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zQuito + The Galapagos - 11 Day Adventure

11 days

Small Ship Adventure aboard the 24-cabin La Pinta

Small Group Discoveries

+ Our signature Small Group sightseeing brings Quito to life! Explore the culture, flavors and architectural treasures of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, hailed by many as one of South America's most beautiful cities.
+ With never more than 16 guests in a landing party, you'll enjoy deeper engagement and more personalized attention from our expert Naturalists, a more comfortable pace, and unforgettable up-close encounters with some of the most amazing animals on the planet.
+ Informative and entertaining shipboard lectures enhance your voyage and deepen your understanding of the islands' unique geology and wildlife.
+ Discover the amazing undersea world of the Galapagos with complimentary snorkeling gear throughout your cruise.

2015 Itinerary2016 Itinerary

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Day
1

Welcome to Quito c

Check in to the luxurious Casa Gangotena.

Day
2

Discover Quito’s Colonial splendor

Your exploration of this World Heritage city begins with San Francisco, a magnificent 16th-century Roman Catholic church and convent. At a local hat shop, the owner will share her millinery skills and the techniques learned from her father that have allowed her to produce some of the city’s finest hats for nearly 60 years. You’ll also spend time with the Carrion family in their 150-year-old workshop. For generations, this talented family has been restoring religious images which their customers use for festivals. Then it’s off to the Museo Casa de Alabado, set in a beautiful 17th-century residence and renowned for its meticulously curated collection of Pre-Colombian artifacts. In the historic heart of the city, you’ll behold important Colonial-era landmarks including the Presidential Palace and Cathedral. Your sightseeing ends in La Ronda, a charming historic district filled with inviting shops and galleries. Meals B,L

Day
3

Fly to the Galapagos Islands c

Fly to Baltra Island and transfer to the pier where our deluxe and intimate yacht-style vessel awaits. After lunch onboard La Pinta, your first shore excursion finds you exploring both the coast and interior of North Seymour Island, home to blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions and marine iguanas. This evening’s informative and entertaining lecture with our experienced shipboard naturalists, the first of your daily briefings, has been specifically designed to enhance your exploration over the coming days.  Meals B,L,D

Day
4

Isabela and Fernandina Islands

Enjoy a morning dingy excursion along the remote coastline of Isabela Island where your sharp-eyed naturalist will point out its unusual inhabitants including flightless cormorants, sea lions, Nazca boobies, sea lions and fur seals. In the afternoon, step ashore at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island, the youngest in the archipelago. A one-mile nature walk across the barren lava fields reveals a remarkably high density of wildlife including marine iguanas, sea lions, sally light foot crabs, penguins and hawks. Meals B,L,D

Day
5

Two Landings on Isabela Island

Go ashore at Urbina Bay this morning to observe Darwin's finches, penguins and other endemic species. This beautiful cove is also a great spot to take advantage of the complimentary snorkeling gear. After lunch on board, you'll explore secluded Tagus Cove where an invigorating hike is rewarded with fantastic views of a saltwater lagoon which sits in the middle of a volcanic tuff cone. Meals B,L,D 

Day
6

Rabida and Santa Cruz Islands

A guided morning stroll along the unusual red-sand beach of Rabida Island reveals a thriving colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. This particular stretch of the island also offers fantastic snorkeling for both beginners and the experienced. After lunch, join your naturalist to explore the scenic trails and wildlife of Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. Meals B,L,D

Day
7

Charles Darwin Research Center and the Santa Cruz Highlands

This morning, you'll step off ship in the colorful town of Puerto Ayora. Visit the esteemed Charles Darwin Research Center and learn about the important research and work being done to preserve the natural heritage of the Galapagos Islands. After a delightful al fresco lunch at the Finch Bay Hotel, explore the impressive interior highlands of Santa Cruz. Return to ship in time for dinner and another informative naturalists' briefing.  Meals B,L,D

Day
8

Morning and Afternoon Excursions on Floreana Island

Settled in the early 1900's, Floreana is one of only four inhabited islands in the Galapagos. This morning, you'll explore historic Post Office Bay to learn about its early residents and to hear adventurous tales of pirates and whalers. Then explore by dinghy along the island's north shore to observe sea lion colonies, marine turtles, rays and penguins. Enjoy lunch onboard and then return to shore for a guided walk along Cormorant Point, home to numerous bird species including greater flamingos, pintail ducks, herons and sandpipers. Conditions permitting, there will another opportunity this afternoon for some snorkeling or a ride in the ship's glass-bottom boat.  Meals B,L,D

