Join us on a vacation teeming with adventure offered by General Tours World Traveler. Discover Quito, the "Florence of the Americas," then board the deluxe, all-suite MV Galapagos Explorer II for an unforgettable 3-night voyage. Led by handpicked naturalist guides, enjoy small-group excursions that promise intimate face-to-face encounters with some of the most amazing creatures on the planet.
Engaging experiences and highlights include:
• Breakfast at a popular pastry shop followed by a tour of Quito’s top attractions.
• Browse handcrafted goods at the world-famous Indian market in Otavalo.
• Use your free snorkeling gear to get up-close to the islands’ marine creatures.
• Relax onboard with a complimentary bottle of wine and 25-minute massage.
$115 per person discount
AAA Vacations® Best Price Guarantee and 24/7 Member Care**
In the 1830s, Charles Darwin sailed on the HMS Beagle into an archipelago that held species never before recorded. The variances he observed among those animals kindled his idea of natural selection and laid the foundation for his The Origin of Species treatise. From that point on, these 19 islands known as the Galapagos were marked as places worth preserving. The islands have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1978, although in 2007 they were added to the List of World Heritage sites in Danger.
You’ll be mesmerized by up-close views of rare and exotic wildlife as you explore these islands aboard the deluxe all-suite MV Galapagos Explorer II. This intimate ship offers just 50 spacious outside suites and operates in full compliance with the National Park’s highest environmental standards. Built for ocean cruising, she is one of the fastest vessels afloat. Her teams of naturalists include some of the most experienced on the islands and will be on hand to explain the islands’ unique biology and guide you in wildlife viewing as you hike, boat and snorkel amid the flora and fauna of this special corner of the planet.
Highlights include visiting the nesting sites of frigate birds on San Cristobal Island. Explore a wide variety of birds and animals in Gardner Bay on Española Island. Here you’ll also have a chance to use your complimentary snorkeling gear to explore the underwater marine life at Osborn Islet. See Nazca boobies and fascinating marine iguanas at Punta Suarez. Learn about the efforts to preserve and protect the islands’ natural heritage at the Charles Darwin Research Center and catch sight of Sally Lightfoot crabs on Plazas Island.
Prior to your cruise, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore Quito on a guided tour of the Colonial district and browse for bargains at an authentic indigenous market in the mountain town of Otavalo.
• 7 nights deluxe accommodations: 3 nights in Quito, 3 nights in an outside suite aboard MV Galapagos Explorer II and 1 night in Guayaquil
• Daily breakfast, 5 lunches and 3 dinners, including complimentary wine, cocktails and beverages onboard the ship
• All on-tour transportation and 2 internal flights
• Comprehensive escorted sightseeing with no more than 16 guests; includes all entry fees
• A complete program of naturalist guided shore excursions in small landing parties
• Luggage handling, port charges, hotel taxes and service fees, $100 National Park fee and required Galapagos Transit Card
Day 1 – Welcome to Quito, Ecuador
Check in and relax at your deluxe hotel, ideally situated close to the Colonial treasures of Old Town.
Accommodation: Swissotel - 3 nights
Day 2 – Discover Quito’s Colonial Monuments
Begin your day in the historic San Juan neighborhood at a wonderful pastry shop that’s been popular with city residents for more than 40 years. Savor a cup of traditional Ecuadoran hot chocolate and a quesadilla, a light, cake-like sweet freshly made from flour, eggs and cheese.
Later, your sightseeing showcases the city’s most significant Colonial-era churches and monuments, including the Church of the Compania of Jesus and the Church of San Francisco. Then a pleasant guided stroll brings you into charming La Ronda, an historic district now filled with numerous artisan workshops specializing in traditional Ecuadorean crafts like textiles, hats and candles. After lunch in a favorite restaurant here, you will be escorted back to your hotel in mid-afternoon.
Day 3 – Experience the Spirit of Ecuador
Travel into the picturesque highlands of Ecuador to the charming mountain town of Otavalo, nestled in a peaceful valley under the watchful gaze of two mighty volcanoes. In the main square, you’ll have time to explore Otavalo’s world-famous market, where residents and nearby villagers (many dressed in traditional clothing) come to sell their finely made handicrafts. Browse for woven rugs, jewelry, clothing, stone carvings, paintings, musical instruments, pottery and more. Return to Quito where the evening is at leisure.
Day 4 – Fly to San Cristobal Island and Board your Ship
After breakfast, transfer to the airport. Fly to San Cristobal Island, where you’ll be met and escorted to your deluxe, all-suite ship, the MV Galapagos Explorer II. This afternoon’s landing at Frigate Bird Hill offers an unforgettable opportunity to observe two different species of frigate birds nesting in the same colony. Tonight’s dinner onboard is accompanied by complimentary wine and beverages. After, join top-notch naturalists for the first of your informative nightly shipboard briefings–a great introduction to the myriad wonders that await you the following day.
You’ll also find a welcome bottle of wine in your shipboard suite to toast the start of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure! And during your voyage, you can schedule a relaxing 25-minute onboard massage - with our compliments! It’s the perfect way to unwind after one of your thrilling shore excursions.
Accommodation: MV Galapagos Explorer II - 3 nights
Day 5 – Española Island
Call upon Gardner Bay where your sharp-eyed naturalist guide will point out a wide variety of birds and animals including hood mockingbirds and the Galapagos hawk. This morning, take advantage of your complimentary snorkeling gear to explore the underwater realm at Osborn Islet, renowned for its varied and exotic marine life. In the afternoon, go ashore at Punta Suarez, home to Nazca boobies and fascinating colored marine iguanas.
Day 6 – Charles Darwin Research Center & Plazas Island
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center in Puerto Ayora to learn about the important work being done here to preserve the islands’ natural heritage. After lunch, go ashore on Plazas Island for up-close encounters with Sally Lightfoot crabs, land iguanas and maybe even the magnificent frigate bird.
Day 7 – Fly to Guayaquil
Disembark your ship on Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the mainland and the bustling Pacific port of Guayaquil. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and escorted your deluxe hotel where the balance of your time is free.
Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel – 1 night
Day 8 - Depart Ecuador
Your journey ends this morning after breakfast.
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
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