A trip to the Galápagos Islands is an experience of a lifetime, the history and mystery of the islands will inspire you to understand more about this amazing ecological system. This isolated group of volcanic islands spans 620 miles off Ecuador’s coast in the Pacific Ocean, it has on almost mythological status as a showcase of biodiversity which inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Most of the islands are void of vegetation and it is with this lunar landscape, that makes this one of the most amazing places on Earth. The Galápagos Islands comprise a mysterious landscape of land and sea with some of the most unusual wildlife found anywhere on Earth.
With the lack of natural predators, the Galápagos animals are completely fearless of humans, and this is possible the only place in the world, where you can see such diverse wildlife. You can snorkel with sea lions and penguins, walk with the giant tortoises, view a wide variety of birds such as the blue footed boobies. Walk the beaches lined with sea lions and the babies calling for their mothers. On Board: Swimming pool, gym, game room, library, 24-hour medical service, laundry service, international phone, fax service, piano lounge, well-stocked bars, massage room, observation decks, sun decks, chill out zone.
The Main focus of this tour is the abundant biodiversity and the geological wonders of the Galápagos Islands, also highlighted by exploring the Capitol city of Quito, Ecuador and its history, color.
There will be an extension tour to the Amazon after the cruise to go deep into the jungles and wilderness of this biodiverse area.
Day 1: December 5 Tuesday - Arrive at Quito, Ecuador. Many flights arrive in the evening hours so there are no planned activities this day. Arrive at the airport and then have a private transfer to your hotel. For those who may arrive early in the day you can enjoy Quito at your leisure or book an optional tour.
Hotel La Casona del a Ronda for 2 nights.
Day 2: December 6 - Enjoy a guided tour of Quito
Today we tour the capital city of Quito. Offering native South American traditions interwoven with European culture and Catholic religion, Quito offers a fascinating mix of monumental Spanish gothic and baroque cathedrals and churches set against the modern, gleaming skyscrapers. We will visit such sites as the Independence Square flanked by the Presidential and the Archbishop’s palaces from the 13th and 14th century, the Moorish-styled Metropolitan Cathedral, the baroque Jesuit Church and Convent, and Plaza of San Francisco. We will stop at the "Middle of the World" site and the Equator Monument situated at 0º0’0” latitude, where an 18th century multinational expedition located the Equator and established for the first time the Earth's accurate measurements. You will also have a stop at the Mercado for shopping of local handmade goods.
Welcome dinner tonight at an authentic local restaurant.
Day 3: December 7 - Depart Quito for Baltra Island then to Mosquera Islet
Depart the hotel and transfer to the Quito airport for the flight to Baltra Island. Transfer to the boat.
Arriving at Mosquera Islet located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, you can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium por tulacastrum plants grow on the sand. Opportunity to go snorkeling today.
Day 4: December 8 - Santiago Island: Egas Port & Rabida Island
AM - This morning we depart and sail to Santiago Island: Egas Port
Wet landing. Egas Port is a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre, yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
PM – Rabida Island: Wet landing. Dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home of sea lions colonies; Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September plus nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches. Here a dinghy ride along marine cliffs is done, to observe nesting seabirds. Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active.
Day 5: December 9 - Isabela Island: Urbina Bay and Tagus Covebr>
AM – Urbina Bay (Isabela Island): Wet landing (might be difficult due to the tide). Volcanic black beach, depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants with a different range of colors in flowers, attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove whale watching is usual in May – December.
PM – Tagus Cove (Isabela Island): Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as blue-footed booby, brown noddy, terns, the flightless cormorant, and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics. The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past. (B,L,D)
Day 6: December 10 - Fernandina Island: Espinoza Point & Isabela Island: Vicente Roca
AM – Espinosa Point (Fernandina Island): Dry landing. From Espinosa Point, is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here the largest, most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Fernandina displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos hawk. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with few brachycereus cacti. In the shore, mangrove can be found.
