Day 1: Quito
Upon arrival our representative will meet and escort you to the hotel. Balance of day at leisure.
Day 2: Quito
Breakfast. This morning your Quito City Tour starts visiting the Parliament House then the charming Plaza Independencia where you'll see the Cathedral (1562), Municipal Building (town hall), President's and Archbishop's Palaces. The fascinating Plaza San Francisco will be next with its illustrious church, one of the greatest religious buildings in the New World and said to be the first built by the Spanish in South America (1553). You will enjoy colonial art, history and legends in one of the most beautiful cities in South America. The tour ends with a visit to the Middle of the World.(B)
Day 3: Quito – Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz Island
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Island (approx. 2½-hour flight). Arriving in the Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturist guides and taken on a ten-minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
PM – Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center (Santa Cruz Island)
Dry landing. Visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is conducted by the Galapagos National Park (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborn tortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70s, more than 2000 specimens have returned to their own islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects, botanical research, providing environmental education to communities, schools within the Islands and tourists. If there is enough time, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora.
Day 4 : Galapagos Cruise :Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)- Bartolome Island
Walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across a typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, there will be an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.
PM – Bartolome Island
Dry or wet landing. We discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — that resembles the moon. Going up to the summit there will be an impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies.
Beach time is a great opportunity to do snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer.
Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia
Day 5:Galapagos Cruise: Rabida Island- Santiago Island
Also known as Jervis Island in English, Rabida is one of the most diverse in terms of volcanic activity as it lies at the very heart of the archipelago’s volcanic origin. In this deep red beach, surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes of volcanic cinder cones it is usual to find nesting colonies of brown pelicans, as well as, nine species of Darwin finches, fur seals, and Nazca boobies. Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active and colorful.
Its different shapes have been made throughout a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind. Espumilla Beach is a white-sandy beach in James Bay and is a popular place among visitors. There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that lead to salty-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos. In the upper dunes are a nesting site for sea turtles. A good place to snorkel to see rays.
Day 6 : Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz Island)- Quito
On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove crowd form an internal lagoon. Turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface, while the fish and rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus seabirds including pelicans, herons, and egrets feed from the cove. This cove has been declared as a “Turtle Sanctuary.” . Upon Arrival transfers to your hotel in Quito.
Day 7: Quito - USA
Breakfast. Our representative will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport at the indicated time for your flight back home.(B)