Quito and 5 Day Coral I and II Cruise

8 Days/7 Nights

From $3,099 pp

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Overview

This tour combines colonial Quito with a five day Galapagos Islands cruise on the Coral I and II. The Coral I and II are mid-sized yachts, perfect for an intimate experience while cruising the islands. They can accommodate 36 and 20 passengers in spacious sea view cabins with a/c, lower twin or double beds, private bathrooms, LCD TV’s, and safes. Some of the cabins interconnect, which is ideal for families. Social areas include a Jacuzzi, lounge, restaurant, bar, boutique, library, and expansive observation decks with sun/shade areas. Wet suits ($25) can be rented on board. (Note that these ships are sold together, and passengers will be assigned to one of the ships at the sole discretion of the operator of the ship.)

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

Best Time to Go: Year-Round.

Destinations: South America, Ecuador, & Galapagos.

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

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)

Morning transfer to the airport in Quito for the flight to 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 and II.

Ballena Bay (wet landing). Ballena (whale) Bay is a beautiful green sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. The beach contains a large amount of olivine crystals of volcanic origin. The crystals were formed when the magma was still underground. The content is magnesium, iron and silica. A small population of tortoises from Pinzón Island lived at the site, but were probably taken by whalers or previous inhabitants. Opportunity to see marine iguanas and sea birds followed by snorkeling. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Punta Vicente Roca is a promontory with two protected turquoise coves on either side of the remains of a tuff cone, one of them accessible from the sea only through water-filled subterranean passages, so it is a marine-only visitor site with really great opportunities for deep-water snorkeling thanks to its location at one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth (Bolivar Channel). In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the West offer an abundant food supply for marine species that supports a wide variety of marine life: Red-lipped batfish, Sea horses, Frogfish, Nudibranchs and Octopi, the Mola mola or Sun fish has also been spotted close to the rock walls. It is common to observe groups of dolphins, Sea Lions and tunas feeding here. The geological formations here are very impressive. A sheer cliff provides the perfect setting for a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds: Noddies, Brown pelicans, Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants. Marine birds such as Pelicans or Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once in these waters. There are whale-watching opportunities during the cold season (May-December) while navigating from Vicente Roca Point to Espinosa Point.

Punta Espinosa (dry landing). Punta Espinosa is the only spot that is visited on Fernandina, and from it one can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. The largest, most primitive-looking race of marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and sally Lightfoot Crabs; a wonderful opportunity to encounter Flightless Cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos Penguins, and the “King” of predators on the Islands, the Galapagos Hawk. “Pa-hoe-hoe” and “AA” lava formations cover the majority of the terrain. Vegetation is thus scarce inland, but you encounter Brachycereus cacti and extensive mangrove beds lining the shores. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Urbina Bay. Wet landing on a volcanic “black” beach. Depending on the season, you may find giant tortoises, land iguanas and the unusual Flightless Cormorant. After a short walk inland, snorkeling time is allotted, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plant life that changes depending on the season. You can observe the beautiful colors of plants that attract different insects, birds and reptiles. You will explore the uplifted coral reef that resulted from 1954 volcanic activity, with a spectacular view of Alcedo volcano.

Tagus Cove. Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest Island where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that formed it. The trail leads to Darwin salt-water Crater Lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. This us a great site to see land birds such as Galapagos Hawks, Ground and Tree finches, Large-billed flycatchers and Yellow warblers. We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we 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 extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the Equator. They lay their eggs in small cracks of lava, on the lower parts of the island near the shoreline not reached by the ocean waves. Most of the individuals live on this Western portion of Isabela, others are scattered further South on the Island. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past. Many names of the early visitors to this site, pirates and whalers, are written on the cliffs along the shore. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Wet landing a beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Darwin in 1835. The Salt Mines visitor site has an important history, on 1683 William Ambrose Cowley visited this place, it was he who gave the English name of James to the Bay and the Island. British buccaneers anchored in this whole area during the 1600s since it was a good place to provide them with water, tortoises and salt from the salt-lake that lied down into the crater.

The first part of Egas Port trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half of the trail is partially uneven terrain, comprised of volcanic basaltic rock that lounges the shoreline and takes you to the best tidal pool areas in the Galapagos that are populated by Fur Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds including the bizarre Yellow-crowned Night Heron, the Galapagos hawk is often observed in this area as well. Snorkeling in this place is a highlight, astounding array of marine wildlife including Lobster, Starfish and Marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Snorkeling also offers rarities such as Octopus or Squid. At this visitor site you can observe the two species of sea lions: Fur “seals” and Galapagos Sea Lion. Colonies of Endemic Fur Seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks can be seen.

Sullivan Bay (wet landing). This visitor site, located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island, and of important geologic interest, features extensive lava flows believed to have been formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

El Chato (dry landing). Travel to the Highlands of Santa Cruz to visit a private farm, Primicias (El Chato), where giant tortoises are found in their natural habitat. The road to the reserve is one of the best places to observe land birds. Tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers and Cattle Egrets inhabit the area.

Following the visit, transfer to Baltra Airport for the flight back to Quito. You will be greeted and then 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 and II - B Itinerary Map

Prices & Dates

Price per Person

Category Single Double Triple
Standard Plus Cabin $5,689 $3,099 n/a
Junior Cabin $6,089 $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, 2016.
  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 and 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 ($90).
  • 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 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, Galapagos Cruise Ship

First Class – Coral I and 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.