The Galapagos Islands and Quito Adventure
Day 1 Sep 30 - Tuesday Arrive in Quito
Upon arrival at Quito Airport you will be met and transferred our hotel which is located in Quito’s Historical Center. Rest of your day is at leisure to explore or rest up at the hotel.
CASA GARDENIA HOTEL is a newly remodelled old house combining ancient and modern, creating a unique hotel concept in the Quito Historic Center. It is located a few blocks from the main Plazas, Churches, Museums, Restaurants and others interesting places of the old town, declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Overnight Hotel Casa Gardenia, Quito
Day 2 Oct 1 - Quito and Middle of the World - full day
In the morning our guide and driver will pick us up from our hotel. First we’ll pay a visit to the colonial center of Quito. The guide will tell the Inca Empire, Spanish invasion the independence phase, and finally all about Ecuador and Quito’s ancient history in Colonial times.
We’ll pass some of the most famous squares, churches and colonial buildings. “La Plaza de la Independencia” with the Presidential Palace, Archbishop Palace, Municipal building, the Independence Monument and the Cathedral. Close to this main square we’ll visit a very nice colonial building which used to be part of the Jesuit monastery and which afterwards converted into the Central University of Ecuador. This building houses one of Quito’s most interesting colonial museums “Museo Alberto Mena Caamaño”, where we’ll observe impressive paintings of Quito’s Art School from the 16th and 17th century. In the dungeons of this amazing building a historical scene is displayed with waxwork images, representing the cruel slaughter of some high society Colonial Quito’s citizens by the Spanish Conquerors.
We’ll continue to the San Francisco Square and San Francisco’s Church and Convent. We’ll have a look inside the church and will be marveled by the exuberant amount of gold used to decorate the oldest church in Quito.
Afterwards we’ll arrive to Santo Domingo Square and to the church by the same name. We’ll admire the statue of Mariscal Sucre, the hero who leaded Ecuadorian army to defeat the Spaniards at the Battle of Pichincha in 1822, the same battle that ended the Colonial era in Ecuador. The driver will to take us to the “Panecillo” and the statue of the Virgin of Quito. From here we’ll have the best views of Quito and the surrounding snowcapped volcanoes.
We’ll continue towards Mitad Del Mundo where we’ll have lunch first at a typical restaurant (meal cost not included). Mitad del Mundo is one of Quito’s most famous attractions situated about 10 km to the north of Ecuador’s capital. In 1736 a French scientific expedition came to Ecuador to determine the position of the Equator. On the sight there is a monument, which houses the Ethnographic Museum. Here we’ll learn about life styles, clothing and utensils of different ethnic groups of Ecuador. Just outside Mitad del Mundo there is an interesting open-air museum called Inti-Ñan, which explains our solar system, the position of the equator and its effect on gravity as well as ancient cultures and their characteristics.
Afterwards your Driver and guide will take you to your hotel for the overnight.
Overnight Hotel Casa Gardenia, Quito
Day 3 Oct 2 – Thursday Galapagos here we come!
We will be transferred from our hotel to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands.
AM –Arrival at Seymour Ecological Airport (GPS)
Upon arrival at the Seymour Ecological Airport, travellers pass through an airport inspection point to make sure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, and to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid). A guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbour.
Archipel I motor catamarans was completely refurbished end of 2017. Archipel l offers stable double hulls, wide decks and large social areas, all of which are near to each other. Sun-deck, comfortable and inviting social area to relax
The sun-deck with great teak wood flooring and new loungers to rest. Al Fresco dining area, as well as a shaded lounge to enjoy reading a book or having a drink while navigating the Galapagos.
Our catamaran offers eight cabins above the waterline, with two sea-view windows. They also include clean private facilities, hot/cold water, low beds, air-conditioning, and storage space for a comfortable stay.
PM – Highlands (Santa Cruz)
The road to the highlands leaves from Bellavista, a small village located a 15-minute drive from Puerto Ayora, and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone, before going to the Fern and Sedge zone. With clear weather, this area offers beautiful scenes of rolling hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round. Here you will visit the Twin Craters, which are two pit craters, as well as a local ranch where we can observe the giant Tortoise of Santa Cruz Island in its natural habitat.
Day 4 Oct 3
AM – Sant Fe
Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift rather than being from a volcanic origin; which is why it is mostly flat.There are some theories claiming that this could be the oldest island in the archipelago. Santa Fe is home to a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of land iguanas on the islands. After disem- barking into the beautiful and clear waters, you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail, many saltbushes can be seen, as well as giant Prickly pear cactus.There are great possibilities of snor- kelling with playful sea lions and tropical fish.
