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ECUADOR EXPLORER

Highlighting Quito & the Galapagos

10 Days

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Locally Hosted Independent Tour

Suggested Departure Day:
Saturday

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ITINERARY (Subject to change without notice):

Day 1 - Saturday - Miami - Quito: Afternoon flight south to Quito. Upon arrival, meeting and transfer to Hotel Colon Hilton in the heart of the city for two night stay.

Day 2 - Sunday - Quito:  Spend the day today exploring the main points of interest in Quito including the Plaza de Independencia, La Compania and San Francisco churches among other places of interest. Continue to the Equatorial Monument - the spot where the 18th century scientific expedition determined the exact position of the equator. This is your chance to stand in two hemispheres at once or stand on the line and be no-where! Plenty of time to visit the excellent ethnographic museum and other place sof interest in the compex before returning back to Quito.   Lunch is included en route today. (B/L)

Day 3 - Monday - Quito - Galapagos Islands:  Morning flight 600 miles due west along the Equator into the Pacific Ocean to Baltra Island in the Galapagos Islands . Transfer to the M/V Santas Cruz II. Lunch and initial briefing before your first afternoon excursion ashore on the north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). A dinghy ride among mangrove-lined islets where various types of birds can be seen, such as boobies, frigates, pelicans, along with a chance to see marine turtles, rays and sharks. Dry landing and a walk that includes a brackish water lagoon frequented by greater flamingos, common stilts, pintail ducks and a variety of shore / lagoon birds. Dragon Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago, is a natural nesting site of a fairly large number of land iguanas. (B/L/D)

ABOUT GOING ASHORE: Excursions ashore take places each morning and afternoon, with staggered debarking in groups of 20 based on language. Landings are "wet" (step out of the boat & walk ashore in the surf) or "dry" (using natural promontories as make-shift piers). Walks are generally not difficult though some sites, such as Hood can be challenging but not impossible for the average person. Essential gear for shore visits include hat with brim or bill, plenty of sun protection, insect repellent, good walking shoes (but not overkill mountain trekkers!) and plenty of films.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you don't like animals and you don't like being an active ingredient in the wildlife experience, don't visit the Galapagos. The sole reason to go to the islands is the flora and fauna, and you have to go ashore and exert energy to experience it. The guides teach you a motto the first day you arrive: "Take nothing from the islands but memories and leave nothing behind but footprints."

NOTE: This Northern cruise itinerary operates every other week. Check with LADATCO for applicable dates.

Day 4 - Tuesday - Galapagos:  Morning at Bartolomé Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit via a wooden staircase; the view from the top is worth the effort. Panga ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, time to enjoy the beach (wet landing) and snorkeling. Chance to snorkel next to Galápagos Penguins. There is also the possibility to ride on the glass bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Lunch on board. In the afternoon go ahore at Puerto Egas (wet landing), a great location to see particularly shore birds, while land birds can be observed a little more inland. The trail brings us to a colony of the endemic Galápagos fur-sea lions. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon emerald green algae beds. Outstanding snorkeling and swimming from the beach before the walk. (B/L/D)

Day 5 - Wednesday - Galapagos: Morning ashore at Darwin Bay, Tower Island. Wet landing at a small white-coralline beach for an easy stroll observing hundreds of birds, mainly Great frigate birds, red footed and Nazca (masked) boobies, lava gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Later, the trail leads to an area of sharp lava and uneven terrain, but you may return to the beach or continue observing wildlife within the sandy portions of the walk. Those more adventurous can snorkel along the cliffs while looking for colorful tropical fish, and hopefully some Hammerhead Sharks.  In the afternoon, shore visit at Prince Philip Steps or navigate towards North Seymour Island, totally depending on local conditions. North Seymour is one of the few uplifted islands in Galápagos. There are  colonies of blue footed boobies, Magnificent frigate birds, and swallowtail gulls. The sandy shore teems with Galápagos sea lions and marine iguanas. Prince Philip Steps (Genovesa (Tower) Island) with  red-billed tropic birds nest, large colonies of Nazca (masked) boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and the well camouflaged short-eared owl. (/B/L/D)

