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 Island, Interpretation Centerer & Tijeretas Hill (San Cristobal)
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: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: Daphne, Highlands - Pit Craters (Santa Cruz)
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: 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.
Day 8: Egas Port / Salt Mines (Santiago), Bartolomé
AM: 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 an 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.
PM: 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.
Day 9: Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz), North Seymour
AM: Dry landing. We walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingoes 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.
PM: 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 frigatebirds and swallow-tailed gulls for an in depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles, 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.
Day 10: Ballena Bay / Eden Islet (Santa Cruz), Fly to Quito
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.