Experience the essence of Ecuador with the colonial city of Quito, and the islands of the Galapagos. Begin in Quito, situated at 9300 feet in the heart of the Andes, just south of the Equatorial Line. As the capital of Ecuador, the city is rich with colonial churches, notable religious artwork and charming little streets, all surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. Spend two nights in Quito with a full day tour to the famous Otavalo Market (or you may do a half day Quito City Tour instead). From here you will fly to the Galapagos Islands for a 4 night cruise. Truly an unforgettable experience, the Galapagos Islands introduce you to birds and animals that are unique to this environment.
- Roundtrip air & ground transfers
- 2 nights Quito
- Private city tour
- 4 nights Galapagos cruise OR Finch Bay Eco-Hotel
+ guided tours, national park fee and all meals
- Daily breakfast
Day 1 – Arrive Quito:
Quito airport greeting, and transfer to your selected hotel. Overnight Quito.
Day 2 – Quito:
Today you get to enjoy a city tour of Quito.
Private Scenic Tour of Quito – 3 Hours:
Departures: Daily except Sunday
Pickup time: 9am and 2:30pm
Pickup Location: Hotel
Drop-off Location: Hotel
Duration: 3 hours
Your three-hour city tour begins with a visit to the historic Colonial Centre, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and considered to be the largest and best preserved in South America. This area is said to have 40 churches and chapels, 16 convents and monasteries with their cloisters, 17 plazas and courtyards, and 12 museums. Begin your walk at Independence Square, flanked by the neoclassical Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace dating back to the middle 1500’s. Continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, Quito’s oldest church and monastery, and one of the great religious buildings of the New World. It’s impressive fade and atrium lead to its gilt interior, a Baroque influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. The scenic tour ends at a lookout point with a great view of Quito.
Note: Women should not wear shorts or miniskirts when visiting the churches. Take a sweater even if the day is warm and sunny. A rain poncho may be needed in the afternoon. Wear good walking shoes. Take sunblock (SPF 40)
Altitude: 9,200 feet (with some stair climbing)
Late afternoon return to your Quito hotel. Breakfast. Overnight Quito.
Day 3 – Quito to Galapagos:
Transfer to the airport to depart Quito to the Galapagos. You will be met by a representative who will provide you with your boarding pass for the flight to Galapagos and your return ticket coupon. Breakfast in Quito.
Sample Galapagos Cruise:
Note: Please read this sample Expedition Itinerary as a guide only. The route and program vary per ship according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and wildlife encounters.
Santa Cruz Island
Upon arrival at the Baltra Airport, you will be met and transferred to the Itabaca canal, where you will cross to Santa Cruz Island on a short ferry ride and transfer to Puerto Ayora. You,™ll take a bus ride to the highlands of Santa Cruz to visit Cerro Chato. Here you,™ll be able to observe the famous giant tortoises that give the islands their name. After this visit return to Puerto Ayora to board your yacht. You will receive a welcome cocktail and an introductory briefing, followed by dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Accomdations Small Ship.
Day 4 – Galapagos:
Morning: EspaÃ±ola Island (Suarez Point)
After a dry landing at Suarez Point, you will learn about the lava terrain while crossing the inactive lava fields. In addition to the sea lion colonies, this is also one of the most important sites for bird watching. You will see such species as the hooded mockingbird, red-billed tropic bird, Galapagos doves, hawks and swallow-tailed gulls. There is also a large colony of marine iguanas, lava lizards, colorful Sally Light-Foot crabs, and colonies of masked and blue-footed boobies. Nesting grounds sometimes overlap the trail. this island has the world,™s largest colony of waved albatross (approx. 15,000). If you are lucky, you will be able to observe their mating ritual. Before leaving the island, you will visit the famous blowhole, which shoots water into the air at almost 75 feet. Return to the yacht for lunch. Lunch and dinner. Accomdations Small Ship.
Afternoon: EspaÃ±ola Island (Gardner Bay)
In the afternoon, you will have a wet landing at Gardner Bay on a white coral beach, amidst a large colony of sea lions. In this open area you can spot many species of birds, such as Galapagos hawks, oystercatchers, Galapagos doves, hooded mockingbirds and yellow warblers; as well as marine iguanas and lava lizards. The bay is a great area for snorkeling and swimming. Back on board you will receive a briefing of the next day,™s activities, followed by dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Accomdations Small Ship.
Day 5 – Galapagos:
Morning: Floreana (Cormorant Point)
In the afternoon, you will have a wet landing on a green sand beach, and hike a well-marked trail towards the of a large, brackish lagoon. Here you will see one of the biggest populations of flamingos in the islands. Novice snorkelers can practice back on the main beach where the sea lions are playful; while experienced snorkelers can roam the waters around Devils Crown. Return to the yacht for lunch.
Afternoon: Floreana (Post Office)
Early in the afternoon we are back to the boat and off to the famous Post Office Bay. There is an old barrel adorned with a variety of signs pointing the direction and giving the distance to places all over the world. It is here that early settlers or visitors would leave their mail in hopes that someone who might be going in the right direction would take their mail and deliver it or pass it on. A short walk from the famous barrel you will come to a tunnel formed by lava flows. Down a tricky path you can observe Darwin,™s finches, GalÃ¡pagos mockingbirds, yellow warblers and lava lizards. You,™ll make a wet landing on Mirador, where your guide will tell you the murder and mystery legend of the Baronesa. An easy climb will take you to the viewpoint located on the north end of the island. Back on board you will receive a briefing of the next day,™s activities, followed by dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Accomdations Small Ship.
Day 6 – Galapagos:
North Seymour Island
After a dry landing, you will see swallow-tailed gulls and sea lions. This site is known as a major nesting colony for blue-footed boobies, and it has the largest colony of the Magnificent Frigate Bird. (a different species from the Great Frigate Bird). Here you will also be able to see both endemic species of iguanas, the marine iguanas and land iguanas. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Accomdations Small Ship.
Day 7 – Depart Galapagos:
Transfer to the Baltra Airport for the return flight to Quito. Airport arrival into Quito at 3:00 pm. Connect to your international flight or add a post night in Quito. Breakfast.