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adventure travel trip to Galapagos
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  • 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/Philip's Steps/Darwin Bay

    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 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. After the walk, kayaks are available for you to paddle along the shoreline. Look for the beautiful red-billed tropicbird usually found in the crevices. This afternoon, 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. After the walk, you can swim and snorkel from the beach with sea lions in these northern warmer waters.

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

    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. This afternoon, we have a dry landing at North Seymour, a small geological uplift. We follow a trail that leads us to swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies, and land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of magnificent frigatebirds found in the Galapagos. Find marine iguanas and sea lions as you stroll along the beach. After the walk, enjoy a deep water snorkeling opportunity.

    Male frigatebird displaying his inflated red throat pouch
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Day 6      Fernandina/Punta Espinoza/Tagus Cove

    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. After lunch, we cross the Bolivar Channel, where we often spot whales and dolphins riding the ship's bow wave. This afternoon, we have a dry landing at Tagus Cove, located on the western Island of Isabela where, eons ago, six volcanoes flowed together and formed the largest island in the Galapagos. During the walk, we discover a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook with a spectacular view of the ocean, lava fields, and volcanic formations. Mariners' graffiti dating back to the 1800s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore the coves by Zodiac or kayak to find Galapagos penguins, boobies, pelicans, and other seabirds. Dive in for some excellent snorkeling after your walk. After dinner, a sky full of stars beckons you to the deck.

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

    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. Disembark at Urbina Bay, Isabela, at the base of Alcedo Volcano, where you will find four miles of coastal seabed that was exposed in a dramatic uplift in 1954 when the volcano erupted. You'll visit the marine remnants of coral skeletons, some of them waist-high, after a wet landing on the beach. Brown pelicans and flightless cormorants nest here, while giant marine iguanas are seen along the coast.

    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/Santa Fe

    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. This afternoon, visit Santa Fe, a volcanic uplift, with a wet landing at a beach populated with sea lions. Here, you can observe one of the few remaining land iguanas of the species endemic to Santa Fe Island. Some of these iguanas are up to five feet long with very pronounced spines along their backs. Also explore a forest of giant prickly pear cactus.

    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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