Monday. Upon arrival at Quito airport you will be met by an English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel in the city. The remains of the day is free for you to explore Quito or simply relax.
Quito - Galapagos. This morning, transfer back to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos, where your guide will be waiting for you. Transfer to the M/C Anahi which will be your home for the next 4 days. Settle into your cabin and enjoy lunch onboard before your tour of the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands begins.
San Cristobal is one of the easternmost of the Galapagos Islands and the site where Charles Darwin landed in 1835, marking the start of his romance with this fascinating archipelago. Our first port of call here is the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre, which offers intriguing insight into the history of the island and its development over time in regards to its flora and fauna, populace and conservation efforts. Later we will take a walk up the picturesque Tijeretas Hill, boasting spectacular views of the island. Here there will also be the chance to go snorkelling in a nearby inlet, and perhaps you’ll even be lucky enough to spot a sight only seen here – of two species of frigate birds nesting in the same colony.
Today we will explore Espanola, one of the oldest islands within the archipelago – dating back some 3.3 million years, and also one of its prettiest. Due to its distance from the other islands, Espanola is home to an incredible number of endemic species including the albatross, a variety of mocking birds, lava lizards and even Darwin’s finches.
We will start the morning by exploring Punta Suarez, situated on the western side of the island, where you will hopefully be able to spot some of the island’s unique birdlife. Later in the afternoon we will make our way to the northern coat to Gardener Bay, home to an enormous colony of sea lions which can be seen lazing on the beach and rocks during breeding season.
Our next port of call is Floreana. Although one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos, Floreana certainly makes up for what it lacks in size with its fascinating history. Home to one of the first settlements in the archipelago, this small island was once thriving with pirates and whalers. Floreana also boasts unprecedented flora, thanks to its nutrient-rich soil, and stunning beaches.
Here we will enjoy a morning excursion to Punta Cormorant on the northern coast, where we will discover a beautiful lagoon thriving with flamingos and a fine sand beach, which is a nesting area for sea turtles. Later we will cruise out to the Devil’s Crown – a collapsed volcanic crown and perhaps one of the best snorkelling sites in the Galapagos Islands, where you can spot submarine life such as sea turtles, Galapagos sharks, moray eels and sea lines. Outside of the crown is a good place to see hammerhead sharks.
This afternoon we will visit historic Post Office Bay, which is where travelling seamen would leave letters in a wooden barrel with the hopes that the next person to come along might be able to take their letter in the right direction. Today, this tradition lives on with the tourists who visit the Galapagos. It's possible to send a letter or postcard from Post Office Bay without stamp, all you have to do in return is pick up a letter that is directed to where you live.
Our last stop will be Santa Cruz, the second largest of the islands, located at the centre of the archipelago. We will kick off the morning with a tour of Charles Darwin Station, which takes in the famous tortoise breeding centre. The Galapagos breeding program sees eggs are brought from the Galapagos Islands of Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz to the station where they are incubated artificially; the galapaguitos are born and reared until the age of 5 years, and when they can survive the effects of introduced predators they are returned to their native areas. There is also a breeding program for iguanas.
After this visit, you'll be transferred to the airport on Baltra Island for your flight back to Quito. Upon arrival you'll be met and transferred to your hotel in Quito for your final night at leisure in the capital.
Saturday. Arrangements end after breakfast and hotel check out today.
Prices are per person based upon two people sharing a twin/double cabin. Upgrades to a suite are subject to availability.
If you are a solo traveller, the single supplement applies, giving you the privacy of your own cabin and hotel room.
As places are limited on our Galapagos Cruises, please contact us via email or telephone to check availability and to make a reservation. If we do not have availability on the M/S Anahi we can recommend an alternate cruise.