Arrive at any time. Located 2850m (9348ft) above sea level, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate, despite the fact that it is only 22km (14 mi) south of the Equator.
On a clear day, several snow-capped volcanoes, including nearby Pichincha, are visible from the centre of this city nestled in a mountain-flanked valley. Add a rich history and a well-preserved colonial district to its beautiful location, and you can begin to understand why Quito appeals to thousands of tourists every year.
Catch an early flight to the Galapagos Islands. On arrival, head up to the highlands of Santa Cruz for lunch and to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat before continuing to Puerto Ayora. Fly to Santa Cruz. Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to observe the Galapagos giant tortoise in its natural surroundings. From this elevation, the panoramic views of the other islands are stunning.
Walk from Puerto Ayora along a 2.5 km raised causeway to the stunning white sand and beach of Tortuga Bay for a kayak excursion with time for snorkelling and swimming before returning to town for lunch. In the afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Inaugurated in 1964 and based in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is the one place where visitors can easily see the famous Galapagos tortoises, which can live up to two hundred years. This is a great opportunity to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity, brought back from the brink of extinction.
Spend a free morning enjoying Santa Cruz, before crossing by speedboat to Floreana Island. Get settled at the G Adventures-supported community guesthouse and opt to swim or snorkel at Black Beach. After a free morning, depart Santa Cruz and head to Floreana Island. Keep an eye out for dolphins and the magnificent albatross along the way. Enjoy an introduction to snorkelling directly off Black Beach on the island.
Enjoy an excursion to the seldom visited highlands of Floreana. Then, head on a visit to Loberia, where there are opportunities to swim and snorkel. Opt to explore the area around Black Beach. Walk along the black sand beach to Loberia to enjoy beach snorkelling or swimming. Please be sure you are a comfortable swimmer. The water here can be rough and the currents are strong.
Travel to Isabela Island. Hike to Sierra Negra Volcano to see the second-largest crater in the world and enjoy a downhill bike excursion. Visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre on the way back to town. Opt to take surfing lessons on the nearby beach. Take a morning speedboat journey to Isabela Island. Enjoy a full day on Isabela Island that includes a trek up the Sierra Negra Volcano??one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos??boasting the second largest crater in the world. Hike to the summit to experience a birds-eye view of the magical landscape.
Spend a free morning trying the optional activities in the area. Maybe hit the waves for surf lessons on the nearby beach. Then, enjoy a kayak and snorkel excursion near Tintoreras. Visit Tintoreras to kayak and observe the whitetip reef sharks found swimming in the channels between the rocks. Get a close-up view of pelicans, frigatebirds, and diving blue-footed boobies. Watch for manta rays and rare Galapagos penguins, of which only 800 pairs exist
This morning stop by the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre before traveling back to the island of Santa Cruz. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening in Santa Cruz. Around midday, set sail for Santa Cruz Island and dock at the town of Puerto Ayora. After a late hotel check-in, enjoy free time to explore this bustling little town and sample some of the local restaurants and bars, or maybe do some souvenir shopping in one of the many shops.
Transfer across Santa Cruz Island to Baltra. Fly back to Quito. After a transfer over the island of Santa Cruz, arrive at Baltra Island for the return flight to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, transfer to the hotel for one last night on the town. Our representative in Quito will be able to advise on and help with some of the many day tours available in and around Quito.