Inspiring Stories Series: Eco Sustainable Travel in Galapagos Islands

Welcome to the Galapagos Islands! In 1835, Charles Darwin arrived in the Galapagos Islands aboard the H.M.S. Beagle. A trained naturalist, Darwin was blown away by the array of species on the archipelago’s 20+ islands. His observations lead him to his Theory of Evolution. Now, nearly 200 years later, travelers from around the world are visiting these unique islands.

Visionary Reyna Oleas Protects Habitat Where Giant Tortoises Roam

We caught up with eco-entrepreneur Reyna Oleas, who owns and operates Montemar, a collection of villas on land that is both a bio-dynamic farm and protected tortoise habitat. In the video below, Reyna reminds us that a connection with nature can be a life-changing experience – one that can open the door to a mindful life.

Sustainable Travel in Galapagos

Reyna’s initiatives are living proof that ecological farm practices and habitat protection can form an enlightened whole. They leverage profits from the cultivation of coffee, bananas, and guava (plus tourism) to finance the recovery and rehabilitation of giant tortoises.

Giant tortoises are the longest-lived of all vertebrates, the oldest on record having lived to 152. Once numbering a 1/4 million across the Galapagos, the giant tortoise was pushed close to extinction by overexploitation of the species, as well as habitat conversion to agriculture.

Today there are about 3,000 giant tortoises that visit Reyna’s farm on Santa Cruz Island alone.

Why Travel to Peru in 2020?

When people ask me what it’s like to travel to Peru and Machu Picchu for the first time, my response is simple, “Peru is a destination you could explore for the rest of your life and not see the same thing twice; in Peru you can expect a new adventure around every corner.”

With so many extraordinary regions and diverse landscapes to explore in this massively diverse country, choosing where to go for your first visit to Peru can be difficult. For that reason, we add value to our travelers by helping them customize an itinerary tailored to their desires. As an example, a lot of people know Peru mostly because of Machu Picchu, so that is number one on their list. Therefore, we typically recommend taking the classic route to Machu Picchu via Lima, Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes, and finishing in Cusco on your first visit. At that point, you will be acclimatized to the Andean altitude and ready to adventure further.

Machu Picchu Adventure

“Exploring the Seventh Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu, radiates wisdom and wonder by inevitably making one visualize what life must have been like for the Royal Inca in the Pre-Columbian era while they were secluded from the entire world… in their own sanctuary where every stone and ruin is strategically placed to utilize the natural elements of this environment. If you are a lover of cultural adventures and amazing food, I recommend that you make a visit to Peru as soon as possible”

– Turney Maurer

Insider’s Guide – Travel to Peru in 2020:

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What to do in Peru if You Have Already Seen Machu Picchu?

Peru is a massive country where the Earth’s biggest jungle collides with the towering, ice-capped Andes mountains. Meanwhile, southern Peru has the Nazca Lines, the world’s second deepest canyon—Colca Canyon, and Lake Titicaca—the world’s highest navigable lake that can be seen from outer space. However, there is more! Northern Peru has some of the best waves to surf in the world where you can rest afterwards at a remote beachside wellness retreat. Meanwhile, one of the world’s biggest waterfalls in the world awaits your arrival. Dive further into the northern jungle to find Pre-Inca archaeological sites as big and well-preserved as Machu Picchu which have recently been introduced to tourism with the inclusion of a cable car at Kuelap.

With all of these magnificent sites to see, how are you supposed to choose which ones to see when you travel to Peru in 2020?

Colca Canyon PeruPeruvian Woman Overlooking Colca Canyon

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Where to Go in Peru for Your First Time?

As mentioned previously, let’s get you to Machu Picchu first when you travel to Peru in 2020. Depending on the time you and your group have to travel, your options of regions to visit after seeing Machu Picchu will be limited. It’s important to note, especially if you are arriving to Peru from the United States, your itinerary is going to be 6 Days / 5 Nights minimum in order to see Machu Picchu and spend an evening in Cusco. Altitude sickness is no joke, and if you try to see the Seventh Wonder of the World in a hurry, you are likely to become very ill and ruin many days of your journey. Here is why…

The only main international airport in Peru is in Lima, the seaside capital city. In order to get to Machu Picchu, one must fly domestically from Lima to Cusco, where the altitude is around 12,500 ft.. To prevent altitude sickness, we greet our travelers at the airport in Cusco for a driver and guide take them to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where the altitude is around 9,800 ft.. Here, spend a few nights at a lovely hotel like Sol Y Luna Lodge & Spa or Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba to become acclimatized and partake in some amazing day tours before continuing to Machu Picchu at around 7,800 ft. elevation.

