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Peoria, AZ
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Touring in colonial Quito
  • Three-night stays on two Galapagos islands
  • Visit to Darwin Research Center for up-close encounters with Galapagos tortoises
  • Day cruises on privately chartered yachts, plus island-based explorations
  • Guided nature walks
  • Snorkeling in the bountiful waters of Kicker Rock
  • Española Island with its rare birdlife
  • Expert Galapagos naturalist guides
  • Unique Galapagos wildlife
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Quito, Ecuador We arrive late this evening in Ecuador’s capital and transfer directly to our hotel.

Day 2: Quito Set against a backdrop of staggering Andes peaks, Quito boasts a well-preserved historic center considered the finest in Latin America, as we see on this morning’s city tour. Highlights include Plaza la Independencia, the city’s central square; La Compañía, Ecuador’s most ornate church; Carondelet Presidential Palace, with iron balconies from Les Tuilleries gardens in Paris; San Agustín Church, burial site of many of Ecuador’s war heroes; and the 16th-century Monastery of San Francisco. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. Tonight we gather for a welcome dinner at our hotel. B,D

Day 3: Quito/Baltra/Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Today we fly to the island of Baltra then transfer to Santa Cruz, our first island-based home for our Galapagos exploration. We reach our beautiful hotel set on 370 lush, unspoiled, and secluded acres in the highlands adjacent to Galapagos National Park in time for lunch. This afternoon we visit the huge twin craters (sinkholes) of Los Gemelos; and the secluded white-sand beach at Garrapatero, where we enjoy our first encounters with some of the Galapagos’ celebrated wildlife. Along this peaceful strand framed by black volcanic rock formations, we may see bright red sally lightfoot crabs, intimidating marine iguanas, black-necked stilts with their trademark spindly legs, and pink flamingos feeding in the tidepools. B,L,D

Day 4: Santa Cruz Island We set out on a full-day’s exploration of Santa Cruz, the second largest of the Galapagos Islands and home of the Charles Darwin Research Station; the Galapagos National Park Service; and Puerto Ayora, the islands’ most populous town. At the Darwin Research Station we see and learn about the Galapagos giant tortoises, the islands’ famed inhabitants that can weigh up to 900 pounds and live to be more than 150 years of age. Then we continue to Puerto Ayora, the beating heart of the Galapagos with some 12,000 residents where we have time for lunch on our own and some time at leisure. This afternoon we venture to the highlands to see the largest of the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Our touring concludes with a walk through the giant lava tunnels at our hotel, where we can explore the caves through which lava flowed in eons past. B,D

Day 5: North Seymour Island/Bachas Beach This morning we board our privately chartered yacht and cruise to North Seymour, a flat, low-lying sliver of land covering 1.9 square miles. A true “deserted island,” North Seymour counts as its only inhabitants the birds and animals that we see on our naturalist-led walk. Among these: blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, marine and land iguanas, colorful lava lizards with their unique push-up routine for attracting mates, and the islands’ largest population of magnificent frigatebirds, notable for the males’ bright red throat. After lunch, we head back toward Santa Cruz, weighing anchor in the calm waters off Bachas Beach, one of the Galapagos’ primary sea turtle nesting sites. The beach’s floating pier serves as one of the few lasting reminders of the United States’ presence during World War II; here we find the remains of a U.S. Navy barge that sank many years ago. We make a wet landing and take another nature walk along Santa Cruz’s north coast to see flamingo ponds, iguanas, coastal birds, Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as native vegetation. B,L,D

Day 6: Santa Cruz Island/San Cristobal Island This morning we depart Santa Cruz by privately chartered speedboat for San Cristobal, the Galapagos’ easternmost island and our base for the next few days. Upon arrival, we have time for lunch on our own in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos. This afternoon we visit the Interpretation Center, an education center relating the natural and human histories of the Galapagos, as well as current conservation efforts. Then we embark on a walk of about two miles along a wooded path through a dry forest of cactus and acacia trees to Frigatebird Hill. After a climb to the lookout, we enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the ocean below. Then we descend to crescent-shaped Carola Beach, home to marine iguanas and an enormous colony of Galapagos sea lions. B,D

