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adventure travel trip to Galapagos
A Nazca Booby on Espanola Island.
Dates
  • Friday, biweekly departures (cruise departs on Sunday). Call for dates and special family departures.
  • Duration 11 days
    Group Size 20
    Land Cost $3,900-$4,700 Details
    Single Supplement $1,800 Details
    Lodging 3 stars
    Grade I-II
    Best Time

    Aboard Eric-Flamingo-Letty, Southern Circuit

    Cruise to the best southern island sites, including Floreana, on a 20-passenger yacht

    Day 1      Quito or Guayaquil

    Arrive in either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, where you will be met and transferred to your local hotel.*

    Quito is located in a huge valley of the Andes mountains at an altitude of 9,455 feet; it’s a great place to extend your stay to explore the city, the surrounding volcanic mountain range, or possibly an excursion to the fabled Otavalo market.

    Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city; with its low elevation and coastal location, it is an ideal point from which to fly to the Galapagos.  The city's 1.5-mile waterfront Malecon 2000 riverfront promenade is a lovely and enjoyable place to spend an afternoon.

    *Hotel/city tour package is not included in cruise rate.

    Meals: None

    Explore Guayaquil's lovely waterfront Malecon
    Day 2      Quito or Guayaquil

    Quito city tour: Stroll down cobblestone streets and through flowering plazas. Visit the old colonial center of Independence Square, the elegant cathedrals of San Francisco, La Compañía, and San Agustín, Quito’s oldest monastery. Drive through the residential section and past the Legislative Palace (Congress). Panecillo Hill overlooks the city and snow-capped mountains. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore or relax.

    Guayaquil city tour: Our first stop is Malecon 2000, an 80-million-dollar riverside complex built along a two-mile stretch of the Guayas River. The waterfront promenade features restaurants, cafes, shops, and museums with art exhibitions as well as free weekend jazz and classical music concerts. Drive through the colorful streets of one of Ecuador’s most important port cities. Visit the Public Market, the waterfront, the docks, and Simon Bolivar Park, which is famous for its tree iguanas. Also, admire the watchtower, La Rotonda, Old Santa Ana Fort, and Las Penas, a charming colonial section of town frequented by artists. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore or relax.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Explore the charming neighborhood of Las Penas
    Day 3      San Cristobal/Playa Ochoa/Leon Dormido

    You will be transferred to the airport where you will collect your tickets for your flight to the Galapagos. Upon arrival at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island, the crew is waiting at the airport to escort you to your anchored yacht. After the welcome briefing, buffet lunch, and safety drill, travel by bus to the southern shore to visit La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado. Here, the National Park has established a breeding program for the giant land tortoises that you will encounter living in their natural habitat. Learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals at the information center for visitors. Along the trail, look for the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird, lava lizard and Calandrinia plant, that are endemic to this island. Back on board, join your fellow yacht mates for your island briefing and the Captain's welcome cocktail party and dinner.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Arrive in the Galapagos ready for adventure
    Day 4      San Cristobal/Cerro Brujo/Punta Pitt

    This morning , you visit the northeast tip of  San Cristobal, Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds including all three types of boobies: Blue footed, Nazca and Red-footed boobies, both Frigate species, swallow-tailed gulls, Storm petrels and a colony of sea lions. Punta Pitt is considered to be a first class site for birds and on par with Genovesa (Tower) Island. A Zodiac ride is offered as well as kayaking and snorkeling from the beach, following a walk.

    Later you arrive to Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach, considered one of the most spectacular in Galapagos and great for a peaceful walk with expansive views and good bird watching.You may choose to snorkel or kayak from the beach, or swim with the sea lions. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Punta Pitt is a great site for birds, including this Nazca booby
    Day 5      Espanola/Punta Suarez/Gardner Bay

    This morning we have a dry landing at Punta Suarez, Espanola, where you will find the greatest number of endemic species in all of the Galapagos. Sea lions noisily greet us as we land on their beach. Curious Hood Mockingbirds peck at your shoelaces. From April to November, the waved albatrosses, found only on Espanola, perform their wild mating ritual. Colonies of Blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” to show off for potential mates. Nazca boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world, are all around. Red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. You will also find Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves, and Galapagos hawks, observe a unique species of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colorings, and spy colorful Sally lightfoot crabs crawling along the shoreline near the famous "blow hole".

