Travel Service Adventures Galapagos May 6-12, 2018
Sunday, 06 May 2018 Quito
Welcome to Quito! Upon completion of immigration and customs procedures, you will be met by an A&K representative and transferred to your hotel.
Quito, nestled at the foot of 15,696-foot Pichincha Volcano, is known for its eternally spring-like climate and for the beauty of its well-preserved colonial center. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Inca Empire before being destroyed and re-founded in 1534 by Spaniard Conquistador Sebastián de Benalcázar. For nearly three centuries, the arts and intellectual societies flourished under Spanish colonial rule, a fact evident in the historic center’s splendidly restored colonial buildings and churches lining narrow and cobbled streets. In 1809, Quito established the first self-governing junta in the colonies and the liberator Simón Bolívar led the country as part of the Republic of Greater Colombia until 1830, when the Republic of Ecuador announced its independence. Due to the city’s preservation of its blended past, UNESCO declared Quito the first of its World Heritage Sites in 1978. The city is beautifully situated in an Andean valley at 9,186 feet above the sea level, making it the 2nd highest capital city in the world.
Swissôtel Quito Business Advantage, Double 2 Nights
Monday, 07 May 2018 Quito B - L
After breakfast, begin your tour of colonial Quito. This morning's sightseeing demonstrates some of the reasons why Ecuador's capital earned its honour as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at San Francisco Church and its museum of religious art, La Compañía and the seven tons of gold gilding its glittering walls, and the bustling Independence Plaza, flanked by the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral of Quito. Rich in art treasures, fine woodcarvings, and flowering balconies, the historic center is the lifeblood of Quito.
For lunch time, you will be part of a great Cooking Show. There’s no better way to get to the true heart of any culture than through food. After this cooking demonstration, you’ll know how to prepare a few Ecuadorian delicacies. While relatively simple to make, ceviche is complex on the palate, and it’s a true specialty of the Ecuadorian coast (though Peruvians might want to argue that point!).
Then, drive north to the Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the World), where you will be able to straddle both hemispheres at once. Visit the Traditional Monument OR the Inti Ñan Museum (located at the true equator, this museum displays examples of pre-Columbian life in Ecuador and offers demonstrations on the unique geography, astrology, and natural sciences of the region around the equator).
Swissôtel Quito Business Advantage, Double
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 Quito to Galapagos B - L - D
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Quito airport for your flight to the Galápagos via Guayaquil.
Flight details: AV1632 Leaving Quito at 06h50 and arriving Baltra at 09h20
Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands. You will be met and transferred to ‘M/C Ocean Spray’, where you will check into your cabin then receive an introductory briefing and safety drill.
PM: Bartolomé Island Bartolomé Island (dry landing) is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best-known landmark in the islands. Galapagos penguins, the only species of penguin found north of the equator, walk precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers. Just below the surface, shoals of tropical fish dodge in and out of the rocks past urchins, sea stars and anemones. A crescent-shaped, pink and white-sandy beach lies just to the east of the pinnacle. Beach time is a great opportunity to see and perhaps snorkel with Galapagos penguins, sea lions, rays and whitetip reef sharks among a great variety of colorful schools of fish. Sea turtles use the beach as a nesting site and can sometimes be found cruising in the shallow water near the shore, or resting in the sand to recover from the arduous task of digging nests, laying eggs and covering them. This may turn out to be your best snorkeling experience as the water here is generally clear, has small surf and is full of marine life. Penguins dot the nearby rocks of the next landing site, less than a kilometer (0.6 miles) away along the eastern shore. Here the submerged walls of a tiny volcanic crater give the impression of a fountain pool. This dry landing is the entrance to a 600-meter (1,800-foot) pathway complete with stairs and boardwalks leading to Bartolomé’s summit. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Santiago Island and James Bay to the west and far below, Pinnacle Rock and the beach, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle the yacht. Difficulty level: Moderate.
M/C Ocean Spray 4 Nights Stateroom cabin, double
Wednesday, 09 May 2018 Galapagos B - L - D
AM: Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island Darwin Bay’s soft, coralline white sand (wet landing) is only the beginning of a spectacular excursion. An easy stroll from the beach takes you into lush mangroves where red footed boobies nest. As you’ll continue, you’ll observe thousands of birds, including frigate birds, Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, herons, finches, and mockingbirds. Snorkeling along the cliffs is a must here as sea lions, sharks, colorful reef fish, rays, and tortoises are common. You may also go out for a paddle in a sea kayak. Difficulty level: Moderate
PM: El Barranco, Genovesa Island Genovesa (dry landing) is the northernmost island that is allowed to be visited by naturalist (non-diving) cruises. This island is extremely remote and home to literally millions of birds belonging to many different species including red footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, and even endemic owls! El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, is a steep path (90 feet) with stairs carved into rock which leads to a plateau full of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. You will see Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, and storm petrels. With some luck, you may even spot a short-eared lava owl. Difficulty level: Moderate
M/C Ocean Spray Stateroom cabin, double
Thursday, 10 May 2018 Galapagos B - L - D
AM: Espumilla Beach & Buccaneer Cove, Santiago Island Espumilla Beach (wet landing) is on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. An important site for nesting sea turtles, this site is surrounded by mangrove forest. Climb up a small rise for a magnificent view of the whole bay and to see Darwin’s finches, Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds and white-cheeked pintails. There’s also a lagoon where you can occasionally see flamingos. This area is also known for its palo santo forest, home to some of the tallest specimens if the species in the entire archipelago. The beach itself is beautiful and a great spot to spend a few minutes drinking in the surroundings. You can go snorkeling or kayaking after the hike. Difficulty level: Easy.
