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Ecuador & Galapagos Adventure Land Tour

Quito - Baltra - Santa Cruz - Puerto Villamil - Isla Isabela
10 days / 9 nights.
Ecuador & Galapagos Adventure Land Tour
Day 1. Quito

Arrive Quito. Reception at the airport and transfer to the 4* Dann Carlton Hotel. Rest, relax, and enjoy the city.

Dann Carlton Hotel

Day 2. Quito and Museo Guayasamin B

After breakfast, a full day's private 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. In the afternoon head over to the Museo Guayasamin and the Capilla del Hombre for a look at some contemporary Ecuadorian art, the Templo Del Hombre, and the famous collected Incan artifacts and jewelry designs by the artist. Accommodation at the 4* Dann Carlton Hotel.

Dann Carlton Hotel  |   Meals: B

Day 3. Quito - Baltra - Santa Cruz B

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra, Galapagos. Reception and transfer to the 3* Sol y Mar Hotel in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Settle in to your hotel and relax in your sea view room. Take in the views, ambience and environment of the Galapagos with the sun, the sea, and salty-fresh island breeze. Free day to explore the small town and enjoy the weather.

Sol y Mar Hotel   |   Meals: B

Day 4. Santa Cruz - Tour of the Islands B, L

After breakfast, enjoy a full day tour out to Bartolome, North Seymour and Las Bachas, or South Plazas and Punta Carrion. Each day the decision is made on which island is visited according to the permission by the government. This choice is made by evaluating where the other 100 yachts currently are stations, and you will be able to visit the island with the least amount of tourist currently at land. Full day tour of the island, including lunch. In the late afternoon, return to the Lobo Del Mar Hotel for an open evening.

Bartolome Island. Arriving at Bartholome we will ascend a lookout point from where you can admire the spectacular panorama of the Sullivan Bay and the famous needle shaped rock, the so-called Pinnacle Rock. The beaches at the foot of the Pinnacle Rock boast some fine snorkeling spots from which you can discover the marvelous underwater world with a good chance to encounter penguins or the softly gliding turtles. Bartolome is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean's edge and is the best known landmark in the islands. Galápagos penguins - the only species of penguin found north of the equator - walk precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers. Just below the surface, shoals of tropical fish dodge in and out of the rocks past urchins, sea stars and anemones. A perfectly crescent, pink-and-white sandy beach lies just to the east of the pinnacle. Sea turtles use the beach as a nesting site and can sometimes be found wading in the shallow water near the shore, or resting in the sand to recover from the arduous task of digging nests, laying eggs and covering them over. Penguins dot the nearby rocks of the next landing site, less than a kilometer along the eastern shore. Here the submerged walls of a tiny volcanic crater give the impression of a fountain pool. This dry landing - no wet feet! -is the entrance to a 600-meter (2000-foot) pathway complete with stairs and boardwalks leading to Bartolome's summit. The route is not difficult and presents a museum of vulcanology; a site left untouched after its last eruption, where cones stand in various stages of erosion and lava tubes form bobsled-like runs from the summit. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Santiago Island and James Bay to the west, and far below, Pinnacle Rock and our beach, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle your yacht. North Seymour and Las Bachas. A visit to the island of North Seymour which is renowned for its frigate birds and their intensive courting rituals. The island is also inhabited by other frigate birds and blue-footed boobies, as well as endemic black lizards and sea lions inhabit on its shores. The deserted, picturesque beach Las Bachas at the northern shore of Santa Cruz invites you for a swim in the crystal-clear water or to relax in the sun. Afterwards you will be visiting the bay Caleta Tortuga Negra which is close by. This bay is surrounded by mangroves where you can spot pelicans and herons. While snorkelling you can have a swim with the turtles, white-tip sharks and rays. North Seymour Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit perched in ledges. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stand just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rain to bring them into bloom. This island is teaming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Further along, the rocky shore displays white sand, and large flocks of pelicans mass for a dive-bomb feeding frenzy, rendering a tableau for us from ages long past. 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. Las Bachas, a sandy white-coral beach that is a major egg-laying site for sea turtles. Bachas are notches, and the beach's name refers to the indentations left in the sand by both laying turtles and their departing hatchlings. On the shore, there are marine iguanas and in the lagoon, flamingos are commonly seen. A newer visitor's site, Dragon Hill (Cerro Dragon) is a brackish water lagoon that attracts flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and other species of birds. There is a short walk up a small hill, which rewards hikers with a nesting site for iguanas and a great view! South Plazas and Punta Carrion. Located In the east of Santa Cruz, the main characteristics of the small island of South Plaza are the Opuntia cacti and the carpets of red sesuvium, a succulent plant that turns green in the rainy season. The cactus is the main food of land iguanas, which are usually, found resting in the cacti's shade. The island contains one of the largest sea lion colonies of the Galapagos, along with swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Boobies are also found roosting on the southern cliffs of the island. Punta Carrion offers a great opportunity to see Sea Lions.

