Day 1 - Depart the USA
Depart the USA on a flight to Quito, Ecuador. Enjoy a free evening to experience this amazing city on your own.
Day 2 - Quito, Capital City of Ecuador
After breakfast, enjoy a guided tour of Quito. The first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, Quito boasts a historic center and centuries-old landmarks, dating back 500 years. Visit ‘Mitad del Mundo’ and the Equator Monument, which stands at zero degrees, and feel what it’s like to be standing in the middle of the world. During the included city tour, see a bull fighting ring and the gilded Spanish colonial church. This evening, enjoy the city on your own. Meals: B, L
Day 3 - MV Galápagos Legend
After breakfast, board your flight to Baltra. Upon arrival, embark the MV Galápagos Legend for a four night cruise. Set sail for Mosquera Islet, a tiny, low lying islet covered in coral sand. Experience your first wet landing and see lazy sea lions sunning themselves on the sand as you reach the shore. Shorebirds as well as herons, lava gulls and boobies are also found here. While snorkeling, one can often see sharks, rays and barracuda. Meals: B, L, D
Day 4 - Egas Port (Santiago Island) / Rabida Island
This morning, visit the fourth largest island in the Galápagos, Santiago Island. It provides spectacular views of powerful volcanic activity. A wet landing brings you to Egas Port, a
black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of the Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. You may also see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool-water volcanic rock pools.
The afternoon’s adventure is on Rabida Island. Lying at the heart of the archipelago, this dramatic island, with its distinctive redsand beach, is home to sea lions, mockingbirds, finches, endemic Galápagos doves and vermillion flycatchers. A walk takes us through a forest of palo santo and cacti to a beautiful overview of the bay. Snorkeling here can be excellent, often with large schools of black-striped salemas, sea lions and the ubiquitous turtles. Meals: B, L, D
Day 5 - Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
Start your day with a wet landing on the beach at Urbina Bay. In 1954, a volcano uplifted the coral reef, leaving marine skeletons that tell of its ancient past. Look for Darwin’s finches, land iguanas and the Galápagos cotton flower in bloom. Outstanding snorkeling awaits in the crystal clear waters, showcasing fascinating marine life. Amazing views of the Alcedo Volcano, which spewed an unusual combination of rhyolite and basalt lava, stands as a powerful backdrop and reminder of nature’s power.
This afternoon, visit Tagus Cove – a wellknown hideout and deep-water anchorage in the days of pirates. It was also one of the few sites visited by Charles Darwin and the HMS Beagle in 1835. Admire the red and white mangroves and Galápagos penguins. Great blue herons, pelicans and brown noddy-terns come to roost, looking for food. Snorkel along the submerged wall with turtles, native fish and penguins. Meals: B, L, D
Day 6 - Punta Espinosa (Fernandina Island) / Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
Visit Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island, one of the most well-preserved of the Galápagos Islands. Discover one of the world’s most pristine island ecosystems as you hike through a thick canopy of mangroves. Observe hundreds of prehistoric marine iguanas sunbathing on black lava rocks. All around are Galápagos penguins, pelicans, sea lions and fur seals, ready to pose for pictures. Quiet now as you encounter flightless cormorants on their nesting site, the only place in the world to find this species. These birds once flew, but over time, adapted to their environment and lost their ability to fly. Be on the lookout for the major predator on the island, the Galápagos hawk.
This afternoon, visit Vicente Roca Point. This is a marine-only visitor site with great opportunities for deep water snorkeling. See plenty of red-lipped batfish, sea horses, frogfish, marine turtles, sunfish, nudibranchs and octopi in these waters. Meals: B, L, D
Day 7 - Santa Cruz Island / Guayaquil
As your cruise comes to an end, you’ll be filled with wonder at the sights and sounds of the Galápagos Islands. Disembark the vessel after a dry landing and journey by coach from the coast to the dense humid forest of the mountains and the Highlands Tortoise Reserve. A variety of birds - tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paintbilled crakes, yellow warblers and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell!) make this their home, while the Galápagos giant tortoises are also seen meandering through pastures in their natural habitat.
Continue to the Baltra airport for your flight to Guayaquil. Upon arrival, enjoy a city tour with a local guide. The evening is free for independent exploration. Meal: B
Day 8 - Guayaquil / USA
Bid a fond farewell to Ecuador and its Galápagos Islands and return home filled with so many fond memories of the life enriching experiences of your small ship adventure. Meal: B