This tour is designed to give the guest an authentic Ecuadorian experience. From Ecuador's mainland, the city of Quito, which is a living testimony of Ecuador’s History and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the Cotopaxi National Park, we experienced breathtaking landscapes, history, and ancient culture in the first three days of our tour.
Visit Galapagos; the Enchanted Islands are a must-visit place in your life. Enjoy the island's biodiversity on board a first-class catamaran, have unique experiences such as snorkeling with marine life, Taste Ecuadorian cuisine on board, and spot endemic species.
Arriving in Quito is a magical experience. It seamlessly blends culture, history, and natural beauty into a unique travel experience. Quito, located in the Andean Mountains of South America, is a living testimony to Ecuador's rich history. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded by the Quitus Tribe in ancient times and rebuilt in the 16th Century as one of the major colonial cities. It is a fascinating tapestry that combines ancient civilizations with colonial architecture.
Quito, one of the world's highest capitals, offers panoramic views and pleasant weather all year. The well-preserved historical center with its cobbled roads and ornate churches transports visitors to another time, while modern neighborhoods are a hive of energy. Quito is a unique blend between the past and present, with its vibrant arts scene, delicious cuisine, and warm embrace of indigenous tradition.
You will be met at the airport in Quito by your guide, who will take you to your hotel.
Overnight in Quito
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up.
Your day begins in a sensory-stimulating way with a stroll around the streets and plazas that make up this largest historical center in America. In this city tour, we will explore the daily life, history, and traditions of this fascinating city.
We follow the road with the Seven Crosses. Before you enter Quito Main Square (also known as Independence Square), you can admire the old colonial architecture and church facades. Here is the Government Palace.
We will continue to walk through the historical streets and meet families who make traditional sweets. You will be able to taste them and discover new flavors.
As you move towards the center of Quito, it becomes harder to see historical buildings made of volcanic stone. The sculpted Compania Church and its stunning interior will capture your attention.
We visit "Escuela Quiteña", to learn more. They are the ones who know all about the colonial art found in Quito's churches and museums. These artists have painted and restored the altars in these historic churches. You can learn their secrets and use your creativity to make your own craft.
La Ronda, a historical district in the heart of Quito, is our next stop. This is a street that's linked to art, crafts, food, and fun in Quito. This is the oldest street in Quito.
Then you will visit the San Marcos neighborhood. The architecture dates back to 1580 and is mainly republican. The buildings are pastel-colored, the curtains on the windows are clean, and the banners are hanging from the balconies. The Muñoz-Marino Watercolor Museum has colonial interiors with stone, corridors, and open space. The Neighborhood is home to three museums as well as family-run shops and quirky cafes.
You will also be able to visit an old house that has been converted into a boutique hotel. You can participate in local activities with San Marcos' neighbors and end the tour with a drink at the rooftop terrace, which offers a breathtaking view of Panecillo Hill surrounded by the Old City as the perfect end for a unique day tour.
Overnight in Quito
Today, after breakfast, you will visit Cotopaxi Mountain and its famous lake, Limpiopungo. Cotopaxi is Ecuador's highest volcano and actually one of the tallest in the entire world. Its name comes from Quechua and means "cuello de luna" or in English "neck of the moon". In the morning, after arriving at the reserve, you will hike and drive up to Limpiopungo Lake. From there, it is possible to observe the traces left by the ancient volcanic eruptions of the majestic Cotopaxi, the same activity that gave rise to the formation of Limpiopungo Lake. If you are lucky, you can see herds of llamas, some other species of mammals, especially rabbits and deer, and a great variety of birds. Amidst this wonderful wilderness, you can enjoy a special picnic lunch, so you can enjoy the view.
Another activity that you may enjoy is horseback riding. Horseback riding tours provide a unique perspective on the Cotopaxi region, allowing you to explore its scenic beauty and learn about the history and traditions of the area.
The Cotopaxi Volcano forms part of the Cotopaxi National Park. This park was created in 1975 to protect biodiversity and the natural wonders of the area. The park covers approximately 33,393 acres (82,560 hectares) and features a variety of ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, and paramo (high-altitude grassland).
