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.
Quito and 4 Day Coral I & II Cruise – North/Central Galapagos Islands
Discover the wildlife and landscapes of the North/Central Galapagos Islands while traveling aboard the Coral I & II. Beginning in Quito, you will have a city tour and visit the Middle of the World complex. Highlights include observing giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Center and land iguanas at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island, viewing Pinnacle Rock from the summit of Bartolome Island, spotting sea lions on the red sand beach of Rabida Island, and snorkeling at Espumilla Beach on Santiago Island.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 6 nights (3 nights in Quito and 3 nights aboard the Coral I & II) and 12 meals (6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners).
Best Time to Go: Year-Round.
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.
In the morning, you will have a city tour of Quito. You will explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas, and visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compania and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. You will drive through the traditional neighborhood of San Juan and finish the morning at the Panecillo hillside, with its breathtaking views of the old and modern parts of the city.
Following the city tour, you will be driven to the “Middle of the World City” complex, which is located 11 miles north of Quito. Here, you will see the monument of the equatorial line, a 98 ft high stone trapezoidal monument with a brass globe on top. The monument forms the focal point of a park and leisure area with gift shops and restaurants. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Depart from Quito to Baltra (2.5 hour flight). Upon arrival in Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by the naturalist guides and taken by bus (ten minutes) to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
Charles Darwin Research Station & Fausto Llerena Breeding Center (dry landing). You will visit the Galapagos giant tortoises breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is operate by the Galapagos National Park (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborn tortoises) are reared until the age of five, when they are released in their native habitats, having the capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their own islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works on several scientific projects, botanical research, providing environmental education to communities and schools within the Islands, and tourists. Time allowing, you may be able to visit the small town of Puerto Ayora. (Duration: 1.5 hour visit). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Dragon Hill. You will walk past a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across a typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, there will be an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves. (Duration: two hour walk).
Bartolome (dry or wet landing). You will discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones — lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — that resembles the moon. Going up to the summit there will be impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. You also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies.
Beach time provides a great opportunity to snorkel and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes. (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Rabida. Also known as Jervis Island in English, Rabida is one of the most diverse in terms of volcanic activity as it lies at the very heart of the archipelago’s volcanic origin. On this deep red beach, surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes of volcanic cinder cones, it is usual to find nesting colonies of brown pelicans, as well as, nine species of Darwin finches, fur seals, and Nazca boobies. You will have the opportunity to snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active and colorful. (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling/one hour dinghy ride).
Bucaneers Cove is an amazing location, featuring the remains of an eroded shoreline that is home to seabirds, fur seals and the playful sea lions. Its different shapes have been made through a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind. Espumilla Beach is a white-sandy beach in James Bay and is a popular place among visitors. There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that leads to salt-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos. In the upper dunes is a nesting site for sea turtles. A good place to snorkel to see rays. (Duration: one hour hike/one hour snorkeling/beach time). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Black Turtle Cove. On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove form an internal lagoon. Turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface, while the fish and rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus seabirds including pelicans, herons, and egrets feed from the cove. This cove has been declared a “Turtle Sanctuary.” (Duration: one hour dinghy ride).
After the visit, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your return flight to Quito. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
|Standard Plus Cabin||$3,919||$2,419||n/a|
- The above prices are valid until December 10, 2017.
- Single sharing is not available.
- Hotel upgrades are available upon request.
Alternating Friday departures throughout the year.
- 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 & II.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Evening briefings.
- Use of snorkeling equipment.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare Quito-Galapagos-Quito ($449).
- Fuel surcharge for the ship ($50).
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guide ($20/day for the crew, $10/day for the naturalist guide).
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of international airfare and travel insurance, and to make these arrangements for you.
Group Private: All services included in this tour are operated on a group basis.
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.
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 $1,000 per person plus the cost of the international airfare (if we make the arrangements for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.