Galapagos, Easter Island, Buenos Aires, and Iguazu Falls
19 Days/18 Nights
From $7,269 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
This dream tour of the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island, Buenos Aires, and Iguazu Falls includes many of the most popular destinations in South America. You start in Quito, and then travel to the Galapagos Islands for a five day cruise aboard the Coral I and II. You continue on to Santiago, Easter Island and its Moai statues, and the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires. Your final stop will be Iguazu Falls, formed by 275 different cascades, on the border between Argentina and Brazil.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 18 nights (2 nights in Quito, 4 nights on the Coral I and II, 1 night in Guayaquil, 3 nights in Santiago, 3 nights in Easter Island, 3 nights in Buenos Aires, and 2 nights in Iguazu) and 29 meals (18 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 5 dinners).
Best Time to Go: October-April.
Places Visited: Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Baltra Island, Española Island, Floreana Island, San Cristóbal Island, Santa Cruz Island, Guayaquil, Santiago, Easter Island, Buenos Aires, and Iguazu Falls.
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 (Mon): 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 (Tue): 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 (Wed): Quito-San Cristobal Airport-Interpretation Center-Frigatebird Hill (San Cristobal Island).
Departure from Quito to San Cristobal Island (2.5 hours flight). Arriving in Galapagos,passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
The interpretation center is full of interesting information and offers the perfect overview to the formation of Galapagos, its significance in the world, threats and conservation efforts. Followed by a hike to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas) we will have great looks at both species of frigatebird, with the bonus of a beautiful view of the bay below. (Difficulty level: easy /intermediate, Type of terrain: flat/stairs; Duration: 1-hour visit / 1-hour walk).
The visit to Frigatebird Hill involves a high-intensity walk amidst beautiful landscape and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigate birds nesting colony. (Difficulty level: difficult; Type of Terrain: rocky; Duration: 1-hour visit). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Thu): Kicker Rock & Cerro Brujo-Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island).
Kicker Rock Circumnavigation (San Cristobal Island). This ancient and eroded volcanic tuff lava named Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock is formed by two rocks approximately 148 meters tall. It is named for its resemblance to a sleeping lion.
From our pangas, as we head to shore, we are first humbled by the immensity of the stunning cliffs of Cerro Brujo “Sorcerers Hill”. We can enjoy simply sharing the beach with sea lions, snorkeling from shore or take a walk to a hidden lagoon where we might spot black- necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels and white-cheeked pintails. (Difficulty level: easy; Type of terrain: sandy; Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling).
Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island). Sea lions will greet us as we land on the beach and prepare for our climb to a high point on the steep eroded tuff cone. This is the only place in the islands where we will enjoy the chance to see all three of the booby species in the same place. The red-foots will be perched on the Cordia lutea and small trees, the Nazcas on the ground near the cliff edge while the blue-foots will be a little further inland. Frigatebirds will be all around and the views are breathtaking. (Difficulty level: difficult; Type of terrain: rocky; Duration: 2.5-hour walk/ 40-minutes snorkeling or kayaking). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Fri): Punta Suarez-Gardner Bay (Española Island).
Punta Suarez. One of the highlight visits of the trip. Punta Suarez seems to have everything – a naturalist’s paradise. A slew of marine iguanas and sea lions greet us at the landing site from where our walk continues with close encounters of boobies, endemic lizards, gulls and even a dramatic blow hole. The oldest extant island in the archipelago, it is our only opportunity to commune with the endemic waved albatross during their breeding season between April and December. With luck, we can watch their complex courtship display. (Difficulty level: difficult; Type of terrain: rocky ground; Duration: 2 ½-hours walk)
Gardner Bay. One of the most stunning beaches in all of Galapagos. The long, white, sandy beach, lapped by turquoise waters is home to a colony of Galapagos sea lions, indifferent to the humans that walk amongst them. The Hood mockingbirds, endemic to this particular island, will be eager to inspect the visitors and satisfy their innate curiosity. Darwin’s finches may also join the throng including the reclusive warbler finch. We can also snorkel here from the beach, in the shallows of the bay. (Difficulty level: easy; Type of terrain: sandy; Duration: 1-hour walk / 1-hour snorkeling). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Sat): Punta Cormorant-Champion-Post Office (Floreana Island).
Wet landing, on an olivine green sandy beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white sandy beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach, one can spot sea turtles, blue-footed boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in the search for food.
This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on, to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana Island and can sometimes be observed as well.
Post Office. Wet landing. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay was named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them back to their destinations. Today, visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel, hoping that some other traveler, going to the letter destination, will take it back for free. The chances are that the letter posted can take a long time to arrive at its destination. However, there have been cases where it has arrived before the sender.
