Galapagos Adventure

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Day 1

ARRIVE ECUADOR | ARRIVE QUITO

Welcome to Ecuador. Upon arrival in Quito, clear Immigration and Customs. Outside Customs, you are met by a representative and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight JW Marriott Quito
 

 

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Day 2

QUITO

Depart on a half day private guided tour of Colonial Quito followed by a unique culinary experience and lunch at Galeria Ecuador.

Quito is sure to impress! Take in old colonial Quito and its main square, where the Presidential Palace, the main cathedral and some other important buildings can be appreciated. A walk through La Ronda Street, one of the oldest streets in town, will show you how the colonial houses were built and how the Quitenos lived in the 1600s. Your walk takes you through the city museum to San Francisco Plaza, with a quick stop so that you can try the typical sweets of Quito. San Francisco is the oldest church in Quito, and it is full of history and legends. A visit to La Merced Church showcases both the arabesque and baroque styles that were used to decorate it. One of the most beautiful churches in South America that you will visit, or perhaps the world, is La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, truly a treasure to be visited during this tour. And for a bird’s-eye view of this city, allow your guide to lead you to Panecillo Hill.

Along with your Quito tour, head to Galería Ecuador and enjoy a hands-on cooking class to make a traditional Ecuadorian potato soup and an informal “Chapolate” (made using the award-winning Pacari Ecuadorian chocolate). Chapolate is a style of grandma’s hot chocolate, aromatized with cinnamon, orange peel and lemongrass and features a special ingredient, “máchica” or toasted barley flour to make the drink thicker and resemble the traditional “chapo” that Andean people consume on a regular basis. Lunch is included at the Galería Ecuador.

Overnight JW Marriott Quito
 

 

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Day 3

QUITO | GALAPAGOS ISLANDS | COMMENCE GALAPAGOS CRUISE EXPEDITION

With the cruise line’s included shuttle transfer service, you are transferred with other guests, to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands.

You will arrive at San Cristobal Island.  After passing through Galapagos immigration and baggage claim, you will be met by an Infinity yacht staff member and transferred to the yacht. You will be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before lunch and a welcome briefing. Commence your 7-night Galapagos expedition cruise with the Infinity Yacht.

Note: The cruise itinerary is subject to change without notice for various factors including but not limited to: safety, weather, mechanical breakdown, unforeseen emergencies, and the discretion of the Captain, Guide, and the Galapagos National Park. The Galápagos is a natural ecosystem, making animal encounters there ultimately unpredictable and therefore exceptional in the way they typically occur. Though Galápagos species seem to have little fear of humans, they are wild animals subject to environmental factors, including their own instincts that can affect sightings, which means these encounters cannot be guaranteed. Accepting all these factors, including adhering to the rules of the Galápagos National Park, is a condition of participation on this trip.

In the afternoon visit Puerto Chino and David Rodriguez Breeding Center “La Galapaguera” on San Cristobal Island.

Puerto Chino
This small, pretty beach is across the other side of the island from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and it can be accessed by a walking trail from the road that runs past La Galapaguera at Cerro Colorado.  With its white sand and turquoise water, Puerto Chino is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean. It’s good to swim and snorkel here, and if you do you may see Galapagos green turtles and stingrays. Sea Lions also sometimes bask on the rocks beside the beach, and you can often see Blue-Footed Boobies.

La Galapaguera
Also known as Cerro Colorado, this visitor site in Galapagos was opened in 2003. Previously accessible only from the coast via a long hike, it’s now possible to travel by road from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where the trip takes about an hour. This breeding station has an informative visitor center that allows you to learn about the origins and evolution of the Galapagos Giant Tortoises, and about the steps being taken to preserve the species from threats such as habitat destruction and introduced species. In the center you will see baby hatchlings and young tortoises. After they reach 4 months old, they are taken out to be released into the natural habitat in the area. There is a short hiking trail where you may be able to spot giant tortoises in the wild.

Overnight aboard the Infinity Yacht
 

 

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Day 4

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE EXPEDITION

Continue your 7-night Galapagos expedition cruise with the Infinity Yacht. Visit Santa Fe Island or South Plaza Island.

Santa Fe Island
Santa Fe is a small, flat island right in the center of the Galapagos archipelago, and is thought to be one of the oldest volcanoes here. Dating of the rocks below the water estimate they were formed almost 4 million years ago. Santa Fe had its own breed of Giant Tortoise that became extinct at some point in the 1800s due to being hunted for meat. There are two species that are unique to the island still present here – the Santa Fe Land Iguana, and the Santa Fe Rice Rat. The Santa Fe iguanas live in the giant Opuntia forest that grows densely in the interior, and they feed on the fleshy parts of this cactus. Among other species common on Santa Fe are Galapagos Hawks, Darwin’s Finches, and Galapagos Mockingbirds. Galapagos Sea Lions and Galapagos Sharks are often seen off the eastern coast.