    In the afternoon, following a wet landing on Gardner Bay, Espanola, walk along seemingly endless stretches of this white sandy beach where you’ll find large colonies of sea lions. There is no trail to follow, so this is a chance to explore. You may find a Galapagos Hawk, Darwin’s Finches, and Hood Mockingbirds. Swim with sea lions right from the beach, explore by kayak, or just relax. There’s an excellent snorkeling site off Gardner Islet with a colorful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock, where snorkelers can explore caves covered with invertebrates.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Look for the waved albatross, found only on Espanola
    Day 6      Floreana/Punta Cormorant/P.O. Bay

    This morning, step ashore at Punta Cormorant, Floreana, one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos. Floreana's history is rich with mystery and intrigue. Set foot on a green-sand beach alive with the sounds of sea lions. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home to pintail ducks, common stilts, and the pinkest flamingos in the world. Wind your way past a rich variety of plants, including Morning Glory, Cut-leaf Daisies, Palo Verdes, and Scalesia, leading to a beach with powder-soft sand where sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand dunes and rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, you'll have an opportunity to snorkel at Devil’s Crown, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish and coral. In the afternoon, visit Post Office Bay, probably one of the most famous human sites in the Galapagos. Here, 18th century English whalers placed a barrel that was used to as a primate post office for mail between the Galapagos and their homeland. You are invited to continue tradition by leaving your outbound post card(s) here and to pick up any mail bound for your hometown to hand-deliver when you get back.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Participate in the traditions of Post Office Bay
    Day 7      Santa Cruz/Highlands/Puerto Ayora

    This morning, you disembark in port and travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The scenery gradually changes as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. Here, you visit the tortoise reserve at “Las Primicias” one of the private farms in the highlands where we encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat. We visit Los Gemelos, Spanish for “The Twins”, a pair of large pit craters where we find the bright red male vermilion flycatcher. Today you visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Lierena (formerly the Charles Darwin Research Station). See all three tortoise corrals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. We stop at Van Straelen Hall where there are exhibits and a presentation. Visitors can see the tortoise and land iguana corrals. Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000. This evening you have the option to return to your yacht for a buffet dinner or remain in town on your own account. Those who return to the yacht will be provided zodiacs to return to town to shop for souviners, watch a soccer game, or stop at a pub or internet café. Zodiacs will be provided for your return to your yacht.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    See the Galapagos hawk on Isabela Island
    Day 8      Bartolome/Sombrero Chino/

    This morning visit Bartolome, where it seems like we are walking on the moon, as this young island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, take a brisk 30-minute climb up a wooden stairway that leads to the summit of a once-active volcano. Along the way, pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones, and cinder cones. From the top of the stairs, gaze out across the island for a panoramic view, including "Pinnacle Rock", an eroded tuff cone. Crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel from the beach or Zodiac with schools of tropical fish and Galapagos Penguins.

    In the afternoon, visit Las Bachas, which is Spanish for "barges".  There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoon where we find the Greater Flamingo. There is also a wonderful chance to snorkel from the beach.  Located off the southern tip of Santiago, is the small island of Sombrero Chino, or the "Chinese Hat", which gets its name from its shape.  After a wet beach landing with a sea lion colony, the trail gives way to a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble including cracked lava tubes. You will find marine iguanas and pairs of oystercatchers, as well as  a snorkeling site that is frequented by Galapagos Penguins.  

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Visit the moon-like landscape of Bartolome Island
    Day 9      South Plaza/North Seymore

    This morning, visit South Plaza, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering spectacular views. From a dry landing, the trails lead through prickly pear cactus (Opuntia) and Sesuvium. Here you will find the Galapagos land iguana feeding on the cactus leaves. Toward the end of the hill, you encounter a colony of bachelor sea lions. The dominant bulls are in various stages of recovery from battles lost over prime beach territory. You may also find swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters, and red-billed tropicbirds, all of which build their nests along the cliffs.

    You have a dry landing at North Seymore, a small geological uplift. There, you follow a trail that leads us to Swallow-tailed gulls, Blue-footed boobies and the endemic Land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent Frigate birds found in Galapagos. As you stroll along the beach, find marine iguanas and sea lions body surfing the northern swells. After the walk there is a snorkeling opportunity offered in deep water. We return to the yacht for the Captain’s Farewell cocktail party and dinner as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Look for Santa Cruz's wild tortoises
    Day 10      San Cristobal/Quito or Guayaquil

    After breakfast on board, say goodbye and disembark the ship, then visit the Interpretation Center, opened on San Cristobal Island in 1999, an excellent place to gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the islands. Afterwards, spend time exploring the port before heading to the airport for your Aerogal flight back to the mainland.  There you may catch a late evening homebound flight or be transferred to your hotel.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Lodging: Swissotel (Quito) or Hotel Oro Verde (Guayaquil)

    Bid farewell to your ship and her crew
    Day 11      Quito or Guayaquil/Onward

    Depending on the time of your flight home, you may have time for a city tour or relaxing by your hotel pool. Later, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Leave Ecuador with fond memories


     
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