|Day 1:||ARRIVE QUITO: You will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel. The rest of the day free to relax or explore the city on your own.|
|Day 2:||QUITO. A half day tour of Quito's attractive colonial old town will be arranged for the morning. Quito is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in South America, with a well preserved colonial heart. Our tour will take in the palaces, mansions and churches of the old town, including the impressive cathedral on the Plaza de la Independenceia and the Monasterio de San Francisco. We'll also take you to El Pancillo, a hill in the middle of the city from which you get great views over Quito to the surrounding volcanoes - on a clear day! The afternoon is free. Perhaps relax in the cafes and bars or shop for souvenirs. Breakfast.|
|Day 3:||GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE. We'll take you to the airport to board the morning flight to the Galapagos, arriving around midday. On arrival, you will need to pay the Galapagos National Park Fee before meeting your guide who will be waiting for you at the airport. Once everyone from your yacht has arrived, you'll be taken the short journey to Baltra harbour to begin your 8 day Galapagos cruise. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. (Note: The exact itinerary for the next week will depend on the yacht you choose, with different yachts operating different itineraries on different weeks. The yachts' itineraries are all set by the Galapagos national park authorities. We work with the majority of the boats in the Galapagos so we're sure to find the right yacht for you. This has been priced on the Beagle yacht, an elegant motor sailer with 6 double cabins).|
|Day 4:||In the Galapagos Islands. Full board.|
|Day 5:||In the Galapagos Islands. Full board.|
|Day 6:||In the Galapagos Islands. Full board.|
|Day 7:||In the Galapagos Islands. Full board.|
|Day 8:||In the Galapagos Islands. Full board.|
|Day 9:||In the Galapagos Islands. Full board.|
|Day 10:||BACK TO THE MAINLAND. At the end of your cruise you will be taken back to the airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito. Here you can either catch a plane home, or we can arrange further services for you. Breakfast.|
The company that organises this holiday is a multi award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travellers are well-informed, as an informed traveller tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveller. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism. In terms of information, all travellers are given guidelines on Travelling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment.
Carbon Offsetting: Every person that travels with this company automatically has their flights carbon offset. This is done through The Travel Forest, a project of registered charity, The Tribes Foundation. The Travel Forest plants indigenous trees to offset the carbon emissions produced when you fly on holiday. Whilst this is the primary motivation for planting the trees, the project also works as a poverty alleviation scheme and also aims to combat environmental degradation
In the UK: The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (eg monitors).
Eco-ratings & community tourism: The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally-owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveller wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues. They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.
Travel Philanthropy: The company backs a charity called The Tribes Foundation with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. They are currently raising funds for 9 different grassroots projects in nine different counties, which travellers are encouraged to donate to if they would like to give something back.
The yacht used in the Galapagos on this trip is Smart Voyager certificated. Other yachts are available.
Great introduction to South America
From £5270 12 days including UK flights