Day 1: Quito
Welcome to Ecuador
Arrival in Quito, transfer to hotel
Day 2: Quito (B)
Colonial city tour: Quito displays the largest colonial town of the Americas and is the first Unesco’s World Heritage Site. Enjoy the eclectic architecture ranging from the modern quarters to varied colonial facades on churches and private residences decorated and balconies built along the last five centuries. The tour includes parks like El Ejido and Alameda, the monument of Simon Bolivar, the gothic Basilica of the Heart of Jesús, Independence Square developed during the past five centuries and flanked by the Presidential ant the Archbishop’s palaces dated back to XVII and XVII centuries and, the Metropolitan Cathedral with excellent samples of the Spanish renaissance. Walk along the so called street of the seven crosses and pass by the Jesuit convent, once head quarters of the first university in the country, El Sagrario church with a unique orthodox cross lay out dated back to the seventeenth century and the jewel of the crown, the Jesuit temple of`La Compañía de Jesús, perhaps the most important monument of the baroque art in Quito.From there continue to the plaza of San Francisco, with temple and convent known to be the largest on the once Spanish colonies on the Americas which displays a rich sample of artistic and cultural heritage.
Overnight in Quito.
Day 3: Otavalo Market (B, D)
Otavalo market & surroundings
Visit the well-known indigenous crafts market in Otavalo, opportunity to see the gentle and soft spoken Otavalo Indians, attired with beautiful and unique costumes. Interaction with the local people is given to the visitor through the process of bargaining, which is the fun element in the negotiations, while purchasing woven goods both in sheep´s wool and cotton, as well as, hats, belts, bags, jewelry and more. Then visit the village of Peguche which is known for its Otavalo weavers, they continue to work with their traditional and Spanish introduced looms. Visit to a family that handcrafts wind instruments, demonstration of the making of ancient instruments and playing of native music. Drive to Magdalena-Karanki a community based-tourism project where passengers can establish cultural ties staying at their comfortable homes with private facilities, enjoy the most authentic Andean home cooking.
Day 4: Chaski Route
Karanki-Magdalena Community & train ride (B, L)
Engage in farm activities, do arts and crafts, and undertake adventure hikes, horseback riding and biking, in the heart of the Andean highlands. Drive to Ibarra to take the train that travel on an early 20th century railroad system, built to connect the northern Andes and the Pacific Coast. A two-hour ride, dropping from over 8.000 ft. to almost half this altitude, embraces high altitude vegetation, dry zones with bromeliad and pear cacti, ending in a sub-tropical zone with sugar cane plantations. The main attraction of this ride is the travelling through tunnels and bridges following the canyon of Ambi river. Arrival to Salinas an Afro-Ecuadorian village to enjoy lunch and cultural experience. Return to Quito. Hotel accommodation
5-8 Deluxe Galapagos Cruise
Day 5: Monday: North Seymour (B, L, D)
Dry landing. An approximately two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. Many marine and some land iguanas can be also encountered.
Day 6: Tuesday - Santa Cruz (Dragon Hill) (B, L, D)
Dry landing. We walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingos can be occasionally found. The trail leads across the typical dry zone vegetation up to Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for the endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchorage and neighboring islands.
Floreana (Cormorant Point)
Wet landing on an olive colored beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick.
Novice snorkelers can practice on the main beach with playful sea lions and much more. Keep in mind this is an open-water activity; there is nothing to support your body on.
Day 7: Wednesday - Española (Suárez Point) (B, L, D)
Dry landing. An island of geological interest, we explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies and the spectacular red billed tropic bird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful sally lightfoot crabs.
A somewhat lengthy hike will bring you amongst Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birding favorites include Galapagos ground dove, Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December).
Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water at some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air.
San Cristóbal (La Galapaguera Interpretation Center)
Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the San Cristóbal giant tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Passengers will also have the opportunity to visit the port village, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
Day 8: Thursday - Santa Cruz (Carrión Point) (B, L)
A snorkeling activity is programmed, an opportunity to swim with a variety of tropical and subtropical fish, manta rays and perhaps the harmless white-tipped reef shark. Return to the M/VGalapagos Legend, checkout and transfer to airport. Return flight to Quito.
Day 9: Quito (B)
End of the service.