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FINCH BAY COMPLETE 4 DAYS
Rate per person: $1,683
Available dates: Nov 23th to 26th & Nov 24th to 27th
Airport assistance in Quito/Guayaquil. Arrive at Baltra airport. Shared transfer in. Lunch. Hotel accommodation. Dinner.
Breakfast. Full day exploration, with lunch. Dinner.
Breakfast. Island yacht exploration, with lunch. Dinner.
Breakfast. Full day exploration, with lunch. Dinner.
Breakfast. Island yacht exploration, with lunch. Dinner.
Breakfast. Shared transfer out to Baltra airport.
Desayuno. Traslado compartido al aeropuerto de Baltra.
- 3-night accommodation in the selected room
- All meals
- 1 full-day island yacht exploration (includes lunch)
- 1 full-day exploration (includes lunch)
- Snorkel and kayak equipment
- Ground transfers in/out in Galapagos (shared service)
- Airport assistance in Quito/Guayaquil
- Internet / Wi-Fi
- Air transportation (international and domestic) to/from Galapagos and airport taxes (subject to change without previous notice)
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$ 100 subject to change without previous notice)
- Transit control card fee (US$ 20 subject to change without previous notice)
- Alcoholic beverages, gratuities/tips, laundry or valet services and additional items
- Optional activities with extra cost: kayaking, mountain biking, diving and surfing.
- Travel insurance
- Any item not mentioned previously
- Highlands giant tortoises with lunch (guided)
Depart the hotel towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz. From there a short drive across the farming area will lead us to El Manzanillo at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve. El Manzanillo is located on the natural path tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. The Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living tortoise species, weighing up to 250 kg (550 lb). It plays an important biological role as the top grazer in its habitat. In the wild, these gentle giants slowly barrel their way through the plant cover. The shape of their carapaces varies from island to island. On Santa Cruz, year round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-coloured pond (impressively coloured by surface red pond-weeds).
The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit. On the return to Puerto Ayora, visit one of the island’s lava tunnels, significant geological formations that take us back in time and allow us to remember how lava flows formed the islands. Lunch at El Manzanillo.
The headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service and The Charles Darwin Research Station are located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation centre open to the public and also one may view the tortoise rearing program. Those guests who do not have the opportunity to explore the highlands of Santa Cruz and see tortoises in their natural habitat will have the chance to see tortoises here. And for those who have already seen them in the wild, a visit to the Centre will expand their knowledge of this unique, iconic Galapagos animal.
Island Yacht Exploration*
*Visits to North Seymour, Bartolome, South Plaza, Santa Fe and Santiago Island. Check schedules for exact daily tour information.
- 1 small backpack
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sneakers with rubber soles
- Long pants
- Long and short sleeved shirts
- Wind breaker
- Bathing suit or a wetsuit for snorkelling in cold months
- Hat or cap
- Sunblock and repellent
- Camera & video recorder
- Any medicine you may be taking
- Metropolitan Touring guarantees air space for programmes only
- The island visited on the day tour will depend on the itinerary approved by the Galapagos National Park Service
- All rates are subject to change without prior notice
- Galapagos itineraries are subject to change due to weather conditions, logistical reasons, guests' safety, or Galapagos National Park regulations.
Baggage important notes
- Guests can bring aboard the ship a reasonable amount of clothing and personal effects without charge. Baggage is handled in accordance with the airlines’ regulations and tariffs. Baggage exceeding these limitations is subject to the charges as set forth by the individual operators. Airlines are strict with baggage limitations. The current limits are 23 kg (50.6 pounds) for checked items, 8 kg (17 pounds) for hand luggage and 1 personal item (handbag, camera bag, laptop, etc.)
