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Vip Tour Group > Ecuador > Itineraries > Volcanoes & Eclipse Galapagos Cruise  

Volcanoes & Eclipse Galapagos Cruise - 11 Days


This journey begins through Ecuador’s Highlands along the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

Explore the National park near Cotacachi, visiting quant villages and markets in Otavalo . Next, we enjoy the Hot Springs of Papallacta , whose thermal waters emerge from deep geological layers through fissures up to the surface. We then fly to the Galapagos Islands, and board the M/V Eclipse Galapagos Cruise ship for a Luxury 8 day / 7 night cruise. The Eclipse has surpassed the other options available in the Galapagos Islands, offering small excursion groups, unparalleled levels of personalized service and the amenities of a larger boat while still preserving the relaxed exclusivity of a smaller vessel. This expedition Vessel was converted specifically for cruising in the Galapagos Islands, and was designed to meet the exacting demands of upscale travel. The Eclipse is the perfect base for any Galapagos experience; a generously proportioned ship with a small yacht atmosphere.
trip details
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Day 1 - Quito/ Cotacachi

The journey begins in Quito as you arrive and are transferred to Cotacachi – Cayapas National Park, to thrill at the beautiful paramos (the ecosystem of the Andes). Follow on to the lake of Cuicocha. From here, you will be able to hike in this area where your guide will explain the flora and fauna of this location. After your hike, take a brief visit to Cotacachi (the leather town) and then continue to have lunch in a Hacienda. Late in the afternoon you will go back to the Hacienda Cusin.

Day 2 - Cotacachi /Otavalo/Papallacta

As we pass into the highlands, we’re treated to a sweeping view of Imbabura and Cotacachi Volcanoes rising above San Pablo Lake. We can first visit the animal market in Otavalo, you will be able to see people trading their animals (llamas, ship, pigs, chicken, etc…) then you will visit the main market which dates back thousands of years and is famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles and tapestries. After the market you’ll visit the village of Peguche where native weavers demonstrate their craft, as they have for centuries. In the afternoon you will be transferred to Pappallacta Thermal Spring Resort.

Day 3 - Papallacta/Quito

The Papallacta River crosses both the hacienda as well as the high section of the valley, and it offers to the visitor a spectacular view of the Antisana Volcano. In this beautiful area, we offer walks along the ecological paths, where nature lovers can appreciate the local flora and fauna. This area is a treasure for ornithologists, with more than 160 different species of birds, including hummingbirds, tanagers and occasionally the great Andean Condor. Afterwards, enjoy the Hot Springs of Papallacta, whose thermal waters emerge from deep geological layers through fissures up to the surface. This will be a day of nature, health and relaxation. After lunch you will go back to Quito for overnight in Casa Gangotena.

Day 4 - Quito/Galapagos

This morning we take a flight to the Galapagos Islands, we transfer from Baltra to board the Eclipse Luxury Cruise Ship in Puerto Ayora. Check-in to your cabin and attend an Introductory briefing & safety drill The Eclipse is the perfect base for any Galapagos experience; a generously proportioned ship with a small yacht atmosphere. M.V. Eclipse is a Conde Nast Top Small Cruise Ship and a 2012 Andrew Harper Signature Tour of the Galapagos Islands! The first stop in the afternoon is to explore North Seymour is a perfect introduction to the Galapagos Islands. Fauna abounds and you will soon find yourself surrounded by frigates and blue footed boobies. Keep an eye out for land iguanas and sea lions too!

Day 5- Galapagos Cruise / Eclipse Cruise

AM excursion to South Plaza Island to see one of the largest populations of land iguanas. PM excursion to explore South Plaza Island, although quite small, is actually home to a large Opuntia cacti forest, land iguanas and one of the largest sea lion colonies in the central region of the archipelago. An endemic plant, Sesuvium, inhabits this island and is a great climate indicator as its color is a greenish-yellowish during the rainy season and a bright red during the dry season. You will also be able to see Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and other kinds of sea birds as well as different types of finches. PM Tour of Santa Fe Island, which was formed by uplifting, rather than by a volcano. Some of the island’s endemic species include the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, rice rats, different types of finches, and the Galapagos Mockingbird. The visit includes a hike on a trail past salt bushes where Galapagos hawks as well as the Santa Fe land iguanas tend to roam. Playful sea lions may accompany you during your snorkeling activities.

Day 6 - Galapagos Cruise / Eclipse Cruise

AM excursion to Punta Pitt which is located on the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island. You will hike up to a plateau where the view and landscape are so spectacular it is definitely worth the effort. Watch out for the Red Footed Boobies nesting in the cliffs. The power hike is followed by kayaking, snorkeling and panga rides opportunities. This is the longest hike of the cruise – 2 1/2 hours. In the PM enjoy fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming, snorkeling and panga ride experiences. Cerro Brujo’s gorgeous beach is also home to many sea lions and it’s also the first coast where Charles Darwin first stepped foot on in the Archipelago!

Day 7 - Galapagos Cruise / Eclipse Cruise

AM excursion Floreana is one of the Galapagos most famous, or shall we say, “infamous” of islands due to many strange stories regarding past settlers. There are many diverse sites to visit including Post Office Bay and the “Baroness’s Viewing Point”. Marine life also abounds in Floreana’s coastal regions making it a fantastic site for snorkeling. Flamingos also populate the island and may be seen during your visit. PM visit to Cormorant Point where we see a large Flamingo lagoon.

Day 8 - Galapagos Cruise / Eclipse Cruise

AM tour to see Elizabeth Bay, one of the furthest points ofthe Galapagos that we will visit on our cruise. We will enter a sheltered cove accessible by panga only – a wonderful mangrove ecosystem that is a refuge for sea turtles, rays, blue-footed boobies, penguins, herons and more. PM visit to Punta Moreno, Isabela, located just southwest of Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. Observe and learn about different types of lava and pioneer plants while being surrounded by some of the most incredible scenery that Galapagos has to offer. In the tide pools green sea turtles or white-tip sharks can be spotted. Afterwards you will enjoy a panga ride along the striking rocky shores observing penguins, sea lions, blue footed boobies and marine iguanas.

Day 9 - Galapagos Cruise / Eclipse Cruise

AM visit to Charles Darwin Station on Santa Cruz Island home to Giant tortoises ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. PM excursion to the Highlands, a deep green, contrasting beautifully with much of the dry, lower islands. Explore the lava tubes, over half a mile long, are underground and walking through them is a unique, surreal experience.

Day 10 - Galapagos Cruise / Eclipse Cruise

AM visit to Gardner Bay, Española Island the breeding site of nearly all of the world´s 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses. It has an ample white sandy beach with a myriad of sea lions, perfect for relaxing. Its rocky shores make this site a great place for diving and snorkeling. PM visit to Suarez Point, one of the most popular and attractive sites in the Galapagos. Due to its isolation from other islands, it has a high proportion of endemic fauna. A few steps inland from the landing site, groups of Española marine iguanas bask in the sun. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest near the trail, Galapagos doves peck around unaware of visitors and finches go about their day to day business. The trail continues towards a blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high into the air like a geyser. The cracks in the cliffs are home to swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Further up the cliff in an area of low-lying trees you will find waved albatrosses nesting. The 15,000 to 17,000 pairs of albatrosses on Española represent almost the entire population of this species on the planet. They perform one of the most spectacular courtship rituals of the animal world.

Day 11 - Galapagos Cruise / Eclipse Cruise

AM visit to Mosquera Islet home to a huge population of sea lions and also home to many shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. and Return to Baltra for a flight to the Mainland and connection in Quito home.

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