ONBOARD THE "LUXURY CLASS' ALYA CATAMARAN YACHT
Las Encantadas – The Enchanted Isles.
Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, bisected by the Equator, is the Galapagos Islands; one of nature’s most captivating destinations. Unique creatures seemingly lost in time, moon like volcanic landscapes, pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life characterize the Galapagos. The unique and unusual wildlife, which have adapted to varied conditions, have become a living study of evolutionary science. Here the nineteenth century explorer and biologist, Charles Darwin, turned the world around with his insightful writings, “On the Origin of the Species”.
But more inspiring is the endearing, sometimes comical and natural behaviorof the animals here. With little fear of man, sea lions jump in to play alongside swimmers, iguana’s sit patiently for portraits, while boobies and frigate birds pursue their mates within an arm’s length of visitors. To observe a waved Albatross take flight or the birth of a sea lion pup is an unforgettable experience. These rich and prolific expressions of life are contrasted by the timeless setting of the Galapagos Islands where you feel as if you have stepped into another magical world.
is limited to 14 guests in 7 double cabins
DAILY ITINERARY BLD = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 1 Oct 28, 2023 ARRIVAL QUITO (D)
Upon arrival to the city of Quito, you will be met by one of our representatives, who will transfer you to your hotel to settle in. Wyndham Garden Quito or similar
DAY 2 Oct 29 FULL DAY PRIVATE TOUR QUITO (B,L,D)
Our tour starts off early in the morning heading north from Quito. On the way we see Cayambe volcano (15,387 ft) which towers over the Andes and is the highest point on the Equator in the world; it was also a sacred place for the locals. We will stop for a moment in the town of Cayambe to sample the traditional bizcochos, a delectable local pastry traditional to the area that is served with cheese or dulce de leche (another local specialty).
After we will visti the local market of Otavalo one of the biggest indigenous markets in Latin America. On Saturdays, this market extends throughout the entire city of Otavalo, while on the other days of the week, you will find the Plaza de los Ponchos filled with indigenous merchants that bring their products from all over the Andes to sell them here. Practice your bargaining skills with locals, and share a nice moment with them; find an authentic alpaca poncho to call your own; or appreciate the vibrant tapestries or the famous embroidered Zuleta blouses.
Lunch @ Local Hacienda.
Then continue your tour to Cotacachi and Cuicocha. First, we will visit the sacred lake of Cuicocha. A unique and marvelous site, this lake is set within the crater of an active volcano. In the center, two small islands breach the water's surface. Marvel at the tranquility and splendor of this magical place. Finally, we will visit the town of Cotacachi, a picturesque town where most of its inhabitants are dedicated to the leather industry; shoes, boots, purses, jackets, and many other beautiful clothes can be found here, so take a stroll along the main street, and do some shopping.
Return to Quito for dinner at a local restaurant. Wyndham Garden Quito
DAY 3 Oct 30 FLIGHT TO GALAPAGOS ISLANDS / ALYA CATAMARAN (B,L,D)
Morning flight to Galapagos Islands, arrive Baltra Airport where your naturalist guide of the Galapagos National Park will be waiting for you. Depart to the highlands, stopping along the way at one of the reserves to visit the lush highland forests where you will look for Galapagos Giant tortoises in their natural environment. Observe these gentle giants (reaching over 600 pounds!) casually grazing and resting in freshwater ponds. This is also home for a great diversity of birds rarely found at the lowlands, including finches (tree, woodpecker and vegetarian finches), flycatchers and several species of water birds. You will visit a lava tunnel (depend on the itinerary) and learn how these extraordinary formations were created by ancient volcanic eruptions.
Highlights: Giant tortoises, Darwin finches, barn owls, white-cheeked pintails, Galapagos flycatchers, Lava tunnels. Trail: 0.6 -0.9 mi
Afterward return to the port and board your Luxury Class Alya Catamaran for your 1stnight on-board
DAY 4 Oct 31 CRUISE (B,L,D)
AM: MORENO POINT
Moreno Point is a magical place with extensive lava fields which look lifeless at first sight. Once inland, cattered brackish lagoons form oasis of life where you can find flamingoes, gallinules, ducks and herons. Along the shore we will look for penguins, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, oystercatchers and other shore birds. Snorkel: We will snorkel to see sea turtles, cormorants and many species of fish. Look carefully in the long seaweeds and you might find a sea horse.
