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Darwin’s Eden

9 days  |  Starts/Ends: Quito  |  from USD $9,265

Travel to the islands that gave birth to Darwin’s theory of evolution with this classic tour of Quito and the Galápagos. Snorkel in marine-rich waters, hike through fragrant forests, trek across barren fields of hard lava and keep those binoculars to hand for the staggering array of wildlife waiting to greet you.
Countries Visited: Ecuador, Galapagos

Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Inclusions

Itinerary

Day 1

Quito

Bienviendos a Ecuador! Upon arrival you will be met at the international airport and take a scheduled transfer to your hotel in Quito where the rest of the day is free.
Overnight: Quito

Day 2

Quito and the Centre of the World

This morning visit downtown Quito and its architectural treasures on a private city tour. Quito’s UNESCO-listed colonial quarter is one of the largest and best-preserved in South America. Your stroll takes you through Independence Plaza, past the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace, and on to the temple of La Compañia de Jesús with its dazzling gilded interior and the impressive façade of the Monastery of San Francisco. Touring continues with the Equatorial Monument that marks the exact point of the Middle of the World. With a latitude of 0°, you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere and collect a certificate for having crossed the Equator. Next visit the Ethnographic Museum to learn about the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Quito  |  Breakfast

Day 3

Galapagos Islands

Quito – Galápagos. Early this morning a scheduled transfer will take you to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos. Arriving on Baltra Island transfer to the dock to board the M/V Santa Cruz II for an introductory briefing and lunch. Set sail for North Seymour Island for an amazing walk along the coast observing bird colonies of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. You’ll also spot sea lions and marine iguanas. Welcome cocktail and dinner on board.
Overnight: Galapagos Islands  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Punta Vicente Roca and Espinoza

Enjoy a coastal exploration of Isabela Island (Punta Vicente Rosa) on board a panga, a small watercraft, while the naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area with remains of lava flows and tuff stone layers. The island is also the nesting place for flightless cormorants and groups of sea lions, Galápagos fur seals and penguins also gather on the shores. Depending on the weather conditions it may be possible to do a bit of snorkelling along the cliffs of partly-sunken Ecuador Volcano, near the northern tip of the island.

After lunch back on board continue to Punta Espinoza, the youngest island of the archipelago. A mile-long walk across dark lava will introduce you to the remarkable barrenness of the island and the surprising amount of native wildlife including sally light-foot crabs and hawks.
Overnight: Galapagos Islands  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay

Exploration of Isabela Island continues today at the secluded Tagus Cove, a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries. Old graffiti can even be seen carved on the cove’s walls. The area is marked by the white-barked, leafless palosanto trees that look dead for most of the year until they spring into life during the wet season. An uphill hike brings you to the back of the salt water-filled Darwin Crater with an amazing views at the end to reward you. A panga ride along the volcanic shore of the cove offers wildlife spotting opportunities and maybe even swimming and snorkelling.

After lunch on board disembark at Urbina Bay, located at the foot of the Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. Here you can find corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. The area is also home to large and very colourful Galápagos land iguanas and giant tortoises.
Overnight: Galapagos Islands  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Santa Cruz Island

This morning visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration in the Galápagos. Meet the giant tortoise residents and visit the impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. Lunch is enjoyed in the cooler highlands of the island.

The afternoon brings with it several different options for land and water based activities. Trek along trails amid miconia forest, mountain bike down to Garrapatero Beach, sea kayak or visit an organic coffee plantation. There’s also the option to spend the day SCUBA diving, at an additional cost.
Overnight: Galapagos Islands  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Floreana Island

Be part of a unique Galápagos tradition with a morning visit to Post Office Bay. For over two centuries a rum barrel has been used by sailors to send mail – sailors would leave their envelopes in the barrel for ships returning to their home ports to hand-deliver on arrival. This tradition continues to this day so bring your postcards with you!

Explore the north shore of Floreana Island along narrow channels with a short walk to Baroness’s Lookout for amazing views of the island and a history lesson on the island’s first settlers. Enjoy a spot of swimming or snorkelling off a sandy beach before lunch. Continue snorkelling around the volcanic Champion Islet or stay dry aboard a glass-bottom boat. Later we land on the olivine-crystal beach at Cormorant Point. An easy walk brings you to a brackish water lagoon where greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts and herons gather. Further on you come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles emerge at night to nest between December and May. Enjoy a farewell cocktail and dinner back on board.
Overnight: Galapagos Islands  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Back to the Continent

This morning disembark back at Baltra Island for your flight back to Quito. On arrival you will take a scheduled transfer to your hotel where the rest of the day is free for you to enjoy at leisure or head out to La Mariscal for last-minute souvenir shopping.
Overnight: Quito  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Quito

Sadly today tour arrangements conclude after breakfast and hotel check out with a scheduled transfer to the airport for your onward international journey.
Breakfast

Prices & Dates

Prices shown are ‘per person’ based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults in twin/double occupancy. The single supplement price needs to be added to the twin/double price if single rooms are required.

 
Price/Person
Single Supp.
Darwin’s Eden - 9 days
USD $9265
USD $1610

Prices are indicative and will vary depending on your chosen standard of accommodation, room availability, as well as time of travel - the beauty of private journeys is that they can depart on any day of the year, subject to seasonal variants.

Reductions will apply if you are happy to replace private touring with shared touring for some of the destinations visited on your itinerary. Please bear this in mind if comparing prices as we always aim to deliver exceptional value.

Please note that discounts will apply if there are more 4 or more people in your travelling party, since fixed costs like transportation and guiding are shared across the group.

Trip Highlights

Quito and the Centre of the World – touring of the UNESCO-listed colonial city and a visit to the Equatorial Monument
North Seymour Island – bird colonies of blue-footed boobies
Punta Espinoza – walking across the barren wilderness of dark lava
Santa Cruz Island – the famous Charles Darwin Research Station
The Galápagos – a cruise along the western islands
Punta Vicente Roca – dramatic geology and flightless cormorant nesting spots
Isabela Island – Tagus Cove and Urbina Bay for hiking, swimming and snorkelling opportunities
Floreana Island – Post Office Bay for a unique way of mailing postcards, Baroness Cove for superb views and Cormorant Point for flamingo-spotting

Included

3 nights standard accommodation in Quito (superior and deluxe hotels available on request)
8 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
Services of local English-speaking specialist guide in Quito
Entrance fees to sites visited in Quito
Tour of Quito on a private basis
All touring and excursions in Galapagos on a shared basis
5 nights aboard the M/V Santa Cruz II on a full board basis - main deck twin cabin (upgrades available on request)
All airport transfers (on a shared basis)
Services of professional English-speaking naturalist guides in the Galápagos
Return flights from Quito to Baltra Island
All relevant transfers and transportation

Not Included

International flights and visas
Laundry, drinks and items of a personal nature
Galápagos National Park entrance fee (budget approx. $100 USD per person)
Tipping – an entirely personal gesture
Tour Details
Starts
Quito
Ends
Quito
Departs
Any day of the year
Hotel Rating
Standard, Superior or Deluxe
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - for all included sightseeing
Meals
Breakfast: 8, Lunch: 5, Dinner: 5
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