Day
9

Santa Fe and South Plaza Island

A morning walk to observe sea lion harems on the white sand shores of Santa Fe Island is enriched by fascinating insight from your naturalist guide! Hear how dominant bulls vie for the title of "Beach Master" while smaller males masking as females make stealthy mating moves. Also home to the Galapagos hawk and endemic land iguanas, this picturesque stretch of beach offers fine swimming and snorkeling. After lunch, go ashore on South Plaza Island to observe Sally Lightfoot crabs, land iguanas basking under prickly-pear cacti, colonies of sea lions and numerous bird species including swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters.  Meals B,L,D

Day
10

Disembark on San Cristobal and fly back to the Mainland

Disembark your ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your included flight back to the South American mainland. Upon arrival in the bustling Pacific port of Guayaquil, you'll be met and escorted to the deluxe Hilton Colon Hotel.  Meals B

Day
11

Farewell to Ecuador

Our tour services end this morning after breakfast. Meals B

Day
1

Welcome to Quito c

Check in to the luxurious Casa Gangotena.

Day
2

Discover Quito’s Colonial splendor c

Your exploration of this World Heritage city begins with San Francisco, a magnificent 16th-century Roman Catholic church and convent. At a local hat shop, the owner will share her millinery skills and the techniques learned from her father that have allowed her to produce some of the city’s finest hats for nearly 60 years. You’ll also visit Chez Tiff, a boutique chocolate shop that produces fine confections from locally-sourced cocoa, herbs and fruits. In the historic heart of the city, you’ll behold important Colonial-era landmarks including the Presidential Palace and Cathedral. Your sightseeing ends in La Ronda, a charming historic district filled with inviting shops and galleries. meals b+l

Day
3

Fly to the Galapagos Islands c

Fly to Baltra Island and board La Pinta. After lunch explore North Seymour Island, home to blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and sea lions. Nightly briefings with our expert naturalists enhance your cruise. meals b+l+d

Day
4

Isabela and Fernandina Islands

Enjoy a morning dingy excursion along the remote coastline of Isabela Island where your sharp-eyed naturalist will point out its unusual inhabitants including flightless cormorants, sea lions, Nazca boobies, sea lions and fur seals. In the afternoon, step ashore at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island, the youngest in the archipelago. A one-mile nature walk across the barren lava fields reveals a remarkably high density of wildlife including marine iguanas, sea lions, sally light foot crabs, penguins and hawks. meals b+l+d

Day
5

Two Landings on Isabela Island

Go ashore at Urbina Bay this morning to observe Darwin's finches, penguins and other endemic species. This beautiful cove is also a great spot to take advantage of the complimentary snorkeling gear. After lunch on board, you'll explore secluded Tagus Cove where an invigorating hike is rewarded with fantastic views of a saltwater lagoon which sits in the middle of a volcanic tuff cone. meals b+l+d

Day
6

Rabida and Santa Cruz Islands

A guided morning stroll along the unusual red-sand beach of Rabida Island reveals a thriving colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. This particular stretch of the island also offers fantastic snorkeling for both beginners and the experienced. After lunch, join your naturalist to explore the scenic trails and wildlife of Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. meals b+l+d

Day
7

Charles Darwin Research Center and the Santa Cruz Highlands

This morning, you'll step off ship in the colorful town of Puerto Ayora. Visit the esteemed Charles Darwin Research Center and learn about the important research and work being done to preserve the natural heritage of the Galapagos Islands. After a delightful al fresco lunch at the Finch Bay Hotel, explore the impressive interior highlands of Santa Cruz. Return to ship in time for dinner and another informative naturalists' briefing. meals b+l+d

Day
8

Morning and Afternoon Excursions on Floreana Island

Settled in the early 1900's, Floreana is one of only four inhabited islands in the Galapagos. This morning, you'll explore historic Post Office Bay to learn about its early residents and to hear adventurous tales of pirates and whalers. Then explore by dinghy along the island's north shore to observe sea lion colonies, marine turtles, rays and penguins. Enjoy lunch onboard and then return to shore for a guided walk along Cormorant Point, home to numerous bird species including greater flamingos, pintail ducks, herons and sandpipers. Conditions permitting, there will another opportunity this afternoon for some snorkeling or a ride in the ship's glass-bottom boat. meals b+l+d

