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Essence of Galapagos (8 days / 7 nts)

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Places Visited:
v/   Quito
v/   Galapagos
Price from $2,179
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A fascinating 4 night cruise of the Galapagos Islands on board Aida Maria, with hotel stays before and after in Quito. Many smaller or larger yacht options also possible.
Day 1:Arrival at Quito
Day 2:Quito (city tour)
Day 3:Quito - Galapagos (M/Y Aida Maria)
Day 4:Genovesa: Darwin Bay - Prince Philip Steps
Day 5:Bartolome - Santiago Island
Day 6:Daphne - Santa Cruz 
Day 7:Santa Cruz Island - Baltra - Quito
Day 8:Fly out from Quito


Hotels used in this tour
(hotels can be changed on request for most tours)
Mercure Quito
Mercure Quito
Quito
Roca 653 Y Amazonas
146 rooms
click to see Trip Advisor report Hotel website
Day 1:  Arrival at Quito
Upon arrival in Quito private transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Quito.
Day 2:  Quito (city tour)
Today, enjoy a private Colonial city tour (entrance to La Compañía Church, San Francisco Museum, snack, hat factory): due to the beauty and history of colonial Quito, the main emphasis of this tour is given to the old city. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Quito.

(Included meals: breakfast)
Day 3:  Quito - Galapagos (M/Y Aida Maria)
Transfer (private service) to the airport to board the flight to Galapagos. Fly from the Ecuadorian Mainland to the islands on an early morning 90-minute flight. As you prepare to arrive at Baltra, peer out the window. The landscape below will seem otherworldly - and it is for you have come to a place like no other. The Galapagos Islands are unique and you are about to see why. Your bilingual naturalist guide will greet you at the airport and assist you through customs. During lunch he/she will introduce you to the islands and specifically the flora and fauna you will encounter at our first destination: Las Bachas Beach.

On the sandy white beaches of Las Bachas we will get a close look at a sea turtle nesting area and a lake frequented by leggy pink flamingos and other migratory birds. Afterward, we cool ourselves off with our first dip in the deliciously blue Pacific Ocean. As this is our first evening together, the crew will invite us to a pre-dinner cocktail on the yacht before the welcome dinner. If the night is clear, as it usually is, the stars above will bedazzle; look for the Southern Cross, the Big Dipper (turned up-side down!) and Orion.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 4:  Genovesa: Darwin Bay - Prince Philip Steps
We spend the entire day on Tower (Genovesa), considered to be one of the most spectacular Islands in Galapagos for bird species. Genovesa has 2 principal tourist places: Prince Philips Steps and Darwin Bay, this is one of the most famous places to watch animals like: fragate birds, mask boobies, red footed boobies, sea lions and seals. When you practice snorkelling and diving the sea lions and hammerhead sharks will swim beside you. The Prince Philips Steps is an rock with the shape of steps, this place was called of this way because the prince Phillips visited the island genovesa in the 60´s.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 5:  Bartolome - Santiago Island
Bartolome offers an explosive volcanic landscape. Get ready to climb above 270 feet to admire the dramatic spatter cones and the view of Pinnacle Rock that everyone wants. Later, take a walk on magical golden beaches where sea turtle nest (December to March). Don’t forget to make time to swim near penguins, sharks and lava tubes

Santiago, on the eastern coast of James Island is Sullivan Bay. There you can admire a large area of fresh pahoehoe (ropey) lava flows dating from an eruption in 1897. A walk over this glazed black rock gives the impression of the still-molten lava, as every ripple, swirl, and bubble in its surface has been preserved. Tiny fragile Mollugi plants can be spotted growing out of fissures as they begin to colonize the arid terrain.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 6:  Daphne - Santa Cruz 
Daphne is one of the central islands, north of Santa Cruz. There is a Daphne Major and Minor both are located north of Santa Cruz. Daphne Minor is closed to the public and visits of Daphne Major are limited by the Galapagos National Park Service to less than 12 people per group. You also see masked boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, brown noddies and swallow-tailed gulls

Santa Cruz: A panga ride to Black Turtle Cove and through mangrove inlets, these lagoons provide refuge to rays, sharks, and sea turtles that will be clearly viewable from the boat. At Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) a trail takes you through Palo Santo forests, a brackish salt-water lagoon and Opuntia cacti woodland, where we will be hoping to spot land iguanas and feeding flamingos.

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner) 
Day 7:  Santa Cruz Island - Baltra - Quito
After breakfast we sail to Santa Cruz Island, where we visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Station, a non-profit institution that dedicates itself to studying and protecting Galapaganean flora and fauna.In the late afternoon we return to town. The visit to Charles Darwin Station will complete your Galapagos adventure. From the station we will take a bus to the airport for departure. Upon arrival in Quito private transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Quito.

(Included meals: breakfast)
Day 8:  Fly out from Quito
Transfer (private service) from the hotel to airport for your international flight back home.

(Included meals: breakfast)
 

Itinerary:

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Trip type:
  Shared service
(can be done privately also)
Departures:
   Friday