Salt Mines Peru TourSalt Mines at Maras: A Lovely Experience in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

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Hike or Take a Train to Machu Picchu

Depending on whether you’d like to hike to Machu Picchu or take the train,  you will need to either spend a night in Aguas Calientes or return to Cusco via train. We certainly recommend taking the Hiram Bingham Train (pictured below) for an open bar with appetizers, 3-course meal, and live music along the way in a 1920’s style elegant train. When planning your journey with one of our trip designers, we will help you decide what is best. Check out our Top 8 Treks in Peru blog to learn about more options of hiking to Machu Picchu and other areas of Peru.

Singing and dancing on the Hiram Bingham Train

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What to do After Machu Picchu?

Finally, after exploring Machu Picchu, you will return to Cusco by train and stay the night. At this point of the journey, your body will be fully acclimatized and ready for the next destination when you rise the next day. Some destinations such as Manu National Park, Apu Ausangate (Rainbow Mountains), or adventure activities like white water rafting or mountain biking are a driving distance from Cusco. Otherwise, there are domestic flights to nearly any other region of Peru (some with a layover in Lima — see recommendations at the bottom of this blog). For example, consider flying from Cusco to Iquitos after visiting Machu Picchu for a Peruvian Amazon Cruise aboard the Delfin 1, where you and your loved ones can enjoy exploring the jungle in style.

Best Amazon CruisesA couple enjoying the hot tub on Delfin 1 in Iquitos, Peru

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When Should You Visit Peru?

The peak of the Dry season in Peru is from June – August which attracts the most tourist since you will likely not encounter rain at Machu Picchu. Although, Peru is a very diverse destination and while some areas of the country might be rainy or cold, some coastal areas are perfect to visit. The main takeaway is that the shoulder seasons (March – May) and (Sept-August) are great times to visit Machu Picchu during the transitions of the rainy and dry season. Sure, you might encounter some rain, but you will also experience sunshine and less people at the ancient Citadel.

Plaza de Armas: Cusco, Peru

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What to do in Peru if You’ve Already Seen Machu Picchu?

If you’re like me, after you see Machu Picchu and maybe one or two other regions of Peru, you will be itching to go back for more. Luckily for you, a second or even third journey to Peru can be as exciting or even more wonderful as the first. Below we have compiled a gallery of some of our favorite destinations to see in Peru beyond Machu Picchu.

For more interesting articles, make sure to visit https://blog.feedspot.com/travel_magazines/ and see why were chosen as one of the top travel publications on the worldwide web!

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Travel to Peru in 2020: Best Destinations Beyond Machu Picchu:

Lima

The Peruvian Amazon Gallery 

Lake Titicaca 

Southern Peru: Islas Ballestas, Pisco Region, Huacachina Oasis, Nazca Lines, Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Northern Peru: Máncora, Tumbes, Chachapoyas, the Lost City of Kuelap, & Gocta Falls

Galapagos Islands & Quito Ecuador

Did you know that visiting Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands in the same journey is a great way to see both destinations conveniently? Due to direct flights from Lima to Guayaquil or Quito, Ecuador — this multi-destination journey links well. If you ask me, the best way to combine the two countries is by flying from Lima to Quito in the early afternoon, so that you arrive in Quito around 4:00 p.m.. From there, we will organize a private transfer from the airport to your hotel, and book a dinner at ZaZu Restaurant (part of the Relais & Chateaux collection) or similar for a taste of Quito’s finest cuisine. The following day spend a full-day exploring the city or going on a lovely trek with another overnight stay in Quito. The next morning, return to the airport and continue to Darwin’s Archipelago, the magical Galapagos Islands.

In Galapagos you will have to choose whether you want to explore via land, sea, or both? Read more about the Galapagos Great Debate to see which one suits you and your group the best.

Atacama, Chile

Due to a new flight offered by LATAM that runs directly from Lima to Calama (Atacama Desert, Chile), these two destinations are now fantastic to combine. Imagine yourself going from seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World where ruins are covered in lush green vegetation among a towering mountain surrounded by a flowing river, to feeling like you’re walking on the moon and looking at flamingos in the distance? Sounds nice doesn’t it? If so, let us treat you to this multi-destination combo by contacting us today!

