Ecuador and Galapagos Journey 11D – 10N

Leon dormido

Day 1 (Friday) : Arrival In Quito

After arriving at the airport, our helpful guide will meet you, plus he will serve as a translator, and assist with the private transfer to your hotel.

Situated in a circle of Andean peaks, Quito is the world’s second-highest capital, with arguably one of the finest settings in the world. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was an important part of the Inca Empire, before being destroyed and re-founded by the Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Benalcázar in 1534.

The colonial center – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978 – is one of the largest and best-preserved in Latin America. It is home to excellent museums, churches, and art galleries.

Overnight at Illa Experience Hotel or Similar.

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Day 2 (Saturday) : Historical Center - The Middle Of The World

Early in the morning and right after breakfast, you and our local guide start the travel tour at the downtown area, well known as Quito Colonial. You start your journey along the “churches´ trail” by visiting first the cathedral. In the cathedral, you learn about its history and the guide explains the internal design of the cathedral such as the “mudejar ´s” influence on its first stage, the area with 3 longitudinal wings, and a small transversal wing behind the choir.

After finishing the round in the cathedral, we have a short walk to the church La Compania along with the guide’s expertise. The guide will enlighten you with history and fun facts about every place, in this case, La Compania. Its decoration is based on muslin features and the altars are covered by gold leaf along with faces and birds carved. It is considered an architectonic jewel in the American baroque style. It also has a religious value, because the rest of Saint Marianita of Jesus is located there, and according to some, she is the protector of the city.

Afterward, we visit San Francisco, which is famous for the Cantuña story. San Francisco is well known due to its legends and stories, which make the place culturally wealthy. At the San Francisco church, there is a local handcraft store called Tianguez, where you can find a variety of items from the Ecuadorian culture. Here, you can buy postcards, books, Ecuadorian music, natural products, and even get a coffee with Humitas (which is a sweet corn tamale) offered at the local Café Cantuña located at the Plaza San Francisco.

Around midday, you head to “Mitad del Mundo”, a monument at the equator line that passes through our country.
You may choose to either visit the Ethnographic or the Inti Ñan Museums, both located near the monument. Along the way, our guide will recommend you some places to have a light lunch.

After the tour, you will return to Illa Experience Hotel to have dinner at Inés Restaurant; which is an oasis in the heart of Quito, carefully made and thought for fine dining experiences. His chef Juan Carlos trained in the world’s top Michelin restaurants will take you on a journey of culinary flavors and textures.

Overnight at Illa Experience Hotel or Similar

Historical Center Cathedral Quito

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Day 3 (Sunday) : Otavalo Fd Or Cotopaxi

Otavalo Option:

This morning you depart to Otavalo town, famous for its artisan market. On route, you stopMat Guayllabamba, a small town where you can try aMtypical fruit called Chirimoya. Also, a quick stop at Cayambe, a little town where the famous bizcochos (a mix between a cracker and bread) are made.

In Otavalo you visit the textile market located at the “Plaza of Ponchos”; this is one of the most famous markets in South America. Here you find all kinds of handicrafts including tapestries made on the Spanish weaving loom as well as the indigenous back-strap loom. Over there you have some free time for bargaining and buying from the friendly Otavaleños.

Otavalo

Cotopaxi Option:

After an early morning breakfast, depart towards the Cotopaxi National Park. The Cotopaxi Volcano is one of the most important landmarks in Ecuador as it is the highest active volcano in the world. Lush endemic flora and fauna of the area can be observed, including one of the most representative species is the Chuquiragua (also known as the mountaineer’s flower) wild horses, deer, llamas, and more. Whilst in the National Park one can also visit Limpiopungo Lake, located near Rumiñahui volcano (4757 meters), or hike. After this experience, you will to your hotel in Quito.

Cotopaxi

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Day 4 ( Monday) : Baltra Airport & North Seymour Island

AM: FLIGHT TO GALAPAGOS

This day you will fly to the Galapagos Island. Due to the Galapagos Government, a fee of 20 USD must be paid for the migration control card.

Once in Santa Cruz, passengers must go through an inspection point at the airport to make sure that no foreign plants or animals are being introduced to the archipelago. Also, this inspection point is where passengers have to pay for the entrance to the Galapagos National Park under the following parameters: Passengers Foreigners $100 and Children $50 (under 12 years old).

Later on, your guide will pick you, and will carry your luggage to the bus. Passengers will arrive toMthe Catamaran Seaman Journey on a motorizedMboat called panga.

Galapagos giant tortoise

 

PM: NORTH SEYMOUR

North Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island. Therefore, it is generally flat and strewn with boulders. There are good nesting sites here for a large population of magnificent frigate birds. Blue-footed boobies perform their courtship dance in the more open areas and swallow-tailed gulls perch on the cliff edges.

Despite the tremendous surf that can pound the outer shore, sea lions haul out onto the beach and can be found bodysurfing.

 

South Plazas | galapagos iguana

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Day 5 (Tuesday) : Genovesa Island - El Barranco & Darwin Bay

AM: GENOVESA, ISLAND EL BARRANCO – THE CLIFF

The visitor site of El Barranco is located in the southern part of Darwin Bay from Genovesa Island.
The trail is on volcanic rock, consists of 1.5 km and can be done in about 2 hours. The youngest area of the island, from a geological point of view, lies on this area.

