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 Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel
Discover the endemic wildlife and volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos Islands on this tour. With the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel as your base for four days, you will explore Santa Cruz and other nearby islands by land and sea. Highlights include observing Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild at El Manzanillo and in captivity at the Charles Darwin Station and visiting the stunning white sand beach at Tortuga Bay. Other islands, including North Seymour, Bartolome, South Plaza, and Santa Fe may also be visited, depending upon your travel days.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 6 nights (3 nights in Quito, and 3 nights at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel), and 12 meals (6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners).
Best Time to Go: Year-Round.
This morning, you will visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stroll starts at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. Continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 16 miles north of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator. (B)
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival in Baltra, you will be transferred to the hotel. Enroute, you will stop at El Manzanillo at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve in the Highlands of Santa Cruz. El Manzanillo is located on the natural path tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. The Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living tortoise species, weighing up to 250 kg (550 lb). It plays an important biological role as the top grazer in its habitat. In the wild, these gentle giants slowly barrel their way through the plant cover. The shape of their carapaces varies from island to island. On Santa Cruz, year-round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-colored pond (impressively colored by surface red pond-weeds).
The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit. On the return to Puerto Ayora, visit one of the island’s lava tunnels, significant geological formations that take us back in time and allow us to remember how lava flows formed the islands. Lunch at El Manzanillo. Overnight at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. (B,L,D)
Choice of full day land-based or yacht exploration. Overnight at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. (B,L,D)
Choice of full day land-based or yacht exploration. Overnight at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. (B,L,D)
Transfer to Baltra Airport for your return flight to Quito. Upon arrival, you will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Full Day Land-Based Exploration Option
Tortuga Bay and Charles Darwin Research Station
Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means “turtle”, and the island received this moniker because it is sea turtles favorite place to lay their eggs. The stunning white sand beach is considered by many the most beautiful in the Galapagos archipelago. The beach is reached via a marked and cobbled two kilometer-path that starts at the west end of Charles Binford Street; guests must sign in and out at the National Park control point at the beginning of the path– it is open from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily. There is excellent bird-watching along the path, with plenty of Darwin’s finches and other sea birds. And for active visitors, it is a great place to kayak, snorkel and surf!
The headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service and The Charles Darwin Research Station are located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation center open to the public and also a tortoise rearing program. Those guests who do not have the opportunity to explore the highlands of Santa Cruz and see tortoises in their natural habitat will have the chance to see tortoises here. And for those who have already seen them in the wild, a visit to the Center will expand their knowledge of this unique, iconic Galapagos animal. Lunch included.
Full Day Yacht Exploration Options (Choice of Two)
North Seymour Island
North Seymour was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit among the ledges and rocks. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom. This island is teaming with life! Lunch included. (Monday and Sunday)
Bartolome is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best-known landmark in the islands. Galapagos penguins—the only species of penguin found north of the equator—walk precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers. Lunch included. (Saturday)
South Plaza Island
South Plaza is a small island full of fascinating wildlife, both along its shore and along its dramatic, wind-swept cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colors according to the season. South Plaza is one of Galapagos’ most impressive visitor sites. Lunch included. (Tuesday and Friday)
Santa Fe Island
Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically, and you can see underwater lava formations. Lunch included. (Wednesday and Thursday)
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
|Finch Bay Room (Garden View)||$4,249||$2,869||$2,569|
|Finch Bay Suite (Ocean View)||$4,869||$3,179||$2,849|
- The above prices are valid until December 15, 2018.
Daily 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.
- Meals as indicated on the itinerary.
- Choice of one full day land-based and two full day yacht explorations in the Galapagos.
- Use of snorkeling equipment.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Optional activities with extra cost: kayaking, mountain biking, diving, and surfing.
- Gratuities, 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 are private, and all services in the Galapagos 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 $900 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.