Galapagos, Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, and Rio de Janeiro
16 Days/15 Nights
From $6,579 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Beginning in Ecuador, you will journey to the Galapagos Islands, hiking along the volcanic landscapes and observing the endemic wildlife of this unique archipelago. Giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and flightless cormorants are among the species that can be found there. Continuing on to Argentina and Brazil, you will enjoy a Tango dinner show in Buenos Aires, and experience Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, and the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls on the border of both countries.
Lodging, Meals, and Airfare: This tour includes accommodations for 15 nights (3 nights in Quito, 4 nights on the Galapagos Seaman Journey, 3 nights in Buenos Aires, 2 nights in Iguazu, and 3 nights in Rio de Janeiro), 27 meals (15 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners), and domestic airfare in Ecuador.
Best Time to Go: October-April.
Destinations: South America, Ecuador, Galapagos, Argentina, and Brazil.
Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Scuba Diving, Sea Kayaking, Snorkeling, Sun & Beach, and Wildlife Viewing.
Places Visited: Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, and Rio de Janeiro.
Note: The route and program may vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and wildlife encounters.
Dry Landing: Guests step from the dinghy directly onto rocks or a dock.
Wet Landing: As the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Day 1 (Sat): Quito.
Depart to Quito. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito.
Day 2 (Sun): City Tour of Quito-Middle of the World.
After an early morning breakfast, the tour will depart towards the center of downtown Quito, or Centro Histórico, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. You will start with a panoramic view of Alameda Park and the Basilica, followed by a walk down the street of the Seven Crosses. The trip will continue with a walking tour, starting at Independence Square. From there, you will visit the presidential palace, the main cathedral, the gold-plated La Compañía Church, San Francisco Church and San Francisco Plaza.
Around midday, the tour will head north to the equator for a trip to the monument at the Middle of the World. You may choose to visit either the Ethnographic or the Inti Ñan Museum, both located near the site of the monument. Along the way you will stop for a traditional Ecuadorian lunch (not included. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 3 (Mon): Quito-San Cristobal Airport-Kicker Rock-Isla Lobos.
Morning transfer to the airport in Quito for the 2 ½ hour flight to the Galapagos. Upon arrival at San Cristobal Airport, travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless prepaid), and $10 for the INGALA card which is an identity card that you need. Guides will meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called ‘Pangas’ will transport you to the M/C Seaman Journey and the crew will welcome you onboard. After departure and lunch, the first island visit is made.
Kicker Rock, also known as the Sleeping Lion because of its resemblance to a sleeping lion, is located off the coast of San Cristobal. The remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, the two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. This Galapagos Islands natural monument has become a favorite sight for cruises due to the many tropical birds, frigates, and boobies that fill the surrounding air. Beneath the sea the nearly crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful tropical fish and invertebrates.
Isla Lobos is about an hour by boat from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The length of the trail is 850 meters and the estimated travel time is one hour. There is a small population of blue-footed boobies and common frigate birds nesting on this site. You can observe the two species of sea lions present in the archipelago. During the tour you go through a dry vegetation zone, substrate of volcanic rocks, and a sandy area. During the panga tour, brown pelicans and several species of shorebirds can be observed. While snorkeling, it’s common to see juvenile sea lions, manta rays and sea turtles. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Tue): Natural Galapaguera-Pitt Point (San Cristobal).
In the morning, you will visit the Natural Galapaguera, which is a good place to observe Galapagos tortoises in their natural environment.
Pitt Point is on the north of San Cristobal. Here, there are endemic species such as lava lizards and red-footed boobies. The view is impressive when you walk up to the high part of the island. You may be lucky to see red footed boobies – the least seen of booby species. It’s also the home of the Chatham mockingbird, only found on San Cristobal Island. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Wed): Punta Suarez (Espanola)-Gardner Bay (Hood).
Punta Suarez is a rocky landing spot that sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.
Gardner Bay is located on the north-eastern coast of Hood. It provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here, you can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Thu): Punta Cormorant-Post Office Bay-Baroness Lookout (Floreana).
Punta Cormorant offers probably the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It’s situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks, and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral.
