Prices include savings up to $400
for bookings by May 20, 2014!

Ecuador & the Galapagos

Quito, Otavalo and Galapagos Cruise, including Santa Cruz, South Plaza, Santa Fe & San Cristobal Islands

Overview

Itinerary at a Glance
Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
Day Destination
1 USA/Quito
2 Quito
3 Quito, Galapagos Cruise: San Cristobal & Punta Pitt
4 Galapagos Cruise: Sante Fe Island & South Plaza Island
5 Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz Island, Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
6 Galapagos Cruise: Española (or Hood) Island, Punta Suarez and Gardner Bay
7 Galapagos Cruise, Baltra Island & Quito
8 Quito, Otavalo, & Departure
9 Arrive USA
Style Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures July – December 2014
Departs Miami (MIA)
Highlights Quito, Otavalo, San Cristobal Island, Sante Fe, South Plaza, Santa Cruz Islands, Charles Darwin Research Center
Included in the Price
  • Round trip flights from Miami via scheduled carriers, including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees with other gateways available on request
  • All ground transportation & transfers
  • Accommodations in a Deluxe hotel with private bath
  • Four-night Galapagos Cruise aboard the M/V Santa Cruz in standard outside cabins with portholes
  • 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 5 dinners
  • Comprehensive guided sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Galapagos National Park Fee ($100) & Transit Control Card ($10)
  • Professional English-speaking tour directors & guides
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

LAN Airlines

Quechua girl Discover the wonders of Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, a remarkable collection of landscapes, people, cultures, animals, plants, and more. Our 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 cruise through the Galapagos Islands, a unique, living laboratory, where Darwin, and those who followed, studied evolutionary changes that led to a new understanding of life on earth.

This Galapagos Islands adventure vacation is truly a once in a lifetime trip that you'll never forget. Your Ecuador and Galapagos tour will be filled with discovery, beauty, history, culture and more fun than you can imagine. And while there are no compromises in the quality of the hotels and the scope of touring included in our program, it's yours for a price that's as amazing as the trip itself!

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Testimonials

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We took the trip to Ecuador in October. Absolutely fabulous trip, planning, lodging, food, transportation. Our tour guide, Patricio, could not have been a better guide. I would take the trip again in a minute!

Ann Ritchie, Midland, TX

Dates, Prices & Options

All prices, fees and deposits are per person. Prices below are subject to availability and confirmation. After we receive your booking, we will confirm all prices and availability within 1–2 business days. Prices are subject to change at any time and not guaranteed until we receive your final payment. More about our prices.

Departures & Prices*
Depart Return Price Book by
May 20
Thu Apr 10 2014 Fri Apr 18 2014 $3799   Departed
Thu May 22 2014 Fri May 30 2014 $4199 $3799 Closed
Family-Friendly Departure Thu Jul 31 2014 Fri Aug 8 2014 $4399 $3999 Available
Thu Aug 28 2014 Fri Sep 5 2014 $4399 $3999 Available
Thu Sep 11 2014 Fri Sep 19 2014 $4199 $3799 Available
Thu Oct 9 2014 Fri Oct 17 2014 $4399 $3999 Available
Thu Nov 20 2014 Fri Nov 28 2014 $4399 $3999 Available
Thu Dec 4 2014 Fri Dec 12 2014 $4199 $3799 Available
Thu Dec 18 2014 Fri Dec 26 2014 $4499 $4099 Available

* Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and include airfare and Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee. Prices do not include excess baggage fees, extensions or optional items. Prices in orange reflect an early booking discount for bookings made by 5/20/14.

Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.

Family-Friendly DepartureFamily-Friendly: Departures with this icon are set aside for families who want to travel with other families. Call us at 800-555-5765 for more information and to book these special family-friendly departures.

Seperately Paid Fees
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.

Optionals & Upgrades
Rooming Selection / Cabin Categories
Main Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy
May 22, Sep 11, Oct 9 unavailable
All other departures included
Main Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy
Jul 31, Aug 28, Nov 20, Dec 18 +$1299
May 22, Sep 11, Oct 9 unavailable
All other departures +$1199
Upper Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy
Apr 10, May 22, Sep 11, Nov 20 unavailable
All other departures +$125
Upper Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy
Jul 31, Aug 28, Oct 9, Dec 18 +$1399
Apr 10, May 22, Sep 11, Nov 20 unavailable
All other departures +$1299
Boat Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy
Apr 10, May 22, Sep 11, Dec 4 unavailable
All other departures +$300
Boat Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy
Jul 31, Aug 28, Oct 9, Nov 20, Dec 18 +$1699
Apr 10, May 22, Sep 11, Dec 4 unavailable
Superior Boat Deck Cabin, Double Occupancy
Apr 10, Jul 31, Aug 28, Oct 9, Nov 20, Dec 18 unavailable
All other departures +$500
Superior Boat Deck Cabin, Single Occupancy
Apr 10, Jul 31, Aug 28, Oct 9, Nov 20, Dec 18 unavailable
All other departures +$1799
Departure Airports
Miami (MIA) included

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.

