Embark on a journey through the Galapagos Isles in a style fit for movie stars and kings on this once-in-a-lifetime cruise. Formally owned by Her Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, sail in high style aboard the M/Y Grace. This luxurious 18 passenger yacht is the epitome of the bygone days of the golden age of travel. The perfect fit for those that expect only the best complemented with excellent service, superb accommodations and fine dining. While not enjoying onboard pampering countless species will amaze - giant tortoises, Magellanic Penguins, marine and land iguanas, blue-footed boobies, pink flamingos, sea lions, sea turtles, flightless cormorants, and more. So many experiences await you as you leave behind your cruise ship for daily excursions in order to explore the marvelous geology and astonishing fauna of the Galapagos. Only here can you truly grasp it was that what shaped Darwin's groundbreaking theory of evolution. Featuring snorkeling with seals, Jacuzzi, sunken caves, research centers, beach relaxation and adventure round every bend. Customized with Kensington's award-winning pre-post cruise private guided tours, chauffeured transfers, hotels and much more. This expedition cruise departs every Saturday
Enjoy a private Airport Transfer in Quito with a professional driver.
Explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas; visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compañía and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. Drive through the traditional neighborhood of San Juan. Finish the morning at the "Panecillo" hillside with its breathtaking views of the old and modern city. At a distance of approximately 11miles (18 km) north of Quito is the "Middle of the World City" complex. Visit the monument of the equatorial line or parallel 0, latitude 0° 0’0”. Afterwards enjoy a delicious lunch (Included) in a typical restaurant where flavors from across the country can be savoured.
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Quito with a professional driver.
Fly from Quito to Galapagos via Guayaquil today. The flight duration is approximately 4 hours. Please note: Flight rates and availability are subject to change until booking.
A group transfer will bring you from the airport to your awaiting ship at port.
Your mandatory Galapagos National Park entrance fee and tourist card are included in your itinerary pricing.
Please note: the itinerary is a guideline only - the route and program vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety precautions and wildlife encounters.
Welcome aboard!Take some time to settle in to your stateroom and to explore the length of your ship. You'll set sail shortly.
On the north shore of Santa Cruz, the beautiful sandy beach at Whaler's Bay makes it a great welcome for visitors. As you drift though the quiet waters in a panga (outboard-powered boat), you are likely to see marine life, and when disembarking, a fabulous opportunity to enjoy the clear waters for snorkeling or swimming. This is a peaceful place that will leave you feeling that way. Eden Islet offers more snorkeling similar to Whaler’s Bay and / or a panga ride in search of blue-footed boobies, masked boobies and great blue herons. You can toast your first Galapagos sunset aboard the your ship, followed by dinner and a presentation by the expert expedition guides on tomorrow's activities.
Santa Fe may well be the oldest island in the Galapagos. You will anchor at one of the most beautiful and most sheltered bays in the archipelago, and some of the best snorkeling is here, with its crystal clear and Santa Fe Island - shallow waters. Certainly one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions and glimpse of the Galapagos White-tipped Shark. After a wet landing you will walk up to a nearby cliff to see the land iguanas through an area of Opuntia Cactus. Other animals present are the Galapagos Hawk, owls, Frigates, Pelicans, Manta Rays and mockingbirds. The goal is to spot one of the large endemic species of land iguana.One of the smallest islands of the archipelago, yet one of the richest in wildlife, is South Plaza Island. The dry landing transports you to a brilliant combination of life and colors. Land iguanas wandering through bright red carpet weed, Swallow tailed gulls nesting around the overhang tops and red-billed tropicbirds and shearwaters flying with dancing displays. Mind the pirates of the sky; they will strike if you drop your guard. This 13 acre (5 hectare) island is one of the best spots in the archipelago to see land iguanas and swallow-tailed gulls, both indigenous to the Galapagos. There are iguana nests scattered all over the hill. The sheer cliffs of the southern shore are a perfect bird habitat, making it an unparalleled bird observatory especially for swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon shearwaters, and red-billed tropicbirds. You'll also have the chance to spot the only marine - land iguana hybrids in the islands and one of the biggest sea lion colonies in the archipelago.
