You’ll love the city-center location of our luxury hotel in Quito – and sightseeing with our expert guide! Then embark on our extended 6-night cruise all the way to the Western edge of the Galapagos archipelago. Enjoy your Upper Deck outside cabin aboard the newly-renovated La Pinta and a complete program of shore landings with our expert naturalists.
Day 1 – Welcome to Quito
On arrival at the airport, you’ll be met and escorted to Casa Gangotena, our luxury boutique hotel in the historic heart of this World Heritage capital.
Day 2 – Discover Quito’s Colonial splendor
In the engaging company of our expert resident guide, your exploration of this World Heritage city begins in the historic heart of town, home to important Colonial-era landmarks like the Cathedral and Presidential Palace. At the Church and Convent of San Francisco, you’ll discover a splendid 16th-century landmark that blends spectacular Baroque elements with Moorish architectural style.
Then delight in a guided stroll through La Ronda, a charming historic district filled with shops, studios and galleries. Spend time with some of these resident artisans including the owner of a hat shop who learned her millinery skills from her father; for 60 years, the family has been producing some of Quito’s finest hats! For lunch, we’ll take you to a restaurant set in a handsome Colonial house. Join the chef for a lively talk and cooking demonstration, followed by a congenial lunch of traditional Ecuadorian dishes. Meals B+L
Day 3 - Fly to the Galapagos Islands
Fly to Baltra Island and board La Pinta. Our comfortable and stylish expedition vessel offers just 24 outside staterooms, all on the Upper Deck with floor-to-ceiling windows. After lunch explore North Seymour Island, home to blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and sea lions. This evening’s briefing with our expert shipboard naturalists will enhance your cruise. Meals B+L+D
Day 4 - Isabela and Fernandina Islands
Enjoy a morning dingy excursion along the remote coastline of Isabela Island where your sharp-eyed naturalist will point out its unusual inhabitants including flightless cormorants, sea lions, Nazca boobies, sea lions and fur seals. In the afternoon, step ashore at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island, the youngest in the archipelago. A one-mile nature walk across the barren lava fields reveals a remarkably high density of wildlife including marine iguanas, sea lions, sally light foot crabs, penguins and hawks. Meals B+L+D
Day 5 - Two Landings on Isabela Island
Go ashore at Urbina Bay this morning to observe Darwins finches, penguins and other endemic species. This beautiful cove is also a great spot to take advantage of the complimentary snorkeling gear. After lunch on board, youll explore secluded Tagus Cove where an invigorating hike is rewarded with fantastic views of a saltwater lagoon which sits in the middle of a volcanic tuff cone. Later, you can snorkel, set out in our glass-bottom boat, or enjoy a dingy excursion – all activities offer a great way to enhance your exploration of this delightful landing site. Meals B+L+D
Day 6 - Rabida and Santa Cruz Islands
A guided morning stroll along the unusual red-sand beach of Rabida Island reveals a thriving colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwins finches. This particular stretch of the island also offers fantastic snorkeling for both beginners and the experienced. After lunch, join your naturalist to explore the scenic trails and wildlife of Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. Meals B+L+D
Day 7 - Charles Darwin Research Center and the Santa Cruz Highlands
This morning, youll step off ship in the colorful town of Puerto Ayora. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center and learn about the important research and work being done to preserve the natural heritage of the Galapagos Islands. After a delightful al fresco lunch at the Finch Bay Hotel, explore the impressive interior highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the giant Galapagos tortoise! Return to ship in time for dinner and another informative naturalists briefing. Meals B+L+D
Day 8 - Morning and Afternoon Excursions on Floreana Island
Settled in the early 1900s, Floreana is one of only four inhabited islands in the Galapagos archipelago. This morning, youll explore historic Post Office Bay to learn about its early residents and to hear adventurous tales of pirates and whalers. Then explore by dinghy along the islands north shore to observe sea lion colonies, marine turtles, rays and penguins. Enjoy lunch onboard and then return to shore for a guided walk along Cormorant Point, home to numerous bird species including greater flamingos, pintail ducks, herons and sandpipers. Conditions permitting, there will another opportunity this afternoon for some snorkeling or a ride in the ships glass-bottom boat. Meals B+L+D
Day 9 - Fly to Guayaquil or Quito
After breakfast, you’ll disembark on Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for your included flight back to the South American mainland. You can fly to Guayaquil or Quito – where we include your overnight accommodations and a transfer to the airport in the morning. Or you can connect to your international flight on the same day. Meals B
Day 10 - Farewell, Ecuador
We transfer you to the airport today for your onward or homeward flight. Meals B