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Quito and the Galapagos Wildlife Tour aboard the Seaman Journey

Immerse yourself in Quito's rich history and culture. Learn to appreciate iconic wildlife like giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies up close and personal. Experience an intimate journey with personalized and comfortable travel arrangements. Experience unmatched service from Latin Trails' acclaimed crew and enjoy exquisite cuisine on every stage of your journey.

Key information

  • Private or group wildlife tour
  • Maximum group size of 16 participants
  • Starts and ends in Quito
  • Naturalist bilingual guide - level II or III (English and Spanish)
  • Children from four to 18 years old can join under the supervision of a parent or guardian
  • Park fee and local taxes not included

Highlights

  • Explore North Seymour Island, where you will encounter magnificent wildlife
  • See land iguanas and seabird colonies on Plazas Island
  • Enjoy a snorkeling adventure with sea lions on Santa Fe Island
  • Immerse yourself in Quito's rich history and vibrant culture
  • Be delighted with some of its most important churches' history and interior designs
  • 5 nights accommodation with all meals during the cruise
  • Kayaks and snorkeling gear included
  • Park fee and local taxes not included

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate

Styles


6 activity days in English
The organizer also speaks: Spanish
Group size: Maximum of 16 participants
Airport transfer included: Mariscal Sucre International Airport
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Accommodation

Illa Experience Hotel (2 nights)

The Illa Experience Hotel in Quito offers more than just luxury accommodations. It's a homage to tradition, culture, and the essence of Ecuador. The hotel believes that remembering is an art, a way to honor roots and enrich the present. The hotel evokes memories of laughter-filled family gatherings and comforting embraces.

Every corner of the hotel tells a story, inviting guests to connect with their heritage and savor the moments that shaped Ecuadorian culture. At Illa Experience Hotel, Ecuadorian traditions are shared with guests. Every detail there is crafted to evoke the essence of Ecuadorian life.

The hotel was born as the first luxury experience hotel in Quito, Ecuador, with the concept of renewing and reconstructing the meaning of luxury travel. Its name, 'Illa', represents "sacred light" and "good fortune," and symbolizes the light they want to transmit to all their visitors and tourists in Quito, Ecuador.

Being a boutique hotel, which they consider a 17th century house, Illa Experience Hotel shares a journey through time of family traditions, history, and stories of love, community, and unity. Its team are the descendants of a hard-working family who has dedicated their entire life to teaching them that hard work, honesty, and love are the key values to growth.

They have worked in the tourism industry for over 30 years - discovering, exploring new routes, and sharing their knowledge with travelers from all over the world. They decided to create Illa Experience Hotel as an approach to merge their own traditions with tourism, and share their view of how they see their city and their country.

Illa wants to show all of its guests how Quito has changed throughout time and for that reason, it has been designed in three main epochs: colonial, republican, and contemporary, in a harmonious design.

A key location in Quito

  • In the picturesque neighborhood of San Marcos
  • Close to museums, restaurants, and artist workshops in addition to a charming central plaza - plenty of things to explore right next door
  • Minutes' walk away from La Ronda, Santo Domingo Church, San Francisco Church, and the other attractions in the historic center
  • Just four blocks away from the plaza grande

The hotel's perfect location, allows it to offer guests experiences outside of the tun-of-the-mill city tour. The team also collaborates with the neighborhood to give their guests a taste of local life.

Facilities details

Guests will feel the tradition of this place, accompanied by well-equipped rooms and facilities to spend unforgettable moments.

  • 4 suites and six deluxe rooms
  • Ines Restaurant is one of the best in Quito
  • Roof bar with a downtown view
  • Wellness area and wine cellar
  • Eco-friendly elevator
  • Gym (with cardio machines)
  • Spa

Rooms include access to the private spa with a jacuzzi, overlooking the inner courtyard (therapies and massages are available at an additional cost).

Seaman Journey catamaran (3 nights)

The Galapagos Seaman Journey is a first-class catamaran that offers a luxurious and adventurous experience in the Galapagos Islands. With a capacity for 16 passengers, it combines comfort, elegance, and stability. Guests can enjoy encounters with endemic species and relax in well-furnished, spacious areas and expansive decks while taking in breathtaking ocean views.

