Blue-footed boobies

Ecuador & Galapagos Cruise

Book this package
9 days  •  $5599 $5099
per person, double occupancy, including airfare*
based on Jan. 6, 2018 departure
$500 Early Bird Discount. Expires Aug. 3, 2017.*   All prices reflect savings.

Overview

Featuring Vibrant & colonial Quito & Otavalo, then an unforgettable Galapagos Cruise, including various islands and unique ecosystems and wildlife
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Scheduled Dates; select from 9 open departures, January – October 2018
Price Includes
  • Flights
  • Cruise
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round trip flights from Miami including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees, with other gateways available on request
  • Flights between Quito & the Galapagos Islands
  • All ground transportation & transfers
  • Accommodations in a Deluxe hotel with private bath
  • Four-night Galapagos Cruise in Horizon Deck Explorer Cabin aboard the Santa Cruz II
  • Breakfast daily plus 4 lunches & 5 dinners
  • Comprehensive guided sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Galapagos National Park Fee ($100) & Transit Control Card ($20)
  • Professional English-speaking tour directors & guides
Highlights
  • Cruise the Galapagos in style on the newly refurbished Santa Cruz II
  • See Quito’s most important landmarks and the Equatorial Monument
  • Shop for unique souvenirs at the famous indigenous market at Otavalo
  • Visit a variety of islands and unique ecosystems in the Galapagos
Departs Miami (MIA); other gateways on request (flight schedule)
Themes History & Culture,  Nature & Wildlife,  Small Ship Cruises
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. The Galapagos cruise portion of the tour may have up to 90 passengers on board.
As Seen in
Budget Travel

Prepare for your trip Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.


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!

Dates, Prices & Options

Departure Dates & Prices

Early Bird Discount: Save up to $500 per person if you book by Aug. 3, 2017!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
Depart Return Price Book by
Aug 3
Sat Jan 6 2018 Sun Jan 14 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue Feb 13 2018 Wed Feb 21 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue Apr 24 2018 Wed May 2 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue May 8 2018 Wed May 16 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue Jun 5 2018 Wed Jun 13 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue Jul 3 2018 Wed Jul 11 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue Jul 31 2018 Wed Aug 8 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue Sep 11 2018 Wed Sep 19 2018 $5599 $5099 Available
Tue Oct 9 2018 Wed Oct 17 2018 $5599 $5099 Available

Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates. Contact us about prices and availability. (details)

Options & Fees

Optionals & Upgrades
Rooming Selection/Cabin Categories1
Double Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Horizon Deck included
Single Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Horizon Deck +$1799
Double Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Expedition Deck
ON REQUEST
+$150
Single Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Expedition Deck
ON REQUEST
+$1999
Double Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Panorama Deck
ON REQUEST
+$250
Single Occupancy, Explorer Cabin, Panorama Deck
ON REQUEST
+$2099
Double Occupancy, Darwin Suite, Panorama Deck
ON REQUEST
+$700
Single Occupancy, Darwin Suite, Panorama Deck
ON REQUEST
+$2749

1. Cabin upgrades are subject to availability. We will confirm your cabin selection usually within 1 business day of your reservation. If the category you selected is unavailable, you'll have the option to select a different category (at the prices shown) or cancel your reservation and receive a refund of your deposit.

Taxes & Fees
Galapagos National Park Fee of $100 included
INGALA Tourist Control Card of $20 included

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
Miami (MIA) included

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? Ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities (details). Additional charges for flights from other cities may be due within 24 hours of your reservation.

How to Make a Reservation

To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765. But first, check out our Before You Book 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 105 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.

Deposit
Deposit $1200

Itinerary

January 6, 2018 Itinerary (Northern Cruise) 

Ecuador & the Galapagos Northern Cruise Itinerary Map

Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Quito

Accommodations: 2 nights Hilton Colon, Quito.

  • Depart USA on your flight bound for Quito, Ecuador
  • Arrive in Quito (9,500 feet above sea level) and transfer to your hotel

Day 2: Quito

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Panoramic city tour of Quito and Equatorial Monument

QuitoFull Day Itinerary: 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.

Day 3: Quito, Galapagos Cruise: Baltra & Santa Cruz Island

Accommodations: 4 nights Santa Cruz II. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island, gateway to the Galapagos
  • Continue to the dock to board your cruise ship, the Santa Cruz II
  • Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch
  • In the afternoon, visit Las Bachas on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island 

Blue-footed boobyFull Day Itinerary: 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 cruise ship, the Santa Cruz II, your home for the next 4 nights. Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch.

In the afternoon, visit Las Bachas on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. This beautiful visitor site is a glorious white beach with a couple of brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. You may enjoy swimming and or snorkeling at this beach too. Return to the ship for a welcome cocktail and dinner.

Day 4: Galapagos Cruise: Santiago Island

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • After breakfast, explore the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove
  • Disembark at the beach and enjoy a swim
  • Enjoy a short walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds

SealFull Day Itinerary: 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. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. Weather permitting, there will be an opportunity for snorkeling, and a ride on the panga or glass-bottom boat.

Disembark at the beach and enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, head off for a 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 seals. After the visit, enjoy some time for swimming and snorkeling.

Day 5: Galapagos Cruise: Rabida Island & Bartolome Island

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • This morning visit Rabida Island to observe a number of species 
  • In the afternoon, a wet landing on Bartolome Island

Sally Lightfoot CrabFull Day Itinerary: Depending on conditions, some groups will go for a fascinating panga ride along the shores while others will disembark on Rabida Island’s red-colored beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. A walk brings you close to a colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond occasionally hosts American flamingos. 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. During navigation to the next island, you may sometimes even spot dolphins!