Day 6 - Thursday - Galapagos:   Early morning visit to Santa Fé (Barrington) Island, one of the most picturesque harbors within the archipelago. A large sea lion colony inhabits most of the surrounding landing site. Follow the trail among a very tall forest of opuntia cacti, where large and somewhat pale land iguanas, that are island endemics, can be seen. A variety of finches and the Galápagos mockingbird abound. Back to the ship for breakfast, as we sail to Santa Cruz Island.  Mid morning disembarkation (dry landing) to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island at Puerto Ayora, to view and larn about the giant tortoises Then a bus ride into the highlands of Santa Cruz Island for lunch at Narwhall Ranch, and then a visit to the area, including the Scalesia (an endemic giant daisy tree) forest and the twin pit craters Los Gemelos. The trip to the highlands includes the islands’ most-famous reptile: the giant tortoises in their wild habitat. (B/L/D)

Day 7 - Friday - Galapagos - Quito-Otavalo:  Disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island, visit the San Cristóbal Interpretation Center, located in a natural setting, where it allows visitors to obtain information that will help them understand more the natural history of the Galápagos, with a great emphasis on human history and conservation. Afterwards, you can stroll through Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where souvenir shops and Internet cafés welcome world travelers who are willing to catch up with the world, and share the many wonders witnessed, before heading back to the mainland. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the continent. Meeting upon arrival Quito and immediate departure for scenic 2 hour drive north to Cotacachi, near Otavalo, and the lovely Hosteria La Mirage for two night with dinner and breakfast included daily. (B/L/D)

Day 8 - Saturday - Otavalo: Morning visit to the famed Otavalo Indian market. The Otavalo Indians are the most ambitious and prosperous craftsmen/merchants of Ecuador. Here you will have plenty of time to explore the market and bargain for textiles, weavings, handicrafts and the Panama hat, actually made in Ecuador. This is considered South America's best shopping market. In the afternoon you will explore Cotacachi, known for its leather, San Antonio de Ibarra, a woodworking center, Peguche, a weaving center, and other places of interest. (B/D)

Day 9 - Sunday - Otavalo-Quito: Morning at leisure to enjoy the facilities of La Mirage. In the afternoon make the return drive back to Quito for overnight at the eclectic and lovely Hacienda Rumiloma. (B)

Day 10 - Monday - Quito - USA: Transfer to airport for return flight. Upon arrival at your USA gateway, clear immigration, customs and make connections to your home city.


RATES and DETAILS:

SAMPLE LAND RATE PER PERSON: (All rates subject to change without notice)
YEAR Single Occupancy Twin Occupancy - P/P Triple Occupancy - P/P
2017 Request $6,395 to $8,900 Request
2018 Estimate 10% increase
Plus Air fares and USA Departure Taxes
PAYMENTS: By credit card; special form required & must carry Card Holder's signature
Deposit - Per Person 2nd deposit - Per Person Full Payment Due
$1000 in order to confirm To complete a total of 30% deposit
upon confirmation of all space
65 days prior departure
CHANGES:
After reservations confirmed If new documents are required
$100 per change $100 per change + $100 re-issue documents
CANCELLATIONS: (Exact fees depend on room-cabin occupancy)
Cancelled Between Up to 91 days 89 to 61  days 60 to 31 days 30 to 00 days
Fees Per Person $1000 30% 50% 100%
TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE: Highly recommended
RATE INCLUDES:
  • Hotel accommodations with hotel taxes and service charges
  • Meals as indicated, table d'hote basis
  • Transfers as indicated, with English speaking guide
  • Luggage handling at airports
  • Sightseeing as indicated, with English speaking guide
  • Surface and overland travel as indicated
  • 4-night Galapagos cruise aboard the M/V Santa Cruz with all meals and shore visits, based upon Boat Deck cabin
  • Galapagos air Quito-Galapagos-Quito
  • Galapagos Park fees and Transit Card
RATE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
  • Air fares and USA Departure taxes
  • Foreign airport departure taxes
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips to drivers, guides, hotel bellboys, ship's personnel
  • Meals not specifically indicated as included
NOTE: Information was last updated January 2, 2017. Information & rates subject to change.
Responsibilities, Terms & Conditions