With a bar and lounge area staffed by dedicated personnel, this catamaran is the perfect choice for an unforgettable experience in the Galapagos.

First class / superior expedition cruise

With a capacity of 16 passengers, this cruise is perfect for families and friends looking for a niche boutique experience in the Galapagos.

Activities for everyone

On board, there are plenty of activities to choose from, like snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and more.

Spacious suites and cabins

On the main deck, there are six standard suites and on the upper deck, there are two matrimonial suites.

Cabins

  • Panoramic windows to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of the islands
  • Private bathroom, hot / cold water, hair dryer
  • Air conditioning with independent controls
  • Twin beds on standard suites
  • Queen beds on matrimonial cabins
  • Sofa beds for converting matrimonial cabin into a triple room
  • Safe box in all cabins for personal belongings

Facilities

  • Indoor dining and living room
  • Al fresco dining room
  • Tanning area
  • Cocktail area
  • Sun deck with shaded area
  • Lounge area

Enjoy aboard:

  • Menus for special requirements (vegan, vegetarian, kosher, gluten free)
  • Organic toiletries and amenities by Chankuap Foundation
  • Interactive cooking lessons
  • 4 sea kayaks
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • All size wetsuits available for rent

Commitment to the environment

Galapagos Seaman Journey uses good quality fuel, as well as a manufacturer's certificate validating the boat's machinery as a minimum pollution component. It has one of the lowest fuel consumption rates per guest on any yacht in the Galapagos, being within the lower one percent consumption range.

At the anchoring sites, the main machines are switched off and only one of the generators is allowed to work, whose power (60 hp) ensures that it is a low noise source, and the machines are also lined on the inside with noise-insulating material.

The catamaran when underway or when anchored in any permitted location on the islands uses lights necessary only for the activity in all external sectors of the decks, so as not to affect the nocturnal marine life.

Food waste that is discharged into the sea passes through a food grinder during navigation. The same process is done with black water, which is filtered until it reaches the status of potable water.

No liquid ballast is used for the operation of the catamaran and tank cleaning is done exclusively during dry dock.

They also maintain a means of communication with the community to clarify doubts about the environmental management of the project. They support activities that contribute to the sustainability of community relations as well.

Used lubricating oils and similar are rigorously retained for delivery to the port and other waste is managed according to the procedures of the approved waste management plan.

The paints used on the catamaran are led-free and they prevent the attachment of sessile organisms such as mollusks or algae, which is also known as "antifouling." This reduces the catamaran's environmental impact when sailing.

Program

Day 1: Arrival in Quito

As soon as you arrive at Quito airport, your guide will meet you and transfer you directly to your hotel. Situated among Andean peaks, Quito is the world's second-highest capital, renowned for its stunning settings anywhere.

This city was originally established by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium A.D., and later destroyed and re-founded by the Spanish conqueror Sebastian de Benalcazar in 1534.

Also, in 1978, UNESCO declared Quito as a World Heritage Site. Being one of the first cities to receive this recognition, together with Krakow, and the first in Latin America, it is proof of the place's outstanding colonial center full of museums, churches, and art galleries.

Day 2: Historical center - The middle of the world - Latitude 0 0' 0''

Early morning, following breakfast, you and Latin Trails' local guide will embark on a captivating tour in Quito colonial's downtown area. As part of the "churches trail," your first stop will be the majestic Quito Cathedral. There, the guide will explain its history and unique architectural designs, including the influence of Mudejar style in its initial construction phase.

The cathedral features three longitudinal naves and a transverse nave behind its choir, offering a fascinating glimpse into its complex structure.

As soon as you complete the tour of the cathedral, you will go to La Compania Church, where the guide will share stories and facts about this remarkable landmark. Renowned for its baroque style, the church is adorned with gold leaf and intricate carvings of birds and faces on its altars, making it a standout example of the baroque movement in the Americas.

Additionally, its interior features two courtyards inspired by Gustav Klimt, each decorated with intricate muslin details, adding to the church's stunning beauty. La Compañía Church is also the resting place of Saint Marianita of Jesus, revered by many as the protector of the city.

