Galapagos Islands

The Best of Ecuador and the Galapagos

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The Best of Ecuador and the Galapagos

16 Days

Starting at $8500USD does not include flight to Quito

Call for more details: 604-739-3622

Overview

The Galapagos Islands are like no other place on Earth. Far out in the Pacific Ocean, this archipelago was formed by titanic geothermic upheavals that created volcanic islands, some of which are still in the throes of creation today.

When Charles Darwin the Galapagos Islands  in 1835, he observed a pristine, naturally-isolated living laboratory that would inspire and refine his theories, which he would release upon the world – to shattering effect – decades later. The islands have not lost their ability to inspire: the magic Darwin found over 150 years ago is still thriving in this remarkable environment.

While you experience our Galapagos cruise, you can walk among unique species such as marine iguanas basking in the sun and observe the elaborate mating rituals of blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and frigate birds. Unthreatened by predators, Galapagos island cruise creatures are undisturbed by visitors, who, one and all, come away inspired and changed by their experience of nature here.

Ecuador is located to the Northwest of South America, straddling latitude 0°, right at the “Middle of the World”. The country’s geography encompasses a dazzling variety of landscapes: magnificent beaches on the shores of the Pacific; Amazon rainforest; Andean cloudforests, snow-capped mountains and volcanoes; Highland Indian villages and colonial cities.

The highlands region of Ecuador, also known as La Sierra, lies between the western coastal lowlands and the eastern jungles. It is a naturally diverse area of untamed volcanoes, hot springs (thermal baths), unique flora and fauna, serene landscapes, misty cloud forests, and barren paramo vistas. The highlands are also culturally significant due to the many native Indian craft markets and the modern and thriving colonial cities.

itinerary

Day 1                     QUITO, ECUADOR

Upon arrival in Quito you will be met and transferred to an elegant boutique hotel located in the historical centre of Quito, where you’ll enjoy a 2 night stay, including breakfast.

Day 2                     QUITO                                                 

After breakfast depart on a morning tour of Colonial Quito, a city of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city´s many spectacularly decorated historic churches. The city has one of the best preserved colonial centres in all South America and its integrity was assured in 1978 when the United Nations declared Quito a World Cultural Heritage site.

The rest of the day is at leisure to explore this fascinating city on your own.

Day 3                     QUITO – GALAPAGOS                                                   

After breakfast, check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport for your 3 hour flight to the Galapagos Islands. On arrival you will be met and transferred from the airport to the yacht, where you will start your eight day/seven night cruise of the Galapagos Islands aboard the first class 16 passenger vessel, a large, spacious catamaran. All meals, daily activities and an English speaking naturalist are included whilst on board. Settle into your cabin and enjoy lunch on board, followed by a safety briefing before your cruise begins:

Friday:  am. Arrival at Baltra, transfer to the town of Pto. Ayora and board the Yacht.                                                 pm. Visit to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Saturday:        am. Visit Sierra Negra Volcano (or Tintoreras)                                                                                         pm. Wetlands/ Tortoises Breeding Center.

Sunday:          am. Isabela: Visit to Moreno Point                                                                                                                 pm. Visit to Elizabeth Bay

Monday:         am. Isabela: Visit to Tagus Cove.                                                                                                                     pm. Isabela: Visit to Urbina Bay

Tuesday:        am. Fernandina: Visit Punta Espinoza                                                                                                           pm. Isabela: Visit Punta Vicente Roca.

Wednesday:  am. Santiago: Visit Pto. Egas                                                                                                                           pm.Visit Rabida Island.

Thursday:      am. Visit Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat)                                                                                                     pm. Visit Bartolome Island.

Friday:            am. Visit Seymour Island and disembark

Day 10                  GALAPAGOS – QUITO                                                                                                           Today your Galapagos cruise comes to an end. Disembark and head to the airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.

On arrival in Quito you will be met and transferred to a quaint colonial style hotel near the airport for check-in and overnight, breakfast included.

