Galapagos Express

  • Duration: 9 Days
  • Departure: Depends on cruise chosen
  • Hotels: First Class Accommodation
  • Highlights: Quito – Galapagos Islands – Otavalo


The Galapagos Express package is a great option for visitors that want to explore the Galapagos Islands and see part of the Andean region of the country. During your visit, you will visit the Capital city of Ecuador, Quito, and will also take a trip to the town of Otavalo, home of the largest indigenous market in Ecuador, and a beautiful area in the Ecuadorian mountains. In addition it combines a 5-day visit to the enchanted islands of the Galapagos, home of exotic and endemic animals, where Charles Darwin found a great setting to develop this theory on evolution.


Tour Information

  • Accommodations: First Class
  • Focus: Culture, Nature, Wild life, History and sightseeing of Andean Region
  • Physical Activity: Medium
  • Departures: Daily.
  • Tour Type: Private

Summary Itinerary:

  • Day 1: Transfer in – Hotel Mercure
  • Day 2: Colonial city tour in Quito & Middle of the World tour - Hotel Mercure
  • Days 3 to 7: 5-day/4-nights Galapagos Islands Cruise
  • Day 8: Otavalo Indian Market tour - Hotel Mercure
  • Day 9: Transfer out

Package includes:

  • 4 Transfers (hotel - airport - hotel)
  • 4 nights in a First class hotel in Quito - Hotel Mercure
  • 1 Colonial & Historical city tour in Quito & Middle of the World visit
  • 5 days / 4 nights Galapagos Islands Cruise
  • TCT (Control Traffic Card) $ 20 USD per person
  • Airfare: Quito - Galápagos - Quito
  • 1 Otavalo Indian Market tour
  • Private transportation
  • English - Spanish speaking guide
  • Meals described in the itinerary (B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner)
  • All entrance fees

Package does not include:

  • Alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Personal expenses
  • Galapagos National Park Tax: $100 USD per person

Day 1 - Transfer in Quito

When you arrive in Ecuador, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your charming hotel in Quito, where you will receive your full itinerary and information about Ecuador and your trip. Accommodation Hotel Mercure

Day 2 - City tour in Quito & the Middle of the World

Independence Square Middle of the World Monument and Museum

After breakfast, your will visit “Quito” the most beautiful and colonial city in South America, declared by UNESCO part of the Cultural Heritage of mankind. You will explore the colonial part of the city and you will start in the Independence square, with the presidential palace, the city hall, the Sagrario church and the Cathedral. You will then, visit San Francisco church and museum-monastery (1535), the San Agustin monastery and the finest example of baroque art in America, La Compañía church (1605) and its breathtaking gilded altars. You will then visit the art & crafts gallery of Tianguez and finally, drive up to the Panecillo hill and enjoy an amazing view of Quito from above, and admire the only winged-Virgin statue in South America. This is a great spot to take pictures above Quito;

After visiting the Colonial center of Quito you will arrive to the Middle of the World Monument and Museum, which is located 25 km north of Ecuador’s capital. There you will find the monument on the equatorial line marking latitude 0° 0´0”, where you will have the opportunity to stand in both hemispheres and take wonderful pictures. Here you can also visit the ethnographic museum on site as well.

Days 3 to 7 - Galapagos Islands Cruise

After an early breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight to the magical Galapagos Islands. Here you will board your exclusive cruise for your Galapagos experience. Your jet flight to Galapagos will take approximately two hours. You will be greeted by the Legend’s staff and be taken by bus to board your vessel. (B - L - D)

Sample Itinerary for the Galapagos Legend 5 days / 4 nights

* This package is also available with 4 days Galapagos cruise and will go to El Garrapatero instead of Cerro Mesa Reserve.

Day 3 - Thursday – San Cristóbal airport

Galapagos Legend

Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristóbal (2 ½ hours flight). Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Galapagos Legend.

Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill - San Cristóbal Island Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands. Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about Natural History in the Galapagos. The Museum of Natural History displays information on the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the islands.

Difficulty level: easy
Duration: 1 hour visit

Tijeretas Hill involves a high intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony.

