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Galapagos Signature: Quito & M/C Elite Cruise

10 Days
Prices From:
US$ 9,999

DELUXE | CRUISE: Discover the biodiverse Galapagos Islands aboard a luxury yacht. First, get acquainted with the history and food scene of the Ecuadorian capital, Quito. Then fly to the Galapagos Islands for a cruise adventure through the unique volcanic environments, spotting rare wildlife and exploring otherworldly landscapes.

This 10-day Galapagos cruise begins on the mainland in the capital, Quito. Spend 4 nights exploring this historically rich city. Learn about the city’s Inca foundations and the best-preserved historical centre in South America on a city tour before you straddle the equator at the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo and sample the local liquor, miske, at a nearby distillery. Dive into Quito’s food scene with a cooking class and dinner at celebrated restaurants. Then head outside the city to experience a taste of the Ecuadorian rainforest at Mindo. You’ll spot colourful butterflies and rare orchids in the wild before you head to a chocolate factory to learn about the process behind the New World’s most delicious sweet.

Your Ecuadorian vacation continues with a flight to Baltra in the Galapagos, where you’ll board the 5-star luxury yacht, Galapagos Elite, and begin your cruise through the islands. During your 4 nights in the islands, you’ll explore the unique volcanic landscapes that make up this remarkable archipelago. Kayak along the cliffs of Genovesa in search of fur seals suntanning on the rocks and swim in the waters of Darwin Bay alongside friendly hammerhead sharks. Learn about the sailing history of Buccaneer Cove on Santiago and lounge on the black-sand beach of Egas Port. Spot pink flamingos along the white-sand beach of Bachas and hike the Twin Craters in the Santa Cruz Highlands. Explore the extinct volcanic cone of Kicker Rock on San Cristobal. All the while, you’ll spot rare endemic wildlife, including blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, Darwin finchs, and maybe even a Galapagos penguin or giant tortoise. After cruising the Galapagos, you’ll fly back to the mainland for a night in the coastal city of Guayaquil.


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10 Days
Prices From:
US$ 9,999

Itinerary View Trip Map View Trip Special

Day 1

Arrive to Quito

Welcome to Quito! Upon arrival to the airport, please make your way through customs, collect your baggage, and proceed to the arrivals area of the airport. Here you will be met by a local representative holding a sign with your name on it. After meeting your guide, you will be directed to an awaiting vehicle and begin the transfer to your hotel. 

Duration4 Nights

ILLA Experience Hotel

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    ILLA Experience Hotel

    Illa isn't just a place to stay, it's a way to experience the richness of Quito's culture. You might visit the workshop of a local artisan and watch as he hand-carves traditional wooden toys. You might try your hand at watercolour painting in one of …

    Illa isn't just a place to stay, it's a way to experience the richness of Quito's culture.

    You might visit the workshop of a local artisan and watch as he hand-carves traditional wooden toys. You might try your hand at watercolour painting in one of the neighbourhood's many art studios. You might taste a classic Quiteno treat, helado de paila - homemade ice cream spun in a wide copper bowl. Or you may simply stroll down peaceful Junin street and let its colourful architecture recount the city's layered history. Hotel Illa offers a unique cultural experience for guests in Quito's warmest and most welcoming traditional neighborhood. Something beyond bricks and mortar, beds and breakfasts. For generations, San Marcos has been home to artists, writers and musicians. Its present-day charm owes much to the tight-knit community of residents. It's the perfect setting for our experience hotel. A historic house that represents the exquisite style of the mansions of Quito from the early 20th Century will enchant guests by night while they discover this World Heritage City by day in easy walking distance from the Hotel.


    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • Spa
    • Wellness area

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Day 2

The Middle of the Earth & Casa Agave and Dinner

Ecuador is history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and lush tropical forests, spectacular snow-capped volcanoes and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth. Today's private-guided tour to the middle of the earth begins just 30 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, about which you'll learn more throughout the day. Your guide will also take you on a brief journey northwest, where you will visit the Pululahua volcanic crater for a peek into the crater floor where patchwork fields gleam far below.

