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Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

Atlanta, Georgia
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43 posts
13 reviews
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Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

My husband and I are fairly active 68 and 70 year old and want to combine our trips. We know that we are going to do the National Geographic Galapagos cruise and want to do the Machu Picchu on our own schedules (with much help from the boards here and a few local guides). It looks like most people do MP after the Galapagos but we are thinking that it might be good to flip that for us. We know that our energy will be good for Galapagos because we will be so excited to see the wildlife but wonder if MP might be hard physically, and maybe mentally after seeing and do so much in Galapagos. What do you think? We want to do them together because of the obvious location issues of taking two trips from the US.

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7 replies to this topic
Tucson, Arizona
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for Quito, Ecuador
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1. Re: Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

Having been to both, though on separate trips, I would save Galapagos for last so the experience is not "diluted" by the hassles of transit getting to MP. There is something so otherworldly about being on an uninhabited island with just your group, and feeling like you're the last people on earth. I feel Galapagos deserves contemplation and reflection.

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New York City, New...
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2. Re: Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

I would agree. Though I haven't been to MP, I know that after our Galapagos NG Islander cruise we were happy we weren't going anywhere but home. A number of the people we met on the cruise had been to other places in Ecuador first, and said they were glad they did it that way. Although the Galapagos cruise is very active, IMO it is also restful in the way that only being out on the open sea can be, so after what I assume is a fairly energetic time in MP, the ship might be restorative. It's not that we were too tired to go on, but as azbuceadora suggests, we felt we were in a somewhat magical state that we didn't want to disturb too quickly!

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Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

Love your description of your "state" when ending your cruise. That confirms my thoughts.

Thanks,

Susan

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

Yes, certainly do not want to "dilute" the Galapagos experience. Thanks.

Neptune Beach, FL
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5. Re: Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

MP is not much harder than you choose to make it. You can hike up and down the mountain sides all day if you want to but you don't have hike or walk any more than you want to.

Posters have mentioned leaving the Galapagos with wet clothes and shoes in their suitcases. That consideration would influence my decision of where to go first.

Another consideration is that flights into and out of Cuzco frequently cancel. It seemed to us that the airline printed schedules they had no intention of ever looking at again. Would allow an extra day or two for MP for whatever happens in this regard.

Spirit

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Adelaide, Australia
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6. Re: Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

I did MP before Galapagos and liked that order. They are 2 completely experiences and found them both as relaxing or active as you choose. I had a lot of problems with altitude so make sure you are not doing a quick trip to MP or if you are stay in Sacred Valley first and plan for altitude accordingly. I found it nice then going to Galapagos as I had a nice long week of not moving, it was warmer and as I was traveling solo I could switch my brain off (except to soak up the science of course) and everything was arranged. I didn't do tours in Peru so had to be aware all the time of where I was etc. I also got off boat feeling energized but relaxed even though we had a very active timetable (I was on the Samba). I personally am glad I did it in this order as I got to unwind but if you take tours in Peru it may not make much of a difference. Some people leave MP until last if that is their dream to finish with. I dreamed of both places so in the end for me it was the whole direction of travel that made me ultimately decide as I was heading up to Mexico.

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Mexico
Mexico
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Toronto
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7. Re: Which first, Galapagos or Machu Picchu?

I have done Galapagos and Machu Picchu together on multiple occasions.

I have always done Machu Picchu after the Galapagos, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

However, given the choice, I think I would prefer to have ended in the Galapagos Islands, but it just wasn't feasible for me on those trips. Things such as dates/flights/permits made me do Galapagos first. With that said, I'd happily do the exact same thing again as they're both great experiences that I am happy to do over and over.

If you do Machu Picchu last, simply give yourself a couple of extra days in Cuzco, as it can be thoroughly enjoying and relaxing at the end of a trip. Amazing food and plenty of relaxing/easy things to do. You don't always need to finish up at a beach!

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