PM – Vicente Roca Point (Isabela Island): Great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth, the Bolivar Channel. Accessible by water, we take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold-water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, a perfect place for deep snorkeling.(B,L,D)
Day 7: December 11 - Santa Cruz Island: Highlands - Depart to Quito or Amazon Extension tour
AM – Highlands Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island): Dry landing. In the mountains of the Galapagos, it is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets. The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
PM – Baltra Island Airport: After the visit, you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to Quito. Flights arrive Quito at 4:15 PM
** You have the option of returning home from Quito or continuing onto the Amazon extension tour. (B,L)
Amazon Extension Tour: After arriving at the Quito airport you will then take a short 30 min flight to Cocoa from here you will be transferred to the property. You will transfer by private transportation to the city’s main dock at the Napo River. The next two hours will be on a motorized canoe heading down river on what will be the beginning of an unforgettable experience in the tropical rainforest, the Amazon. You will be dropped off at La Selva’s main dock and your first close encounter with the rainforest begins and the final leg of the trip to the lodge will be completed in a paddle canoe.
Upon arrival check into your rooms and enjoy an Intro to The Rainforest. One of the Naturalist Guides will give you basic info about the tropical rainforest, the Amazon, and how La Selva operates.
Next enjoy a short hike on the Matapalo Trail. This trail was given the Spanish name of the famous Strangler fig one of many remarkable trees that you can find on this short walk. Mahogany trees over 400 years old can be seen and your guides will share their knowledge of the flora and fauna. Due to the time of day there is great natural light, and the diurnal and nocturnal animals are beginning their daily transitional activities.
Returning to the lodge enjoy snacks & Drinks followed by dinner. (D)
Day 8: December 12 - Full day of Activities
Wake Up Call
Observation Tower & Tucaneta Trail. After a 20 minute walk the observation tower comes into sight. This amazing construction will allow you to climb 120 ft above the forest. Your Naturalist and Native guides will help you spot the colorful birds of the Amazon, maybe even certain primates. On the way back from the tower there is the option of taking the Tucaneta Trail where your Native Guide can show you some of the medicinal plants still in use today and your Naturalist Guide will provide you with interesting info on the ecology and natural history of the Amazon. Lunch break. Then the Charapa Trail. This trail goes on for about an hour beginning at the lodge and ending by the edge of the lagoon. It is a great loop where different mammals, monkeys and birds can been seen that come closer to the lagoon at this time looking for food. It is also perfect for witnessing an Amazonian sunset from the water in the canoe.
Next we enjoy a Night Canoe Ride with the help of a spotlight your guides will take you around the lagoon via canoe looking for nighttime wildlife. This is also a great opportunity for star gazing!
**During your free time in-between activities, you can use the kayaks, swim in the lagoon, have a massage or just relax in your room and have a nap!
Return to the lodge for Dinner.(B,L,D)
Day 9: December 12 - Full Day of Activities
Wake Up Call
Parrot Clay Lick and Mandi Wasi. Today you will make your way back to the Napo River and take a motorized canoe ride to the clay licks, one of the most fascinating displays of the wild world. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets gather here to eat the mineral rich soil, an important part of their diet. Binoculars are essential to really capture the moment. After the clay licks we will take you to experience our Cultural Activity. An Amazonian Kichua woman will welcome you at their community center to share their life of the Kichua’s in the Amazon. This is special because it is part of the Amazon you do not find on the maps and provides the special and unique opportunity to really get to learn more about the people of the Amazon.
Lunch Break then the Coto Trail. This is a fantastic walk that takes off from the lodge to the edge of the Garzacocha Lagoon. In the afternoon the light from the sun will come from behind most of the time, making this walk an amazing experience and the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this amazing forest. Groups of black-mantled tamarin monkeys can be spotted on this walk and some of our groups have even seen tapirs too. Your Naturalist Guide is going to explain about all the different creatures that can be found, and our Native Guide is going to explain about all the different creatures that can be found, and our Native Guide will show you some of the medical plants that they have been using for thousands of years. A canoe ride back to the lodge makes a great ending for this activity.
