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Galapagos Islands Tortoise
Discover a land of enchantment with wildlife and landscapes found nowhere else on Earth. Begin with a tour of Quito, the capital of Ecuador and stand with a foot over two hemispheres at the Middle of the World Memorial. The next day, set out on an incredible six-night cruise on the Santa Cruz II as we explore “Darwin’s Playground,” the Galapagos Islands. Every day we will look for wildlife including giant tortoise, seals, iguanas, and a wide variety of colorful tropical birds. We will also tour the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. This tour is perfect for birdwatchers and animal lovers! From your first minute to the last, this rare adventure is the expedition of a lifetime.
March 4 – 14, 2020 | Offer good through November 30, 2019
Starting at: $10,599 $10,099 per person (including all airfare)
Depart the United States for Ecuador. Upon arriving in Quito we are greeted by a local, English speaking guide who will introduce us to the rich culture and dramatic landscapes of the area.Our accommodations for the next two nights are in central Quito.
After breakfast we begin our day of adventure with a tour of Quito. Discover downtown brimming with art and architectural treasures. The colonial square is one of the best-preserved in South America and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other highlights of the morning include Independence Plaza, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace, the temple of La Compañía de Jesus, and the Monastery of San Francisco, showcasing the winged Virgin of Quito. After a Holiday Vacations Welcome Lunch, stop at the Middle of the World Memorial where you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere.Tonight is free to do as you wish. B,L
Enjoy breakfast before we bid farewell to Quito. After a short flight to Baltra Island, centrally located in the Galapagos Islands, we board the Santa Cruz II for the next six nights. Enjoy stylish staterooms, a dining room, outdoor terrace, discovery room, library, panorama bar, and more. We depart to Mosquera Inlet, a small island surrounded by volcanic reefs. Enjoy a short walk on the island and take some time to relax and soak up the unique environment. B,L,D
After breakfast we disembark at our first stop on San Cristobal Island, the first island Darwin visited in the mid-19th century. A 40-minute drive from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno takes us to Cerro Colorado, a breeding center for the highly endangered Galapagos Tortoises. We enjoy our time surrounded by lush vegetation, forests and endemic animals, including the San Cristobal mockingbird, land iguana and lava lizard. After lunch we travel to Punta Pitt, the only place in the Galapagos where all three bird species of booby birds can be found together. There will be opportunities for a panga ride, snorkeling, or swimming. B,L,D
After breakfast we are greeted by white sand beaches and lounging sea lions at Santa Fe Island. Animals in the Galapagos have no instinctive fear of humans, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be intimately close with these astounding species. Surreal species found on the island include the blue-footed booby, endemic Santa Fe land iguana, Galapagos sea lion, and many more. View prickly pear forests on a stroll, go snorkeling, or venture out in a glass bottom boat or kayak. After today’s lunch, we arrive at South Plaza Island. You will be instantly awe-struck by the views of turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and black volcanic rocks. Crimson succulents and vibrant green cacti frame the coastline. Bright yellow-gray land iguanas greet us as we disembark. This is also a birdwatchers paradise with many coastal species to view. B,L,D
This morning we disembark on Santa Cruz Island for our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, dedicated to the promotion of research, conservation and education in the Galapagos Islands.After, we venture to the highlands, the island’s center, where we experience an entirely different ecosystem consisting of lush forests and lava tubes as well as a pleasant stop at a sugar cane and coffee farm. The afternoon is free to view the Rancho Primicias Tortoise Reserve on the Highlands of Santa Cruz, visit Garrapatero Beach, or the town of Puerto Ayora. B,L,D
We tour four million year-old Española Island and discover more unique animal species. We find another birdwatchers haven and the opportunity to see Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, Española Mockingbirds, and more. Here Marine Iguanas remain bright red and green throughout the year, nicknamed the Christmas iguanas. The magnificent blowhole is a unique feature of this island, shooting water high into the sky. Later, take a walk on the white coral beach of Gardner Bay and take in an opportunity for swimming, snorkeling or kayaking along the bay and Osborn Islet. B,L,D
After breakfast, a panga ride takes us to Eden Islet, just off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. This is a perfect place to practice your snorkeling skills with the opportunity to see reef sharks. Or, opt for a glass-bottom boat ride to view life under water and soak in the surroundings. Afternoon brings us to North Seymour Island. Here the flat, low-profile landscape is noticeably different as this island was created by seismic uplift rather than volcanic activity. B,L,D
Today we arrive back at Baltra Island and say goodbye to the Santa Cruz II. We return to the mainland for a restful evening. B,D
We enjoy a day in the northern city of Otavalo, known for its colorful and vibrant markets. Experience a native weaving demonstration before our evening flight home. B,L
We arrive home with memories of our Ecuadorian adventure.
All Last Minute Travel Deals apply only to new bookings, are non-transferable and are non-refundable for cash. Last Minute Travel Deals must be mentioned at the time of booking and cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupons or discounts with the exception of one Travel Voucher (Valued Customer Coupon) and one $100 Travel Show Coupon per person.
Each offer is only good through the date indicated on the deal featured at holidayvacations.com/last-minute-travel-deals.