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Arrive in Guayaquil or Quito anytime today and private transfer to your hotel.
On this tour you have the option to arrive into Guayaquil or Quito. Today on your Guayaquil City Tour you will visit the Rotonda Monument, the archaeological museum of the Central Bank, the Malecon and the 19th century neighborhood of Las Penas. Quito City tour – Today you will enjoy a city tour of Quito. Quito displays the largest colonial town of the Americas and is the first Unesco’s World Heritage Site. The tour includes parks like El Ejido and Alameda, the monument of Simon Bolivar, Independence Square developed over the past five centuries and flanked by the Presidential and the Archbishop’s palaces and, the Metropolitan Cathedral. Walk along the so-called street of the seven crosses and pass by the Jesuit convent, El Sagrario church with a unique orthodox cross lay out dated back to the seventeenth century and the jewel of the crown, the Jesuit temple of La Compañía de Jesús. From there continue to the plaza of San Francisco, with temple and convent known to be the largest of the once Spanish colonies on the Americas. You will then be taken to the Middle of the World complex and the Equator Monument situated at 0°0’0” latitude, where you will have the chance to step one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other one in the southern hemisphere. The ethnographic museum located inside the monument is filled with clothing, artwork, and lots of information about Ecuador’s indigenous cultures. North of the complex is the Inti-ñan Museum that means “Museum of the Path of the Sun” in Kichua.
Galapagos Islands to Baltra Airport. Departure from Guayaquil or Quito to Baltra (approx. two- and half-hour flight). Passengers will be picked up at the airport by our guides and transfered to the hotel.
During the next few days you will choose from land-based tours on Santa Cruz Island or from several yacht excursion visiting the islands mentioned below. You´ll have one free day to relax at the hotel or explore on your own or add an extra activity today. On this tour you have the flexibility to choose from different activities. If travelling with a small group or family members it´s ok to choose different activities.
North Seymour Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit among the ledges and rocks. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst them into bloom.
Santa Fe Island is one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically, and you can see underwater lava formations.
South Plaza Island is a small island full of fascinating wildlife, both along its shore and along its dramatic, wind-swept cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colors according to the season. South Plaza is one of Galapagos Islands’ most impressive visiting sites.
Bartolome Island 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. The 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.
The Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means “turtle”, and the island received this moniker because it is sea turtles favorite place to lay their eggs. The stunning white sand beach is considered by many the most beautiful in the Galapagos archipelago. The beach is reached via a marked and cobbled two-kilometer path that starts at the west end of Charles Binford Street; guests must sign in and out at the National Park control point at the beginning of the path– it is open from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily. There is excellent birdwatching along the path, with plenty of Darwin’s finches and other sea birds. And for active visitors, it is a great place to kayak, snorkel and surf.
The Charles Darwin Research Station is located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation center open to the public and also one may view the tortoise rearing program. Those guests who do not have the opportunity to explore the highlands of Santa Cruz and see tortoises in their natural habitat will have the chance to see tortoises here. And for those who have already seen them in the wild, a visit to the Centre will expand their knowledge of this unique, iconic Galapagos animal.
Giant Tortoise Reserve
On this excursion we depart the hotel towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz. A short drive across the farming area will lead us to El Manzanillo at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve. El Manzanillo is located on the path tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. The Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living tortoise species. They can weigh between 250 kg (551 lbs.) and 300 kg (661 lbs.) and can live up to 150-200 years. It plays an important biological role as the top grazer in its habitat. In the wild, these gentle giants slowly barrel their way through the plant cover. The shape of their carapaces varies from island to island. On Santa Cruz, year-round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-colored ponds (covered by surface red pond-weeds). They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years. The area is teeming with life: woodpecker mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit. On the return to Puerto Ayora, we visit one of the island’s lava tunnels, significant geological formations that take us back in time and helps us learn how lava flows formed the islands. We´ll have lunch at El Manzanillo this afternoon.
Late morning return flight to Quito or Guayaquil. International flight can depart today any time after 6pm.
Land based Galapagos Islands Vacation Tour, Quito or Guayaquil tour is a seven-day tour which includes land based and yacht tour options and includes walking around the islands on tours. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.
On all Southern Crossings tours you are met at the airport by one of our representatives (holding a Southern Crossings placard) who will accompany you to our joining hotel.
International flights, pre- & post- tour accommodation, visas, vaccinations, personal insurance, meals except where specified above, drinks, laundry, souvenirs, tips while on optional excursions and other items of a personal nature. Medical travel insurance is not included through Southern Crossings and cancellation insurance is advisable.
In the Galapagos, the following is not included:
This tour includes a combination of 4-star and 5-star hotels. We would be happy to give you an upgrade your rooms.
We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip.
If you are travelling alone, a single supplement will be added to your trip price.
All travelers to Ecuador are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities, please consult the nearest embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency or a bank statement, from the bank or printed off the internet are sufficient for proof of funds.
No vaccinations or immunizations are required for this tour. Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. The areas we are visiting are not yellow fever or malaria zones. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.
One should come well prepared for outdoor activity at temperatures ranging from 8 to 32 degrees Celsius/50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain. A list of things to bring would include:
It is best to bring from home such items as prescription medications, eyewear and care, unusual film and camera batteries.
For your international flights, please check with your airline. Within Ecuador you are allowed 23 kilos (50 lbs.) of checked baggage, as well as one carry-on and another small, purse-like item. The carry-on size regulations are the same as international carry-on size regulations.
The climate in sites you will visit is as follows:
Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared. Quito: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are chilly. Rain always possible. Temperatures can vary between 45° to 70° Fahrenheit or 6° to 21° Celsius. Guayaquil and Galapagos Islands: hot and humid, rain always possible. Galapagos can have a cooler more moderate climate depending on current conditions. One should come prepared for outdoor activity with temperatures ranging from 70° to 90° Fahrenheit or 21° to 32° Celsius and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain.
National Park Rules – Conservation is part of everyone’s responsibility!
The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.
Automatic cash points are available in Quito and Guayaquil. Credit cards and cash are accepted on the Galapagos Islands. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks are difficult to cash (American Express is best, but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring Money Grams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Quito and Guayaquil.
Acceptable bills come out of the ATMs in country. Expect to spend about US$7-20 on a meal, US$2 on a beer, water or soft drink. Artisan market prices are usually lower than people expect. Alpaca sweaters for example cost between $5 and $30.