Buccaneer Cove, Santiago Island Enjoy coastal exploration along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove. Learn about the history of Santiago Island, its relevance for whalers, pirates and early researchers, including Darwin's epic voyage in 1835 and the conservation projects aimed at eradicating feral species (a fence intended to save native plants from the once-enormous goat population is visible stretched along a rocky outcrop). Today, the island is free of wild goats and the cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions and intertidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as Elephant Rock, The Bishop and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling, too. Difficulty level: Easy.
PM: Puerto Egas, Santiago Island Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island. The landing (wet landing) is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. Arrive on a beach of black volcanic sand that was visited by Darwin in 1835. A trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, before continuing along the coast. The first part of the trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) while the other half is partially uneven terrain comprised of volcanic basalt that lines the shore. The unique layered terrain of Santiago is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and an astounding array of marine wildlife including sea urchins, octopus, lobster, starfish, and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside sally light-foot crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swim in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks. After the walk, you will have time to swim, snorkel, or kayak off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish, and perhaps turtles, rays, and reef sharks. There are also rarities such as octopus or squid. Difficulty level: Moderate
M/C Ocean Spray Stateroom cabin, double
Friday, 11 May 2018 Galapagos B - L - D
AM: North Seymour Island North Seymour Island (dry landing) may be considered a concentrate of the Galapagos Islands. Formed by undersea volcanic lava rising and not a rash as per other Galapagos Islands, on this two-kilometer (1.3 mile) walk, see a whole island covered with dense low vegetation. North Seymour is full of birds such as frigates, a large population of blue-footed boobies and forked-tail gulls. There is also a large number of land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus). After the walk, go snorkeling or enjoy a panga ride. Level of difficulty: Moderate.
PM: Highlands, Santa Cruz Island Head ashore (dry landing) for a 30-minute bus ride to the highlands of Santa Cruz, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora. The highlands of Santa Cruz are one of the best places in the islands to observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot as they lumber around eating grass and leaves and wallowing in the small pool. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kilograms (551 and 661 pounds) and live for between 150 and 200 years. With few natural enemies, their principal threat has always been humans. You may also spot highland birds such as cattle egrets, Galapagos rails, mockingbirds, finches and vermilion flycatchers. There are also several lava tunnels in the highlands – great places to spot the barn owl. Difficulty level: Easy.
M/C Ocean Spray Stateroom cabin, double
Saturday, 12 May 2018 Galapagos to Quito B
AM: Mosquera Islet This tiny islet (wet landing) is home to a huge population of sea lions as well as many shorebirds. The islet has a fantastic white sand beach and great snorkeling and swimming. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and orcas, which are occasionally spotted in the area. Difficulty level: Easy.
After your visit depart for the airport for your return flight.
Flight details: AV1639 Leaving Baltra at 11h30 and arriving Quito at 15h55
Upon your arrival to Quito, you will be met by a representative of A&K Ecuador who will transfer you to Wyndham airport (5 minute’ drive). Upon arrival you will check in to enjoy your day use until it’s time to return to Quito airport.
At pre-coordinated time, you will meet your guide in the lobby and will be transferred back to Quito airport. Upon arrival, you will check-in to take your international flight back home.
COSTS PER PERSON IN SHARING $7500
Single supplement $2500
Deposit of $2000 to hold your space. Final payment due February 15, 2018
Swisôtel Quito in Quito - Business Advantage, Double
M/C Ocean Spray in Galápagos - Stateroom cabin, Double
Wyndham Airport Quito in Quito for Day use - Deluxe room, Double
Transport in Air Conditioned vehicles (excepting in Galapagos).
Porterage in Quito and Galapagos.
Private transfers & touring with English speaking guide & Spanish speaking driver in Quito.
Quito – Galapagos – Quito flights (included).
Galapagos entrance fee and Transit control card (include).
Shared transfers in Galapagos (airport-hotel-airport).
Full board in Galapagos.
All guided tours in Galapagos in sharing basis.
The use of sport equipment, such as wet suits & snorkeling equipment in Galapagos
Scientific conferences and lectures, subject to availability.
Gratuities for guides and hotel staff members
In-room services charges
Alcoholic drinks and others no specified
Telephone calls and fax
Optional additional activities
Additional private tours or transport services
Meals not specified
All rates are subject to reconfirmation if an actual booking is made for 2018
Accommodation is subject to availability unless otherwise stated
Galapagos itineraries are always subject to change without prior notice. Exploration programs are non-transferable, non-refundable
Airfares subject to change until tickets are issued
The flight times are subject to change
The luggage restriction on flights to/from Galapagos is as follows: only one checked-in luggage with a maximum of 23 kilos and maximum one carry-on with up to 7 kilos of weight. Any extra weight will be billed directly by the airline during check-in procedures.
(800) 962-7187 (912) 638-6888 1806 Frederica Road St. Simons Island, GA 31522