Start in the UNESCO World Heritage Site capital city of Quito, a vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis. Then head out to the Galapagos for a 4 night cruise in the Enchanted Isles onboard the Odyssey. The Odyssey is a comfortable 16 passenger yacht offering good-sized cabins with picture windows, a sun deck, Jacuzzi, and inviting social areas. A great choice for travelers seeking a pleasant family-style environment with great value. First class naturalist guides and great service!
|Day 1||Sunday||Arrive to Ecuador|
|Upon arrival to Quito you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for the night.
Patio Andaluz (upgrade to Casa Gangotena is available) (B)
|Today you will be picked up from your hotel for a privately-guided tour of historic Quito, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. You will visit some of the highlights of the colonial “Centro Historico,” and go up to a lookout point on the Panecillo for a great view of the entire city. Afterward you’ll head into the new town to visit the Fundación Guayasamin, which houses the art collection of Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuador’s most famous 20th century artist. Seeing both parts of the city gives you a great overview of some of the different neighborhoods in this diverse Andean metropolis.
Patio Andaluz (B)
|Day 3||Tuesday||Fly to Galapagos / San Cristobal / Cerro Colorado|
|Today you fly out of Quito, about 600 miles out over the Pacific Ocean to arrive at the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands you will be met by a representative of the Odyssey, who will assist you with your luggage and transfer you to the ship to start your cruise.
Your first excursion will be to the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Center on San Cristobal Island. The site was built in 2002 to increase the population of the giant tortoise species of San Cristobal, and includes 12 hectares (120,000 square meters) of dry forest. The tortoises here have their corrals at the entrance of the Galapaguera, which also has a small interpretation center where visitors can learn about these animals and the conservation and breeding programs on the island. Along the trail it is possible to observe different bird species such as the mockingbird, the yellow warbler, small ground and tree finches, and the flycatcher.
|Day 4||Wednesday||Española: Punta Suarez / Gardner Bay|
|Today you will visit Suarez Point, on Española Island. Here, colonies of Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest along the trails. You will also be able to see the famous Galapagos blowhole, where the seawater is forced through a fissure in the cliff and, depending on the waves and tide levels, can spout up to 80 feet high.
On the east coast of Española is Gardner Bay, your next destination, whose white-sand beaches are home to sea lions. This is a great area for snorkeling, with an opportunity to see many different schools of fish near Tortuga Rock, a few hundred meters off the shore.
|Day 5||Thursday||Floreana: Punta Cormorant / Post Office Bay|
|Today you will head to Floreana Island, located on the southern edge of the archipelago. You will disembark at Cormorant Point, a steep lava cone joined to the main section of the island by a low-lying strip of land. At the high point of the trail that ascends this volcanic cone you will be able to look down into a large lagoon, where you may see several species of bird, including the occasional flamingo.
In the afternoon you will land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has been serving as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. The barrel was constructed in 1793 to maintain contact with Europe and the United States, and to this day it is a popular place to leave outgoing mail. Here, you can drop your postcards in the barrel as the whalers did centuries ago. You will learn about the human side of the islands, its early inhabitants, and the adventures of pirates and whalers.
|Day 6||Friday||Santa Fe / South Plaza|
|This morning will take you to Santa Fe Island, which offers a small picturesque bay that attracts large numbers of sea lions. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff and the other spanning from a small beach to a prickly pear cactus forest where the opuntia cacti grow to heights of over 30 feet.
Later in the day you will visit South Plaza, a small island with steep cliffs formed by rising lava. The island is covered by Opuntia cacti and the characteristic Sesuvium, which changes its colors from season to season. South Plaza is home to one of the largest sea lion colonies in Galapagos, as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas.
|Day 7||Saturday||North Seymour / Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)|
|This morning you will disembark on North Seymour, a small uplifted island that is home to the largest nesting ground of Magnificent Frigate birds in the Galapagos. Galapagos Sea Lions, Blue-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigate birds are abundant here.
Next you will head to Santa Cruz Island to visit Bachas Beach, named for a pair of World War II barges left by the U.S. Army. Here, you will visit a small lagoon where migratory birds (such as herons and pelicans) and other species are often present. You may also see flamingos.
|Day 8||Sunday||Mosquera Islet / Return to Mainland|
|The day will start with a landing on Mosquera, a flat, sandy islet with a large colony of sea lions and numerous shorebirds, such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on Mosquera Islet, so visitors are free to explore this open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock.
After your excursion, you will be transferred to Baltra Airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland where you will connect with your international flight home.