We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warbler and Lava Lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles. As well, the island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus Pinnatifidus, and the Galapagos Milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions. (Difficulty level: easy; Type of terrain: sandy; Duration: 30-minute walk / 1-hour snorkeling). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Sun): Highlands Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island)-Baltra Airport-Guayaquil.
Dry landing. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different kind of birds, such as: tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a birdwatchers’ haven, since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here. (Difficulty level: easy; Type of terrain: flat & muddy, depending on season; Duration: 45-minute drive / 1.5-hour walk).
After the visit, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your flight to Guayaquil. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Guayaquil. (B)
Day 8 (Mon): Guayaquil-Santiago.
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Santiago, Chile. 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 Santiago. (B)
Day 9 (Tue): Santiago-City Tour-Winery Tour.
In the morning, you will have a panoramic city tour of Santiago, which will include Parque O’Higgins, Plaza de Armas (the city’s historic center), Palacio de la Moneda, ex-National Congress, Mapocho Station Cultural Center, Santa Lucia Hill, the place of Santiago’s founding in 1541,and the Bohemian district of Bellavista. In the afternoon, you will visit your choice of one of the following vineyards around Santiago (included in price): Concha y Torro, Cousino Macul, and Undurraga. Overnight in Santiago. (B)
Day 10 (Wed): Santiago-Easter Island.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Easter Island. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Easter Island. (B)
Day 11 (Thu): Easter Island-Rano Raraku-Anakena Beach.
Full day excursion visiting the archaeological site of Akahanga and the quarry at Rano Raraku volcano, where all of the moai on the island were carved. You will see over 300 statues in various stages of completion, and one giant moai, 21 meters (69 ft.) tall. You will also visit Ahu Tongariki, the largest ahu (burial site), whose moai were re-erected after a tsunami flattened the statues, Ahu Te Pito Kura, site of the largest moai moved from the quarry, and the ahu Nau Nau at Anakena Beach. Picnic lunch at Anakena Beach. Overnight in Easter Island. (B,L)
Day 12 (Fri): Easter Island-Orongo-Ahu Akivi.
Morning visit to the Rano Kau extinct volcano crater (1.6 km in diameter), the ceremonial village of Orongo, which features the largest concentration of Petroglyphs on the island, with images of post-moai deity’s, such as Tangata Manu (birdman), Make Make (the creator), and Komari, and then to Ahu Vinapu. After lunch (not included), the tour continues on to Ahu Akivi, site of the seven moais overlooking the sea, the Caves of Ana Tepahu, among the largest on the island, and Pun-a-Pau quarry, the sole source of red scoria that was used to carve the pukao (topknots) of some of the moia. Overnight in Easter Island. (B)
Day 13 (Sat): Easter Island-Santiago.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Santiago. (B)
Day 14 (Sun): Santiago-Buenos Aires-Panoramic City Tour.
Transfer to the airport for your 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.
In the afternoon, 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. Overnight in Buenos Aires. (B)
Day 15 (Mon): Buenos Aires-Dinner and Tango Show.
Free day at leisure or to enjoy an optional tour (not included). 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 16 (Tue): 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 17 (Wed): 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 18 (Thu): 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 19 (Fri): Iguazu Falls.
Transfer the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including service fees and taxes.
- Accommodations on board the M/Y Coral I and II.
- 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.
- Use of snorkeling equipment.
- Evening briefings during the cruise.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Fuel surcharge for the ship ($50).
- 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.
Group Private: All services in Quito and Galapagos are operated on a group basis. In Santiago, all airport transfers are private, and the city tour and vineyard tour are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations. All services in Easter Island are operated on a group basis for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and are private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations. In Buenos Aires, the Panoramic City Tour and Tango Dinner Show are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations. 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.
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 Chile, U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens (except Greece) require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Greek citizens can stay for up to 60 days. Australian, and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee (considered a multiple entry visa) of $95 and $132 respectively upon arrival (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons). Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Chilean embassy in their country before traveling. For Argentina, U.S., Canadian, Australian, and EU citizens require a valid passport (for the duration of their stay), sufficient funds, and a return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months of valid term beyond your departure date. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Argentina embassy in their country before traveling. For Brazil, U.S., Canadian, and Australian citizens require a valid passport (for the duration of their stay) and visa (effective October 1, 2023), sufficient funds, and a return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. EU Citizens are only required to have a valid passport (for the duration of their stay), sufficient funds, and a return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months of valid term beyond your departure date. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Brazilian embassy 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: Call or email us to confirm the availability of the ship for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,000 per person 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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