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Darwin’s Islands & Colonial Quito

Rates & Dates:

Trip Length: 9 Days/ 8 Nights

Prices from: $8,295 pp/do*

2017 Dates: Feb 22; Mar 22; Apr 19; May 3, 17; June 28; July 12, 26; Aug 9; Oct 4.

Ships: La Pinta

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Cruise the Galapagos Islands in search of adventure, wildlife, and history.

Enjoy two nights in the beautiful colonial city of Quito, Ecuador, at the historic Casa Gangotena Hotel. Quito’s Colonial city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is why we’ve given so much time to you for exploration. On Day 3, you’ll be flown to Isla Baltra to board the La Pinta and begin your 6-night cruise around the Galapagos Islands – another UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can view marine life on the glass-bottom boat or by snorkel. You’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Center. You’ll also witness nesting birds and wildlife on the seven islands and islets you’ll visit.


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2017 Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito

Your journey begins in Quito. Check in to the Casa Gangotena, a Spanish Colonial-style building, lovingly restored into this boutique hotel.

Day 2: Quito

Once the northern Capital of the Inca Empire, Quito has such a long history of being a busy city full of culture and commerce. Quito has so much to offer the world explorer, and you’ll start with a walking tour that highlights the growth and change of Quito’s layers of past and present. We’ll visit a local restaurant at the end of the day, to watch the sun set over the city.

Day 3: Embark in Isla Baltra

Included in your trip is the short flight from Quito to Isla Baltra, where the crew of La Pinta is waiting to welcome you aboard. You’ll head out to your first island: Isla Seymour Norte. It’ll be a race to spot the first Blue-footed boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds on the island! You can hike or take a panga ride, giving you an up-close look at the nesting areas of these birds.

Day 4: Isla Isabela & Isla Fernandina

By now, your ‘inner explorer’ will be ready to get out and discover the world! At Punta Vicente Roca, your guides will take you by panga to learn about the geologic history of the island, as well as point our the flightless cormorants. Want to get a closer look? Get out the snorkel gear for a look at the sea turtles and beautiful fish around the islands. You’ll also get a chance to walk a guided tour of Isla Fernandina. This fiery island is exciting, with its active volcano which erupted as recently as 2009! But the island’s residents seem just fine – thousands of bright iguanas and Galapagos penguins make their home here.

Day 5: Isla Isabela

You’ll look for land iguanas and giant tortoises on a shore walk of Urbina Bay. In Tagus Cove, keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins in the Bolivar Channel. Squeeze in some time to snorkel or kayak in Tagus Cove. Then you’ll hike down Darwin Crater to a saltwater lake with excellent opportunities to view penguins, Galapagos Hawks, petrified rain and the record of whalers and pirates who scratched their names into the rocks.

Day 6: Isla Rabida & Isla Santa Cruz

The red beach of Isla Rabida is the preferred haunt for sea lions and marine iguanas. See the Darwin Finches, pelicans, Yellow Warblers, Nazca Boobies and more! You can also head out for snorkeling. This afternoon you’ll hike Cerro Dragon for a beautiful view of the western islands!

Day 7: Isla Santa Cruz

Today is Giant Tortoise day. Tour the Charles Darwin Research Station, where baby tortoises are safeguarded as they grow to adulthood, when they are returned to the wild. Grab your swimsuit as we head to the Finch Bay Eco Hotel for a poolside lunch – a moment of luxury before you head to the highlands to witness the tortoises in their natural habitat. If you’re looking for a geological adventure, walk inside the island’s lava tubes!

Day 8: Isla Floreana

All those notes home you’ve been writing, saying “Wish you were here”? Today is the day to mail them from Post Office Bay, the famous barrel mailbox. What adventures will you save for Isla Floreana? You can snorkel, kayak, hike, skiff, ride the glass-bottom boat, or soak in some sun on the beach. Investigate the volcanic channels by kayak or panga. Walk along the green beach of Punta Cormorant, home to flamingoes, or the white beach where green sea turtles rest at night.

Day 9: Disembark in Isla Baltra

Thank the captain and crew of La Pinta before transferring to the airport. The quick flight to Quito will have you ready for your journey home.


Ask our agents about extending your vacation with a visit to Peru and Machu Picchu!

Photo Credit: Un-Cruise Adventures