Today’s afternoon activities begin with a wet landing on the golden beach of Bartolome Island, dominated by the imposing Pinnacle Rock. There’s great snorkeling and swimming from the beach plus the chance to ride the glass bottom boat. After returning to the ship, split into two groups: the first lands 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! The second takes to the pangas to explore the rugged and volcanic shoreline.  The groups then swap so that everyone experiences the full beauty of this island.

Day 6: Galapagos Cruise: Genovesa Island

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Hike up some stairs to a flat rocky plateau of Genovesa Island
  • In the afternoon, land at a beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming

Male frigate birdFull Day Itinerary: The morning starts with a steep climb (only 90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat rocky plateau of Genovesa Island. Along the walk, observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions) - kayaking is optional.

In the afternoon, land at a beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkeling. Afterwards, take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There will be an opportunity for snorkeling, kayaking and swimming.

Day 7: Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz IslandBaltra Island & Quito

Accommodations: 2 nights Hilton Colon, Quito. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Disembark and visit the Tortoise Reserve on Santa Cruz Island
  • Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island for your flight back to Quito
  • Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel

Giant TortoiseFull Day Itinerary: Start your last morning at the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. After breakfast, your luggage will be taken to the airport, while you visit the Tortoise Reserve. A dry landing at a passenger’s wharf and a bus ride to the loftier region of the island will provide the last highlight of the cruise: giant tortoises in the wild. The windward slopes of the island are home to two species of giant tortoises. These lush highlands include dense forests of Galapagos daisies, orchids and bromeliads, and several endemic land birds.

Later, transfer to the airport to take your flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 8: Otavalo Market & Quito

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Drive along the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo
  • Explore the famous market at Otavalo
  • Continue to Peguche, a nearby Indian village
  • Return to Quito for a farewell dinner and overnight

Otavalo womanFull Day Itinerary: This morning, 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.

Day 9: Depart Quito/Arrive USA

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight
  • Arrive in the USA later today

February - October 2018 Itinerary (Western Cruise) 

Ecuador & the Galapagos Western Cruise Itinerary Map

Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Quito

Accommodations: 2 nights Hilton Colon, Quito.

  • Depart USA on your flight bound for Quito, Ecuador
  • Arrive in Quito (9,500 feet above sea level) and transfer to your hotel

Day 2: Quito

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Panoramic city tour of Quito and Equatorial Monument

QuitoFull Day Itinerary: 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.

Day 3: Quito, Galapagos Cruise: Baltra & Santa Cruz Island

Accommodations: 4 nights Santa Cruz II. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island, gateway to the Galapagos
  • Continue to the dock to board your cruise ship, the Santa Cruz II
  • Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch
  • In the afternoon, visit Dragon Hill on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island

Blue-footed boobyFull Day Itinerary: 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 cruise ship, the Santa Cruz II, your home for the next 4 nights. Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch.

In the afternoon, arrive at Santa Cruz Island. The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts the fascinating landscapes of Dragon Hill. The first part of a walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas.

Day 4: Galapagos Cruise: Isabela Island & Fernandina Island

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • After breakfast, explore the coast of Isabela Island by panga 
  • Depending on weather conditions, snorkel or swim along the cliffs  
  • Continue to Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island 

SealFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast, explore the coast of Isabela Island by panga, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area, a nesting place for several Galapagos highlights: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals, and boobies. Depending on weather conditions, snorkel or swim along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish.

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.

Day 5: Galapagos Cruise: Santa Cruz Island 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • This morning disembark and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island
  • In the afternoon, enjoy one of a variety of activities available on Santa Cruz Island


Charles Darwin Research StationFull Day Itinerary:
 In the morning, disembark (dry landing followed by a brief bus ride) for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise breeding center 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 the visit, board a transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.

There are several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader. Options include beach walks, kayaks, walks along the tortoise reserve, etc.  At the end of the afternoon’s activities, return to Puerto Ayora and embark on the Santa Cruz II.

Day 6: Galapagos Cruise: Floreana Island

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • This morning, enjoy a panga ride along Floreana’s north shore
  • Land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic post office barrel 
  • Explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet
  • Enjoy a walk around Punta Cormorant

Male frigate birdFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast, enjoy a panga ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore. Continue to Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana. Land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries and where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Head back on board for lunch.

Following lunch and a siesta, take a panga or glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkeling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Punta Cormorant, beginning with a wet landing on the beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers, and others gather. Continue the walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).

Day 7: Galapagos Cruise: Baltra Island & Quito

Accommodations: 2 nights Hilton Colon, Quito. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Disembark and transfer to the airport on Baltra Island for your flight back to Quito
  • Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel

Sally Lightfoot CrabFull Day Itinerary: Disembark and transfer to the airport to take your flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 8: Otavalo Market & Quito

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Drive along the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo
  • Explore the famous market at Otavalo
  • Continue to Peguche, a nearby Indian village
  • Return to Quito for a farewell dinner and overnight

Otavalo womanFull Day Itinerary: This morning, 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.

Day 9: Depart Quito/Arrive USA

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight
  • Arrive in the USA later today

 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.

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Reviews

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Our family just returned from our first Friendly Planet trip. We went to the Galapagos Islands. The arrangements went so smoothly. All the hotels were even nicer than we had anticipated and the guides were wonderful. There was not one hitch or issue. We can't recommend Friendly Planet highly enough. We had one glitch when the airline that provided transportation between the US and Ecuador stopped flying certain routes but Friendly Planet worked with us to find an alternative route.

Maura McMullen, Silver Spring, MD

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Find everything you need to know before you go, including how to pay your balance due, and information about passport & visa requirements, flights, packing & luggage, and more.

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