DAY 1, August 03, 2021 | Quito
Welcome to Ecuador!
Upon arrival in Quito you are met and driven by your private guide and driver to the hotel. Quito, nestled at the foot of 15,696-foot Volcán Pichincha, is known for its eternally spring-like climate and for the beauty of its well-preserved colonial centre. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Inca Empire before being destroyed and re-founded in 1534 by Spanish Conquistador Sebastian de Benalcázar. For nearly three centuries, the arts and intellectual societies flourished under Spanish colonial rule, a fact evident in the historic centre’s splendidly restored colonial buildings and churches lining narrow, cobbled streets. In 1809, Quito established the first self-governing junta in the colonies and the liberator Simón Bolívar led the country as part of the Republic of Greater Colombia until 1830, when the Republic of Ecuador announced its independence. Due to the city’s preservation of its blended past, UNESCO declared Quito the first of its World Heritage Sites in 1978. The city is beautifully situated in an Andean valley at 9,350 feet, making it the 2nd highest capital city in the world.
DAY 2, August 04, 2021 | Quito-Napo
After an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Quito International Airport for your included domestic flight to Coca. Napo Cultural Center is located on the south bank of the Napo River, the largest river of the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Yasuní National Park. The trip starts from the town of Coca in comfortable ecological roofed canoes, operated by outboard motors. The canoe trip down the river takes about two hours and a boxed lunch will be provided. During the trip, you will see birds such as herons, kingfishers, terns and other species and beautiful landscapes. Arriving at Napo Cultural Center, you will enjoy a traditional drink and lunch at the Ecolodge followed by check-in at your cabin. In the afternoon, take a short walk down to the banks of the Napo River to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach, returning to the lodge for dinner.
DAY 3, August 05, 2021 | Napo
Following an early breakfast, depart on the boat to visit an amazing parrot clay lick that that will bring you face-to-face with approximately 11 species of parrots. End the morning with a visit to the Interpretation Center "Kuri Muyu" staffed by the women of the community, where you will learn about the Kichwa culture, crafts, traditions and use of natural resources. Return to the lodge for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. If you choose, take an hour to climb up the 35-meter observation tower, from which you can see a variety of birds, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, toucans, parrots and sloths. Return to the hotel in a motorized canoe for a traditional dinner.
DAY 4, August 06, 2021 | Napo
After breakfast, listen to a talk about the worldview of Kichwa and their addition to medicine in the world. Then take a walk on the Mama Cuna road, which will provide an excellent opportunity to see more wildlife, ceiba trees, bamboo cane, vines and shrubs from Yasuní. Return for lunch and rest at the lodge. Later, board a small canoe at the Añangu stream and head down the river through the forest with opportunities to see nightlife alligators and to listen to the sounds of nature at its purest. Return to hotel in motorized canoes and enjoy a traditional dinner.
DAY 5, August 07, 2021 | Napo-Quito
You will be awakened at 4:30 am to participate in one of the ancient customs of the Kichwa culture, making “wayusa” to energize the body, listen to the Kichwa songs, clear your mind and think about important issues in a peaceful and unique way. After breakfast, take a motorized canoe back to the city of Coca for your included flight to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, meet your private guide and driver and transfer directly to your hotel for check in, followed by lunch in a local restaurant and an afternoon at leisure. Dinner will be at your leisure on your own this evening.
DAY 6, August 08, 2021 | Quito
After breakfast, drive north to the equator at the Inti Ñan Museum, located on the true equator, which displays examples of pre-Columbian life in Ecuador and offers demonstrations on the unique geography, astrology, and natural sciences of the region around the equator. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. After lunch, return to the centre of the city for a tour of colonial Quito. This afternoon's sightseeing shows some of the reasons why Ecuador's capital earned its honour as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at San Francisco Church and its museum of religious art, La Compañía and the seven tons of gold gilding its glittering walls, and the bustling Independence Plaza, flanked by the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral of Quito. Rich in art treasures, fine woodcarvings, and flowering balconies, the historic centre is the lifeblood of Quito. At the end you will attend a performance by the children’s choir Los Niños Cantores del Pueblo.