Day
9

Santa Fe and South Plaza Island

A morning walk to observe sea lion harems on the white sand shores of Santa Fe Island is enriched by fascinating insight from your naturalist guide! Hear how dominant bulls vie for the title of "Beach Master" while smaller males masking as females make stealthy mating moves. Also home to the Galapagos hawk and endemic land iguanas, this picturesque stretch of beach offers fine swimming and snorkeling. After lunch, go ashore on South Plaza Island to observe Sally Lightfoot crabs, land iguanas basking under prickly-pear cacti, colonies of sea lions and numerous bird species including swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters. meals b+l+d

Day
10

Fly to Guayaquil or Quito

Disembark after breakfast. Fly to either Guayaquil or Quito and overnight with a transfer to the airport in the morning. Or connect to your international flight on the same day. meals b

Day
11

Farewell , Ecuador

We transfer you to the airport today. meals b

Extend Your Trip

Discover Peru after your Galapagos Cruise

6-Day Extension from $3,499

Enhance your travels in South America with our fully-guided 6-day tour to Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu. We include all on-tour transportation, luxury hotels and extensive sightseeing.

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Day
1

We fly you to Lima, Peru

At the end of your Galapagos journey, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight from Guayaquil or Quito to Peru. On arrival in Lima, you’ll be escorted to the JW Marriott Hotel; our luxury city center hotel is ideally located in the vibrant seaside district of Miraflores.

Day
2

Discover Lima

After a leisurely breakfast, your car, driver and guide will be waiting to show you Lima’s highlights – starting at the Larco Museum; renowned for its superb collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, your private tour is the perfect introduction to the Inca sites you’ll explore in the coming days.
 
After a light lunch, continue to Plaza Mayor in the historic heart of the city. Admire the Archbishop’s Palace, easily recognized by its grand wooden balcony, and behold the impressive 18th-century Cathedral. Close by, you’ll tour the beautiful Convent and Basilica of Santo Domingo, built in 1766.
 
Then spend time exploring the streets of Barranco, where 19th-century aristocratic homes have been given new life as cafés, galleries and boutique. Visit MATE, a pioneering contemporary art museum founded by Mario Testino, the Peruvian photographer famed for his portraits of cultural icons including Diana, Princess of Wales, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. In addition to a permanent collection of Testino’s works, MATE features rotating exhibits devoted to established and emerging contemporary artists.  Meals B+L

Day
3

Fly to Cuzco

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Cuzco, the ancient capital of the once vast and mighty Inca Empire. On arrival, you’ll be escorted by private car to the 5-star JW Marriott Hotel,  where oxygenated rooms promise greater comfort in this high-mountain town. With your own personal guide, this afternoon’s tour begins in the peaks outside of town where you’ll discover the magnificent ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Built in the 1400’s by the Inca Emperor Pachacútec, the massive limestone blocks of this venerated complex were cut with such precision that they fit together without mortar like the interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle! With some individual stones towering more than 10 feet tall and weighing several hundreds of tons, Sacsayhuaman is a monumental achievement of architecture and masonry.
 
You’ll also visit San Pedro Market and Almudena Cemetery; here at these seemingly quotidian sites, your guide will offer fascinating cultural perspectives and personal insights into how ancient traditions – many dating back to Inca times – still endure in the life of local citizens. Then discover Cuzco’s Cathedral and the other Colonial-era landmarks that line the Plaza de Armas. At the Temple of the Sun and Convent of Santo Domingo, you’ll discover one of Peru’s most fascinating sites. It also demonstrates the rich layering of history here in Cuzco, where a sacred structure of one culture, the Convent, literally sits atop and practically encloses another, the Inca-built Temple of the Sun. Finish your tour with an engaging local bartender and learn how to make the perfect Pisco Sour, Peru’s signature cocktail.  Meals B