Post Office Bay is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. You will continue to the north of the island and will ascent to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at the Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as her house. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby Islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos, and wide forest of Palo Santo. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Fri): Charles Darwin Station-Baltra Airport-Quito.
Charles Darwin Station. Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.
After this excursion, you will be taken to the airport for your return flight to the Quito. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 8 (Sat): Quito-Buenos Aires.
Early morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Buenos Aires. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our inbound services representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Buenos Aires. (B)
Day 9 (Sun): Buenos Aires-Panoramic City Tour-Tango Dinner Show.
In the morning, you will have a panoramic city tour of Buenos Aires. This tour will cover the most important sights in the city. You will visit the impressive National Congress (the Parliament), the Civic Centre, Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada, the headquarters of the executive branch of the government, and the town Hall. You will also see one of the best Opera Houses in the world. The tour will continue with a visit to the neighborhood of San Telmo, and you will learn about its history. On Sundays, you will be able to enjoy a flea market. You will go next to La Boca, known for its colorful architecture and for being the first port in Buenos Aires. This neighborhood was originally settled by Italian immigrants. You will also visit the Palermo and Recoleta areas of the city and modern neighborhoods such as Puerto Madero, with big mansions and great parks.
In the evening, you will enjoy a typical Argentine dinner and wine, and a Tango show with a re-creation of the original style and melancholic rhythms of the 1940’s. The impressive lyrics will be interpreted by some of the best singers in the city. You will also hear some folk music from the Altiplano region of the country. Overnight in Buenos Aires. (B,D)
Day 10 (Mon): Buenos Aires-Fiesta Gaucha.
Today you will have an excursion to the Argentine countryside to enjoy a day on a ranch ‘estancia’ and discover its traditional dance and music, and experience a true ‘Festival Gaucho’. Typical ‘empanadas’ (meat pies) and superb Argentinean wine will be offered. Later, you will enjoy a delicious Argentine-style barbecue. This will be followed by a folkloric show with singing and dancing, a demonstration of the gaucho (cowboy) skills of horseback riding and rodeo, a horse exhibition, and ‘the sortija’ (ring race). You may also ride a horse or typical carriage to have a better feel for the gaucho’s way of life. Overnight in Buenos Aires. (B,L)
Day 11 (Tue): Buenos Aires-Iguazu Falls (Brazilian Side).
Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Iguazu Falls. Upon arrival, you will have a 1 and ½ hour tour of the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls. Located in Iguazu National Park, these spectacular falls are comprised of 275 individual cascades, and are more than 1.90 miles wide and 260 ft. high. You will walk along the main trail (one mile) on a catwalk above the lower Iguazu River to the series of falls that comprise the Devil’s Throat. Then you will take an elevator to an observation deck for a spectacular panoramic view of the falls. At the end of this tour, you will be transferred to your hotel on the Argentinian side. Overnight in Puerto Iguazu. (B)
Note: U.S. Citizens need a visa to enter Brazil.
Day 12 (Wed): Iguazu Falls (Argentinian Side)-Great Adventure Tour.
In the morning, you will return to Iguazu Falls to view the falls from the Argentinian side and for the Great Adventure Tour. On the Argentinian side of the falls, you will visit the Interpretation Center to learn about the biodiversity of the jungle and the culture and history of the surrounding area. You can also take the Ecological Forest Train to the Garganta del Diable (Devil’s Throat) Station and the Cataratas Station, which will take you to the upper and lower circuits, and other walking trails.
In the afternoon, you will have the Great Adventure Tour. First, you will ride semi-rigid zodiac boats to reach the bottom of San Martin, Bosetty, Tres Mosqueteros and Canon de Garganta del Diablo falls and down the river rapids up to Puerto Macuco (two miles from the falls). Then, you will ride in an open jeep along the rainforest, observing the local flora and fauna with the aid of specialized guides. Overnight in Puerto Iguazu. (B)
Day 13 (Thu): Iguazu Falls-Rio de Janeiro-Samba Dinner Show.
Transfer the airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our inbound services representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel.
In the evening, you will have dinner at one of Rio’s liveliest barbecue houses followed by a real Samba show with ‘mulatas’ and ‘batuqueiros’ showing you Brazilian rhythms, folklore and fancy carnival costumes. Overnight in Rio de Janeiro. (B,D)
Day 14 (Fri): Rio de Janeiro-City Tour-Christ the Redeemer Statue (Corcovado)-Sugarloaf Mountain.
