(Guayaquil, Quito, Mindo)
An unparalleled fusion of Darwin’s legendary animal filled isles, lush Andean jungles & the lost civilization of the Yumbos, this wild new take through Ecuador is as adventure packed as it is eco-friendly. From swimming with seals, snorkeling with sea turtles, beach time & naturalist guided hikes to UNESCO’s Quito, the astrological ancient mysteries of Tulipe, cycling through the treetops on a sky-bike, monkey filled safaris & waterfall swims in Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve isn’t it time you gave into the call of the wild?
Experience the catered lifestyle aboard a luxurious sea yacht as the salt-watered kissed breeze refreshes your spirit with ever passage through the many inlets of the Galapagos Islands. Turn in your sea-legs for some culturally inspired exploration through the dense Ecuadorian jungle as you spend some time touring to and from your hidden eco-lodge.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Guayaquil airport transfer with private vehicle and driver.
Fly from Guayaquil to Galapagos on a direct flight. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours. Please note that flight rates are subject to change without prior notice.
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.
Cruise representatives will meet you at the airport for your group transfer to the port to board your ship.
Welcome aboard!Take some time to get settled in to your stateroom, and to explore the length of your ship. Your voyage will begin shortly.
Las Bachas, located on the north shore of Santa Cruz, is a beautiful visitor site with a glorious white beach with a couple of brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos.
After breakfast, explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop”, and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling or panga ride.
In the afternoon, you'll disembark at the beach in Puerto Egas. Here you can enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From there, head off on your walk, which will offer a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and you can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions.
In the morning, opt to either go for a fascinating panga ride along the shores or disembark on Rabida Island’s red-colored beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Your walk will bring you close to a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond hosts migrating greater flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers will enjoy a ride on the glass bottom boat or a panga ride. During navigation to the next island, dolphins are sometimes spotted!
This afternoons activities on Bartolome Island begin with a wet landing on the golden beach dominated by the imposing Pinnacle Rock. There’s great snorkeling and swimming from the beach and there will be a chance to ride the glass bottom boat. After returning to the ship, you'll split into two groups, the first lands for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms, and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! The second group will take to the pangas to explore the rugged and volcanic shoreline. The groups then trade activities.
The morning starts with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat rocky plateau. Along your walk, you can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds, and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions).
In the afternoon, land on beautiful Darwin Bay to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkeling. Following the activities, take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches, and mockingbirds.
This morning, you'll disembark from your ship and bid farewell to your expedition crew.
After breakfast, there’s an optional visit to see the breeding program of giant tortoises at Cerro Colorado. You can learn about these endangered species and its promising recovery.
A group transfer will bring you to the airport for your outbound flight.
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Quito with a professional driver.
Fly from Galapagos to Quito via Guayaquil. The flight duration is approximately 4 hours.
Enjoy a five hour private guided tour of Colonial Quito and discover the Middle of the World on a private guided tour with lunch included.
The UNESCO World Cultural Heritage city of Quito, or, to give it its full name; "San Francisco de Quito" is recognized as the largest and best preserved colonial city in the Americas. Sights of interest include the gothic styled Basilica of the Heart of Jesus; dwellings with architectural influence from the Spanish Conquistadores (visible in the tiled roofs, forged iron rode balconies and beautifully carved doors), the heart of Quito - Independence Square, which is flanked by the Presidential and the Archbishop´s palaces, as well as the Metropolitan Cathedral. The Jesuit church of La Compañía de Jesús meanwhile, is a magnificent example of the baroque style in Latin America.
From there, your driver and guide will bring you approximately 11 miles (18 Km.) north of downtown Quito, to visit “Mitad del Mundo” (Middle of the World) and the Equator Monument situated at 0º0’0” latitude where the eighteenth century French Geodesic Expedition built one of the three pyramids as landmarks for their planet calculations to deduct the shape of the earth in a complex which replicates a Spanish-American village. You'll also have the chance to visit the Intiñan Solar Museum, where you’ll find scientific and experimental aspects of being right at the Equator.
