Starts Thursdays. January to December11 days from $8945.00
Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Welcome to Ecuador. You are met on arrival in Quito, and taken to your luxury boutique hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to relax in this colorful colonial city.
Quito sits at the foot of the Pichincha Volcano, surrounded by hills and snowcapped mountains. This morning drive up to Panecillo Hill to see the statue of “Virgen de Quito” and take in a spectacular view of the city. Next, explore Colonial Quito – see Independence Square, Government Palace, Bishop Palace and the Church of La Compania, which has an ornate and richly decorated façade and interior.
This afternoon visit the Equatorial Line Monument and stand in the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres at the same time. Visit the Ethnographical Museum to get an understanding of the geological and anthropological features of the region. (B)
Quito to San Cristobal & Embark on the Cruise
This morning, fly from Quito to San Cristobal Island to embark on the M/Y Grace luxury yacht, for your 7- night cruise through the Galápagos Islands. This 18 passenger Camper & Nicholsons yacht has traversed the waters of this world under many names, but has been rechristened with a name that takes her back into her history; to the very best of her times. Named after her late owner, Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, the name is a representation of her elegance, beauty and prestige. Grace is the ideal yacht for the traveler who seeks a true explorer experience, complemented with excellent service, superb accommodations and fine dining. All who travel aboard this yacht will be part of a unique mission: to bring to life the natural living legacy of the islands through an experience unlike any other in Galapagos. (B,D)
This week is filled with exploration of up to seven remarkably different and interesting islands in the company of your onboard naturalist guide. (See your supplemental itinerary for your specific journey.) Daily activities include nature walks and hikes plus snorkeling, kayaking or exploration by motorized, inflatable craft from your yacht.
Hike on Cerro Dragon and Puerto Egas, known for their high concentration of the Galápagos land and marine iguanas. Punta Espinosa is ideal for spotting countless species of wildlife including marine turtles, iguanas, sea lions and penguins, all living in harmony together. Exploring Punta Moreno on Isabela Island, you land on a lava field and enjoy one of several opportunities to swim and snorkel.
Specific destinations visited may vary slightly due to flight schedule, weather conditions and National Park regulations some of your island destinations may include:
Fernandina Island - the youngest island (700,000 years old), with an active volcano over 4,900 feet high. Lacking many native plants, you can see a variety of wildlife including a large colony of Marine Iguanas, Galápagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants, as well as Brown Pelicans, California Sea Lions and the iconic Blue-footed Boobies.
Bartolome Island – a tiny 3/4 sq. mile volcanic island offering spectacular views of the Archipelago from its peak. This is the most visited and most photographed island in the Galápagos, with golden beaches good for swimming, snorkeling and spotting tropical fish.
Santa Cruz Island – explore the Highlands and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Swim and snorkel, or take a walk along the beach; see California Sea Lions, Blue-footed Boobies, Brown Pelicans, Darwin Finches, Yellow Warblers and coastal birds. (6B,6L,6D)
Disembark Cruise to Guayaquil
This morning, your ship returns to Baltra where you visit the comprehensive Galapagos National Park Visitor Center, before being transferred to the Baltra Airport for your flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and an important trade center. On arrival in Guayaquil you will be transferred to you hotel, followed by a tour of this vibrant city. (B)
Today you are taken to the Guayaquil airport for your departing flight home or on to your next destination. (B)
Casa Gangotena, Quito
Casa Gangotena occupies a pivotal place in Quitos historic heart, at the corner of Plaza San Francisco. Its history stretches back to the time of the Incas when, according to the early Spanish chroniclers, in the 15th century the square featured Inca temples, one of them on the site of the present house. Situated in a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco, the three-story Casa Gangotena features 31 rooms, a showcase of eye-catching style, contemporary design, antiques, fine furnishings, modern technologies and quintessential comforts. Beautifully and eclectically-appointed, the hotel invites its guests to explore and to relax, whether in the dining room, glassed-in patio, garden redolent with the perfume of native flowers, wood-paneled library, or atop its panoramic third-floor terrace.
M/Y Grace, Galápagos Island
This 16-passenger Camper & Nicholsons yacht has traversed the waters of the globe under many names. She has been rechristened with a name which intimates her very best era named after her late owner, Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, the name Grace is a representation of her elegance, beauty and prestige. Grace is the ideal yacht for the traveler who seeks a true explorer experience complemented by excellent service, superb accommodations and fine dining. All nine cabins feature private bathrooms, hot showers and air-conditioning, and quarters are cleaned twice daily during landings. The galley and dining staff create quality meals using both local and international cuisine, and all meals can be served inside or al fresco. The yacht is well-stocked with a library containing a wealth of information on the natural history of the Galápagos plus an entertainment center complete with DVDs and videos. The main salon is truly spacious, equipped with luxurious sofas and chairs, and a bar and entertainment center. Passengers gather here for briefings, to watch films, enjoy a drink at the bar or simply relax. Plenty of area to lounge in the sun or shade is available, and the bar is always open for refreshments. The front sun deck offers a hot tub and plenty of space to sunbathe, read a book, take pictures, or just enjoy the journey to the next island. Sea kayaks are available for some additional fun, as is snorkeling gear.
Hotel Oro Verde, Guayaquil
Welcome to the Hotel Oro Verde in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where elegant service in a timeless European setting is promised to you. This full-service, downtown hotel offers the ultimate in sophistication and comfort for business and leisure travelers alike. Oro Verde's superb location in the Guayaquil commercial and financial district means you are within walking distance of popular tourist attractions, entertainment and shopping, and cultural and historical sites. The hotel is also just a quick eight-minute drive from the airport and the World Trade Center. All 230 guest room accommodations feature luxurious bedding, flat-screen TVs with premium cable stations, direct-dial telephones, clock alarm radios compatible with iPhones and iPods, mini bar, in-room safe, individual climate control with remote, and reading lights over the bed.