This tour begins with a panoramic city tour of downtown Rio de Janeiro, passing by the Sambodrome and the pyramid-shaped Metropolitan Cathedral. You will pass Cinelandia square, and historical buildings such as the Municipal Theatre, the National Library, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Then, you will go to the Cosme Velho train station. The cog wheel train will climb up through the Tijuca Rainforest and bring you to the steps of the Christ the Redeemer Statue (Corcovado). At 2,300 ft. above sea level, you will have a breathtaking view of the City of Rio de Janeiro, the Guanabara Bay, Sugar Loaf Mountain, the nine mile Rio-Niteroi Bridge, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and the Atlantic Ocean. Barbeque lunch.
In the afternoon, you will drive along Rio’s famous beaches to the Praia Vermelha cable car station where you will be taken to the Urca Mountain (mid-way station) with its gardens and look-out points. Then, the second part of the ride will take you to the peak of Sugar Loaf Mountain, 1,300 ft. above sea level. Overnight in Rio de Janeiro. (B,L)
Day 15 (Sat): Rio de Janeiro.
Free day. Overnight in Rio de Janeiro. (B)
Day 16 (Sun): Rio de Janeiro.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
- The above prices are based on a Standard (twin) Cabin and are valid until December 15, 2016.
- Single passengers can save by sharing a cabin during the cruise portion of the tour.
- Triple prices are based on one child under 12 sharing cabin with two paying adults. The child sleeps in a sofa bed.
- Room/cabin upgrades and additional nights in each destination are available upon request.
- Christmas Season surcharges may apply.
Saturday departures throughout the year.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Quito-Galapagos-Quito airfare ($500).
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including service fees and taxes.
- Accommodations on board the M/C Galapagos Seaman Journey.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Excursions as indicated on the itinerary conducted by English-speaking guides and including all applicable entrance fees.
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Use of snorkeling equipment and kayaks.
- Evening briefings during the cruise.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare within Argentina and Brazil.
- Transit control card ($20).
- Brazilian visa.
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew, tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance, and to make these arrangements for you.
Quito & Galapagos
Rio de Janeiro
Group Private: All airport/hotel transfers in Quito, and the city tour of Quito/Middle of the World excursion are private, and all services in the Galapagos are operated on a group basis. In Argentina and Brazil, all airport/hotel transfers are private. In Buenos Aires, the Panoramic City Tour and Tango Dinner Show (transfers) are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodation levels. The Fiesta Gaucha excursion is a group tour. In Iguazu Falls, the tours of the Brazilian and Argentinian side are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations. The Great Adventure Tour is a group tour. And, in Rio de Janeiro, the Samba Dinner Show (transfers) and Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain excursions are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodation levels.
Elevations: Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level.
IGTOA’S Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund: South American Vacations is an active member of IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association). In support of IGTOA’s Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund, we contribute $20 for each passenger that we send to the Galapagos Islands. You’ll travel knowing that you support the lasting protection of Galapagos Islands.
Sixty percent of the funding of this program goes directly to the Charles Darwin Foundation for science, conservation, and education. Their work, carried out through the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park, is vital to the preservation of the islands. You can visit their web site to learn more www.darwinfoundation.org. The remainder goes toward IGTOA’s mission of creating a model of responsible and sustainable tourism.
Passport/Visa: For Ecuador, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their country before traveling. For Argentina, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Australian and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee of $100 and $75 respectively (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons) online, and must show proof of payment prior to arrival. The reciprocity fee for U.S. citizens has been suspended until further notice. For citizens of Australia, this fee covers unlimited entries to Argentina for 10 years, while citizens of Canada are charged the fee every time they enter the country (or $150 for multiple visits within five years). The fee can be paid online at ProvinciaNet.com.ar. You will need to register in order to make the payment. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the embassy of Argentina in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: We require a non-refundable deposit of $1,600 per person for Single Occupancy and $1,200 per person for Double/Triple Occupancy, plus the cost of the airfare (if we arrange it for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.
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