Quito and 5 Day Coral I & II Cruise – Western Galapagos Islands

8 Days/7 Nights

From $3,089 per person

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Overview

Discover the wildlife and landscapes of the Western 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 in the Highlands of Santa Cruz and marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and Galapagos Penguins on Isabela Island. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel the Bolivar Channel at Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island and Tagus Cove on Isabela Island.

Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 7 nights (3 nights in Quito and 4 nights aboard the Coral I & II) and 15 meals (7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners).

Best Time to Go: Year-Round.

Destinations: South America, Ecuador, and Galapagos.

Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Sea Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Wildlife Viewing.

Places Visited: Quito and the Galapagos Islands.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

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.

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.

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)

Departure from Quito to Baltra (2.5 hours flight).  Arriving in Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.

Highlands Tortoise Reserve (dry landing).  In the mountains of Galapagos, it is possible to admire different kinds 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.  (Duration: 45-minute drive/1.5 hour walk).  Overnight aboard the ship.  (B,L,D)

Vicente Roca Point is a high peak of land created out of remains of a tuff cone, with two protected turquoise coves on both sides.  One of them, the Bolivar Channel is one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth.  This place is only accessible by water, with great opportunities for deep-water snorkeling.  In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the west offer an abundant plankton supply for marine species like red-lipped batfish, seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, octopus, and the mola-mola or sunfish.  It is common to observe dolphin pods, sea lions rafts, and tuna banks.  The dinghy ride along the coast will allow the observation of a great diversity of seabirds like noddies, brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once during the cold season (May – December).  Whale watching is also common while navigating.  (Duration: one hour snorkeling/one hour dinghy ride).

Espinosa Point (dry landing).  From Espinosa Point, it is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that hosts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos.  Here, the largest most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and sally Lightfoot Crabs.  Fernandina Island offers a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites.  The Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos Hawk, can also be spotted.  Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain.  Vegetation is scarce inland, with the exception of a few brachycereus cacti.  Along the shore, mangrove can be found.  (Duration: two hour walk/one hour snorkeling).  Overnight aboard the ship.  (B,L,D)

Urbina Bay (wet landing, might be difficult due to the tide).  Volcanic black beach, depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant.  After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish.  Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants with the different range of colors in flowers, attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles.  One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity; here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable.  When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove, whale watching can be enjoyed from May-December.  (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling).

Tagus Cove. Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where you will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form the island.  The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.  You will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where you will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm tall; the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics.  The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south.  You will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water.  Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.  (Duration: two hour walk/40-minute dinghy ride/one hour deep water snorkeling).  Overnight aboard the ship.  (B,L,D)

Egas Port.  Egas Port is a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835.  The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock.  The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs.  It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.  (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling).

Sullivan Bay (wet landing).  This site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest.  It features extensive relative young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century.  In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-colored tuff cones appear.  Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures.  Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of being on another planet.  Tree molds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.  (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling/beach time).  Overnight aboard the ship.  (B,L,D)

Bachas Beach (wet landing).  On the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, and you can see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes.  This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos.  A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season with an average of 70 eggs each time.  At this paradisiacal site, you will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island.  Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas.  (Duration: one hour walk/one hour snorkeling/beach time).

Following the visit, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for the flight back to Quito.  Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.  Overnight in Quito.  (B)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Itinerary Map

Coral I & II - B Itinerary

Prices & Dates

Price per Person

Category Single Double Triple
Standard Plus Cabin $4,949 $3,089 n/a
Junior Cabin $5,349 $3,499 $3,239
** The prices shown above are in U.S. Dollars. See the cost of this tour in your currency here.

Notes:

  1. The above prices are valid until December 10, 2017.
  2. Single sharing is not available.
  3. Hotel upgrades are available upon request.

Departure Dates

Alternating Monday departures throughout the year.

What's Included

Price Includes

  • 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.

Accommodations

Quito

Swissotel Quito, Quito, Ecuador

5 Star – Swissotel Quito

Galapagos

Coral I & II, Galapagos Cruise Ships

First Class – Coral I & II

Additional Details

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.