Ecuador & Galapagos

Ecuador & Galapagos

Group trip dates: From 21 June 2020 To 01 July 2020
Duration: 11 Days

This unique trip offers a 5-day delta-catamaran trip around the Galapagos Islands and a 5-day exploration of Ecuador with a full day tour of the Quito capital and equatorial line, exploration of the most beautiful lake in Ecuador, accommodation in haciendas from the 17th century, hiking in Cotopaxi Park, shopping at Indian markets and relaxing baths in hot springs. These are just some of the attractions of this unique trip.

$4,590
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Day 1 (Sun. 21/06):           Arrival to Quito

On arrival, pick up at airport by our guide and transfer to a hotel in city center. The rest of the day is free. In the evening, a welcome dinner and presentation of a detailed tour program. (D)

Day 2 (Mon. 22/06)           City Tour of Quito

After breakfast, we will start a day tour of Quito - the capital of Ecuador, the first colonial capital of South America, included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. We will start the tour from the colonial part of the city, where we will see: the Renaissance cathedral of St. Francis, two oldest churches - San Augustin and La Compania and Plaza Grande, Presidential Palace and Archbishop's Palace. From the Panecillo hill, we will admire the magnificent view of Quito and the surrounding snow-capped mountain peaks. Through the modern part of the city, we will go to the equator line, also known as "Mitad del Mundo", that is the Middle of the World. After lunch, which we will eat at the restaurant on the equator, we will visit the Inti Nan Museum, where you can observe phenomena occurring only on the equator. Return to the hotel. Free evening. (B, L)

Day 3 (Tue. 23/06):           Drive: Quito – Quilotoa Lake - La Cienega

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive south along the Avenue of Volcanoes, to the most beautiful lake in Ecuador. The Quilotoa Lake is located in the volcano crater in the Western Cordillera of the Andes. On the slope of the crater, we will descend to the lake's surface on the way admiring the beautiful views long the way. After leaving the crater, we will go to one of the oldest haciendas in Ecuador, La Cienega from the 17th century. On the way, a stop in Tigua, whose inhabitants are famous for painting naïf on sheepskin. Dinner and overnight in the hacienda in chambers equipped with furniture from that era. (B, D)

Day 4 (Wed. 24/06):         Cotopaxi National Park

After an early breakfast, we will start a day trip around the Cotopaxi National Park and the volcano Cotopaxi - 5897 meters above sea level, the highest active volcano in the world. During the journey by car, we will observe the changing vegetation as we climb higher and higher. We will see plants typical of the paramo zone and we will also observe many species of birds as; endemic gulls, wild ducks, skylarks and wild horses. After reaching the Limpiopungo lake (3800m), and a short rest, we will start 2-3hr hike in the surrounding hills. Return for overnight stay and dinner at hacienda La Cenega. At the hacienda there’s a possibility of an optional 1-2hr horseback trip around the area. (B, D)

Day 5 (Thu. 25/06):           La Cienega - Saquisili - Papallacta - Quito

After breakfast, a trip to the nearby Indian market in Saquisili. At this market, residents of nearby villages sell their handmade products, produce, animals, etc. After successful shopping, we will go to the hot springs at Papallacta. The road leads through the Antisana Ecological Reserve and the Cayambe Biological Park - Coca; we cross the Cordillera through the Andes by 4200m. A bath in a beautiful resort in Papallacta (3300 m above sea level, water temperature 30-40 ° C), at the foot of the Antisana volcano - in the company of lush vegetation and hardworking hummingbirds. In the afternoon return to Quito. Overnight and dinner at the Cayman hotel. (B, D)

Day 6 (Fri. 26/06):            Fly: Quito - Galapagos/Baltra

Early morning flight from Quito to Baltra. After a personal purchase of an admission ticket to the Galapagos National Park ($ 110), welcome by our guide and a short transfer to the port. There, we will be accommodated on our first-class yacht-catamaran M / V Treasure of Galapagos. After lunch, we will start our boat and bus journey south through Santa Cruz Island to reach Puerto Ayora. Here is a research station- Charles Darwin and the headquarters of the Galapagos Park. We'll find out how scientists are trying to save the Galapagos nature from extinction. We will visit the Galapagos Giant Tortoises breeding center and a small museum where we will learn about the history of these unique islands of the world. Time for some shopping and sightseeing. Return to our yacht for night sail towards Santiago and Bartolome. (B, L, D)

