Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Tour begins: Swissôtel Quito. A transfer is included from Quito Airport to the Swissôtel Quito, where you'll enjoy an Executive Level room; get set for an early morning start.
Visit the Equator and explore Quito
Quito is not only 9,200 feet above "seal" level, it's also on the Equator. Take the opportunity to stand on both hemispheres at the same time and visit the Inti Ñan Museum before an Ecuadorian brunch near a volcanic crater. Explore Colonial Quito on a guided tour, then join us for a special reception with local entertainment, before our welcome dinner at the hotel.
Cruise to islands time forgot
Fly to Baltra Island for the start of your Galápagos cruise* aboard Santa Cruz II. We'll be charting a course for Santa Cruz Island today, where a wet landing takes you to pearly white Las Bachas Beach (named for the US military barges, referred to as "bachas," that were beached and abandoned there after WWII) - an important nesting area for the green sea turtle - surrounded by saltwater lagoons. Look for pintail ducks, flamingos, stilts, and sandpipers on a guided walk. A welcome briefing aboard ship this evening introduces your captain and crew.
Meet the locals on Santiago Island
Go ashore on Santiago Island for a walk through a mangrove forest to see flocks of pink flamingos. This morning we'll take a boat ride off Buccaneer's Cove to observe seabirds like frigates, pelicans and boobies and go snorkeling off the panga. After lunch, a wet landing at Puerto Egas provides even more opportunities to see seabirds, along with a colony of sea lions, and marine iguanas. Go for a swim and a snorkel, and learn more about the sea lions and marine iguanas who live here.
Explore Rábida & Hike on Bartolomé
Meet Darwin's finches and other rare birds today after a wet landing on Rabida (Jervis) Island, with its red-colored beaches. Experience both wet and dry landings on your excursion to Bartolomé Island; hike up to the summit and drink in amazing vistas of its volcanic features and the neighboring islands. Ride a panga around Pinnacle Rock, and view sea lions, sea turtles and tiny tropical Galápagos penguins in a panorama of life found only here. Tonight you'll find out more about the Galápagos Islands with our shipboard naturalists.
Towering sights & birds at Darwin Bay
Explore Genovesa (Tower) Island by panga and a dry landing; climb up Prince Philip's steps for a hike across the island, where you'll see masked boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and more. An afternoon cruise and a wet landing at Darwin Bay offers more amazing views of thousands of rare birds, including red-footed boobies, gulls, mockingbirds, herons and finches, as well as an optional walk across volcanic terrain. Back aboard the ship, celebrate the end of your cruise at our Captain's farewell dinner.
Disembark on Santa Cruz & fly to Guayaquil
Disembark Santa Cruz II on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, and visit a tortoise reserve to observe in the wild one of the rarest forms of wildlife that continue to thrive here on the Galápagos Islands - the giant tortoise - and efforts being made by the Ecuadorian National Park Service to preserve and protect life on the islands for future generations. Late morning, travel to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil on the mainland, and an overnight at the Wyndham Guayaquil. Join us this evening for a poolside farewell party at your hotel as your family's Ecuador and Galápagos tour comes to a close.
Tour ends: Guayaquil. Fly home anytime. A transfer from the Wyndham Guayaquil to José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport is included. You should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.