Days 11 – 13        AMAZON RAINFOREST                 

This morning transfer to the airport for your flight into the Amazon. Continue by road and motorized canoe deep into the Amazon jungle, enjoying the wide variety of flora and fauna along the river before arriving at your lodge around dusk.

This morning transfer to the airport for your flight into the Amazon. Continue by road and motorized canoe deep into the Amazon jungle, enjoying the wide variety of flora and fauna along the river before arriving at your lodge around dusk.

Discover the very essence of being in contact with the virgin forest by spending the next 3 days at a lodge that was built in partnership with family members of the local community, who still have the same customs, dress, houses, food, natural medicine and celebrations they did in primitive times.

Accommodation at the lodge consists of comfortable rooms featuring private bathrooms with hot running water, bio-degradable soap and shampoo, purified drinking water and insects nets.

Facilities include a dining room, a bar offering a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, a lounge with comfortable sofas and hammocks, and the stargazing octagon.

Morning and afternoon excursions from the lodge include:

  • Navigating upstream by motorized canoe towards “Laguna Grande” (Big Lake), while looking for monkeys, pink river dolphins, caymans, Morphos (giant blue butterflies)and many more species of flora and fauna. For the brave-hearts there is an opportunity to swim in the lake with Piranhas – a refreshing experience!
  • Trekking along the Palma Roja (Red Palm) path for an up-close encounter with primary rainforest.
  • Travelling downstream by motorized canoe and search for exotic birds such as Toucans, a variety of Macaws, blue-tailed Emeralds, Hoatzins and Amazon Kingfishers, to name a few.
  • Visiting a local village with the opportunity to make Bannock bread from the root of a plant and to meet the local Shaman and his family. If you like you can even participate in a healing ceremony.

 Day 14                  AMAZON – QUITO – OTAVALO

Return to Quito, where you will be met and transferred to a historic Hacienda, located near the market town of Otavalo. This Hacienda is a restored, 17th-century estate, located in beautiful gardens at an altitude of 8.500ft/2.600m in the Ecuadorian sierra.

Day 15                  AT LEISURE AT THE HACIENDA

A day at leisure to enjoy the typical life on a Hacienda:

Guest rooms, garden cottages, suites and salons are furnished with antiques and select Andean crafts, most with log-burning fireplaces & beamed-ceilings, overlooking several acres of landscaped perennial gardens, ancient trees, and often snow-capped mountains.

Enjoy the art and antiques; explore several acres of gardens, towers, parapet views, dining room murals, and craft store; relax in the library, reading-room or games room – offering Chess, Checkers, Scrabble, Monopoly and darts; exert some energy playing ping-pong, volley-ball or squash or take a swim in the pool.

There are stables, guinea pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, geese, etc., or try one of many walks and self-guided tours. Area maps & anti-dog devices are available at reception.

At 5 pm tea is served on the main garden patio to take in the sunset, or enjoy a fireside cocktail.

After a candlelight dinner by the log fire, check out the night sky or watch a video (with popcorn) by the log fire.

For the more energetic traveler we suggest:

  • A walk around Cuicocha Crater Lake – with prolific flora and panoramic views.
  • Climbing to the top of Fuyafuya, a volcano in the mountain range of Mojand. It’s a stiff uphill climb and you’ll be reward with spectacular views.
  • Visit the fine, partially excavated 9th century earth pyramids of Cochasqui

Day 16                  END OF SERVICES

Enjoy your last morning in the Andian Highlands before being transferred to Quito airport for your onward flight.

 

 

The Best of Ecuador and the Galapagos

16 Days

Starting at $8500USD does not include flight to Quito

Call for more details: 604-739-3622

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Need Travel Insurance?

Gain peace of mind when you hit the road on your travel adventure. Pick up some travel insurance to ensure you are covered for the unexpected.

We recommend Manulife for our CANADIAN travellers

We recommend CSA for our AMERICAN travellers

Need Travel Insurance?

