Quito and 4 Day Horizon Cruise – Southern Galapagos Islands
7 Days/6 Nights
From $4,299 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Cruise the Southern Galapagos Islands aboard the luxurious 16 passenger Horizon trimaran, one of the newest ships in operation. Travel in comfort to the visitor sites on San Cristobal, Española, and Santa Cruz Islands. Swim and snorkel with sea lions, enjoy up-close encounters with blue and red-footed boobies, and observe the courtship dance of the waved albatross. You will also experience a salt-water lagoon with flamingos.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 6 nights (3 nights in Quito and 3 nights aboard the Horizon) 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.
Day 1 (Thu): 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 (Fri): City Tour of Quito-Middle of the World.
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 foot 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)
Day 3 (Sat): Quito-San Cristobal Airport-Lobos Island-Kicker Rock (San Cristobal Island).
Morning transfer to the airport in Quito for the flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival to the airport in San Cristobal you will be greeted by a guide and crew member of the ship M/T Horizon and taken to the ship and your cabin. Afterwards, the guide and cruise manager will hold a short briefing on all safety and emergency protocols, the different areas of the ship, and the normal routine of the itinerary.
Lobos Island is aptly named after the many sea lions that reside here resting and playing along the rocky shores. It is also home to many different birds like pelicans, frigate birds and their nests, yellow warblers and more. Within the small channel the waters are very clear, making it easy to find sea turtles, sea lions, stingrays and perhaps even white-tipped sharks. Overnight aboard the ship (B,L,D)
Activities: Short hiking, swimming and snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy/moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs, frigate birds.
Day 4 (Sun): Pitt Point-Witch Hill (San Cristobal Island).
When arriving to Pitt Point, it will feel almost like you’ve landed on an extraterrestrial planet. You can see the many different developments over time of how volcanic activity formed this island. A hike up to the top beholds amazing views of the surrounding waters. Watch out for blue-footed booby nests on the ground and keep an eye out for the red-footed boobies nesting in the trees once you reach the top of the island.
Activities: Hiking and kayaking; Difficulty: Moderate to difficult; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies; What to Bring: Sturdy hiking shoes and walking sticks to aid on the uneven terrain.
Witch Hill. Passing by on a panga your guide and crew will show you amazing rock formations formed by the passing of time and erosion of the sea. You’ll finally arrive to a beautiful white sandy beach to spend the time swimming or basking in the sun. Frolic with sea lions who may swim by playfully or take a walk down the entire beach and back. Overnight aboard the ship (B,L,D)
Activities: Panga ride, swimming and snorkeling; Difficulty: Moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs; What to Bring: Swimwear and/or sandals or shoes for both land and water.
Day 5 (Mon): Suarez Point-Gardner Bay (Española Island).
Suarez Point. This is the only nesting site in Galapagos where the Waved Albatross nests. They come back only once a year to meet the same mate, year after year. They spend the rest of the year at sea. Apart from these amazing birds are the Galapagos Hawks that can be seen and the amazing formations and blow hole on the other side of the island, reached by a hike.
Activities: Hike; Difficulty: Easy/moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, marine iguanas, Galapagos hawk, waved albatross, red-billed tropic birds, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs; What to Bring: Sturdy hiking shoes and walking sticks to aid on uneven terrain.
Gardner Bay is an excellent place to see sea lions lounging on the beach while mockingbirds get up close to see if they can steal water or crumbs. Over time, the mockingbird must have been offered water or food from tourists and now they have no fear of walking on your things or landing very close to you. It is so important not to feed or touch the animals. It can disrupt their normal behaviors and threaten their future. Overnight aboard the ship (B,L,D)
Activities: Walking on the beach and swimming; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, mockingbirds, stingrays, sea turtles; What to Bring: Swimwear and footwear for walking in and out of the water.
Day 6 (Tue): Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island)-Baltra Airport-Quito.
Bachas Beach has beautiful green and blue waters that contrast along the surf of the black lava shores. In the air various shore birds fly searching for food. On the shore you can explore the sand dunes and find a salt-water lagoon with greater pink flamingos.
Activities: Walking on the beach and swimming; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, mockingbirds, sea turtles, flamingos.
After this visit, you will have time to gather your belongings and then the guide and cruise manager will thank you for your time. Then, you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to Quito. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 7 (Wed): Quito.
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 valid until December 20, 2022.
- Triple cabins are available and based on one child under 12 years old sharing with two full-paying adults.
- The minimum age for this cruise is 7 years old.
Alternating Thursday Departures Throughout the Year. Call for availability.
- 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/T Horizon.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Regular soft drinks and juices during the cruise.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Use of snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, and kayaks.
- Evening briefings.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guide ($15/day for the crew, $10/day for the naturalist guide).
- Alcoholic beverages and plastic bottled beverages during the cruise.
- 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: 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: Call or email us to confirm the availability of this ship for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,800 per person in Single Occupancy, $1,300 per person in double and triple occupancy, plus the cost of the international airfare (if we arrange it for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.
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