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.
Quito and 5 Day Galapagos Legend Cruise – Western Islands
Experience Quito and the Western Galapagos Islands on this wondrous tour of Ecuador. In Quito, the country’s capital and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, you will have a city tour and then visit the Middle of the World monument outside of the city. The tour continues with a five day cruise aboard the 100 passenger Galapagos Legend. Highlights include observing sea lions on the red sand beaches of Rabida Island, Galapagos penguins at Tagus Cove on Isabela Island, and marine iguanas at Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 7 nights (3 nights in Quito and 4 nights aboard the Galapagos Legend) 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.
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 guides and taken on a ten minute bus ride to the pier to board the M/V Galapagos Legend.
Bachas Beach (wet landing). On the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds where iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, and 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). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Egas Port (wet landing). 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).
Rabida Island (wet landing). Dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home to sea lion colonies; Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September plus nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches. Here a dinghy ride along marine cliffs is done, to observe nesting seabirds. Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active. (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling/one hour dinghy ride). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Urbina Bay (wet landing). 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 is possible from May to 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 it. 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: 2 hour walk/40-minute dinghy ride/one hour deep water snorkeling). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Espinosa Point (dry landing). From Espinosa Point, it is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel. This area boasts 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 offers 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 Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with few brachycereus cacti and in the shore mangrove can be found. (Duration: 1.5 hour walk/one hour snorkeling).
Vicente Roca Point. Experience great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth, the Bolivar Channel. Accessible by water, you take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, and flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, a perfect place for deep snorkeling. (Duration: one hour snorkeling/one hour dinghy ride). Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Highlands Tortoise Reserve (dry landing). In the mountains of Galapagos you can observe different kinds of birds, including 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 also offers a great opportunity to see contrasting ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a bird watchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here. (Duration: 45 minute drive/1.5 hour walk).
After the visit, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your return flight to Quito. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
- The above prices are valid until December 10, 2017.
Every other Saturday 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.
- Accommodations on board the M/V Galapagos Legend.
- 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 guides ($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.
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.