Quito and 8 Day Horizon Cruise – Eastern Galapagos Islands
11 Days/10 Nights
From $8,269 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Cruise the Eastern Galapagos Islands aboard the luxurious 16 passenger Horizon trimaran, one of the newest ships in operation. Travel in comfort to the visitor sites on San Cristobal, Española, Bartolome, Rabida, Santiago, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, and North Seymour Islands. Swim and snorkel with sea lions, enjoy up-close encounters with blue and red-footed boobies, view Sullivan Bay from a lookout point, and hike a red fine gravel beach.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 10 nights (3 nights in Quito and 7 nights aboard the Horizon) and 24 meals (10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners).
Best Time to Go: Year-Round.
Places Visited: Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Baltra Island, Bartolomé Island, Española Island, Genovesa Island, Mosquera Islet, North Seymour Island, Rábida Island, San Cristóbal Island, Santa Cruz Island, and Santiago Island.
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-San Cristobal Airport-Lobos Island-Kicker Rock (San Cristobal Island).
Morning transfer to the airport in Quito for the flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival to the airport in San Cristobal 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.
Lobos Island is aptly named after the many sea lions that reside here resting and playing along the rocky shores. It is also home to many different birds like pelicans, frigate birds and their nests, yellow warblers and more. Within the small channel the waters are very clear, making it easy to find sea turtles, sea lions, stingrays and perhaps even white-tipped sharks. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Activities: Short hiking, swimming and snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy/moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs, frigate birds.
Day 4 (Sun): Pitt Point-Witch Hill (San Cristobal Island).
When arriving to Pitt Point, it will feel almost like you’ve landed on an extraterrestrial planet. You can see the many different developments over time of how volcanic activity formed this island. A hike up to the top beholds amazing views of the surrounding waters. Watch out for blue-footed booby nests on the ground and keep an eye out for the red-footed boobies nesting in the trees once you reach the top of the island.
Activities: Hiking and kayaking; Difficulty: Moderate to difficult; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies; What to Bring: Sturdy hiking shoes and walking sticks to aid on the uneven terrain.
Witch Hill. Passing by on a panga your guide and crew will show you amazing rock formations formed by the passing of time and erosion of the sea. You’ll finally arrive to a beautiful white sandy beach to spend the time swimming or basking in the sun. Frolic with sea lions who may swim by playfully or take a walk down the entire beach and back. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Activities: Panga ride, swimming and snorkeling; Difficulty: Moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs; What to Bring: Swimwear and/or sandals or shoes for both land and water.
Day 5 (Mon): Suarez Point-Gardner Bay (Española Island).
Suarez Point. This is the only nesting site in Galapagos where the Waved Albatross nests. They come back only once a year to meet the same mate, year after year. They spend the rest of the year at sea. Apart from these amazing birds are the Galapagos Hawks that can be seen and the amazing formations and blow hole on the other side of the island, reached by a hike.
Activities: Hike; Difficulty: Easy/moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, marine iguanas, Galapagos hawk, waved albatross, red-billed tropic birds, various shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs; What to Bring: Sturdy hiking shoes and walking sticks to aid on uneven terrain.
Gardner Bay is an excellent place to see sea lions lounging on the beach while mockingbirds get up close to see if they can steal water or crumbs. Over time, the mockingbird must have been offered water or food from tourists and now they have no fear of walking on your things or landing very close to you. It is so important not to feed or touch the animals. It can disrupt their normal behaviors and threaten their future. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)
Activities: Walking on the beach and swimming; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, mockingbirds, stingrays, sea turtles; What to Bring: Swimwear and footwear for walking in and out of the water.
Day 6 (Tue): Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island)-Bartolome Island.
Bachas Beach has beautiful green and blue waters that contrast along the surf of the black lava shores. In the air various shore birds fly searching for food. On the shore you can explore the sand dunes and find a salt-water lagoon with greater pink flamingos.
Activities: Walking on the beach and swimming; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Wet; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, mockingbirds, sea turtles, flamingos.
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, hike, snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Dry and Wet are both possibilities; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, lava lizards, frigate birds.
Day 7 (Wed): Rabida Island-Egas Port (Santiago Island).
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 visiting 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 8 (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, 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 9 (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.
The Highlands of Santa Cruz are located in the northern part of Santa Cruz and can reach elevations up to 1500 meters. This area is rich with hills, ferns, volcanoes and wildlife. A great contrast to the molten lava harden 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 10 (Sat): North Seymour Island-Baltra Airport-Quito.
Explore the rocky coast of North Seymour Island 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 the arid vegetation. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Activities: Hike, snorkel, panga ride; Difficulty: Moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Marine iguanas, frigatebirds, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, finches, land iguanas.
Day 11 (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 Thursday 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 $2,900 per person in Single Occupancy, $2,100 per person in double occupancy, and $1,900 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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