Day 7 ( Sat. 27/06):          Galapagos: Santiago Island/Sullivan Bay - Bartolome Island/Pinnacle Rock

AM: After breakfast on the yacht, we will sail to the south-eastern shore of the island of Santiago to make a wet landing on a sandy beach. The route of our trip will lead through very interesting young geological formations that form the Pahohoe lava formations (like wavy accordion sheets). It was a very active volcanic place in the last period of the 19th century.
PM: After lunch and a short rest we will start a tour around Bartolome Island with its famous Pinnacle Rock, the most visited and photographed place on the islands. After a 40-minute climb to the top of an extinct volcano, we'll see the most beautiful views of the entire islands. After leaving the summit, it's time to relax on the beach and dive. After returning to the yacht and a short rest, dinner followed by briefing with information about the next day. (B, L, D)

Day 8 (Sun. 28/06):          Galapagos: North Seymour Island - Mosquera Islet

AM: After breakfast on a yacht, we will sail on a pontoon to a small marina where we will walk along a path of almost 3 km. It is one of the islands most endowed with various species of birds, mammals and plants. If we are lucky, we will see, among others; birds, blue-footed gannets, whole frigates colonies - male snowmelt in the air and females sitting on the bushes, gopher-tailed gulls, terns, sea lions, lizards, marine lava and land iguanas. You can also observe the endemic tree Galapagos - "Palo Santo".
PM: After lunch and a short rest, we will start the trip with a wet landing on the tiny islet "Mosquera", which is located between the islands of Baltra and North Seymour. This sandy islet is a coral reef piled from the water. Its width reaches 160 meters and is 600 meters long. This island has one of the largest populations of sea lions, with several species of shorebirds. From time to time you can see Orcs (Orcinus orca) hunting for sea lions. After returning to the yacht and a short rest, dinner followed by briefing with information about the next day. (B, L, D)

Day 9 (Mon. 29/06):         Galapagos: South Plazas Island - San Cristobal Island/Cerro Brujo

AM: After breakfast on the yacht, we land on the full of wildlife islet of South Plaza, with huge colonies of sea lions and land iguanas and so much more. While walking on the shores of the island we will see a large number of birds flying above our heads and also sitting on the nests next to our path, these are tropical birds like Nazca and blue -footed bobbies and swallow-tailed gulls. A huge attraction of this island is a walk with a beautiful view from the top of the steep banks along the base of the cliff, full of vegetation that changes color depending on the year and huge delicacy of land iguanas, the Opuntia cactus.
PM: After lunch and a short rest we will land on a beautiful white coral beach, Cerro Brujo, where you can swim and dive or bird watch several land and sea bird species as well as sea lions. After returning to the yacht and a short rest, dinner followed by briefing with information about the next day. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Tue. 30/06):         Galapagos: San Cristobal/Interpretation Center – Fly to Quito

AM: After breakfast we will start with the tour of the Interpretation Center. Here we will find out how the evolution of flora and fauna on the Galapagos Islands has progressed and get to know the geological history of the islands.
PM: At noon, just after the end of the tour, we will drive to Baquerizo Moreno airport for afternoon departure to Quito with early evening arrival. Pick up by local guide and transfer to our hotel. Farewell dinner. (B, D)

Day 11 ( Wed. 01/07):      Departure from Quito

Transfer to the airport.

***End of the itinerary***

Abbreviations: B - Breakfast; L - Lunch; D - Dinner 

 

Suggested flights from NYC to Quito:

From JFK: Jet Blue Airlines to Quito RT

B6 1401 M 21JUN 7 JFK-FLL       325P  646P
B6 2851 M 21JUN 7 FLL-UIO      820P 1138P
B6 2850 Z 01JUL 3 UIO-FLL       1259A  619A
B6  402 Z 01JUL 3 FLL-JFK         835A 1125A

Cost +- $777.00   (as of Dec. 05. 2019)

Suggested flights from Newark to Quito:

From Newark: Jet Blue Airlines to Quito RT

B6  805 M 21JUN EWR-FLL        210P  515P
B6 2851 M 21JUN FLL-UIO         820P 1138P
B6 2850 M 01JUL UIO-FLL         1259A 619A
B6  006 M 01JUL FLL-EWR         430P 739P

Cist +- $816.00 (as of Dec. 05. 2019) 

The Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands (official name: Archipiélago de Colón; other Spanish names: Islas de Colón or Islas Galápagos) are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, 972 km (525 nmi) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part.

