Begin this journey in one of the first cities to be given the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site – Quito, Ecuador! Here, you’ll stay at the supremely elegant Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel, a majestic and restored mansion in which you’ll find the best combination of history and modern luxury. Afterward, just a few hours away, you’ll head down into the lush cloud forests that surround Quito to experience Mashpi Lodge. This one-of-a-kind place opens its door for you to live an unbeatable experience of both nature and luxury. Following that, you’ll finish this journey with the magnificent, finishing touch that is the Galapagos Islands!
A professionally guided tour of:
*Please note that this is a sample vessel and itinerary.
Ask your Destination Expert about our fleet and our 5-day itineraries!
Welcome to Quito, Ecuador! At the airport, you will be greeted by a member of our team who will assist you with your luggage and transfer to Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel. During the ride, you will receive a brief introduction of Quito and Ecuador along with valuable information regarding your stay in the country.
Quito’s Historic Center – the largest and best-preserved Colonial Quarter in South America – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this day, we will take a stroll through the Independence Plaza, which itself is flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace.
After that, we will visit the La Compañia de Jesús Church and admire its gilded interior before continuing onwards to the San Francisco Church and Convent – one of the largest architectural structures within a historic center in the Americas. Its impressive façade and atrium lead into its equally impressive Baroque interior.
Afterward, you’ll head to the Middle of the World and get to place both feet on each side of our planet’s equator!
At the end of the tour you’ll be taken back to Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel. Overnight in Quito.
Rise and shine for the next part of your adventure! Guests will be picked up and taken to the Mashpi Reserve – a 1,300 hectare (3,200 acre) swath of cloud and rainforest that is located within the Metropolitan District of Quito. Upon arrival, Mashpi’s staff will take your luggage to your room. Shortly after that, you’ll be invited to Lunch followed by an introductory briefing regarding the Lodge. After that, it’s time to head out and explore!
Throughout the following days at Mashpi Lodge, you will get to have a guided experience of the natural wonders of the Mashpi Reserve.
The sweet songs of the birds around the Lodge in the early morning will help you start this new day with a smile! On this morning, you’ll have different options for how you wish to begin: you can either start at the crack of dawn for a hike around the surrounding forest with your guide. Alternatively, you can choose to have a relaxing morning and sleep-in for a little longer, enjoy breakfast at the restaurant and treat yourself to a relaxing massage at our Samay Wellness Center. After that, you can head out into the forest with you your guide.
Following lunch, you and your guide can choose what to do throughout the remainder of the day.
On this day, you’ll partake in one last early-morning excursion before getting ready to take your transfer back to Quito. A box lunch will be provided for your journey back to Quito.
Upon arriving in Quito, you’ll be dropped off at Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel to spend the rest of your day as you see fit.
Overnight in Quito.
You will take a transfer to Quito’s airport in time to catch your flight to the Galapagos Islands!
Please note that the following Northern Galapagos Islands Itinerary aboard Yacht La Pinta is one of the many options you can choose for your Galapagos adventure. Ask our Destination Experts about our fleet and available itineraries.
Baltra Island Airport
Following your morning arrival at Baltra Airport, you will take a transfer ferry across the Itabaca Channel – a small channel that separates the north shore of Santa Cruz Island from Baltra Island. Afterwards, you will board a private bus that will take you, along with other guests, up into the highlands, where we will all have the opportunity to learn about Santa Cruz’s unique ecosystems and biodiversity. Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
Highlands (Santa Cruz Island)
After lunch, we will continue by private bus to reach a reserve that is one of the best places in the archipelago to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot lumbering around, eating grass and sometimes even wallowing in the small pools. There are several lava tunnels in the reserve, too. After this, a short, private bus ride will take us down to the town of Puerto Ayora to board Yacht La Pinta.
Eden Islet (Santa Cruz Island)
Following breakfast, a panga ride will take us down to Eden Islet, located off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, where they can observe blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s a chance to snorkel or ride aboard La Pinta’s own glass-bottom boat, weather permitting. The volcanic setting of this area is quite stunning due to its variety of volcanic debris, complete with cinder cones, tuff cones, and semi-eroded lava flows.
Sombrero Chino Islet
The tiny island of Sombrero Chino gets its name from its appearance, which is reminiscent of a Chinese Hat. This islet, which formed fairly recently, makes for a beautiful visit as one explores the wildlife along its 400-meter long trail, which begins at a crescent-shaped white sand beach. The cove offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities in the company of whitetip reef sharks and Galapagos penguins.
On this morning, an iconic and postcard-worthy Galapagos feature awaits: Bartolome Island. We will disembark from our dinghy shuttle boats and begin a steep climb up a wooden staircase where the view from the top makes the trek well worth the effort! Following the walk, we will once again hop aboard the dinghies for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock. After this, there will be time for you guests to enjoy the beach as well as some snorkeling. You can also choose to ride aboard the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
After lunch, we will board the dinghy to disembark at Sullivan Bay over on the east coast of Santiago Island. This visitor site comes complete with a white coral-sand beach, which is great for swimming and snorkeling. Additionally, there’s a trail that goes over a lava field that once flowed here less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos while observing its wildlife.
In the morning, we will begin our exploration of this island with a casual stroll to observe marine and land birds. There is an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain that rewards us with dramatic views, too. Otherwise, you can simply choose to return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at this beautiful, natural harbor. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can opt to snorkel along the cliffs or paddle in sea kayaks.
Prince Philip’s Steps
The afternoon starts with a very interesting dinghy ride along the cliffs before we disembark at Prince Philip’s Steps – the start of a steep but short climb up a wooden staircase. Once at the top, the terrain is pretty flat, which allows for a mesmerizing, mile-long walk to the other side of this small island. Along the way, guests will get to check out large colonies of Nazca boobies, frigatebirds and storm petrels as well as the elusive short-eared owl.
The journey ends at Baltra Island, where you will take your transfer to the airport to hop on your flight back to the mainland. Baltra’s flat terrain (due to its tectonically uplifted origin) is the reason for why this island was chosen as the location to build an airport back in the 1940’s.
*ETICA Empresa Turistica Internacional C.A. reserves the right to charge a fuel supplement without prior notice should the closing price of West Texas Intermediate Fuel increase above $70 per barrel on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange Index). In the event a fuel supplement is charged, ETICA Empresa Turistica Internacional C.A. will have sole discretion to apply the supplementary charge to both existing and new bookings, regardless of whether such bookings have been paid in full. Such supplementary charges are not included in the cruise fare. The fuel supplement charge will not exceed $25.00 per passenger per day.
Magical Experience of Nature & Hospitality
Staying in Mashpi Lodge is a magical experience. There are so many aspects that were wonderful but I think what surpassed my expectations was the level of hospitality and guest service. The entire staff is full of smiles and always seeking to provide you with whatever you need. This is done with great efficiency and communication. […]
I was impressed by the knowledge and safety considerations of all of the guides. […] The private reserve is stunning and the sky bike, dragonfly and various hiking trails and waterfalls allow one to enjoy it all in such a special way. It was convenient to book my stay at Casa Gangotena in Quito in conjunction with Mashpi as it is the same tour group. The Mashpi experience is amazing and unique and has been, without a doubt, the highlight of my vacation in Ecuador. Mil gracias.
zingara_gypsy – London, United Kingdon
Have questions? We have answers. Reach out to any of our experts to help you plan your next adventure.
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