Pick-up from your hotel and depart early in the morning to visit Tulipe, one of these ancient sites for astronomical and solar observations, in a kind of pilgrimage to this sacred place, a spiritual, mystical encounter with nature, the unique energetic sites and ceremonial practices of pre-Hispanic societies and their relation to the Solar Cultures.Tulipe, unique due to its position as a link between the coastal and Andean pre-Columbian cultures, lies at the heart of an exuberant subtropical forest to the northwest and very close to Quito, bordering a river of crystal-clear waters; it was the ceremonial center of the Yumbo culture. The Yumbos were peaceful people dedicated to agriculture and commerce, with a close relationship with their environment and Solar Cosmovision. It features stone structures like pools or water mirrors of various forms, joined together by a network of aqueducts, where the shamans (priests) and yachaks (sage men) performed astronomic observations, ceremonies and cults to the sun and the moon. A hike on a path leading to the main pool is particularly interesting, surrounded by trees and medicinal, ritual and ornamental plants that borders the Tulipe River. The pre-Hispanic Yumbo etnia lived in this region from 800 to 1660; they were mindalaes or merchants, who controlled the crucial trade route between the Pacific Coast, the Andes and the Amazon to the east. Their very interesting ancient mountain paths or coluncos can still be used; these are deep and narrow passageways, covered by entwined vegetation that formed a roof and allowed the merchants to travel under this cool protection. Continue on to Mashpi lodge for check-in and lunch
For those who want to enjoy the beauty and magic of dawn in the forest – which is when most birds are active and calling, as well as when views are often most spectacular – early morning activities are organised before breakfast.
Following breakfast, we head out from the lodge to explore, returning for lunch and a rest, before enjoying an afternoon amid Nature, then dinner, night walks and sleep.
On the last day, there’s an early breakfast, followed by a shorter morning activity and check out. There’s then time to relax at the Lodge, watch a video presentation or birdwatch from the terraces. A substantial snack is served at 10.30am and we leave the hotel at 11am.
About an hour away, we visit the intriguing archaeological site of Tulipe. We then drive back eastwards, winding our way up the Andes towards the capital.
Elegance, comfort, security and personalized service are just some of the characteristics that make Hilton Colón Guayaquil a real five-star hotel. 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. Enjoy your spacious guest room and stay connected with wireless internet access, relax with a movie on the flat screen TV. The hotel is surrounded by the main shopping centers and offers easy access to the downtown district area. Hilton Colón Guayaquil Hotel Features includes renovated rooms, four restaurants, two bars and one delicatessen, room service available 24-hours, and renovated outdoor pool and fitness area.
Onboard the M/V Santa Cruz, one can expect luxury in the heart of nature. Expect crisp linen, glossy furnishings and bright, spacious accommodations in this 44-cabin ship. The M/V Santa Cruz adheres to high quality standards, with a well-trained staff and a range of amenities in rooms and throughout the ship. Dine with class, as both international and local cuisine are prepared by chefs. Succulent meats, fresh vegetables, and a range of seafood will tickle the most critical of taste buds. Learn about the region's natural history with nature specialists, spend time contemplating on deck, or simply plan your trip on land with hikes.
Swissotel Quito is one of the city's top five-star luxury hotels, conveniently located in the Floresta neighbourhood of Quito, both a commercial and residential area, only 25 minutes from Mariscal Sucre International Airport. Each of Swissotel Quito's elegant guest rooms and 43 executive apartments are air-conditioned and feature modern design. Luxurious amenities include state-of-the-art technology and a free internet connection. Executive rooms and the Swiss Executive Club lounge provide additional luxury and exclusivity.
Mashpi Lodge is set within a 1000 hectare private reserve, located a mere two and a half hours to the northwest of Ecuador’s capital, Quito – the first city named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – and is accessible via paved and unpaved roads. The area around Mashpi Lodge is world-famous as a biodiversity "hot spot", particularly when it comes to flora and avifauna. Mashpi Lodge is located on a high plateau, ideally situated to give breathtaking views of the forest and valleys from nearly every angle. The lodge, built with the latest techniques, is designed to blend beautifully with its surroundings. It features contemporary, minimalist design and decor, mixing warm earth tones and clean lines: a cozy cocoon amid the forest with the natural world just beyond, ideal for contemplation and relaxation.
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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