Day 7: San Cristobal Island/Kicker Rock/Puerto Grande Our day starts early with a private speedboat ride to Kicker Rock, the monolithic extinct volcanic cone that rises some 500 feet from the sea off the west coast of San Cristobal. A haven for nesting seabirds and home to a vast array of marine life, the rock’s two separate formations offer some of Earth’s most unspoiled opportunities for wildlife viewing. We have the opportunity to snorkel amidst the sea turtles, rays, bioluminescent jellyfish, whitetip and Galapagos sharks, and several varieties of tropical fish that swim in the clear waters here. We enjoy lunch onboard then cruise to Puerto Grande, a sheltered, turquoise bay where egrets, blue-footed boobies, and pelicans nest and hunt for food among the shallows. After time to explore and walk the beach here, we cruise back to San Cristobal for dinner on our own in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. B,L

Day 8: San Cristobal Island/Española Island This morning we visit Española, the southernmost island in the Galapagos archipelago. We disembark at Punta Suarez, a peninsula on the western tip of the island, and embark on a two-mile nature walk. Española enjoys renown for its unique red and turquoise iguanas, and as the world’s only nesting site for the waved albatross, easily identified by its massive wingspan and long, bright yellow beak (we may spot these distinctive birds on Española from March through August). We’re also on the lookout for blue-footed boobies, sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls, and lava lizards. Late this afternoon, we return to San Cristobal where tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 9: San Cristobal/Quito/Depart for U.S. We fly today to Quito, where we have day rooms reserved at our airport hotel. This evening we transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to the U.S. B

Day 10: Arrive U.S. We arrive in the U.S. today and connect with our flights home.

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain. Also, there are both wet and dry landings in the Galapagos. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 8 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and unrated hotels
  • 18 meals: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Galapagos National Park fee of $100
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; plus, experienced naturalists/guides while in Galapagos
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

May 4
May 18
Oct 19
Oct 26
Nov 30
Jun 22
Jul 6
Jul 27
Aug 3
Sep 14
Miami$5,972$6,172
Orlando, Tampa$6,372$6,572
Atlanta, Balt, Bos,
Char, Chi, Cinc,
Cleve, Houston,
Minn, New York,
Phil, Wash, DC
$6,472$6,672
Dallas, Denver,
Detroit, Los Ang,
Phoe, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$6,572$6,772

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy in a Casita at the Royal Palm Hotel and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $577, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $1,695. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Upgrade to a Highland Villa at the Royal Palm Hotel: $195 ($345 single)

Accommodations
    Hotel Plaza Grande, Quito / Days 1-2 / Deluxe

    Hotel Plaza Grande enjoys an unrivaled location in Ecuador’s capital, as it fronts one side of the city’s famed Plaza de la Independencia.  This cobbled pedestrian plaza is the central square of the city and one of the symbols of Ecuador’s executive power (as it is surrounded by the governmental seat of Carondelet Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace).  The elegant colonial hotel boasts a lovely white-columned exterior and offers a host of amenities, including a French-inspired restaurant, a café restaurant, a wine cellar with live music, spa, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each of the 15 air-conditioned rooms includes a balcony with view over the plaza, private marbled bath with soaking tub, rich colonial-style furnishings, in-room safe, minibar, coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands / Days 3-5 / Superior First Class

    The Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos comprises a secluded 480-acre private estate set in a lush Miconia forest in the highlands of the Galapagos’ central island, Santa Cruz.  Along with rainforest-like gardens, the property has extensive lava tunnels onsite.  Designed with a blend of colonial and traditional island elements that complement the natural surroundings, the hotel offers a restaurant and piano bar, outdoor swimming pool, sauna, massage treatments and whirlpool, gym, tennis courts, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access (in public areas), art gallery, and laundry and dry cleaning services.  Accommodations consist of 21 separate casitas and villas, all of which have a garden-facing front porch and provide air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, ironing facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Golden Bay Galapagos Hotel, San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands / Days 6-8 / Superior First Class

    The contemporary Golden Bay Galapagos Hotel stands just a few feet from the beach in the heart of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.  The hotel’s clean lines and white exterior with dark wood and stone accents project an air of understated elegance, which is enhanced by the contemporary interior décor.  Amenities of the hotel include a restaurant, bar, snack bar overlooking the water, outdoor swimming pool, beachfront terrace with lounge chairs, laundry service (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each of the 21 air-conditioned guest rooms are decorated in a clean, white palette and feature private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.

