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Ecuador & Western Galapagos Highlights

9 days fr £3,732pp

Quito • Otavalo • Galapagos Islands

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0330·100·2220
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TOUR DETAILS
Accommodation:
  • Superior Rate fr £3,732pp
Validity:
  • 01/11/2018 - 25/12/2019
Also included:
  • B&B Accomodation and Transfers
  • English Guides
  • All Galapagos Transfers , Excursions & Full Board
  • Fuel Surcharge and Transit Control card
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Galapagos National Park tax $100.00
Not included:
  • International Flights (unless otherwise stated)
  • Soft or Alcoholic Drinks
  • Wet Suit Hire ($15 pp)
  • Domestic flight Quito to Galapagos
Overview
Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on this wonderful trip to Ecuador and see the unique wildlife on the Galapagos Islands. You begin this 10 day tour in the fascinating city of Quito, capital of Ecuador, then relax on board the M/V Santa Cruz as you are taken on a memorable cruise around the Galapagos Islands. You will see all the rare birds and animals revealed by Darwin on his famous voyage of discovery during walks and dingy rides around the islands. All this, and you will even get a special certificate for crossing the equator.
Day 1
Arrive Quito
After arriving in Quito you will be met by one of our experienced tour representatives and taken to your city hotel, the Dann Carlton, where you can relax after the journey or go out on your own and explore, getting in some valuable early sightseeing and shopping.
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Day 2
Quito
A full day to enjoy this great city. Visit the downtown area and relish this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito's colonial quarter, the biggest and best preserved in South America, is a UNESCO world heritage site. Stroll through Independence Plaza, flanked by the cathedral and Presidential Palace then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 16 miles north of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Beside the monument is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, restaurants and gift shops. Here you will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator. Overnight Quito.
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Day 3
Otavalo
Today enjoy a private full day tour, which includes lunch, designed to provide visitors with a great overall view of the dramatic Andean scenery. Visit the town of Peguche where you see weavers at work in a textile shop, then visit South America's most famous Indian fair along the Panamerican Highway at Otavalo, travelling through dramatic mountain scenery to get there. Lunch is at one of the charming inns or haciendas and there will be plenty of time for shopping before returning to Quito for another night.
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Day 4
Quito - Galapagos
You are taken to the airport this morning for your flight to the Galapagos. After touching down on Baltra Island you will be taken to the M/V Santa Cruz which will be your home for the next five nights. Once on board you will have a talk on what you will be seeing and doing over the next five days. Sail to North Seymour Island for a walk along the coast and the interior, observing bird colonies of blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas.
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Day 5
Isabela Island and Fernandina Island
Since there is no landing site on Isabela Island the coastal exploration is by panga, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. This is the nesting place for flightless cormorants. Wildlife here includes sea lions, Galápagos fur seals, penguins, blue-footed and Nazca boobies and noddy terns. If conditions are right you can take a snorkeling trip along the cliffs of partly-sunken Ecuador Volcano, which is very rich in marine life. After lunch on board, visit Punta Espinoza, the youngest island of the archipelago, for a one-mile walk over dark lava to see the highest density of marine iguanas.
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Day 6
Santa Cruz Island & Charles Darwin Centre
This morning visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens, where tortoise celebrity Lonesome George lived within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest which is home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. After lunch at the poolside of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel take a bus ride to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enter the famous Giant Tortoise Reserve, and see the impressive migrations these giant reptiles must endure every year for feeding and reproduction. The enclosure is framed with lush vegetation and many unique land birds can be seen, such as the rare woodpecker finch, one of the world’s few tool-using species.
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Day 7
Floreana Island
A morning visit to Post Office Bay, where a short walk leads to the historic barrel where mail can be left for guests from other vessels to be hand-delivered to its destination, a unique two centuries old tradition. Near Post Office Bay, explore the north shore of Floreana along narrow channels teeming with life. After a wet landing and a short walk up to a volcanic cone, you reach the Baroness’s Tower, from where the entire northern shore can be seen. After lunch on board visit Cormorant Point, an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk to a brackish lagoon where lots of rare birds can be seen and a beach where turtles emerge from the sea to nest. You can also take a glass-bottom boat to Devil’s Crown. Tonight enjoy a farewell cocktail before dinner.
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Day 8
Baltra to Guayaquil
Today you say farewell to the amazing wildlife of the Galapagos Islands and to your fellow passengers when you leave the MV Santa Cruz and are taken to the airport on Baltra Island to catch your flight back to Guayaquil taking with you a lifetime of memories of all those wonderful creatures discovered by Charles Darwin on these unique islands.
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Day 9
Depart Guayaquil
Today is the last day of your South American adventure but you may still have time to explore Guayaquil and get in some last minute shopping before being taken to the airport for your onward flight or to begin your journey home. The people of Guayaquil are outgoing and open, they enjoy their city, are fiercely proud of their heritage and will be delighted to welcome you.
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