Galapagos and Ecuadorian Countryside Tour | Day by Day
Arrive in Quito, Ecuador
Fly from your home city to Quito, Ecuador. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the Hilton Colón Quito hotel with check-in to your Club Floor accommodations.
Hotel: Hilton Colón Quito.
To the Galapagos—Santa Cruz Island
Transfer to the airport for an early morning flight to Baltra, Galapagos. We transfer to the Island of Santa Cruz where we travel with our naturalist in a spacious air conditioned vehicle up into the highland rainforest.
We'll have lunch then explore the Santa Cruz highlands to view endemic Galapagos plant species and visit lava tubes and sinkholes. We'll hike through tall grasses among the grazing tortoises.
Depending on the season, we will be staying in the highlands or along the coast.
Hotel: Santa Cruz Hotel, BLD
Puerto Ayora, Darwin Station, board our yacht
We stroll through the town of Puerto Ayora to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we learn about conservation issues and the tortoise and iguana hatching and rearing programs. We'll even get to view some of the tiny hatchlings. Afterwards we lunch in Puerto Ayora. We board Integrity or Reina Silvia mid to late afternoon in Academy Bay.
Yacht: Integrity or Reina Silvia, BLD
Exploring the Galapagos Islands
We live aboard our spacious yacht for a week, spending as much time ashore as the Park rules permit. With our licensed, INCA selected Class III naturalist, we learn about the birds and animals, geology, marine life and oceanic systems of the Galapagos Islands. We swim and snorkel with tropical fish, sea lions and sometimes with penguins!
Detailed cruising routes can be found on each yacht's page.
Galapagos to La Mirage
From our anchorage in the Baltra harbor, we say "adios" to our yacht and its dedicated crew, and adjourn to the Baltra airport to await our mid-morning flight to the Ecuador mainland and Quito. On arrival, we transfer to our vehicle for our drive through the countryside to La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa for dinner and overnight.
Hotel: La Mirage, BD
Otavalo, La Mirage
After breakfast we visit the famed Otavalo market. Here we explore both the crafts market, bargaining for keepsakes, and the local food markets. We lunch in town and then return to La Mirage for the afternoon.
La Mirage is set in a five-acre herb and flower garden at the base of Volcan Cotacachi just north of Otavalo. It was designed, built and tastefully appointed by the owner, Jorge Espinoza, who personally attends to every detail. Excellent cuisine and exceptional service are well-appreciated highlights.
Hotel: La Mirage, BLD
Avenue of Volcanoes, return to Quito
We depart early for our tour of the Avenue of Volcanoes on our way back to Quito. We visit a selection of villages, each known for a particular craft: Calderón for hand painted ornaments of dough, Peguche for traditional backstrap weaving and musical instruments, Cotacachi where leather goods are the specialty, and San Antonio de Ibarra, known for its wood and stone carving. We also visit one of the many rose farms that dot the landscape—long-stemmed roses grow exceptionally well in the fertile volcanic soils and drive a multimillion dollar industry.
In Quito, dinner on your own. Overnight at Hilton Colón.
Hotel: Hilton Colón Quito, BL
Quito to home or onward adventures
Transfer to the airport with check-in to your homeward bound flight unless you are remaining for more adventures.