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Ecuador & Galapagos Holidays

Classic Luxury Cruise Tour

11 Night Itinerary from £7,3107,506$9,233

Private Individual Tour

 

The Darwin Tour - discover Quito and enjoy a classic 7 night cruise in the Galapagos aboard the iconic M/Y Grace.

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Tour Route>

Travel Highlights>

  • Departing the UK on Thursdays 
  • Stay 2 nights in Quito best hotel, the Casa Gangotena including breakfast
  • Enjoy a privately guided tour of Quito's World Heritage Centre
  • Experience elegance, beauty and service for 7-nights aboard the classic M/Y Grace
  • Observe the wildlife from your iconic yacht - you will feel like royalty!
  • Enjoy fabulous included meals in a convivial small ship environment
  • Take daily excursions and walks and snorkel with sea lions and other marine life
  • Gain special insights on the Galapagos with included lectures and talks 

This itinerary can be modified and adapted to your preference with a specialst advisor, who can provide a guaranteed price, based on hotels, transport, excursions and flights.

Classic Luxury Cruise Tour
Tour Itinerary

Quito - 2 Nights

Day 1 - Fly from the UK to Quito

Day 2 - Guided tour of Quito

 

Day 1

Fly from the UK to Quito

Depart the UK on a daytime flight to Quito, arriving the same evening. You will be met by our representative and taken to Quito's best hotel, the Casa Gangotena for a 2 night stay. Our guide will provide you with expert local advice, explain your programme and answer any questions you may have.


Day 2

Guided Tour of Quito

This morning is at leisure at your hotel to rest and adjust to the high altitude. In the afternoon, your Veloso guide will meet you and take you on a special tour of Quito, including the historic old part of the city with its fabulous colonial architecture, many convents, churches and small streets to explore. We will visit the three main squares including impressive San Francisco square as well as the Presidential Palace and the Gold Museum. Your guide will adapt the tour to your interests.

Casa Gangotena

Quito - Deluxe Hotel

Situated in a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco in the heart of the Old Town, the three-story Casa Gangotena has 31 luxury rooms: a showcase of eye catching style, contemporary design, antiques, furnishings, fine dining, modern technologies and quintessential comforts. Beautifully and eclectically appointed, the hotel invites its guests to explore and to relax, whether in the dining room, glassed-in patio, garden redolent with the perfume of native flowers, wood-panelled library, or else atop its panoramic third-floor terrace. Sophisticated and eclectic, historic yet contemporary, at Casa Gangotena style, passion and service blend seamlessly and delightfully.

The hotel includes several 'experiences' for its guests at no extra cost, including San Francisco’s courtyards & Brewery, Museo del Carmen Alto, San Fransisco Choir & Bell Tower and Chocolate Quiteno tasting.

Rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Classic Galapagos Cruise - 7 Nights

Day 3 - Fly to the Galapagos & embark the M/Y Grace

Day 4 - Santa Fe and South Plaza Islands

Day 5 - Tower Island

Day 6 - Fernandina and Isabela 

Day 7 - Isabela Island

Day 8 - Santiago Island

Day 9 - Charles Darwin Research Station & Wild Tortoise Reserve

Day 10 - San Cristobal, Interpretation Centre & return to UK

Day 11 - Arrive in the UK

 

 

Day 3

Fly to the Galapagos & embark M/Y Grace

The flight from Quito (via Guayaquil) to the Galapagos is approximately 1 ½ hours. On arrival at Baltra airport, guides will meet you and transfer you via motorised dinghy, called 'Pangas', to the M/Y Grace. The Grace offers a choice of two wonderful 7-night itineraries, Following Darwin's Footsteps or Beyond Darwin's Footsteps. We focus on the Following Darwin's Footsteps itinerary.

Enjoy a relaxed lunch and settle into your stateroom. We set sail for Daphne Minor, located off the north coast of Santa Cruz Island. The M/Y Grace has special permission to sail in this coastal area, enabling wonderful sightings including blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigate birds and short-eared owls.

 

 

 

 


Day 4

Santa Fe and South Plaza Islands

This morning we visit Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays of the archipelago, and to some of the best snorkelling - with its crystal clear waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and get a glimpse of the Galapagos white-tipped Shark. After a wet landing you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus. In the afternoon we visit South Plaza Island and its land iguanas wandering through bright red carpet weed. We will see swallow tailed gulls nesting around the overhang tops and red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and shearwaters flying with dancing displays. 

