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.
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.
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 & 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.
The unique configuration of this Camper & Nicholson 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 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.
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 hrs. 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.
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.
Laura Iyer ,
January 10, 2014
We just returned last night from our Patagonia adventure and wanted to tell you 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 can't tell you what was our favorite. The boys enjoyed exploring the mountains in El Chalten (they called it Mountain running) while Mohan and I relaxed in the beautiful hotel. 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! We had great weather for each activity (I know there is a bit of luck involved with that one).
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.
Thank you again,
Laura, Mohan, Ryan, and Nathan
Catherine Dudley ,
January 10, 2014
Happy New Year!
GREAT trip! The brochure you sent to us the week before we set off was marvelous -- the pages are marked and worn with us referring to it so often! We were very pleased with every aspect that you set up for us including the airport pick-up and drop off and the tour of Quito and environs on Friday. Our guide spoke excellent English, the driver was courteous and we felt safe and well-informed throughout the day. The transfer to the Eclipse team was super easy and the flight to Guayaquil and trip to the boat went off without a hitch.
We're still going through the 500+ photos that I took and the 1700+ photos that my son took, but I promise to send a few to you in the next week or so. Galapagos was a fabulous trip and the Eclipse was a terrific way to navigate the islands. Gave them a 10 on their feedback form and would recommend Eclipse very highly.
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.
Scott Parks ,
November 05, 2013
Sandy and I are back from Peru and had a wonderful time. Kensington seems to have the best contacts in each country and Peru was no exception. I wanted to take the time to give you some specific feedback on each segment of out trip.
The “Hotel B” in Lima is fantastic. It’s an old house that has been turned into a small Hotel. The people are great and the location in Barranco is just what we like.
The Inkaterra Amazonica is probably the best place place to stay in the Amazon region. The rooms give a real feel of the sounds of the rain forest.
The hotels in both Cusco and Aquas Calientes were perfect with great locations. We added an additional day in Aquas Calientes which gave us three days in Machu Picchu. For us, this was well worth it and gave us the time we wanted to see all aspects of Machu Picchu. Pictures did not do justice to the site, although we got some great pictures.
The trip to see the Nasca Lines was, also, worth the time. Our guide added some side trips including lunch at a local winery which we really enjoyed. The Hotel Paracas was an unexpectedly high quality resort and a great way to end our trip.
Thanks for your help we look forward to next year
June Murray ,
August 20, 2013
"Buenas Noches Brandi-
I filled out the survey but I wanted to send you a note to say thank you. Our trip was the stuff lifelong memories are made of and I mean every part of it. From our time spent in Quito, to the Safari Camp and Isla Isabela. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the staff at our accommodations and the expertise of all our guides (most especially Tanya Helmig at the Safari Camp). We hope to go back for an extended stay.
I have attached 2 photos for you of Bart and I. I think the joy is clearly evident- thank you for making it possible.
Barbara Mackey ,
July 22, 2013
"We just completed a family trip to Costa Rica, with three families traveling from different locations. All the coordination efforts were made easily and efficiently by our Kensington representative, Brandi Merchant, who was wonderful; an absolute delight to work with. All the accommodations were first class and the guides knowledgeable and very punctual. We will be using Kensington again!
Cindy Thoene ,
July 22, 2013
What an AMAZING trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously…the trip of a lifetime!
We returned late on Thursday and had out of town visitors through the weekend and we are just now unpacking and getting back to non-vacation reality.
I will share my feedback and get pictures sent to you soon.
Thanks for everything….truly a perfect trip!
July 24, 2013
Our trip was wonderful, we had a great time, wish we could have spent more time. In fact, I now know I would have spent more time in Cuzco and the Machu Picchu area.
Machu Picchu was fabulous.
Margot, our guide, and the driver, were absolutely wonderful, low key, very personable, very accommodating, really good. We didn't end up with enough time on the last morning in Cusco to finish the tour, but got a feel- of Sacsayhuman, Qengo, Koricancha. We saw Ollayantatambo, and went to Moray and Maras, and Wayra ranch which was also outstanding, on the next day, but did not do Pisac and the market. We got tired and ran out of time so cut a couple things. Louis the coordinator was good as well.
Would love to go back and learn more some time.
The coordinator in Lima was extremely nice too, and very helpful.
In fact, we loved the food, the people and everything. The Libertador Palacio , the Tambo del Inka and the Sanctuary were indeed outstanding hotels. LAN was all on time, great service.
Thank you again for all your help.
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