Galapagos & Ecuadorian Cloud Forest - Small Group Sailing Ship Special 13 days
Ecuador, Galapagos

Galapagos & Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

Galapagos & Ecuadorian Cloud Forest - Small Group Sailing Ship Special 13 days aboard Mary Anne

This superb fully-guided itinerary offers the very best of both mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos for the birding and wildlife enthusiast. Starting in the Cotopaxi National Park and finishing in the magnificent Cloud Forest, with the in-between highlight of a seven night wildlife cruise of the Galapagos Islands on board a unique three-masted sailing ship, viewing unique species such as the waved albatross, this is a very special opportunity, not to be missed. Maximum 16 Passengers on board. Prices based on twin share at hotels (single cabins available on board ship at no extra cost)

Highlights

  • Private birding guide lunch included at Cotopaxi National Park, Andes
  • Stay in the Old Town of Quito
  • Galapagos wildlife cruise on board sailing ship
  • Snorkelling with naturalist & kayaking available on board
  • Walking on Galapagos with naturalist guide
  • Rare bird species, including waved albatross
  • Unique land & marine wildlife
  • Myriad birds in Ecuadorean Cloud Forest

What's Included

  • Expert English-speaking guides
  • Quito hotel on bed and breakfast basis
  • Meals & activities as shown in itinerary
  • Full board accommodation on board sailing ship
  • Single cabins available on board ship at no extra cost (single supplements at hotels apply)
  • Full board accommodation at Bellavista
  • Shared transfers between airports, hotels and boat as shown in itinerary
  • Flights Quito to Galapagos & return
12 nights 26/10/2017 - 07/11/2017
From Only £5,270pp
John Swindell
John Swindell
Ecuador, Galapagos Specialist

Speak to someone who’s been to Ecuador, Galapagos. Start planning your tailor-made trip by calling one of our friendly destination specialists on 0800 195 3385 or 44 1625 581143 for outside the UK.

ITINERARY

12 Nights   13 Days

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 | Quito
  • Day 2 | Cotopaxi National Park
  • Days 3 | Galapagos Islands
  • Day 4 | Genovesa Island
  • Day 5 | Bartoleme Island & Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island
  • Day 6 | Rabida Island & Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz
  • Day 7 | Santa Cruz Island
  • Day 8 | South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands
  • Day 9 | Espanola Island
  • Day 10 | Santa Cruz Island to Bellavista
  • Days 11-12 | Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Day 13 | Quito
Quito
1Day

Quito

Arrive in Quito, capital city of Ecuador, met and transferred to the delightful Patio Andaluz Hotel in the heart of the Old Town of Quito for two nights on bed and breakfast basis.

Remainder of day free to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town area, with its beautiful buildings, courtyards and narrow streets. There are many options for eating tonight: try typical Ecuadorean cuisine in one of the local restaurants close to your hotel or eat at the Patio Andaluz itself. Standard room

Cotopaxi National Park
2Day

Cotopaxi National Park

Early morning pick up with English-speaking bird-watching guide to visit the Limpiopungo Lagoon area of Cotopaxi, a region rich in birdlife. Lunch at a local restaurant and return to Patio Andaluz Hotel.

Galapagos Islands
3Day

Galapagos Islands

On the morning of day 3, transfer to airport for flight to Baltra island. Met and transferred to the sailing ship Mary Anne.

In the afternoon, make your first visit at Black Turtle Cove, situated in the northern part of Santa Cruz Island. This inlet is surrounded by mangroves and is only accessible by dinghy. The shallow cove is a safe haven for young marine life. Black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, and a variety of rays are often spotted here.

Genovesa Island
4Day

Genovesa Island

In the morning, we have a wet landing at Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island. This white sand coral beach heads a half mile trail that winds through mangroves filled with land birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can be spotted here. Further down the path are tidal pools where sea lions swim playfully. At the end is a spectacular view off a cliff.

