Galapagos, Ecuador and Peru

People to People - PTPI - P2P - Peru

There’s “Bragging Rights Travel” and there’s “Bucketlist Travel.” Then, there’s what we like to call “Transformational Travel.”

Quo has a rare, epic adventure that will forever change your view of the world and help you clarify your place in it. You’ll gain a lifetime’s worth of inspiration and memories.

Join Quo for the ultimate field trip on a journey to South America. You’ll encounter an astounding array of social, biological & geological diversity and fascinating cultural traditions distinct to this region of earth. This is your ticket to hands-on learning in the Global Classroom!

Program Highlights

Smaller groups.

Bigger impact!

Program length: 20 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $7,995
2017 Programs Depart: June 28, 2017

2018 Programs Depart: Week of July 2-8, 2018

**Enrollments after March 20, 2017 are subject to availability and may be subject to air add-on.**

Program Highlights:
  • Galapagos Islands: encounter animals you’ll see nowhere else on earth. Swim with sea lions, see the remarkable Blue Footed Booby and witness the recent eruption of The Wolf volcano.
  • Quito: the highest capital city in the world: experience life at over 9,000ft. Explore the precise middle of the earth, where latitude and longitude zero converge.
  • Amazon: journey to the edge of the Amazon rainforest and experience a completely different ecosystem from the high Andes and Galapagos Islands.
  • The Throat of Fire: journey down the Avenue of Volcanoes to the active eruption known as “The Throat of Fire.” At night, when this volcano is active, it’s like nature’s own fireworks.
  • Peru: Explore the Kingdom of the Incas and visit Machu Picchu, one of the most mystical attractions on earth.
  • Lake Titicaca: Engage with ancient cultures and fascinating traditions as you meet the people who, like countless generations of ancestors before them, make their colorful lives in this incredibly unique setting.


