Day 1 Arrive Quito, Ecuador:
Welcome to Quito
Bienvenido a Ecuador! South America’s Most Biodiverse Country
Take free time today to relax and prepare for your upcoming Galápagos adventure, or walk through the historic city to sample ceviche or helado (Latin-American ice cream). Dine out tonight or ask about the best clubs for music and dancing.
Day 2 Quito:
Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Quito that showcases the colonial city’s historic sites, including the impressive Legislative Palace with its enormous sculpted mural of Ecuadorean history. You’ll also see Independence Plaza and visit the 16th-century San Francisco Monastery, and La Compañía Church—the exquisite Jesuit cathedral with its spectacular Spanish baroque architecture—more than 160 years in the making.
Your day in Quito ends with a Guided Excursion to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo—a monument to the Equator—the “middle of the world.” Stand in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at the same time at the exact location of the Earth’s Equator. Observe the equatorial effects of the dual-spiraling directions of water and balancing eggs on end. The day is followed by a welcome. (Breakfast & dinner)
Day 3 Quito–Baltra–Galápagos Islands (Embarkation)–Santa Cruz Island:
The Theory of Evolution—and Giant Babies
This morning, take a flight to the Galápagos island of Baltra where you’ll embark on your five-day cruise aboard the Treasure of Galápagos.
Join your naturalist on a Guided Excursion to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station— established to help conserve the Galápagos’ natural habitat and protect the famous giant tortoises. While here, learn about the tortoise-rearing program and see many of the various islands’ tortoises.
Later on board your ship, join in a briefing of the next day’s adventures, and enjoy a Captain’s welcome with cocktails and dinner. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)
NOTE: The ship’s itinerary may vary according to Galápagos National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, and seasonal changes to create the perfect cross-section of sites visited.
Day 4: Santiago Island
Volcanoes, Marine Life, and Lunar Landscapes
This morning, you will find yourself anchored in the western-central part of the archipelago where volcanoes are still active, attributing to the dramatic scenery. Take a Naturalist Led Excursion of Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island where you will walk on newly-formed (less than 100 years ago) lava flows reminiscent of the lunar landscape. You can catch sight of lava lizards, marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and even the Galápagos penguin. This afternoon, cruise to Bartolomé Island.
Hike the Summit, Snorkel, and Swim
Take a Guided Hike to Bartolome’s 114-meter summit for spectacular panoramic views of the region with two beautiful bays and fascinating formations of lava flows and spatter cones, including the iconic Pinnacle Rock. Later, take a snorkel and swim off the beach here—home to playful sea lions, Pacific green turtles, white tip reef sharks, and Galápagos penguins. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Day 5: North Seymour Island
Masterful Marine Iguanas and Birds of a Different Color
Take a Naturalist-Led Excursion to see colonies of remarkable bird species, including blue-footed boobies, great frigate birds, and magnificent frigate birds—with its inflated red chest and nearly 7-foot wingspread. Watch for gulls and herons of all assortments.
This afternoon, cruise for the sandy island of Mosquera Islet.
A Sea Lion Haven of White Coral Sand
Take a Guided Walk on the white coral beaches to the islands’ largest congregation of Galápagos sea lions. You’ll see a wide variety of shore birds reflecting the island’s amazing biodiversity—from the deep-gray lava gull to the yellow-crowned night heron. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Day 6: South Plaza Island
Tracing Darwin’s Footsteps and Audubon’s Muses
This morning, take a Naturalist-Led Excursion to South Plaza Island to observe wildlife, including sea lions, land iguanas, marine iguanas, and hybrid iguanas (only found on this island and a result of a cross between land and marine iguanas). You will see blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon’s shearwaters, and many other species.
This afternoon, cruise to Cerro Brujo on San Cristobal Island.
SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND
Blue Herons, Blue Lagoons, and a Sleeping Lion
Take a Guided Walk at the site where Charles Darwin first visited the Galápagos. See the volcanic remains of magnificent Kicker Rock—also called León Dormido (Sleeping Lion). Walk beside one of the island’s blue lagoons to see a number of migratory birds, including pelicans and great blue herons. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Day 7: Galápagos Islands (Disembarkation)–San Cristobal–Quito
The Geological Genesis of a Magical Archipelago
This morning, cruise to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for a Naturalist Guided Tour of the San Cristobal Interpretation Center. You’ll learn about the Galápagos’ fascinating volcanic origins, remote location, climate, and the arrival of diverse species that inspire both imagination and science. This afternoon, you’ll say farewell to the magical islands of Galápagos and fly to Quito. This evening, spend free time relaxing or enjoy one of Quito’s many fine restaurants. (Breakfast)
Day 8: Quito
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)