Luxury Galapagos Cruise & Hacienda Zuleta | Day by Day
Arrive in Quito, Ecuador
Fly from your home city to Quito, Ecuador. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the Wyndham Quito Airport hotel for a quick overnight stay.
Hotel: Wyndham Quito Hotel.
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, 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 Hacienda Zuleta
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 lush pasture lands to Hacienda Zuleta, arriving in the early evening. After checking into our rooms, we meet for an orientation to the hacienda and learn about the activities offered to us during our stay.
After planning our stay, we will tour the main building, learn more about Zuleta's history, see ex-President Galo Plaza Lasso's private library and the chapel, and wander through beautiful gardens. In the organic garden we can learn about permaculture and see where the ingredients for our dinner originate. As sun sets, it gets chilly at Zuleta, so we can enjoy some wine and farm-made cheese beside the fireplace.
Activities included during your Hacienda Zuleta stay include: visits to the cheese factory, the organic garden, the milking sheds, the library, tours of the house, the gardens and the Condor Project, self-guided trails.
Activities that can be organized directly with the Hacienda include: horseback rides, biking, carriage rides, cooking lessons and embroidery lessons.
Hotel: Hacienda Zuleta, BD
If you are a morning person you might enjoy a short hike before breakfast to bird watch. After a homemade farm breakfast, we'll be able to visit the cheese factory and learn about handmade cheeses.
On a hike, bike or horseback ride to the Andean Condor Project we may catch sight of the giant birds flying by. There we'll learn about the foundation's efforts, see rescued condors and visit the nearby trout farm. The route back takes us through pasture land where we ride between ancient monuments of the Caranqui culture, seeing both small burial mounds and giant ceremonial truncated ramp pyramids form the 13th century. At lunch you can enjoy fresh-caught trout.
In the afternoon we visit the Zuleta's women's cooperative to see their beautiful embroidery work. We also visit the foundation-run library for children.
Later you can hike up to Condor View, explore the farm operations, feed calves, talk to the local cowboys, watch horsemen training young fillies, or simply take a nice hot bath.
Hotel: Hacienda Zuleta, BLD
Hacienda Zuleta, return to Quito
After breakfast you have the morning to continue your exploration of Hacienda Zuleta and the Zuleta community.
We lunch at the hacienda then make our way back to Quito with an exploration of Otavalo en route back to Quito's Airport for your homeward bound flight.