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No need to choose between a land-based Galapagos exploration or a cruise; this holiday combines the best of both worlds to give you a fully immersive Galapagos experience, travelling by premium yacht to far flung islands, and staying in a charming hotel to enjoy the relaxed pace of Galapagueño life.
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Fly from the UK to Quito today. Please note that international flights for this holiday are quoted separately. Transfer to your comfortable hotel, located in one of the quieter parts of the city. Relax after your journey this evening.
Your guide comes to the hotel this morning to take you on a tour of Ecuador’s capital and its surroundings. Quito is positioned on the flanks of the Pichincha Volcano, and is home to perhaps the best-preserved colonial centre in Latin America (now UNESCO-listed). Explore the historic centre to learn about the city’s colonial past, perhaps dropping into the Government Palace en route.
The Galapagos are around 600 miles off mainland Ecuador so the flight takes a good couple of hours. Meet your guide who takes you up into the highlands of Santa Cruz to meet the islands' most famous inhabitants, the giant tortoises. After a visit to the Darwin Centre to learn about their efforts to protect the tortoises, board your boat this evening and settle into your very comfortable cabin.
Land at Puerto Villamil, the only inhabited part of Isabela Island. Jump in the water and snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks amongst other marine species. In the afternoon you travel to the highlands and walk up Sierra Negra volcano, the second largest caldera in the world.
Start today with a walk on Isabela Island to see if you can see giant tortoises. You will almost certainly see land iguanas along the way. Return to the beach to swim or snorkel directly offshore possibly with rays and sharks.For those of you less inclined to swim, you can take time to simply relax and read a book on the beach. This afternoon take a ride in the pangas to look for penguins and sea turtles.
Visit the youngest island, Fernandina, to walk to the jagged point of Punta Espinosa to see marine iguanas warming themselves on the lava. You may well need to watch where you are treading as there are lots and lots of them piled up against each other for warmth. Visit the cliff-side gallery of Tagus Cove for a clear view of some 19th century pirate graffiti later. It is more than a little strange to see vandalism in such a pristine place.
This morning you make a wet landing onto the golden-coloured sands of Espumilla Beach where green sea turtles nest, and you can follow a forest trail through fragrant Palo Santo trees to see yellow warblers, Darwin’s finches and Galapagos flycatchers. This afternoon you can enjoy time on the black sand beach of Puerto Egas. Observe the fur seals, who can sometimes be seen diving into the pools and arches formed by the sea eroding away the lava.
Take a final panga ride among the sea lions of Isla Lobos before waving goodbye to your fellow passengers and crew. After you disembark you meet your local guide, who will take you to your hotel, set looking out over the sea in sleepy Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in fact the archipelago's capital. The balance of the day is yours to relax. It's a short stroll to the beach, and it won't take you long at all to get your bearings in the town.
Take to the water this morning as part of a small group and sail out to Kicker Rock, a magnificent rock formation rising 120m from the sea with towering vertical walls on either side. The cliffs are home to frigate birds, blue-footed and masked boobies, and the waters here offer some of the best snorkelling anywhere in Galapagos. Later, head down to a secluded bay where you can snorkel in shallow waters often with sea lions and turtles as the frigate birds wheel overhead.
Your final day is yours to enjoy the nature around you, perhaps by taking one of the trails from near your hotel to look for the magnificent frigate birds and Nazca boobies, or wandering down to a secluded beach for a final swim with the sea lions and the iguanas.
Early this morning you could have a final stroll on the beach or a swim. Transfer to the airport for your return flight back to mainland Ecuador, to connect with your flights home. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday.
Note: This is just an itinerary idea and we'll therefore tailor everything to you.
Flexible departures: If you're ready to start travelling again, you can book now secure in the knowledge that we offer you the freedom to defer your trip, until the point your balance is paid, to any available date before the end of 2021. For expedition cruises, such as to the Galápagos Islands, this will be dependent on the flexibility the cruise operators are able to offer us and so will be done on a case by case basis.
Financial protection: For complete peace of mind in these uncertain times, your money is fully protected by our membership of ABTOT and the ATOL scheme.
Ensuring your safety: Please rest assured that your safety is always our top priorty. Our partners will all follow the strict guidelines set out by the government to ensure your safety whilst travelling, and we will fully support them to ensure they are able to do so.
As a tailor made trip, we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you. The Galapagos element we discuss with you to select the best combination of boat and time on land for you. In addition, we can add, or reduce, elements to make your perfect holiday. It is not uncommon to add time in the Amazon, for instance.
Departs on a date to suit you year round, subject to cruise schedules.
The price is per person based on two sharing and includes:
7-night Galapagos cruise with all meals and activities
First-class accommodation with breakfast and most lunches and dinners
Internal flights to and from the Galapagos
Private airport transfers
Private guiding in Quito
Shared guided activities in the Galapagos
Ecuador & Galapagos Holiday Guides with personal recommendations
Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout
Financial protection and safety auditing
International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best routing is into Quito (UIO) and out of Guayaquil (GYE) or Quito.
As a tailor made trip, we offer a range of different boats in the Galapagos. This itinerary is based on Sea Star Journey, an excellent yacht, she was recently given an extensive renovation, and is one of the most comfortable vessels operating in the archipelago. She carries a maximum of 16 passengers, giving her a wonderfully intimate feel, and the guide and crew are excellent.
Cabins are very spacious for a Galapagos vessel. That said, given the amount of time spent out and about exploring the islands or up on deck looking for wildlife, cabin size is perhaps less of a critical element of your Galapagos holiday than you might think. Deck space too is very ample, meaning you have lots of room to spread out, relax, and look at the landscapes and wildlife surrounding you. The large sun deck and jacuzzi mean that you can relax in some comfort as you look out for the passing wildlife.
San Cristobal is the least developed of the inhabited islands. We use a small and friendly six-bedroom inn set on the beach in a quiet part of the town. It is simple but comfortable.
In terms of weather, the Galapagos Islands lie on the equator so temperatures and weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant all year round. The water temperature and conditions do vary with colder, choppier waters from June through October giving way to warmer and calmer seas for the rest of the year.
We only work with sustainable boats, land-based operators and small hotels who actively contribute to the protection of the islands. We also support and promote the work of the UK-based Galapagos Conservation Trust, should you wish to support their efforts following your trip. Typically we find that our visitors leave with a heightened sense of awareness and responsibility for protecting our planet. It can be a really life affirming experience.
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