Quito and 7 Day Treasure of Galapagos Cruise – Western Islands
10 Days/9 Nights
From $5,999 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Head to the Western Galapagos Islands on this seven-day cruise aboard the Treasure of the Galapagos. You will learn about the breeding of giant tortoises and how they can be preserved for future generations on Santa Cruz Island, and observe fascinating creatures, including land iguanas, penguins, and flamingos on other islands. Highlights include the discovery of the volcanic origins of the archipelago, understanding the history of the visitor sites, and observing wildlife in its natural state.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 9 nights (3 nights in Quito and 6 nights aboard the Treasure of Galapagos), and 21 meals (9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 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 (Thu): 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 (Fri): 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 (Sat): Quito-Baltra Airport-Charles Darwin Station (Santa Cruz).
Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, you will pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, as well as to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid). A guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor.
Charles Darwin Station. Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. The main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 4 (Sun): Whale Bay-Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz).
The visitor site of Whale Bay is a cove of green sand at the base of Dragon Hill on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. The beach contains a large amount of olivine crystals, the same that originate from volcanic materials. The crystals were formed when the magma was still underground.
Near the beach there are ceramic relics, which reflect the same antiques of human settlements that were close to the beach in 1846. According to the accounts of the French captain Genie, a path originated from this site to the top of the island, which was used to collect fresh water. It is thought that in this place lived a group of people who were dedicated to the collection of lichen, used for tinting.
The visitor site at Dragon Hill has been open for visits since 1993. This site is located on northwestern Santa Cruz Island and consists of a trail that leads to a hyper-saline lagoon behind the beach, frequented by flamingos, pintail ducks and other species of birds. This site has been re populated with land iguanas from Seymour, Isabela and Santa Cruz islands. There is a short walk to the Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Mon): Las Tintoreras-Wetlands (Isabela).
A delightful place to be reached by a nice zodiac ride. “Tintoreras” are small islands in front of Puerto Villamil coast. There is lava Heron on the lookout on mangrove branches, and Galapagos Penguin and sea lion often pop out on shore. White-tipped reef sharks are fairly common in the archipelago. Their name in Spanish is Tintorera, thus the name of this site as they are always found here resting in the shallow waters.
Wetlands. Isabela Island is the largest and one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos archipelago. We land in Puerto Villamil, which has the second smallest population in Galapagos with approximately 3,000 inhabitants. First we will visit the Flamingos Lagoon; this place is the largest coastal lagoon found in Galapagos and is one of the main reproductive sites for the greater Flamingos. Afterwards we will follow a trail to the “The Wall of Tears”; from 1946 to 1959 Isabela was designated a penal colony by the Ecuadorian government. Prisoners were obligated to build a wall with enormous blocks of lava. Due to the arduous labour and harsh conditions in which the prisoners lived, this site is known as “El Muro de las Lagrimas”. There are a number of interesting sites along this route, such as the cerro Orchilla, El Estero, Poza Escondida, Playa del Amor and Pozas Verdes. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Tue): Punta Moreno-Urbina Bay (Isabela).
Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcano Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow of Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of corrugated or an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons, its main attraction are several species of birds which can be found around these lakes and mangroves.
Urbina Bay is located along the west coast of Isabela, between Elizabeth Bay and Tagus Cove. It is close to the base of the Alcedo Volcano. The coastline has undergone a major uplift in 1954, which caused the shore to expand three quarters of a mile out. Here you will be able to find corals, shells, and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. Urbina Bay is home to large and colorful land iguanas and giant tortoises of the Alcedo Volcano population. A lot of Darwin’s finches can be seen as well. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 (Wed): Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)-Tagus Cove (Isabela).
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and has a single visitor site: Punta Espinoza located at the northeastern tip of the island. Marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and for some time block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here is the Flightless Cormorant. This bird had to adjust its way of survival and perfection its skills of finding food in the ocean. Their wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. To see these birds is to witness evolution happening right in front of you.
Tagus Cove, a tour along the cliffs in a zodiac, will give the visitors a good chance to see the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant and other sea birds. From the landing dock it is about a 30-minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff from where you can view Darwin Lake, an uplifted ultra saline lake saltier than the sea. You can also see several volcanoes from this location. Look carefully at the graffiti on the surrounding cliffs of the cove, it has been written by pirates, whalers, and buccaneers in past centuries. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 8 (Thu): Puerto Egas (Santiago)-Rabida.
Puerto Egas is a black beach is located at the west side of Santiago Island. Volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach and this is the main attraction of the Island. This site is called Puerto Egas, because there was an attempt of company of Hector Egas, to start the exploitation of salt, which failed because the price of salt on the continent was very cheap, and did not justify its exploitation in Galapagos. The project was abandoned and they left their infrastructure.
Rábida Island is unique because the red color of the rocks and sand. The volcanic material in this island is very porous and external factors as rain, salt water and sea breeze have acted as an oxidizing agent.
A short walk along a trail leads us to a coastal lagoon behind the beach that permits the observation of land birds as finches, doves, yellow warblers and mockingbirds. At the lagoon there is a colony of flamingos. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 9 (Fri): Las Bachas (Santa Cruz)-Baltra Airport-Quito.
Las Bachas. These two small beaches are found to the West of Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Channel.
Transfer to Baltra Airport (GPS) for your flight back to Quito. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 10 (Sat): 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 21, 2022.
- Triple rates are based on one child under 12 sharing a cabin with two adults paying full fare.
- There is a high season (Dec 18, 2022-Jan 7, 2023) surcharge of $600 per Balcony Stateroom and $750 per Master Suite.
Alternating Thursday 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 Treasure of Galapagos.
- All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
- Use of snorkeling equipment.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare ($500).
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Gratuities to ship crew and guides.
- Bar, gifts, and personal items.
- Use of wetsuits.
- 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 included in this tour are operated on a group basis except for the airport transfers in and out of Quito on the first and last day of the tour.
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 $1,500 per person in Single Occupancy, 1,200 per person in double occupancy, and $1,200 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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