Day
4

By Rail to Machu Picchu

After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured to the station to board the Vistadome Train for your journey through the Sacred Valley. Sit back and enjoy the views as you travel through this timeless region of snow-capped Andean peaks, quiet villages and terraced fields that have been cultivated for centuries. On arrival in the charming town of Aguas Calientes, you’ll board the coach for the 30-minute ride up the switchback mountain road that brings you to the entrance to Machu Picchu. The fabled Lost City is certainly the single greatest landmark in Peru – and perhaps all of South America. Indeed, little can be written here that would do justice to the breathtaking grandeur of its mountain setting, the enigmatic power and aura that so permeate this ancient citadel, and the unforgettable experience of standing among these ancient stones. And with your personal guide’s illuminating expertise, your visit will bring to life the ancient Inca civilization that built Machu Picchu. After sightseeing, check in to the Inkaterra Pueblo Machu Picchu, our evocative retreat nestled in a riverside cloud forest in the shadow of Machu Picchu, where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner. Meals B+L+D

Day
5

Morning at Machu Picchu + Back to Cuzco by Train

We’ve included your motorcoach transportation back up the mountain and your entry ticket so you can explore the Lost City at your own pace.  At this early hour, people have yet to arrive from Cuzco or the Sacred Valley. With far fewer visitors and the soft light of morning just breaking over the surrounding mountain peaks, your return visit promises an exceptionally powerful and evocative experience.
 
In the afternoon, you’ll make the return rail journey through the Sacred Valley. On arrival in Cuzco, you’ll be met and chauffeured to the luxurious JW Marriott.  Meals B

Day
6

Fly Back to Lima

We’ll take you to the airport this morning for your included flight to Lima, where you can connect to your homeward journey.  Meals B

Add the rainforest before your journey!

4 days from $1,499

Discover the amazing diversity of Ecuador’s rainforests! We include transportation, one night at the Caso Gangotena in Quito, two nights at Mashpi, a new luxury jungle lodge, all meals, and guided rainforest activities like nature walks and canopy tours.

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Day
1

Quito

Upon arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to the Casa Gangotena.

Day
2

Overland from Quito to the Mashpi Reserve

Depart Quito after breakfast and head north from the capital, crossing the Equator and driving up to the Pululahua Crater for magnificent views over the mountains and countryside. Continue to the archaeological site of Tulipe and learn about the Yumbo civilization that built these pools and stone structures. Continue to the Mashpi Reserve, a 3,200-acre protected rainforest reserve acclaimed for its rich biodiversity. Check in to the exceptional Mashpi Lodge in the heart of the reserve and enjoy a briefing from our naturalist guides before sitting down to lunch. Depending upon the interests of you and your fellow guest as well as the local conditions, your afternoon activity might include a guided walk along jungle trails or a visit to the Observation Tower. Climbing this 85-foot tall structure is well-rewarded by the chance to see toucans, woodpeckers, parrots and even raptors. After dinner, the adventurous can join our naturalist for a night safari along the Reserve’s well-maintained trails.  Meals B,L,D

Day
3

A Day in the Rainforest

Morning activities for the early-riser are designed to explore the forest at dawn, when birds and other wildlife are active. Return to the Lodge for breakfast and then enjoy another guided nature excursion, perhaps a hike to a jungle waterfall followed by a refreshing dip. After lunch, you can rest or join another rainforest adventure: Maybe visit the Lodge’s Hummingbird Viewing Station or explore the forest canopy and cross a deep river gorge on a Sky Bike! You can also visit the Life Center to learn more about the many species of flora and fauna that thrive in this protected Reserve.  Meals B,L,D

Day
4

Back to Quito

Enjoy an early breakfast and another guided rainforest adventure this morning. After checkout at 11am, you’ll depart the Lodge for the overland journey back to Quito with a boxed lunch to enjoy en route. Depending upon local conditions, you’ll arrive back in Quito around 3:00pm. Meals B,L

Private Tour Add-Ons

Ecuador Amazon Lodge

Explore Ecuador’s largest tract of Amazon jungle from the Napo Wildlife Center, our 5-star eco-lodge in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Includes roundtrip air from Quito and native-guided rainforest excursions.

Cuenca

Fly roundtrip from Quito to this handsome Colonial-era town set high in Ecuador’s southern Andes. Enjoy a city tour and then personalize your stay with a second countryside excursion of your choice.

MapSearch

Prices are per person, land only. We offer air on LAN. Add extra nights.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

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