- All baggage must be securely packed, and properly and clearly labelled. Liquid, fragile, perishable and other articles not suitably packed are transported at guests’ own risk
- Metropolitan Touring is not responsible for loss or damage to baggage or any other personal item during air travel
- Metropolitan Touring is not responsible for baggage stored in shoreside facilities
- Under no circumstances may dangerous items (including but not limited to: explosives, firearms, combustible or illegal substances) be taken into the hotel. We recommend that you hand-carry travel documents (passport, visa, cruise tickets), medications and valuables. These items are the full responsibility of the guest at all times. Metropolitan Touring shall not be responsible for the loss of, or damage to, such personal items
- Metropolitan Touring reserves the right to charge for the return of personal items left on board or lost and subsequently found
Restricted baggage in the Galapagos
Local authorities manage the quarantine system of the Galapagos National Park in order to reduce the possibility of foreign species invading the archipelago. All cargo and luggage that arrives to Galapagos National Park or that is transferred from one island to another must be inspected. All aircrafts are disinfected with Permethrin before landing. To preserve the human health and the native species of the Galapagos Islands, the following products may not be transferred to Galapagos: fresh vegetables and fruits, animal products and or their derivatives, dairy products, other live animals, pathological samples, dry coffee beans, genetically modified organisms, forest species or their disseminative parts, grass and its disseminative parts, fresh flowers, medicinal plants and their disseminative parts, banana tree leaves, micro-organisms (fungi, bacteria, etc.) soil and sand, and animal vaccines.
MASHPI LODGE 3 DAYS
Rate per person: $1,226
Available dates: Nov 23th to 25th & Nov 25th to 27th
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.
After been comfortably settled in our room we are greeted by one of our naturalists who will give us an introductory talk about the cloud forest and its conservation, the activities during our stay and some helpful tips about what to wear and what to bring to the excursions. This talk will take place before lunch at our library and lasts around 30 minutes.
At 3:30 PM we will gather together at the lobby in order to head to the Napa Trail. This trail starts at the side of the road, across areas where the forest is regenerating and large patches of pristine forest. For this reason, this trail is ideal to explain the ecological succession processes and the importance of forest conservation for the Chocó region. Also, this is a trail of great scenic beauty and toward the end of the trail you will find one of the unique attractions, a forest of “iron palm” (Iriartea deltoidea), which wood is used in different ways, mostly in house construction. This is also a very good trail for bird watching. It is a moderate difficulty trail and the excursion takes 2 hours.
Every evening for all our guests interested in knowing more deeply the cloud forest ecology, we have prepare a series of different lectures like the “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi, the trap camera project”, the “Chocó, a biological hotspot” about the formation and diversity of the Chocó, or about our scientific research projects. The lectures will be given by one of our naturalist or our resident biologist at 7:30 PM.
The forest always rewards the “early birds”, as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food. A good place to find birds is actually right at the hotel’s terrace, with a cup of fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate in hand, from where we can enjoy not only the beauty of the forest but also the many species that come to feed on insects and fruits at nearby trees. Our guides will help us spot what’s around, offering a peek inside their telescope for a close-and-personal view of the incredible bird richness Mashpi possesses. This activity begins at 6:30 AM and lasts about an hour. Enjoy breakfast at our hotel restaurant. We depart around 8:30 AM to the Sky Bike and Observation Tower (a 15-minute walk from the hotel). Looming above the treetops, Mashpi’s observation tower allows our guests to enjoy the protected forest in all its glory. At 30 meters (100 feet) above the ground, this is an ideal site for nature lovers, allowing us not only allows to appreciate the forest’s complex structure, but also the incredible species richness that thrives throughout the canopy (70% of the forest’s biodiversity is found here). We climb 162 steps to reach the top. The aerial bicycle makes for an original and exciting way to explore the canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points, around 200 mt (655 feet) apart, crossing a gorge and river. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it’s an activity that provides guests with yet another vantage point to experience Mashpi’s lush natural world. To enjoy the ride, one must be at least one meter tall (3.2 feet) (children must be accompanied by an adult). The bike ride takes no more than 20 minutes. Once completed, you can walk back to the lodge along one of our many trails. One of the trails takes us to San Vicente waterfall, a 45-minutes-to-an-hour steep hike that demands good physical condition. You can also hike the Oxibelis trail that takes us to a small waterfall before taking us back to the lodge. The combination of activities (sky bike, observation tower and hike) can take between 2 to 4 hours, depending on the trail. At the lodge, a refreshing natural juice and fresh towels will be waiting for us; we then will enjoy a varied and delicious lunch at the hotel restaurant. The best way to reach the Life Centre is actually through the forest, so we take what we’ve come to call the “Howler Monkey’s trail”. This path crosses primary forest dominated by many ancient trees, being the “copal” (Dacryodes cupularis) the most emblematic of them.
