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Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Escorted Tour

10 Days From £3195

Our tour to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is your chance to experience one-of-a-kind wildlife watching. Choose this tour for access to one of the most exclusive and premier travel destinations in the world.

Including...

10 Day Itinerary:

Day 1: UK to Quito, Ecuador

Depart London on your scheduled flight to Quito, via Madrid, Spain.

Day 2: Quito

Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Day 3: Quito

After breakfast your guide will pick you up from the hotel to commence a half day walking tour of the historic Old Town of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guide will lead you through Independence Square, stopping at the awe-inspiring Cathedral and Presidential Palace. Next admire the church of La Compania, then on to the church of San Francisco whose atrium runs from one side of the square to the other. Your tour then takes you to the summit of El Panecillo Hill, meaning 'the little bread loaf' which is the perfect location for a panoramic view of this memorable capital city over a well deserved lunch. You will then be returned to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

  • Breakfast & Lunch

Day 4: Quito to The Galapagos Islands

In the morning you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Baltra Island, then taken via speedboat to board the deluxe MV Santa Cruz ship. Holding just 90 passengers, this ship was built exclusively for touring these islands and once on board you will receive an introductory welcome briefing, a safety drill and lunch. No time is wasted as you disembark the ship in the afternoon on North Seymour Island for your first glimpse of the island's wildlife. Moving past prickly pear cacti and a tiny forest of silver Palo Santo trees you will chance upon colonies of blue footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. Guests are divided into small groups of no more than 15 with their own expert 'naturalist' guide.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: The Galapagos Islands

Today you will start by exploring the coast by a small boat known as a panga, whilst your guide explains the dramatic geology of the area and the nesting place for the flightless cormorants, whose wings no longer function for flight but has evolved instead to swim and dive for its prey, propelling itself by powerful kicks. Depending on weather conditions, you may be able to snorkel alongside the cliffs, rich in marine life with the chance to swim amongst green sea turtles and gigantic Mola Mola, the world's largest bony fish. After lunch back on board and a little time to relax, the afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which having had no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with an unusually high density of marine iguanas. Other sightings may include the wildly bright Sally light-foot crabs, hordes of penguins and waved albatrosses too.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: The Galapagos Islands

Following breakfast, you will arrive on the northwest of Isabela Island, at Tagus Cove. A gentle uphill hike takes you to the edge of Darwin Lake, a crater filled with salt water supposedly caused by a tidal wave when a volcano erupted centuries ago. A panga ride will then take you to spot local wildlife and provides another opportunity to swim and snorkel with multi-coloured tropical fish and marine life. After a break for lunch, you will continue on to Urbina Bay, the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor back in 1954. Those wishing to snorkel will have the chance to swim with the exceptionally fast flightless cormorants and playful penguins, dipping and diving around you. Others may prefer to remain on land, perhaps spotting a giant tortoise or vibrant-coloured Galapagos land iguana.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: The Galapagos Islands

In the morning you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station located on Santa Cruz Island. Charles Darwin arrived in 1835, and was so inspired that he wrote his most famed 'The Origin of The Species' and set up his headquarters for scientific investigation and conservation. The highlight here is the giant tortoise breeding centre where you can explore a walk-in adult tortoise enclosure to come face-to-face with these famed Galapagos giants. You will then be taken to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island before embarking on an afternoon of activities depending on your preference. Choose from mountain biking, kayaking or a hike to discover the flora and fauna.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: The Galapagos Islands

Your final day amongst these captivating islands takes you to the volcanic isle of Floreana. Your group will explore the north shore by foot, perhaps spotting flamingos, pelicans and other birds. In the afternoon your final excursion will either be on a glass - bottom boat or a panga for those wishing to explore the underwater wonders with their snorkel and mask. You'll be taken to Champion Islet, known as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago then on to Cormorant Point to walk alongside the lagoon where pintail ducks, common stilts, herons and greater flamingos gather. Enjoy your final dinner on board as the sun sets over some of the most mystical and fascinating islands on planet Earth.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil

The cruise ship will return to Baltra Island where you will disembark and be transferred to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest and most populated city. Your guide will accompany you to your hotel which is centrally located in the heart of the tourist and commercial district. The rest of the day will be at leisure.

  • Breakfast & Light Snack

Day 10: Guayaquil

After breakfast your guide will meet you to begin a half day walking tour of the city. Guayaquil is situated on the Guayas River, and has undergone considerable development over recent years, reflected in the numerous modern shopping centres and happening eateries nestled amongst revitalized squares and parks. You will be led down the Malecon 2000, an impressive boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River, then visit the picturesque neighbourhood of Las Penas which looks like a cross between a Mexican and Greek fishing village. Stroll down Avenue 9 de Octubre, the main downtown thoroughfare and shopping district and arrive at Parque Bolivar, one of the only parks in the world to have land iguanas, some measuring over a metre in length. The tour will end here and lunch will be served in a local restaurant. The rest of the day will be at leisure.

  • Breakfast

Day 11: Guayaquil to the UK

Transfer to Guayaquil airport for your flight to the UK.

  • Breakfast
Your Meals

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

10 days from

£3,195 per person

Prices subject to availability & change

Important Information

Visas

A visa is not required for entry into Ecuador for UK passport holders. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities & for general queries. We strongly advise you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding required passport validity.

Payment

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flight Information

All flights are operated by LAN TAM airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 23kgs of hold luggage and hand luggage not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size. Flight times are for guidance only & subject to change.

Health and Vaccinations

We recommend that you consult your local GP for advice on vaccinations & travel health before departure. Please note that, due to new regulations from the Ministry of Tourism in Ecuador, you will be provided to state any pre-existing medical conditions and your blood type on arrival into the Galapagos Islands. You can give this information to your tour guide on arrival or you can inform Mercury Holidays of this before you travel and we will inform our team in-country on your behalf. Please be aware that failure to provide this information by the time you arrive in the Galapagos Islands may result in you being refused entry.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves 2 half days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches. You will also disembark boats sometimes with a rough sea. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties or disabled people.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10 & the maximum will be 30. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

Tour Guide

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival & will have a guide with you throughout the duration of your trip, ensuring you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

Currency Information

The currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar. Cash machines are available in Quito & Guayaquil but there will not be a chance to exchange currency during your cruise.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any drinks and personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry, and any extra snacks. If you would like to hire a wetsuit on the cruise this is available for approximately $18. Approximately £400-£500 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour.