This incredible nine-day journey introduces you to the unique Galápagos Islands, a nature lover’s dream destination and UNESCO World Heritage site, with a four-night cruise aboard the first-class, small ship Santa Cruz II. This exploration vessel is fully equipped to make your Galápagos experience remarkable, from a fleet of zodiacs and a glass-bottom boat to certified onboard naturalists and complimentary snorkeling gear. Visit six islands, each with their own ecosystem, to observe the exotic birds, animals and plants that inspired Charles Darwin, including species unknown anywhere else in the world. With few natural predators on the islands, the wildlife is receptive to up-close human interaction. Snorkel alongside tropical penguins and playful sea lions, and almost touch spiny-backed iguanas. On mainland Ecuador, enjoy three nights in Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site, tour architectural treasures and stand with one foot in either hemisphere at the Equator.
Schedule by Day
- Feb 7: Depart U.S. for Quito, Ecuador
- Feb 8: Quito
- Feb 9: Quito / Equator / Quito
- Feb 10: Guayaquil / Fly to Baltra Island, Galápagos Islands / Embark Santa Cruz II / Dragon Hill
- Feb 11: Punta Vicente, Isabel Island / Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island
- Feb 12: Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island / Charles Darwin Research Station
- Feb 13: Post Office Bay, Floreana Island / Champion Islet / Cormorant Point
- Feb 14: Baltra Island / Disembark ship / Fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador / Depart for U.S.
- Feb 15: Arrive in U.S.
Starting from approximately $6,775 per person double occupancy / $12,875 single occupancy
- Three nights in Quito, Ecuador
- Four nights on the Santa Cruz II
Optional Machu Picchu, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Lima Extension
Delight in this extraordinary opportunity to experience legendary Machu Picchu—UNESCO World Heritage site and one of seven modern wonders of the world—the captivating Sacred Valley and the colonial and Inca traditions of Cuzco. Cradled by the soaring peaks of the Andes Mountains, the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu summons awe and wonder like few places on earth—nothing can diminish your first glimpse of this fabled “lost city.” Admire the spectacular archaeological sites of the beautiful Sacred Valley, where ancient engineering marvels, such as the fortress of Ollantaytambo, stand as lasting testimony to the powerful and far-reaching Inca Empire. In the historic Inca capital of Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage site, see the stone fortress of Sacsayhuamán and Baroque- and Renaissance-style churches that provide a fascinating mix of pre-Columbian and colonial influences.
This is a moderately active program. In the Galápagos, walks are approximately one to two miles long (sometimes over uneven and rocky terrain) at a leisurely pace suitable for wildlife observation. There will be wet landings on many islands. Dinghy rides along the coast and shorter walks are available for participants as an alternative to longer and more challenging walks. There are opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking. Quito is at an elevation of 9,350 feet.