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adventure travel trip to Ecuador
Practice your wildlife photography!
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, Northern Circuit

    Cruise the best northern island sites, including Genovesa, 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
    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
    Day 3      San Cristobal/Cerro Colorado

    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, you travel by bus into the interior of San Cristobal to visit La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado, where the National Park has established a breeding program for the tortoises and set up an information center for visitors. Along the trail, you may find the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird and Calandrinia plant, both endemic to the island. Here, you will see the terrestrial tortoises living in their natural habitat, and learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals.

    Watch for tortoises in their natural habitat
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 4      Genovesa/Darwin Bay/Philip's Steps

    Spend the entire day on Genovesa (Tower) Island, considered to be one of the most spectacular islands in all of the Galapagos for its variety and sheer number of birds. This morning, we have a wet landing on Darwin Bay, a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near the tide pools. Enter a forest of Optuntia cactus and mangroves where colonies of great frigatebirds nest. The males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females as they fly overhead. The trail leads through a rich inter-tidal zone where we find a great diversity of wildlife. This afternoon, we have a dry landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. Red-footed boobies nest here in Palo Santo trees, and Nazca boobies nest near the trail. In an open lava field, we find storm petrels in large numbers. If you are lucky, we will see the elusive short-eared owl. Look for the beautiful Red-billed Tropic bird found in the crevices along the cliff by kayak or Zodiac. You can choose to swim or snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these northern warmer waters or for those with experience, we offer snorkeling in deeper water. 

    Nazca boobies are among the many birds you'll see on Genovesa
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 5      Las Bachas/Cerro Dragon

    This morning you will visit Las Bachas, Spanish for "the barges."  There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where we find the greater flamingo. The snorkeling from the beach here is wonderful. At Black Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra) we have a zodiac ride through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves. Here you can view pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays. Located on the northern tip of Santa Cruz is Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Along the trail, we find Darwin Finches, Galapagos Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Audubon Shearwater and the endemic land iguanas, orange-yellow in color with large spines along their backs, were once part of the Darwin Station’s breeding program. We find pink flamingos feeding in the salt-water lagoon as well as other lagoon birds; stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and more. From the top of the hill, we enjoy a majestic view of the bay island covered in Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo and Cordia Lutea (muyuyu). After the briefing and dinner, we sail toward the western islands and cross the equator line for the second time.

    Male frigatebird displaying his inflated red throat pouch
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 6      Fernandina/Urbina Bay, Isabela

    This morning, we have a wet landing at Punta Espinoza, Fernandina, the youngest and most pristine Island in the Galapagos. Recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast. Hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territories. Flightless cormorants build their nests on the point, and Galapagos hawks fly overhead. There is a chance to snorkel here with sea turtles. After lunch, we cross the Bolivar Channel, where we often spot whales and dolphins riding the ship's bow wave. We disembark at Urbina Bay, ISABELA, where we find four miles of its coastal seabed, with marine life exposed due to a dramatic uplift in 1954 when the volcano erupted. The marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, are visited after a wet landing on the beach. Urbina is home to the very large and colorful Galapagos land iguanas, occasionally giant tortoises, Darwin Finches. Brown Pelicans and Flightless Cormorants also nest here. Giant Marine Iguanas are seen along the coast. You may encounter penguins while snorkeling here. At Punta Vicente Roca, a Zodiac ride offers an incredible view of the tuff walls, we can enter the wave-sculpted cave and find sea turtle who frequent this area. You may spot the dorsal fin of a Mola Mola, an odd looking giant sun fish. Return to the yacht for briefing and dinner.

    Decipher ancient mariners' graffiti at Tagus Cove
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 7      Isabela/Elizabeth Bay/Tagus Cove

    Our morning excursion is a Zodiac ride in Elizabeth Bay, Isabela that begins at a secluded cove lined with large red mangrove trees where you will see turtles, rays, and shore birds. We then motor to the rocky islets known as “Las Marielas,” to view colonies of nesting penguins, flightless cormorants, and giant marine iguanas. Isabela was created when six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest Island in Galapagos. We have a dry landing at Tagus Cove, located on the western Island of ISABELA and a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti dating back to the 1800′s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the Coves by Zodiac or kayak to find Galapagos Penguins, Boobies, Pelicans and other seabirds. An uphill hike brings us to a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields and volcanic formations. An excellent snorkeling site is offered from the zodiac or take out a Kayak and explore the shoreline. After dinner, a sky full of stars beckons to go on deck and observe the galaxy while crossing the equator for the last time.

    Marvel at coral skeletons on land, result of volcanic uplift
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 8      Santiago/Puerto Egas/Rabida Island

    This morning, we have a wet landing at Puerto Egas, Santiago. Stroll along the shoreline looking for octopus, starfish, and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, American oystercatchers, and yellow-crowned night herons. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter shy fur sea lions once on the verge of extinction. Before returning to the yacht, enjoy some snorkeling and kayaking if you wish. This afternoon, we disembark on Rabida Island, located near Santiago. Rabida sports the most diversified volcanic rocks of all the islands and is considered the geographic center of the Galapagos. The dark red sand beach resulted from erosion of volcanic stones. Follow a trail that leads to a salt water lagoon, and observe Greater Flamingos as they feed. Brown Pelicans nest in the mangroves at the far side of the lagoon. After the walk, there is time for snorkeling.

    Look for fur seals (a type of sea lion) in the grotto
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 9      Santa Cruz/Darwin Station

    Today after breakfast, disemark for a trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Visit all three tortoise corals and the breeding center with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated to the islands where they were born. Scientists from all over the globe come to the station to conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. You will also visit Van Straelen Hall, where there are exhibits and a short video 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 inhabitants. 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 souvenirs or stop at an internet café. Zodiacs will be provided for your return to the yachts.

    Visit Charles Darwin Research Station
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 10      San Cristobal/Quito or Guayaquil

    This morning, drop anchor in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal. Visit the Interpretation Center, which was opened in 1999. Here, you will gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Galapagos Islands. Afterwards, spend some time in port before heading to the airport for your noontime Aerogal flight back to the mainland, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

    Drop anchor in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
    Meals: Breakfast
    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



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