London – Madrid – Quito
Your journey begins with a flight to Madrid, where you will meet your connecting flight to Quito. You’ll be staying at the heart of the city’s old town, within walking distance of its beautiful churches, museums and national monuments.
Quito is one of the highest cities in Latin America, second only to La Paz in Bolivia, and boasts a spectacular setting at the foot of the Pichincha volcano. A guided tour of the old quarter will reveal the city’s rich historic heritage, taking in the grand mansions and monasteries designed by colonial architects in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Stay: Two nights in a standard room at Hotel Patio Andaluz – bed & breakfast
Galapagos Islands Cruise
The time has come to set off on your Galapagos cruise! You will catch a flight to the Galapagos and board the Anahi, a spacious yacht accommodating just 16 passengers. There is ample open deck space where you can relax and take in the wonders of the islands.
The first day will be spent exploring Santa Cruz with its lava tubes, sinkholes, craters and abundance of birdlife including Darwin’s Finches, yellow warblers and the vermillion flycatcher. This is also one of the best places to see the Galapagos Tortoise in its natural habitat. You then move on to Isabela Island where you’ll hike to the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano and visit the 100 metre long Wall of Tears, built by prisoners in the mid-20th century.
On the third day of your cruise you’ll take a panga ride out to see a huge penguin colony at Elizabeth Bay, also home to sea turtles, flightless cormorants and Galapagos hawks. At Tagus Cove you’ll read inscriptions left by pirates and whalers on the surrounding cliffs, and the following day cross over to Punta Espinoza to see large groups of marine iguanas.
You land on Santiago Island on the sixth day; here you can hike to a salt crater and stroll along the shore to see Galapagos fur seals. Then it’s on to Rabida Island where you’ll visit a coastal lagoon home to numerous birds including a flamingo colony. On day seven you will have the chance to unwind on a beautiful beach at Bartolome Island, where you can also snorkel amongst fish, penguins and sea turtles. The following afternoon, after a morning excursion to North Seymour, you will disembark your cruise.
Stay: Seven nights in a standard cabin aboard the Anahi – including all meals and excursions
Baltra – Guayaquil – Madrid – London
After disembarking at Baltra, you will be taken to the airport to check in for your flight to Guayaquil. From there you will board a flight to Madrid, where you will meet your connecting flight home – arriving in London in the afternoon.
Alison was more than helpful and practical. Nice people traveled in Royal style.- MC, Seychelles, 2014