Ecuador - Quito and Galapagos Islands on Quasar Nautica's m/v Evolution
Wednesday start in Quito

 
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DAY 1 Wednesday

Arrival in Quito. Transfer to your  Hotel for two nights including breakfast. Balance of day at leisure.

DAY 2 Thursday

After breakfast, get to know this Ecuador’s capital on a half day tour of the city. Stroll the downtown and visit the colonial temples and monasteries of this urban jewel, designated by UNESCO a World Heritage Site including Independence Plaza, the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace and the Archbishop's Palace. Visit the Church of San Francisco, one of the great religious buildings of the New World., with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 km (16 miles) North of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where one can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. (B)

DAY 3 Friday

After breakfast depart for Calderon and Cotacachi. See the Cotacachi Volcano and visit Calderon, a town famous for its bread dough dolls. A typical Ecuadorian lunch is served at hacienda Cusin. Overnight at Hacienda Cusin, which dates from the year 1602. (B, L, D)

DAY 4 Saturday

Today is market day for the colourfully dressed indigenous people who have gathered here since Inca times. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the market, a great place for souvenirs. In the afternoon return to Quito. (B)

DAY 5 Sunday

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, Galapagos. Upon arrival at San Cristobal meet the guides and take the short bus ride to the harbor to board M/V Evolution where the crew will welcome passengers on board. After a briefing and a light lunch, visit the first site.
Isla Lobos:
Isla Lobos means Sea-Lion Island, and the name is certainly appropriate, there are lots of them here. It is also a nesting place for blue-footed boobies and a good place for snorkeling. (B, L, D)

DAY 6 Monday

Morning: Hood (Española) Island—Punta Suarez
One of the oldest of the islands, Hood is small and flat with no visible volcanic crater or vent. Punta Suarez is one of the most outstanding wildlife areas of the archipelago, with a long list of species found along its cliffs and sand or pebble beaches. Several types of reptiles, including the brilliantly colored marine iguana and the oversized lava lizard, are unique to this island.
Afternoon: Hood (Española) Island-Gardner
Bay Gardner Bay is on the eastern shore and has a magnificent beach. This beach is frequented by a transient colony of sea lions, and is a major nesting site for marine turtles. Around the small islets nearby, snorkelers will find lots of fish and sometimes turtles and sharks. A trail leading to the western tip of the island passes the only nesting sites in the Galapagos of the waved albatross, huge birds with a 6-foot wingspan. (B, L, D)

DAY 7 Tuesday

Morning: Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island
Puerto Ayora, with a population of about 10,000 people is the location of the Charles Darwin Research Station, world famous for its tortoise breeding programs. After touring the Station, journey by bus into the highlands to Los Gemelos the two deep pit craters situated in the forest. Go for a walk through the giant lava tubes, visit the Tortoise Reserve to search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings.
Afternoon: Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island
The lush greenery of the Santa Cruz Highlands is a definite contrast with the arid scenery of the smaller, lower islands. A point of interest is the famed lava tunnels, a fun and geologically informative visit. (B, L, D)

DAY 8 Wednesday

Morning: Tower (Genovesa) Island
A second trail called Prince Philip Steps, leads to an open area for masked boobies, frigates, and red-footed boobies. At the end of this trail are thousands of storm petrels at the cliff's edge. Short-eared owls can sometimes be seen here, hunting the storm petrels during daylight hours.
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DAY 8 Wednesday (continues)

Afternoon: Tower (Genovesa) Island
Tower is a collapsed volcano and ships sail directly into its large breached caldera to anchor at the foot of the steep crater walls. A trail leads from a coral beach past tidal lagoons where lava gulls and yellow-crowned night herons are seen, then along the low shrubs populated by frigates and boobies, and eventually to a cliff edge where seabirds soar. (B, L, D)

DAY 9 Thursday

Morning: Fernandina (Narborough) Island
Fernandina is the youngest and most active volcano in the Galapagos with eruptions taking place every few years. The flat lava of Punta Espinosa offers a stark and barren landscape, but here flightless cormorants build their nests on the point, sea lions sprawl on the beach or play in the tide pools and marine iguanas dot the sand.
Afternoon: Isabela (Albemarle) Island
A favourite site of the early pirates and whalers, Tagus Cove has a continuing historical tradition (now discouraged), evident as one reads the names of hundreds of ships which were first carved and now are painted on the high cliffs that enclose the protected cove. More important, however, is the inside trail around a salt crater lake, called Darwin Lake, the Dry Zone vegetation and the lave fields of Darwin Volcano. A dinghy ride (tour) along the cliffs will five the visitor a good chance to see brown pelicans, marine iguanas and to see Galapagos Penguins, flightless cormorants, migratory birds, and quite a few marine invertebrates in the inter-tidal zone. (B, L, D)

DAY 10 Friday

Morning: Santiago (San Salvador, James) Island—Puerto Egas
This island has several sites to visit at the western end of James Bay. Puerto Egas with its black sand beaches was the site of small salt mining industry in the 1960s and a hike inland to the salt crater is an excellent opportunity to sight land birds such as finches, doves, and hawks. A walk down the rugged shoreline, especially at low tide, will turn up many marine species as iguanas basking on the rocks and sea lions lazing in the tide pools. At the end of the trail there is a series of grottoes or sea caves where fur seals and night herons are found resting on shady ledges. Just north of James Bay is Buccaneer Cove, a particularly scenic area of steep cliffs and dark beaches.
Afternoon: Bartolome (Bartholomew) Island
Bartolome is a small island that has beautiful white sand beaches, luxuriant green mangroves and a colony of penguins. Activities will include swimming and snorkelling and a climb to the summit of the island for one of the most breathtaking views in all the Galapagos. From the summit you will have the best view of the often-photographed Pinnacle Rock. (B, L, D)

DAY 11 Saturday

Morning: North Seymour (Seymour Norte) Island
North Seymour is an uplifted (as opposed to volcanic) island and so 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 together with marine iguanas.
Afternoon: Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island
Arrive by panga into a tidal lagoon to see three kinds of mangrove plants, red, white and black. White-tipped sharks, spotted rays, mustard rays and Pacific marine turtles frequent the waters here. (B, L, D)

DAY 12 Sunday

San Cristobal Island— Kicker Rock - Departure
Kicker Rock is a magnificent rock in the middle of the sea. Rising 500 feet strait from the ocean, this giant uplifted rock has the shape of a sleeping lion. It has a split with towering vertical walls on either side, forming a narrow channel through which small vessels can navigate. Later, drop anchor in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Visit the Interpretation Center for a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, transfer to the airport for the flight back to the Guayaquil on the mainland. Upon arrival in Guayaquil, transfer to the Ramada Inn Guayaquil or similar for one night including breakfast. (B)

DAY 13

At the appropriate time, transfer to the airport for departure. (B)

INCLUDES: EXTRA:
  • 5 nights accommodation at selected hotels including breakfast
  • Return airport transfers and transportation for included excursions
  • 7 nights accommodation on Galapagos cruise on m/v Evolution outside cabin Cormorant Deck
  • Excursions as specified in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
  • Hotel taxes
  • Airfares and applicable taxes
  • Meals and excursions not specified by itinerary
  • Gratuities and items of a personal nature
  • Visas, airport and departure taxes if applicable
  • $100US Galapagos Park Entry Fee
Notes:
  • Call or email us for our rates
  • Accommodation from standard to luxury
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    Some day tours/transfers may be private or pooled with other travelers. If this is not acceptable please advice your booking agent and we will be able to provide private tours.
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