Western Galapagos and Quito Adventure
Day 1 Oct 1 - 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 2 - 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 3 – 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 4 – Friday
AM – Tintoreras Islet
“Tintoreras” are small islands in front of the Puerto Villamil coast. There are herons on the lookout on mangrove branches, as well as Galapagos penguins and sea lions that often pop out on the shore. White-tipped reef sharks (in Spanish: Tintoreras) are common in the archipelago and are very commonly found resting in the shallow waters.
PM – Tortoise breeding centre & Wetlands
Isabela Island is the largest and one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos archipelago. We land in Puerto Villamil, which has the second smallest population in the Galapagos with approximately 3.000 habitants. First, we will visit the Flamingos Lagoon; the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and one of the main reproductive sites for the greater flamingos.
On your visit to Colorado Hill, you will discover the amazing and emblematic giant Galapagos tortoises in the tortoise breeding centre, and maybe even get to see one hatch (seasonally)! In addition, you will get to see how much hard work is put into saving the last local giants of San Cristóbal.
Day 5 Oct 5 – Saturday
AM – Moreno Point (Isabela)
Moreno Point is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcanos of Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul. The trail runs along a solidified lava flow called “Pahohoe”, into a complex of coastal lagoons. Its main attraction are several species of birds, which are found around the lakes and mangroves.
PM – Elizabeth Bay (Isabela)
This is a marine visitor site, so the excursion has no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets where the largest and most important penguin colony reside in the Galapagos Islands. The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves where you can admire their red roots and green leafs. Here, you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions. Frequent visitors have been able to see Galapagos Hawks soaring overhead whilst schools of Pompano and Dorado fish swimming down below
Day 6 Oct 6 – Sunday
AM – Tagus Cove (Isabela)
Tagus Cove, a tour along the cliffs will give the visitors a good chance to see the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant and other seabirds. From the landing dock, it is about a 30- minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff from where you can view Darwin Lake, an uplifted lake saltier than the sea. You can also see several volcanoes from this location. Look carefully at the graffiti on the surrounding cliffs of the cove, done by pirates, whalers and buccaneers in past centuries!
PM – Espinoza Point (Fernandina)
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and has a single visitor site: Punta Espinoza, located at the northeastern tip of the island. Here, marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and sometimes block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, we can find the flightless cormorant.
Day 7 Oct 7 – Monday
AM – Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)
These two small beaches are found to the west of Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, and a favourite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small blackish water lagoon, where it is occasionally possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during World War II, when USA used Baltra Island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Channel.
PM – Transfer out to Seymour Ecological Airport (GPS)
Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to the Seymour Ecological 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 8 – 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 optional extension.
Tour cost $3,895USD per person based on twin share. Deposit of $500USD per person due at time of booking. Final Payment due June 17, 2019
- 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 Archipel l -
- 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
- Ingala Card ($20USD) & Galapagos National Park fee ($100USD)
- Other meals, services or excursions that are not in the program
- Travel Insurance
- 120 days or more deposit is non refundable
- 119 - 91 days prior to departure 50% is non-refundable
- 90days or less prior to departure 100% non refundable