The cliff is located in the south, are composed of very fragile lava. The natural erosion in these lava flows has become the ideal place for nesting Storm Petrels.
You can see two species of petrels that nest in cavities and holes in the lava.

One of its main predators is the short-eared owl. The red-footed booby nests only in the outer islands of the archipelago, Punta Pitt, Gardner (Floreana), Wolf, Darwin and Genovesa. Also, present on this island is the masked booby. During the “panga rides” along the cliffs, fur sea lions and several species of seabirds can be seen.

red footed-booby

PM: DARWIN BAY

This bay has its origin when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing is on a beautiful white coral sandy beach. This is a favorite island for birdwatchers that allow the following species to be seen: red footed-booby, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels, yellow crowned, and black-crowned lava herons, and yellow warblers.

Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing Red-Foots nesting in the Mangrove trees below. Birdwatching includes sightings of sharp-beaked finches, large cactus and ground finches, Galapagos doves, and swallow-tailed gulls. Reaching the end of the trail, at the cliff’s edge an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there can be observed.

seal lion galapagos

B / L / D

Day 6 (Wednesday) : South Plazas & Santa Fe

AM: PLAZAS, SANTA CRUZ

Plazas is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found at other islands.

Throughout the island are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana’s crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tunas, their favorite food. Swallow tailed gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other seabirds as: Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds, and brown pelicans.

land iguana

PM: SANTA FE

Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift instead of a volcanic origin, this is why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which assure this could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats, and one of the two species of land Iguanas of the islands.

After disembarking in the beautiful and clear waters you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail many salt bushes can be seen as well giant Prickly pear cactus: gigantism is a characteristic of oceanic islands. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fish.

hawk galapagos

B / L / D

Day 7 (Thursday) : San Cristobal Island - Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center & Tijeretas

AM: SAN CRISTOBAL, Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center

In 2004 the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises Jacinto Gordillo, named after a famous settler, was located in Cerro Colorado, San Cristobal Island, in order to take care of young tortoises. In 2008 an assisted reproduction program started on the island due to the birth of a little turtle in captivity.
All of this will be learnt at the Jacinto Breeding Center.

One can not only learn about breeding processes but as well get engaged and experience why this breeding center does what it does.

After the morning excursion you will be taken to the San Cristobal Deck.

Cerro colroado San Cristobal

PM: VISIT TO ¨TIJERETAS¨

It is called Tijeretas because this is the name commonly known for the frigates. It is located within walking distance of Port Baquerizo Moreno.
Close to this site operated La Predial, which was a fishing society and who was present on the island between1952 and 1960. In one of the vists, there is American-made cannon dating from the Second World War which taken by the Ecuadorian Navy in the early 1970s for military exercises.
Another vista offers a panoramic view of the north coast of the island from where one can see the Kicker Rock (León Dormido), Cerro Mundo and Cerro Tijeretas.
At the third vista, there is a statue of Charles Darwin in honor of his stay in San Cristobal. The upper vista is located on Cerro Tijereta.

In the night you will be transferred to Golden Bay Hotel, to spend two more days of adventure in Galápagos.

tortoise galapagos

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Day 8 (Friday) : Leon Dormido

AM: LEÓN DORMIDO

Today’s excursion begins with an early navigation of approximately one hour, we arrive at the ¨León Dormido¨. Here you can discover the marine world once you put on your snorkel.
Accompanied by your guide you can go diving, where you will see fish, turtles and several species of sharks. You will live a unique experience within the sea, knowing the marine world.
Afterwards, you will return to the hotel where you can rest and spend an afternoon of relax and enjoying the hotel facilities.
At night you can go for a walk to get to know the island a little more, don’t forget to enjoy a delicious dinner.

Leon dormido

B / L / D

Day 9 (Satuday) : Española Island - Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay

AM: ESPAÑOLA ISLAND, PUNTA SUAREZ

In the morning after breakfast in Golden Bay Hotel, you will transfer to Española Island.
The first stop is Punta Suarez, this rocky land spot sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos.
Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.

Española Island Punta Suarez

PM: GARDNER BAY

Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent place for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions.
Here we can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters. (Visit the site while snorkeling).
In the afternoon you will return to the hotel to rest and prepare your bags to return to the next mainland day.

snorkeling galapagos

B / L / D

Day 10 (Sunday) : Baltra Airport & Guayaquil

AM: FLIGHT TO GUAYAQUIL

After the breakfast you will be taken to the airport for your flight to the mainland.
Upon arrival at Guayaquil airport, you will meet with your guide, who will transfer you to your hotel.
You can ask your guide for suggestions to have a nice lunch and visit the main places of the city

Guayaquil

PM: AFTERNOON IN GUAYAQUIL

You will enjoy a free afternoon in a wonderful city whose second name is ¨La Perla del Pacífico¨.
You can visist many places like Malecon 2000, Las Peñas neighborhood and Cerro Santa Ana,
You cannot leave Guayaquil without enjoying the food of the Pacific coast of Ecuador

Food guayaquil

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Day 11 (Monday) : Guayaquil Transfer Out

After enjoying a wonderful breakfast, depending the time you will be taken to the Airport for your International connection.

guayaquil

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Map Itinerary A Seaman Journey

INCLUDED

  • Accomodation in double room
  • Indicated Meals B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner
  • Transportation
  • Bilingual naturalist & guide
  • Schedule visits
  • Air Ticket (Quito-Manta)

NOT INCLUDED

  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Meals not described in the program

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES