BEST VALUE
Journey Price: $11,799.41
11,799 Points Applied: -$2,359.41
Cash Remainder: $9,440
Prices per person sharing a room. 20¢ per point

 Deposit $1,000.00 per person.
Prices are per person based on 2 people sharing a cabin/room. Single room supplement $2,622.00.

Book online

See available dates
Book online or call Call us on:1.855.624.4386 Monday to Thursday 09:00am - 8:00pm. Friday 09:00am - 17:30pm (London time)

Book your journey

Choose from the list below to book your journey

Available journeys:

  • Oct 31, 2019. The Galapagos & Ecuador Adventure.
    Cash only option
    31 Oct - 12 Nov 2019 from $11,799 Sold out
  • Oct 31, 2019. Silver & Standard members: The Galapagos & Ecuador Adventure.
    Apply 11,799 points per person at $0.20 per point leaving a cash remainder of $9,440 per person
    31 Oct - 12 Nov 2019 from $9,440 Sold out
Book online or call 1.855.624.4386

Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Destination: The Galapagos & Ecuador Adventure
Duration: 13 Days, 12 Nights.
Flight information: Please arrange your flights to arrive into Quito Airport, Ecuador on Day 1 and depart on Day 13
Pickup location: Quito Airport, Ecuador

Overview

October 31, 2019 (Sold Out)

Or select your own group departure date

Cruise the Galapagos Islands on a luxury class catamaran, including an exploration of the capital and cloud forests of Ecuador

Visit the cloud forests of Ecuador and Cruise the Galapagos Islands, soaking up the unique beauty of this region of the Earth. Our journey starts with a four-day stay on the Ecuador mainland, exploring the culture and cloud forests of Quito, Ecuador. Then we journey on a small and intimate cruise of the Galapagos Islands aboard the Alya luxury class catamaran. The Alya has only 9 double cabins for guests, guaranteeing you an intimate exploration and making the most of what this environment has to offer.

An adventure through the archepelago which inspired Charles Darwin to write ‘On The Origin Of Species’ is almost guaranteed to leave you feeling invigorated and make you think and feel differently about the world.

Itinerary

Itinerary summary:

Day 1 - Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Day 2 - Quito City tour & Visit the Equator.
Day 3 -  Otavalo Market, Quito
Day 4 -  Mindo Cloud Forest
Day 5 - Flights to Baltra. Embark. Highlands of Santa Cruz & Twin Craters
Day 6 - The Galapagos Cruise; Isabela Island - Moreno Point & Elizabeth Bay
Day 7 - The Galapagos Cruise; Isabela Island - Urbina Bay & Espinosa Point
Day 8 - The Galapagos Cruise; Tagus Cove & Vicente Roca Point
Day 9 - The Galapagos Cruise; Santiago Island - Espumilla Beach & Egas Port
Day 10 - The Galapagos Cruise; Rábida Island & Chinese Hat
Day 11 - The Galapagos Cruise; Santa Cruz - Las Bachas & Plazas
Day 12 - Disembark. Flight to Mainland. Farewell dinner.
Day 13 - Goodbye to Ecuador and home

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Full Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Quito, Ecuador

Welcome to Ecuador! We will be met at Quito airport for our transfers to the hotel. The rest of the day will be spent at leisure, allowing some time to acclimatise and soak up the atmosphere of Quito.

Included Meals: None
Accommodation: 4* JW Marriott in Quito

Day 2 - Quito City tour & Visit the Equator.

After breakfast we will enjoy a city orientation tour. We will walk down quaint cobbled streets lined with beautiful brightly coloured colonial houses with balconies dressed in flowers, watched over by the winged virgin of Quito sitting up on the Panecillo. The Panecillo, so named for its bread like shape, is a parasitic crater formed by magma from Pichincha Volcano. We walk along streets used by the past Incan people on their own route to the Panecillo which is thought to have been a Centre of worship to the Sun and Moon Gods. This Incan avenue was transformed into a place heavily influenced by Christianity when the Spanish arrived. They erected seven crosses along the avenue in an effort to make the indigenous people believe in their God. We walk along this street to the Plaza de la Independencia. On the south side of the square lie one of the oldest cathedrals in South America and the modern sacred heart of the city: La Catedral de Quito, an impressive white walled building with green glazed ceramic domes. Look out for the plaque marking the spot on which President Gabriel Garcia Moreno was killed. The symmetrical Palacio de Carondelet, the Presidential Palace, runs along the western side of the square. Its overhanging balconies were a gift from the French Government and are originally from the Palace of the Tuilleries in Paris. We look in at the ancestral interior courtyard of the Centro Cultural Metropolitano, whose previous lives include: tobacco factory, prison and university. A few buildings up past the Biblioteca Nacional is the incomparable Iglesia de la Compañia, a Jesuit church overflowing in Baroque art, it’s tragic history covered in gold concealing the devastating fire and earthquake that shook it.

Next up, we will head out north-west of Quito, where the landscape becomes dry and sandy. In this desert-like place, we will pass the small towns of San Antonio de Pichincha and Calacalí. As we drive along you will notice that the vegetation becomes denser and the leaves of the plants and trees become larger until we reach the Mitad del Mundo, the middle of the earth as calculated and measured by the French Geodesics Mission. We will also stop at the archaeological site of Tulipe where we’ll look at the ruins of ceremonial pools used for ritual baths and sacraments by the Yumbos, a pre-Incan population. Here an explanation of their way of life and their organization of an important trading route between the coast and the highlands will be given. The Yumbos and the Spanish conquerors were contemporaries and at the museum a guide will tell you more about how the arrival of the Spanish affected the Yumbo people.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: 4* JW Marriott in Quito

DAY 3 - Otavalo Market, Quito

Today we will visit the Otovalo handcraft market, situated outside of Quito. The indigenous Otavaleños are famous for their weaving, usually with wool. There are also stalls selling textiles, tagua nut jewellery, musical instruments, dream catchers, leather goods and much more, all traditional handicrafts of the local people.

Included Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Accommodation: 4* JW Marriott in Quito

Day 4 - Mindo Cloud Forest.

Today is our canopy adventure day in the town of Mindo. Here the cloud forest has more than 400 species of bird and the second highest number of endemic species of butterfly in the country. A team of professional and prepared guides will take us on an amazing journey above the cloud forest on a series of zip lines. Harness up and enjoy the forest from above and the adrenalin of flying through the air with the birds. After a safe landing we head to a local restaurant for lunch.

In the afternoon we will visit a butterfly farm and see the different phases of a butterfly’s life cycle. From here we will take a short walk into the cloud forest, keeping an eye out for exotic birds and mammals amongst the lush vegetation and listen to the gentle background hum of life in this mega diverse place. As the afternoon light fades we travel back up into the mountains and up to Quito.

Included Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Accommodation: 4* JW Marriott in Quito

Day 5 - Flights to Baltra. Embark. Highlands of Santa Cruz & Twin Craters

Today we fly from Quito to Baltra, The Galapagos Islands. We'll be met on arrival after passing through immigration and baggage claim. When ready, you will be transferred to The Alya Catamaran in Puerto Ayora. You will then be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before the welcome briefing and lunch. In the afternoon we venture into the Highlands of Santa Cruz, a great start to our time here as its know for its rich wildlife and varied landscapes including hills, volcanoes and lava tubes. Exploring the lava tubes is a surreal and unique experience. Here you can see all the different agricultural zones that are present in the Galapagos in one place. The variety of birds makes this a bird watchers delight. Next we'll head to the The Twin Craters or Gemelos (meaning twins in Spanish) which are two caved in magma chambers from a previous volcano. After years of erosion and extinction, the once full chambers caved in leaving two similar craters that can be seen on a short hike that passes by a Scalesia forest.

Included Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Onboard

Day 6 - The Galapagos Cruise; Isabela Island - Moreno Point & Elizabeth Bay

In the morning we'll explore Isabela Island and on the South Western point of Isabela Island is Moreno Point where we'll head to first. With striking black geological features it is home to endemic species known only to the barren lava flows found here. Various activities are possible such as a hike, a panga ride to better see various sea birds, geological features, and snorkeling to view the vibrant underwater life. In the afternoon we head to the southern parts of Isabela Island and explore Elizabeth Bay. There are a series of islets, a lagoon and mangroves surrounding it. The mangroves provide a great place to observe many birds and at the lagoon it is possible to see sea turtles resting and feeding.

Included Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Onboard

Day 7 - The Galapagos Cruise; Isabela Island - Urbina Bay & Espinosa Point

This morning our first stop around Isabela Island is Urbina Bay, just south of Tagus Cove. Urbina Bay is an interesting site due to the uplifts of the island caused by volcanic and tectonic activity. When it rose, so did the corals and reefs that were under the surface. You can still see them although they are beginning to deteriorate due to air exposure. There are chances of seeing giant tortoises, land iguanas, and more flightless cormorants near the coast. Later we'll head to Espinosa Point: This area on Fernandina also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos Hawk. Land iguanas are found on the inner parts of the island near the volcanoes caldera and marine iguanas will nest on the coast during certain times of the year. There is only one visitor site to Fernandina which may involve a hike or snorkeling opportunity, but the rest of the island is left untouched by visitors.

Included Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Onboard

Day 8 - The Galapagos Cruise; Tagus Cove & Vicente Roca Point

Today we visit Tagus Cove. This visitor site is located on the upper west part of the island and was named after an English war ship that used to pass the islands in the 1800’s. This was a famous spot for many pirates and sailors who have even left their names and the names of the ship inscribed on volcanic rock. There are many different characteristics of the island here from various volcanic activities such as large volcanic rocks or small little balls of petrified rain. On the hike the path leads to Darwin Lake with a tuff cone. In the afternoon we'll visit Vicente Roca Point. On Vicente Roca Point the geological formations are simply outstanding and it is a great place to view various bird species such as blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and brown noddy terns. Activities here are all done on the water by either dinghy or panga, or snorkeling. On this western part of the island the Cromwell Current provides cold water and many nutrients. Due to this it is possible to see various feeding frenzies of an assortment of animals such as whales, dolphins, sea lions, and marine birds diving. At times it may also be likely to see fur seals.

