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Colonial Quito & Galápagos Islands

Colonial Quito & Galápagos Islands

Cruise Highlights:

  • Embrace two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the fabled Galápagos Islands and Quito’s celebrated Colonial city center
  • Enjoy two nights at historic boutique hotel Casa Gangotena in Quito’s Old City
  • Observe Galápagos wildlife up-close in their natural habitats

At a glance

Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights

Coverage: Roundtrip Quito, Ecuador

From: $8,995

Season: February - November

Activities: Birding, Hiking, Natural history, Photography, Sightseeing

Book this Trip › or call us toll-free 1-888-815-5428

Un-Cruise Adventures

Wander Quito’s exceptionally preserved Old Town built atop pre-Colombian markets and temples, and as a delightful cherry-on-top, overnight in a late 1800s residence of several former presidents. Arguably the most iconic marine habitat in the world, this destination-of-a-lifetime is filled with exquisite creatures—giant tortoises, red-footed boobies, Darwin’s finches, penguins, Waved Albatross, and rowdy sea lions. Step ashore on eight islands and islets—including the two showcase islands of Española and Genovesa. Hike, snorkel, and kayak discovering the unexpected as Charles Darwin did in 1835.

Highlights

  • Embrace two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the fabled Galápagos Islands and Quito’s celebrated Colonial city center
  • Enjoy two nights at historic boutique hotel Casa Gangotena in Quito’s Old City, voted Ecuador’s #1 hotel by Trip Advisor
  • Stroll Quito’s Old City plazas, churches, and museums—rich with Spanish Colonial and pre-Columbian history
  • Observe Galápagos wildlife up-close in their natural habitats—giant tortoises, endemic land and marine iguanas, penguins, reef sharks, and playful sea lions
  • Unique itinerary featuring explorations on two of the archipelago’s showcase islands—Genovesa and Española
  • Unmatched birding opportunities—Red-footed boobies, Waved Albatross, Frigatebirds, Darwin’s finches, storm petrels, nocturnal swallow-tailed gulls, seabirds, shorebirds, tropic birds, and elusive short-eared owl
  • Count the steps to the summit of Isla Bartolomé for a sweeping panorama of iconic Pinnacle Rock
  • Snorkel in an underwater menagerie of marine life or view it all from above in the yacht’s glass-bottom boat
  • Learn about conservation successes and challenges at the Charles Darwin Research Center

Day-to-Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Quito / Arrival

Welcome to Ecuador! Begin your journey in this historic city rich in legends and culture. Your first stop is the grand Casa Gangotena Hotel, voted the #1 Hotel in Ecuador by TripAdvisor and where you will stay these first two nights. A gorgeous example of Spanish Colonial style, enjoy this restored boutique hotel just steps away from picturesque Plaza de San Francisco, built atop Incan temples and markets.

Day 2 - Quito

Once called the Northern Capitol of the Inca Empire, the capital city of Quito has long been a center of commerce and culture. The city’s growth after Spanish arrival included the building of many outstanding convents, monasteries and churches, earning Quito the title, “Capitol of Art of Spanish America.” Discover why the exquisitely preserved historic city center is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site City on a walking tour including a visit to the fascinating pre-Columbian, Museo Casa del Alabado. Your full day of exploration ends at a restaurant with sunset views overlooking the city.

Day 3 - Quito / Isla San Cristóbal

On this morning, travel to the second UNESCO World Heritage Site on your itinerary: the Galápagos Islands. From Quito, fly to Isla San Cristóbal named after the patron saint of seafarers. A quick panga ride brings you to the Yacht La Pinta, you’ll meet the crew, be welcomed aboard, and get acquainted with your ship. As Charles Darwin did in 1835, take your first exploratory steps in the Galápagos at Cerro Colorado—home to dozens of bird species, the endemic Santa Cristóbal lava lizard, and a tortoise breeding center set amidst a fantastic deciduous forest along the island’s southern shore.

