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Pinnacle rock in Bartolome

Colonial Quito & Galápagos Islands

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard La Pinta (UC)
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Explore Ecuador on this incredible 10-day expedition. Visit Quito’s old town and discover why the city’s exquisitely preserved historic center is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Next head to the Galápagos and learn about the threats that still endanger this fragile ecosystem. Enjoy tranquil coral-sand beaches, kick back for a snooze alongside sea lions, or go for a spin in a kayak. Climb a wooden staircase to the summit of a volcanic cone with your camera ready to capture the exquisite panoramic views. Hike to a lava field that showcases the archipelago’s volcanic origins. Delight yourself with arguably the world’s most iconic marine habitat in this unspoiled archipelago filled with exquisite creatures like giant tortoises, penguins, boobies, Darwin’s finches, waved albatross, sea lions, and more!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive in Quito
Day 2 : Quito
Day 3 : San Cristóbal | Embark
Day 4 : San Cristóbal
Day 5 : Española
Day 6 : Santa Cruz
Day 7 : Santa Cruz | Chinese Hat Islet
Day 8 : Bartolomé | Santiago
Day 9 : Genovesa
Day 10 : Baltra | Disembark | Quito

Highlights

  • Explore Quito, once called the Northern Capital of the Inca Empire
  • Swim with Galápagos penguins in the calm waters of the Chinese Hat Islet
  • Enjoy the opportunity to observe sea lions and seabirds at Punta Suárez
  • Snorkel with green sea turtles at Gardner Bay

Ship

La Pinta (UC)

Places Visited

  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos
  • South America
  • Baltra
  • Bartolome
  • Charles Darwin Center
  • Chinese Hat
  • Darwin Bay
  • Eden Islet
  • El Barranco
  • Espanola
  • Gardner Bay
  • Genovesa
  • Pinnacle Rock
  • Punta Pitt
  • Punta Suarez
  • Quito
  • San Cristobal
  • San Cristobal Airport
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santiago
  • Sullivan Bay
  • Witch Hill

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Pinnacle rock in Bartolome Galapagos penguin by the water Pinnacle Rock of Bartolome Island Sea lion by the kayaks Blue footed booby

Day 1 Arrive in Quito

Welcome to Ecuador! Begin your journey in this historic city rich in legends and culture. Your first stop is the grand Casa Gangotena Hotel, voted the #1 Hotel in Ecuador by TripAdvisor and where you stay these first two nights. A gorgeous example of Spanish Colonial style, enjoy this restored boutique hotel just steps away from picturesque Plaza de San Francisco, built atop Incan temples and markets.

Day 2 Quito

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Once called the Northern Capital of the Inca Empire, the capital city of Quito has long been a center of commerce and culture. The city’s growth after the Spanish took over in 1534 included the building of many outstanding convents, monasteries, and churches, earning Quito the title “Capitol of Art of Spanish America.” Discover why the city’s exquisitely preserved historic center is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site—departing from your hotel, a walking tour explores its past, present, and future. With time on your own in the afternoon, opt for a visit to the fascinating pre-Columbian Museo Casa del Alabado or explore the cultural center at leisure. Your full day of exploration ends at a local restaurant with sunset views overlooking the city.

Day 3 San Cristóbal | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, travel to the second UNESCO World Heritage Site on your itinerary: the legendary Galápagos Islands. From Quito, fly to Isla San Cristóbal named after the patron saint of seafarers. A quick panga ride brings you to the yacht La Pinta to meet the crew, be welcomed aboard, and get acquainted with your ship. As Charles Darwin did in 1835, take your first exploratory steps in the Galápagos at Cerro Colorado—home to dozens of bird species, the endemic San Cristóbal lava lizard, and a tortoise breeding center set amidst a fantastic deciduous forest along the island’s southern shore.

Day 4 San Cristóbal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the eastern side of the island, venture up a trail from the beach with gorgeous views of the shoreline. Explore Punta Pitt where opportunities abound to observe frigatebirds, three types of boobies, and bachelor sea lions that rest on this beach. Perhaps even have a chance to investigate below the surface of the water with a snorkel or swim. Later, after a panga ride around the north tip of the island, walk the tranquil coral-sand beach of Cerro Brujo, watching seabirds and shore birds bustle about. Keep an eye out for sea lions and marine iguanas.

Day 5 Española

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Considered one of the top two showcase islands in the archipelago, Isla Española is one of the oldest, most isolated islands and is known for its astounding number of endemic species including the entire world’s population of waved albatross (typically April to December). A hike at Punta Suárez provides opportunities to see sea lions and seabirds, shorebirds and tropicbirds. Your afternoon at the white-sand beach in Gardner Bay includes a short walk to see finches and extroverted mockingbirds. Cool off by snorkeling with green sea turtles, kick back for a snooze alongside the sea lions, or go for a spin in a kayak or the glass-bottom boat.

