GTMT- 112P – QUITO AND THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

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THE NEW M/V SANTA CRUZ II – WESTERN ISLAND PROGRAM
Eight Days / Seven Nights

2017 – Specially priced departures from the USA:
July 17, August 14, August 28, September 11, September 25, October 9, October 23, November 6, November 20 & December 4, 2017
Cruise dates:
July 19, August 16, August 30, September 13, September 27, October 11, October 25, November 8, November 22 & December 6, 2017
(Additional departure dates available on request)

ITINERARY:

DAY 1: Arrival in Quito

Meeting and assistance and private transfer from airport to hotel.
Overnight accommodations at J W Marriott Hotel

DAY 2: Quito

Private tour of Scenic Quito
We will visit downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will stroll at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We will visit also the temple of *La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior.

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We continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar.
Overnight accommodations at J W Marriott Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 3: Quito / Galapagos Islands

SIX DAYS / FIVE NIGHTS – WESTERN ISLANDS ITINERARY
Wednesday to Monday
Breakfast at hotel. Private transfer hotel to airport for your flight to Baltra, Galapagos Islands. transfer to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz where we receive our welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.

North Seymour Island
This is a great introductory site to the islands and their wildlife, full of bird colonies of blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. The trail turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site in the Galápagos of the “magnificent frigate bird.” These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter wingspans, and males, with puffed up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain.
Overnight M/V Santa Cruz II
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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DAY 4: Galapagos Islands

Isabela Island and Fernandina Island
Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island)
After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, nesting place for a Galápagos highlight: flightless cormorants. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola)

Punta Espinoza (Fernandina Island)
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.
Overnight M/V Santa Cruz II
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 5: Galapagos Islands

Tagus Cove (Isabela Island)
After breakfast, we land at this cove on the northwest of Isabela. It provided a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. An uphill hike takes guests to the rim of a crater, Darwin Lake, filled with salt water and to a dramatic viewpoint. After our walk, we take a panga ride to spot local wildlife, with the possibility of swimming or snorkelling.

Urbina Bay (Isabela Island)
After lunch we disembark at Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. Here we can admire corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. First we enjoy a snorkel from the beach, with the chance of swimming with flightless cormorants. This are is also home to a large and very colourful Galápagos land iguanas, and occasionally to giant tortoises. We return back on board for our expedition plan for Saturday and dinner.
Overnight M/V Santa Cruz II
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 6: Galapagos Islands

Santa Cruz Island
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
In the morning, we disembark (dry landing) for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.

Santa Cruz Island
We have several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, we return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz.
Overnight M/V Santa Cruz II
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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DAY 7: Galapagos Islands

Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)
A short walk leads us to the historic barrel where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. We then head back on board for lunch.

Champion Islet and Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)
Following lunch and a siesta, we take the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Cormorant Point, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish water lagoon where bird species such as greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. We continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).
Overnight M/V Santa Cruz II
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 8: Depart Galapagos Islands

Baltra / Quito or Guayaquil / home (*)
Transfer out to Baltra airport for flight to Mainland (Quito or Guayaquil) and your connecting international flight.
Meals: Breakfast
(*) Depending on your international flight departure time either from Guayaquil or Quito you may not require an additional overnight in Ecuador if the flight departs same evening. If not, we will arrange for you round trip transfers between airport and hotel and overnight accommodations on request as optional.

RATES PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY

 

DELUXE HOTEL J. W. MARRIOTT QUITO
DELUXE M/V SANTA CRUZ II
TWO GUESTS  FOUR GUEST  6 GUESTS
$ 3,950 $ 3,950 $ 3,750

A SAVINGS OF $350 PER PERSON!!

PLEASE CHECK WITH US FOR INTERNATIONAL AIR FARES
FROM USA TO ECUADOR ON OUR AIR PARTNERS:
AMERICAN AIRLINES, LATAM AND AVIANCA

RATES INCLUDE:

Six day / five night cruise aboard the MV Santa Cruz II – Western Islands – based on Horizon Deck Explorer cabin – Double occupancy.
Fully escorted daily nature oriented tours to the islands as per itinerary. English speaking naturalist guides. Daily Briefings. All meals during the cruise.
Two night hotel accommodations at deluxe hotel J W Marriott Quito including taxes and daily breakfast.
Private fully escorted tour of Scenic Quito. Certified English speaking guide.
Two transfers with English speaking guide between airport and hotel. Round trip transfers in Galapagos between airport and cruise.

NOT INCLUDED:

International air between the USA and Quito or Guayaquil. Round trip local air between Quito and Galapagos ($498.00 per person including taxes and subject to change) . Galapagos National Park admission fee (US $100 subject to change without notice), transit Control Card for Galapagos (US$ 20 per person), wet suits, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage, tips, gifts, internet and additional items of personal nature and not indicated in itinerary.

© Images courtesy of Metropolitan Touring