After lunch, head to El Barranco or Prince Phillip's Steps for a steep climb up the cliff face. Here, as well as superb views, can be seen nesting Nazca, red and blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and many others including swallow-tail gulls, storm petrels and short-eared lava owls.

Bartoleme Island & Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island
5Day

Bartoleme Island & Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkelling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.

Over lunch, sail on to Santiago Island and land at Sullivan Bay. This area is especially fascinating for those who are interested in geology and volcanology. You can walk over the uneroded, black lava flow covered with lava bubbles and tree-trunk moulds in the surface. There are two small beaches where turtles come for nesting.

Rabida Island & Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz
6Day

Rabida Island & Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz

Rabida Island is one of the most colourful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago and a great snorkelling site. Its famous maroon sandy beach and stunning lookouts provide wonderful landscapes. The island is a birdwatcher’s delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as nine varieties of finches, large-billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans.

In the afternoon, land again on Santa Cruz Island at Cerro Dragon. Land iguanas and flamingo lagoons are two highlights of this site. Feral dogs once nearly eliminated the iguanas, but the dogs were removed in 1990 and the reptiles seem to be making a comeback. The trail (3km/2 miles round trip) leads through dry-zone vegetation to a small hill where the iguanas live. The area is home to Galapagos mockingbirds, Darwin´s finches, varieties of the endemic Opuntia and candelabra cactus, and Galapagos cotton. The small offshore island of Venecia is not open for landing, but land iguanas can be seen during a panga ride along its shore. These were protected as a breeding nucleus when the feral dogs threatened the main population at Dragon Hill. Green turtles, sharks, and rays may be spotted on the panga ride, while black-necked stilts, white cheeked pintails, and migratory shorebirds are often seen.   

Santa Cruz Island
7Day

Santa Cruz Island

In the morning, we drive up into the highlands of this island. There is a chance to take a guided walk through the agricultural zone into the National Park and through the Miconia Zone to the Fern and Sedge Zone. On the way, it passes the crescent-shaped volcanic cone named Media Luna standing in the centre of Santa Cruz, and then leads on to the summit of Cerro Crocker, at 86 m. On a clear day the views are magnificent. Besides a range of high altitude vegetation, you may see, or more likely hear, the elusive Galapagos rail and large Galapagos petrel.

After lunch, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Subspecies of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The young are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own. 

South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands
8Day

South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands

In the morning, we land at South Plaza Island. This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colourful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is Sesuvium.  Many birds to be seen, especially Audubon's shearwaters, swallow-tailed gulls and Nazca boobies.

Santa Fe is home to the small picturesque bay and anchorage on the island’s northeast coast. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest. 

Espanola Island
9Day

Espanola Island

In the morning, we visit Gardner Bay and the nearby Gardner and Osborne Islets.

Gardner Bay, on the eastern side of the island, is 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 and snorkelling.

Gardner Islet is lined with vertical cliffs that drop to sandy ledges and large boulders. When snorkelling here you will encounter the smallest of the Galapagos fish: garden eels, snake eels, blackspot morays, pufferfish, scorpionfish, and red-lipped batfish.

Osborn Islet is located to the southeast of Gardner Bay, nearby Española Island. You will get there by panga and cannot land; however, it is a great site for snorkelling. 

After lunch, we land at Suarez Point, great for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, mockingbirds, Galapagos hawks, tropicbirds and Nazca boobies. A beautiful site on the ocean front, the large waved albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.
 

Santa Cruz Island to Bellavista
10Day

Santa Cruz Island to Bellavista

On the way from Puerto Ayora to Baltra Island to catch your flight back to the mainland, call in at Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters, located opposite each other on both sides of the road. The view here is breathtaking.

