Quito and 5 Day La Pinta Cruise – Northern Galapagos Islands
8 Days/7 Nights
From $5,489 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Explore Quito and the northern Galapagos Islands on this luxury tour of Ecuador. The tour starts in Quito with a city tour and visit to the Middle of the World complex, and continues on to the Galapagos. Highlights include observing giant tortoises at the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island and marine iguanas on Sombrero China Islet, hiking to the summit of Bartolome Island, and viewing frigate birds, boobies, and mockingbirds on Genovesa Island. Opportunities for snorkeling, sea kayaking, and glass bottom boating are also available.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 7 nights (3 nights in Quito and 4 nights aboard the La Pinta), 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 (Sat): Quito.
Day 2 (Sun): City Tour of Quito-Equatorial Monument.
Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 16 miles north of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 3 (Mon): Quito-Baltra Airport-Highlands of Santa Cruz.
Highlands of Santa Cruz. After lunch, you continue by bus to reach a reserve that is one of the best places in the archipelago to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around, eating grass and leaves and wallowing in the small pools. There are several lava tunnels in the reserve, too. A short bus ride takes you down to Puerto Ayora to board Yacht La Pinta. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Tue): Eden Islet (Santa Cruz)-Sombrero China Islet.
Sombrero Chino Islet. The tiny island of Sombrero Chino gets its name from its appearance, reminiscent of a Chinese hat. This islet, formed only fairly recently, makes a beautiful visit as one explores the wildlife along its 400-metre long trail, which begins at a crescent-shaped white sandy beach. The cove offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities amid white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos penguins. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Wed): Bartolome-Sullivan Bay (Santiago).
Sullivan Bay. After lunch, you board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach great for swimming and snorkeling, and with a trail over a lava field that flowed here less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos while observing its wildlife. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Thu): Darwin Bay-Prince Philip’s Steps (Genovesa).
Prince Philip’s Steps. The afternoon starts with a very interesting panga ride along the cliffs before you disembark for a short but steep climb up a wooden staircase. Once at the top, the land is flat, allowing for a captivating walk of about a mile to the other side of this small island, observing large colonies of Nazca boobies, frigate birds and storm petrels and the elusive short eared owl. Farewell Cocktail, departure briefing and dinner. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Fri): Baltra Airport-Quito.
Day 8 (Sat): Quito.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Prices & Dates
Price per Person
- The above prices are valid until December 21, 2020.
- Three Cabins are available for Single use, with a surcharge of 50%.
- Triple rates are based on one child under 12 sharing cabin with two adults paying full fare.
- There is a high season (Dec 21, 2020-Jan 4, 2021) surcharge of $233 per adult and $140 per child.
Every other Saturday departures throughout the year.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Private airport/hotel transfers on the first and last day of the tour, and shared transfers out/in from select hotels in Quito and in/out in the Galapagos islands on the date of the cruise.
- Three nights hotel accommodations at Swissotel Quito (or similar) including service fees and taxes.
- Accommodations on board the Yacht La Pinta.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Soft drinks and juices during the cruise.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Evening briefings and lectures.
- Use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare ($508).
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides.
- Bar, 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, except for the shuttle transfers to/from the airport on the first and last days of the cruise, 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 a cabin on this ship for your desired dates of travel. The non-refundable deposits for single, double, and triple passengers are $1,700, $1,350, and $1,250 per person, plus the cost of the airfare (if we arrange it for you).
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