|Style||Partially Escorted & Guided
Tour escorts & guides for some segments
|Departures||July – November 2015|
|Departs||Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Quito, Otavalo, San Cristobal Island, Sante Fe, South Plaza, Santa Cruz Islands, Charles Darwin Research Center|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, locally hosted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.|
|As Seen in|
Discover the wonders of Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, a remarkable collection of landscapes, people, cultures, animals, plants, and more. Our Ecuador & Galapagos Islands tour covers the highlights of this incredibly diverse country. You'll visit the capital city and UNESCO World Heritage Center of Quito and the colorful and bustling Otavalo market. Round out your tour with a guided cruise through the Galapagos Islands, the magical place that inspired Charles Darwin to propose his theory of evolution. All of this, plus airfare from Miami, is yours for an incredible price. We're excited about this tour and we know you will be too, but don't wait too long to book, as space is sure to sell out quickly!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Thu||Apr 9||2015||Fri||Apr 17||2015||$4449||Departed|
|Thu||Jun 4||2015||Fri||Jun 12||2015||$4599||$4199||Closed|
|Thu||Jul 16||2015||Fri||Jul 24||2015||$4699||$4299||Available|
|Thu||Aug 13||2015||Fri||Aug 21||2015||$4699||$4299||Available|
|Thu||Sep 10||2015||Fri||Sep 18||2015||$4949||$4549||Available|
|Thu||Nov 19||2015||Fri||Nov 27||2015||$4599||$4199||Available|
Please see price details below.*
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
|Optionals & Upgrades|
|Rooming Selection / Cabin Categories|
|Main Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Sep 10||unavailable|
|All other departures||included|
|Main Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Sep 10||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$1449|
|Upper Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|All other departures||+$125|
|Upper Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Sep 10||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$1599|
|Boat Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Sep 10||included|
|All other departures||+$350|
|Boat Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Nov 19||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$1949|
|Boat Deck PLUS Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Jun 4, Nov 19||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$500|
|Boat Deck PLUS, Single Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Jun 4, Nov 19||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$2149|
|Superior Boat Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Jun 4, Jul 16, Aug 13, Sep 10||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$600|
|Superior Boat Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy|
|Apr 9, Jun 4, Jul 16, Aug 13, Sep 10||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$2299|
|Taxes & Fees|
|Galapagos National Park Fee of $100||included|
|INGALA Tourist Control Card of $20||included|
|Ecuador Departure Tax1 (paid separately)||+$45|
1. All departure taxes are paid locally at the time of departure. Amount is approximate and reflects current exchange rates.
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 105 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
|Optional PriceLock Deposit||$1500|
Day 1: Depart USA /Arrive Quito. Your exciting tour to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands begins today as you depart for Quito, Ecuador's capital city (9,500 feet above sea level). Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Hilton Colón or similar.
Passengers departing Miami (MIA): Due to a schedule change on LAN Airlines for departures Feb 12, 2015 and onwards, passengers will depart Miami on an overnight flight arriving to Quito early in the morning of Day 2. Please refer to the flight schedule for details.
Day 2: Quito. Today, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Quito. Arguably one of the loveliest of all South American cities, Quito enjoys a spectacular setting surrounded by mountains and several snow-capped volcanoes, including the still-active Mt. Pichincha. Begin your walking tour at Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, Presidential Palace, Municipal Building and the Archbishops’ Palace. The next stop, La Compañía de Jesús, has an ornate and richly sculptured facade and interior, with colored columns, 10-sided altars, and gilded balconies. Continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, Quito's oldest church and the largest colonial building constructed in Latin America.
Next, drive 16 miles north of Quito to the Equatorial Monument, the Mitad del Mundo ("Middle of the World"), commemorating the exact place where Charles Marie de la Condamine established the Equator, where you can stand with one foot in the northern and one in the southern hemisphere. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Quito, Galapagos Cruise: San Cristobal & Punta Pitt. Transfer to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island, gateway to the Galapagos Islands to begin your adventure. Upon arrival, transfer to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to board your first-class cruise ship, the M/V Santa Cruz, your home for the next 4 nights. Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch.
In the afternoon, disembark on the eastern tip of the island at Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone, and walk along the trail with spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galapagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, and you may be lucky enough to view all three! After a walk along the trail, weather permitting, there will be a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby islets.
Day 4: Galapagos Cruise: Sante Fe Island & South Plaza Island. After breakfast, take a dinghy to Sante Fe Island, where you'll find an idyllic sandy white beach populated by many sea lion harems. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Here, you may snorkel and swim from the beach, or explore the water from a glass-bottomed boat.
After lunch on board and a chance to rest, disembark in the South Plaza Island channel, where turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. A carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. You may see yellow-grey land iguanas patiently waiting for pears to drop. Along the coastline you may find sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and shearwaters glide above, playing with the thermals. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora, & Charles Darwin Research Station. In the morning, disembark (dry landing) to visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoises within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, also home to many land birds. The Research Station is the headquarters of scientific exploration, conservation and the National Park administration. Later, board our transport to travel to the cooler highlands of the island, a completely different ecosystem, to enjoy lunch.