Return to the lodge for Dinner(B,L,D)
Day 10: December 13 - Depart for Home
Wake Up Call followed by breakfast. At 7:00 am – Departure for Coca. The lodge staff will assist you with your checked luggage and the motorized canoe ride will head upstream back to Coca, where the representatives will take you to the airport to help you with your checked luggage and boarding passes. Upon at Quito airport you will transfer to your connecting flight back home. (B)
Standard Interior Cabin: Double: $3933.00 per person based on double occupancy, (Roommates can be provided) Single Supplement: $1046.00
Standard Plus Outside cabin with porthole windows: $4356.00 per person Single Supplement: $1411.00
Junior Suite Outside with picture windows: Double: $4752.00 per person Single Supplement: $1608.00
Balcony Suite Outside picture windows: Cost Double: $ Single Supplement: $00
Save 3% off the tour price if paid in full via check
Booking/final payment due 60 days prior to departure
- 4 nights cruise
- 2 Pre nights in Quito
- Welcome dinner
- Quito City Tour
- Breakfast at hotel
- Departure transfers hotel to Quito airport for cruise
- Snorkel equipment
- Arrival airport transfers Quito airport - hotel
- Full Board meals while on the cruise
- Galapagos Park entry fee and Required tourist card
- Local tour guides as per itinerary needs
- Welcome gift
- Hotel taxes
- Tour leader with 6 or more clients
- International airfare. You will fly into Quito, Ecuador. We can arrange airfare for you
- Meals not listed in itinerary
- Room charges such as calls, mini bar, laundry, room service
- Travel insurance
- Airport transfers if arriving outside of the group travel dates
- Guide gratuities
- Additional tours or activities not listed
- R/T flight from Quito - Baltra - Baltra - Quito from $525.00
Amazon Extension Tour Cost:
Double: $1462.00 per person
Single Rate: $1901.00 Total
- 3 nights' accommodations
- All meals during stay. (B,L,D)
- All tours and activities as stated in the itinerary
- Guides for included activities
- Yoga Sessions
- Flight R/T Quito - Coca - Coca - Quito $230.00
Entry Requirements: Visitors going to Ecuador require a current passport, valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure from Ecuador. Citizens of the US, Canada, UK and Australia do not require a visa to enter Ecuador. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, your driver's license and your credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member and bring one with you.
Time Zone: Quito, the capital of Ecuador is 5 hours behind GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), and it does not observe daylight saving time, Quito is in the same time zone as New York or EST.
Weather: Ecuador is located right on the Equator so you should be prepared for warm weather. However, Quito is located at 10,000 feet, so it is never very warm there, and it has mild. Expect daytime temperatures of the high 60's with cooler evenings in the high 40's. In the Galápagos Island November is the dry season. Expect daytime temperatures around the high 70's and evenings around low 70's. The sun is still intense due due the equator location.
Currency: The official unit of currency in Ecuador is the U.S. dollar. You can use American or Ecuadorean coins, both of which come in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢. Otherwise, all the currency is in the paper form of American dollars, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. It's very hard to make change, especially for any bill over $5, and especially in taxis. The best way to get cash in the local currency is from an ATM. Keep in mind that most banks impose a fee every time a card is used at another bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions ($3 - $3) so try and withdraw as few times as possible. Credit cards are accepted by most shops and restaurants however check with your credit card company regarding foreign exchange fees. You will also have a better chance making deals at local shops if paying with cash.
Electricity: The majority of outlets in Ecuador are standard North American style two- and three-prong electric outlets with 110-120V AC (60 Hz) current.
Taxes/Vat: All goods and services are charged a 12% value-added tax. Hotels and restaurants also add on a 10% service charge, for a total of 22% more on your bill. There is an airport departure tax of $41.80 from Quito, although it is usually included in the airfare cost.
Health: No vaccinations are officially required of travelers to Ecuador, unless you are arriving from a country that has reported cases of yellow fever, such as Panama. As a tropical South American country, Ecuador presents certain health risks and issues. The most common ailments for visitors to Ecuador are diarrhea and altitude sickness. If you are affected by altitude sickness, you may experience headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, and a tendency to tire easily. If you are experiencing these problems, try to rest, abstain from alcohol, and drink a lot bottled water. To help alleviate the symptoms, you can also take acetazolamide (Diamox); consult your doctor for more information. Be very careful about eating food purchased from street vendors. Foreign visitors to Ecuador should drink only bottled water. Do not drink tap water, even in major hotels.
Activity Level: This trip has a descent amount of activity at each stop we will be walking quite a bit on the dirt or uneven ground. At each stop on the cruise we will have either a "Dry" or "Wet" landing. Dry means we pull up to a dock and wet means we get off the tender and step into the shallow waters. To be able to fully enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 3 or 4 miles on some days. You should be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes at times during the tours. You will need be able to keep up with the group without any assistance. At times you will need manage your own luggage. This trip is pretty easy for the average person however if you can't or choose not to participate in certain activities this is at your own discretion. However it cannot affect the groups participation nor can any tours or activities or refunds be offered or changed due to an individual not being able or not wanting to participate.