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Wonders of the Galápagos (2015)
Limited to 18 guests
Days: 10 | From: $7,995
Day 1: Arrive Guayaquil, Ecuador
Arrive in Guayaquil to begin your Galápagos adventure. Settle into your hotel and relax.
Day 2: Guayaquil/The Galápagos | On Board ‘Eclipse’
After a private welcome breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos. Upon arrival, you are met by your naturalist guides and escorted to a vehicle that whisks you to the pier to board ‘Eclipse,’ your home for the seven-night cruise at the heart of your itinerary. Nimble enough to access the Galápagos Islands, yet large and stable enough for safety, it is a vessel built for adventure, offering a stylish and relaxed atmosphere. ‘Eclipse’ is ecologically sound as well and has been awarded the “Smart Voyager” seal of approval by the Rainforest Alliance, certifying it as eco-friendly and socially responsible. (See page 158 for more information on ‘Eclipse.’) After settling in, attend an introductory briefing and a fitting for your wetsuit and snorkeling gear
'Eclipse' | Meals: B L D
Days 3-8: The Galápagos | Spectacularly Diverse Wildlife
Lying about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are a haven for some of the world’s most varied wildlife. It was this diversity that first led naturalist Charles Darwin to propose that species evolved in response to their environment. Darwin’s work also helped to alert the world to the need — urgent even in his own day — to preserve these islands from degradation by humans. Today, tourism to the Galápagos is closely managed, protecting the wildlife and allowing you to experience the environment much as Darwin did. Because weather, water and wildlife conditions are subject to constant change, your islands itinerary is not fixed, but two daily excursions are planned to the main sites and islands. Explore landmarks such as Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island, El Barranco on Genovesa Island, Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island and the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. Each cruise day begins with an early breakfast, perhaps taken al fresco on ‘Eclipse’s’ spacious deck. You then board a sturdy rubber raft called a panga for the morning shore excursion. As soon as your feet touch terra firma, expect to spot flora and fauna (all different depending on the island), take photographs and confer with your naturalist guide. See sunbathing sea lions; skittering Sally Lightfoot crabs; tangles of marine iguanas; penguins, finches, terns and blue-footed boobies; even a century-old tortoise diligently trudging over the sand. Return to ‘Eclipse’ for a refreshing lunch, followed by time at leisure to nap or socialize on deck. Keep your binoculars close by for a possible sighting of whales or seabirds. In the afternoon, return to the pangas for the second excursion of the day, perhaps with an opportunity to swim, kayak or snorkel. You may well come face to face with a water-dwelling inhabitant, such as a curious dolphin or sea lion stopping by to inspect the visitors to its equatorial home. Back on board ‘Eclipse’ for the evening, there is time to shower and relax before gathering in the dining room for another wonderful meal. In the evening, your time is your own: attend a lecture on board by one of your affable guides, recapping the day’s sights and gaining a sneak peek at tomorrow’s itinerary; explore the mysteries of the night sky with a fascinating astronomy lecture on deck; peruse the ship’s excellent library; or gather for cocktails in the lounge to cap a day of extraordinary discoveries. Drift asleep in your air-conditioned cabin to the rise and fall of gentle ocean swells, awakening refreshed the next morning ready for a new day of adventure.
'Eclipse' | Meals: B L D
Day 9: Guayaquil | Panama Hats & Farewell Dinner
Disembark today and fly back to Guayaquil. After lunch at your leisure, visit the Ecu-Andino Panama Hat Factory, where you are served a refreshing cocktail and learn about the fine craftsmanship required to make this iconic headgear. Later, share the highlights of your inspiring Galápagos experience with fellow guests during a farewell dinner at your hotel’s elegant Portofino Restaurant.
Hilton Colón Guayaquil | Meals: B D
Day 10: Depart Guayaquil
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your homebound flight or set out for Lima to begin the Machu Picchu Post-Tour Extension.
Machu Picchu Post-Tour Extension
5 days, priced from $3,295; internal air priced from $925
Available on the Feb 27, Mar 27, Apr 10, and Oct 16 departures.
Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Peru, connect to Cusco, then transfer to your hotel to relax and acclimatize. Hotel Monasterio
Day 2: Tour Sacsayhuaman. Hotel Monasterio | Meals: B
Day 3: Travel to Machu Picchu by train to roam its intriguing ruins. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel | Meals: B L
Day 4: Hike with a guide to Inti Punku or Huayna Picchu,or explore the ruins. Return to Cusco. Hotel Monasterio | Meals: B L D
Day 5: Fly to Lima and visit the historic Plaza Mayor and Cathedral, Presidential Palace and Larco Herrera Museum. This evening, depart. Meals: B
Luxury Small Group Journeys 2015
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