Don't have an Account? Sign up now.
Forgotten Password?
Log In

zJourney to the Galapagos - MV Galapagos Explorer - 8 Day Adventure

8 days

8 day small group escorted cruise & tour

Small Group Discoveries for our World Travelers

  • 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.
  • You’ll find a bottle of fine South American wine in your shipboard suite – with our compliments.
  • Step ashore with our experienced Naturalist Guides and explore 8 unique landing sites on 4 islands.
  • With no more than 16 guests in a landing party, you’ll enjoy deeper engagement and more personalized attention from our Naturalist Guides, a more comfortable pace and unforgettable up-close encounters with wildlife.
  • Venture into the remote highlands of Santa Cruz Island to see the giant Galapagos tortoise in its natural habitat Explore one of the archipelago’s most pristine islands…
  • Genovesa is a haven for diverse birdlife including red-footed boobies and great frigate birds and off-shore snorkeling is often rewarded with sightings of Hammerhead sharks!
  • Discover 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c
  • “ The tour leader and naturalists were excellent... they were superb! The hotel was excellent and so was the Explorer II.” – D.G., Miami, Florida

Show all itinerary details

Day
1

Welcome to Quito c

Check in to the deluxe Swissotel, perfectly located in the heart of this handsome Colonial-era capital.

Day
2

Discover the Colonial monuments of the capital

This morning’s city sightseeing begins in the heart of the capital’s historic San Juan neighborhood. At a popular local pastry shop, in business for more than 40 years, you’ll savor a cup of Ecuadorian hot chocolate and a quesadilla, a traditional cake-like sweet made from flour, eggs and cheese. Focusing on Quito’s handsome Colonial-era architecture, your exploration continues with some of the city’s most significant churches and monuments, including the Church of the Compania of Jesus and the Church of San Francisco. A pleasant guided stroll brings you next to La Ronda, home to artisan workshops specializing in traditional crafts including textiles, hats and candles. After lunch in one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants here, you will be escorted back to your hotel in the mid-afternoon. If you prefer, you can be dropped off at the Central Bank Museum to explore its highly regarded collection on your own. Meals B,L

Day
3

Fly to the Galapagos Islands c

Transfer to the airport for your included flight to Baltra Island where your deluxe ship awaits. Later this afternoon, step ashore on Santa Cruz Island to explore Dragon Hill. A guided hike across both beach and lava field is rewarded with your first wildlife sightings, including flamingoes, migratory birds, Darwin finches, blue footed boobies and lava lizards. At trail's end, you'll have fine views of the island's rugged interior and Rabida Island to the west. Tonight's dinner onbard is accompanied by complimentary wine and beverages. Then join our engaging naturalists for the first of your informative shipboard briefings - a nightly introduction to the myriad wonders that await you the following day. Meals B,L,D

Day
4

Genovesa Island

With little rainfall, Genovesa Island’s vegetation is unique and characteristic of an arid environment. Except for Marine iguanas, reptiles are few – but the island is a paradise for sea birds including large colonies of red-footed boobies, masked boobies, Galapagos storm petrals and great frigate birds. With hardly any “introduced” species, Genovesa Island is one of the most pristine in all of the Galapagos. On your morning excursion on Genovesa you’ll explore Darwin Bay on the southern side of the island. This bay offers excellent swimming and snorkelers have a good chance of seeing Hammerhead sharks. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the El Barranco landing site.  Meals B,L,D

Day
5

Ashore on North Seymour and Santa Cruz Islands

After breakfast, make a dry landing on North Seymour Island, home to sea lions and large colonies of resting marine iguanas. A pleasant hike to the interior of this flat island brings you to a small forest with Prickly Pear cactus and numerous nesting sites of Blue-footed boobies. In the afternoon, you’ll have an excursion into the interior highlands of Santa Cruz. A one-hour hike through the lush and dense vegetation brings you to a remote area where you will be able to observe a variety of giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat. Meals B,L,D

Day
6

Morning and afternoon excursions on San Cristobal Island

This morning’s excursion explores Punta Pitt on the eastern side of San Cristobal Island. Here, a scenic guided hike takes you across diverse terrain encompassing both beach and volcanic tuff. This is the only place in the Galapagos where you can see all three species of boobies and the Frigate bird nesting in the same area. In addition to blue-footed, red-footed and masked boobies, sea lions add their raucous presence to this pristine environment. After lunch onboard, your captain will chart a course for the Junco Volcano. This unique fresh water lagoon is located inside a volcanic crater and its water level is entirely dependent upon rainfall. A scenic motorcoach ride followed by an invigorating hike to the lagoon is rewarded with breathtaking views and an opportunity to espy numerous bird species including Bahamas ducks, Frigate birds and Galapagos finches. Meals B,L,D

Day
7

Ashore on San Cristobal Island and back to the mainland

Go ashore on San Cristóbal Island this morning to visit the Galapagos Interpretation Center before your included flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival in the vibrant Pacific port of Guayaquil, you’ll be met and escorted to the deluxe Hilton Colon Hotel where the balance of your time is free. Meals B

Day
8

Farewell to Ecuador

Your voyage with us ends this morning. 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.

Show all itinerary details

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

Private Tour Add-Ons

Lake Titicaca

Our 3-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, 3 meals, chauffeured airport transfers and in-depth sightseeing

Machu Picchu

Our 2-day FreeStyle Tour includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, private car transfers, roundtrip Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu, and in-depth sightseeing with your own personal guide.

Nazca Lines and Ballestas Islands

Our 2-day FreeStyle Tour includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, roundtrip transportation from Lima, flight-seeing over the Nazca Lines and cruise excursion

MapSearch

Ask about international air service on LAN, including business class. See your travel agent or call us for current international airfare associated with this program. We offer both economy and business class fares. Prices are in U.S. currency and are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Availability is limited.

Extra nights are available before or after your tour.

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!

Similar Trips

Machu Picchu and the Galapagos 2013

Includes Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred, Valley, Machu Picchu, Quito, Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanoes and a 4-night all-inclusive cruise in an outside suite aboard the MV Galapagos Explorer II.

Grandeur of Peru 2013

Discover Lima’s Colonial landmarks and vibrant modern-day spirit with our in-the-know resident guide. Then join our much-loved Andean Trip Leader Carlos and journey from Cuzco into the Sacred Valley and onward to Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. In his engaging company, you’ll discover Peru’s inspiring beauty, its culture, and its wealth of Colonial and Inca sites.

Easter Island & Patagonia

Our exclusive combination of Chile’s most remarkable places – Patagonia’s enthralling landscapes, the vibrant and sophisticated capital, and the most remote populated island on the planet.