Day 4 - Isla San Cristóbal

On the eastern side of the island, you’ll venture up a trail from the beach with gorgeous views of the shoreline. Explore Punta Pitt where opportunities abound to observe frigate birds, three types of boobies and bachelor sea lions that rest on this beach. Perhaps you’ll even have a chance to investigate below the surface of the water with a snorkel or swim. Later, after a panga ride around the north tip of the island, walk the tranquil coral sand beach of Cerro Brujo watching seabirds and shore birds bustle about. Keep an eye out for sea lions and marine iguana.

Day 5 - Isla Española

Considered one of the top two showcase islands in the archipelago, Isla Española is one of the oldest, most isolated islands and is known for its astounding number of endemic species including the entire world’s population of Waved Albatross (typically April to December). A hike at Punta Suárez provides opportunities to see sea lions and seabirds, shorebirds and tropicbirds. Your afternoon at the white sand beach in Gardner Bay includes a short walk to see finches and extroverted mockingbirds. Cool off by snorkeling with green sea turtles, or kick back for a snooze alongside the sea lions.

Day 6 - Isla Santa Cruz

Today, it’s all about the magnificent giant tortoise. Touring the Charles Darwin Research Station, you’ll witness the exceptional conservation program where “galapaguitos” are reared in protective captivity until they are old enough to safely repatriate back to their native areas. Embrace Galápagos conservation by learning about threats that still endanger this fragile ecosystem. Explore the misty, forested highlands and see the lumbering and charming tortoises in their natural habitat.

Day 7 - Isla Santa Cruz / Sombrero Chino Islet

A panga ride brings you to tiny Eden Islet, where blue-footed boobies, reef sharks, and frigate birds roam. Pull on your mask and jump into the water for a snorkel with the sea life. If conditions permit, cruise in the glass-bottom boat and marvel at all the world beneath you. On beautiful Sombrero Chino Islet, look for iguanas, sea lions, and sally lightfoot crabs on the 400-metre long trail that brings you to a postcard-worthy sandy, crescent beach. Swim and snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks and Galápagos penguins in these calm waters.

Day 8 - Isla Bartolomé / Isla Santiago

Geologically young, Bartolomé is one of the most picturesque islands of the Galápagos. Climb a wooden staircase to the summit of a volcanic cone with your camera ready to capture the exquisite panoramic views including iconic Pinnacle Rock! Bartolomé has its own unique fauna including green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins and rays. The white sandy beach of Santiago’s Sullivan Bay is a stunning spot for swimming or snorkeling to see the variety of life. Hike to a fantastic lava field that showcases the archipelago’s volcanic origins.

Day 9 - Isla Genovesa

The second showcase island in the Galápagos, Genovesa is known as “the bird island.” Cross the equator twice on your leisurely exploration from Darwin Bay, witnessing the many island inhabitants such as Giant frigatebirds, red-footed boobies, Darwin’s finches, storm petrels, and nocturnal swallow-tailed gulls. At the beach, snorkel, swim, or investigate shoreline cliffs by kayak. A panga ride past the dramatic cliffs brings you to the short, steep Prince Philip’s Steps. Once at the top, a fascinating walk crosses this flat land through large colonies of birds.

Day 10 - Isla Baltra / Quito / Departure

Your adventure of a lifetime aboard the La Pinta concludes on Isla Baltra. From here, transfer to the airport for your flight to Quito and await your connecting flight home. If you’ve opted for the Peru/Machu Picchu Extension, you’ll disembark en route during a short stop to Guayaquil.

A passport is required on this itinerary. Due to the nature of our explorations, itineraries are guidelines and will change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur.

Dates & Rates

La Pinta Categories
2016 Captain Admiral
February 17 $8,995 $9,345
March 16, 30 $8,995 $9,345
May 25 $8,995 $9,345
July 6 $8,995 $9,345
August 3 $8,995 $9,345
September 14 $8,995 $9,345
November 9 $8,995 $9,345

Map

Galapagos My Way Itinerary Map

Ships

La Pinta

La PintaAn elegant 48-guest yacht, La Pinta is the physical creation of many combined dreams shared by captains and crew, guides, and guests over the years. This beautiful yacht features spacious staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and sophisticated yet relaxed decks and lounges with unencumbered views. View ship details...