Ecuador's Galapagos Islands Escape

6 Days / 5 Nights - Departure: Sundays

Welcome to Quito and Ecuador! At the International airport you will be greeted by a fluent English speaking member of our organization who will escort you all the way to your hotel, giving you a short briefing about Quito and the country in general, with valuable information you need to know. 
Enjoy scenic, Colonial and artistic Quito. Visit museums, monasteries and the golden altars of its many churches. Then, stand with a foot on each hemisphere on the Middle of the World. 

The capital of Ecuador has a setting that few cities can match.  During the 13th century it was the prosperous center of the Kingdom of Quitus.  It later became the northern capital of the Inca Empire. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Colonial architects built formidable temples, monasteries and mansions, creating an urban jewel designated by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Quito's artistic creativity awaits the visitor in cosmopolitan galleries and boutiques filled with contemporary paintings, sculptures and exquisite traditional crafts.

Accommodation this evening will be in the hotel of your choosing from the portfolio of Sundance Spirit recommended hotels for one (1) night, defined by their individual star quality & category 

DAY 2 : MONDAY - QUITO / Baltra airport
Breakfast & dinner
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Baltra (2 ½ hours flight). Upon arrival you will be welcomed & transferred by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Galapagos Legend, for a three (3) night cruise.
Afternoon: Highlands – Pit Craters (Santa Cruz)
Dry landing. A 45-minute bus ride will take us to the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years. Additionally, travelers can walk inside surprising lava tubes; we also visit Pit Craters created from the collapse of surface materials into chamber fissures underground. It’s a great place to spot Vermilion Flycatcher as we walk inside an endemic Scalesia forest.
Difficulty level: easy
Duration: 45 minutes drive / 1h30 walk

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Wet landing on a beach of black volcanic sand, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half of partially uneven terrain is comprised of volcanic basaltic rock lounging the shoreline.
The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the bizarre Yellow-crowned Night Heron and astounding array of marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally Light-foot Crabs. Colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water pools formed by volcanic rocks are also a highlight.
Difficulty level: intermediate
Duration: 1h30 walk / 1 hour snorkeling
Afternoon: Bartolomé
Dry or wet landing. We discover a fascinating moonscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones —lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones —as we hike to the summit for impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards and blue-footed boobies.
Beach time is a great opportunity to snorkel and see (perhaps swim with) Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best of snorkeling experiences; the water here is generally clear, without too much surf and full of marine life.
Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable. Pioneer plants are observed, so called because they are the first to establish roots on new ground. They include Tiquilia nesiotica (which is endemic to the island) and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes. Behind the beach we have dunes covered by mangroves.
Difficulty level: intermediate.
Duration: 1h30 walk / 1 hour snorkeling

DAY 4 : WEDNESDAY - Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz)
Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Dry landing. We walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingos can be occasionally found. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation up to Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchorage and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warblers and Galapagos Doves.
Difficulty level: intermediate
Duration: 2 hours walk
Afternoon: North Seymour
Dry landing. This is perhaps one of the busiest tourist destinations on the archipelago. Off of Baltra Island (where the airport is located) and not far from Santa Cruz, North Seymour is the most accessible for day trips out of Santa Cruz’s main port, Puerto Ayora.
An approximately two hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles and as well as sea lions. You will also encounter sea lions, land iguanas, and on a lucky day, you might even come across a Galapagos Snake.
Difficulty level: intermediate
Duration: 2 hours walk, 30 minute snorkeling

DAY 5 : THURSDAY - Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)
Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Wet landing on the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lie two small flamingo ponds with iguanas, coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native and endemic vegetation, red and black mangroves, salt bushes, and much more. This beach is one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles in the Galapagos. A female can lay eggs 3 or 4 times with an average of 70 eggs each, but then spend 3 or 5 years without breeding.
At this paradisiacal site we will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago, once property of the United States Navy when they operated an airbase on Baltra Island during World War II. That is why the beach is called “Bachas” because the word “barges” in English was hard to pronounce for the local people.
Difficulty level: easy
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling/swimming
After that, check out from the cruise & transfer to the airport for return flight to Quito.
Upon arrival you will be met by a fluent English speaking Sundance Spirit representative & by private air-conditioned vehicle, you will be transferred to your confirmed hotel. Accommodation here for one (1) night in Quito, with buffet breakfast included.

This morning after breakfast you will check out of your hotel & at a time that will be advised to you well in advance, transfer by way of a private air-conditioned vehicle to the International airport so you may check in for your international flight.
This brings to a conclusion the services as provided by Sundance Spirit.

QUITO - Dann Carlton
MV Galapagos Legends - Standard Interior Cabin