South Plazas: This is the southern partner of two small crescent-shaped islands that lie just a few hundred meters off the east coast of Santa Cruz. The northern island is used for scientific purposes only. South Plaza is one of the smallest yet richest islands in the archipelago. Only 130 meters wide (426 feet), it was formed from uplifted seabed, giving it a titled tabletop quality. Our landing is in the channel between North and South Plaza, where the island tilts toward the water. The approach makes for a lavishly colorful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange "Sally light foot" crabs. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-gray land iguanas sit beneath, waiting patiently for pears to drop. The trail gradually follows the tilt of the island to the cliffs that overlook the ocean to the south, where swallow-tailed gulls nest. Red-billed tropic birds, masked and blue-footed boobies ride the windy currents. The overlook is a great place for spotting large marine life, including manta rays. Surf pounds an inlet at the western corner of the island, where a colony of sea lion bachelors make their home, accounting for the surface of the rocks, polished by the oils of their fur. The shoreline of Las Plazas makes for excellent snorkeling in a sea lion colony of nearly a thousand. Your guide will find the right spot to swim with youngsters away from areas claimed by the surly bulls.

Meals: B & L

Day 5. Mountain Biking Tour B, L

After early breakfast, we drive up to the highlands of Santa Cruz where we shall start our private mountain biking tour. The first part of the ride follows a track 5 km long and sometimes very muddy on to El Chato. This is a giant tortoise wild reserve, where you can see free-roaming giant tortoises placidly grazing in the lush vegetation, and often lying camouflaged, like half submerged boulders. The vegetation is composed of high scalesia, guayabillo (Psidium sp.) and pega pega (Pisonia floribunda) grasses. As you ride through the forest, listen carefully for the sound of heavy foot steps and the sound of shrubs being slowly crushed, as this is the place where theses ancient reptiles make their way through the brush in search of water and plants to enjoy a meal. This will allow us to get close to and quietly observe these peaceful animals. A chance to enjoy this reserve before we make a visit to the lava tubes in the area which together with the tunnels of Northwest of Australia is amongst the largest in the world.

We continue our bike tour up through the highlands of Santa Cruz to visit Los Gemelos (the twins). Los Gemelos refers to the dramatic, twin volcanic sink holes, formed when surface magma chambers collapsed, causing the upper crust to sink, following circumferential fissures. These two pit craters more than 30m deep illustrate the volcanic origin of the islands. This whole area is cloaked in the humid tropical zone of the scalesia forest, giving it a pre-historical feel, typical of cloud forest vegetation. A few trails wander around the craters, and provide the perfect place for photography and walking, in addition to bird watching. Many land birds may be seen, such as the vermillion flycatcher, warblers, darwin finches, as well as bromeliads and orchids. We shall enjoy a snack before we descend the long road down to the Itabaca Channel.

Meals: B & L

Day 6. Sea Kayaking Tour B

After breakfast, spend the day kayaking around the islands in shared service. Paddle by playful sea lions; glide above white-tipped sharks; watch Blue-footed boobies plummet into the sea. Undoubtedly, one of the most intimate ways to experience the Galapagos Islands is by kayak. No motors, no crowds; just you, the kayak and the sound of your paddle as it strokes the sea. Slip a kayak into the water, and explore the hidden inlets and mangrove bays of Isla Santa Cruz.