PM – South Plaza
South Plaza is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here.The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than their relatives found on other islands.There are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana; they are unique, recognisable at first glance by their black/grey color, with a land iguana's crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana.The large population of iguanas is due to the presen- ce of tuna, their favourite food. Swallow-tailed gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other seabirds such as Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.
Day 5 Oct 4
AM – Punta Cormorant, Champion Islet
The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which formed from smaller volcanic cones, covered by tropical dry forest (palo santo). At the landing beach, you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion colony.The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals which have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones.The ‘flour sand’ beach on the southern side of the peninsula is made up of even finer white coral sand which feels very smooth on the feet. Parro- tfish have pulverised it, grinding the calcareous skeletons of living coral.You can spot schools of stingrays who love the sandy bottom to hide themselves. During the first months of the year, Pacific green turtles come ashore to bury their eggs.
PM – Baroness Lookout , Post Office Bay
While having lunch we will navigate back to Post Office Bay (about 1hr).
Post your holiday greetings in the historical barrel, one of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s north coast (short displacement, wet landing) and relax. Besides Galapagos sea lions, Pacific green turtles and golden cownose rays you might spot Galapagos penguins! This is the only place in the south-eastern archipelago where penguins reside. Explore by inflatable dinghy – or in your own pace by sea-kayak – another submerged crater rim around the bay of Baroness Lookout. Climb the miniature basaltic cone of Baroness Lookout and take in the paradisiacal coastal views. This viewpoint was the favourite spot of one of Floreana’s first colonists, the eccentric Baroness and self-proclaimed ‘Empress of Galapagos’ Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet, who even built her house a few metres behind. She and one of herlovers were the first in a series of mysterious disappea- rings and deaths in the 1930s.
Day 6 Oct 5
AM – Punta Suarez
Huge ocean waves crash onto the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, forming a spectacular blowhole, where the water sprays metres high into the air (depending on the season, the tide and how strongly the sea breeze pushes the waves).Take your time for a meditative break in silence at this emblematic viewpoint, and convert this unforgettable moment in a lifetime experience.
PM – Gardner Bay
The striking white beach at Gardner Bay is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. However, without doubt its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year round in this nursery, suckling their pups up to an age of 3 years, although they start to fish after 5 months of their birth. During the breeding and mating season, the colony becomes even bigger.
Day 7 Oct 6
AM - Kicker Rock, Isla Lobos
Sunrise on the natural sculpture of Kicker Rock can be unforgettable! During a dinghy-ride you will feel the early morning ocean breeze in your hair and spot many seabirds. Besides being one of the landmarks of the Galapagos, Kicker Rock is also one of the favourite diving and snorkelling spots of the archipelago.
The Lobos Islets beach harbours a colony of Galapagos sea lions. As in other colonies in the archipelago, you can approach nurturing females within a few metres. In the breeding season this colony is also visited by territorial males, defending and mating the harem on their part of the beach.This low islet is home to more than just Galapagos sea lions.Two other emble- matic species breed here: male blue-footed boobies and great frigate birds who try to impress the females (and tourists) with clumsy dances, heaving their striking blue feet or blowing up their balloon-sized scarlet pouches. During the breeding season, the fluffy and hungry chicks cry for food, and when their wings get strong enough, they will learn to fly.
PM – Transfer out to San Cristobal Airport
Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to the San Cristobal Airport, where we will take the shuttle back to the airport.
Flight to Quito is included in the tour cost.
On arrival in Quito we will be transferred to our hotel for our final night.
Overnight Hotel Casa Gardenia, Quito
Day 8 Oct 7 – Tuesday Depart Quito
After breakfast at the hotel, your day is free until your transfer to the airport for your departure. Or join the Bella Vista Cloud Forest or Yasuni Amazon Kayak 5 day tour optional extensions.
Tour cost $3,895USD per person based on twin share. Special offer singles without a single supplement! Usually this is 80% surcharge on these small vessels. Limited space contact us for details.
- Private transportation with English Speaking Guide
- Water for transportation
- Private airport transfers with English Speaking guide
- Full day tour - Quito City tour and Middle of the World
- 3 Nights in Hotel Casa Gardenia Isabel or Similar
- 4nights on expedition vessel Equinox -
- Ingala Card ($20USD) & Galapagos National Park fee ($100USD)
- All mentioned meals (full-board); filtered water, tea and coffee.
- All guided excursions & activities as mentioned in the itinerary by a National Park certified naturalist guide.
- Beach towels & snorkelling gear (snorkel, mask, flippers; optional wet-suits for hire).
- Meals: 7 breakfasts + 4 Lunchs + 4 Diners
- Round trip Flight from Quito to Galapagos
- International flights
- Other meals, services or excursions that are not in the program
- Travel Insurance