Later you will visit the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, a group of buildings designed to explain the significance of the site, and where you'll stop for lunch, as well as the Intiñan Museum, located directly on the Equator and where you'll see all sorts of interesting monuments, interactive displays and historic relics. Here you will have the chance to plant your feet in two hemispheres at the same time and to try to balance an egg on the head of a nail! Soon after visiting the Intiñan Museum, you'll be whisked away to Casa Agave. A unique distillery in Ecuador, Casa Agave specializes in producing Miske, a traditional and delicious spirit made from agave. Learn about the establishments local roots and pursuits, plant (and name) your own agave pup, discover the methods used to make Miske, then settle in for a sample. After touring and tasting at Casa Agave is complete, settle in for the return transfer to your hotel in Quito.

Tonight, set out to discover some of the best gastronomy that Quito has on offer. Arranged to coincide with your preferred dining time, reservations will be made with the restaurant of your choice (subject to availability). To take you to and from the restaurant, private transfers will be arranged. Top dining choices in Quito include Somos Ecuador Restaurant which specializes in creative, globally-infused dishes, La Vid, an outstanding restaurant offering Ecuadorian and international dishes in a gorgeous corner of the city, Quitu, an intimate and unique restaurant focusing on healthy, delicious and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, and Nuema, a creative kitchen where you are invited to settle in for a seasonal tasting menu. If you have another dining option in mind, please speak with your Destination Specialist. Please note, your food and drinks are not included and are to be paid for on-site.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration10 hours
Day 3

Quito City Tour with Cooking Class

The place to start exploring Ecuador is Colonial Quito, a city of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city´s many spectacularly decorated and historic churches. The city has one of the best-preserved colonial centers in all South America, and its integrity was assured in 1978 when the United Nations declared Quito the first World Cultural Heritage site (alongside Krakow, Poland). With your guide leading the way, walk through the Main Plaza, 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 Monastery of San Francisco which was started five days after the founding of the city in 1534. After that you will meet an executive chef who will take you to visit the Mercado San Francisco, an outstanding market, where you stop at various stations to purchase fresh produce and learn about the products and culinary traditions of Ecuadorian cuisine. After buying the ingredients for the cooking class and tasting a few fresh fruits, you will then head to Clarosucro Restaurante to begin your cooking class. Here you will don a chef's hat and apron, and then get to work preparing three delicious dishes: a locro Quiteño, an encocado, and a chocolate soup. These foods have been chosen because the ingredients used can be found worldwide, so you will have the chance to cook these recipes back home. During the class, the chef will accompany and guide you, providing explanations and details about the history of each dish. After crafting the three courses, you have the pleasure to taste what you prepared with the chef, and after dining, will be returned to your hotel in Quito.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration8 Hours
Day 4

Orchids, Butterflies & Chocolate in Mindo

Leaving Quito after an early breakfast at your hotel, your guide will drive you to the Pahuma Orchid Reserve to take a short walk to a nearby waterfall and orchid display. Pahuma Orchid Reserve helps to protect this spectacularly biodiverse region of Ecuador, and the unique micro-climate you'll explore is the perfect home to dozens of species of birds, a seemingly endless array of orchids, not to mention a wide variety of amphibians and mammals. After touring Pahuma, you will continue on to Mindo to admire and enjoy an interactive butterfly garden where, surrounded by hundreds of colorful butterflies, you will be able to observe the four stages of a butterfly’s life. While you are in the garden, you will be able to feed one or more of the 25 different species of butterflies. You'll then break for a local lunch, and shortly after, carry on to visit a chocolate factory, the ultimate destination for cocoa and culinary enthusiasts alike. Here you will see and taste every step of the chocolate making process, sampling delicious chocolates made from the highest quality, world famous Ecuadorian cocoa. After visiting the chocolate factory, your guide will return you back to your hotel in Quito.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration8 Hours
Day 5

