Welcome to Quito and Ecuador! At the airport you will be greeted by a member of our staff who will escort you all the way to your hotel, giving you a short briefing on Quito and the country in general with valuable information you need to know at first hand. Private Service with guide and driver, baggage handling of two pieces of luggage per person at hotel and at airport.
Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will stroll at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We will visit the temple of *La Compañia de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. We will continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. The tour ends at a lookout point with a great view of Quito.
Day 3 to 5
The adventure begins in Ecuador’s heritage capital, Quito, at our 8 AM pick-up time for guests staying in Quito’s main hotels (Time will be confirmed by our Operations Department). Mashpi Reserve, a 1,300 hectare (3,200 acres) conservation property located within the Metropolitan District of Quito, forms a part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. The sudden shift in altitude (from 2800 masl to 1000 masl) will allow us to discover the spectacular natural diversity of the Andean landscape as we travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui towards the cordillera’s western flank, into lush, misty cloud forest, and finally reach Mashpi. On our way to Mashpi, we visit the archaeological ruins at Tulipe, said to have belonged to the ancient Yumbo civilization of pre-Inca Quito, set in a magical forested location. We’ll taste delicious Ecuadorian appetizers and fresh-brewed coffee prepared by members of the local community before our final one-hour descent into Mashpi Reserve.
Day 6 to 10
We’re delighted to have you on board for this unparalleled 5-day journey of discovery to some of Galapagos’ most beautiful islands. Our itinerary begins on Santa Cruz Island, the most populous in the archipelago, where we explore the lush vegetation of the highlands before venturing down to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station to meet giant tortoises face to face. After a day of exploring, we sail to a stunning anchorage at Santa Fe Island for our visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems, a wonderful spot for our first snorkel, kayak or ride aboard our glass-bottom boat. In the afternoon, we disembark amid the waters of South Plaza Island, with its yellow-gray land iguanas munching cactus fruits, and a coastline where we find sea lion colonies and dozens of sea birds. A favourite among many visitors, North Seymour Island offers an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. Later, we disembark on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island at the glorious white beach of Las Bachas, great for a swim or snorkel. Thursday’s expedition starts at Bartolome Island, with its unbeatable volcanic viewpoint, golden-sandy beach and excellent wildlife exploration for snorkelers or glass-bottom boat passengers. Then, we land at the white coral sand beach of Sullivan Bay, ideal for swimming or snorkelling, and walk across a dramatic lava field. End your journey at Baltra airport.
- Transfers in/out Quito. American Breakfast at Patio Andaluz in Quito.
- Isabela Yacht: Accommodations, all meals, island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish only, snorkelling gear, internet*, luggage handling, medical care on board (but not the cost of medication), taxes and transfers in the islands. Fuel surcharge**
- Shared transfers from main hotels in Quito (Casa Gangotena, Hilton Colon, Sheraton, Marriott, Dann Carlton) and in Guayaquil (Hilton Colon, Oro Verde, Sheraton, Wyndham) to airport for flights to / from Galapagos are included in these rates. To coordinate these transfers we must have guest's hotel contact.
*Note: internet connections onboard consist of 2 computer stations in the business center and wifi in the yacht’s social areas; due to the Galapagos’ remote location, internet connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.
**Fuel surcharge is included on the cruise rate, however, restrictions may apply.