Kick-off your exciting trip to the Galapagos in Quito with a city tour. Over the course of a day, you’ll head to Panecillo Hill and San Juan Mirador for gorgeous hilltop views of the city, before heading on to the historic city center where you’ll visit many of the churches and colonial-era buildings. After lunch, it’s on to the Middle of the World monument to experience life on both sides of the equator. Wrap up your day soaking up the epic landscapes of the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve.
The next day heads out on a day trip to discover the wildlife and beauty of the cloud forests of Mindo. This special spot boasts one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity anywhere on the planet. Here you’ll find a number of exotic bird species as well as plenty of fun attractions. Check out the beautiful Hummingbird Garden, walk through the forest and indulge in a range of activities from a chocolate factory visit, orchid garden tour, ziplining or a bird watching tour with a local expert.
During your time in Quito, you'll stay at the Hotel Patio Andaluz, located in the city's historical center.
San Cristobal Island
Today you’re off to the Galapagos! Board the M/C Treasure of Galapagos, a luxurious converted catamaran where you can relax in the jacuzzi on the sun deck at the end of a hard day's wildlife watching, before enjoying delicious food prepared by the onboard professional chef.
Start off on San Cristobal where you will visit the Cerro Colorado Tortoises Protection and Growing Centre. Check out the large corral, visitors center and breeding center. Once you’ve had your fill of tortoises, take the interpretative trail and look for native and endemic plants and birds, including the San Cristobal Mockingbird, Yellow Warbler and many species of finches and the Galapagos flycatcher.
In the morning head to Gardner Bay where you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking in the crystal-clear ocean waters. There is also the opportunity to check out sea lions and observe sharks. Later on, you’ll head to Punta Suarez in Espanola, a rocky land spot home to one of the most impressive and diverse seabird colonies in the whole Galapagos. Look at the southern shore with its high-rise cliffs offering excellent views of soaring birds. There is also a blowhole where water rushes up to 75 feet in the air!
Today it’s off to Floreana to check out one of the most interesting historic sites in the Galapagos - Post Office Bay. This wooden barrel was placed here in the 18th century by whalers and was used as a makeshift post office. From here, head north and enjoy a gorgeous view from Baroness Lookout, named after Baroness Eloisa von Wagner who is said to have loved this spot and spent hours watching the horizon here. You can also walk to the nearby ruins of her house.
Later, swing by Punta Cormorant, a site that offers quite possibly the best Flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos. Situated between two lava cones, the atmosphere here is special and it's home to many birds including flamingos, stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds. Beach bums should check out the two distinct beaches here. The Green Beach is named after the high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand and Flour Sand Beach is made up of coral.
Santa Cruz Island
Depart for Santa Fe, which some posit could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Regardless, it’s home to a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of land Iguanas of the islands. It’s also home to several sea lion colonies and interesting plants like the giant prickly pear cactus. In the afternoon head to Tortuga Bay, in Santa Cruz, a nesting site for the black turtle. It’s also an excellent spot for snorkeling – lookout for the Galapagos sea lions, marine iguanas or, if it’s the right time of year, mating Pacific green turtles in the surf.
The next morning is all about wild tortoises! Visit the pond at El Chato, which attracts short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Rails, and Paint-billed Crakes. Listen out for heavy footsteps and the sound of shrubs being crushed underfoot – it’ll be wild tortoises making their way through the bush! Later on, you’ll be transferred to Baltra Airport for a flight to Guayaquil. Once you arrive in the coastal city, enjoy a flexible city tour where you’ll see some of the top landmarks including the Malecón, Las Peñas neighborhood, and the Historical Park. After touring the city, you’ll spend the night at Hotel del Park, and the next day transfers to the airport for your flight home.