Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Arrival at Quito
Today you reach the hilly capital of Ecuador. You will check into the beautiful 5 * Hotel Casa Gangotena, with its location right in the heart of the old town, the ideal place to explore the city.
Discover Quito during a guided city tour
Your tour guide will take you through the colorful city today. In addition to the world's oldest UNESCO World Heritage Site, the colonial old town, you will be shown many more sights. With a delicious lunch, you can already pass on the already experienced. The special thing about this tour is that it also looks behind the scenes and you will experience Quito like a local. Your visit points today are:
Museo Casa del Alabado
Casa del Alabado is a delightful small boutique museum just off the edge of the famous San Francisco Plaza. It not only offers a privileged view of some of the most emblematic pieces of pre-Columbian art and the social developments of pre-Hispanic Ecuador, but also emphasizes the aesthetics of the object rather than focusing on the chronological order of Ecuadorian archeology. All this is organized in one of the oldest houses of the historic center, perfectly renovated. Duration of visit: approx. 50 minutes.
Iglesia La Compañia de Jesus
A golden shimmer hits visitors long before they have crossed the door of La Compañia church, also known as Solomon's South American temple. It is the crown jewel of the historical center of Quito and one of the most important manifestations of baroque architecture in the world. It also incorporates other architectural styles, since 160 years have passed since their inception in 1605. The church is the product of a European vision, combined with the work of the talented Ecuadorian workers, who brought their own understanding of art and spirituality. It is a masterpiece and one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of Quito, the facade alone invites to enter. Duration of visit: approx. 35 minutes
Iglesia y Convento San Francisco
The San Francisco Church and Monastery was recognized as one of the largest architectural structures in the historic center of America and was nicknamed the "El Escorial of the New World". Despite the changing stylistic trends during the 150 years of construction, the talented architects and engineers managed to create a harmonious combination. The building serves as a repository for more than 3,500 colonial artworks, most of which are from the famous Quinto Art School. The legend of Cantuña, which tells the story of a clever indigenous worker who managed to deceive the devil, also originates here. Visiting time: about 40 minutes
Chocolateria Chez Tiff
The family business was born from the dream of an Ecuadorian Swiss couple. Located in La Ronda street, in the historic center, it smells of the delicious aroma of chocolate made from the finest Ecuadorian cocoa. Add to that the fact that the company is in an area full of art, culture and tradition and you have a fantastic setting to learn about the preparation of this delicacy and its history. Afterwards, guests can taste and buy these delicious treats made with only the finest Ecuadorian ingredients. Duration of visit: approx. 35 minutes
Calle La Ronda
The La Ronda street, popular with the Quiteños and foreigners alike, shows the history and rich traditions that fill the city. Numerous historical, eccentric and emblematic figures have walked the streets of this iconic neighborhood in the historic center. These include sculptors, artists and bakers from the colonial era, political assassins, historians and harbingers of independence (like Eugenio Espejo), as well as the inevitable madmen, musicians and poets. Together, they have saturated this area with a bohemian atmosphere that still exists today. Visitors to this unique neighborhood can rediscover the tradition of ancient Quito through its cultural, artisanal and culinary spaces. Duration of visit: approx. 25 minutes
Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande)
Located in the historic center, the Independence Square, also known as the Main Square, was the starting point for the planning and development of the city. It consists of four buildings that serve as corners of the society of Quito: the Presidential Palace (Carondelet), the Archbishop's Palace, the Quito Cathedral and the City Palace. In the middle of the square stands the monument erected in honor of the independence of the country. It was built in 1906 in marble and bronze. This is one of the few places in Quito that allows you to fully experience and absorb the great diversity of people who inhabit this beautiful city. Duration of visit: approx. 20 minutes
Plaza de San Francisco
The San Francisco Plaza in the historic center of Quito is considered one of the most iconic urban scenes in the country's capital. It is believed to have been built on the formerly indigenous market known as Tianguiz. Even during the colonial period, the central fountain of the square supplied the surrounding neighborhoods with water. It is one of America's largest religious centers, dominated by the imposing façade of the San Francisco Church and Monastery with their grandiose steps that connect the square with the atrium, hiding a labyrinth of secret corridors to explore. Time spent: approx. 20 minutes
El Panecillo (Mirador)
In the pre-Inca era, this hill was the location of a sun temple known as Shungo loma or Yavirak, meaning "hill of the heart." During their conquest, the Spanish called him "Panecillo" (small bread / roll) because of its similarity to a small loaf of bread. It is located in the center of the colonial quarter of Quito and rises at an altitude of 3,035 meters above sea level. The view from up here is just breathtaking. Visitors to this picturesque vantage point will find the statue of the Virgin of Quito, created in 1976 by the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorral. It is 45 meters high and was assembled from around 7,000 pieces of aluminum. Duration of visit: approx. 25 minutes
Caminos de San Roque
This education and tourism project was awarded by the Casa América Catalunya in 2010 for the "Cultural Cooperation for Development" project for the preservation of intangible cultural heritage. The project is an exploration of the life, the faith, the gastronomy and the ancient traditions of Quito. The tour will take you on a journey through the shops and markets of the historic center, where guests will be able to meet medical healers, walk the streets of the old town and experience the craftsmanship and daily life of the people of San Roques. Duration of visit: 30 minutes
Journey to the Galapagos Islands
Today you reach the fabulous Galapagos Islands. You will be picked up at your hotel tomorrow and taken to the airport of Quito. After arrival and the immigration formalities, you will be taken directly to your exclusive ship, the La Pinta. After a welcome refreshment and a small introduction, you can also refer directly to your luxury cabin. Afterwards lunch will be served.
