12 Days : $6,880 per person inclusive of superior rooms in superior hotels, superior outside cabin in Galapagos, airfare to and from Galapagos and Galapagos park fees, all meals, small group naturalist tours in Galapagos, private guides and car and driver on land. International airfare is additional and we can assist. Business Class airfare at special rates is available and highly recommended.
Day 1 Depart USA
Today you depart for Quito the Capital of Ecuador one of Latin America's undiscovered gems. Although it absorbs less than 2% of the earth's surface it is home to 17% of its variety of birdlife. Upon arrival in Quito late in the evening you will be met by your driver and escorted to your deluxe hotel where you have a chance to get a good night's sleep.
Day 2 Exploring Quito
After breakfast, your guide will be waiting to take you on a personally escorted tour of this sublime city, arguably the most beautiful in South America with a refreshing spring-like climate dominated by the snow-capped mountain volcanoes. Destroyed by the Inca's themselves to stop the city falling into the hands of Pizarro and his followers, the city was rebuilt as a Spanish colonial masterpiece. This evening you are taken on a private tour to view the colonial architecture of the illuminatedcity before enjoying dinner at a popular Quito restaurant.
Day 3 Quito/Antisana/Riobamba
Today you will driven to the Antisana Ecological Reserve, a 250,000 acre park combining forests, pristine glacial lakes and still active volcanoes. You will explore the area especially the four peaks of the volcanic mountains. After lunch you drive to Riobamba, a pretty colonial city, its paved streets lined with venerable old buildings and surrounded by the highest peaks in the country. You will overnight in a quaint Hosteria which while very comfortable is not of the same catgory as your previous hotel. It does however offer friendly service and a good meal.
Day 4 The Riobamba Expreso
This morning you will head for the railroad station to board the Riobamba Expreso train for an inspiring ride stretching over six hours. The adventure begins as the train winds along twisting rivers and canyons, down the switchbacks of the 1,000 foot cliff known as the Devil's Nose. This spectacular Andean route ends at El Tambo. You get off the train to visit the Inca fortress of Intapirca which was built around 1470. Inside the fortress is a temple dedicated to the sun god. This was once part of a way station on the ancient route between Quito and Cuzco. You then re-board the train to continue on to Cuenca. Dinner is at your hotel this evening.
Day 5 A Trip to the “ City of Gold”
Known as the "City of Gold", Cuenca was founded by the Spanish in 1557 on the site of an ancient Incan Town. With 16th and 17th Century baroque churches and numerous galleries and museums, the city is also noted for its artisans, and has some of the country's finest goldsmiths. You will take time to explore this beautiful city, marked by narrow, cobblestone streets, adobe houses, wrought-iron balconies, quaint parks and romantic plazas. After lunch you will also take an excursion to Gualaceo to visit the weavers of the famous Panama hats. Tonight you go out on the town for dinner at Restaurant Villa Rosa.
Day 6 From the " CIty of Gold" to the City by the Sea
After breakfast you head for the airport for a flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and busiest port. Upon arrival You are met and taken on a tour of the City concentrating on the Malecon which is the main drive along the waterfront. You will stop for lunch before arriving at your deluxe hotel where you overnight.
Day 7 Guayaquil/Galapagos
Today your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport where you will take a ninety minute flight west into the Pacific to a group of Islands spread over 19,000 square miles...The Galapagos. Here, the birds and mammals that evolved in isolation never developed a fear of man and provided the natural laboratory for Charles Darwin and his seminal studies on evolution. Upon arrival you will be transferred to Galapagos Explorer II, one of the finest vessels to cruise these waters. You have a chance to relax on your balcony before joing the other guests for dinner.
Day 8 Bartholome and Santiago Islands
After breakfast one of the ship's Zodiacs will take you to Bartholome Island for some snorkeling under the watchful eye of Pinnacle rock, a Galapagos landmark. After lunch on board you head to nearby Santiago (also called James) Ssland where you can walk on volcanic flow that was created less than 100 years ago. After an intriquing day on two of the islands you return to the ship to hear a lecture on the next Islands to be visited and to enjoy an excellent meal.
Day 9 Isabela and Fernandina Islands
Today we visit Isabela Island, the largest in the Galapagos which is made up of six volcanoes the tallest if which is close to 6,000 feet. Here we will discover blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins (yes, Penguins at the Equator), pink flamingoes, Galapagos seals and the famous giant tortoises. After lunch and a short cruise we visit Fernandina or Narborough Island where we will view Lu Cumbre, a volcano that has erupted ten times over the last 150 years.
Day 10 Santa Cruz Island
Also known as Indefatigable Island, Santa Cruz is the main commercial centre in the Galapagos. Your first visit will be to the mangrove swamps of Cerra Dragon where green Sea Turtles and Galapagos Sharks can be seen. In the afternoon you visit the Charles Darwin Research Station at Puerto Ayora where there is a captive breeding centre for Iguanas and the famous giant tortoises.
Day 11 San Cristobal Island/Guayaquil
You arrive in Wreck Bay on San Cristobal Island, the administrative capital of the Galapagos. You depart the ship and head to the airport for the return flight to Guayaquil. Upon arrival you are transferred to your hotel. After freshening up you are picked up by your guide for a special farewell dinner.
Day 12 Depart for USA
After breakfast your driver will take you to the airport for your return trip home.
Available Year Round
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Quito, Riobamba, Cuenca, Guayaquil, Galapagos, Guayaquil
• Transfers and sightseeing by private helicopter or aircraft as indicated on the itinerary
• Superior Rooms at the properties indicated in the accommodations area (We reserve the right to substitute a property of equal quality in advance of departure should the designated hotel be unavailable)
• Private Transfers to and from the airport at destination
• All meals as indicated on the itinerary by B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
•Entrance fees to all museums, attractions and other venues as indicated on the daily itinerary
• Private guides for city explorations and private driver/guide while traveling.
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• All applicable taxes and service fees
Services Not Included
• International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
• Beverages with included meals (unless otherwise indicated on itinerary page)
• Any meals not indicated on the Itinerary page
• Items of a personal nature e.g. minibar, film, postcards etc.
• Gratuities to Guides and Driver/Guides (we provide suggested guidelines for your selected destination in your pre-departure material)
• Any passport or visa fees or government departure taxes (It is the traveler’s responsibility to secure the latest information regarding passports and visa requirements)