Day 2: Quito: City Tour. Quito’s Colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so today, we take you to downtown Quito to marvel at this urban jewel, and its treasures of art and architecture. The stroll starts at Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We then visit the Jesuit temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. You then continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. The tour ends at a lookout point with a great view of Quito, before returning you to your hotel. Please not that this is a shared tour and entrances are not included.
Day 3: Quito Transfer Hotel to Sucre Airport. At the appropriate time, you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport for your onward flight. Transfer from the airport to your hotel.
Arrive at Baltra Airport to meet your guide and embark upon the M/C Seaman Journey. The first excursion will be in the afternoon as you land at Isla Seymour Norte, a flat island compared to the archipelago’s mainly volcanic lands. Witness the large populations of frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, while sea lions line the shore.
Day 4: El Barranco & Darwin Bay. On the southern point of the island at the north of the archipelago, Isla Genovesa, lies El Barranco. Take a 1.5 km trail along volcanic rock, observing fragile lava flows. The fragility has created openings, ideal for nesting storm petrels. You may also see the masked booby and fur sea lions. Make a wet landing on a white coral beach at Darwin Bay. The bay is excellent for birdwatchers, with sightings of the red footed booby, masked booby, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels, yellow and black-crowned herons and yellow warblers. Take a trail to the cliff edge, where you can see red-foots in the mangroves below. Upon reaching the peak, incredible views can be found, as well as being a great spot for further bird watching.
Day 5: Islas Plazas & Santa Fé. The morning excursion takes you to one of the most fascinating sites of Galapagos wildlife, Islas Plazas. Hybrids of land and marine iguana can be found here, as well as swallow-tailed gulls, audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans. In the afternoon visit Isla Santa Fé, perhaps the oldest island in the archipelago and home to a number of endemic species including the Galapagos hawk, snake, mockingbird and rice rat. Make a wet landing here in the beautifully clear waters surrounded by many a sea lion. A trail from the beach is set amongst salt bushes and giant pear cacti and upon your return, there is the opportunity to snorkel with the sea lions.
Day 6: Charles Darwin Centre & Disembark. Start the day at the Charles Darwin Interpretation Centre, with its lush gardens and ocean views. Learn about the geology, natural and human history, and conservation issues of the islands. Continue to the airport for your return flight to mainland Ecuador. Upon your arrival to Quito, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Transfer from your vessel to the airport.
Day 7: Sacha Lodge Day 1. You will depart from Quito at 11 am for a 30 minute flight over the Andes Mountains; you will touch down in Coca, a bustling oil town located in the Amazon basin. After a delicious local lunch you will board canoes for a 2 hour journey down river, then a short walk through tropical rainforest to Lake Pilchicocha where you will meet locals who will paddle you across the lake to Sacha Lodge. On arrival the adventurous journey will be worth it as you relax. On arrival you can swim in Lake Pilchicocha, a black water lake and home to many species of fish and animal, spot birds from the mini observation tower, visit the butterfly house and watch the spectacular sunset. After dinner you can accompany your guide on a rainforest night walk to see species of animals only seen at night, or take a canoe on the lake to spot black caimans and their glowing orange eyes.
At the appropriate time, you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport for your onward flight.
Day 8: Sacha Lodge Day 2. You will begin your day’s adventure between 6 am and 7 am; walk along the Liana Chica trail situated in Sacha Lodge’s private reserve, to the canopy walk for spectacular views of the rainforest where you can spot different species of colourful birds. There are observation decks every twelve metres and the walkway is at 36 meters high and 275 meters long, allowing you a unique view of the wonders of the rainforest. Later that morning you will learn of the different species of medicinal plants in the rainforest. A locally sourced lunch follows. After lunch you can choose between a leisurely hike along the Rio Napo, or a more challenging hike on the Leoncillo trail where you can spot the elusive titi monkey. Both trails will lead you to the boardwalk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge.
Day 9: Sacha Lodge Day 3. After breakfast you will start your hike along the Lagartococha Trail which offers you the chance to learn about local communities and their relationship with the forest; arriving at Lake Lagartococha, you can take a serene canoe ride through a natural swamp which is home to anacondas, caimans and capyba-ras to go for a walk to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys. Back at the lodge you will enjoy lunch before going out to the lake with your guide who will teach you how to fish for the infamous razor toothed piranha. Later in the afternoon you will take a canoe through the flooded Amazonian forest when you will spot troops of squirrels, capuchins and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter as well as the incredibly well camouflaged three-toed sloth. You will be brought to a canopy where you can view beautiful bird’s species and wait for the sunset with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano and the view of the snow-capped Andes. A night canoe ride back to the lodge gives you more opportunities to spot night creatures.
Day 10: Sacha Lodge Day 4. Breakfast and a departure from the lodge at 07:30 am. One last walk on the boardwalk to the river, and from there a 2 hour canoe ride back to Coca for your 35 minute flight back to Quito. Arrive Quito at 12:30 pm (subject to change).
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