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Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility or require a wheelchair/mobility scooter.
Destination: The Galapagos & Ecuador Adventure
Duration: 13 Days, 12 Nights.
Flight information: Arrive at Quito International Airport [UIO] to arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 13
Pickup location: Quito International Airport [UIO], Ecuador


Choose your own departure date for your group.

Cruise the amazing Galapagos Islands on a luxury class catamaran, including an exploration of Ecuador's capital, Quito and the fascinating cloud forests!

Visit the cloud forests of Ecuador and Cruise the Galapagos Islands, soaking up the unique beauty of this region of the Earth. Our journey starts with a four-day stay on the Ecuador mainland, exploring the culture and cloud forests of Quito. Then we journey on a small and intimate cruise of the fascinating Galapagos Islands, lying some 1,000k, off the mainland aboard the mega catamaran M/S Cormorant www.cormorantgalapagos-cruise.com The Cormorant has only 8 double cabins for guests, guaranteeing you an intimate exploration and making the most of what this environment has to offer.

An adventure through the archepelago which inspired Charles Darwin to write ‘On The Origin Of Species’ is almost guaranteed to leave you feeling invigorated and make you think and feel differently about the world.


Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Welcome to Quito, Capital of Ecuador!
DAY 2 - Quito City tour & Visit the Equator
DAY 3 - Otavalo Handcraft Market
DAY 4 - Mindo Cloud Forest
DAY 5 - Fly to the Galapagos Islands, Embark & Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre Visit
DAY 6 - Galapagos - Isabela Island
DAY 7 - Galapagos - Isabela Island
DAY 8 - Galapagos - Fernandina and Isabela Islands
DAY 9 - Galapagos - Santiago Island
DAY 10 - Galapagos - Bartholomew and Santiago Islands
DAY 11 - Galapagos - Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands
DAY 12 - Galapagos - North Seymour Island. Disembark & Return Flight to Quito
DAY 13 - Goodbye Ecuador and Home
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Welcome to Quito, Capital of Ecuador!

Welcome to Ecuador! You will be met at Quito Airport and transferred to the hotel.

The rest of the day will be spent at leisure, allowing some time to acclimatise and soak up the atmosphere of Quito.

Included meals: none 

DAY 2 - Quito City tour & Visit the Equator

After breakfast, we will enjoy an orientation tour of Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. We will walk down quaint cobbled streets, lined with beautiful brightly-coloured colonial houses, whose balconies are dressed in flowers.

The town is watched over by the winged Virgin of Quito, sitting up on the Panecillo. Meaning ‘little bread roll’, the Panecillo, so named for its bread-like shape, is a parasitic crater formed by magma from Pichincha Volcano. We will walk down streets previously walked by the Incan people on their way to the Panecillo, which is thought to have been a centre of worship to the Sun and Moon Gods.

When the Spanish arrived, they transformed this Incan avenue into a place heavily influenced by Christianity. Seven crosses were erected along the length of the avenue in an effort to make the indigenous people believe in their God.

We will walk along this street to the Plaza de la Independencia. On the square’s southern side lies one of the oldest cathedrals in South America, and the modern sacred heart of the city – Quito Cathedral, an impressive white-walled building with green-glazed ceramic domes.

The symmetrical Palacio de Carondelet, the Presidential Palace, runs along the western side of the square. Its balconies were a gift from the French Government and are originally from the Tuilleries Palace in Paris. We will also take a look in at the ancestral interior courtyard of the Centro Cultural Metropolitano, which has over the years been used as tobacco factory, prison and university. Walking a little further, we come to the Natioanl Library and the the incomparable Iglesia de la Compañia, a Jesuit church overflowing in Baroque art. The gold that covers its interior hides the church’s tragic history, of the fire that devastated it and earthquake that shook it.

Afterwards, we will head north-west out of Quito where the landscape becomes dry and sandy. In this desert-like place, we will pass the small towns of San Antonio de Pichincha and Calacalí. As we drive along you will notice that the vegetation becomes denser and the leaves of the plants and trees become larger until we reach the Mitad del Mundo - the middle of the earth - as calculated and measured by the French Geodesics Mission. Ecuador literally means Equator and was named after its famous feature.