The southwestern part of Tower Island is an ocean-filled caldera ringed by the outer edges of a sizeable and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galápagos archipelago. Named for a visit by the British Monarch in 1964, the 81-foot Phillips Steps leads to a narrow stretch of land that opens out onto the plateau surrounding Darwin Bay, and extends to form the north side of the island. Red-footed boobies wrap their webbed feet around branches to perch in the bushes, and, in contrast, their “masked- booby” cousins dot the surface of the scrublands beyond. Crossing through the sparse vegetation, you will come to a broad lava field that extends towards the sea—this forms the north shore. Landing on the white coral sands of Darwin Bay and walking up the beach, you will be surrounded by the bustling activity of frigatebirds, while both yellow-crowned and lava herons feed by the shore. Farther along you will discover a stunning series of sheltered pools set into a rocky outcrop, forming another natural film set. A trail beside the pools leads up to a cliff overlooking the caldera, where pairs of swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world, can be seen nesting at the cliff’s edge. A brief panga ride brings you to the base of those same cliffs to reveal the full variety of species sheltering in the ledges and crevices created by the weathered basalt. This is also an intriguing place to go deep-water snorkeling, where the truly fortunate swimmer can spot one of the giant manta rays that frequent the inner bay along the cliff walls.
Your destination this morning is Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island, where a number of unique Galápagos species can be seen in close proximity such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, and hawks. As your panga driver skillfully navigates the reef, penguins show off by throwing themselves from the rocks into the water. Brightly colored Sally Lightfoot Crabs disperse across the lava shoreline while herons and egrets forage through the mangroves.
An afternoon in Urbina Bay begins with a wet landing onto a gently sloping beach.
Walk amongst dried coral heads of an uplifted ocean floor and track down large land iguanas and Galapagos tortoises that live in the area. Here you must take care not to step on the sea turtle nests dug carefully into the sand.
On the way to Tagus Cove this morning, your ship will sail through the Bolivar Channel. These are the coldest, most productive waters in the Galápagos, with the upwelling of the Cronwell Current, where dolphins and whales are frequently seen. The cove’s quiet waters make for an ideal panga ride beneath its sheltered cliffs, where blue-footed boobies, brown noddies, pelicans and noddy terns make their nests, and flightless cormorants and penguins inhabit the lava ledges.
Located at the ‘mouth’ of the head of the sea horse, which forms the northern part of the Isabela is Punta Vicente Roca. Here the remnants of an ancient volcano form two turquoise coves with a bay well protected from the ocean swells. The spot is a popular anchorage from which to take panga rides along the cliff where a partially sunken cave beckons explorers. Masked and blue-footed boobies sit perched along the point and the sheer cliffs, while flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline. The upwelling of coldwater currents in this part of the Galápagos, give rise to an abundance of marine life which, in combination with the protection of the coves, make Punta Vicente Roca one of the archipelago’s sough after snorkel and dive spots.
Espumilla Beach in the morning, an important nesting site for marine turtles. Galapagos Islands visitors who now come to Espumilla Beach come in search of birds rather than water. A short walk inland takes visitors through a mangrove forest normally inhabited by the Common Stilt. Sea Turtles also visit these mangroves to nest. Beyond the mangroves is a brackish lagoon where flocks of Pink Flamingos and White Cheeked Pintails can be seen. You'll sail to Buccaneer's Cove, Cove served as a safe haven for pirates, sailors and whalers during the 18th and 19th century. Anchoring in the protected bay they were able to make much needed repairs to their ships while other men went a shore to stock up on salt, tortoises, fresh water and firewood.
A wet landing at Puerto Egas, also known as James Bay, which offers an intriguing, eroded rock formation. Oystercatchers, whimbrels, sanderlings, turnstones, tattlers and other waders are mixed with marine iguanas and bright painted crabs to feed by the rich littoral zone. Grand, partially collapsed lava tunnels house a Galapagos fur sea lion colony. The snorkel can be one of the best in the archipelago. Sea turtles feeding, parrot fishes, damsel fishes, white tipped reef sharks and many more… Charles Darwin spent most of his Galapagos land time near this spot.