Want to make your own quick booking online hassle free, check out these online booking resources:

We recommend AIR CANADA for our travellers

We recommend PARK'N'FLY for our travellers

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    Robyn has been my travel agent for all 30 treks. Over the years I have had my friends and clients who have accompanied me use Robyn as their preferred agent. She takes care of their flight bookings and additional travels in conjunction with their Nepal adventure. She also provides bombproof travel insurance. I have had 6 helicopter evacuations over the past 14 years, and not one claim was ever disputed.

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  • "I met Robyn in March of 2006 when she was an agent for a newly formed Nepal adventure company called Sherpa Encounters. At that time I was interested in trekking mountains worldwide but was frustrated with conventional travel companies. Since that time Robyn, through Personal Travel Management, has sent me to the four corners of the globe. Adventure treks, adventure trips, cruising, flights, hotels and everything in between, Robyn has been able to accommodate my wife's and my travel needs.

    Along with her expertise in planning our trips, she has been there for travel support. Circumstances arise on world adventures and Robyn with her network and expertise has been able to aid in any situation we've encountered along the way to a happy resolve. Without Robyn's expertise on world travel, we would not have been able to fulfill our travel dreams. We both give Robyn and Personal Travel Management our personal stamp of approval for any individual or group our personal stamp of approval for all travel needs.

    Whether it is trekking some of the highest mountains such as Mt. Everest or cruising to the bottom of the world around Cape Horn, Robyn gets us there and back efficiently and safely.
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  • "Hi Janice
    Just a quick note to let you know that we're back from our trip! Tanzania was absolutely incredible! We had such an adventure and Ole and our driver, Elia, made the experience so special. Over the course of our safari, we saw 110 lions (which Ole and Elia said was an unprecedented number), 12 cheetahs, 5 leopards, 3 black rhino, and countless elephants and giraffes. We also became expert bird watchers (although we had a hard time recalling the names) and enjoyed all the magnificent acacia and baobab trees. The tented camp on the Serengeti was magical - so glad we had the opportunity to stay there! We had a hard time saying goodbye on the last day and have promised Ole that when he comes for a visit in Vancouver we'll help him to explore the city.

