Quito and 5 Day EcoGalaxy Cruise – Northern Galapagos Islands
8 Days/7 Nights
From $3,559 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Travel aboard the 16 passenger EcoGalaxy Catamaran for a five-day cruise to the Northern Galapagos Islands. Beginning in Quito, the world’s first UNESCO world heritage site, discover the city’s colonial architecture and rich history. Then head to the Galapagos to get up close to its ecological treasures, including land and marine iguanas, frigatebirds, and three species of boobies. You can also spot giant tortoises in their natural setting and snorkel and swim with sea lions.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 7 nights (3 nights in Quito and 4 nights aboard the EcoGalaxy), and 15 meals (7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 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 (Sun): 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 (Mon): 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 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)
Day 3 (Tue): Quito-San Cristobal Airport-Lobos Island.
Departure to the Galapagos Islands, arrival at San Cristobal airport, where our naturalist guide of the National Park will be waiting for you.
Lobos island is a small islet separated from San Cristobal by a narrow channel, forming a sheltered bay where sea lion pups play in tidal pools. Despite its small size, the island is surprisingly packed with wildlife, especially with “lobos marinos”, the Spanish name for sea lions. Groups of sea lions will welcome you at the landing spot, but as you walk a few steps inland, male frigatebirds displaying their inflated red balloons will be perched on the bushes and trees. A small colony of blue footed boobies, which often nest right on the trail, will give you the opportunity to observe their famous courtship dance.
This is a great snorkeling location as the water are usually calm and the sea lions often play with divers to show off their swimming skills. Sea turtles and rays are often seen resting in the sandy bottoms. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Wed): Santa Fe-South Plaza.
Santa Fe. Giant Prickly-pear cactus and barren lava rocks surround the landing spot at Santa Fe, located inside one of the most beautiful bays in the Galapagos. Turquoise water and white sand beaches make this location a perfect home for a large colony of sea lions which you will see basking in the sand. Inland, look down for endemic Santa Fe land iguanas, but also look up for Galapagos hawks, which often perch at the top of the cactus looking for prey. Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and lava lizards are also common along the trail.
After the hike, you will have the option to kayak or snorkel in the sheltered waters inside the bay, where you can swim with sea lion pups and reef sharks. Also look for sea turtles, rays and a large variety of tropical fish including large schools of surgeonfish and parrotfish.
South Plazas. Of the two twin islands, only South Plazas is allowed to be visited, while North plazas is kept exclusively for scientific research. This is a small islet, but it packs an impressive amount of wildlife. Right after you land you will see Galapagos land iguanas waiting under prickly-pear cactus feed on their fruits. A large colony of sea lions will give you the opportunity to see playful pups enjoying the tide pools, but also large grumpy males defending their territories. The trail will take you to a cliff where you can observe many sea birds, such as frigatebirds, red-billed tropicbirds, boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and pelicans. A reddish succulent vegetation with scattered cactus covers most of the islands like a carpet, giving this island a unique personality. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Thu): North Seymour-Mosquera Islet.
North Seymour. This island is home for large colonies of both magnificent and great frigatebirds and you can see them displaying their red balloons to attract a female. Blue-footed boobies nest in the ground and perform their famous dance in the open areas, while swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges. Land iguanas are common inland while their marine cousins bask in the rocks by the sea, close to sea lions, which often like to body surf in the waves.
This place is a really great snorkeling location, as it has tremendous diversity and amount of fish, but also sea lions, sharks, eels, turtles, rays and many more.
Mosquera Islet is mostly a barren sand bar with some rocky areas and scattered salt-resistant plants. You can walk along the beach and enjoy seeing playful sea lion pups surfing the waves and having a great time in the tide pools. Look for endemic lava gulls which are often seen flying over the beach in the search of food.
If the waves are not too big you can snorkel at the northern tip of the island or at one of the small beaches in the sheltered side. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Fri): Darwin Bay-El Barranco (Genovesa).
Darwin Bay. Genovesa is a favorite island for birdwatchers as it is home to very large colonies of seabirds. From the minute you set foot at the beach you will be amazed by the noise of hundreds of boobies, gulls and frigatebirds flying over your heads, perched in the bushes or nesting on the sandy terrain. The trail is an ultimate wildlife experience as there are animals everywhere; sea lions and marine iguanas near the sea; night herons, lava & swallow-tailed gulls, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and many more species inland.
The bay offers several places to snorkel; from deep waters along the cliffs across the bay, to shallow waters by the beach. In either case, there are many fish to see and great chances of seeing sharks, rays and sea lions.
El Barranco is located in the southern part of Darwin Bay at Genovesa Island. The cliffs that face the sea are made of very fragile fractured lava, making it the ideal place for storm petrels to build their colonies, which attracts an important population of short-eared owls preying of the nesting birds. Red footed and Nazca boobies are abundant along the trail. At the base of the cliffs you can see Galapagos fur seals resting in shaded areas, as well as several species of seabirds.
You can snorkel along the cliffs where there are many fish and great chances of seeing sharks, rays and sea lions. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Sat): Highlands (Santa Cruz)-Baltra Airport-Quito.
Highlands. If you do this visit starting from Baltra or from Puerto Ayora, a bus will take you to the highlands stopping along the way at one of the reserves to visit the lush highland forests where you will look for Galapagos Giant tortoises in their natural environment. This is the best place in the Galapagos to see these gentle giants (reaching over 300 kg / 600 pounds!) casually grazing and resting in freshwater ponds. This is also home for a great diversity of birds rarely found at the lowlands, including finches (tree, woodpecker and vegetarian finches), flycatchers and several species of water birds. You will visit a lava tunnel (depend on the itinerary) and learn how these extraordinary formations were created by ancient volcanic eruptions.
Following the visit, transfer to the airport for your return flight to continental Ecuador. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 8 (Sun): 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.
- There is a Child Discount for Children between 6 and 11 years of age travelling with two full paying adults.
Alternating Sunday Departures Throughout the Year.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Three nights accommodations at Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar).
- Accommodations on board the M/C EcoGalaxy.
- All meals scheduled on board (including soft drinks, coffee, tea, and purified water) and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Use of snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and paddleboards.
- Use of wetsuits.
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.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides.
- 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 $1,000 per person, 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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