Combining the history and culture of the city of Quito with the incredible natural beauty of the Galápagos Islands, this 7-day Quito and Galapagos Adventure tour is a dream vacation for families, couples, and small groups alike.
Explore the Colonial City of Quito
Enjoy two full nights in the colonial city of Quito, with plenty of time to enjoy the various historical sites, unique culture, and finest Ecuadorean cuisine.
Nestled within the lower Andes Mountain range and flanked by volcanoes, Quito is the largest colonial city in the Americas. Here you’ll explore sites in the colonial center and join a chocolate excursion to learn about Cacao Arriba, the world’s finest cocoa that grows in the region.
Be the envy of your friends and family as you visit the actual equator while here also, learning about its significance whilst exploring its surrounding volcanic landscape.
Cruise the Galápagos Islands in Style
A quick flight takes you west, out over the Pacific Ocean to the famed Galápagos Islands. Landing on San Cristobal Island, you’ll then be transported to your awaiting yacht, the Natural Paradise.
Select among the onboard accommodation types, including the Standard Cabin with panoramic windows, Junior Suite with private balcony, or one of the larger cozy Suites. Settle in and prepare yourself for a thrilling expedition-style cruise, weaving in, out, and around these beautiful islands. Spend time throughout the cruise in the various social spaces on board, like the jacuzzi on the teak sundeck, outdoor bar, indoor lounge, and alfresco dining area. A cruise director and attentive staff are always available to provide exceptional service 24 hours a day.
While you may not want to leave the luxurious comfort of your floating accommodations, the islands and nature themselves beckon, drawing you into their spectacular offerings. The first adventure begins at Kicker Rock, just offshore of San Cristobal. Take in the sights from the deck, climb aboard a kayak, or don your wetsuit to dive down and see the marine life up close for yourself.
Enjoy daily island visits, including opportunities to see more of North Seymour, South Plaza, Rabida, Santiago, and Santa Cruz Island destinations. As you cruise by or explore these various islands, be on the lookout for the incredible wildlife, such as the blue-footed boobies, marine and land iguanas, flamingos, the Galápagos sea lions, and even the charismatic Galápagos penguins. Stroll along gorgeous beaches, snorkel warm waters, hike extinct volcanoes, and wander along winding trails during your island visits as well.
As your thrilling cruise comes to an end, you’ll have one more chance to take in the unique landscape features found here on the Galápagos Islands at Los Gemelos (the Twin Towers) on Santa Cruz Island.
Itinerary & Prices
Arrival in Quito!
You arrive in the historical city of Quito and are transferred to your hotel in the comfort of our private, air-conditioned vehicle. Quito is the most populous city in Ecuador, and the second-highest capital city in the world. Founded in 1534 by Spanish Conquistadors, it is nestled in the lower Andes mountain range, creating quite a dramatic backdrop to the colonial architecture of the center and the more modern suburbs, which sit in the rocks of the mountains themselves. Quito is located a short drive south of the equator – Ecuador is, in fact, the Spanish word for the equator, the city sits on the eastern slope of the Pichincha volcano.
Quito lies in the valley of the Guayllabamba River, flanked by volcanoes, many of which are snow-capped, and visible from the city on a clear day. Quito’s altitude is listed at 2,820 meters (9,250 feet). The colonial influence is strong in the traditional center of the city and any visit to Quito should include a stroll around this area, which was one of the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Buildings of particular interest being the Carondelet Palace, the Cathedral, the four main churches, and the Basilica del Voto Nacional. The center of Quito is the most untouched and also the biggest colonial center of any city in the Americas.
Quito City Tour & Equatorial Line
A trip to Ecuador encapsulates a mix of history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers, and lush tropical forests, spectacular snowcapped volcanoes, and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth.
Our starting place today is the ‘Mitad del Mundo’, a site located just 45 minutes north of Quito, where a monument marks the equator at its closest point to the city. Archaeological evidence shows that both pre-Inca and Inca civilizations recognized and celebrated the equinox, the day the sun is directly over the equator. We make the 45-minute journey northwest to the equatorial line, where we will walk the rim of the extinct Pululahua volcanic crater. From there we visit the “Ciudad Mitad del Mundo” a group of buildings designed to explain the significance of the site, as well as the Ethnographic Initñam Museum, located right on the Equator. Here you will have the chance to plant your feet in two hemispheres at the same time!
Back in Quito, after lunch we will visit the city’s impressive colonial center, the reason Quito was the first city to be named a world heritage site. First on the agenda is a walk through the main plaza, the ‘plaza de la Independencia’, where you will see the Government Palace, the Cathedral, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including the San Francisco Monastery, the first building built in the whole city. We wind down from a busy day’s sightseeing with an excursion all about chocolate! Ecuador’s unique equatorial climate provides the perfect environment for growing the world’s finest cocoa – Cacao Arriba. Cocoa has been revered in Latin America for over 5,000 years and Spanish explorers loved it so much they called it the ‘Food of the Gods’. Our chocolate experience starts with a guide explaining the history of cocoa in Ecuador, followed by a chocolate tasting.
Meals (B, L)
Departing Quito & Cruise Embarkation
AM: After breakfast, at the scheduled time, you will be picked up from your hotel and privately transferred to Quito airport, ready to board your departure flight to the Galapagos Islands!
You will arrive at San Cristobal Island in the morning. After passing through immigration and baggage claim, you will be met by the Natural Paradise staff and transferred to the yacht. You will be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before lunch and a welcome briefing.
PM: In the afternoon, you will visit Kicker Rock. This striking rock formation is located a couple of hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, kayaking and scuba diving allow visitors to spot a variety of marine life.
Meals: (B, L, D)
North Seymour Island & South Plaza Island
AM: In North Seymour, you will be able to see Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigatebirds which are abundant on this island. North Seymour was formed by a series of submarine lava flows containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone.
Meals: (B, L, D)
PM: In the afternoon you will head to 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 colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is Sesuvium. During the rainy season, its color is greenish to a yellowish tone, and in the dry season (June – January) a bright red.
Rabida & Pinnacle Rock
AM: Rabida Island is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago. 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.
PM: In the afternoon, you will visit Bartholomew, home of the famous Pinnacle Rock and consisting 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 snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguins.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Sullivan Bay & Dragon Hill
AM: In the morning, you will visit Sullivan Bay located in the southeast part of Santiago. This place has elevations in the form of small volcanoes formed by the lava flows.
PM: In the afternoon, you will head to Dragon Hill, situated on Santa Cruz Island and one of the newest visitor sites accessible to tourists in the Galapagos Islands. One of the lengthier Galapagos walking trails leads visitors up a trail to the lagoon lookout where bright flamingos, pintail ducks, and land iguanas can be spotted.
Meals: (B, L, D)
AM: In the morning, as we traverse Santa Cruz Island we will visit Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters, which are located opposite each other on both sides of the road leading from Puerto Ayora to Baltra. The name is only figurative; not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers. The view is breathtaking.
After this final visit, you will be transferred to Baltra airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.