Included Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Onboard

Day 9 - The Galapagos Cruise; Santiago Island - Espumilla Beach & Egas Port

This morning we visit Espumilla Beach, Santiago Island. Espumilla beach is located in northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence the El Niño phenomenon, one of the two lagoons in this site, underwent a process of sedimentation, thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. The main attractions are the Palo Santo forest and the marvelous beach that is an important site for nesting marine turtles.

Still on Santigo Island, our next stop is Egas Port, also known as James Bay. It is home to quick footed Galapagos lava lizards, Galapagos fur seals along the grottos and tide pools and is a great snorkeling site.

Included Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Onboard

Day 10 - The Galapagos Cruise; Rábida Island & Chinese Hat

Rábida Island is unique because of the red color of the rocks and sand. The volcanic material in this island is very porous and external factors as rain, salt water and sea breeze have acted as an oxidizing agent.
A short walk along a trail lead us to a coastal lagoon behind the beach, which permits the observation of land birds, such as finches, doves, yellow warblers and mocking birds. At the lagoon there is a colony of flamingos. The beach is often full of sea lions, and there are good snorkeling opportunities. In the afternoon we'll visit Chinese Hat: This is a small islet (1 sq. km) located just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island. It is a recent volcanic cone, shaped like a Chinese hat when seen from north side. On the west side lava formations can be seen that were formed under the sea and pushed upward - this is why coral heads are found on the lava. This is an excellent visit for viewing and understanding the different geological features such as lava tubes and lava flows. The landscape is also covered by sea lion colonies, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins.

Included Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Onboard

Day 11 - The Galapagos Cruise; Santa Cruz - Las Bachas & Plazas

Today is our last full day of cruising in The Galapagos Islands. We'll visit Las Bachas (Santa Cruz): These two small beaches are found to the West of Black Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategic point to protect the Panama Channel.

In the afternoon we visit South Plazas, located to the east of Santa Cruz Island. It forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found on other islands. Throughout the island there are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray colour, with a land iguana's crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tuna, their favorite food. Swallow Tailed Gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other sea birds such as: Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.

Included Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation: Onboard

Day 12 - Disembark. Flight to Mainland. Farewell dinner.

Today our cruise comes to its end and we disembark in the morning. We'll visit the Interpretation Centre of San Cristobal: The Galapagos National Park Visitor Center lies close to the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The center explains a series of natural circumstances such as the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, its ocean currents, its special climate, the arrival of different species, and their establishment, amongst others.

Afterwards we'll fly back to the mainland and enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Wyndham Quito Airport

Day 13 - Goodbye to Ecuador and home

Breakfast at the hotel. You will be transferred from the hotel to meet the departure flights home...or why not extend your stay in South America with a few days in Peru to see Macchu Picchu? 

Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: None

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • Return economy flights from Ecuador mainland [UIO] to the Baltra [GPS]
  • Transit Control Card
  • Use of snorkelling equipment & wetsuit
  • Meet & Greet at the airport on arrival
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary
  • 4* Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • All meals detailed as detailed in the itinerary
  • Excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • A qualified and experienced English speaking guide.
  • Transport in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle.

What's not included

  • International flights to&from Quito International Airport, Ecuador (UIO)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (currently $100pp paid in cash at the airport)
  • Transfers on arrival or departure, to/from the airport(s), outside of the tour dates.
  • Drinks.
  • Gratuities to drivers, guides or rangers etc.
  • Visas, travel and medical insurance.
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above.
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary.
  • Any optional activities offered.

Important information

  • Itineraries while cruising are unlikely to change significantly but are subject to change. Weather, wildlife breeding, safety concerns, instructions from the Galapagos National Park, specific abilities and interests of passengers as well as operational matters may cause your guide or captain to change the time or nature of visits. Your guide and captain will always endeavor to select the best itinerary within these limits. 
  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2-3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Please consult your doctor for advice on vaccinations and innoculations before travel.
  • We can provide you with a list of recommended tipping scales if you wish, or suggest an all-inclusive tips package that we will distribute fairly to ensure the best possible service.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable. Final payments are due 14 days prior to departure.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.
Once in a lifetime

Book your journey

Choose from the list below to book your journey.

Available journeys:

  • Oct 31, 2019. The Galapagos & Ecuador Adventure.
    Cash only option
    31 Oct - 12 Nov 2019 from $11,799 Sold out
  • Oct 31, 2019. Silver & Standard members: The Galapagos & Ecuador Adventure.
    Apply 11,799 points per person at $0.20 per point leaving a cash remainder of $9,440 per person
    31 Oct - 12 Nov 2019 from $9,440 Sold out
Book online or call 1.855.624.4386

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The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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