A special treat before we set sail to marvel at the ecological wonderlands of the Galapagos Islands, we take time to discover some man-made marvels with thorough exploration of Quito, Ecuador's bustling capital city. Boasting attractive colonial architecture, spectacular centuries-old cathedrals with beautifully ornate facades and majestic palaces, Quito emanates an old-world grandeur, but is simultaneously as vibrant and exciting as any city anywhere in the world.
As our comfortable cruising vessel navigates its leisurely course between the magical lands of the Galapagos Islands, we find an archipelago comprised of wholly unique natural environments and each island is truly a world unto itself. A trip to the Galapagos is not a sightseeing expedition so much as it is an interactive journey with nature; only here can travellers get up-close and personal with hundreds of species of wildlife that have evolved in complete isolation and have therefore never learned to fear humans.
Remarkable volcanic landscapes bring a lunar ambiance to this special destination that has hardly changed since the days of Charles Darwin and the many giant tortoises, land iguanas, lava lizards, flightless cormorants, penguins and sea lions constitute just a scant few of the innumerable wildlife highlights along the way.
Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered throughout the year. Quito is cool and dry from May to October, warmer and perhaps rainy / misty outside that time. The islands: Hot Season (warm-rainy), December to April. Average air temperatures range 25-33 C on land and 23-26 C in the water, ideal for snorkeling. It may rain occasionally in the afternoons for an hour or so. The ocean is generally calm due to the absence of the southeast trade winds.
The Cool Season (windy-dry), June to November. The cooler or 'garua' season (named after the mist) sees a drop in temperatures 18-27 C on land and 18-23 C in the sea. Rainfall is low, though the islands may seem somewhat moist as an early mist covers the sky. Usually this fine drizzle burns off by mid morning. The seas are moderately strong; surge, choppy waters and some waves should be expected.
Transport and Travel Conditions
Airport transfers provided by private vehicle. Quito tour involves walking on uneven surfaces. Most people are not affected by altitude (Quito, 9,500 ft / 3000 m). Flight to Galapagos via scheduled local carrier.
Quito hotel is well-located, air- conditioned, mid-range (3 star) with en suite toilet and bath. Porter service is available though you should be independent with your luggage, especially at airports. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins. The MV Galapagos Legend is one of the most luxurious boats sailing the Galapagos. With space for 110 passengers, the 5-star fully air-conditioned ship offers all the amenities of a cruise liner yet small enough for that intimate experience with nature. All cabins outside. Snorkels & masks provided free.
Staff and Support
Tour Leader or local guide in Quito only; ship's crew and naturalist guides on the islands.
10-21 (plus Tour Leader)