Day 6 Santa Cruz

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, it’s all about the magnificent giant tortoise. On the island of the Charles Darwin Research Station, learn about their exceptional conservation program and spend time in the giant tortoise’s natural habitat. Embrace Galápagos conservation by learning about threats that still endanger this fragile ecosystem. After a lingering poolside lunch at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel (bring your swimsuit just in case), explore the misty, forested highlands and see the lumbering and charming tortoises in their natural habitat. You also have a chance to walk inside the island’s famed lava tubes for a geological exploration of these remarkable volcanic channels.

Day 7 Santa Cruz | Chinese Hat Islet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A panga ride brings you to tiny Eden Islet, where blue-footed boobies, reef sharks, and frigatebirds roam. Pull on your mask and jump into the water for a snorkel with the sea life. If conditions permit, cruise in the glass-bottom boat and marvel at all the world beneath you. On beautiful Sombrero Chino Islet, look for iguanas, sea lions, and Sally Lightfoot crabs on the 400-meter-long trail that brings you to a postcard-worthy sandy, crescent beach. And if you're lucky, swim and snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks and Galápagos penguins in these calm waters.

Day 8 Bartolomé | Santiago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Geologically young, Bartolomé is one of the most picturesque islands of the Galápagos. Climb a wooden staircase to the summit of a volcanic cone with your camera ready to capture the exquisite panoramic views, including iconic Pinnacle Rock! Bartolomé has its own unique fauna including green sea turtles, Galápagos penguins, and rays. The white sandy beach of Santiago’s Sullivan Bay is a stunning spot for swimming, snorkeling, and a chance to peer at life below the surface. Hike to a fantastic lava field that showcases the archipelago’s volcanic origins.

Day 9 Genovesa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The second showcase island—Genovesa, known as “the bird island”—lies north of the equator, and you cross it twice! On a leisurely exploration of Darwin Bay, witness the many island inhabitants—giant frigatebirds, red-footed boobies, Darwin’s finches, storm petrels, and nocturnal swallow-tailed gulls. At the beach, snorkel, swim, or investigate shoreline cliffs by kayak. A panga ride past the dramatic cliffs brings you to the short, steep Prince Philip’s Steps. Once at the top, a fascinating walk amongst stands of palo santo trees crosses this flat land through large colonies of boobies, frigatebirds, and just maybe, the elusive short-eared owl.

Day 10 Baltra | Disembark | Quito

  • 1 Breakfast
Your adventure of a lifetime aboard La Pinta concludes on Isla Baltra. From here, transfer to the airport for your flight to Quito and await your connecting flight home. 

La Pinta (UC)

Casa Gangotena

Per person starting at
$8,995
Captain cabin on La Pinta
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Captain
Sitting area; queen, fixed queen, or twin beds; desk and chair; private bath with shower; safe deposit box.
Admiral cabin on La Pinta
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Admiral
Sitting area with foldout couch; queen or twin beds; desk and chair; private bath with shower; safe deposit box.

Notes

Passport required. Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary and the order days may occur to maximize your experience.

 Rate Included:
  • Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Galapagos Islands and Quito’s Colonial city center
  • Two nights at Quito’s historic, boutique Casa Gangotena
  • 7-night cruise aboard La Pinta
  • A private dinner at Quito’s premier view restaurant
  • Certified guides escort small groups of 12
  • Roundtrip air between Quito/Galapagos
  • Alcoholic beverages on La Pinta
  • All onboard meals and Day 2 meals in Quito
  • Premium spirits, fine wine, beer (uncommon for Galápagos)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Exclusive transfers and baggage handling between airport/hotel/yacht on embark/disembark days
  • Port fees and taxes; Galápagos entrance fee, tourist card, and Quito tour fees
  • All from-the-yacht adventure activities and equipment
  • Wellness program: hot tub and fitness equipment
Not Included:
  • Airfare to and from your home city
  • Discretionary gratuities to vessel’s crew
  • Travel protection
  • Optional excursions and land tours

Child Discount

Children under 12 receive a discount of $135 off adult flight rates, and discounted Galapagos Entrance Fee of $50

Included

  • Accommodations on board La Pinta (UC) based on double occupancy
  • Meals while in the Galapagos
  • Bilingual Naturalist Guide
  • Shore Excursions
  • Swimming and Snorkeling
  • Adventure Life Pre-departure Services and In-Country Assistance (Quito Representative)
  • Transfers and Baggage Handling in the Galapagos
  • Snorkeling Equipment
  • Wetsuit
  • Sea Kayaking

Excluded

  • Airfare (see Galapagos Flights)
  • Quito/Guayaquil Hotel and Transfers
  • $100 Galapagos Park Fee
  • $80 Galapagos Transit Card and Airport Assistance
  • $45 International Departure Tax
  • Gratuities and drinks aboard the ship
  • Travel Insurance

Galapagos Flights

  • Quito - Galapagos Roundtrip
    • $530 - $595
  • Guayaquil - Galapagos Roundtrip
    • $475 - $540

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Mary C

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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