1) Trek along trails amid the miconia forests in the highlands, home to many elusive birds including the dark-rumped petrel.
2) Mountain bike (mostly downhill) to Garrapatero Beach.
3) Sea kayak and relax on a beautiful, sandy beach.
4) Experience sustainable agriculture at an organic coffee plantation. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the M/V Santa Cruz.
Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Galapagos Cruise: Española (or Hood) Island, Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay. This morning, enjoy an exciting walk at Punta Suarez, to see its colonies of unique sea birds, including waved albatrosses (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tail gulls. You'll also see the famous Galapagos "blow-hole," and keep an eye out for the famous marine iguanas with their interesting red, green and black coloration. Return to the ship for lunch on board.
In the afternoon, the picturesque white coral beach of Gardner Bay provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches. Enjoy an opportunity to snorkel or ride aboard a glass-bottomed boat. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 7: Galapagos Cruise, Baltra Island & Quito. Your cruise comes to an end as you disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Hilton Colón or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Quito, Otavalo, & Departure. This morning, check out from your hotel and then set out on the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo. After driving through dramatic Andean scenery, arrive at the famous Indian fair and the textile market of Otavalo, undoubtedly one of the best in all of Latin America.
The beauty of Otavalo lies in its people, the Otavaleño Indians. Unlike other indigenous groups who have given up their traditional dress for modern jeans and t-shirts, Otavaleños are true to their ancestral cultural heritage, and are still easily identified by their distinctive dress. Women wear intricately embroidered blouses and a wealth of beaded necklaces, while men have long, braided hair and wear calf-length white trousers, ponchos and sandals. Stroll by their many stalls filled with ponchos, scarves, blankets, hats, handbags and more, and observe as the Otavaleños barter in silence.
Then proceed to Peguche, a nearby Indian village, where local artisans weave in their homes. Learn about their culture and everyday life. Later, return to Quito for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Passengers returning to Miami (MIA): Due to a schedule change on LAN Airlines for departures Feb 12, 2015 and onwards, passengers returning to Miami will overnight in Quito on Day 8 at the Hilton Colón or similar, and then return to Miami on Day 9. Please refer to the flight schedule for details.
Day 9: Arrive USA. Your Ecuador and Galapagos adventure comes to an end as you arrive in the USA today.
Day 3: Quito, Galapagos Cruise: Baltra Island & Santa Cruz. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island, gateway to the Galapagos Islands, to begin your adventure. Upon arrival, transfer to the dock to board your first-class cruise ship, the M/V Santa Cruz, your home for the next 4 nights. Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch.
In the afternoon, disembark on the northern shore of Santa Cruz Island at Las Bachas, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. There will be a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby inlets. Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 4: Galapagos Cruise: Buccaneer Cove & Puerto Egas. After breakfast, explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area's distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. View fantastic natural formations such as the "Elephant Rock", "The Bishop" and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling.
Later on, disembark at a beach called Puerto Egas. Enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, head off on a nature walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid a landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Galapagos Cruise: Rábida Island & Bartolomé Island. After breakfast, land on Rábida Island's red-colored beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic sediment. A walking tour brings you near a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin's finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond hosts migrating greater flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes.
After lunch, disembark at Bartolomé for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, enjoy a boat ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, landing at the beach to enjoy some swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Galapagos Cruise: Prince Philip Steps & Darwin Bay. The morning starts with a boat ride along the cliffs of Genovesa Island. After landing, there will be a steep climb (90 feet) up Prince Philips Steps to reach a flat plateau. Along the walk, observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. For those not wishing to disembark, enjoy a longer boat ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). After the walk, swim or snorkel along the dramatic cliffs where there are chances of spotting lots of fish, including hammerhead sharks.
In the afternoon, land at a beautiful beach on Darwin Bay to enjoy some swimming or snorkeling. Then, take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There's an optional walk over some uneven terrain for dramatic views of the bay, or return to the beach to relax. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 7: Galapagos Cruise: San Cristobal Island & Quito. Your cruise comes to an end as you disembark at San Cristobal Island and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Hilton Colón or similar. Breakfast provided.
See Day 8 of the tour itinerary above for the continuation of your touring program.
Dry landing: guests step from a dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as a dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
In writing our evaluation, we did not have enough room to tell you about our guide, Patricio. He was, without a doubt, the most friendly, patient, and knowledgeable guide we have had out of many tours we have taken. We hope that you will pass this information on to the Friendly Planet office in Ecuador, as we feel that he should be given special recognition for the superb representation of your company. We had two medical emergencies with travelers in our group. He was able to get doctors for them and arrange for one of them to join our trip the next day. Another time, while telling us of the exportation from Ecuador of roses, he asked our driver, Jose, to stop for a moment. He came back a few minutes later with roses for all of the women on the bus! These were just two of the many kindnesses he extended to our group. He really understands the meaning of "guest service" and is to be commended for the way he conducts a tour. We came away feeling like honorary Ecuadorians!
Cathy and Rich Sholtanis, Tamworth, NH