Download Galapagos and Ecuador - Onboard the Legend Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Quito
You will be met on arrival at Quito Airport and transfered to our Quito hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Quito.
Day 2: Quito City Tour
Explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas. On our tour we visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compañía (Society of Jesus Church) and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. Drive through the traditional neighborhood of San Juan. Finish the tour at the "Panecillo" hillside with its breathtaking views of the old and modern city.
Overnight in Quito.
Day 3: Fly to Galapagos Islands, Mosquera Islet
This morning you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island where we are greeted by our Galapagos guides. Upon arrival we take a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Legend.
PM: Wet Landing, Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands, this flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site for observing shorebirds such as herons and Lava Gulls. There is no trail on Mosquera Island, so any visitor can enjoy an open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium portulacastrum grows on the sand.
Day 4: South Plaza (Plazas Island), Santa Fe
AM: Dry landing on the northern part of the Islet. The walk begins with an impressive cactus forest surrounded by land and marine iguanas; as we reach its highest point, be on the lookout for tropicbirds, a Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls.
In South Plaza there is a large colony of the smaller sized land iguanas. The population is approximately 300 individuals. They feed on all kinds of vegetation, but during the dry season survive on the fruits and flowers of Opuntia cacti. Due to their proximity with marine iguanas, this is the only place on Earth where we will find the Galapagos hybrid iguana.
PM: Wet landing on a white sand beach surrounded by a sea lion colony; we continue walking through an endemic cactus forest as we search for the endemic Santa Fe land iguana, the largest in the islands and distinctively paler. This island is home to a number of endemic species including Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, a variety of finches and one of the four species of Galapagos mockingbirds. Deep-water snorkeling.
Day 5: Pitt Point / Pitt Islet, Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal)
AM: Wet landing followed by a high intensity hike on rocky terrain. The trail includes an olivine beach of 90 meters long and a path that climbs to the top of a volcanic tuff, through several magnificent viewpoints. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as two species of frigatebirds and a sea lion colony; it is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling, where a good range of sea birds can be observed.
PM: Wet landing. Cerro Brujo is an eroding tuff cone* that at several locations is composed of AA lava formations and a beautiful white sand beach, great for snorkeling and sunbathing. We visit a lagoon where migratory bird species can be seen: Black-necked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, other sandpiper species and White-cheeked Pintails. Cerro Brujo offers beautiful views of Kicker Rock, the southern part of San Cristobal and the adjacent coast.
Day 6: Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve, Interpretation Centerer & Tijeretas Hill (San Criristobal)
AM: Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the San Cristobal giant tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park's conservation programs. Enjoy a beautiful landscape on the way to the Reserve. Passengers will also have the opportunity to visit the port village, have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
PM: Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands. Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about Natural History in the Galapagos. The Museum of Natural History displays information on the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the islands.
Day 7: Gardner Bay, Gardner & Osborn islets, Suarez Point (Espanola)
AM: Wet landing on a beautiful white coral sand beach guarded by a colony of sea lions. There are no trails, so we stay along the shore where we can spot Galapagos hawks, American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Ground Doves, Hood mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas and three species of Darwin's finches: a subspecies (Geospiza fuliginosa) of the Large Cactus Finch, which is similar to the large ground finch, the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the Warbler Finch (Certhidea Olivacea), another endemic subspecies. Swimming and snorkeling offer a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, Creole fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, manta rays and white-tipped reef sharks.
PM: Dry landing. An island of geological interest, we explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Espanola mockingbird, Nazca Boobies and the spectacular Red-billed Tropicbird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs.
A somewhat lengthy hike will bring you among Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birding favorites include Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Hawk, Swallow-tailed Gulls and the world's largest colony of Waved Albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December).
Admire the island's dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air.
Day 8: Post Office, Cormorant Point, Devil's Crown, Champion (Floreana)
AM: Wet landing. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay is so-named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them to their destinations. Today, our visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel that should reach their destinations for free. It can take weeks, months, even years, not arrive at all or even arrive before you!
We may also encounter Darwin's finches, Yellow Warbler and lava lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles as well, this island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus pinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.
PM: Wet landing, on an olivine green sand beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach one can spot sea turtles, Blue-footed Boobies plunging into the water and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in search of food.
This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.
Day 9: Highlands, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center - Charles Darwin Station (Santa Cruz)
AM: 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.
PM: Dry landing. We visit the Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place as part of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment and where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen of its species) lived for decades. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and a variety of Darwin's finches and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands and to tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.
Day 10: Daphne, Fly to Quito
AM: We circumnavigate the islet of Daphne, an eroded tuff cone formation* that was created by successive volcanic activity, for an opportunity to see Darwin's finches, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Brown Noddies.
PM: We will depart the Galapagos and take our short flight to Quito where you will have free time to enjoy Quito. Overnight in Quito.
Day 11: Depart Quito
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.