Travel program peru - student travel galapagos

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Full Program Itinerary

Day One – Welcome to the Top of the World
  • Today we fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the highest capital city in the world (9,350ft above sea level).
  • Upon arrival, we’ll be met by our Travel Manager & local staff.
  • As we adjust to the altitude, we’ll head to our hotel for an Ecuadorian welcome dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day Two – The Middle of The World
  • This morning our guide will meet us and we will explore the old city of Quito with its beautiful plazas and examples of Spanish architecture dating back to 1534.
  • Following lunch we will drive to “The Middle of The World”. The geographic center of the Earth is located a short 30 min drive from Quito.
  • Guides will demonstrate strange phenomenon that occur at the equator. Did you know that you weigh less at the equator? Can you balance an egg on a nail? Our visit will reveal all.
Day Three – Indigenous Markets and Volcanic Lakes
  • Today we head north to Otavalo where we will visit one of the largest indigenous markets in South America.
  • The Otavalo Indians are known for their woven products, rugs, “shigras” (woven bags) and hand carved wooden products.
  • Later we will see Tsui-cocha which is known in English as The Lake of the Gods, a beautiful lake located in the crater of an ancient volcano.
  • Our visit concludes with a visit to the artisan town of Cotacachi which is famous for its leather products.
  • This evening we will learn to cook Pizza, Ecuadorian-style, at a local restaurant.
Day Four – Soaking in Hot Springs at 10,000 feet
  • This morning we depart Quito and head to the thermal baths of Papallacta, a famous hot spring on the on the way to the Amazon.
  • The hot spring is located at an altitude of more than 10,000ft above sea level.
  • There are a number of thermal pools located on the property and we will spend the afternoon soaking in the warm waters and enjoying the scenery of the high Andes.
Day Five – Down, Down, Down to the Amazon Rain Forest
  • Early this morning we head down to the Amazon Rain Forest.
  • During our drive we will descend from over 10,000ft to 1,500 feet.
  • The temperature will change from the cool temperatures of the Andes to the steamy heat of the Amazon jungle.
  • Our home for the next few nights is a tranquil Amazonian refuge located on the shore of Ecuador’s majestic Napo River.
  • Perched comfortably above the riverbank and the small Quechua (“kweh-kah”) Indian village of Ahuano, La Casa del Suizo, an Eco lodge surrounded by tropical rainforest.
Day Six – The Amazon!
  • Today is an opportunity to explore the wonders of the Amazon. Working with your eco guide you will be able to choose from a variety of activities.
  • You may decide to travel like a local up river to the primary rain forest. There, your native guide will explain how the Amazonian Indians of the area use plants for food, shelter and medicine.
  • You may decide to visit AmaZoonico, a shelter for injured and abused animals. Their mission is to rehabilitate animals that have been found or confiscated from animal traders and set them free. You never know what you may get to see at AmaZoonico.
  • Later you could decide to float down the river on an inner tube.
  • If you are interested in butterflies you may decide to visit a butterfly farm where 20 species of butterflies are bred. The guide will explain the lifecycle of the butterfly, show you the various stages of development and walk through “The Flying Room” where you can see butterflies feeding from various plants.
  • Perhaps you will decide to visit a local indigenous tribe where they will demonstrate the many uses for the Yucca plant and demonstrate the use of blowguns.
Day Seven – Ascending the Andes
  • This morning, we’ll head back up the Andes for a day highlighted by nature’s awesome power and beauty. 
  • On the way to Palate, we will visit Baños. This city, located at the foot of the Tungurahua volcano, is also called “The Door to the Amazon Jungle.”
  • After lunch, we will visit the Pailon Del Diablo waterfall (“The Devil’s Cauldron”). This is considered one of the 10 most spectacular waterfalls on earth. 
  • In the late afternoon, we’ll arrive at Palate, our destination for the evening. Here, we’ll spend the night in a traditional Hacienda.
Day Eight – Cotopaxi, the Sleeping Giant
  • After breakfast, we’re headed to the Cotopaxi National Park, which is located 70 miles south of Quito.
  • Snow-capped Cotopaxi is located n the middle of the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
  • This is undeniably the most picturesque of the Ecuadorian volcanoes.
  • Our naturalist guide will introduce us to this inspirational “sleeping giant” and teach us everything we ever wanted to know about vulcanology.
  • Later, we will visit a flower farm to learn about the critical Ecuadorean industry of flower exports.
  • Tonight, we return to colorful Quito.
Day Nine – On to Darwin’s Galapagos Islands
  • Very early this morning we head to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands.
  • The Galapagos Islands are an incredibly fragile collection of ecosystems. The unregulated presence of humans would rapidly destroy this precious resource. Thus, Ecuador maintains very strict rules about what can be brought onto the islands to protect the fragile environment. The resulting airport procedures take a little time to complete. It’s a process that relies on our patience and cooperation.
  • Upon arrival in Baltra we will be transferred to Primicias Ranch.
  • This ranch is known for the giant tortoise that migrates to this area in search of food, shade and water.
Day Ten – Flamingos and Turtles and Sharks! Oh My!
  • Early this morning we will leave Santa Cruz with a speedboat to Isabela Island, the biggest island of Galapagos.
  • When we arrive in Puerto Villamil, our naturalist guide will begin our introduction to the incredibly rich array of life that lies before us.
  • We will sail the bay and the Tintoreras, a group of small islands just off the coast of Puerto Villamil.
  • Here we will encounter sea lions, penguins, and countless beautiful fish in the bay.
  • There is also a small channel where we’ll observe sharks.
  • In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to visit to a flamingo lagoon before visiting a turtle breeding center on the island.
Day Eleven – Volcanoes, Lava Lizards and Haciendas
  • After an early breakfast, we’ll experience an unforgettable day tour to the Sierra Negra volcano.
  • This is the second largest crater in the world, located just 13 miles from Puerto Villamil.
  • Lunch will be at a farm, Hacienda Campo Duro, where we will learn about farming in the Galapagos.
  • Locals will teach us about the history of the people who live here, and we’ll be able to taste some of the delicious local fruit that’s cultivated on the island. 
  • In the afternoon, we visit the “Muro de Las Lagrimas” (Wall of Tears), an impressive place built by the prisoners of a penal colony.
  • The path to the Wall of Tears is abundant with lava lizards. As we will see, the males are larger and distinctively striped and the females dramatically red-throated.
Day Twelve –  Marine Iguanas, Sea Lions and Giant Tortoise
  • Today we will travel to Puerto Ayora by Speedboat.
  • After our arrival, we’ll visit Tortuga Bay. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. 
  • Here we’ll encounter marine iguanas and pelicans, and sea lions occur here in abundance.
  • We’ll take a short walk through an incredible forest of Opuntia cactus, unlike any forest you’ve seen.
  • This path leads us to the ocean – where we can swim, surrounded by the creatures Darwin studied (read: sea lions!)
  • After lunch we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where we will learn about the evolution of the islands.
  • This is also a breeding center of giant tortoise from all over the islands and our guide will point out the distinctions between the various species and explain their adaptations to the varied environments of their native islands.
Day Thirteen – Farewell Galapagos, Hello Peru!
  • Today, our adventure enters an exciting new phase. We’ll return to the airport at Baltra and board our flight to the beautiful coastal city of Lima, Peru!
  • This is quite a travel day, and once we land we’ll head straight to the city’s historic center, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
  • You’ll marvel at the diverse architectural styles as we wander the main plaza and Plaza San Martin.
  • Next, we’ll cast an appreciative eye at the finely carved choir stalls and decor of Santo Domingo Monastery, the oldest monastery in Lima.
  • This is also the site of the oldest university in South America, San Marcos National University, founded in 1551. 
  • After all the excitement and activities of the islands, we’ll be ready for an amazing Peruvian welcome dinner and a good night’s sleep. 
Day Fourteen – Lima to Cuzco
Today, we’ll not waste a moment.

