|Thursday, June 27: Arrive Quito, Ecuador|
|Upon your arrival in Quito, you will be met and transferred to our hotel, where you will have a brief orientation and spend the night. This evening is free for you to dine on your own.|
|Friday, June 28: Otavalo Market|
Today we will visit Octavalo Market. This small-town market dates back to pre-Inca times and is one the most famous markets in South America, serving locals buying and bartering for food and essentials, and tourists looking for crafts, Indian jewelry and traditional woven goods.
Tonight we will enjoy our welcome dinner.
|Saturday, June 29: Quito / Baltra / Bachas|
We depart for the Galapagos Islands in the morning. When we arrive in Baltra, we transfer to the Lil Marleen, and embark after lunch. From here, we will head towards Santa Cruz, disembarking at Bachas, an excellent place to swim.
An interesting website on the geology of the Galapagos Islands,
|Sunday, June 30: James / Bartolome|
At Puerto Egas on James Island
we can swim and play with Galapagos sea lions in a quiet grotto cut into
the lava cliffs.
We can also see blue-footed
boobies diving into the
sea, and Sally lightfoot crabs and colorful lava lizards scurrying at
our feet. A hike to the summit of a once-active volcano on the island
of Bartolome rewards us with panoramic views.
|Monday, July 1: Tower|
On our way to Tower Island,
the most northeastern island of the archipelago, we can encounter dolphins,
whales and immature red-footed boobies. We will watch sea lions among
the pools and fur seals along the cliffs near Prince Philips' Steps. At
Darwin's Bay, we anchor to find spectacular colonies of great frigate
|Tuesday, July 2: Fernandina / Isabela|
|In the strait between Fernandina and Isabela we can often see whales breaching and fluking. Punta Espinosa, on the island of Fernandina, is home to large numbers of marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and Galapagos penguins. This afternoon, we visit Tagus Cove for a forest hike up a small crater to find Darwin's Lake.||
|Wednesday, July 3: Isabela|
Hundreds of nesting blue-footed boobies can bee found on the tiny islands surrounding Isabela. In Urbina Bay, we can walk on an uplifted coral reef which was, before 1956, the sea floor. This afternoon we will visit the mangroves at Elizabeth Bay, home to sea turtles, golden rays, and spotted eagle rays.
|Thursday, July 14: Santa Cruz|
Today we will visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station, which aids the National Park Service in its efforts to protect the Galapagos wildlife.
The museum at the the station has a facility for rearing tortoises, and it is here that we will have the best opportunity to see the famed giant tortoise.
"The day was glowing
hot, and the scrambling over the rough surface and through the intricate
thickets, was very fatiguing; but I was well repaid by the strange Cyclopean
scene. As I was walking along I met two large tortoises, each of which
must have weighed at least two hundred pounds: one was eating a piece
of cactus, and as I approached, it stared at me and slowly walked away;
the other gave a deep hiss, and drew in its head. These huge reptiles,
surrounded by the
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle
|Friday, July 5: Hood|
|Punta Suarez, at the western tip of Hood, has a diverse concentration of wildlife: marine iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, lava lizards, long-billed mockingbirds, oystercatchers, and blue-footed and masked boobies. This is the only place where the majestic waved albatross breeds. A highlight is at Gardner Bay where we can swim with playful sea lions.||
|Saturday, July 6: Black Turtle Cove / Baltra / Quito|
|This morning we will visit mangrove-surrounded Black Turtle Cove, home to sea turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and golden rays. From there, we travel on to Baltra, where we board our flight to Quito. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to our hotel. This evening we will gather for our farewell dinner.|
|Sunday, July 7: Depart Quito|
|After breakfast in Quito, transportation will be provided to the airport for return flights home.|