Trip to North Seymour
In the afternoon you will sail to the island of North Seymour. During a walk along the coast and the shallow insular, your guide will show you the numerous bird colonies, as well as sunbathing sea lions and land iguanas. If you want, you can also explore the coast by dinghy. Back on board you will have an evening meeting with your guide for the following day followed by a welcome cocktail and dinner.
Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island
After breakfast you start off to Punta Vicente Roca. Since there is no landing site at this point, the coastal exploration is conducted by dinghy, while the nature guide explains the dramatic geology of the area with the remains of lava flows and tuff layers. There are plenty of wildlife and, depending on the ocean's conditions, you can hopefully snorkel along the cliffs, accompanied by green sea turtles.
Lunch on board.
Punta Espinoza on the island of Fernandina
This afternoon you head to Fernandina, the westernmost and with only about 700,000 years the youngest island of the archipelago. In the midst of a cactus and mangrove-covered lava landscape is the visitor's site Punta Espinoza. Sea lions and hundreds of marine iguanas sun themselves on the black lava rocks and on the beach. While snorkeling, you might come close to the resident penguins whizzing through the water with lightning speed. Also here is the endemic flightless Galapagos cormorant native.
You return to the La Pinta for your dinner.
Urbina Bay on Isabela Island
Urbina Bay is located at the foot of the Alcedo volcano on the west coast of isabela Island, between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area underwent a substantial uplift in 1954 - more than 4.9 meters. The coast stretched half a mile, causing marine life on the new shore to create - an ideal place for snorkeling. Here you can see corals, shells and large and very colorful Galapagos Land iguanas, as well as (occasionally) giant tortoises. If you cross the Bolivar Channel, you have a good chance to discover several species of whales.
Lunch on board.
Tagus Cove on Isabela Island
Take a trip to the notorious Tagus Cove - a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers for centuries. In the deep blue bay, penguins, flightless cormorants, Noddi terns, shearwaters and blue-footed boobies breed. A steep path through dry balsam woods and cacti leads to an extremely saline, green crater lake (Laguna Darwin). Sea turtles and marine iguanas appreciate the nutrient-rich bay, so that the bay is ideal for snorkelling despite the many green algae.
For dinner, back on board the La Pinta.
In the morning you alight at the red colored beach of Rábida Island. A walk along the beach allows us to spot marine iguanas, mockingbirds, golden warblers and several species of Darwin finches. There is a 1.1 km circular route. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach. For non-snorkelers, you can take the glass bottom boat to explore the life under the waves.
Your delicious lunch awaits you on board La Pinta.
Cerro Dragón on the island of Santa Cruz
The north coast of Santa Cruz is home to the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). Your walk will take you around a brackish lagoon frequented by lagoonbirds, while further inland the path offers beautiful views of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the opportunity to observe land iguanas. Optional: Time for those who want to swim and / or snorkel.
At the end of the day dinner aboard the La Pinta.
Charles Darwin station on the island of Santa Cruz
The morning visit will take you today to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the famous Giant Tortoises within an impressive giant prickly pear forest. This is the headquarters on Galapagos for scientific investigations, conservation and national park administration. Here, scientists from around the world explore the diverse turtle subspecies of the Galapagos Islands. One of the highlights of the research center is the rearing station, where baby turtles complete a training course over rocks, branches and sandy steps to be prepared for the wilderness in the coming days.
A delicious lunch is served by the pool at Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
Highland of Santa Cruz Island
The highlands of Santa Cruz form an impressive contrast to the lower and arid areas of the island. With a nature guide you visit the twin craters "Los Gemelos" (as they are called in Spanish). These are caused by volcanic eruptions. There are Scalesian forests, an endemic species in the Galapagos Islands, as well as huge cacti and a variety of deciduous trees and edible fruits. The change of different vegetation is particularly appealing. Hundreds of Galapagos giant tortoises inhabit the area of El Chato and La Caseta. Here they are in their natural habitat. The half a mile lava tunnels lie underground, making their visit a unique, almost unreal experience.
After these many impressions, you will return to the La Pinta.
Post Office Bay on Floreana Island
This morning, you'll discover a historically very interesting landing site: since the 18th century, a wooden barrel has been used as an unofficial mailbox at Post Office Bay. Whalers left their letters to those left at home and hoped that a sailor would take them along and deliver them. Maybe you will find a card there that you can deliver at home and continue this centuries old tradition.
Then there will be lunch on board.
Punta Cormorant on the island of Floreana
Before you arrive in Punta Cormorant, you can visit the coast of the "Champion Islet" in a glass bottom boat and snorkel if you like. Then you will discover the black beach Punta Cormorant, which shimmers greenish under sunlight. This is due to sparkling olivine crystals, evidence of violent volcanic eruptions. Past a large saltwater lagoon you reach a half sunken volcano crater, the devil's crown, a small snorkeling paradise. The sandy sloping crater walls are often haunted by starfish, sea turtles and tropical fish, while smaller specimens of white tip reef shark prefer the rocky caves at the bottom of the crater.
Round off the day on board the La Pinta.
Return to the harbor of Baltra
You will return to the harbor of Baltra. From there, transfer to Baltra Airport in time for your return flight to the mainland, or continue with your planned route through the Galapagos.