Meals: B

Day 7. Santa Cruz - Puerto Villamil - Isla Isabela B

After breakfast, transfer to the port for the motor boat trip to the island of Isabela, some two hours west of Santa Cruz . Isabela is one of the youngest islands of the entire Galapagos archipelago and offers a fascinating insight into the volcanic origins of the islands. Once you arrive to Pueto Villamil, the capital of Isabela Island, reception and transfer to La Casa de Marita, a delightful lodge located on the beach.
We shall take a boat ride out to Las Tintoreras, where we shall see fascinating lava formations and enjoy a visit to the colony of marine iguanas and sea lions. There will also be an opportunity for snorkeling with sea turtles and the "Tintoreras" (white tipped shark). If lucky, we may also see eagle rays, sting rays and golden rays. We shall return to the main island, observing colonies of Humboldt penguins, blue footed boobies, pelicans and frigates along the way. Return to the Casa Marita for accommodation in a sea view room.

Meals: B

Day 8. Puerto Villamil - Sierra Negra - Small Volcano B, L

After breakfast, we will leave the town by pickup truck and head towards the highlands. Once in the highlands, we will collect our horses, saddle up and start our horseback riding tour to Sierra Negra and to the Chico Volcano, both of which still active. The Sierra Negra is one of the finest examples of a volcano in the archipelago. It is also the second largest crater in the world after the Ngorongoro crater in Africa, and has an immense caldera, around 10 km. In diameter, and is the oldest on the Island. It last erupted in October 2005. The weather is often clear and good but it can also turn to rain and fog very rapidly so it is recommended to wear long trousers for the horseback riding. During the trip to the volcanoes, the different vegetation of the island will be observed, and once at the Chico Volcano you will be able to see the various types of lava according its age, in addition to "fumaroles" and boiler eyes; and from the northern part of the boiler, we will enjoy excellent views of the Perry's Isthmus, Elizabeth Bay and even the Alcedo Volcano. We shall enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Puerto Villamil. Upon arriving to Puerto Villamil, we shall visit the famous Tortoise Raising Center, and walk along the footpaths to the beautiful brackish lakes that are a refuge to flamingos and other birds. We shall finally arrive to the famous "Muro de las Lagrimas" (Wall of the Tears) constructed of lava rocks and which was once used as a punishment for the penal colony that inhabited this area in 1959. More than 200 prisoners had constructed the wall whose only ruins are an enormous basalt wall of 50m in length, 5m wide and almost 8m high. Behind the wall, there is a footpath that leads up to a beautiful view of the sea.

Return to your lodge for accommodation.

Meals: B & L

Day 9. Isabela - Santa Cruz - Quito

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your returning flight to Baltra and your connecting flight back to the mainland. Transfer to the 4* Dann Carlton Hotel.

Dann Carlton Hotel  |   Meals: B

Day 10. Quito B

After breakfast, free morning to enjoy the city. At the appropriate hour, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Meals: B

End of our services.
Ecuador & Galapagos Adventure Land Tour Itinerary Overview:
Day 1. Quito
Day 2. Quito and Museo Guayasamin
Day 3. Quito - Baltra - Santa Cruz
Day 4. Santa Cruz - Tour of the Islands
Day 5. Mountain Biking Tour
Day 6. Sea Kayaking Tour
Day 7. Santa Cruz - Puerto Villamil - Isla Isabela
Day 8. Puerto Villamil - Sierra Negra - Small Volcano
Day 9. Isabela - Santa Cruz - Quito
Day 10. Quito
End of our services.
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For current availability contact us at and we will send you the relevant trip dossier along with a 90 day fixed quote, terms and conditions. Please bear in mind that significant price reductions are available for groups. All our Luxury Tours are fully private and depart daily. Contact us for more information regarding the above tour, or to begin customizing your own itinerary.
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