Colonial Quito and cruise to the Galápagos Islands
Spend 10 guided days exploring Quito and cruising the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, South America. The first part of your tour will be spent in the colonial city of Quito enjoying its main attractions. The rest of your stay will be spent aboard La Pinta, an elegant 48-guest yacht with spacious cabins and floor-to- ceiling windows, and you'll be sailing among spectacular Galápagos Islands.Read more
Here are some of the highlights of your itinerary:
Certified guides will accompany small groups of 12 to provide a more personalized experience: jump on board, it will be an adventure you will never forget.
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 took over in 1534 included the building of many outstanding convents, monasteries and churches, earning Quito the title, “Capitol of Art of Spanish America.”
Moreover, the city’s exquisitely preserved historic center is a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site—departing from your hotel, a walking tour explores its past, present, and future, including a visit to the fascinating pre-Columbian Museo Casa del Alabado. Your full day of exploration ends at a local restaurant with sunset views overlooking the city.
Travel to the second Unesco World Heritage Site on your itinerary: the legendary Galápagos Islands. From Quito, you'll fly to Isla San Cristóbal, deriving its name from the patron saint of seafarers. A quick panga ride brings you to the yacht La Pinta to meet the crew, be welcomed aboard, and get acquainted with your ship.
As Charles Darwin did in 1835, you'll take your first exploratory steps in the Galápagos at Cerro Colorado—home to dozens of bird species, the endemic San Cristóbal lava lizard, and a tortoise breeding center set amidst a fantastic deciduous forest along the island’s southern shore.
On the eastern side of the island, you’ll venture up a trail from the beach with gorgeous views of the shoreline.
Exploration of Punta Pitt where opportunities abound to observe frigatebirds, three types of boobies, and bachelor sea lions that rest on this beach. Perhaps you’ll even have a chance to go snorkelling or swim.
Later, after a panga ride around the north tip of the island, walk in the tranquil coral sand beach of Cerro Brujo watching seabirds and shore birds bustle about. Keep an eye out for sea lions and marine iguanas.
Considered one of the top two islands in the archipelago, Isla Española is one of the oldest, most remote islands and is known for its astonishing number of endemic species including the entire world’s population of waved albatross (typically found April to December).
Hike at Punta Suárez and opportunity to see sea lions and seabirds, shorebirds and tropicbirds. Afternoon in Gardner Bay and short walk to see finches and extroverted mockingbirds. Cool off by snorkeling with green sea turtles, kick back for a snooze alongside the sea lions, or go for a spin in a kayak or the glass-bottom boat.
Touring the Charles Darwin Research Station, you’ll witness the exceptional conservation program where “galapaguitos” (turtles) are reared in protective captivity until they are old enough to safely repatriate back to their native areas.
After a lingering poolside lunch at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel (bring your swimsuit just in case), explore the misty, forested highlands and see the lumbering and charming tortoises in their natural habitat. You’ll also have a chance to walk inside the island’s famed lava tubes for a geological exploration of these remarkable volcanic channels.
Panga ride brings you to tiny Eden Islet, where blue-footed boobies, reef sharks, and frigatebirds roam. Pull on your mask and jump into the water for a snorkel with the sea life. If conditions permit it, 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. And if you're lucky, swim and snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks and Galápagos penguins in these calm waters.
Isla 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. Admire green sea turtles, Galápagos penguins, and rays.
The white sandy beach of Santiago’s Sullivan Bay is a stunning spot for swimming, snorkeling, and a chance to peer at life below the surface. Hike to a fantastic lava field that showcases the archipelago’s volcanic origins.
Genovesa, known as “the bird island”, lies north of the equator, and you’ll cross it twice. On a leisurely exploration of Darwin Bay, witness the many island inhabitants—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. Panga ride past the dramatic cliffs to the short, steep Prince Philip’s Steps. Once at the top, a fascinating walk amongst stands of Palo Santo trees crosses this flat land through large colonies of boobies, frigatebirds, and just maybe, the illusive short-eared owl.
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