South Plaza Island
South Plaza is one of the best visitor sites in the Galapagos thanks to the large number of species present on her small area. Both the North and South Plazas were the result of a geological uplift, and because this was uneven, they both have cliffs on their south sides and low lying shores on their northern coasts. North Plaza is closed to visitors. The most noticeable (and noisiest) of South Plaza’s residents are her Galapagos Sea Lions, who have a large colony here. Less obvious are her land iguanas (the smallest in the islands), many marine iguanas and large numbers and varieties of seabirds. Inland is a mix of scrubby vegetation and giant opuntia cactus forest, providing food for the iguanas. As you follow the circular hiking trail you will come to the summit of the cliffs here where you’ll be among countless nesting seabirds.

Overnight aboard the Infinity Yacht
 

 

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Day 5

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE EXPEDITION

Continue your 7-night Galapagos expedition cruise with the Infinity Yacht. Visit the Charles Darwin Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Twin Craters, Santa Cruz Island.

Charles Darwin Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center
The world-famous Charles Darwin Research Center is just a 10-minute walk from downtown Puerto Ayora and is the home of the non-profit Charles Darwin Foundation. Inside, you’ll find exhibits about the geography, geology and climate of the Galapagos, and the evolution of her unique species. There is also lots of information on the Foundation’s current conservation and education programs. As well as conducting its own key research, the Charles Darwin Center also hosts international scientists, and supports the work of government agencies like the Galapagos National Park. Next door is the site of the Galapagos’ first giant tortoise breeding center, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, where pioneering work has been done since 1965 for the preservation of these species. Here you can see newly hatched babies, up to juveniles and full-grown adults ready to be released back into the wild. Santa Cruz is the second largest Galapagos island, and its most densely populated – thanks to the fact that volcanic activity is long extinct here.

Los Gemelos (or the Twin Craters)
Los Gemelos (or the Twin Craters) are not, in fact, craters – although no less impressive for it! These two large pits were caused by the collapse of empty magma chambers after a volcanic uprising. They are easy to access from the Puerto Ayora to Baltra road. There is a lovely walking trail here that leads up to and then around the rim of both craters. The hike takes you through the wonderful Scalesia Forest, which is full of bird life. It’s likely you will see Galapagos Doves, Darwin’s Finches, the stunning Vermilion Flycatcher, as well as short-eared owls and many other species. As you climb up to the rim of the craters you are rewarded with a breathtaking view over the Scalesia canopy, it’s lush green a real contrast to the arid vegetation on much of the other Galapagos Islands you can visit.

Overnight aboard the Infinity Yacht
 

 

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Day 6

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE EXPEDITION

Continue your 7-night Galapagos expedition cruise with the Infinity Yacht. Visit Moreno Point and Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island.

Moreno Point
Moreno Point (known locally as Punta Moreno) is a short journey from Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. You will take a panga ride which will give you great views of the striking rocky shoreline before you make your landing. Here you will see the eerie site of a huge lava field leading up to the distant Cero Azul volcano. Hiking through this alien landscape you will come across several tidal lagoons, pools and mangroves – all of which provide an oasis for a range of wildlife, particularly bird species.  In the larger tidal pools, you may see green turtles or sharks, the clear waters giving you a unique opportunity to view them from on land! On your journey back to the boats from your 1.2-mile hike you’re likely to see Galapagos Penguins on the rocky shores as well a range of birds including herons and Galapagos Flamingos. This is a favorite excursion as it combines the opportunity to see coastal species with a hike through stunning landscapes.

Elizabeth Bay
On the eastern coast of Isabela, the wide and sheltered Elizabeth Bay is a haven for wildlife. With areas of mangrove on the shore that contrast with the surrounding lava fields, and a myriad of small islets and rocky reefs, this is a particularly rich area for wildlife. Accessible only by panga (small motorized dinghy), exploring Elizabeth Bay will provide you with an opportunity to get up close and personal with many of Isabela’s species. During your 2-hour boat ride around Elizabeth Bay you can see rays, sharks, green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins, pelicans, and plenty of Galapagos Sea Lions. Nearer to the shores and mangroves you’ll see Galapagos Flightless Cormorants and marine iguanas.

Overnight aboard the Infinity Yacht
 

 

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Day 7

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE EXPEDITION

Continue your 7-night Galapagos expedition cruise with the Infinity Yacht. Visit Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove, Isabela Island.