We occasionally get to listen to rare birds, such as the Rufous-fronted Wood-quail (Odontophorus erythrops) or the Rufous-crowned Antpitta (Pittasoma rufopileatum). Our guides are keen on noticing every sound that comes from the forest deep, hoping to reveal colourful birds or elusive howler monkeys, while our naturalist guide explains the habitat’s ecology; both share with us their extensive knowledge on forest plants and their medicinal uses. Once at the Life Centre, we are offered a great view of the forest from the comfort of an expansive wooden deck, where wildlife abounds. We will identify the different birds and mammals that visit our fruit feeders. The centre is conceived as a place for learning and discovery, but also a place where guests can disconnect from the humdrum of today’s world. We will explore the life of butterflies, the many species found in the Mashpi area and their metamorphosis process from egg, larva and caterpillar, to chrysalis and finally winged wonder. We will also discover various species of host plants that butterflies use to lay their eggs on, such as passion flowers, birds of paradise, milk weeds and other species found in the garden. Not far from the Centre, we have also established a “tropical orchard” where many varieties of fruit trees, including banana, manioc, cacao, hot chili pepper, coffee and wild raspberries are grown. For those interested in learning more about the Ecuadorian cloud forest, we offer a lecture that sums up the different scientific research projects that take place at Mashpi. The talk lasts around 30 minutes, and will include footage from our hidden camera traps, a great display of the astounding diversity that thrives inside the forest.
This activity begins at 6:30 AM in the hotel lobby and takes advantage of the fact that many bird species come to the hotel to feed. After a cup of coffee, we walk down the road seeking out mixed-species feeding flocks: these usually feature different insectivorous bird species that move together while foraging. In a single flock, we may see over 20 different species, making these more-or-less common encounters an undeniable treat for bird aficionados. The activity takes one hour; we return to the lodge for breakfast.
Approximately at 8:30 AM we leave the hotel and head to Copal Waterfall. This beautiful 2-hour-long hike features a landscape of moss-covered trees, bromelias and orchids at every corner. The trail ends at a spectacular waterfall over 50 m high. We return to the hotel by noon for check out and back to Quito at approximately 3:00 PM.
- Accommodations, all meals, guided daily excursions (in English and Spanish only) to primary forest, Sky Bike, specialized lectures. Rain ponchos and rubber boots.
- Transfers in (shared basis), includes entrance fee and visit the Tulipe Archaeological Site
- Transfer out (Mashpi-Quito, shared basis)
- Gratuities, bar, gifts and personal items.
QUITO LAND TOUR
Rate per person: $88 Daily
Quito and the Center of the World monument
We will visit downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quitos 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 also the temple of *La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. We 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.
Then we will continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 Kms. (16 miles) North of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where we can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. We will visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. A certificate for having crossed the Equator will be given at the end of our tour.
- Daily from Quito
- This tour includes walking at an altitude of 2800 meters (9200 feet) and climbing stairs
- * Tour visits to churches on Sundays are not allowed
- 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
- Private service with guide and driver, 4 ½ hours
- All entrance fees
- Personal expenses
OTAVALO LAND TOUR
Rate per person: $111 Daily
Otavalo Handcraft tour plus lunch (shared)
First stop is Calderón, a small town where bread dough figurines are made in many shapes and sizes. Continue along the valleys of Guayllabamba and Cayambe, with their dairy farms and flower plantations, to the land of the Otavalos and South America’s most famous Indian fair 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 in silence, in marked contrast to the raucous noise of other markets; take your time to negotiate the best bargains.
Then, proceed to Peguche, an Indian village very near Otavalo that is home to the artisans who do the weaving 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. Return to Quito in the afternoon.
- This tour includes walking at an average altitude of 2560 meters (8434 feet).
- daily, from Quito
- Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat).
- Take a sweater even if the day is warm and sunny
- Rain protection from February to May.
- Sun protection (SPF 40).
- Good walking shoes.
- Bring your camera, great photo options.
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