The Galápagos Islands and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The principal language on the islands is Spanish. The islands have a population of around 23,000.

The islands are geologically young and famed for their vast number of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

The first crude navigation chart of the islands was done by the buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684. He named the individual islands after some of his fellow pirates or after the English noblemen who helped the privateer's cause. More recently, the Ecuadorian government gave most of the islands Spanish names. While the Spanish names are official, many users (especially ecological researchers) continue to use the older English names, particularly as those were the names used when Charles Darwin visited.

History

European discovery of the Galápagos Islands occurred when Spaniard Fray Tomás de Berlanga, the fourth Bishop of Panama, sailed to Peru to settle a dispute between Francisco Pizarro and his lieutenants. De Berlanga's vessel drifted off course when the winds diminished, and his party reached the islands on 10 March 1535. According to a 1952 study by Thor Heyerdahl and Arne Skjølsvold, remains of potsherds and other artifacts from several sites on the islands suggest visitation by South American peoples prior to the arrival of the Spanish. However, no remains of graves, ceremonial vessels and constructions have ever been found, suggesting no permanent settlement occurred at the time.

The Galápagos Islands first appeared on the maps, of Gerardus Mercator and Abraham Ortelius, in about 1570. The islands were named "Insulae de los Galopegos" (Islands of the Tortoises) in reference to the giant tortoises found there.

Fauna

One of the best known is the Galápagos tortoise, which lives on seven of the islands. It has an average lifespan of more than 150 years.

The Marine Iguana is also extremely unusual, since it is the only iguana adapted to life in the water. Land iguanas, lava lizards, geckos and other harmless snakes can also be found in the Islands. The large number and range of birds is also of interest to scientists and tourists. Around 56 varieties live in the archipelago, of which 27 are found only in the Galápagos. Some of these are found only on one island.

The most outstanding are penguins, which live on the colder coasts, Darwin's finches, frigatebirds, albatrosses, gulls, boobies, pelicans and Galápagos Hawks, among others. The Flightless Cormorant, a peculiar bird which has lost the ability to fly, is also part of this rich fauna.

On the other hand, there are many mammal species, mostly sea mammals such as whales, dolphins and sea lions. A few species of endemic Galapagos mice (or Rice rats) - the Santiago Galapagos Mouse and the Fernandina Galapagos Mouse - have been recently rediscovered.

Flora

On the larger Galápagos Islands, four ecological zones have been defined: coastal, low or dry, transitional and humid. In the first, species such as myrtle, mangrove and saltbush can be found. In the second grow cactus, the incensé tree, carob tree, poison apple tree, chala and yellow cordia, among others. In the transitional zone taller trees, epiphytes and perennial herbs can be seen. The best known varieties are the cat's claw, espuela de gallo. In the humid sector are the cogojo, Galápagos guava, cat's claw, Galapagos coffee, passionflower and some types of moss, ferns and fungus.

Quito

San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,197,698 according to the last census (2001), and, as estimated by the municipality, approximately 2,504,991 in 2005, Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of Metropolitan District of Quito. The canton recorded a population of 1,842,201 residents in the 2001 national census. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.

The elevation of the city's central square (Plaza de La Independencia or Plaza Grande) is 2,800 metres (9,200 ft), making Quito the second-highest administrative capital city in the world (after La Paz, Bolivia), and the highest legal capital (ahead of Sucre, also in Bolivia, and Bogotá, Colombia).

The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.

Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.

Price per person in 2 person room: $4,590 Junior Suite / $4,990 Master Suite (one available on boat)

• per person in a 2-person room, min. 15 travelers
• single supplement: +$390 in Quito & La Cienega hotels only

Note:

There are the following cabins on the catamaran:

  • One Master Suite double with a Main Deck balcony - for couples
  • Four double (with two single beds) Junior Suite on Main Deck
  • Two Junior Suite cabins with two single beds on Upper Deck
  •  Two Junior Suite cabins with one single bed on the Upper Deck - for couples

Included in price:

• Domestic flights in Ecuador: Quito - Galapagos – Quito ($550)
• 5 day yacht cruise around the Galapagos Islands with all meals and a licensed guide/naturalist
• Accommodations in 3* hotels in Quito, 4* hacienda La Cienega
• Full day city tour of Quito & equator line w/ lunch
• Private transport and Spanish/English speaking guide for the entire trip

