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In the Footsteps of Darwin
ITINERARY OF YOUR TRIP
Fly to Ecuador’s capital city of Quito which was the first World Cultural Heritage Site to be declared by UNESCO in 1978 thanks to its well-preserved central district, home to exquisite churches and colonial-era buildings. After spending your first night at La Casona de la Ronda Hotel, Day 2 is all about exploring the city with your private guide. Take in the panoramic views from Panecillo Hill and San Juan Mirador before stepping from one side of the equator to the other at the Middle of the Earth Monument. An amazing day ends with an exploration of the dramatic landscapes at the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve.
Day 3 is taken up by an included trip to the National Park of Cotopaxi. A local guide will offer insights into Ecuador’s markets, history, and natural wonders, but it’s the tour of an active volcano and the idyllic Limpiopungo Lagoon that really fires the imagination.
A flight and a ferry take us to Santa Cruz Island on Day 4. After lunch, travel through the highlands to the Charles Darwin Research Station, home to many varieties of birds and an impressive prickly-pear cactus forest, although it’s the giant tortoises that are the star attraction. There’s time to learn about the station’s conservation work before exploring the town of Puerto Ayora. The day ends by boarding the yacht Isabella II, your home for the next four nights.
After breakfast on Day 5, go snorkeling off the coast of Floreana Island during a trip to Baroness Cove and Post Office Bay, where a humble barrel has served as the archipelago’s informal post office for the past 200 years. In the afternoon, look out for flamingoes at Punta Cormorant, and perhaps observe marine life from a glass-bottomed boat or local fishing vessel, known as a panga.
Day 6 involves a very different landscape. Punta Suarez on Espanola Island features an almost alien-looking, cooled lava pavement, home to birdlife and marine iguanas as well as a spectacular blowhole. After lunch on the yacht, come face-to-face with sea lions, finches and hawks during a stroll along the stunning white beach at Gardner Bay, where it’s also possible to go kayaking or take another boat ride.
Day 7 begins at Punta Pitt on San Cristobal Island, the only place where three species of boobies nest together. There’s also a chance to swim, kayak, snorkel or go on a panga trip along the coast. There’s another opportunity for water activities at Cerro Brujo, but most visitors are happy to walk the same shores that once welcomed Charles Darwin, particularly if the local animal species are in full view.
After a night at the Oro Verde Hotel at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, it’s time to fly back to the mainland before beginning the journey home, where tales of your experiences are sure to inspire awe and envy in all who hear them.