Booking Deposit
Standard Deposit $800

To make a reservation, we only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, check or money order. Your final payment is due 105 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of booking, whichever is later.

Ticketing: Airline tickets for this tour are usually issued within 24 hours of your booking, and once issued, cannot be changed, refunded or transferred.

Detailed Itinerary

Ecuador & the Galapagos tour itinerary Day 1: USA/Quito. Your exciting tour begins today as you depart Miami for Quito, Ecuador's capital city. Your guide will greet you upon arrival and escort you to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Hilton Colón or similar.

Day 2: Quito.This morning, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Quito. Arguably one of the loveliest of South American cities, Quito enjoys a spectacular setting surrounded by mountains and several snow-capped volcanoes, including the still-active Mt. Pichincha.

Plaza de la Independencia, Quito  © ihana.com The real beauty of Quito is in its wonderful Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you'll find blocks of colonial architecture, some of it dating from the mid-1500s when the Spanish founded the city. Before the Spanish arrived, Quito was an important Inca settlement, and before the Inca, other tribes lived at the site. Vintage facades line the streets and large open plazas are surrounded by cathedrals and stately public buildings. Even more breathtaking are the interiors of some of the buildings, particularly the churches, many of which gleam with real gold leaf.

Convent of San Francisco, Quito 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. Several of its most precious treasures, including a painting of the Virgin Dolorosa framed in emeralds and gold, are kept in the vault of the Banco Central del Ecuador and appear only at special festivals. Continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, built in the 16th century and Quito's oldest church, which is an exact replica of the Escorial Palace of Madrid.

Equatorial monument, Quito Next, drive 16 miles north of Quito to the Equatorial Monument, the Mitad del Mundo ("Middle of the World"), where you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere straddling latitude 0º. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which depicts the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Then, stroll through the colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office and bullring. Breakfast provided.

Blue-footed booby 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. Accommodations: M/V Santa Cruz. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Sea lions 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 swimming 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, whose 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.

Charles Darwin Research Station Day 5: Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora, and the 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 investigation, 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.

Tortoise This afternoon, there are several options to choose from, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader:

  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.

Male frigate bird Day 6: Galapagos Cruise: Española (or Hood) Island, Punta Suarez and 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 a 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.

Vendor, Otavalo Market 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.

Otavalo marketplace Then proceed to Peguche, a nearby Indian village, where local artisans weave in their homes and 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.

Day 9: Arrive USA. Your Galapagos adventure comes to an end as you arrive in the USA early this morning.


IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • The high altitudes reached on this trip (Quito is at 9,200 feet above sea level) and the amount of walking involved, often on uneven terrain, require that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. We strongly suggest that you consult your physician if you have any concerns regarding your ability to handle these conditions.
  • Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions, and the wildlife encountered. There is no guarantee that all the possible species mentioned will be seen.
  • Itineraries and program are subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes or safety reasons.

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.

Booking & Travel FAQs


Shop and Compare

Our tours may look similar to others you've seen, but we invite you to shop & compare. There are important differences that make Friendly Planet tours the best you can find.

No Compromise on Quality: Despite our extraordinary prices, there are no compromises on our South America tours. You'll stay in Deluxe and Superior First Class, centrally located hotels that are noted for their amenities and service, and you'll cruise aboard the newly refurbished, 5-star M/V Galapagos Legend.

Included Features: Your transfers as well as important visits to all the "must see" places in Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands are all included, not expensive extras as in other tours.

Free Destination Guide: You will receive a free, comprehensive Friendly Planet Ecuador & Galapagos destination guide with lots of destination information, helpful hints, plenty of night-life and restaurant suggestions, organized by cuisine and cost, so you have up-to-date spots to try on the evenings when dinners are not included. Your free guide will even include recommendations for tipping, local customs, dress, great shopping spots and much more.

Credit Cards or Cash: Whether you pay by check, money order or your favorite major credit card, your tour price on this tour is the same. No extra cost to charge your dream vacation when you book with Friendly Planet.

Personal Service: Most important of all, the extra ingredient that makes our tours stand apart from others—the wonderful, personal attention you'll receive from our friendly staff in the USA and our representatives in South America —is completely free of charge. Compare our programs to others, feature for feature. You'll see for yourself that ours are the very best value for money you'll find anywhere.

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