We will also stop at the archaeological site of Tulipe. Here we’ll see the ruins of ceremonial pools used for ritual baths and sacraments by the Yumbos, a pre-Incan population. We will learn about their way of life and their managing of the important trading route between the coast and the highlands. The Yumbos and the Spanish conquerors were contemporaries and at the museum a guide will tell you more about how the arrival of the Spanish affected the Yumbo people.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 3 - Otavalo Handcraft Market

Today we will visit the Otovalo handcraft market, situated in the suburbs of Quito. The indigenous Otavaleños are famous for their weaving, usually with wool. You will also find stalls selling textiles, tagua nut jewellery, musical instruments, dream catchers, leather goods and much more, all traditional handicrafts of the local people.

Included meals: Breakfast & Lunch 

DAY 4 - Mindo Cloud Forest

Today is our canopy adventure day in the town of Mindo. Here, the ‘cloud forest’ has more than 400 species of bird and the second highest number of endemic species of butterfly in the country. A team of professional and prepared guides will take us on an amazing journey above the cloud forest on a series of zip lines. Harness up and enjoy the forest from above and the adrenalin of flying through the air with the birds. After a safe landing, we head to a local restaurant for lunch.

In the afternoon, we will visit a butterfly farm and see spectacular butterflies in different phases of their life cycle. From here we will take a short walk into the cloud forest, keeping an eye out for exotic birds and mammals amongst the lush vegetation and listening to the gentle background hum of life in this mega diverse place. As the afternoon light fades, we travel back up into the mountains and to Quito.

Included meals: Breakfast & Lunch  

DAY 5 - Fly to the Galapagos Islands, Embark & Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre Visit

Today we fly from Quito on mainland Ecaudor to Baltra, in the Galapagos Islands. Lying some 1,000km off the western coast, the islands are some of the most remote on the planet.

Upon arrival in the Galapagos Islands, after passing through immigration and baggage claim, we will be met by a member of the cruise staff to embark the catamaran and have some time to settle in to your cabin, our home for the next 7 nights.

Our first stop on the cruise this afternoon will be at the Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoises Breeding Centre in Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. This is home to tortoises ranging from 3-inches as new hatchlings to 4-feet long adults. Subspecies of the giant tortoises interact with one another and many of the older tortoises are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The babies are kept at the centre until they are about four years-old and strong enough to survive on their own.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Onboard 

DAY 6 - Galapagos - Isabela Island

This morning, we will take a short dingy ride from the catamaran to Isabela Island. An easy hike leads us to Tintoreras Islet, located a short distance from Puerto Villamil. This is home to a great variety of wildlife - its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tip reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, marine turtles and sea lions. A beach here surrounded by mangroves is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can reproduce successfully.

We also visit the Sierra Negra Volcano, which is the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos, with a diameter of 6.2 miles (10 km). This more difficult hike rewards participants with impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to seven species of finches and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005.

The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. They consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintails, and gallinules. After lunch, the Wetlands can be visited on foot via a path through the swamps.

Next we move on to the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre, located about one mile (1.5 km) from Puerto Villamil. In this breeding centre, tortoise populations from South Isabela, Sierra Negra Volcano, Cerro Azul, Cazuela, Cinco Cerros, Roca Union, San Pedro, Tables and Cerro Paloma have been bred as part of a conservation project.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Onboard 

DAY 7 - Galapagos - Isabela Island

Moreno Point is located southwest of Elizabeth Bay on Isabela Island and is our first stop of the day. Here, a dry landing onto what was once flowing lava is possible. The lava has left craters in its wake which formed crystal tide pools. By looking into the pools, you can peer into another world as the marine life drifts by your window. In the brackish pools of this area, you may see pink flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules. If you look carefully, you may also see white-tip reef sharks and some sea turtles.

In the afternoon, we visit Elizabeth Bay. Located on the east coast of Isabela Island, the bay contains many islets, which can be visited by dinghy. Penguins and blue-footed boobies can be spotted on the rocky islets. With mangrove forest unique to the Galapagos, an abundance of marine life and clear waters, the area is perfect for snorkelling and viewing schools of colourful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Onboard 

DAY 8 - Galapagos - Fernandina and Isabela Islands

Crossing the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Islands, we will land at Espinoza Point this morning. After a hike of about 2km which sees us walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions we reach the island’s highlight: the nesting site of the flightless cormorant. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk.

