Andean Ecuador and the Galapagos aboard Yacht La Pinta (8 days)

This journey combines the wonders of the World Heritage-listed capital, Quito, the colours and culture of the Andean Otavalo region to the north, and a four-day voyage aboard one of the Galapagos Islands’ most feted yachts, La Pinta – all in the company of expert, passionate guides and with the assurance of Ecuador’s leading tour operator.

Day by Day

Day 01, Tuesday: Private transportation and guide, handling of two pieces of luggage per person at the airport and the hotel.
Welcome to Quito and Ecuador! At the airport you will be greeted by a member of our organization. We will escort you all the way to your hotel, giving you a short briefing about Quito and the country in general, as well as imparting valuable information you need to know.
Quito airport is located about one and half hours from Quito depending on traffic conditions, please make sure you do not leave anything behind.
Day 02, Wednesday:  Quito and the Center of the World monument with lunch.  Culture, art, history, and visit to the Equator Monument.
We visit downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s historic quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We stroll through the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We visit also the temple of *La Compañía de Jesús and its extraordinary gilded interior. We continue on to the Church and Monastery of San Francisco, one of the great religious buildings of the New World. Its impressive façade and atrium lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar.
Following lunch, we continue in our transport to the Equatorial Monument, 25 km (16 miles) north of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º. Here we can stand with a foot in each hemisphere.  We will visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, with exhibits focusing on the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument, we can amble through the colonial-style town, complete with a main plaza, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. A certificate for having crossed the Equator is given at the end of our tour.
Lunch is served at one of the excellent restaurants in Quito or the equator area.
Notes

  • This is a private tour with guide and driver, 6 hours, includes all entrance fees and lunch.
  • This tour includes walking at an altitude of 2800 meters (9200 feet) and climbing stairs
  • * Tour visits to churches on Sundays are not allowed.

Recommendations

  • For a more Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat)
  • Take a sweater even if the day is warm and sunny
  • Rain protection advised in the afternoon
  • Sun protection (SPF 40)
  • Good walking shoes
  • Don´t forget your camera
  • Women should not wear shorts nor miniskirts as visits to churches are included

Not included:  meals, drinks, tips, personal expenses.
Day 3,  Thursday: OTAVALO, Handcraft Tour with lunch.
This excursion goes north, to the land of the Otavalos and South America’s most famous Indian fair. We travel along the Panamerican Highway through dramatic mountain scenery to the textile market of Otavalo, where guests will enjoy visiting the many stalls full of ponchos, scarves, blankets, wall hangings, woven belts (fajas), hats, handbags and much more. Here Otavaleños barter quietly, in marked contrast to the raucous noise of other markets; take your time to negotiate the best bargains.  Then, we continue to Peguche, an Indian village very near Otavalo, home to the artisans who weave in their homes; guests can learn about their culture and everyday life. Lunch is at one of the charming country inns or haciendas of the area.
Note:

  • This tour includes walking at an altitude of 2560 meters (8434 feet).

Recommendations

  • Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat).
  • Take a sweater even if the day is warm and sunny
  • Rain protection from January to May.
  • Sun protection (SPF 40).
  • Good walking shoes.