Highlights: American flamingoes, ducks, gallinules, penguins, cormorants, marine iguanas, sea lions, Galapagos mockingbirds, Darwin finches. Trail: 1 mi
PM: ELIZABETH BAY
Elizabeth Bay is a beautiful sheltered bay surrounded by large mangroves and barren lava fields. There is no trail here so you will take a dinghy tour to explore many channels, pools and coves teeming with life. This is one of the best locations in the islands to see Galapagos penguins, but don’t expect to see thousands of them, as the entire population of the islands is only about 3.000. Flightless cormorants also nest in the area and blue-footed boobies and pelicans often fish in these shallow and rich waters. Rays and sea turtles are also very abundant.
Highlights: Galapagos hawks, sea turtles, rays, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, herons.
DAY 5 Nov 1 CRUISE (B,L,D)
AM: URBINA BAY
This place is known for the dramatic uplifting that happened during the 1950’s. A large portion of the coast was pushed up, exposing many hectares of previously submerged land. Look carefully along the trail and you will find small shells and corals, proof that the area was underwater more than sixty years ago. The trail will give the opportunity to see land iguanas and, during certain seasons, giant tortoises. Galapagos hawks nest in the area and are often seen flying or perched on the trees. Snorkel: You can snorkel from the beach to see sea turtles, cormorants and penguins. Fish are also abundant in the area.
Highlights: Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos mockingbirds, Darwin
finches, flycatchers. There is a short trail: 0.7 mi. or Long Trail: 1.8 mi
PM: ESPINOZA POINT
Located at the base of an imposing volcano (the most active in the Galapagos islands) this site is one of the jewels of the Galapagos National Park. As soon as you disembark you will be surrounded by hundreds of marine iguanas, as this is the largest colony for the species. Sea lions bask in the beaches while their pups play in tide pools. Along the shore you will see flightless cormorants, which are restricted to the western areas of the archipelago. Surrounded by cold plankton-rich waters, Punta Espinosa is home for an array of species, including herons, pelicans, oystercatchers, sea turtles,
shorebird and many more. Look up in the mangroves as Galapagos hawks often perch to look for their prey. Snorkel: The nutrient-rich waters around Punta Espinosa attracts great numbers and diversity of fish and sea turtles. Seaweeds are also abundant, making this place the best for seeing marine iguanas feeding underwater. Following a cormorant underwater as it chases fish through the reef is one on the most amazing snorkel experiences you may have on your trip.
Highlights: Galapagos hawks, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, penguins, sea turtles, sea lions,
herons, oystercatchers, shorebirds, sally light-foot crabs. Trail: 1 mi
Day 6 Nov 2 CRUISE (B,L,D)
AM: TAGUS COVE
Tagus cove is one of the places Charles Darwin visited during his exploration of the Galapagos islands. A trail will take you through a dry Palo Santo Forest where you can see Darwin finches and mockingbirds. You will get great views of Darwin’s Lake and the large volcanos of northern Isabela. A boat tour along the shore will give you chances to see penguins, cormorants, marine iguanas and a very unique species: the Galapagos martin, a small endemic bird which is one of the most endangered species on the island. Snorkel: The nutrient-rich waters around Tagus Cove attracts a lot of sea turtles and a great diversity of fish, but also penguins, who feast on large schools of anchovies. It is common to see cormorants underwater as they chase fish through the reef.
Highlights: Galapagos hawks, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, herons, penguins, sea turtles, sea stars. Trail: 1.6 mi
PM: VICENTE ROCA POINT
Surrounded by some of the tallest cliffs in the Galapagos, Vicente Roca point is a great location to observe spectacular landscapes and interesting volcanic features. There is no trail here but you will take a dinghy tour along the shore to get a closer view of pelicans, flightless cormorants, sea turtles, boobies, Galapagos fur seal and marine iguanas. The area is also known to be a good location for whales and dolphins. Snorkel in the cove to look for sea turtles, penguins, sea lions, cormorants, rays and many different species of fish. Look for fan corals, sponges and other invertebrates growing on the walls.