After visiting Cotopaxi National Park, we will be heading back to Quito. You arrive in the late afternoon, and to finish the day tour, you will have free time to enjoy the city.
Overnight in Quito.
This day's tour begins with a flight to the Galapagos Islands from the mainland (Quito). Our guide will pick you up at the airport and take your luggage to the port, where the panga boat (a motorized boat) will take you to the Catamaran Seaman Journey. Settle into your comfortable cabin. After an onboard lunch and briefing
The Galapagos Government requires that a fee of $20 USD be paid for the migration card. Once in Santa Cruz, passengers are required to go through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals will be introduced to the archipelago. this inspection point is where passengers have to pay for the entrance to the Galapagos National Park under the following parameters: Passengers from other countries pay $100, and children under the age of 12 pay $50.
North Seymour Island is a volcanic island that has been raised from an uplift in the earths crust. It is therefore generally flat, and covered with boulders. The nesting sites are ideal for the magnificent frigate bird population. Blue-footed Boobies perform their courtship dancing in the open areas and swallow-tailed Gulls perch along the cliff edge.
Begin the day tour with a sample of the high-level cuisine and enjoy breakfast surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.
AM: GENOVESA ISLAND, EL BARRANCO, THE CLIFF
El Barranco visitor’s site is located in Darwin Bay near Genovesa Island in the southern part.
The trail is 1.5 km long, made of volcanic rock, and can be completed in 2 hours. This is the youngest part of the island from a geological perspective.
The cliff in the south is made of very fragile lava. Natural erosion has created the perfect nesting place for Storm Petrels in these lava flows. Two species of petrels nest in holes and cavities in the lava. The short-eared Owl is one of its main predators. The red-footed booby nests only on the outer islands of the archipelago, like Genovesa. The masked boobies are also present on this island. During "panga rides", fur sea lions can be spotted as well.
PM: DARWIN BAY
This bay was formed when the crater on this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing takes place on a beautiful white-sand coral beach. Birdwatchers love this island because it allows them to see the following species: red-footed boobies, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, Whimbrels, black-crowned and yellow-crowned lava herons, and yellow warblers.
The trail continues to climb up the cliff, where visitors can see Red-footed boobies nesting in Mangrove trees. Birdwatching includes seeing Galapagos doves and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as sharp-beaked and large cactus finches. The view from the cliff edge at the end of the trail is breathtaking.
This day tour begins with breakfast on board our catamaran.
AM: PLAZAS, SANTA CRUZ
Plazas is located east of Santa Cruz Island and forms a part of the two islands known collectively as Islas Plazas. Despite its size, the Galapagos is home to some of the most fascinating and unique species. The Plazas Land Iguanas have a smaller size than their relatives on other islands.
There are many hybrid iguanas on the island, which are the result of a cross between a male land iguana and a female marine iguana. They are unique and can be recognized at first glance because of their black or gray color, with the crest of a marine iguana but the face, tail, and body of a land iguana. The presence of tuna cacti fruit is the reason for the large population of iguanas. Swallow-tailed Gulls nesting on the rugged cliffs can be seen with other seabirds like Audubon Shearwaters and Red-billed Tropicbirds.
PM: SANTA FE
This island is located in the southeast part of the Galapagos. It was formed by an uplift, not a volcanic eruption. Some theories suggest that this island could be the oldest in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is home to a number of endemic species, including the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, Galapagos Mockingbird, Rice Rats, and one of two land Iguana species on the islands.
You will come into contact with a sea lion colony after disembarking from the beautiful, clear waters. Many salt bushes and giant Prickly Pear cacti can be seen along the trail; gigantism, a characteristic of oceanic islands, is evident.
If you are lucky while snorkeling, you may share the experience with tropical fish and playful sea lions.
AM: SAN CRISTOBAL, Jacinto Gordillo
In 2004, the Breeding Center for Young Tortoises, Jacinto Goridillo, was established on Cerro Cristobal, San Cristobal Island, to care for young tortoises. In 2008, a program of assisted reproduction was started on the island after a baby turtle was born in captivity. All of this can be learned at the Jacinto Breeding Center.
You can learn about the breeding process, but you can also engage and experience why the breeding center does what they do.
After the morning excursion, you will be taken to the airport to catch your flight back to the mainland.