Quito and 5 Day Horizon Cruise – Northern Galapagos Islands
8 Days/7 Nights
From $5,539 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Cruise the Northern Galapagos Islands aboard the luxurious 16 passenger Horizon trimaran, one of the newest ships in operation. Travel in comfort to the visitor sites on Bartolome, Rabida, Santiago, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, and North Seymour Islands. Hike to a lookout point to see all of Sullivan Bay, swim and snorkel with sea lions, enjoy up-close encounters with blue, red-footed, and Nazca boobies, and observe giant tortoises in their natural setting.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 7 nights (3 nights in Quito and 4 nights aboard the Horizon) 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 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 (Tue): Quito-Baltra Airport-Bartolome Island.
Morning transfer to the airport in Quito for the flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival to the airport in Baltra 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.
Bartolome Island. This island is well known for its incredible remnants of volcano cones and distinct terrain such as Pinnacle Rock. A hike will lead you up to the top of a lookout point to see all of Sullivan Bay. You might be able to see lava lizards and various sea birds flying above. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Activities: Walk on the boardwalk, hiking, snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Dry and Wet are both possibilities; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, lava lizards, frigate birds.
Day 4 (Wed): Rabida Island-Egas Port (Santiago).
Rabida Island. This visitor site is quite different from others as it has a very distinct and red fine gravel beach due to the iron content. Snorkeling can be done here with spectacular sights of tropical fish. Visitors like to walk along the beach taking in the sights and also visit the black lagoon with pink flamingos.
Activities: Walking on the beach, swimming and snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, pelican, manta rays, sea turtles, pink flamingos, lava lizards, Galapagos doves, blue-footed boobies.
Egas Port. This visitor site is also known as James Bay, it is home to Galapagos hawks, lava lizards and the trails lead to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools full of fauna. Fur seals, different from the common sea lions can also be seen here. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Activities: Walking on the beach, swimming and snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, pelican, stingrays, sea turtles, fur seals, marine iguanas, lava lizards, Galapagos doves, blue-footed boobies.
Day 5 (Thu): Darwin Bay-El Barranco (Genovesa Island).
Darwin Bay. A white sand coral beach leads the way to a hiking trail through mangroves filled with many different species of land birds and other famous species like blue-footed and red-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Towards the end of the hike are tidal pools where you can find sea lions swimming playfully and finally a spectacular view off a cliff.
Activities: Hike and/or snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy/moderate; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, red-footed boobies, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, and lava lizards.
El Barranco is also known as Prince Philip’s Steps. It is an extraordinary site on the flatter area of the island in Darwin’s Bay. Be prepared to make your way up a rocky crevasse, then enjoy the easy trail to spectacular views. This is one of the few visitor sites where all three booby species can be seen, as well as the short-eared owl. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Activities: Hike; Difficulty: Moderate/difficult; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, all three boobie species, short-eared owls, marine iguanas, Galapagos doves, storm petrels, finches, frigatebirds.
Day 6 (Fri): Mosquera Islet-Highlands of Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz Island).
Mosquera Islet. Located between the islands of Baltra and North Seymour lays a reef made of coral. This was the result of volcanic uprising making the islet only 160 meters across at its narrowest width. It has one of the largest populations of sea lions and is home to many shorebirds. On occasion, orcas can be seen hunting off the shoreline.
Activities: Panga ride; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: No landing; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds and seabirds, frigatebirds, orcas.
Highlands of Santa Cruz. The highlands are located in the northern part of Santa Cruz Island and can reach elevations up to 1,500 meters. This area is rich with hills, ferns, volcanoes and wildlife. A great contrast to the molten lava hardened beaches and rocky areas of other islands already seen. It is home to giant tortoises, mockingbirds, finches and many other species. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Activities: Hike; Difficulty: Moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Galapagos tortoises, finches, mockingbirds, lava lizards, pintail ducks, other shorebirds.
Day 7 (Sat): North Seymour Island-Baltra Airport-Quito.
North Seymour Island. Explore the rocky coast of North Seymour passing colonies of blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. The island was formed by a series of submarine lava expelled from the ocean floor, carrying with it layers of sediment uplifted by the tectonic activity. The island is mostly characterized by arid vegetation.
Activities: Hike, snorkel, panga ride; Difficulty: Moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Marine iguanas, frigatebirds, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, finches, land iguanas.
Following this excursion, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your return flight Quito. 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.
- 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 Sunday 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 $2,100 per person in Single Occupancy, $1,600 per person in double occupancy, and $1,500 per person in 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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