Next, you will visit San Francisco Church, famous for the legend of Cantuña and other stories that make the place culturally vibrant. There, you can find items from Ecuadorian culture, such as postcards, books, Ecuadorian music CDs, and natural products, including coffee!

At around noon, you will go to "Mitad del Mundo," the city's iconic monument at the equator. There, you can visit the Ethnographic Museum or the Inti Ñan Museum near the monument for an immersive tour experience that will delve into the region's rich cultural heritage.

During the journey, you'll have the option to stop for an authentic Ecuadorian lunch (optional and not included). After the tour concludes, you will return back to the hotel, enriched by the day's exploration of Quito's historical and cultural treasures.

Day 3: Quito - Baltra

The guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you directly to the airport, where you'll begin an unforgettable four-day, three-night adventure onboard the Seaman Journey catamaran. Upon arriving in Santa Cruz, passengers must pass through an inspection point at the airport in order to ensure that no foreign plants or animals enter into Galapagos National Park.

You'll also need to pay the entrance fees. Afterward, your guide will assist you with your luggage and transfer you by panga to the Seaman Journey Catamaran in Santa Cruz Bay.

Throughout your journey on the Seaman Journey, you will be treated to luxurious accommodations and exceptional service. The catamaran features spacious cabins, elegant dining areas, and ample deck space for relaxing and wildlife viewing. Each day will be filled with exciting excursions led by knowledgeable guides, including snorkeling, hiking, and wildlife spotting.

You'll have the opportunity to explore some of the most iconic places in the Galapagos islands, each one with its unique landscapes and wildlife, ensuring an enriching and immersive experience in this remarkable archipelago.

The first evening will be spent exploring North Seymour, an uplifted island known for its flat terrain and boulder-strewn beaches. These boulders provide ideal nesting sites for a multitude of magnificent frigatebirds.

You will also see blue-footed boobies performing their iconic courtship dance in the open areas, while swallow-tailed gulls perch gracefully on the cliff edges. Despite the intense surf, sea lions can be seen hauling out onto the beach to bodysurf or engage in playful swimming activities, offering a captivating display of their natural behavior.

Day 4: Genovesa Island - El Barranco - The Cliff - Darwin Bay

On this day, you will go to El Barranco visitor site located in the southern part of Genovesa Island's Darwin Bay. It features a one and a half-kilometer volcanic rock trail that can be completed in approximately two hours. This area is geologically young, showcasing fragile lava flows that have naturally eroded to create ideal nesting grounds for storm petrels.

Red-footed boobies, which nest only on the outer islands of the archipelago, can also be found there. Other nesting sites include Punta Pitt, Gardner (Floreana), Wolf, Darwin, and Genovesa. Additionally, fur sea lions and many other seabirds can be observed during panga rides along the cliff edges.

After lunch, you will visit Darwin Bay, formed by the collapse of an island's crater below sea level, resulting in a beautiful white coral sandy beach ideal for a wet landing. This site is a favorite birding location, where you can spot wandering tattlers, lava gulls, and whimbrels.

Yellow-crowned and black-crowned lava herons, as well as yellow warblers, are commonly seen. Visitors should follow the trail slowly up towards the edge of a cliff to witness red-footed boobies nesting in the mangrove trees below.

Sharp-beaked ground finches, large cactus finches, Galapagos doves, and swallow-tailed gulls are among the other species regularly observed during bird-watching expeditions. The panoramic vista of the surrounding bay and its diverse wildlife makes this an unforgettable experience, perfect for photography and nature observation.

Day 5: Plazas - Santa Cruz - Santa Fe

You will visit Plazas Island, which is located on the east of Santa Cruz Island and is part of a pair of islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, Plazas Island is home to some of the Galapagos' most fascinating species.

The land iguanas there are smaller than those found elsewhere in the archipelago. Unique to this island are hybrid iguanas, resulting from the mating of male marine iguanas and female land iguanas. These hybrids are easily recognizable by their black / gray coloring, land iguana crests, and marine iguana-like faces and tails.