    Wyndham Quito Airport, Quito / Day 9 / Not rated

    Located at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, the Wyndham Quito Airport offers a comfortable and convenient stay for our final day in Ecuador.  The hotel has a restaurant and bar, fitness center, spa with hot tub and sauna, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms feature private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Tour Directors for this Journey
Ramon Andrade

“He was very capable and knowledgeable about Ecuador. We learned a lot from him.”
Carol & Greg Starr
Tucson, AZ

Willian Arevalo

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Romy Bustamante

“Romy was clearly very proud of her country, Ecuador. This came through in all of her comments and added a lot to the experience.”
Lisa Hogan
Philadelphia, PA

Robby Delgado

“Robby was great. Very knowledgeable and helpful. He really made the trip.”
George Sickinger
Huntington Beach, CA

Tomas Palma

“Tomas was a fount of knowledge and showed pride in his country and its people.”
Jan & Don McCormick
Point Arena, CA

Isabel Ramos

“Isabel was outstanding every step of the way.”
T. Scott Smith
Golden, CO

Fabricio Yepez

“Fabricio was very knowledgeable and very good on all sides—excellent.”
Charles & Genevieve Patterson
Charlotte, NC

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Michael Jackson
Galapagos, A Natural History
This comprehensive guide to the natural history of the Galapagos is practically mandatory reading — the single best introduction to the geology and climate, habitats, plants, birds, animals, ecology and evolution.

ITMB
Galapagos Islands Map
This full-color map of the Galapagos at a scale of 1:420,000, printed on water and tear-resistant paper, shows in detail major features, topography and visitor sites. With a large city plan of Quito on the reverse.

Ben Westwood
Moon Galapagos Islands
Based in Ecuador, Westwood writes with insight in this brief guide to the pleasures and practicalities of visiting Galapagos.

William Beebe
Galapagos, World’s End
This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.

Henri Michaux, Robin Magowan (Translator)
Ecuador, a Travel Journal
A brief, querulous and entirely wonderful narrative of the modernist painter Michaux’s travels with the poet Gangotena, strong on color and personality. Its many pleasures include an unbeatable description of Quito’s accursed mountain weather.

Edward J. Larson
Evolution’s Workshop
A vivid history of the Galapagos and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Larson covers Darwin and the discovery of the islands, the visits of Hancock and Beebe, the influence of the United States during WWII and the establishment of the national park.

Tui De Roy
Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire
A stunning celebration of the landscapes, wildlife and habitats of the Galapagos by a photographer who was raised in the archipelago. Tenth anniversary edition.

Jonathan Weiner
The Beak of the Finch
This Pulitzer Prize-winning work is an accessible look at the modern debate on the mode and rhythm of evolution, using the story of Peter and Rosemary Grant and their ground-breaking field work on Daphne Major as an example.

Paul D. Stewart (Director)
Galapagos, the Islands That Changed the World
Also available on Blu-Ray, this stunning BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before. 150 minutes.

Henry Nicholls
The Galapagos, a Natural History
Editor of the Galapagos Conservation Trust magazine and author of Lonesome George, Henry Nicholls charts the human and natural history of the archipelago from its fiery origins through famous visitors and current conservation challenges.

Pocket Naturalist
Galapagos Wildlife
A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of the Galapagos.

Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, David Hosking (Photographer)
Wildlife of the Galapagos
A compact identification guide to Galapagos nature and wildlife, featuring over 650 color photographs, an overview of the history, climate, evolution and geology of the islands, and helpful full-color visitor site maps.

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