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Luxury Galapagos Islands cruise

Day 1

Arrive in Quito and transfer to hotel.
 
Old Quito

Your hotel in Quito (the Andean capital of Ecuador) is the Casa Gangotena, a richly luxurious boutique hotel on the main square of the Old City, Plaza San Francisco. The building is a restored Renaissance-inspired mansion which preserves the aristocratic ambience and décor of its former incarnation: it couldn’t be more romantic and sensuous.

The active volcano Guagua Pichincha, to the east, glowers over the dynamic city which, at 2,850m, is one of highest capital cities in the world. Quito is divided into two contrasting districts. The modern zone is characterised by towering glass buildings and houses banks, international companies, hotels, shops and restaurants, while the central colonial area has well-conserved and recently spruced-up white-washed architecture, open air markets and graceful Spanish-style mansions and churches.

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Old Quito

Day 2

Guided tour of Otavalo and its market with lunch in an aristocratic colonial hacienda.
 
Otavalo market
It is a 90min drive along a twisting road through rolling mountain scenery to the small town of Otavalo. Visit the colourful indian market where locals sell ponchos, scarves, blankets, wall hangings, woven belts, hats, handbags and much more. Here, locals barter in silence, in marked contrast to the raucous noise of other markets. Afterwards, continue to the nearby indigenous village of Peguche, where local artisans weave in their own homes.

Have lunch in one of the charming haciendas which pepper the area, Hacienda Pinsaqui, set within a large subtropical garden. Built in 1790, it has been a textile mill, working hacienda, and most recently an equestrian centre. Guests have included the nationalist liberator, Simón Bolivar.

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Otavalo market

Day 3

Fly to the Galápagos Islands, board the elegant MY Grace.
 
Galapagos flamingos
Fly to the Galápagos Islands (2 hrs) where you will embark on your luxurious yacht, MY Grace. Your naturalist guide will be waiting to take you to the quayside.

The MY Grace has a fascinating history and has sailed under many names, but is currently known by that of her late owner, Princess Grace of Monaco. Under the banner of Deo Juvante, Prince Rainer and the Princess spent their honeymoon together on board.

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Galapagos flamingos

Days 4-9

Land excursions from the cruise around the Galápagos Islands.
 
sealions Galapagos
The Galápagos Islands emerged in the Pacific Ocean 6 million years ago following a spate of volcanic activity and, isolated from the continental mainland, have become home to unique animal and plant species.

The islands were the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which formed the basis for his revolutionary book ‘The Origin of the Species’, published in 1859. Without fear of humans, they are sufficiently trusting to allow you approach them and observe them up close.

Although geologically constantly on the move, these islands remain suspended in time, with giant tortoises, iguanas, penguins, frigate birds, waved albatross and blue-footed boobies and a wealth of rare flora all thriving there. For many, the fascinating and unique wildlife and natural beauty of the islands are matched by the thrill of being at sea. Find a spot on deck as you make your way through the ocean, often trailed by flocks of birds and playful dolphins.

The itinerary for your days in the Galápagos will depend on your date of departure and is subject to change. There are normally two landings a day to seek out the different wildlife that inhabits the islands. Islands visited will vary.

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sealions Galapagos

Day 10

Fly to Guayaquil, connect with international flight home or extend your holiday.
 

If you can spare the time we recommend that you extend your holiday to spend a few days stay at Mashpi Lodge in the bird-filled Mindo cloud forest: a veritable jungle just a couple of hours’ drive from Quito. 

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Tailor-made holiday

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Luxury Galapagos Islands cruise

  • Galapagos on land - Finch Bay 4 days from £645pp

    How do you round off a busy holiday in Ecuador, Peru or Colombia? You might think a trip to the Galápagos Islands a trifle ambitious – not to say costly. And a cruise may well be. But if you have a few days to spare you can stay at a congenial hotel on one of the larger, more interesting and varied islands, Santa Cruz, where in addition to a wide array of the famous trusting Galápagos wildlife, you can experience the verdant volcanic highlands, the white sand beaches and the shops and restaurants of the laid-back capital Puerto Ayora.

    The property has a beautiful setting at Punta Estrada, across the bay from the town.

    Day 1: Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. Transfer to your hotel Finch bay, on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora.

    Days 2,3: You have two full days where your wishes are catered for individually. The hotel organises an impressive choice of activities and excursions including snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and day trips by boat to surrounding islands. We recommend a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station which is home to 11 species of tortoise.

    Day 4: Depart for the Ecuadorian mainland and connect with your international flight.

    Breakfast only.
    NB: the cost of flights from Ecuador, Peru or Colombia to the Galápagos Islands are not included in the price.

  • Adventures in the cloud forest: Mashpi Lodge 3 days from £1,498pp

    The Mashpi experience goes beyond just offering a comfy lodge in the cloud forest.  You can be submerged within this dripping, primeval ecosystem by day, and yet come back to the most civilised of retreats. 

    While Mashpi Lodge offers luxurious lodgings, the experience does not feel tame because being in a protected reserve, the diversity and quality of the forest and the birding is excellent. The lodge is indeed exclusive: there are no others around, and no-one lives here. The overall quality of the experience from all angles is first class.

    On this three day visit, you will take advantage of imaginative and innovative ways of exploring the fantastically beautiful surroundings: from above on a suspended aerial bike, Dragonfly open-sided cable car or observation tower – or at ground level on traditional forest trails or a jungle waterfall. Each excursion is fulfilling and worthwhile - and fun! Whether or not you are a birding enthusiast (500 species including 36 endemics inhabit the forest here) it is a privilege to spend a couple of days in this magical and pristine cloud forest environment .

    Day 1: Depart Quito and head north crossing the Equator and descend towards the Pacific, the vegetation becoming more verdant and abundant with every turn of the road. Arrive at Mashpi Lodge in a protected reserve in the cloud forest and begin exploring - there’s a menu of guided activities and excursions.

    Day 2: Perhaps the highlight of your stay here is a ride on the unique 2km aerial open-sided cable car. You glide silently like a dragonfly through, above and below the lanky palms, moss-stifled deciduous and evergreen trees, flowering shrubs, twisted vines, giant ferns and orchids in the fairyland jungle environment. 

     Day 3: Return to Quito.

    Breakfast daily; full board at the lodge.

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Luxury Galapagos Islands cruise

10 days from £7,337pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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