Quito, Sacha Lodge, and 5 Day Horizon Galapagos Cruise
12 Days/11 Nights
From $7,779 per person
(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)
Ecuador’s Amazon Basin and the Galapagos Islands offer incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. This tour includes the colonial city of Quito, with its wonderful views of the Andes and nearby volcanoes, Sacha Lodge, which features a canopy walkway, numerous hiking trails, a canopy tower, and a butterfly house, and a five day Galapagos Islands cruise aboard the Horizon, where you will observe plant and animal species that are found nowhere else on Earth.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 11 nights (4 nights in Quito, 3 nights at Sacha Lodge, and 4 nights aboard the Horizon), and 25 meals (11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 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 (Wed): 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 (Thu): 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 (Fri): Quito-Coca-Sacha Lodge.
Depart Quito´s airport at 9:45 am (subject to change). A 30-minute flight over the Andes Mountains leads you to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin. Upon arrival, you will be transported to the town docks where you will board Sacha´s private canoes for the two-hour journey down river to Sacha Lodge’s property.
After arriving at Sacha Lodge around lunchtime and meeting your guide – who stays with you for the entirety of your trip – you will take your first excursion into the forest. Once you have returned and had dinner, you will set out for your first nighttime adventure. Overnight at Sacha Lodge. (B,L,D)
**The guide will suggest optional excursions for each day based on your interests. You can choose wildlife observation on the Canopy Walkway (unique to Ecuador and probably one of only a few in the world at 1,000 ft. long and 120 ft. high), or the Kapok tower (140 ft high), paddling through the flooded forest, swimming in Lake Pilchococha, visiting a local community, and more.
Day 4 (Sat): Sacha Lodge-Optional Excursions.
Choice of optional excursions. Overnight at Sacha Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 5 (Sun): Sacha Lodge-Optional Excursions.
Choice of optional excursions. Overnight at Sacha Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 6 (Mon): Sacha Lodge-Coca-Quito.
Breakfast and a departure from the lodge. One last walk on the boardwalk to the river, and from there a two-hour canoe ride back to Coca for your 30-minute flight back to Quito. Arrive in Quito at 11:45 am (subject to change). Upon arrival in Quito, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 7 (Tue): Quito-Baltra Airport-Bartolome Island.
Morning transfer to the airport in Quito for the flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival to the airport in Baltra 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.
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, hiking, snorkeling; Difficulty: Easy; Landing: Dry and Wet are both possibilities; Possible Wildlife: Sea lions, various shorebirds, lava lizards, frigate birds.
Day 8 (Wed): Rabida Island-Egas Port (Santiago).
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 visit 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 9 (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, and 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 10 (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.
Highlands of Santa Cruz. The highlands are located in the northern part of Santa Cruz Island and can reach elevations up to 1,500 meters. This area is rich with hills, ferns, volcanoes and wildlife. A great contrast to the molten lava hardened 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 11 (Sat): North Seymour Island-Baltra Airport-Quito.
North Seymour Island. Explore the rocky coast of North Seymour 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 arid vegetation.
Activities: Hike, snorkel, panga ride; Difficulty: Moderate; Landing: Dry; Possible Wildlife: Marine iguanas, frigatebirds, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, finches, land iguanas.
Following this excursion, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your return flight Quito. Overnight in Quito. (B)
Day 12 (Sun): Quito.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Private airport transfers including baggage handling in Quito.
- Four nights at Swissotel Quito (or similar) including service fees and taxes.
- Three nights at Sacha Lodge including service fees and taxes.
- Four nights aboard the M/T Horizon.
- All meals scheduled on board during the cruise and others as indicated on the itinerary.
- Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides and all other excursions as indicated on the itinerary including entrance fees.
- Use of snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, kayaks, and paddleboards.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100).
- Transit control card ($20).
- Native Community Interpretation Center fee ($10 collected locally).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Alcoholic and non-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 other services 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 and the domestic airfare for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $2,400 for Single Occupancy and $1,600 per person for Double Occupancy, and $1,500 per person for Triple Occupancy plus the cost of the international airfare (if we arrange it for you).
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