Not Included: Drinks, tips, personal expenses
Day 04, Friday: Transfer from your hotel to the airport for Galapagos flight, shared service.
Our staff will pick you up on time from your hotel to take you to the airport for your Galapagos flight.
Day 04-07, Friday-Monday:YACHT LA PINTA Eastern Islands  4Days / 3Nights
Our itinerary together begins on San Cristóbal Island, the capital of the Galápagos Province. From here, we venture east along the northern shores of the island, visiting the fascinating sites of Punta Pitt and Cerro Brujo, both full of life, taking us back to Charles Darwin’s visit of 1835. We then sail south down to Española Island, with its remarkable visitor site (a favourite of many visitors): Punta Suárez. Here, we’ll wander along the rugged coastline, home to hundreds of marine iguanas, sealions, marine birds, and even albatross (at certain times of year). In the afternoon, Gardner Bay provides a wonderful setting for a combination of beach-time, swimming snorkelling or exploring aboard the glass-bottom boat. We end on Monday with a visit to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, the most populous in the archipelago. Wherever we sail, whatever we do, all the crew aboard La Pinta will do our utmost to ensure your Galápagos experience is truly, deeply moving and memorable.
Day 4 – Friday: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno/Cerro Colorado Tortoise Centre (San Cristóbal Island) (B/L/D)
We arrive by plane at San Cristóbal Island and transfer to Yacht La Pinta for cabin assignment, introductory briefing and lunch.
Cerro Colorado Tortoise Centre / Tijeretas (San Cristóbal Island)
After lunch, we land back at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Depending on weather conditions, we drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore to Cerro Colorado where we visit the breeding centre of the highly-endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest. Otherwise we visit Cerro Tijeretas where we can encounter the two species of frigate birds nesting in the same colony.
Day 5 – Saturday: Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island)/ Cerro Brujo (San Cristóbal Island) (B/L/D)
We land at the eastern tip of San Cristóbal Island this morning. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline; we can observe frigates, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim from the beach and snorkel by an islet.
Cerro Brujo (San Cristóbal Island)
In the afternoon following lunch on board, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes us to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coraline beach, great for walking, with rewarding birdwatching with good views of seabirds and shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835.
Day 6 – Sunday: Punta Suarez/Gardner Bay (Española Island) (B/L/D)
Our morning outing at Punta Suárez provides an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April – January), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole”. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Many regard this site as the best in the Islands. Back on board for lunch.
Gardner Bay (Española Island)
In the afternoon, we set down at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkelling in this area, or else there’s time to kayak or ride the glass-bottom boat.
Day 7 – Monday: Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island) / Baltra Airport (B/-/-)
Disembarking in the morning, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the ‘rearing in captivity’ programme for the giant tortoises. Here we witness the efforts and results of all the field work done in the name of science. We transfer by bus across Santa Cruz Island and a short ferry ride to Baltra. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
Arrival to Quito and transfer to your hotel.
Day 8, Tuesday (B/-/-)
Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your outbound flight
Notes
Please remember that the exact route and programme may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter. It’s also subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations.

  • Dry landing: guests step from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
  • Wet landing: as the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into around 20 cm (8 inches) of water and wade ashore.

Recommendations

Packing check list:

  • 1 Small backpack
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sneakers with rubber soles
  • Shorts
  • Long pants
  • T-shirts
  • Long and short sleeved shirts
  • Wind breaker
  • Bathing suit -wetsuit for snorkelling in cold months
  • Hat or cap
  • Toilette kit (biodegradable shampoo please)
  • Sun block
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera & camcorder
  • Any medicine you may be taking
  • Book / notebook

Included

  • Transfers in/out Quito
  • 4 nights hotel accommodation in Quito at Hotel Casa Gangotena in a Luxury room
  • Air tickets to/from Galapagos
  • 4 days/3 nights cruise on board Yacht La Pinta
  • Accommodation in twin/double cabin and room
  • All meals on board Yacht La Pinta,
  • Soft drinks* on board Yacht La Pinta,
  • Island sightseeing
  • Naturalist guides and lecture services in English/Spanish only
  • Wet suit
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Internet*, taxes and transfers in the islands.
  • Land tours mentioned in itinerary

* Please note: soft drinks are considered juices and carbonated drinks, not “virgin” cocktails; internet connections onboard consist of 2 computer stations in the library and Wi-Fi in the yacht’s social areas; connections are intermittent and low-bandwidth.
Not Included

  • Galapagos National Park admission fee, US$ 100 subject to change without notice.
  • Transit Control Card for Galapagos, US$ 20 per person.
  • Alcoholic drinks, tips, gifts and additional items.

(For only US$ 120.00 per person, add the Galapagos National Park Entrance fee and Migration Control Card, subject to change without previous notice

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