Download Galapagos and Ecuador - Onboard the Legend Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Quito
You will be met on arrival at Quito Airport and transfered to our Quito hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Quito.
Day 2: City Quito
Explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical center in the Americas. On our tour we visit some of its most important churches such as the majestic La Compañía (Society of Jesus Church) and the iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. Drive through the traditional neighborhood of San Juan. Finish the tour at the "Panecillo" hillside with its breathtaking views of the old and modern city.
Overnight in Quito.
Day 3: Fly to Galapagos Islands, Highlands Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island)
This morning you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island where we are greeted by our Galapagos guides. Upon arrival we take a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Legend.
PM: Dry landing. In the mountains of Galapagos it is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos giant tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a bird watchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Day 4: El Barranco, Prince Philip’s Steps, Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island)
AM - El Barranco, Prince Philip’s Steps (Genovesa Island).
Marvel at the variety of sea life that uses the crevices of the lava cliffs for shelter. Red-billed tropic birds fly overhead, switching between their nests and the bay, and a small colony of fur seals may be found near the landing site. You will be dropped off at a steep stairway that begins on rocks at the foot of a path that leads through a seabird colony full of Nazca and red-footed boobies. At the plateau, the trail continues inland allowing you to see more nesting booby colonies in the thin Palo Santo forest. Near the end of the trail, over a rocky lava plain, wedge-rumped storm-petrels can be observed flying in all directions. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a short-eared owl.
PM - Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island).
Disembark onto a small sand and coral beach. A short trail heads west along a tidal lagoon and then up a rocky hill that leads to a point overlooking the cliffs and Darwin Bay. Along the trail near the tidal lagoon, visitors will see pairs of swallow-tailed gulls, lava gulls, yellow-crowned and lava herons. The trail continues through Palo Santo trees, Opuntia cacti, and Saltbushes inhabited by great frigate birds and red-footed boobies. This is one of the few places in the islands where visitors are guaranteed to see red-footed boobies. It is estimated that more than 200,000 red-footed boobies live in the trees and bushes of Genovesa.
Day 5: Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz), Santa Fe Island
AM - Dragon Hill.
Dry landing. Walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation. Walking up to Dragon Hill, see an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.
PM - Santa Fe Island.
Wet landing. Santa Fe has white sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies. Through the island path, an endemic cactus forest is passed, home to the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches, and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
Day 6: Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island), Mosquera Islet
AM - Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz Island).
Wet landing. On the north side of Santa Cruz behind the beach, lies two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe. You will see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, and salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtle nesting sites in the Galapagos. A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season, with an average of 70 eggs each time. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.
PM - Mosquera Islet.
Wet Landing. Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet and visitors can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very small sesuvium portulacastrum plants grow in the sand.
Day 7: Egas Port (Santiago Island), Rabida Island
AM - Egas Port (Santiago Island).
Wet landing. Egas Port is a black volcanic sand beach, visited by Darwin in 1835. The first section of the trail is formed of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is an uneven terrain of volcanic basaltic rock. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of the Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron, and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. It is easy to see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
PM - Rabida Island.
Wet landing. Dark red sand covers the unique beaches of this island. Home of sea lions colonies, Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting brown pelicans are found from July through September, as well as nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches. Here we enjoy a dinghy ride along the marine cliffs to observe nesting seabirds. We can also snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active.
Day 8: Urbina Bay, Tagus Cove (Isabela)
AM - Urbina Bay (Isabela Island).
Wet landing (may be difficult due to the tide). This island has a volcanic black beach, and depending on the season, it is possible to find giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland it´s snorkeling time! This is a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plants, with the different range of colors of flowers attracting different insects, birds, and reptiles. One of the highlights of the island is the uplifted coral reef that resulted from the 1954 seismic activity. Here the views of Alcedo Volcano are remarkable. When navigating from Urbina to Tagus Cove whale watching is possible from May – December.
PM - Tagus Cove (Isabela Island).
Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations. We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as blue-footed booby, brown noddy, terns, flightless cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos penguins which are only 35 cm tall - the only penguin species in the world to live in the tropics.
The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela, with others scattered further south. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.
Day 9: Espinosa Point (Fernandina), Vicente Roca Point (Isabela)
AM - Espinosa Point (Fernandina Island).
Dry landing. From Espinosa Point, it is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here the largest, most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally lightfoot crabs. Fernandina displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos hawk. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of the Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with a few brachycereus cacti. Mangrove can be found along the shoreline.
PM - Vicente Roca Point (Isabela Island).
This afternoon we can enjoy great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth, the Bolivar Channel. Accessible by water, we take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a wonderful diversity of sea and coastal birds such as Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, and flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, a perfect place for deep-water snorkeling.
Day 10: Pit Craters (Santa Cruz), Fly to Quito
AM - Pit Craters (Santa Cruz Island).
Dry landing. A visit to the collapsed, twin sink holes (Gemelos) puts us in a stunning forest of the endemic tree-forming Scalesia. Apart from the dramatic scenery, this area is well known for its diversity of passerine bird species.
PM - After the events of your final itinerary day in the Galapagos we will depart the Galapagos and take our short flight to Quito where, depending on your route you will have free time to enjoy Quito.
Overnight in Quito.
Day 11: Depart Quito
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.