Depart Quito and Begin Cruise

Say goodbye to Quito and sit back as you are privately transferred to Quito Airport! This morning you will fly from Quito to the Galapagos, landing at Baltra Airport. Here, you will be met by local representatives, pass through immigration control, transfer to the ship, enjoy a brief reception, and then set out for your first experience in the archipelago. During the next five days exploring the azure waters of the central Galapagos, you’ll have access to all three decks (main, upper, and sky) all of which offer fabulous panoramic views. Preplanned excursions include a mixture of nature and wildlife sightseeing and water activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. No two trips to the Galapagos are alike, and your adventure is sure to be unique. 

Duration4 Nights

The Galapagos Elite

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    The Galapagos Elite

    Elite is one of the newest yacht in the islands and reinvents luxury, comfort and class! The Galapagos Elite is specifically designed for sailing the sapphire waters of the Enchanted Islands. A sleek, twin-hulled catamaran, it will provide its guests with a steady, safe cruise …

    Elite is one of the newest yacht in the islands and reinvents luxury, comfort and class!

    The Galapagos Elite is specifically designed for sailing the sapphire waters of the Enchanted Islands. A sleek, twin-hulled catamaran, it will provide its guests with a steady, safe cruise without the rocking and swaying common to the older, single-hulled yachts that dominated the island cruise industry for decades.

    In addition to better stability, the design of the Elite allows for more space for everything on board, including social areas, suites and premium suites. Guests of all ages, will enjoy the ample, semi-covered sky deck, the al fresco dining area and the cozy bar-salon.

    The Galapagos Elite features state-of-the-art navigation computers and safety equipment: safety and reliability are essential parts of any Galapagos luxury experience.


    • Al fresco dining area
    • Semi-covered Sky Deck

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Day 6

Genovesa: Prince Philip's Steps - Darwin Bay

Start off day two with El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip's Steps, a rocky stairway that leads past a colony of nazca and red-footed boobies and up to a plateau of dried lava. Continuing through the thin Palo Santo forest and looking out over the plain, visitors are often treated to sites of storm petrels launching out over the ocean. A panga ride or kayaking/paddle boarding along the edge of the cliffs provides a good chance to see the elusive Galapagos fur seals nestled on the rocks, and snorkeling is a great activity if you fancy a dip with a variety of shark species.

Following your time at El Barranco, make a stop at Genovesa - Darwin Bay has a small sand and coral beach that provides the perfect spot for snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding in calm, sheltered waters in the company of hammerhead sharks, rays and a plethora of colorful reef fish. Onshore, a short trail leads along a tidal lagoon and mangroves, home to a variety of land bird species, including Nazca and red-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. The trail culminates at a viewpoint that offers a stunning view overlooking the cliffs and the bay below. 

Day 7

Santiago: Espumilla Beach - Buccaneer Cove - Egas Port

Today it's time to explore Espumilla Beach / Buccaneer Cove, located on the northern coast of Santiago island. This spot is an exquisite white sand beach, whose name refers to the meringue-like trails of foam left by the lapping of the waves. Sally Lightfoot crabs are in abundance here and as a result, it is common to see predatory birds such as hawks, herons and pelicans. This idyllic location is perfect for snorkeling or kayaking/paddle boarding amongst a raft of marine life, including species of octopus, eels and sharks. Buccaneer Cove has an interesting history as it is where sailors, buccaneers and whalers frequently anchored their vessels in search of food and water. In more recent times, it has become an important nesting site for turtles and is also popular with sea lions. A panga ride along the eroded shoreline yields views of intriguing rock formations that provide excellent ledges for boobies, pelicans and gulls.

Make a second stop at Egas Port was once the site of a salt mine, but now this impressive black sand beach is an excellent location for snorkeling and observing shorebirds, Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas. A stroll along the wide trails inland leads you past tidal pools and rocky volcanic formations known as grottoes where it is possible to spot fur seals enjoying a spot of shade. 