Urbina Bay
Urbina Bay is one of the youngest features in the Galapagos. It was mainly formed in 1954, when a sudden uplift of the land raised the seabed by over 5 meters and pushed the coastline over 1km further away. This has resulted in the astonishing site of heads of coral stranded far from the water. Exposed to the air and elements, the coral heads are rapidly deteriorating and are one of the sights of the Galapagos that won’t be around for much longer. Once ashore, a long hiking trail will take you away from the beach and into the island’s arid zone. In this habitat you are likely to see wild Galapagos Giant Tortoises and Galapagos Land Iguanas. As the trail circles back towards the shoreline you’ll come across colonies of the unique Galapagos Flightless Cormorant. This is a pleasant area for snorkeling, and as you enter and leave the water you might do so watched by some Galapagos Penguins, who have a colony nearby.  This is also one of the best sites to see Galapagos Marine Iguanas feeding underwater.

Tagus Cove
Tagus Cove is a sheltered deep-water bay on the western coast of Isabela Island, overlooking Fernandina Island. This natural anchorage has been a popular destination for ships since the 1800s, and when you come ashore you can see ancient graffiti left by whalers and buccaneers. A steep (but thankfully short) hiking trail then takes you up to the saltwater Darwin Lake, formed inside a volcanic cone. How did saltwater get all the way up here? Scientists think tsunamis caused by eruptions or landslides on Fernandina may have deposited seawater originally, and then evaporation has made it even more salty over time. From Darwin Lake, a series of 160 steps takes you to a stunning viewpoint where you will not only enjoy amazing views over the Galapagos, but may also see some unique wildlife, such as Galapagos Hawks, Vermilion Flycatchers, and species of Darwin’s Finches. Your panga ride along the shoreline back to your ship gives a great opportunity to see Galapagos Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins, Galapagos Martins, and the friendly Galapagos Sea Lions.

Overnight aboard the Infinity Yacht

 

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Day 8

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE EXPEDITION

Continue your 7-night Galapagos expedition cruise with the Infinity Yacht. Visit Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island and Vicente Roca Point, Isabela Island.

Espinosa Point
At Espinosa Point on the northeastern shore of Fernandina the vista is dominated by “La Cumbre”, the volcano whose lava fields formed the island. A visit to Espinosa Point is high on many people’s list thanks to the number of iconic unique Galapagos species you will see here. As well as the noisy and fun-loving Galapagos Sea Lions, Espinosa Point is a great place to see Marine Iguanas, the wonderful Galapagos Penguins and the unique and endangered Galapagos Flightless Cormorant. If you are very lucky and keep your eyes skyward you may also catch sight of a Galapagos Hawk circling overhead looking for its next meal.

Vicente Rock Point
There is no landing here, and snorkeling is done directly from the boats. The scenery around the Point is stunning – the remains of two ancient volcanoes made this formation, and the cliffs and caves around the bay provide an amazing backdrop. The bay is well sheltered from ocean swells, making it ideal for snorkelers of any experience. The cold-water currents bring a rich stock of food to these waters, and the bay around Vicente Rock Point is often home to feeding frenzies, with groups of whales, dolphins, Galapagos Sea Lions, tuna, Blue-footed Boobies and other marine birds all feeding together, making for spectacular sights. Many boats also take visitors on a panga ride along the shore, offering the chance to explore some of the caves and to encounter some of the other species such as Galapagos Flightless Cormorants and a small colony of Galapagos Fur Seals.

Overnight aboard the Infinity Yacht
 

 

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Day 9

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE EXPEDITION

Continue your 7-night Galapagos expedition cruise with the Infinity Yacht. Visit Egas Port, Santiago Island and Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island.

Puerto Egas (Port Egas)
Puerto Egas (Port Egas) is a sheltered landing site at the southern end of James Bay on the northwestern coast of Santiago. This landing site is the trailhead for two hiking paths. The first trail runs along the coast to visit the so-called “Fur Seal Grottos”. The Galapagos Fur Seals like to seek shade from the equatorial sun, and they prefer rocky shores with caves or other nooks and crannies in which they can keep cool. The grottos here are perfect for them, and the tidal pools are also popular with Galapagos Marine Iguanas who can be seen feeding in and around them. The second trail from Egas Port heads inland to the “Salt Mine Volcano”. This hike is just under 2 miles long and takes you to the rim of a salt mine crater. This “mine” is actually a small volcanic cone that is filled with a saltwater lagoon that dries up in the dry season. At several points in the 20th century individuals or companies attempted to mine salt from it, but without commercial success. The name of your landing site is after the owner of the last company to try salt mining here, Hector Egas. The lagoon is often home to Galapagos flamingos and other birds, and the wonderful Galapagos Hawk can often be seen circling above this area.