    Thanks to you both for making this such a special trip and for all the arrangements you made and planning you did!
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    Kerry & Will
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    Susan Smith
  • "My husband and I could not have had the successful destination wedding that we did without the work of Kathryn Comeau from Personal Travel Management. From the start of the planning process with picking the resort until well after our trip, Kathryn was there for us 110% and did not stop working for us the entire time. Her personal and organizational skills made the travel planning seamless, without her I would have been a mess!"
    Natalie and Christian Van Eyk, New West, BC - Married at Grand Palladium Resorts and Spa, Mayan Riviera, Mexico
  • "It was truly a trip to remember and we had a great time! Thank you (Lisa) for all your hard work to get us on our honeymoon! Now we are busy back at work saving and hopefully planning another trip in the not too distant future!"
    Marilyn M, Victoria, BC
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    Sabine
  • "THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your excellent work Christine! I really appreciate your expertise. This will be a great trip [to New York, Greece and Italy] for me and my family. I can't wait for my departure date."
    A Alimenti, Vancouver BC
  • "Perfect! Thank you (Kathryn) for taking such good care of us"
    Judy Stern
  • "We had a great trip to Disneyland, all went well, the kids, parents and grand-parents had a ball. Thanks again (Kathryn) for arranging this trip. I will certainly refer your name, and I will contact you if we have travel plans elsewhere."
    Mac Parlee and family
  • "The river cruise on the Rhine was really good. So very different from the Big Cruises. The tours were excellent. The train journey was a challenge … thank goodness for your (Christine) list of trains and the number of the trains too. I don't think we would have been able to do it without that. Tuscany was great - the house was an old renovated Italian property. We did [follow your suggestions and] go to Cinque Terra - had a wonderful day. So all in all - a very good holiday. Thank you so much for all your help and good suggestions."
    P & M Ayling, Vancouver BC
  • "We were very impressed with the work that Robyn did for us. She was very thorough and paid close attention to our travel requests (both budget and tours). She was very knowledgeable about the areas we visited and her recommendations were all on the money. We had many components to this trip that involved hotels, transfers, flights & boats. In all cases everything was taken care of to the ninth degree and went off without a hitch. We wouldn't hesitate to use work with Robyn again or to recommend her to our friends and family. Thanks Robyn for helping make it a truly memorable vacation!"
    May & Dave Nicol
  • "Thanks (Lisa) from all of us for recommending the Barcello in Mismaloya, we had a great time. I'm thinking of going back next November with some friends. When should I get in touch about setting up the arrangements? I'll be in touch about any travelling we are doing in the future and will pass along anyone who would like the services of a good agent."
  • "The Vancouver National Swim Centre has been working with Darci Murray at Personal Travel for more than 4 years for our travel needs. Darci is always working to get us the best deals on flights, accommodation and transportation and never once have we been disappointed with her service. She is readily available to book last minute flights, or make flight changes as needed, and with many team events this is an all too common occurrence. Travel planning for a large group can often be very stressful, however Darci is very good at balancing and juggling our teams needs, which helps keep it stress free! I highly recommend Darci's services to any individual who is planning a trip for themselves, or any group coordinator working with large teams. She is unquestionably the best at her job!"
    Janice Hanan - Office Manager / Assistance Coach
  • "We wanted to let you know (Kate & John) that this is a great cruise beautiful ship, amazing service, and awesome food. Thank you so much for your lovely gifts, we enjoyed the wine and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill was superb. We are definitely spoiled now for any other stateroom. Thanks again for everything."
    P & S
  • "We are traveling again … I still think you (Christine) are the most experienced and knowledgeable out of all travels agents I met. And, I enjoyed working with you because you know what you're talking about… I'd love to work with you again."
    J. Kitt (Toronto, ON)
  • "Thanks for all your help Lisa! We had a very good, relaxing time. Really liked the Aston Maui Hills Complex. Great room, 2 bedroom, 2 lanais and very peaceful. In the future, I would ask for a 2nd floor unit so that hopefully I could get a view of the ocean. We really appreciate the great service you gave us on such short notice, you made it all possible! I’ll be contacting you for future trips!"
    Neal I, Vancouver, BC
  • "I knew you (Christine) would be able to help Elisabeth with her travel plans and you certainly did. Elisabeth had a brilliant time and repeatedly told me how grateful she was to have your assistance. You took all the headaches out of travel planning and provided her with outstanding suggestions :) Thanks again for your help. I'll certainly be in contact with you again in future."
    Heather H. Vancouver BC
  • "Miyako was my agent for memorable trip to Morocco in the fall of 2009.I found her very knowledgeable, friendly & a pleasure to deal with."
    Jeannette LaFrance
  • "I had my first taste of adventure travel back in 2008, where I spent 2 weeks in Egypt. It was a last minute plan and thanks to Miyako, she made it possible. Miyako is keen in providing detailed information on all the trips, the different available options, and answers questions in a timely manner. Miyako is a world traveler and has visited a lot of countries and her experiences add a personal touch. Ever since my Egypt trip I have always consulted Miyako for my succeeding adventure travel needs. She is truly a dependable resource on adventure travel"
    Stanford Chung
  • "Thanks Robyn, you've done a great job of keeping us informed and patiently laying out the numerous options."
    K.P., 10/11
  • "We would just like to recommend the travel services of Kathryn Comeau of Personal Travel Management Ltd. We have used many travel agents in the last 24 years and no one has come close to her level of professionalism and caring. Not only did she book us a wonderful holiday she went above and beyond when we needed some last night changes to our bookings. We would use her services again without hesitation, and we will be passing on her contact information to family and friends."
    Robin and Ferne Adair
  • "Thank you, thank you and thank you (Kathryn)! You really went above and beyond for us and came to us when we needed you the most... some might call you a super hero of sorts! Thanks for all the hard work and time spend to making our wedding and honeymoon so memorable. It was, and is, so greatly appreciated!"
    Kellie and Kurtis Dikur

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