 

 


Day 5

Tower Island

After breakfast, we explore Prince Phillip's Steps (named after Prince Philip in after a visit here in 1964) a steep path that leads through a seabird colony full of life, up to cliffs that are 25 metres (82 feet) high. At the top, the trail continues inland, passing more seabird colonies in a thin palo santo forest. After lunch, we explore Tower Island further landing on the white coral sands of Darwin Bay. Walking up the beach, you will be surrounded by friendly frigate birds, herons, iguanas, lizards and other species that make this beautiful place their home. We explore the cliffs from the coast in a fascinating guided journey on a panga. And as we return to the M/Y Grace, we might spot a manta ray.

 

 


Day 6

Fernandina and Isabela

Today we visit Fernandina Island, home to the still active La Cumbre volcano. We visit Punta Espinosa, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity. After lunch, we explore  Urbina Bay, directly west of Isabela's Volcano Alcedo, where we will make an easy, wet landing. We walk on a stretch of the three miles of marine reef that has been uplifted by as much as 13 feet (4 meters) out of the water. A highlight of this excursion are the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to go snorkelling amongst marine creatures, or just relaxing on shore. 

 


Day 7

Isabela Island

Morning visit to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. A wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake through a dry vegetation zone, and ends in a promontory formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of our anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes. In the afternoon we head north to Punta Vicente Roca. Snorkelling is incredible here as a result of the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current that bathe the western side of the archipelago. We will have a chance to see colourful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water. This is also a great spot to take an interesting panga ride to spot wildlife along the shores. 

 

 


Day 8

Santiago Island

This morning we explore Espumilla Beach on the northwest shore of Santiago Island. We explore the mangrove and lagoon where we observe flocks of pink flamingoes. We continue to Buccaneer Cove, where an audience of hundreds of seabirds look down on the gallery from the surrounding cliffs. After lunch, we visit nearby James Bay on Santiago Island, where we land on a black beach with intriguing eroded rock formations. A trail leads to a series of crystal-clear grottos formed of broken lava tubes, which are home to sea lions, fur seals, marine iguanas and tropical fish. Snorkelling in the late afternoon to at one of the best sites on the islands to see Green Sea Turtles and Galapagos Penguins swimming. 

 

 

 

 


Day 9

Charles Darwin Research Station & Wild Tortoise Reserve

We arrive Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic centre of the Islands. In the morning we visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. In the afternoon we explore the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Wild Tortoise Reserve, where we will have chances see these incredible animals in their natural habitat.

 

 

 


Day 10

San Cristobal, Interpretation Centre & return to UK

Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before we bid farewell to the M/Y Grace we visit the Galapagos National Park Interpretation Centre which presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands' natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna. From the centre, a short trail arrives at Frigate Bird Hill, where both "magnificent-frigates" and "great-frigates" can be seen in the same colony. Next we continue to the airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland and onward connection back to the UK.

 

 

 

 


Day 11

Arrive in the UK

Grace

Galapagos Islands - Luxury Motor Yacht

The M/Y Grace was built in the UK and named after her last owner, Princess Grace of Monaco. The name is a representation of her elegance, beauty and prestige. You can cruise the Galapagos like a royal.

She is the ideal small luxury yacht for the traveller seeking a grand nautical safari experience, complimented with excellent service and dining. It will feel like you are sailing in your own private yacht, with a a cruise director onboard to ensure the voyage and visits ashore all go perfectly. Newly fitted stabilisers ensure a smooth sailing.

The yacht has spacious dining room, sitting room inside, as well as 'al fresco' dining areas, sun deck, library, bar-salon, kayaks and a jacuzzi.

She has only 9 spacious staterooms of up to 19 square meters (209 square feet) to accommodate up to 16 guests. All staterooms feature private bathrooms, individual climate controls, safe boxes, telephones and plenty of storage space for clothing and luggage. Bathrooms have luxury amenities, hair dryers and ample space to store toiletries.

Upper deck: 2 Master Suites (A1 & A4) with queen size bed, and 2 suites (A2 & A3) with twin beds, all with picture windows.

Lower deck - 5 Staterooms with porthole windows. 3 cabins (C1, C2 & C5) with a queen size and 2 cabins (C3 & C4) with twin beds. 

The Grace operates two itineraries departing on Saturdays up until the end of 26 May 2020. From then on she will depart on Tuesdays on two new itineraries.

Price Guidelines

Season
Travel Dates
Travel Dates Deluxe Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £7,309 £7,634

Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.


What's Included

  • 11 Days / 9 Nights
  • International flights (1 overnight)
  • Internal flights to/from the Galapagos Islands
  • Accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • 7 night cruise on the M/Y Grace on a full board basis
  • All transfers
  • Excursions with English-speaking guides

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