Puerto Ayora is home to both the Galápagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station, the center of the great restorative efforts taking place in the park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we go ashore to visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Program run by the research station, which began by rescuing the remaining 16 tortoises on the island of Española in the 1970s. This program has restored the population of animals there to over 1,000 today. You will see many of these animals, with their sweet ET necks and faces, from hatchlings to juveniles to large, and much older tortoises too (a few likely over 100 years old!). The local color of this port makes for an attractive stop-off, with restaurants, souvenir shops and even an internet café.
Located in the green, hilly highlands of Santa Cruz Island, the El Chato Reserve is one of the best places in the islands to see the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around eating grass and leaves and wallowing in the small pools that are common in the reserve. The best times to see tortoises here is during the cool dry season from June through December. You may also spot some highland birds, like cattle egrets, mockingbirds, finches or flycatchers. There is a trail through the reserve, leaving from the little town of Santa Rosa. From the “caseta” or little house where it begins, figure on about a three or three and a half hour hike round trip. It’s possible to hire horses and guides in Santa Rosa.
Today your voyage comes to an end. Before bidding farewell to the ship and her crew you'll pay a visit to the Interpretation Center, which presents a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora & fauna. In 1998 the Galápagos National Park Visitor Centre opened for the benefit of islanders and travelers alike, presenting a comprehensive exhibit of the islands’ natural history, human interaction, ecosystems, flora and fauna.
Disembark from your ship and bid farewell to the crew.
A group transfer will bring you to the airport for your outward flight.
Fly direct from Galapagos to Guayaquil. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours. Please note that flight rates are subject to change without prior notice.
Guayaquil airport transfer with private vehicle and driver.
Walk along Malecon 2000, and encounter several interesting historical monuments, including La Rotonda, celebrating the meeting of the most important South American Independence leaders: drive down the always animated Avenida 9 de Octubre. Visit the Historical Park, a charming museum that blends nature, history, and anthropology in a placid setting along the river.
Experience unmatched elegance at the JW Marriott Quito Hotel in Ecuador, the gateway to the Galapagos Islands and Andean Mountains. Located in the heart of the city, the JW Marriott is located on the famous Amazonas Avenue and features an amazing atrium lobby where you can enjoy a martini or espresso while enjoying the view. Amenities include spacious guest rooms and suites with magnificent views, high-speed Internet access, in-room safe and luxurious bedding. On-site restaurants offer innovative Ecuadorian and international cuisine while the tropical gardens and resort-style pool offer the perfect backdrop for some relaxation. There is also a fitness centre as well as full spa onsite.
The unique configuration of this Camper & Nicholsons motor yacht makes for a swift, stable vessel that provides both spaciousness and supreme comfort. She is the ideal sized vessel, attractive to the adventure traveler, sea-kayaker and natural history passenger alike. The Grace is outfitted with a stabilizer system, making for the smoothest running motor yacht in the calm Galápagos seas. The main salon is truly spacious, equipped with luxurious sofas and chairs, a bar and entertainment center. Passengers gather here for briefings, to watch films, enjoy a drink at the bar or just relax. All meals can be served inside or outside (al fresco). The Grace has nine very comfortable and luxurious cabins with plenty of storage. The front sun deck offers a hot tub and plenty of space to sunbathe, read a book, take pictures, or just enjoy the journey to the next island.
Conveniently placed in Ecuador, a strategic point in South America, the Hilton Colon Guayaquil hotel combines excellent service and a laid-back resort feel with a convenient location only few minutes from José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport. With 294 fully renovated rooms and suites, you can enjoy your spacious guest room and stay connected with wireless internet access. Get to work at the desk or just relax with a movie on the flat screen TV. Connecting rooms are perfect for those travelling as a family. Step up to an Executive Room or suite and benefit from extra space, a range of special touches and exclusive access to the Executive Lounge where complimentary snacks and refreshments are served.