  • We’re catching an early flight from the coast to Cuzco, high in the Peruvian Andes.
  • This incredible city offers an astonishing array of remarkable and beautiful Incan architecture, including:
    • the Sun Temple
    • the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman and
    • the Amphitheater of Kenko.
  • This is followed by a visit to Puca Pucara, the strategically located ‘red fortress’ that dominates the entire area.
  • Next, we’ll visit Tambomachay, with its two distinctive and ancient aqueducts that, to this day, provide clean water to the entire area.
Day Fifteen – The Sacred Valley of the Incas
  • This morning we’re headed to the Pisaq Market in the Sacred Valley.
  • Long ago, this market is where people from remote communities bartered their products.
  • Today, Pisaq has evolved to one of South America’s most famous traditional craft, food and souvenir markets.
  • You’ll encounter craftsmanship here that you’ll see nowhere else on earth.
  • You’ll also encounter incredible traditional foods. In fact, you can sample dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, prepared according to family recipes handed down for centuries.
  • Pisaq Market is particularly famous for their delicious empanadas baked in traditional clay ovens.
  • This afternoon, we will visit the fortress of Ollantaytambo. Here, you’ll be astounded by the six massive monoliths that comprise the ancient Temple of theSun.
  • The Terrace of the Ten Niches will stand out in your memory for a lifetime.
Day Sixteen – The Train to Machu Picchu
  • The train from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu delivers one of the most famous and spectacularly scenic train rides on earth.
  • Sure, Machu Picchu is on nearly every human’s bucket list, but this train ride goes hand-in-hand with the experience.
  • You’ll observe farmers working their fields with the same patience and skill that their ancestors employed as they fashioned the stone homes still in use along the steep hillsides.
  • We’ll emerge from tunnels to beautiful agricultural terraces and the ruins of distinctive highland cities long abandoned.
  • We’ll encounter fertile microclimates fed by waterfalls where giant hummingbirds zoom from bloom to bright bloom on hillsides littered with flowers that bloom year-round.
  • You’ll see countless varieties of orchids and bromeliads that thrive in the altitude of these high, green mountains.
  • After arriving at the village near Machu Picchu, we’ll have time to freshen up (and process our anticipation) before a traditional highland dinner.
Day Seventeen – The Amazing Machu Picchu
This is a day you will recall fondly for a lifetime.