The island is also rich in prickly pear cacti, which provide a vital food source for the iguanas.

Plazas Island is also the home of a variety of seabirds, including swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigatebirds, and brown pelicans. These birds nest among the rocky outcrops, creating a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem.

Santa Fe Island, situated in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, was formed through tectonic uplift rather than volcanic activity, making it predominantly flat. Some theories suggest that it is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago.

The island hosts many endemic species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, Santa Fe mockingbirds, Santa Fe rice rats, and one of the two types of land iguanas found in the islands. Upon disembarking, you will also likely encounter playful sea lions on the island’s stunning beaches.

The trail on Santa Fe Island is lined with salt bushes and giant prickly pear cacti, characteristic of oceanic islands. These plants provide essential food and habitat for the island’s wildlife. The excursion also offers opportunities for snorkeling, where you can swim with sea lions and a variety of tropical fish, making it an unforgettable experience.

Both Plazas and Santa Fe Islands offer unique insights into the diverse wildlife and geological features of the Galapagos, providing visitors with unforgettable encounters and spectacular natural beauty.

Day 6: San Cristobal - Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center

On your final day, you can visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding and Rearing Center, which was established in Cerro Colorado on San Cristobal Island to care for juvenile tortoises in 2004. By 2008, an assisted reproduction center had also been added to the facility.

Upon the birth of a tortoise in captivity, an educational program was initiated to educate visitors and locals about the birthing processes and the importance of the breeding center. This program offers a unique opportunity to learn about the life cycle of tortoises, the challenges they face, and the conservation efforts undertaken to protect them.

Visitors can gain firsthand knowledge of these processes and understand why the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center is so effective in its conservation efforts.

After your morning excursion to the breeding center, Latin Trails will transfer you directly to Baltra Airport for your flight back to the mainland. This seamless transition will ensure a smooth end to your Galapagos adventure, leaving you with lasting memories of the incredible wildlife and conservation efforts in the archipelago.

Location

Begin your unforgettable journey in Quito, where you can immerse yourself in its rich history and vibrant culture from day one. On day two, continue your experience by visiting Quito colonial's downtown area, where you can explore some of the most important churches and be delighted with their history and interior designs.

Day three will mark the start of your Galapagos adventure, as you board an early flight to Santa Cruz Island. Upon arrival, you need to complete a mandatory inspection at the airport before your guide assists you in boarding the Seaman Journey Catamaran.

On this afternoon, explore North Seymour Island, where you will encounter magnificent wildlife, including frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and playful sea lions, among many other wonders!

On day four, visit Genovesa Island's El Barranco, also known as "The Cliff," where nesting seabirds can be seen amid the volcanic rock formations. Later on, visit Darwin Bay, a birdwatcher's paradise, home to red-footed and masked boobies, among other avian species.

Day five will take you to Plazas Island, known for its land iguanas and seabird colonies, before you enjoy a snorkeling adventure with sea lions at Santa Fe Island. On day six, conclude your adventure by visiting the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center on San Cristobal Island, dedicated to giant tortoise conservation. Finally, return home, concluding your unforgettable trip.

Food

Only meals on board the cruise are included.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Pescatarian
  • Seafood
  • Fruitarian
  • Lactose Free
  • Whole food
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • All visits and excursions according to the itinerary
  • Snorkel gear (mask, tube, and fins)
  • Kayaks
  • Airport assistance (Quito or Guayaquil, if flights will be booked through Latin Trails)
  • Transfers in Galapagos
  • Naturalist bilingual guide - level II or III
  • Fuel surcharge
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation and land services
  • 3 nights accommodation on board in a double suite or twin cabin
  • All meals during the cruise
  • Unlimited purified water, coffee, and tea

What's not included

  • Round trip flight to / from Galapagos
  • Galapagos National Park entrance
  • Galapagos Ingala card
  • Tips
  • Local taxes
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals and services not mentioned above
  • Alcoholic drinks and soft drinks
  • Extras and personal expenses

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Mariscal Sucre International Airport Airport transfer included: Mariscal Sucre International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
6 days / 5 nights
from --
Monday September 23, 2024
(6 days / 5 nights)

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