Pinnacle Rock
The Island of Bartholomew (or Bartolome in Spanish) is a rather barren island. It was originally named after the second lieutenant of the Beagle (and friend to Charles Darwin) Sir Bartholomew Sullivan. The island is home to one of the Galapagos’ most recognizable geological features, the famous Pinnacle Rock. The rock was formed by molten lava from an undersea volcano that rapidly cooled into thin layers of basalt, forming this distinctive and well-photographed landmark. The Rock even had a starring role in the 2003 Hollywood film “Master and Commander” with Russell Crowe! Today visitors have two choices of how to enjoy the views of this picture-perfect island. The beach site is wonderful for snorkeling and watching the abundant marine life. The more adventurous can hike up to a high viewpoint from which the views are breathtaking. Despite not being home to many land species, the Island has a colony of Galapagos Penguins. These little creatures are the second smallest penguin species in the world, and their numbers were unfortunately decimated in 1982 by El Nino when number fell to less than 500. Since then they have staged a comeback, but they are still monitored by the National Park to ensure their continued recovery. Other species to be seen around Bartholomew include Green Turtles, sea lions and white-tipped sharks.

Overnight aboard the Infinity Yacht

 

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Day 10

END GALAPAGOS CRUISE EXPEDITION | GALAPAGOS ISLANDS | QUITO

In the morning, visit North Seymour Island.

North Seymour Island
North Seymour is a small island off the coast of Baltra in the Galapagos. North Seymour was not formed as the result of a volcanic eruption, but by a seismic uplift of the seabed, and is only 90ft above sea level at its highest point. It was originally named after an English aristocrat. The whole island is renowned as teeming with life, with many iconic Galapagos species resident here including the largest nesting colony of Blue-Footed Boobies. The 1-mile long visitor trail across the island is one of the most popular for wildlife lovers and photographers to take. Other prominent species include land iguanas, marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions, frigatebirds and pelicans – to name just a few! 

After this final visit, you will be transferred to the Baltra airport in time for your flight back to Quito. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight JW Marriott Hotel Quito

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Day 11

QUITO | OTAVALO HIGHLANDS | DEPART ECUADOR

Depart on a full day cultural tour to the Otavalo Highlands inclusive of a visit to the Quitsato Equitorial Market and the famous Otavalo Indian Market. Lunch is included today.

Departure from Quito to the northern Andes region. Continue through the town of Guayllabamba to savor its typical chirimoya or custard apple fruit, unlike anything you may have tried before. At Guachalá, you will cross the equator into the Northern Hemisphere, with Mt Cayambe in the distance, the only snowcapped in the world that straddles latitude zero at almost 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above sea level. The nearby Quitsato Equatorial Marker is an experience not to be missed, where guests can straddle latitude zero “all to themselves”, away from any tourist crowds. Moreover, here you will learn about the “correct” way to view Planet Earth and the constellations, with the Big Dipper and Southern Cross visibly opposite one another at the same time. Additionally, some interactive experiments will prove you are indeed “in the middle”. At the town of Cayambe, savor Ecuadorian bizcochos – oven-baked biscuits served with cheese and/or brown sugar spread.

Eventually, we reach Otavalo, known as “The Awakening Valley”, passing by beautiful San Pablo Lake and Mt Imbabura. In 1495, the Otavalo region was conquered by the Inca Empire and in turn occupied by the Spanish Crown in 1535. Today, this is a most prosperous community of skilled textile weavers, who gather to sell their products at an open-air market as they have done for centuries, not only for business, but also for socializing at this colorful gathering place. Enjoy your time at the market. Elegantly dressed, the women do all the negotiating, where you get more than what you bargained for, as the most exquisite woven works of art will be hard to pass up. And the setting is spectacular, crowned by Andean landscapes of outstanding beauty: mountains, lakes and cascades, as integral elements of their lifestyle and beliefs.

In addition to the famous market, time permitting, you can visit Cotacachi. This town is famous for its fine leather work. You can also visit the weavers’ and musical instrument’s workshops in Peguche.

End your tour with a transfer to Quito airport in the evening for your overnight flight to the USA.

Breakfast & Lunch Included Today

 

Included

  • Luxury Trip’s local reps available 24/7 while traveling;
  • Services of local guides and staff;
  • Air/ground transfers as specified;
  • Accommodation taxes, applicable tourism levies and all relevant Value Added Government Sales Tax (GST)
  • All accommodation as specified;
  • Excursions/activities as specified;
  • Luxury Trip’s final documentation.

Excluded

  • Meals, drinks, laundry, entrance fees, porterage, tours/excursions and transfers not specified;
  • Any scheduled flights and related taxes not specified;
  • Cancellation, baggage and medical insurance – which is essential;
  • Staff gratuities;
  • Any new gov. taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control;
  • Any items of a personal nature or anything not specifically stated as included;
  • International airfare.