December 18 / Thursday: QUITO
Arrival to Quito. Reception and transfer to your hotel.
December 19 / Friday: Quito - Baltra
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra airport. Passengers will be received at the airport by our guide and then taken to the pier to join the Beluga Yacht. After a dry landing guests will encounter swallow tailed gulls and sea lions. This site is also known for being a major nesting colony of blue footed boobies, and the largest colony of the magnificent frigate bird. (a different species from the great frigate bird). Travellers will also spot both endemic species of iguanas, the marine iguanas and land iguanas. Passengers will enjoy this relaxed hike around the nesting sites.
December 20 / Saturday: Española
Punta Suarez offers the visitor quite a display in wildlife: Marine Iguanas with copper red patches, Swallow Tailed Gulls, the endemic Long Billed Mocking bird, Finches, Masked and Blue Footed Boobies, Oystercatchers, Sea Lions and Lava Lizards. This is the only island where the Waved Albatross is to be seen during the breeding season, April to December.
December 21 / Sunday: Floreana
At Point Cormorant we visit a Flamingo Lagoon where other species of shore birds may also be seen. Snorkelling at Devil's Crown, a submerged volcanic cone, and at Post office Bay, one may leave letters like whalers did in the 18th century in a wooden barrel mailbox.
December 22 / Monday: Santa Cruz
Early visit to The Charles Darwin Station and headquarters of the Galapagos National Park may be visited at Puerto Ayora, the Islands' most populated human settlement. Transfer to the airport for your flight to mainland.
December 23 / Tuesday: Quito - Otavalo
Today, after breakfast, transfer to Otavalo for a visit to the colourful Indian market of Otavalo, with its many impressive arts and crafts of the local people. The market dates back to pre-inca times when jungle products from the east were traded with highland products. Traditional dress is observed throughout the market. In the afternoon, a visit to Cotacachi, famous for its leatherwork. Return in the evening to Quito.
December 24 / Wednesday: Quito - Cotopaxi
After breakfast, we start our journey south through the spectacular avenue of the volcanoes towards Cotopaxi, the most famous of all Ecuatorian volcanoes. We shall pass Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Corazon volcanoes along this spectacular journey. Arrival to the magnificent Hacienda Cienega, one time residence of the German scientist Von Humboldt. After lunch at the hacienda, we shall visit the Hacienda San Agustin de Callo at the very foot of Cotopaxi. This Hacienda has been written about by the Spanish chronicler, Cieza de Leon (1553) and is one of only two major Inca sites in Ecuador.
The temple was built around 1440 AD by one of the last Inca emperors, Huayna Cápac, and to this day the remaining rooms prevail as a magnificent sample of the unique style of Inca construction. The site is currently being investigated by Dr. David Brown of the University of Texas, the funding of which was provided by the National Geographic Society. Previously unknown portions of Inca walls and foundations have been discovered throughout the restoration process of the house. Since the 15th century San Agustin de Callo has served as an Inca fortress, Augustinian convent and temporary home for the French Geodesic Mission whose scientific results helped to determine the true shape of the planet. Continue the tour into the Cotopaxi National Park for a closer view of the volcano. Before returning to Quito, time permitting, we shall visit one of the Indian Markets, either Pujilí or Saquisilí. These are amongst the most authentic markets in Ecuador with their colourful displays of spices, fruits and hand woven ponchos. Return to Quito.
December 25 / Thursday: Quito
After breakfast, a full day's guided visit of colonial Quito, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1978. A visit to the Old Town, including the Plaza de la Independencia. The President still conducts business here, so access to the inside may be limited. It is the home of the tomb of Sucre and also houses interesting 17th and 18th century paintings. A visit to the Parque Alameda that houses the oldest astronomical observatory in South America, as well as an impressive monument of Simon Bolivar. The Plaza de San Francisco was constructed by the Spanish in 1553, and the church has a high altar made of gold and beautifully carved ceilings. You shall also visit La Compañia, the finest of all Jesuit churches. Damaged through the years by fires and earthquakes, it has since been restored and has a richly sculptured facade and interior. If there is time, we will visit some of the markets, including the Indian market at Avenida de 24 de Mayo at the base of El Panecillo and the Ipiales market. These are best visited on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the main market days. Lunch at Cochabamba Restaurant. Continue the tour to the middle of the world monument before returning to your hotel.
December 26 / Friday: Quito
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
End of services.
Our price Includes:
Price includes international return flights from London, accommodation on a luxury yacht and a 5 star hotel in Quito, most meals, all tours with entrance tickets (not including the Galapagos National Park tax of US$100 per person and the tourist monitoring fee of US$10 per person payable upon your arrival to the Galapagos Islands), and the return flights to the Galapagos Islands.
Our price does not include:
Meals not specified, airport taxes and travel insurance are not included in the quote.