Buffet breakfast daily (B), 7 lunches (L), and 6 three-course dinners (D); Local Host service in each city; sightseeing with a Local Guide and transportation as outlined in the day-by-day itinerary (except intra-vacation flights, which are additional; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE).
Day #1 Arrive Quito, Ecuador. Arrive in Quito, where you will be met by your Local Host.
Day #2 Quito–Mashpi Lodge. Travel to the Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve with over 3,200 acres teeming with wildlife. Upon arrival at the all-inclusive MASHPI LODGE, stop at the HUMMINGBIRD VIEWPOINT to learn about these flying machines while enjoying a welcome drink. Your stay at this luxurious eco-lodge includes gourmet Ecuadorian meals, non-alcoholic drinks, and all activities and guided tours. Begin exploring the lodge’s amenities this afternoon. Take a ride on the AERIAL TRAM, which glides through the forest canopy allowing observation of the plant and wildlife. The more adventurous may opt to ride the AERIAL BICYCLE suspended in the rainforest canopy, crossing a river gorge, and offering unique views of the surrounding natural world. Tonight, take a guided NIGHT WALK to discover nocturnal creatures and their behaviors. (B,L,D)
Day #3 Mashpi Lodge. For those who want to enjoy the beauty and magic of dawn in the forest, head out before breakfast on a guided NATURE WALK when wildlife is at its most active. Later, guided NATURE WALKS through the reserve’s many trails introduce you to the plants, insects, and animals that abound in this region. You may also choose to spend time on the OBSERVATION TOWER to get a bird’s-eye view of the area. Visit the LIFE CENTER to learn about indigenous butterflies, reptiles, and medicinal plants. Activities abound here and all are included! (B,L,D)
Day #4 Mashpi Lodge –Quito. Return to Quito today. The remainder of your afternoon is at leisure. (B)
Day #5 Quito. Your included city TOUR showcases the rich legacy left by the Incas and, later, the Spaniards. See Independence Square dominated by its formidable Cathedral, San Francisco Plaza Church, and the BASILICA with its marvelous stained-glass windows. (B)
Day #6 Quito–Baltra–Santa Cruz (Embarkation)–Galápagos Cruising. Take a morning flight to Baltra, one of the remote Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival, board the Galápagos Explorer II and enjoy five days of cruising among various Galápagos Islands. This afternoon, walk by a brackish lagoon, where flamingos can be found. Then, climb DRAGON HILL, a nesting ground for land iguanas, with lovely views of the nearby islands. (B,L,D)
Day #7 Cruising: Genovesa Island. Disembark at the base of Prince Philip’s Steps and climb up the stairs to a trail where birdlife abounds. A walk reveals large colonies of masked boobies, blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, storm petrels, and even short-eared owls. In the afternoon, disembark at DARWIN BAY to observe hundreds of birds. Return to the beach for swimming and snorkeling while looking for tropical fish, golden rays, and, hopefully, some hammerhead or Galápagos sharks. (B,L,D)
Day #8 Cruising: North Seymour & Santa Cruz Islands. Today begins on NORTH SEYMOUR. The interior has a Palo Santo and small Opuntia forest with blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebird colonies. Next up: the highlands of SANTA CRUZ, marked by extinct volcanoes and astonishing plants. Here you are likely to see Galápagos rails, cattle egrets, and flycatchers. (B,L,D)
Day #9 Cruising: San Cristobal Island. Wake up at PUNTA PITT, the easternmost point in the islands. A somewhat difficult trail leads you to the only place in the archipelago where all three types of booby exist, nesting next to both types of frigates. Cruise to JUNCO or LA LOBERÍA. Visitors to Junco see the only permanent freshwater lake in the islands. La Lobería is home to a large sea lion colony. (B,L,D)
Day #10 Cruising: San Cristobal (Disembar Kation)–Quito. After breakfast, visit the Galápagos National Park INTERPRETATION CENTER to learn more about its ecosystems, flora, and fauna as well as the great emphasis on conservation. While here, watch for the Chatham mockingbird and Chatham lava lizard—both species are endemic to this island and seen nowhere else. Later, board your return flight to Quito. (B)
Day #11 Quito. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)