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February 3 - 11, 2020
9 Days / 8 Nights
Tour starts and ends in Quito, Ecuador
$4,990 per person / double occupancy
$1,930 optional single supplement (4 single rooms available)
$890 optional balcony cabin upgrade (single or double)
Additional night in Quito: $280 twin or single room (includes airport transfer)
Includes all fees and taxes
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Visiting the Galápagos Islands is a life-changing experience, and the magic and mystery of the islands will inspire you to think differently about the world. This isolated group of volcanic islands, sprinkled 620 miles off Ecuador’s coast in the Pacific Ocean, has taken on almost mythological status as a showcase of biodiversity which inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. With the lack of natural predators, the friendly Galápagos animals are completely fearless of humans, and this is perhaps the only place in the world, where you can see the wildlife so close-up: gigantic sea tortoises walk next to you, the blue-footed booby performs its mating dance right in front of you and sea lions do figure eights as you snorkel past. Most of the islands are devoid of vegetation and it is this lunar landscape, one of the most amazing places on Earth, that supports the fragile ecosystem offering such truly unique experiences. The enchanted Galápagos Islands comprise a mysterious landscape of wonder, beauty, and the most unusual wildlife found anywhere on Earth.
The focus of the tour is the abundant biodiversity and the geological wonders of the enchanted Galápagos Islands, but we will also spend two full days exploring Ecuador's capital of Quito, getting an appreciation for its fascinating colonial history, its people and its culture. While the Galápagos Islands will make you feel like you’ve journeyed off the map, the experience of visiting Quito is very much grounded on Earth. The city is a geographical contrast: located at 10,000 feet and flanked by gorgeous snowcapped mountains, it is only 11 miles from the Equator. It also offers surreal visual contrasts: the Colonial Old Town, filled with gothic and baroque Spanish churches, is lined with gleaming skyscrapers and modern architecture. This visual drama of the city sets the stage for wonders of the rest of the country.
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After two days spent touring Quito, we'll fly to the Galápagos Islands, and board M/V Galápagos Legend to spend 5 days cruising around six of the islands, made famous by Charles Darwin, as we learn about their uniqueness from a highly qualified and diverse team of experts. The magnificent M/V Galápagos Legend is a newly refurbished ship, outfitted with a fleet of Zodiacs and snorkeling gears. It is small enough for an intimate experience, yet offers the little luxuries that our travelers expect: a spacious library and lecture rooms, a bar and a restaurant, a pool, a jacuzzi and a running track. During the cruise, we'll explore the varied marine life and the rich flora and fauna, as we wake up to a new vista each day.
We'll see prehistoric iguanas, giant tortoises, exotic birds, plants, beautiful landscapes of volcanoes, lava cones and magma flows. We'll swim and snorkel in the warm clear waters among tropical fish, manta rays, sea lions, swordfish, sea turtles and other marine wildlife. We'll watch the antics of Blue-footed Boobies and observe the beauty of Nazca Boobies, flamingos, and Frigate birds. We'll get up close to sea lions, seals, Sally Lightfoot crabs, iguana, penguins, and giant land tortoises in their native habitat, where Darwin developed his research on evolution. We'll enjoy two shore excursions daily, as well as lectures explaining the geology, history, evolution, flora and fauna of the islands.
- 4 nights at a modern luxury hotel in Quito, in the upscale Floresta neighborhood, in the heart of Quito; 4 nights on a small luxury cruiseship, M/V Galápagos Legend, sailing around the enchanted Galápagos Islands
- Delicious meals: 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners, including drinks
- Private airport transfers on arrival and on departure
- In-depth guided tour of Quito's Old Town, focusing on its Spanish colonial history
- TeleferiQo up the Pichincha Volcano, touring the Middle of the World Monument on the Equator and the Solar Intinan Museum
- Organic chocolate making class
- All transportation in Quito by a private, air-conditioned bus
- Round trip flight from Quito to Baltra in the Galápagos Islands, including all taxes and fees
- Certified naturalist-led boat trips, walks and lectures in the Galápagos Islands
- Snorkeling and outdoor activities in the Galápagos
- Galápagos Migration Control Card
- Galápagos National Parks Fee
- All sightseeing fees and admissions, as per itinerary
- All restaurants', guides' and drivers' gratuities
- Private local guides and an experienced tour director
Additional/optional costs may include: travel insurance, optional single room/cabin supplement, optional balcony cabin upgrade, optional early hotel check-in, optional ship crew gratuity, optional tour director's gratuity, meals not included in the itinerary, WiFi Internet on the cruise ship; telephone charges, laundry, minibar, and personal expenses.
The cost does not include airfare to and from Quito, Ecuador.
- The fascinating, full of contrasts Quito, the capital of Ecuador
- Riding the TeleferiQo up the side of the Pichincha Volcano
- Visitng the Middle of the World Monument and Solar Intinan Museum
- Ecuadorian organic chocolate
- Sailing around six Galápagos islands on a luxury cruise ship
- Learning about Darwin's Theory of Evolution right where it was conceived
- Black lava fields and white coral beaches of the Santiago Island
- Getting up close to the prehistoric iguanas, giant land tortoises, exotic birds and Galápagos seals in their native habitat
- Swimming and snorkeling among tropical fish, manta rays, sea lions, swordfish and sea turtles
- Watching the antics of Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, flamingoes, Frigate birds, Sally Light foot crabs and penguins
- Visiting the Santa Cruz Highlands with their high population of giant tortoises
|What Makes This Trip Special |
- Accommodation at the centrally located, upscale hotel in Quito, Ecuador
- Luxury expedition ship in the Galápagos Islands
- A private guide and a private bus for an extended itinerary in Quito
- Inclusion of the domestic flights in Ecuador
- Inclusion of the Galápagos Migration Control Card and the Galápagos National Parks Fee
- Inclusion of drinks throughout the tour
- Knowledgeable and experienced tour director
- Exclusive experiences, not available to larger groups
- A small group of maximum 16 women