In Ecuador, there are many families that, for various reasons, have fallen into poverty, and whose children have started working at an early age. Los Niños Cantores del Pueblo (Chanting Children of the People) is a program that allows children to fight for a brighter future in the best possible way- singing. This child choir project started in 2008, and since then, it has become a key component in the effort to eliminate child labor, as well as serving as a source of Ecuadorian pride. The choir has participated in important music events, such as “66 Europees Musiekfestival Voor de Jeugd Neerpelt Bélgica,” where they won 2nd place, thanks to their outstanding performance! By supporting the project, you won’t just be enjoying the singing of a world-class choir but will help the children keep singing for a brighter future, a hot meal and for making the world a better place to live.
Enjoy dinner at leisure this evening in a local restaurant on your own.
DAY 7, August 09, 2021 | Quito-Galapagos
After breakfast, transfer to Quito International Airport for your included flight to Baltra. Upon arrival at the Balta Airport, pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands. You will be met and transferred to the ship M/V Galapagos Legend, where you will check into your cabin then receive an introductory briefing and safety drill. Lunch and dinner will be on board.
Afternoon Visit-Bartolomé Island
Discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — that resemble the moon. Going up to the summit, there will be some impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. You’ll also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies. Beach time is a great opportunity to do snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer. Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.
DAY 8, August 10, 2021 | Galapagos
Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board.
Morning Visit-South Plaza IslandM
There are two Plaza Islets (north and south) located east of Santa Cruz Island. On the northern part of the Islet, begin the journey along an impressive cactus forest where colorful yellow and red land iguanas live - the population number is around 300 animals. During the dry season, they survive on fruits and flowers of the opuntia cacti. A peculiar thing to see in South Plaza is the hybrid iguana (sea and land). When reaching the highest point, tropical birds can be seen. During the dry season (June – January) the usually greenish and yellowish vegetation change of color creating a bright red landscape (sesuviumed monstonei plant).
Afternoon Visit-North Seymour Island
Off Baltra Island and not far from Santa Cruz, North Seymour is located. This landmass was formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions, which deposited layers of lava on the ocean floor. An approximately two-hour walk will take you among large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls, where you can see the sea bird breeding cycles and sea lions. You will also encounter land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across the endemic Galapagos Snake.
DAY 9, August 11, 2021 | Galapagos
Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board.
Morning Visit-Pitt Point, San Cristóbal Island
A wet landing is followed by a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain. The trail includes a 90-meters long olivine beach and a path that climbs to the top of a volcanic tuff, through several magnificent viewpoints. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. It is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling, where a good range of sea birds can be observed.
Afternoon Visit-Cerro Brujo, San Cristóbal Island
Cerro Brujo is an eroding tuff cone that at several locations is composed of AA lava formations and a beautiful white sandy beach, great for snorkeling and sunbathing. There is a lagoon visit where migratory bird species can be seen: Black-Necked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, other sandpiper species and White-Cheeked Pintails. Cerro Brujo offers beautiful views of Kicker Rock, the southern part of San Cristobal and the adjacent coast.
DAY 10, August 12, 2021 | Galapagos - Quito
Breakfast on board.
Morning Visit- Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve, San Cristobal Island
After a dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs and enjoy a beautiful landscape on the way to the Reserve. You can also visit the village’s port, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
After your visit, depart for the airport for your included flight from San Cristobal to Quito. Upon arrival at Quito International Airport, you will be met as you exit customs into the arrival hall for your transfer to the hotel.
Afternoon at leisure.
This evening depart for the hotel for transfer to the Mindalae Museum, where you can explore the museum’s impressive exhibitions of handicrafts, utensils, dress, musical instruments and weapons representative of both current and historical indigenous groups within Ecuador. The museum was constructed in the shape of a clay pot and it has five floors and three exhibitions: Amazon Region, Ethnohistory and Ethnography. Mindalae holds more than 700 pieces sourced from around Ecuador.
On finishing your museum visit, hear the beats of traditional music emanating from the ground floor. Descend the stairs to find a live band and the SARUYMANDA Folklore Ballet performing some of Ecuador’s signature dances. Cocktails and appetizers are served during the performance. Afterward, sit down to a delicious meal of Ecuadorian favorites, capped off with a scrumptious dessert.
Following dinner, transfer to the hotel.
DAY 11, August 13, 2021 | Quito
Following breakfast at the hotel, check out of the hotel and transfer to Quito International Airport in time for your onward flight.