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
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.
Your adventure will start driving south of Quito where you will admire the Cotopaxi (19,347 feet) the highest active volcano on earth, and its National Park. Upon you arrival to the park you will visit the interpretation center where you will find history about the last Cotopaxi eruption as well as information about the flora & fauna of this beautiful national park. Afterwards you will visit the Limpiopungo Lake and admire the Andean moorlands with its birds or you can start climbing up to the snow line and arrive to the first shelter of the mountain located at 15,744 ft. After lunch you will admire Ecuador’s highest mountain the snow capped Chimborazo (20,697 ft.) in your way to Riobamba which is the birthplace of Ecuador’s first constitution (1830). Here you will have a brief tour of the city, which includes its French-influenced plazas, the Cathedral, admire the city from Quito hill and learn about Ecuador’s history from its murals.
Accommodation Hacienda Abraspungo (B – L)
After an early breakfast you will continue your excursion south passing by a picturesque Indian area in the highlands of Ecuador. Here you will admire the oldest Catholic chapel in the country “Balbanera chapel”. Then, you are going to arrive to Alausi train Station. If the train is available, you will experience the Devil’s nose route going from the highest Andes to the low lands. This is an unforgettable experience where you will have an opportunity to ride through the Andes and pass through several towns, rivers of the region After a Box lunch on the road you will arrive to Ingapirca ruins, the most important religious and political complex of Inca ruins in Ecuador. Afterwards, you will continue your drive to the beautiful city of Cuenca (Ecuador’s third largest city), for an overnight stay. In the evening you can enjoy a free night to roam through this charming city in the South of Ecuador.
Accommodation Hotel Santa Lucia or Carvallo in Cuenca (B – Box Lunch)
Discover one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Latin America “Cuenca” which is located at 2,500 meters above sea level in a valley surrounded by 4 rivers and mountains with a very colorful countryside. Cuenca is famous for its art and history; there you will be able to admire its beautiful marble Cathedral, its cobblestone streets, graceful wrought-iron balconies, flowered plazas and museums. The people of Cuenca are known for their great hospitality. After lunch in the afternoon you will transfer to Guayaquil by car.
Accommodation Grand Hotel Guayaquil (B – L)
After an early breakfast you will continue your excursion south passing by a picturesque Indian area in the highlands of Ecuador. Here you will admire the oldest Catholic chapel in the country “Balbanera chapel”. Then, you are going to arrive to Alausi train Station. If the train is available, you will experience the Devil’s nose route going from the highest Andes to the low lands. This is an unforgettable experience where you will have an opportunity to ride through the Andes and pass through several towns, rivers of the region
Today you will visit Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and one of the most important ports in the Pacific Coast of South America. Visit the living tradition of the “Las Peñas” neighborhood, walk around the riverfront Malecon 2000 with its botanic gardens, and monuments with a view to the Guayas River. Walk up to the Santa Ana hill to have a spectacular views of Guayaquil, and drive through the “9th of October” Avenue to see the “Centenario” park and discover the spirit of this cosmopolitan city and Ecuador’s economic center.
After Lunch you will visit the Natural Historic Park of Guayaquil, a place where it is possible to admire local flora and fauna like Caymans, Iguanas, Arpee Eagles and a beautiful segment of mangrove forest. On the cultural side, visit a replica of a late nineteenth century Guayaquil neighborhood.
Accommodation Grand Hotel Guayaquil (B – L)
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)
AM – Baltra Airport
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra (2½-hour hour flight). In Baltra, 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
PM – Bartolome
Dry or wet landing. Considered the most iconic landscape of the entire archipelago the view from the top of Bartolome Island, overlooking the famous Pinnacle Rock and the austere Santiago Island beyond, is well worth the climb up the wooden boardwalk. This volcanic scene has often been likened to a lunar landscape. Our subsequent snorkel here might put us face to face with Galapagos penguins, white-tipped reef sharks and playful sea lions.
AM – South Plaza Islet
Dry landing. Sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls and land iguanas are all present at the landing site. The small island is covered with a carpet of a red succulent studded with Opuntia cacti. At the cliff edge, we spend time watching birds fly past at eye level in the up draught. These include, frigatebirds, flocks of Galapagos shearwaters and of particular note, flights of displaying red-billed tropicbirds. Back at sea level, we once again encounter land iguanas, some of which have hybridized with their resident marine cousins.
PM –North Seymour Island
Dry landing. This flat, uplifted, island is an important spot to see both magnificent and great frigatebird males courting the females by clicking, bill-clapping, shuddering and flapping their wings, all while showing off their grossly inflated, bright red, gular pouch. We will also likely see courting blue-footed boobies displaying their unique feet while ‘dancing’ to a prospective mate. Sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, crashing surf and distant views of the Daphne Islands top off a great visit.
AM – Pitt Point & Islet (San Cristobal Island)
Wet landing. Sea lions will greet us as we land on the beach and prepare for our climb to a high point on the steep eroded tuff cone. This is the only place in the islands where we will enjoy the chance to see all three of the booby species in the same place. The red-foots will be perched on the Cordia lutea and small trees, the Nazca’s on the ground near the cliff edge while the blue-foots will be a little further inland. Frigatebirds will be all around and the views are breathtaking.
PM – Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal Island)
Wet landing. From our pangas, as we head to shore, we are first humbled by the immensity of the stunning cliffs of “Sorcerer’s Hill.” We can enjoy simply sharing the beach with sea lions, snorkeling from shore or take a walk to a hidden lagoon where we might spot black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels and white-cheeked pintails.
Dry landing. In the moist highlands of San Cristobal we will visit the giant tortoise breeding center ìLa Galapagueraî to witness the most iconic creature of the archipelago in its various life stages. The tortoises wander in a semi-natural habitat which lends itself to good photographic opportunities. The aim of the reserve is to help restore populations of the threatened San Cristobal tortoise back into the wild. In town, there are shops to purchase local handicrafts and souvenirs.
After the visit you will go to San Cristobal Airport for their return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. (B)