Highlights: Marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, penguins, sea turtles, fur seals, Nazca & blue-footed boobies
Day 7 Nov 3 CRUISE (B,L,D)
AM: ESPUMILLA BEACH
Espumilla is a beautiful (0.6 mi) long beach with rusty-brown sand, located in the northern coast of Santiago. It is surrounded by large mangrove trees and a very interesting native dry forest, which is home to Galapagos hawks but also a great diversity of finches, mocking birds and doves. Don’t forget to check the salt pan, as during the rainy season there could be flamingoes and ducks.
Highlights: Bobbies, oystercatchers, herons, Galapagos mockingbirds, Darwin finches, Galapagos hawks. Trail: 1.4 mi (plus and extra loop 0.6 mi)
PM: EGAS PORT
Despite its name, there is no “port” at Puerto Egas, but you might see a few remains of the last attempts to colonize the island during the 60’s. The trail goes along the coastline which is rich in wildlife, with marine iguanas basking in the sun everywhere, Galapagos sea lions, herons, oyster catchers and many shore birds. At the end of the trail an area called “the grottos” is home for a small colony of the endemic Galapagos fur seal, much more difficult to see at close range than its cousin. As recently as 2019, land iguanas were re-introduced to the area, so look around for these impressive reptiles which were extinct from Santiago for over a century.
Snorkel: You can snorkel from the beach and explore an area of rocky bottoms which is excellent for fish, turtles and reef sharks. Often, sea lions are also present and are happy to interact with swimmers.
Highlights: Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos fur seals, oystercatchers, marine & land iguanas, Galapagos hawks, herons, shorebirds, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves. Trail: 1.4 mi
Day 8 Nov 4 CRUISE / FLIGHT TO QUITO (B,D)
Bachas gets its name from the remains of two large barges (mispronounced by locals as“bachas”) left by the Americans during WWII. At low tide you can still see the iron skeletons of the barges buried in the white sand. From November till May, this place is also one of the most important sea turtle nesting grounds in the entire Galapagos islands. There are also several small saltwater lagoons where we often see flamingoes, herons and other aquatic birds.
Highlights: American flamingoes, white cheeked pintails, sandpipers, lava gulls, blue footed boobies.
Trail: 1 mi
PM Disembark Alya Catamaran and transfer to the airport for your flight back to Quito Ecuador. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel to settle in.
Wyndham Airport Quito or similar
Day 9 Nov 5 DEPARTURE (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home from this Magical Adventure in the Galapagos and Ecuador.
PRICE PER PERSON: $6,595 in shared cabin and shared hotel room
There are no single cabins available
Payments: As this is a “private yacht charter” Exclusively for Susan Duval Group Registration form and non-refundable deposit of
$600 required to reserve your space
March 10: 2nd payment due $2,999.00 July 10: Final Payment due: $2,996.00
Trip Cost Includes
· 3 nights hotel accommodations and noted meals
· Private group day tour in Quito Ecuador
· Private Charter: 6 day - 5-night cruise on the Luxury Class Yacht Alya Catamaran
· Private vehicle group transfers unless otherwise noted in itinerary
· Internal flights: Quito to Baltra Galapagos Islands
· Local guides in each region of the program
· Galapagos National Park fee and tax -$120.00
* Snorkel equipment and wetsuits
· International Airfare to Quito, Ecuador
· Meals not specified in the itinerary, beverages with meals.
· Additional meals and drinks (soft & alcoholics)
· Personal items, alcoholic beverages, phone calls, laundry etc.
· Trip cancellation / emergency medical travel insurance
· Gratuity and tips to hotel staff and yacht crew
Vaccines: no vaccinations are required for entry into Ecuador (unless you are traveling from Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Uganda, in which case proof of yellow fever vaccine is required)
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