Staying in Ecuador's capital city Quito and visiting the wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands is a superb combination.
The accommodation during the eight nights is luxurious and intimate. While in Quito you will stay in the cities finest hotel, the Casa Gangotena. The three year renovation over the hotel's three floors has created a stunning bolthole with eye-catching architecture and Art Nouveau influences running throughout the interior design. A beautifully stylish yet modestly extravagant hotel located in the heart of the city.
You will spend two nights resting here after your days exploring Quito, appreciating how it came to be called a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, visiting the historic churches, cathedrals and markets of this impressive colonial settlement. Escape the city to visit some of Ecuador's other celebrated sights including the middle of the earth, Mitad del Mundo.
Your accommodation for the next four days, the Yacht La Pinta, will take you to your Galapagos Islands adventure. Designed to hold a maximum of 48 guests, you will be given a warm welcome as you board this luxury boat inspired by the most famous Galapagos guest, Darwin. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the comfortable cabins wake you up to exciting views of the sea and islands you will be exploring that day with the wide windows in the social areas offering extraordinary panoramic views as you relax in the evening. With a relaxing sundeck and library on hand, you will find it easy to settle into the sophisticated experience of the Galapagos Islands provided by La Pinta.
Visiting the islands of Santa Cruz, Sombrero Chino, Bartolome, Santiago and Genovesa the guides, with their expertise and knowledge, will enhance your wildlife encounters ensuring you get the most out of your stay in this unique environment. The morning and afternoon excursions ensure you see as much as possible of the amazing things on this collection of small but mighty islands.
This mysterious and intriguing archipelago of islands, getting up close and personal with the wildlife and trekking the volcanic landscapes will leave you feeling like you have visited another planet, creating wonderful unforgettable memories of a very Ecuador holiday
Day 1 Arrive in Quito and spend the night in a historic mansion, Casa Gangotena that has been meticulously restored to its former glory.
Day 2 Enjoy a tour of Quito which was the first city in the word to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are some fascinating restored buildings such as the San Francisco Church and Plaza de la Independencia. Travel for half an hour towards Mitad del Mundo, where the equator passes through the country and otherwise known as the middle of the world.
Day 4 Today you will leave Quito, flying out to the Galapagos Islands. Landing at Baltra airport you will take a small ferry across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island. On boarding the bus which will take you to the highlands you will be given your first insightful lesson by the guides on the unique ecosystems and biodiversity of this part of the world. Once you have finished lunch at a local restaurant you will be driven to the highlands of the island, one of the best places to see the giant tortoise in their natural habitat. These fascinating ancient creatures, living up to 100 years old, are easy to spot and catch up with as they slowly move their 550 pounds from place to place. At the end of the afternoon you will be transferred by bus to the Yacht La Pinta, your luxury home for the next four nights as you cruise around these islands. Enjoy the exceptional service and delicious food as you settle into the relaxed lavish atmosphere of this magnificent boat.
Day 5 A morning panga ride will take you to the Eden Islet just off the coast of Santa Cruz, where the blue footed boobies and frigates are flying in the sky and the reef sharks swim in the sea. If weather permits, take a glass-bottom boat and have a look into the intriguing marine life of the Pacific Ocean. In the afternoon you will visit the most recently formed island, shaped like a Chinese hat its takes it’s name from; Sombrero Chino. Follow the island’s 400 metre trail running, starting at the sugar fine sandy beach, to discover the abundance of wildlife on and around this tiny island including the Galapagos penguins.
Day 6 An invigorating start to the day, climb the wooden staircase on the iconic Bartolome Island. The dramatic views of this volcanic spot of land stretching out in front of you are definitely worth the climb. After this walk take a dinghy ride round to the magnificent Pinnacle Rock, a volcanic cone resulting from the exploding magma from an underwater volcano. After lunch you will travel to Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island for a relaxing afternoon on the white coral sand beach, where you can walk, swim and snorkel amongst the wildlife of marine iguanas, sea lions, sea turtles, flamingos, dolphins and sharks. The perfect island to experience the unique wildlife and volcanic origin of the Galapagos.
Day 7 Start the day with an easy stroll around Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island, with the option of either hiking across the sharp lava and uneven terrain or remaining on the beach to enjoy more swimming and snorkelling in the natural harbour. In the afternoon take a panga ride round to the cliffs for a steep climb to the flat land at the top. Once you have reached the top, you will be bale to walk to the mile across to the other side of the island watching the large colonies of birds including the Nazca boobies, storm petrels and frigate birds.
Day 8 Today you will depart for Baltra Island for your flight back the mainland of Ecuador. Upon landing in Guayaquil you will check into the Hilton Colon. The largest city of Ecuador sitting next to the river Rio Guayas, there is plenty to do during your leisure time. We recommend paying a visit to the iguanas of Pardue de la Iguanas or wandering through the vibrantly colours Las Penas area where the city was founded.
Day 9 You will check out of Hilton Colon for your private transfer to the airport and your flight back to London
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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