acclimatize to the altitude before starting our hike
  • Wednesday: Sacred Valley Tour and staying the night in Ollantaytambo at the base of Machu Picchu
  • Thursday - Sunday: hiking up Machu Picchu and camping along the way, return to Cuzco Sunday evening
  • Monday: Free day to explore Cuzco...but to be honest we might be pretty tired at this point so we'll be flexible!
    • Explore the San Pedro open-air market...fresh juice and possibly snacks for breakfast
    • If we're not totally done with ruins after Machu Picchu, explore some of the nearby ruins in Cuzco...otherwise, we'll likely just wander the town: Plaza de Armas, La Campanía de Jesús, La Merced, etc...a good site we've found to guide us on our free day is here.
  • Tuesday: Fly back home
Phew!  I think we're going to need a vacation from our vacation when we get home...like a sit on the beach with a fruity cocktail vacation.  The good thing is that, while this vacation is going to be really active it's also going to be really healthy.  Not a whole lot of time to gorge ourselves with heavy meals or get drunk (neither of which are good when adjusting to high altitude anyway).  So while we may be tired when we return, our bodies and minds should be healthy and refreshed.  Stay tuned for my rundown on the Ecuadorian & Peruvian food that we try, I'll post that along with pictures when I return.

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