Price does not include:

• International flights to/from Quito
• Services not mentioned in the itinerary 
• Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 USD)
• Ecuador 'Departure tax' ($25 to be paid on departure)
• Tips for local guides and drivers
• Insurance

Comments:

• Price guaranteed up to two months prior to departure.  
• If you plan on taking part in this trip with a group of 10 or more friends/relatives and would need a connecting flight to reach the starting destination of the trip (NYC) there is the possibility of receiving group discounts on the connecting flight. Please contact as soon as possible if this is the case.
• In the event that there is an odd number of group participants, the person to last join the group will be required to buy a single supplement for the trip or, when possible, share a 3 person room.
• In the event that there are less than 15 participants for this trip 21 days before the trip date there will be an additional charge of maximum $100 per person.
• Price may fluctuate based on airfare. 

Trip Reservation

In order to secure a reservation for this trip each participant must pay a deposit $1,000 and complete and sign a trip participation form. For guided group trips the number of space is limited – reservations are accepted in the order that they are received in. Full payment is required 120 days before departure. If the departure date is already within 120 days, then full payment is required immediately. If payment is not made in this time frame, the trip price as well as a spot reserved on the trip are not guaranteed.

For the quickest turnaround, please request your reservation through our website (use the “Request Reservation” option on the trip page). Our agents will email you with the invoice, payment options, all applicable forms, and instructions on how to complete the reservation. You may also request a reservation by emailing us at classic@classic-travel.com, or by calling our office toll free 1-800-774-6996.

Trip Cancellation

Any cancellation by a client must be made in writing and be acknowledged by the company in writing (mail/email/fax). The date on which the request to cancel is received by the company or its agents will determine the cancellation fees applicable. The cancellation fees are expressed hereafter as a percentage of the total tour price, excluding insurance.

• Cancellation 120 or more days before the trip: return of deposit, less $50 for office fees.
• Cancellation 119-90 days before departure: Loss of entire deposit.
• Cancellation 89-61 days before departure: 50% of cost of services booked.
• Cancellation 60 days before departure: 100% of cost of services booked.

 

Cancellation of trip by Classic Travel

Classic Travel reserves the right to cancel a trip under any circumstances. Cancellation cannot be made under 60 days to trip departure date, except under circumstances of "Force Majeure," which our agency has no influence or control over.

When it comes to trip cancellation, the client has the following options:

Use the trip deposit payment towards another trip as a deposit or partial payment (if the amount is larger than $500).
Receive a full refund of the paid deposit for the canceled trip

Classic Travel is not responsible for any costs incurred to the clients in preparing for the trip.

Required Documentation

Trip participants must be in possession of a valid passport, any applicable visas, and their insurance policy. Passport must be valid 6 months past the return date. It is highly recommended that participants have at least three photocopies of these documents. The trip participant accepts full responsibility for obtaining all such documents and is responsible for any adverse consequences resulting from missing or defective documentation. At the time of booking Classic Travel will advise on what documents are required for your trip.

Travel Documents Issued by Classic Travel

No later than two weeks prior to departure, all trip participants will receive via mail and/or email a packet that contains flight tickets (if purchased through Classic Travel), a detailed trip itinerary, additional information & brochures, baggage tags, and a list of suggested items to bring.

For the complete terms and conditions, click here.

Travel Insurance

Insurance is not included in the cost of this trip. Medical insurance is mandatory for all trips and it is up to the trip participant to choose an insurance package that fits their needs. Prior to the commencement of the trip, Classic Travel will request all trip participants to provide a copy of their travel insurance certificate. Medical insurance should cover accident and sickness expenses and emergency evacuation.

We also highly recommend that cancellation insurance is purchased. This will allow you to recover your costs in case you must cancel the trip due to an unforeseen circumstance (sickness or death of yourself or a close family member, extreme weather conditions, terrorism, loss of employment, etc).

Travel insurance can be purchased through Classic Travel - our plans are available to all our clients regardless of nationality and residency. We offer travel medical insurance as well as more comprehensive insurance packages that cover trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delay, baggage loss, and more. During the reservation process we will provide you with our insurance options and rates.

You may choose to purchase travel insurance with us or with any other venue, so long as you are insured!

Click here to learn more about travel insurance.

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