Difficulty level: high
Duration: 1 hour visit

Day 4 - Friday – Gardner Bay, Gardner & Osborn islets – Española Island

Rabida Island

Wet landing on a beautiful white coral sand beach guarded by a colony of sea lions. There are no trails, so we stay along the shore where we can spot Galapagos hawks, American oystercatchers, Galapagos ground doves, hood mockingbirds, yellow warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin’s finches: a subspecies (Geospiza fuliginosa) of the Large Cactus Finch, which is similar to the large ground finch, the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the Warbler Finch (Certhidea Olivacea), another endemic subspecies. Swimming and snorkeling reveals a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, manta rays, and white-tipped reef sharks.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1hour snorkeling

Suárez Point – Española Island Dry landing. An island of geological interest, we explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Española mockingbird, nazca boobies and the spectacular red-billed tropicbird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally light foot crabs.

A somewhat lengthy hike will bring you among nazca and blue-footed boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birding favorites include Galapagos dove, Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December).

Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air.

Difficulty level: difficult
Type of terrain: rocky
Duration: 2h30 walk

Day 5 - Saturday – Post Office – Floreana Island

Blue footed boobies

Wet landing. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay is so-named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them to their destinations. Today, our visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel that should reach their destinations for free. It can take weeks, months, even years, not arrive at all, or even arrive before you!

We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, yellow warbler and lava lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles as well, this island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus pinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 30 minutes’ walk / 1 hour snorkeling

Cormorant Point – Floreana Island Giant Tortoise Wet landing on an olivine green sand beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach one can spot sea turtles, blue-footed boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in search of food.

This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy and walk on a flat terrain
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling

Day 6 - Sunday – Cerro Mesa Reserve - Santa Cruz Island

Galapagos Penguins

Dry landing. First ecological reserve of the region, it’s possible to observe numerous endemic plants, 7 subspecies Darwin’s finches, vermillion flycatcher. From there you will be able to see Baltra, Santiago, Isabela, Santa Fé, Daphne Islands.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: flat & steep
Duration: 35 minutes’ drive / 1h30 walk

El Garrapatero - Santa Cruz Island Marine Iguanas El Garrapatero is a wide bay with multiple sandy beaches. Behind the beach is an area with a fresh water lake where you can come across pink flamingos, herons, mockingbirds, white-cheeked pintail ducks, Sally lightfoot crabs, oystercatchers and occasionally marine iguanas can be found.

Difficulty level: easy
Type of terrain: sandy
Duration: 50 minutes’ drive / 1h30 walk

Charles Darwin Research Station - Santa Cruz Island Dry landing. We visit the Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place and you will have the opportunity to meet Lonesome George, the last surviving specimen of his species and symbol of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment. It is an excellent place for visitors to be photographed with them. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and a variety Darwin’s finches and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands, and to tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.

Difficulty level: intermediate
Type of terrain: flat
Duration: 1h30 visit

Day 7 - Monday - Daphne

Giant Tortoise

We circumnavigate the islet of Daphne, an eroded tuff cone formation that was created by successive volcanic activity, for an opportunity to see Darwin’s finches, blue-footed boobies, nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, swallow-tailed gulls, brown noddies. Afterwards, you will go straight to the airport for return flight to Quito. Accommodation Hotel Mercure (B).

Upon arrival to Quito, you will be met by your Latin Frontiers representative and be transferred back to your hotel.

Day 8 - Otavalo Indian Market

Otavalo Indian Market

Today you will visit the biggest and most colorful indigenous market in Latin America, the famous Otavalo. Here, you will visit its Ponchos market, famous around the world for its colorful tapestries, hand-knitted wool sweaters, native paintings, wood carvings, silver jewelry, woolen and straw hats, and much more at bargain prices. After a great shopping you will arrive to Cotacachi known for its leather works and San Antonio de Ibarra for its excellent woodcarvings. Lunch will be served at a typical nearby hacienda or country inn. Accommodation Hotel Mercure (B - L)

Day 9 - Transer out

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home (B)


    Passenger Information

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