Arrive Guayaquil, Ecuador
Arrive in Guayaquil, tropical port city and gateway to the Galápagos, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Guayaquil | Authentic Hacienda Experience
This morning, drive into the lush countryside for a visit to Hacienda La Danesa, a charming, family-owned dairy and cacao farm. Begin with a hands-on tour, learning how cocoa is grown and harvested. Then, sit down to an artisan chocolate tasting followed by an organic farm lunch. Return to Guayaquil for a brief city tour. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel featuring a feast of local Ecuadorian specialties.
Cruising the Galápagos | Baltra & Santa Cruz Island
Fly to the remote Galápagos island of Baltra, where you join your naturalist guide for the ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island. Disembark and drive up into the island’s mist-shrouded highlands in search of giant tortoises. Continue on to Puerto Ayora and board ‘La Pinta,’ your Galápagos expedition ship for the next four nights. After settling in, attend an introductory briefing and a fitting for your wetsuit and snorkeling gear. Dinner on board this evening is followed by a summary of the next day’s shore excursions.
Cruising the Galápagos | Sombrero Chino
After breakfast, board a panga (small open boat) for a shore excursion to Eden Islet, a biodiverse enclave secluded off of Santa Cruz. Here, observe the island’s iconic blue-footed boobies against a backdrop of cinder cones and semi-eroded lava flows. Take this opportunity to snorkel the reef or observe marine life aboard a glass-bottom boat. Back aboard ‘La Pinta,’ cruise onward to Sombrero Chino, yet another secluded islet of the Galápagos archipelago. Disembark your panga to hike Sombrero Chino’s wilderness trails, swim its sandy cove, and snorkel among white-tipped reef sharks and Galápagos penguins.
Cruising the Galápagos | Bartolomé & Santiago Islands
Disembark on iconic Bartolomé Island to hike the volcanic terrain leading to its summit. After a panga ride to visit the penguins of Pinnacle Rock, snorkel the reef, relax on the beach or take in the local marine life aboard a glass-bottom boat. Then, embark by panga to swim or snorkel along the white coral sand beach of Sullivan Bay.
Cruising the Galápagos | Christmas Eve on 'La Pinta'
This morning, hike and snorkel Genovesa Island, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Explore Darwin Bay, snorkeling along the cliffs or paddling out in sea kayaks. After a panga ride exploring the island’s cliffs, disembark to climb the steep, rocky pass of Prince Phillip’s Steps. Your ascent leads to a clifftop frequented by Nazca boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels and the elusive short-eared owl.
Quito | Holiday Festivities
Disembark ‘La Pinta’ at Baltra Island, where you transfer to the airport for the flight back to mainland Ecuador. Upon arrival in Quito, you are transferred to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure among this historic capital perched high in the Andes. This evening, join your fellow guests for a festive dinner at the hotel.
Quito | Historic Andean Capital
This morning, embark on an A&K-exclusive chartered trolleybus for an interactive tour spanning the length of the capital. After lunch in a scenic colonial square, set out to explore Quito on foot. Your guide reveals the Church and Monastery of St. Francis, Presidential Palace and Cathedral of Quito, all resplendent in festive holiday decorations. Enjoy a special choir performance by local students at La Compañia church, one of the most significant baroque structures of South America. Tonight, join your fellow guests for a farewell dinner celebrating your unforgettable adventure.
This morning after breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your international departure.
NOTE: ‘La Pinta’ is an adventure vessel, and while it is ideal for small-group exploration in the Galápagos, it is not a luxury ship.