Included meals are indicated in parentheses: (B,L,D)
Please Note: Most trips to the Galapagos require a night before and night after the cruise in Quito or Guayaquil. You then fly to the Galapagos from one of these cities and start your cruise. We generally arrange this part of your experience as well, along with airport transfers and tours in Quito or surrounding areas. Below is a sample itinerary including the night before and after the cruise in Quito. We know the Galapagos and Ecuador in depth and first hand, and can customize the land itinerary in any way you would like. The exact cost of this itinerary depends on the cruise cost. See our Small Ship & Yacht List for more information and pricing on the vessels (discounts are often available!).
Fly into Quito, where you will be met at the airport by a local representative holding a sign with your name on it and transferred to your hotel, located in the heart of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (If you can arrive earlier, you have time to see more of Quito and the surrounding areas, including the Andes, markets, historic haciendas… there are great walking and hiking opportunities.)
Overnight at the Casa San Marcos (first class hotel in a restored colonial mansion dating back to the 17th century and just blocks from the main plaza; see below for information on hotel options)
Today you fly out of Quito over the Andes, flying 600 miles out over the Pacific Ocean to arrive at the Galapagos Islands. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your vessel to start your cruise. Visiting the Galapagos Islands is a unique experience, a combination of sheer natural beauty, amazing wildlife, beautiful vessels, and fascinating natural history.
On vessel (B,D)
The exact itinerary varies from vessel to vessel, but you will spend these days exploring the islands in depth. Your boat will travel between several different islands, so that you can experience a wide variety of the unique wildlife and environments that the Galapagos offers. Each island presents a unique experience, and often there are species found nowhere else in the world but on that island. The giant Galapagos Tortoise, the marine iguana, the waved albatross, the Galapagos penguin, and flightless cormorants are just a few of the species you can come across. There will also be daily opportunities to snorkel, where you can see what’s below the surface: giant sea turtles, rays, and sea lions, to name just a few. Each day you will enjoy excellent cuisine, and the company of an expert bilingual naturalist guide.
On vessel (B,L,D)
Today you will enjoy a final morning in the Islands before flying out from the Galapagos back to Quito, arriving in the late afternoon. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. You have the evening free to enjoy a final night in Quito.
Casa San Marcos (B)
Fly home or continue your trip in mainland Ecuador or perhaps to Peru & Machu Picchu. Possible extensions include visits to the Amazon Jungle, local markets, volcanoes, and stays at historic haciendas. Please inquire if interested. (B)
Hotel Options in Quito for Before and After Your Cruise:
We can set up your cruise with any hotel you would like. You can also book that part of your trip directly (which some of our clients do in order to use points, for example at the Marriott).
Boutique Hotel Options: Our top choice in Quito is a 3 to 4 star boutique hotel in the Old Town of Quito called the Casa San Marcos. Another very nice boutique hotel, but in the new town, is the Casa Aliso. A unique option, a bit more expensive, is the Rumi Loma, a hacienda style hotel located up the flanks of the Pichincha Volcano, with spectacular views of the city.
Luxury/5 Star Hotels Options: Luxury hotels that we recommend and work with in Quito include Casa Gangotena (our top luxury choice) and the Plaza Grande (both 5 stars)
3 Star Hotels Options: Good 3 to 4 star options include La Casona de la Ronda and Cafe Cultura.
Nearby Haciendas: Within about 90 minutes of Quito you have options for beautifully restored historic haciendas, such as the Hacienda Cusin, Hacienda Hato Verde, and others, usually located in spectacular areas. Some of our clients decide to spend a night at one of these haciendas before or after their cruise in order to see more of mainland Ecuador.
We know Ecuador in depth and would be happy to assist you with any land arrangements during your trip, including hotels, transfers, and tours in Quito and nearby areas.
We also often arrange extensions to the Ecuadorian Amazon (an excellent extension for nature enthusiasts), and to Peru to see Machu Picchu (one of the best combination trips imaginable).