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I have been designing trips to my home country of Ecuador for over 20 years. Traveling itself has always felt like magic to me: my mind is always on travel, but my heart is forever in the Galapagos as it never fails to surprise me.
Latin America Specialist
- from $5,881 PP
- 6 Nights
- Year round
- 13 hours from London / 9 hours New York
Your tour starts in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in 1543 by the Spanish. One of the best-preserved examples of a historic colonial city in South America, you will spend two nights here and have a guided tour of the sights. You will then fly to the Galapagos Islands where you will board your yacht for four nights sailing around this unique ecosystem. The cruise focuses on the Central and Western Islands, including visits to Isabela and Fernandina Island, two highlights of the Galapagos Islands. There are expert guides on board to take you to explore the islands, there are opportunities to hike, swim, snorkel and kayak on your voyage.
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- 2 x Nights Quito including breakfast
- 4 x Nights Alya Yacht full board and shared activities
- All transfers as listed in the itinerary
- All activities and entrance fees as listed in the itinerary
- English speaking guide
- Personalized itinerary that can be modified to suit your preferences
- 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive Quito
Welcome to Ecuador! On arrival into Quito airport you will be met by your guide who will transfer you to your hotel. Your guide will brief you on your trip, Quito and help you with anything you need.
Quito is the capital of Ecuador and one of the highest capital cities in the world at 2850m (9350ft) above sea level. The old town of Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is one of the best-preserved cities on the continent. The city was founded in the 16th Century on the ruins of the Incan settlement that was the hub of the Northern Inca Empire.
Day 2 City Tour Quito
This morning you will be met by your guide to explore Quito. You will start in the historic center at the main square, Independence Plaza. Historical buildings flanking the square include the main Cathedral, Presidential Palace and Archbishop’s Place. You will visit the La Compañía de Jesús which is one of the most beautiful churches in Quito with its intricate decoration and baroque style. Your guide will take you to El Panecillo Hill for panoramic views over the city.
You will stop at a local restaurant for lunch before you visit the Equator where you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere. There will be time to stop at the Ethnographic Museum to learn about the indigenous people of the area. Your guide will then transfer you back to the hotel. We recommend you head out into Quito’s old town for dinner tonight.
Day 3 Transfer to Galapagos Cruise
This morning you will be met by your driver and transferred to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. You will land on Baltra Island and transferred to the M/C Alya Cruise.
Visit Black Turtle Cove this afternoon. Black Turtle Cove is named after the plentiful green sea turtles, known locally as “tortugas negras”. Visitors cannot land here, so the only way to explore is by taking a boat tour on dinghies. The shallow channels and small coves are surrounded by stunning mangrove forests, providing a home for various creatures such as reef sharks, sea turtles, and different species of rays.
Day 4 Genovesa Island & El Barranco
Today you will continue cruising to Genovesa Island. Genovesa is a haven for birdwatchers due to its vast colonies of seabirds. The moment you step onto the beach, you will be astounded by the cacophony of hundreds of boobies, gulls, and frigatebirds soaring overhead, nestled in the shrubs, or nesting on the sandy terrain. The trail provides an unrivaled wildlife encounter with creatures aplenty, including sea lions and marine iguanas near the sea, and a cacophony of birdlife overhead.
In the afternoon you’ll visit El Barranco in the southern part of Darwin Bay at Genovesa Island. The cliffs facing the sea are made of very fragile fractured lava, making it the ideal place for storm petrels to build their colonies, which attracts an important population of short-eared owls preying of the nesting birds. Red footed and Nazca boobies are abundant along the trail. At the base of the cliffs, you can see Galapagos fur seals resting in shaded areas, as well as several species of seabirds. There is also the opportunity to snorkel below the cliffs, where there are many fish and great chances of seeing sharks, rays, and sea lions.
Day 5 Sullivan Bay & Bartoleme
This morning you’ll take a short hike on Sullivan Bay. Walk on well-preserved Pahoehoe lava and marvel at the delicate textures unique to only a few places in the world. Though the landscape may seem barren, you can still find pioneer plants, lava lizards, and small birds. By the shore, keep an eye out for penguins, pelicans, and oystercatchers. Choose to swim or snorkel from the coral sand beach or the dinghies and immerse yourself in a vibrant underwater world. You’ll encounter large schools of fish, Galapagos penguins, reef sharks, turtles, and rays. In the afternoon continue to iconic Bartolome Island with its stunning views of Pinnacle Rock and beautiful peach-colored sand beach. The hike to the top of the island offers panoramic views of scattered volcanic cones and many nearby islands, including the bay of Sullivan and the Pinnacle Rock.
Day 6 Chinese Hat & Mosquera
Today your cruise arrive at Chinese Hat. This petite islet is comprised of a volcanic cone with a symmetrical shape, separated from Santiago by a narrow channel that forms one of the most stunning bays in the islands. The area’s blue-turquoise waters and coral sand beaches encircled by dark lava rocks give it a genuine tropical feel, making it even more astonishing to spot penguins resting on the rocks. Snorkeling in this area is a mesmerizing experience as you encounter an array of fish with striking colors and the sleek silhouette of reef sharks. It is not uncommon to catch sight of a penguin darting through the water, pursuing anchovies like a small torpedo.
In the afternoon continue to Mosquera, a desolate sandbar with a few rocky sections and sparse salt-tolerant vegetation. Stroll along the beach and relish watching playful sea lion pups surfing the waves and frolicking in the tide pools. Keep an eye out for endemic lava gulls, which are frequently seen soaring above the beach in search of sustenance. If the waves are not too turbulent, you can snorkel at the northernmost point of the island or one of the small beaches on the sheltered side.
Day 7 Charles Darwin Station & Departure
Arrive this morning at the Charles Darwin Station, a non-profit organization that, in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park, has been laboring for many years to safeguard the biodiversity of these extraordinary islands. During your visit, you will gain knowledge of the collaborative efforts between these two institutions to shield the native species and eradicate the invasive ones that pose a threat to the Galapagos environment. One of the most significant and iconic projects has been the captive reproduction of giant tortoises. The tour primarily takes place outside in a stunning, arid native forest featuring giant cacti and numerous other fascinating native plants. It is also an excellent location to spot several endemic Darwin finches, as well as flycatchers and mockingbirds.
You will then be transferred to the airport for your onward flight connection.
What's not Included
- As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
Let’s make this itinerary yours.
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What makes our trips extraordinary is the unique immersive experiences we include. We pride ourselves in our black book of sought after expert guides, game rangers and local contacts who believe in our philosophy, unforgettable.
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