  • We’ll begin by taking a small coach up the steep roads to the entrance of the Citadel.
  • As we climb, we’ll begin to comprehend why, for centuries, these Incan ruins remained undiscovered by the Spaniards. In fact, it was only found in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham.
  • Our expert guides will help us comprehend the uniqueness of this location, while illuminating the genius that went into Machu Picchu’s construction, making it one of the “seven new wonders of the world.”
  • We’ll have time to linger, pondering the magnificence of this extraordinary place.
  • Perhaps you’ll take in the views, encounter creative inspiration or examine possible reasons this location is considered such a mystical and spiritual destination.
  • After visiting Machu Picchu, many people claim their time here was sacred, transformational, cosmologically significant, or the catalyst for dramatic self-discovery. What will you encounter?
  • This afternoon, the distinctive views will continue as we return to Cuzco by scenic train. 
Day Eighteen – Cuzco to Puno
We’ve been busy.

  • After last night’s late arrival by train, today begins at a casual pace.
  • We’ll have free time to relax, do a little shopping, maybe do a little journaling and enjoy the amenities at our hotel.
  • Later, we’ll head to the Cuzco airport for a flight to Juliaca/Puno, in the southern part of Peru, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
  • Once we arrive in Puno, we’ll have time to check into our hotel and freshen up before dinner.
Day Nineteen – The Unique Beauty of Lake Titicaca
  • It’s challenging to compare and contrast all the incredible adventures you’ll encounter on this program. However, we’ve definitely saved one of the very best for last.
  • Today kicks off as we board our boat for an excursion on the famed Lake Titicaca.  
  • From this uncommon setting, unique communities and cultures have emerged, demonstrating an incredible resourcefulness and adaptability.
  • Today’s excursion presents an excellent opportunity for cultural immersion and forging surprising personal connections with people whose lives are wholly unlike yours.
  • We’ll begin with a visit to the floating reed Islands of the Uros Indians.
    • It’s astonishing, really, how the Uros people live in communities totally interwoven with the ‘totora’ reed, which grows abundantly in the shallows of the lake.
    • You’ll be surprised by their eagerness to meet you and to share their culture.
    • From their creatively-designed boats to their durable woven housing, from their traditional clothing to their distinctive artwork, this is an unforgettable opportunity for cultural engagement and creative inspiration.
  • Next, we will visit Taquile, “the weavers’ island.”
    • Across the centuries, the indigenous community on Taquile has conserved many of the customs of the old lake population, such as a communitarian life where everything is shared.
    • You’ll see men walking around the island, busy knitting the characteristic woolen caps they wear.
    • Many women are busy weaving the time-honored clothing attributed to their traditional way of life.
    • These caps and clothing are regarded as the most beautiful of Peru.
  • Throughout the day, you’ll be struck by the deep, earthy-red color of the soil, and how, in the strong highland sunlight, it contrasts magnificently against the deep blue of Lake Titicaca. Add to that the breathtaking backdrop provided by the snowcapped Cordillera Real and you complete a splendid picture.
  • Tonight, over our farewell dinner, we’ll reflect on all the connections and discoveries we’ve made, all the amazing adventures we’ve had and unforgettable sights we’ve seen. We’ll feel a bit of shock as we realize how quickly time can pass, and we’ll start making plans to do it all again next summer.
Day Twenty – Adios Ecuador, Galapagos & Peru.
  • We’ll awaken this morning to the captivating beauty of the Andes, and feel remorseful as we make our way to the airport for our journey home.
  • Despite our inevitable sadness at leaving this place and these people, we’ll take comfort in the knowledge that our connection to this magical place will endure for a lifetime.
Transformational Student Travel - Quo Student Travel