This ship provides all the facilities and services you can expect to have memorable and enjoyable experience. Features aboard include swimming pool, Jacuzzi, solarium, spacious dining room, an elevator, large conference room, lounge, three bar areas with music, boutique and reading room. The ship has 50 air conditioned outside suites, each one with private bathroom and a small sitting area.
Day 1, Friday: Arrival in Quito. At your arrival in Quito our representative will welcome you and transfer to Marriott hotel.
Day 2, Saturday: Flight Quito Baltra. Morning: After breakfast, we will drive you to the airport to take the flight to Baltra where you will start your cruise aboard the M/V Explorer II after a short drive to the harbor. Afternoon: Cerro Dragon and Santa Cruz Island Santa Cruz features the Charles Darwin Scientific Station where you will meet scientists studying the unique wildlife and geography here. You can observe sea lions, marine iguanas, giant turtles, frigates, flamingos, dolphins, and marine turtles and sharks. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3, Sunday: Bartholomew Island. Arriving at the island of Bartholome we will ascend a lookout point from where you can admire the spectacular panorama of Sullivan Bay and the famous needle shaped rock, named Pinnacle Rock. The beaches at the foot of the Pinnacle Rock boast some fine snorkeling spots from which you can discover the marvelous underwater world with a good chance to encounter penguins or the softly gliding turtles. Puerto Egas and Santiago Island. Santiago Island is high at about 900 meters above sea level. Animals such as marine iguanas, sea lions, hawks, turtles, flamingos, dolphins are found. Unfortunately goats and pigs were brought to the island earlier and began to destroy the habitat for native animals, so the offspring of the imported animals are being eliminated. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4, Monday: Punta Espinoza and Fernandina Island. The island Fernandina, which is the most western island of the Galapagos, is a most interesting point to visit. The main attractions of this island are its Lava-Cactuses and the surface of the lava. There are also mangroves which are rich in wildlife. Numerous animals such as sea lion colonies, penguins, the flightless cormorant and iguanas can be seen. The Punta Vincente Roca is an amazing cliff at the west coast of Isabela and a paradise for divers. Punta Vicente Roca and Isabela Island. Isabela features the Wolf Volcano and many animals such as both marine and land iguanas, sea lions, marine and giant Galapagos turtles, non-flying cormorants, penguins, flamingos, hawks, seagulls, dolphins, whales, and blue and masque boobies. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5, Tuesday: Seymour Norte. Located slightly to the north of Baltra, North Seymour is a low, flat island, formed as a result of the uplift of a submarine lava formation. It is covered with low, bushy vegetation which contains the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds (Frigate magnificence) in the Galapagos. There is also a large population of blue-footed boobies. El Chato (Highlands), lava tunnels and Wild Giant Tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos. The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic centre of the archipelago, with the largest population of the 4 inhabited islands (approx 10.000).
Santa Cruz is also the only island where six different zones of vegetation can be seen: Coastal, Arid, Transition, Scalesia, Miconia, and Pampa Zones. The Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galapagos National Park offices are based here. We will have an opportunity to visit some of the best scientists of their kind here. These scientists, park rangers and managers make huge efforts to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site and conduct the conservation of the islands. The station also has a tortoise breeding and rearing center, where tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6, Wednesday: Lobería or Islas Lobos or Tijeretas or El Junco and Interpretation Center, San Cristobal Island. Isla Lobos means ”Sea-Lion Island”, and the name is certainly appropriate because they frolic, leap and make a racket here. It is also a nesting place for Blue-footed Boobies and a good place for snorkeling. San Cristobal or Chatham is the easternmost island of Galapagos and is also one of the oldest. Eroded volcanic peaks in the northern part of the island and rich vegetation in the southern portion characterize the island. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the principal town is the provincial capital and the second largest settlement area in the islands. San Cristobal is home to one of the two airports in the Galapagos Islands and many visitors will begin and end their tour here. Transfer to the airport for flight to Quito. Arrival in Quito, transfer to Marriott Hotel. Overnight in Quito. Includes: (B).
Day 7, Thursday: Quito City Tour and Mitad del Mundo. Morning: After breakfast we will start our Quito city tour which includes visits to the “Guapulo Mirador”, passing through the 12th of October Avenue up to the Culture House and the Legislative Palace (Congress) where the rock murals that are related to the history of Ecuador can be appreciated. Then we go on through the Gran Colombia Avenue up to the Basilica Church, here we will have short stop at the “San Juan Mirador” having a beautiful view of Colonial Quito.
We continue our tour, walking through the colonial streets stopping at the Independence Plaza admiring the Cathedral, the Government’s Palace, and the archiepiscopal palace. Then we will visit La Compañia Church where many adornments and golden altars are admired. Then we visit San Francisco Cathedral which was built in the XVII century. Next we travel out of the city to visit Mitad del Mundo, the Equatorial marker where the northern and southern hemispheres meet. Your tour includes a visit to the excellent ethnographic museum where you get an overview of the Ecuador's amazing cultural diversity. International Flight. Transfer to the airport for your flight back home. Includes: (B).
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