Quito and 6 Day EcoGalaxy Cruise – Southern Galapagos Islands
9 Days/8 Nights
From $4,259 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Travel aboard the 16 passenger EcoGalaxy Catamaran for a six-day cruise to the Southern 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 giant tortoises, waved albatross, and flamingos. You can also hike to the top of Bartolome Island for a spectacular view of Pinnacle Rock and Sullivan Bay.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 8 nights (3 nights in Quito and 5 nights aboard the EcoGalaxy), and 18 meals (8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 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 (Tue): 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 (Wed): 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 (Thu): Quito-Baltra Airport-Bachas (Santa Cruz).
Departure to the Galapagos Islands, arrival at Baltra Airport, where our naturalist guide of the National Park will be waiting for you.
Bachas gets its name from the remains of two large barges (mispronounced by locals as “bachas”) left by the Americans during WWII. At low tide you can still see the iron skeletons of the barges buried in the white sand. From November till May, this place is also one of the most important sea turtle nesting grounds in the entire Galapagos islands. There are also several small saltwater lagoons where we often see flamingoes, herons, and other aquatic birds.
After the walk, you will have the option to swim or snorkel from the beach. The area is rich in some of the most common fish species of the Galapagos, but you can also find white-tipped reef sharks and rays. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Fri): Sullivan Bay (Santiago)-Bartolome.
Sullivan Bay. This hike is a journey into understanding the birth of these volcanic islands. You will walk in a very well-preserved flow of Pahoehoe lava, which will give you endless opportunities to see the delicate textures of these type of lavas which only appear in a few places throughout the world. At first sight the barren landscape looks completely deprived of life, but look carefully for pioneer plants, lava lizards and small birds. By the shore, you can find penguins, pelicans, and oystercatchers.
You will have the option to swim or snorkel from a coral sand beach or from the dinghies. Getting underwater is like traveling to another world: if the land is almost lifeless, the sea is teaming with life, including large schools of fish, Galapagos penguins, reef sharks, turtles and rays.
Bartolome is one of the most iconic places in the Galapagos and one of the few where you can see penguins without going to the remote areas of western Isabela and Fernandina. You will get great views of Pinnacle Rock, located in the northern side of the island, right next to a beautiful peach-color sand beach. The hike to the top of the island is fantastic and will offer you incredible views of lunar landscapes with scattered volcanic cones. Many islands are visible from this outlook, as well as Sullivan Bay and Pinnacle Rock.
You will have the option to swim or snorkel from the beach. This area holds a well-deserved reputation of being one of the best snorkeling places in the Galapagos, not only because it’s clear and calm water, but also because of the presence of penguins, which are relatively easy to find while snorkeling, along with an incredible diversity of fish, colorful invertebrates, sea lions, turtles, rays, and reef sharks. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Sat): Highlands of Santa Cruz-Charles Darwin Station (Santa Cruz).
For this tour, 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 (depending upon the itinerary) and learn how these extraordinary formations were created by ancient volcanic eruptions.
The Charles Darwin Station is a nonprofit organization which has been working for decades together with the Galapagos National Park to preserve the biodiversity of these unique islands. During this visit you will learn about the projects that both institutions carry together to protect the native species and eradicate the invasive ones which are threatening the Galapagos environment. One of the most important and emblematic projects has been reproducing giant tortoises in captivity. The visit is mostly outdoors in a beautiful dry native forest with giant cactus and many other interesting native plants. It is also a fantastic place to find several endemic Darwin finches, as well as flycatchers and mockingbirds. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Sun): Punta Cormorant-Devil’s Crown-Post Office Bay (Floreana).
Punta Cormorant is located on the north of Floreana, and it is known for its large coastal lagoon with American flamingoes, white-cheeked pintails, black-necked stilts, and other shorebirds. There is a beautiful white sand beach which is an important nesting ground for green sea turtles where you can also see rays and reef sharks. In the last years, a small group of blue-footed boobies have started to breed right by the trail. This is also a great trail to look at endemic plants.
Snorkeling can be done at Devil’s Crown, a heavily eroded little volcano right by Floreana island. This is considered by many as one of the best snorkeling sites in the entire archipelago as the current funnels plankton through the Crown, attracting huge schools of snapper, Creole fish, parrot fish, angelfish, reef sharks, sea turtles, rays and a phenomenal amount of marine life.
Floreana is famous for the tales of German settlers and the baroness during the late 1920’s and 30 ‘s. Assassinations, disappearances and other unsolved mysteries are the ingredients of this fascinating story.
Post Office Bay was often used by whalers to anchor their ships and go up to the highlands to get freshwater and tortoises. Most boats visiting the Galapagos had to come to this place sooner or later, so a system of mail was established more than 200 years ago: a barrel near the beach became the way to leave messages for other ships, and also to the outside world. This mail system is still in use and will allow you to send postcards from the Galapagos to the outside world.
Aside from a small, beautiful beach and a lava tunnel, the area is great for dinghy tours to look for sea lions, green sea turtles, shorebirds, small sharks and, with some luck, Galapagos penguins.
There is great snorkel from the beach, as you can see lots of sea turtles, rays, a great diversity of fish and, if you are really lucky, Galapagos penguin. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Mon): Suarez Point-Gardner Bay (Española).
Suarez Point. This rocky trail is one the most amazing nature walks you can do in the Galapagos islands. From the moment you set foot on Española Island and all the way along the trail, the amount and diversity of fauna is truly amazing. Sea lions and marine iguanas will be the first ones welcoming you, followed by large colonies of sea birds, including Nazca and Blue-footed boobies, gulls, and tropicbirds. At the end of the trail, you will visit a colony of waved albatross (April to January), the largest bird in the islands and one of the most interesting because of its powerful flight and elaborate courtship. Waved albatross only nest at Española, so this is the only place where you will see them at close range.
The beach at Gardner Bay is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and interesting beaches to visit in the Galapagos. Its fine coral sand and turquoise water give it a totally tropical appearance, which contrasts with the presence of sea lions basking on the beach. You will have the opportunity to walk along the beach and learn about the biology of sea lions and other endemic species, such as the Española mockingbird, marine iguana, and Galapagos hawk.
There are several great snorkeling places at Gardner Bay. It is a fantastic site to swim with sea lions, reef sharks, rays and many species of fish, including Angelfish, Parrotfish, Damselfish, Surgeonfish and many others. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 8 (Tue): Interpretation Center-San Cristobal Airport-Quito.
Located on the outskirts of Puerto Baquerizo, this center is dedicated to the history of the human presence in the Galapagos. Since the times of the early Spanish explorers to the present times, including illustrious visitors such as Charles Darwin, this permanent exhibition will take you through the dangers and struggles of the first settlers trying to survive the harsh Galapagos environment.
Following the tour, you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to Quito. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 9 (Wed): 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 Tuesday 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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