Christina Adams ,
April 21, 2014
"I know it's silly to give all 10's, obviously every trip has it's ups and downs, but if it hadn't been for our Kensington Tours planning, guides and drivers we would have been lost! It was wonderful to be out in a strange new environment yet know we had a safety net and a friendly face. The places we visited were awesome but I think we'll remember most the people that we met. Thank you and I'll send photos soon! Sincerely, Christina Adams"
Frank Manna ,
April 21, 2014
"Our guided transfers were exceptionally accommodating even though our flights were considerably delayed. The Annavillanas Jungle Lodge was spectacular for location, accommodations and food. The Rio Carnival experience was unique and unforgettable and our seats were wonderful. Loved the location of our hotel in Rio.......right on the street of Copacabana Beach.......fantastic. "
Vivian Jennings ,
April 21, 2014
"Very pleased with organization. Not having to worry about connections or arrangements is wonderful. Great selection with hotels, Coral 1 and Napo Wildlife. Kensington puts all the details together to ensure a wonderful trip. Highly recommend the Galapagos and Amazon. "
Daniel More ,
April 21, 2014
"All was great. Guides were knowledgeable, personable, friendly... that's what really made the trip."
Marlin Barad ,
April 21, 2014
"Sofia, thank you for putting together a great trip. We certainly enjoyed ourselves very much. The planning and care was excellent. We hope we can do another trip with you all soon. Marlin Barad"
Laura Iyer ,
January 10, 2014
"We just returned last night from our Patagonia adventure and we had the time of our lives! Everything turned out perfectly. Guides were fun, on time and informative. The excursions were great for an active family and, of course, amazing. I thought after the glacier trek it can't get any better - but it kept surprising me and amazing me. My personal favorite was the horseback riding. I thought afterwards after everything we have seen the bike tour would have to be a let down - NOPE - it also was so exciting and our guide was a hoot! Meals were amazing and after so many active excursions no guilt in pigging out. I am so happy we took a little risk and went out of the way with our vacation this year. We will have this with us for a life time.
Catherine Dudley ,
January 10, 2014
"GREAT trip! We were very pleased with every aspect that Brandi set up for us including the tour of Quito and environs. Our guide spoke excellent English, the driver was courteous and we felt safe and well-informed throughout the day. We're still going through the 500+ photos that I took and the 1700+ photos that my son took. Galapagos was a fabulous trip and the Eclipse was a terrific way to navigate the islands.
Mark Dornfeld ,
November 11, 2013
"My wife and I had a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves. All the accommodations that you booked for us were exceptional and our drivers and guides were lovely. We had great weather the whole trip and only lost one activity due to high winds. As you know this is a beautiful part of the world so my camera was snapping all the time. We would definitely use your services in the future for this type of travel. Thanks for all you help and expertise........be well.....m.d."
Jack Gregory ,
November 11, 2013
I wanted to give you a little feedback on our recent trip to Peru.
In a word – EXCELLENT – especially the high quality people you work with in Peru. We have taken tours all over the world, S. Africa, France, England, Vietnam, China to name just a few, and the service we received in Peru was far beyond and of the other experiences we have had. The attention to detail was very much appreciated, picking us up at the airport, taking us back to the airport and complete, hassle free, handling of all our details truly made this a stress free experience.
Special thanks to:
-The entire reservation system and the people I came in contact with that process...every detail accounted for
-The people that looked after us in Lima
-Andre, the young man in Cusco who faithfully phoned every night just to make sure the day went well, my wife was well and that we knew what we had to do the next day.
-The Sumaq hotel in Aquas Calientes...you can tell the level of service by the details...I watched a waitress hold a high stool for a lady to prevent her from tipping backwards as she got on the stool, the lady didn’t even know the waitress did it....that’s client care.
-Especially Mariela, the tour guide in Cusco...highly knowledgeable, passionate, personable and shows great care for the people she guides.
Hainsworth Sherry ,
November 05, 2013
Clients were very impressed. Guides were amazing and accommodation was beyond expectations. They will definitely travel with you again and they have highly recommended Kensington Tours.
Hope I can work with you again the in the near future.
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