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Package details include
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 and have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1978.
Thrill to the same joy of discovery as you tread in Darwin's footsteps on shore excursions guided by expert naturalists on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. You’ll be mesmerized by up-close views of rare and exotic wildlife as you explore these islands aboard the stylish La Pinta, a deluxe and intimate yacht-style cruiser.
La Pinta is the only Galapagos vessel with floor-to-ceiling windows in every stateroom. The ship features a dining room, fitness center, lounge, Wi-Fi and snorkeling gear, and also comes with its own sea kayaks and a glass-bottom boat. 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. The shore expeditions are enhanced by informative nightly lectures.
Highlights include visiting the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Center on San Cristobal Island to learn about these fascinating indigenous creatures. Try to spot all three species of boobies at Punta Pitt then visit Cerro Brujo, a white-sand beach inhabited by shore birds and sea lions.
On Espanola Island, encounter boobies, swallow-tail gulls and marine iguanas on a guided walk at Punta Suarez then observe sea lions and finches at Gardner Bay. Use your complimentary wet suits, snorkeling gear or glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater marine life. And learn about the efforts to preserve and protect the islands’ natural heritage at the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island.
Prior to your cruise, also enjoy three nights in Quito at the elegant Casa Gangotena, the best luxury hotel in the capital. Enjoy a free day to explore the city on your own followed by a guided sightseeing tour of the Colonial district and historic La Ronda.
• 4 nights in deluxe hotels: 3 nights in Quito and 1 night in Guayaquil
• 3 nights all-inclusive cruise aboard La Pinta in an outside stateroom – includes 6 shore excursions with naturalists in small landing parties
• 14 meals - Daily breakfast, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
• On-tour transportation and 2 internal flights
• Services of a professional trip leader
• Comprehensive escorted sightseeing with all entry fees, National Park fee and required Galapagos Transit Control Card
• Hotel to hotel baggage handling
Day 1 - Welcome to Quito
AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Enjoy a complimentary extra night in Quito before your tour at the Hotel Casa Gangotena, including breakfast the following day.
Accommodation: Hotel Casa Gangotena - 3 nights
Day 2 - Quito
Enjoy a free day in Quito to relax or explore the city on your own.
Day 3 - Discover Quito’s Colonial Splendor
Your exploration of this World Heritage city begins with San Francisco, a magnificent 16th-century Roman Catholic church and convent. Engaging Experience: The owner of a Quito hat shop will share her millinery skills and the techniques learned from her father that have allowed her to produce some of the city’s finest hats for nearly 60 years.
You’ll also spend time with the Carrion family in their 150-year-old workshop. For generations, this talented family has been restoring religious images which their customers use for festivals. Continue on to the historic heart of the city where you’ll behold important Colonial-era landmarks including the Presidential Palace and Cathedral. Your sightseeing ends in La Ronda, a charming historic district filled with inviting shops and galleries.
Day 4 – Onward to the Galapagos
Fly to the Galapagos' San Cristobal Island to embark on La Pinta, your cruise ship. After lunch, visit the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Center to learn more about these fascinating indigenous creatures. Engaging Experience: This evening’s informative and entertaining lecture with our experienced shipboard naturalists, the first of your daily briefings, has been specifically designed to enhance your exploration over the coming days.
Accommodation: Cabin aboard La Pinta - 3 nights
Day 5 - Morning & Afternoon Landings on San Cristobal
Step ashore this morning at Punta Pitt on the eastern tip of the island. A pleasant trail from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline and is the only site in the islands where all three species of boobies can be found together. In the afternoon, explore Cerro Brujo, a beautiful white sand beach inhabited by numerous shore birds and colonies of sea lions.
Day 6 - Two Landings on Espanola Island
A guided morning walk across the unusual lava terrain at Punta Suarez is rewarded with more bird and wildlife encounters including boobies, swallow-tail gulls and marine iguanas. After lunch onboard, explore the picturesque beaches of Gardner Bay to observe sea lions, mockingbirds and finches. Engaging Experience: There is great snorkeling in this area or you can take the time to kayak or ride the glass-bottom boat with complimentary use of wet suits, snorkeling gear and kayaks.
Day 7 - Charles Darwin Research Center and Fly to Guayaquil
Engaging Experience: Disembark this morning on Santa Cruz Island and visit the esteemed Charles Darwin Research Center to learn about the important work being done to preserve the Galapagos’ natural heritage. In the Llerena Breeding Center, you’ll see tortoise hatchlings and the enormous adults that are part of the ongoing research to ensure the survival of the species.
Then transfer to the airport on Baltra Island for your included flight back to the mainland. Arrive in Guayaquil where you’ll be escorted the hotel.
Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel - 1 night
Day 8 - Farewell to Ecuador
Your adventure ends today after breakfast.