Fly to Quito, met and transferred to Bellavista Lodge in the Cloud Forest, where you will stay for three nights on a full board basis.Standard double room

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
11-12Days

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve

On the morning of day 11 and 12, depart before dawn for early morning guided bird walk, followed by breakfast back at the Lodge. Later, and in the afternoon, there are other birding options agreed with your guide. Within the reserve there are extensive trails where you hope to see tanagers, plate-billed mountain toucans, tanager finches, cock-of-the-rock leks and different antpittas, as well as lots of hummingbirds and many other species (well over 300 recorded). Mammals such as the endangered spectacle bear, puma and Andean coati are also resident here.

Take a further early morning birding excursion on day 12, with other options after breakfast, before departing back to Quito mid afternoon to the Patio Andaluz Hotel for overnight stay on bed and breakfast basis.

Quito
13Day

Quito

After breakfast and depending on flight times, transfer to airport for onward or return travel.

Mary Anne

View Vessel

Your Itinerary Accommodation

Patio Andaluz Hotel, Quito

Ideally located deep in the old town, this Boutique style hotel is an ideal location to explore the culture, history and vibrant restaurants and bars.


Located deep in the old town and cobbled streets of Quito this small & friendly boutique hotel was converted some years ago from an original colonial style house. Nestled just 150 meters from the main square, Independence Plaza and 7 minutes walk to from the Square of San Francisco this authentic hotel could not be better placed. The El Rinco de Cantuna Restaurant offers excellent Ecuadorian, Spanish and international cuisine Suites and 21 Standard rooms.

Bellavista Reserve Eco Lodge

Bellavista Reserve Lodge is well located only 145 minutes drive from the center of Quito. A must for wildlife, birding and hiking. Economy to superior accommodation with shared or naturalist guides specializing in anything from orchids to butterflies & bird life.


High in Ecuador’s Cloud Forest offering over 700 hectares of private conservation reserve and located in the Mindo region. Bellavista Lodge is one of the most remarkable places in the world for colourful bird life and orchids. Hike up streams to hidden waterfalls on 10 kms of nature walks graded from easy to genuine adventure. Access to shared (or private at extra cost) naturalist guides who will accompany small groups to observe 100’s of bird species particular to this region including Cock of the Rock and up to 14 species of humming bird at close range at feeders.

What Our Customers
Say...

Jon Woods, Isle of Man Jayne Robb, Liverpool, UK Paul Janseens, Belgium Norman Eley, Berkshire, UK
• Although we thoroughly enjoyed the Galapagos it was mainland Ecuador which really took us by surprise with such a diversity of landscape and wildlife and incredible hospitality everywhere we went. Our local guides were so knowledgeable and helpful and our driver Manuel had a terrific sense of humour. We had some fantastic birding at both Mashpi, Le Selva and of course our day trip to Paz de Las Aves Reserve where we were lucky enough to see both the ‘Cock of the Rock’ and the giant antipitta. The devil nose train journey was as thrilling as we hoped and we even got lucky with Cotopaxi and got some lovely clear photos so all in all couldn't ask for more.
• This was an excellent trip from start to finish. Bellavista Lodge was a particular favourite of ours, so tranquil and a superb base to watch birds and wildlife while experiencing real Ecuadorian hospitality. Our guide, really knew his stuff and was so passionate about his job ,in fact all the local guides were excellent. I have to say a special word about Juan, our driver, who was so charming and funny, he really added to the overall enjoyment of the trip. The number and variety of birds we saw was amazing and I would have no hesitation in recommending Ecuador to other keen bird watchers.
Fantastic holiday with more wildlife than I was expecting. The Napo Wildlife Centre was wonderful, we were looked after with such care and attention and our guides’ knowledge of the areas’ and flora and fauna was outstanding, what they didn’t know probably wasn’t worth knowing. The food was so varied and they coped amazingly with my food intolerances, better than most European restaurants!!! Waking up to the sound of the howler monkeys will always live with me as will seeing my first Kinkajou, something I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Thank you for an amazing two weeks.
We had an amazing time in the Galapagos, thank you.We really enjoyed ourselves and will certainly come back to you next year.

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