Ecuador holiday, Quito & the Galapagos

Description of Ecuador holiday, Quito & the Galapagos

This Ecuador holiday, Quito and the Galapagos is ideal for any wildlife enthusiast or nature lover who has always dreamed of visiting the Galapagos Islands, but doesn’t have much time to explore mainland Ecuador. You’ll spend two nights in Quito, enough time to enjoy this attractive city, before flying to the Galapagos Islands and joining a week long cruise around them. This has to be one of the very best wildlife experiences on the planet. Where else in the world does the wildlife, even birds, have no fear of man?

You’ll travel on a small and friendly motor sailing yacht, and explore the islands, spotting amusing blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, the iconic giant tortoises and marine iguanas that live here and even swimming with sea lions. For anyone passionate about wildlife, this is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ trips which you just have to consider.

Day-by-day experiences

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: This morning you have a guided city tour. Quito is a city of two halves - old and new - with each having its attractions. Quito is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, and so modern building is now strictly controlled. The afternoon is at leisure. Breakfast.
Day 3:GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE: You are taken to the airport for the flight to Baltra. On arrival you are transferred to your home for the next eight days, Beluga. With accommodation for up to 16 passengers there plenty of space to relax between island visits. First call is Santa Cruz to see the iconic giant tortoises, then onto the Charles Darwin Centre, where you can watch hatchlings and juvenile giant tortoises. You return to Beluga to freshen up before dinner. Breakfast, dinner.
Day 4:PUNTA CORMORANT AND POST OFFICE BAY: Landing at Punta Cormorant you follow a trail which leads to a salt water lagoon where you can expect to see flamingos and a range of marine birds. Time permitting you can enjoy a swim or snorkel at Devil's Crown. Lunch is back onboard Beluga. Then head to Post Office Bay. Full board
Day 5:TINTOREAS AND SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO: Today visit Isabela. You make landfall at Puerto Villamil and spend time at the nearby tortoise breeding. Then onto Las Tintoreras, to see reef sharks swimming alongside small fish and sea lions. Later in the day see the magnificent Sierra Negra volcano. There's time to explore on foot and get some stunning photographs before you return to Beluga. Full board
Day 6:PUNTA MORENO AND ELIZABETH BAY: At Punta Moreno there are tidal rock pools plus small lagoons and mangroves and wildlife abounds. Accompany your guide as you see out penguins and seabirds including flamingos, blue herons and brown pelicans. Return to Beluga for lunch, and later in the day you land at Elizabeth Bay, where you should spot blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants and penguins. Full board
Day 7:URBINA BAY & TAGUS COVE: Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove are your destinations today. Urbina Bay is home to tortoises, penguins, flightless cormorants and brown pelicans. After lunch visit Tagus Cove, a natural harbour once prized by pirates. Birds abound, and you can hope to observe yellow warblers, Galapagos hawks, finches and flycatchers. There are good chances to see whales and dolphins too. Full board.
Day 8:FERNANDINA & ISABELA: Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island is the only visitor on this the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. The lava fields with the six volcanos in neighbouring Isabela, remind you of the volcanic heritage of the archipelago. Frequently seen penguins, flightless cormorants and marine iguanas. After lunch visit Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela, another great place to view bird-life, with both blue-footed and Nazca boobies present. Full board.
Day 9:SANTIAGO & BARTOLOME: Today visit Santiago, the second of the islands visited by Charles Darwin. At Puerto Egas there's a walking trail along the coast leading to grottoes from where you can watch fur seals. Set back from the coast there's a seasonal saline lagoon in a small volcanic cone, where flamingos can often be spotted. Later in the day land on Bartolome, to follow the trail to the highest point on the island. Return to Beluga in time for dinner. 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)

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Ecuador holiday, Quito & the Galapagos

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

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.

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).

For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.

Community:
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.

Community

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.

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