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Galapagos: Wildlife Wonderland (BBC Earth Journey, For Families)

8 days with Tauck   Rating: Deluxe


Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Arrive Quito, Ecuador 
Tour begins: Swissôtel Quito. A transfer is included from Mariscal Sucre International Airport to the Swissôtel Quito, where you'll enjoy an Executive Level room. Join us for a special reception with local entertainment before our welcome dinner at the hotel. Then get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be rested and ready for your family's unforgettable Galápagos experience. (D)

Day 2 Visit the Equator and explore Quito 
Quito is not only 9,200 feet above “seal” level, it’s also on the Equator... the "middle of the world." Take the opportunity to stand on both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time, and learn more about Quito's unique geography at the Inti Ñan Museum before enjoying an Ecuadorian lunch near a volcanic crater. Explore centuries-old Colonial Quito on a guided tour. Then spend the rest of the day and evening at leisure as you get set for tomorrow... when your Galápagos cruise gets underway! (B, L)

Day 3 Cruise to islands time forgot 
Your family's Galápagos tour and cruise* commences today when you fly from Quito to the volcanic island of Baltra and board your new expedition ship, Santa Cruz II. Your first shore excursion features a ride ashore on a panga to the island of Santa Cruz, and a wet landing on Las Bachas Beach (named for the US military barges, referred to as "bachas," that were beached and abandoned there after WWII) – an important nesting area for the green sea turtle. On a guided hike around a saltwater lagoon today, look for flamingos, pintail ducks, sandpipers and stilts; join our expert naturalists for an informative briefing back aboard ship this evening, prior to the Captain's welcome reception followed by dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Meet the locals on Santiago Island 
Start the day with a morning boat ride off Buccaneer’s Cove on Santiago (James) Island – once a favorite haunt of pirates and whalers – to observe seabirds like frigates, pelicans and boobies, and go snorkeling off the panga. After lunch aboard ship, a wet landing at Puerto Egas on Santiago provides even more opportunities to see seabirds, along with a colony of sea lions and marine iguanas; enjoy a swim and a snorkel from the beach before returning to the ship. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Explore Rábida & Hike on Bartolomé 
Meet Darwin's finches and other rare birds today after a wet landing on Rabida (Jervis) Island, with its red-colored beaches. Experience both wet and dry landings on your excursion to Bartolomé Island; hike up to the summit and drink in amazing vistas of its volcanic features and the neighboring islands. Ride a panga around Pinnacle Rock, and view sea lions, sea turtles and tiny tropical Galápagos penguins in a panorama of life found only here. Tonight you'll find out more about the Galápagos Islands with our shipboard naturalists. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Towering sights & birds at Darwin Bay 

Explore Genovesa (Tower) Island by panga and a dry landing; climb up Prince Philip’s steps for a hike across the island, where you'll see masked boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and more. An afternoon cruise and a wet landing at Darwin Bay offers more amazing views of thousands of rare birds, including red-footed boobies, gulls, mockingbirds, herons and finches, as well as an optional walk across volcanic terrain. Back aboard the ship, celebrate the end of your cruise – and your family's most unforgettable Galápagos tour – at our Captain’s farewell dinner. (B, L, D)


Day 7 Disembark on Santa Cruz & fly to Guayaquil 
Disembark Santa Cruz II on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, and visit a tortoise reserve to observe in the wild one of the rarest forms of wildlife that continue to thrive here on the Galápagos Islands – the giant tortoise – and efforts being made by the Ecuadorian National Park Service to preserve and protect life on the islands for future generations. Late morning, travel to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil on the mainland, and an overnight at the Wyndham Guayaquil. Join us this evening for a poolside farewell party at your hotel as your family's Ecuador and Galápagos tour comes to a close. (B, D)

Day 8 Homeward bound 
Tour ends: Guayaquil. A transfer from the Wyndham Guayaquil to José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport is included. You should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in. (B)
Map
All This Included
This eight-day family adventure takes guests to the exotic Galápagos Islands, a region rich with a variety of local wildlife, flourishing flora and on-island excursions. Sailing through the four-island system by panga and by expedition ship, Santa Cruz II, as you and your family take in the beautiful views on both land and sea. Across this island society; explore the lagoons on Baltra Island that have a variety of birds within its ecosystem including pintail ducks, flamingos and stilts. Snorkel in Santiago Island in Buccaneer Cove where local sea lions may sneak up alongside you and surprise you. Hike up Bartolomé Island accompanied by incredible views at the summit. See the intricacies of the island firsthand! From the red sand of Jervis Island to the marine iquanas who forage for food in the sea, even the crabs are different here, with their bright red and yellow shells that provide quite a contrast to the black-lava rocks of these volcanic islands. Learn from Galápagos naturalists who travel with you... take walks on lave terrains... travel ashore via pangas... swim and snorkel... And much more!
  • All gratuities to Tauck Directors, local guides, drivers, naturalists, and ship staff
  • On-Tour Air included (2 flights)
  • Your cruise may be a shared ship experience with non-Tauck guests onboard as well; all Tauck guests will be accompanied by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 Tauck guests, and your itinerary will always be highlighted by exclusive, private Tauck shore excursions
  • Entrance fee to Galápagos Nat’l Park – $100 value per adult
  • Have brunch near a dormant volcano close to the Equator and explore colonial Quito on a guided tour
  • Learn about the Galápagos' natural history and conservation in the islands during a visit to the Cristóbal Interpretation Center on San Cristóbal
  • Aboard ship – daily cocktail hour; all day soft drinks; wine and beer with dinner
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 18 meals; service charges, most taxes and porterage
Highlights
  • 4 nights aboard the 90-guest Santa Cruz II, designed especially for Galápagos Islands cruising; dry and wet landings
  • Licensed Naturalist Guides of Galápagos National Park accompany shore excursions and hold briefings aboard ship, offering hands-on natural history lessons
  • Private Tauck Shore Excursions with experts, averaging two daily, for wildlife sightings and exciting activities
Accommodations
Quito: Swissôtel Quito
Cruising: Aboard Santa Cruz II
Guayaquil: Wyndham Guayaquil
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Tour has optional activites which may incur additional costs.
  • Children under 18 must be booked in a room with at least one adult.
  • Triple accommodations are not available for more than two adults, age 18 or older, sharing a room. 
  • Interconnecting cabins (subject to availability) can be booked onboard Santa Cruz II.
  • Quads will be accommodated in two double rooms.
  • Aboard ship, triple cabins are two beds and a pull-out couch; they are limited to two adults (age 18 or older) sharing a room with one child under age 18. In hotels, triples are usually a two-bedded room plus one rollaway bed.
  • Gratuities to Tauck Director, local guides, and ship staff included.
  • Recommended age: 8+ – the minimum age for this trip is 6 years.
  • Galápagos: Wildlife Wonderland  is a very active journey with considerable walking on uneven terrain.For activities marked with an asterisk (*) in the day-by-day descriptions, participation is at your own risk; a signed liability waiver will be required. Please note activity and pace level details as detailed on the Overview tab. Departures are hosted by one Tauck Director for approximately every 40 guests. We may not visit each of the islands in the order outlined, but we typically visit two different sites per day. Our Galápagos itinerary is subject to change due to wildlife encounters, atmospheric conditions and Galápagos National Park directives.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Tauck terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.