Day 8

Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach - Twin Craters and the Highlands of Santa Cruz

Start the day in Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach is a glorious white sand beach on which the remnants of a rusted barge, thought to have been abandoned by the Americans during WWI, can be seen. It is a popular nesting site for turtles, so if you go for a snorkel, you might find yourself sharing the water with these wonderful creatures. The site is also full of vibrant Sally Lightfoot and hermit crabs and elegant pink flamingos that frequent the salt water lagoon behind.

Take a quick tour of the Twin craters and the Highlands of Santa Cruz. The best way to appreciate these remarkable, almost identical crater-like holes, caused by the collapse of empty lava chambers, is to take the trail that leads up and around the rims. From this vantage point, one can revel in the beauty of the surrounding highlands, lush with ferns and an abundance of Scalesia trees. Here, bird enthusiasts can also enjoy spotting the distinct red feathers of Vermilion Flycatchers, Darwin's finches, Galapagos doves and, with a bit of luck, an endemic short-ear owl.

Day 9

Kicker Rock - San Cristobal Airport

Kickstart the final day of your cruise at San Cristobal - Kicker Rock. Kicker Rock is an iconic feature of the Galapagos that has been formed over time by the erosion of the cone of an extinct volcano. The channel that runs between two imposing shards of rock is often described as one of the most thrilling sites for snorkeling and diving where it is common to see spotted eagle rays, sea turtles, marine iguanas, Galapagos sharks and even hammerhead sharks. In addition, on the rock formation itself, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and sea lions can often be seen perched on the ledges above. 

Following a glorious morning, gather your bags and head to the airport. Fly from San Cristobal Airport to Guayaquil, and upon arrival to Guayquil, collect your baggage, then join the airport shuttle to your hotel.

Duration1 Night

Hilton Colon Guayaquil

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    Hilton Colon Guayaquil

    Elegance, comfort, security and personalised service are just some of the characteristics that make Hilton Colon Guayaquil, a real five-star city resort hotel. The splendid building is located only five minutes away from Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport and dominates the city's new booming …

    Elegance, comfort, security and personalised service are just some of the characteristics that make Hilton Colon Guayaquil, a real five-star city resort hotel. The splendid building is located only five minutes away from Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport and dominates the city's new booming commercial and financial zone in Ecuador. The hotel is surrounded by the main shopping centre and offers easy access to the downtown district area.


    • Business Centre
    • Children's Activities
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Lounge(s)
    • Pool (s)

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Day 10


Say one final farewell to Ecuador! Following breakfast, check out of your hotel and board the airport shuttle to catch your onward flight. 

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2024*: June 14; July 12, 26; August 9, 23; September 6, 20; October 4, 18; November 1, 15, 30; December 13 

*Departure dates listed above feature a 4-night cruise aboard the M/C Elite, however, other cruise routes (3-night and 7-night), as well as sailings aboard other ships, are available throughout the year. Please inquire.


  • Private arrival airport transfer
  • 4 nights in deluxe accommodations in Quito
  • 4 nights in cabin accommodations while cruising the Galapagos
  • 1 night in first-class accommodations in Guayaquil
  • Private-guided tour to the Equator with visit to Casa Agave
  • Private round-trip transfers and dinner reservations in Quito
  • Private-guided tour of Colonial Quito with Cooking Class
  • Private-guided Orchids, Butterflies & Chocolate tour in Mindo
  • Private transfer from Quito hotel to Quito Airport
  • Flight from Quito to the Galapagos
  • Cruise package including:
  • Shared transfer from Baltra Airport to Cruise
  • Bilingual guide staff throughout the cruise
  • Daily shore excursions and briefings
  • Soft drinks and juices throughout the cruise, glass of house wine with dinners
  • Captain's welcome and farewell cockatil
  • Galapagos National Park Fee & Transit Control Card
  • Complimentary shared airport shuttle service in Guayaquil (provided by hotel)
  • Breakfast daily (excluding Day 1), 7 lunches, 4 dinners


  • Travel insurance
  • International airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

6 Sep 2024
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