Quito and 8 Day Galapagos Legend Cruise

11 Days/10 Nights

From $4,799 pp

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Overview

This tour combines colonial Quito with an eight day Galapagos Islands cruise on the Galapagos Legend, a 100 passenger deluxe expedition ship that offers the comforts and amenities of a larger cruise liner. It is air conditioned throughout, and features 57 cabins with lower beds, private bathroom, LCD TV, and safe. The ship’s spacious social areas include a pool, Jacuzzi, Fisherman’s Bar, observation decks, al fresco dining areas, a spacious passenger lounge, dining room, boutique, library, and conference room. Wet suits ($50) can be rented on board.

Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 10 nights (3 nights in Quito and 7 nights aboard the Galapagos Legend) and 24 meals (10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners).

Best Time to Go: Year-Round.

Destinations: South America, Ecuador, & Galapagos.

Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Scuba Diving, Sea Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Wildlife Viewing.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

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.

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.

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 naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Galapagos Legend. Interpretation Center. Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands. You will visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about the natural and human history of the Galapagos Islands. The Museum of Natural History displays information on the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the islands. Tijeretas Hill involves a high intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigatebird nesting colony. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Gardner Bay. You will have a wet landing on a beautiful white coral sand beach guarded by a colony of sea lions. There are no trails, so you stay along the shore where you can spot Galapagos hawks, American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Ground Doves, Hood mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin’s finches: a subspecies (Geospiza fuliginosa) of the Large Cactus Finch, which is similar to the Large Ground Finch, the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the Wabler Finch (Certhidea Olivacea), another endemic subspecies. Swimming and snorkeling offer a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, manta rays, and white-tipped reef sharks. Suárez Point (dry landing). An island of geological interest, you explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Española Mockingbird, Nazca Boobies and the spectacular Red-billed Tropicbird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs. A somewhat lengthy hike will bring you among Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birding favorites include Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Hawk, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and the world’s largest colony of Waved Albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water at some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Post Office Bay (wet landing). Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay is so-named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them to their destinations. Today, our visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel that should reach their destinations for free. It can take weeks, months, even years or not arrive at all, or even before you! You may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warblers, and lava lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles. This island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus pinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions. Cormorant Point. Wet landing on an olivine green sand beach. You hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach one can spot sea turtles, Blue-footed Boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in search for food. This coral-sand beach marks the end of the trail, and you head back to the olivine beach you landed on to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Highlands of Santa Cruz (dry landing). A 45-minute bus ride will take you to the Highlands of Santa Cruz, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where you will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years. Additionally, travelers can walk inside surprising lava tubes. Charles Darwin Research Station (dry landing). You visit the Darwin Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place, and you will have the opportunity to meet Lonesome George, the last surviving specimen of his species and a symbol of efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment. It is an excellent place for visitors to be photographed with them. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest, a variety Darwin’s finches, and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands, and to tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

This morning, you circumnavigate the islet of Daphne, an eroded tuff cone formation that was created by successive volcanic activity, for an opportunity to see Darwin’s finches, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and Brown Noddies. Highlands of Santa Cruz and Pit Craters (dry landing). A 45-minute bus ride will take you to the Highlands of Santa Cruz, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where you will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years. Additionally, you can walk inside surprising lava tubes; you will also visit Pit Craters, created from the collapse of surface materials into chamber fissures underground. It’s a great place to spot Vermilion Flycatcher as you walk inside an endemic Scalesia forest. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Wet landing on a beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Charles Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half of partially uneven terrain is comprised of volcanic basaltic rock abutting the shoreline. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre Yellow-crowned Night Heron and an astounding array of marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Light-foot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are also a highlight. Snorkeling here offers rarities such as octopus or squid. Optional visit to the Strong>Salt Mines where you can observe the two species of sea lions: fur and Galapagos sea lions. Bartolome (dry landing). You will discover a fascinating moonscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones-lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones-as you hike to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. You will also encounter marine iguanas, and lava lizards. Beach time is a great opportunity to snorkel and see (perhaps swim with) Galapagos penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best of snorkeling experiences; the water here is generally clear, without too much surf and full of marine life. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable. Pioneer plants are observed, so called because they are the first to establish roots on new ground. They include Tiquilia nesiotica (which is endemic to the island), and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes. Behind the beach are dunes covered by mangroves. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Dry landing. You will walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingos can be occasionally found. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation up to Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for the endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchorage and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warblers and Galapagos Doves. North Seymour (dry landing). This is perhaps one of the busiest tourist destinations on the archipelago. Located off of Baltra Island (where the airport is located), and not far from Santa Cruz, North Seymour is the most accessible for day trips out of Santa Cruz’s main port, Puerto Ayora. The visit consists of a two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles, as well as sea lions. You will also encounter land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Bachas Beach. Wet landing on the north side of Santa Cruz. Behind the beach lie two small flamingo ponds with iguanas, coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native and endemic vegetation, red and black mangroves, salt bushes, and much more. This beach is one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles in the Galapagos. A female can lay eggs three or four times with an average of 70 eggs each, but then spend 3 or 5 years without breeding. At this site, you will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago, once property of the United States Navy when they operated an airbase on Baltra Island during World War II. That is why the beach is called “Bachas” because the word “barges” in English was hard to pronounce for the local people. After disembarking in the morning, you will go straight to the airport for your return flight to Quito. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Itinerary Map

Galapagos Legend D Itinerary Map

5 D/4 N (Thu-Mon) “D” Itinerary

Galapagos Legend A Itinerary Map

4 D/3 N (Mon-Thu) “A” Itinerary

Prices & Dates

Price per Person

Category Single Double Triple
Standard Plus Cabin $8,399 $4,799 n/a
Junior Suite $9,099 $5,499 $5,099
Legend Suite $10,039 $6,429 $6,029
Balcony Suite $10,639 $7,039 $6,639
Balcony Suite Plus $11,199 $7,599 $7,199
** The prices shown above are in U.S. Dollars. See the cost of this tour in your currency here.

Notes:

  1. The above prices are valid until December 10, 2016.
  2. Hotel upgrades are available upon request.

Departure Dates

Tuesday departures throughout the year.

What's Included

Price Includes

  • 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.

Accommodations

Quito

Swissotel Quito, Quito, Ecuador

5 Star – Swissotel Quito

Galapagos

Galapagos Legend, Galapagos Cruise Ship

First Class – Galapagos Legend

Additional Details

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 Traveler Funding Program South American Vacations is an active member of IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association). In support of IGTOA’s Traveler Funding Program, 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.