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Faces of Ecuador

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Faces Of Ecuador # 1
Quito 3 Nights and Galapagos Island Cruise 3 nights aboard
the M/V Santa Cruz

8 Days / 7 Nights

Day 1 - Friday
Arrive in Quito. Upon arrival at the airport a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering.
Complimentary Quito Scenic Tour - Drive through this overwhelmingly beautiful city down the broad avenues of the northern residential section. See the modern Legislative Palace whose stone murals record the country's history and the impressive San Agustín Monastery and its Sala Capitular. Go downtown to Independence Plaza, the town's oldest colonial center, and to La Compañía Church, famous for its ornate facade and glittering golden altars. Visit San Francisco Cathedral which is one of the first great religious buildings in the New World and the home of the works of the famous Indian artist, Caspicara.

Day 2 - Saturday
Full Day Tour to Otavalo Indian Market - Early morning departure for a drive along the Panamerican highway to visit one of South America's most famous Indian fairs, the Otavalo Market. In route to the market, a quick stop at Calderón allows the opportunity to see how the popular marzipan "bread dolls" are made and to make "bargain price" purchases of them. Arriving at Otavalo, take a walk through the bustling produce market where the Indians meet to trade among themselves. Continue to the tourist market which is piled high with colorful ponchos, tapestries, woolen goods, and Indian jewelry. In the afternoon drive to the woodcarving center of San Antonio de Ibarra and to the village of Cotacachi, famous for its leather handicrafts. Lunch en route.

Day 3 - Sunday
Full Day Excursion to Cotopaxi Volcano National Park - Travel south on the Panamerican highway through the rolling hills and fertile pasture lands of the Andean highlands to the entrance of the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park. Entering the park, drive through acres of pine forests to the base of the Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. Standing at the 12,000 foot base, you can look almost directly up to the top of the 19,700 foot peak and perhaps see one of the magnificent condors flying by. After leaving the park, stop for lunch in a charming colonial hacienda before returning to Quito. Lunch en route.

Day 4 - Monday
Transfer from hotel to the airport for departure. Flight to the Galapagos Islands for a 3 night cruise aboard the M/V Santa Cruz. All meals and shore excursions during the cruise are included.

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island)
Arrival by plane to San Cristobal Island and transfer to the MV SANTA CRUZ, which will be anchored at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos Islands. Cabin assignment and lunch. After lunch, introductory welcome talk and boat drill.
Isla Lobos - Sea Lion Island (San Cristobal Island)
The ship navigates to a small islet whose shores are home to many sea birds, including frigate birds and blue-footed boobies . Great landscape photography. A sea lion colony is a great introduction to the most common seen mammals in Galapagos. These are the shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835, as San Cristóbal was the first island where he set foot in the Galapagos. Naturalist's briefing on the next day's activities followed by a welcome cocktail offered by the Captain and dinner.

Day 5 - Tuesday
Bartholome Island
Disembark at Bartholome Island (dry landing) for a hike to the summit. Great way to start the day. This is a steep climb aided by 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 Galapagos Penguins. There is also the possibility to ride on the glass bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. Scenic navigation to Puerto Egas. Lunch on board.
Puerto Egas (James Island)
Afternoon mid-length walk at Puerto Egas (wet landing). This is a great opportunity to see land and marine birds and to observe a fur-sea lion colony. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds. Outstanding snorkeling or swimming from the beach before or after the walk. Recaps and briefing before dinner. Weather permitting, stargazing on deck.

Day 6 - Wednesday
Darwin Bay (Tower Island)
Early morning cruise into Darwin Bay before breakfast; optional wake-up call. Later, a wet landing for an easy stroll observing hundreds of birds, mainly Great frigate birds, red footed and Nazca (masked) boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Afterwards, return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful natural harbor. Those more adventurous can snorkel along the cliffs and look for Hammerhead Sharks. Lunch on board. During navigation, spend some time on deck looking for dolphins or possibly whales.
North Seymour Island
North Seymour is an uplifted island. In previous times, this was the ocean's bed. Afternoon outing at North Seymour (dry landing) for a walk along the coast and the interior of the island observing bird colonies of blue footed boobies, frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and also sea lions and marine iguanas. A shorter walk is also available. Evening recaps, briefing, and dinner.

Day 7 - Thursday
Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) / Baltra Island
After breakfast, disembark (dry landing) to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens, an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds. Santa Cruz Island alone has 8 species of Darwin's Finches! Then, a stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora. Lunch at the Finch Bay Hotel. Afternoon in the lush highlands, visiting the Scalesia forest and its eye-catching green. The vermilion flycatcher will delight all participants with its scarlet feathers against an emerald forest. Naturalist's briefing and dinner.
Transfer to airport for departure.
Flight Galapagos Islands to Quito. Upon arrival at the airport a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel.

Day 8 - Friday
Transfer from hotel to the airport for departure.

Flight Quito / USA

*** End Of Our Services ***

Departures: Every Friday

Prices available upon rquest.
Prices include:
Airfare from Miami, 3 night cruise aboard the M/V Santa Cruz , Main Deck Standard Cabin,4 nights of hotel accommodation in Quito, hotel taxes and service charge, all transfers & tours listed.
Not included: $100 Galapagos Islands National Park Tax, USA airport departure taxes and security fees (about $65.00), Ecuador airport departure tax.
Add-on's: Ask for add-on's from other USA cities.
All our tour packages include: Please click here