We reboard the boat and sail back to the north of Isabela Island. After lunch, we visit Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola mola (or sun fish) while you snorkel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Onboard 

DAY 9 - Galapagos - Santiago Island

In the morning we visit Egas Port on Santiago Island. Egas Port, also known as James Bay, (Santiago being the Spanish for James) is home to the curious Galapagos hawks and the quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. The trail leads us to the coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos fur seals bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkelling site.

In Espumilla Beach for the afternoon, marine iguanas lounge and the Sally Lightfoot crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey right before your eyes. Snorkelling is highly recommended and you could come face to face with an octopus, moray eel, shark and a variety of other species of tropical fish.

We move on to Buccaneer Cove, a testament to the fact that Santiago Island was once a refuge for British buccaneers. These pirates would anchor in the protected bay to make boat repairs and stock up on tortoise meat among other things. The steep cliffs, where hundreds of seabirds perch in front of the dark red sand beach are a magnificent site.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Onboard 

DAY 10 - Galapagos - Bartholomew and Santiago Islands

In the morning, we head to Bartholomew Island, a small island lying off the coast of Santiago Island. Here the famous Pinnacle Rock is found. Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. We will take a trail of stairs to the summit of the volcano, approx. 30- 40 minutes walking, where you will enjoy one of the best views of the islands!

We will also visit a small, beautiful beach surrounded by the only vegetation found on this barren island. The beach is perfect for snorkelling where you may even see and swim with Galapagos penguins.

Later, we also visit Sullivan Bay, located on the southeast part of Santiago Island. This place is interesting for its geology because the area is covered by lava flows. Sullivan Bay has elevations in the form of small volcanoes formed by the lava flows.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Onboard 

DAY 11 - Galapagos - Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands

This morning we explore Chinese Hat Islet, located off the southeast coast of Santiago Island. Its name comes from the distinct shape of the small islet’s summit. This is a great location to view many geological formations such as lava tunnels and lava flows. Some of the lava flows were formed underwater and subsequently raised above sea level, indicated by the presence of coral heads on the lava flow.

In the afternoon, we head to Dragon Hill on north-western coast of Santa Cruz Island for a Panga ride and short hike. The visitors’ site at Dragon Hill consists of a 1,600 m long trail that runs through three different environments. The beach is very rocky but at high tide, it’s a nice place for snorkelling. Here you can find vegetation of the typical inter-tidal zone and dry zone.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Accommodation: Onboard 

DAY 12 - Galapagos - North Seymour Island. Disembark & Return Flight to Quito

This morning, the last of our island visits. In North Seymour Island, you may see Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigate birds which are abundant on this island. North Seymour was formed by a series of submarine lava flows containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity and the island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.

After this final visit, we will be transferred to Baltra Airport in time for our flight from the Galapagos Islands back to the mainland. Upon arrival in Quito, we will transfer to the hotel and enjoy our farewell dinner at the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast & Dinner 

DAY 13 - Goodbye Ecuador and Home

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred from the hotel to meet your departure flights home.

Or why not extend your stay in South America with a few days in Peru to see Machu Picchu? Our short post-tour extension takes in the best of Peru and is a great way to top off your time discovering South America.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: none 


More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • ATOL Protection
  • For UK guests, return economy flights to/from LHR are included in the cost of the journey. For US/International guests, international flights are not included - please arrange your own international flights. Regional UK airport departures available - please ask at the time of booking. Supplements may apply.
  • Return internal economy flights: Quito International Airport [UIO] - Seymour Airport, Galapagos Islands [GPS]
  • Meet & Greet at Quito Airport on arrival
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary
  • All meals detailed as detailed in the itinerary
  • Excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Transport in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle
  • A qualified and experienced English speaking guide
  • Transit Control Card
  • Use of snorkelling equipment

What's not included

  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (currently $100pp to be paid in cash at the airport on arrival)
  • Transfers on arrival or departure, to/from the airport(s), outside of the tour dates
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities 
  • Visas, travel and medical insurance
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Any optional activities offered
  • Any COVID tests or related entry & exit requirements

Important information

  • Whilst itineraries while cruising are unlikely to change significantly, they are subject to change. Weather, wildlife breeding, safety concerns, instructions from the Galapagos National Park, specific abilities and interests of passengers as well as operational matters may cause your guide or captain to change the time or nature of visits. Your guide and captain will always endeavor to select the best itinerary within these limits. 
  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2-3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable. Final payments are due 14 days prior to departure. Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking.
  • The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.
  • Please consult your doctor for advice on vaccinations and innoculations before travel.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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