To learn more about this region of Chile, check out our Atacama Desert Experience page and consider staying at Awasi Atacama.

Someone once said, “your journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” We encourage you to take the first step by reviewing our collection of itineraries, hotels, villas, and ships to choose from here at Latin Excursions. Then, give us a call for your free, no obligation, trip assessment and to learn why travel experts like Wendy Perrin, Travel+Leisure and others recommend our services for private Latin America travel.

Insider’s Guide: Uruguay Wine

When you think about the best wines in South America, often Argentina’s world-famous Malbec vines in Mendoza, or Chile’s verdant Central Wine Valley come instantly to mind. However, there’s a new kid on the block, a country whose winery scene is every bit as enticing as Chile or Argentina and there are boutique vineyards, rolling countryside and top South American culinary tours to back it up; that country is Uruguay. This country, often compared similarly to Wyoming in the United States, actually has been producing quality wines since the 18th century, so here’s our insider access advice for the best wine regions, grapes and gastronomic experiences in the country—you may be surprised by what this pocket-sized place provides!

montevideo wine tours

Montevideo: Uruguay Wine by the Sea

Magnificent Montevideo manages to beautifully balance all of the attractions you’d expect from a cosmopolitan capital city, with countryside, boutique vineyards, and tasting tours also on its doorstep. Such a mix makes Montevideo quite a unique South American city, and with wine country within close driving distance of town, you’ll soon notice that some of Uruguay’s finest wine labels and exclusive harvests find their way onto plenty of restaurant menus too.

Yet the best way to experience everything that the Montevideo wine region has to offer is always by participating in a unique tour and tasting the wines straight from the barrels themselves. This is usually accompanied by a multi-course lunch featured with a simple spread of artisan cheese, crusty bread and cured meats; delicious. Our expert trip designers will help plan the perfect tour and tasting for you and your group.

In particular, the wider Montevideo region is known for growing Tannat, Tempranillo, Albariño, Chardonnay and Merlot grapes on its mostly flat terroirs, thanks to several boutique cellars such as Bodegas Bouza, Spinoglio, Stagnari, Carrau, Santa Rosa, and the Pizzorno Winery among them. Even if visiting for a long weekend while staying in Buenos Aires on a tour of Argentina, you can easily squeeze in a Montevideo vineyard day trip while here and still have time to see the rest of the city’s many highlights, plus the beach, of course. A great way to see this region is by booking a custom-tailored private wine journey to Uruguay like our VIK and VINES program.

Canelones: Wineries in the Countryside 

North of Montevideo you find Canelones, an inland stretch of mixed soil types, mild winter weather, lots of rain and long sunny summers which help stand this region out as Uruguay’s top wine producing spot, for Tannat, the ‘National Grape’.

Whether on a day trip from Montevideo or staying a little longer, we recommend checking out one of the smaller vineyard tours. Unlike the more popular vineyards, these are typically hosted by the owners themselves which makes for an authentic and rare experience. There are too many great winemakers to mention across the entire region, though Artesana Winery, Juanicó, and Bodegas Marichal, Filgueira and Pisano are a good place to start. For more details or a proposal itinerary, reach out to us by phone or email to discuss your Uruguay trip ideas with one of our expert trip designers.

Wineries in Canelones, Uruguay

Maldonado: Uruguay Wine Growing Region

You may not have heard of it, but boutique Bodega Garzón in Uruguay’s coastal wine growing region of Maldonado, recently fell second in a list of the World’s Best Vineyards—no small accolade! It’s also been honored as the New World Winery of the Year and if that weren’t enough, Bodega Garzón also occupies a scenic hilltop setting, making the most of the perfect ballast soil plains which surround it. This is a true fine wine experience for sure, with their Albarino, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Tannat grapes being especially good, ideal with one of Bodega Garzón popular BBQ/firepit gourmet lunches during a vineyard tour.

Though there is far more to Maldonado than the recently recognized Bodega Garzón, as this picturesque part of Uruguay is home to plenty of equally refined growers and small-scale labels. Among them, Viña Eden is a good choice for quality Chardonnay and Cerro Negro varieties—accompanied by a great view, you can head to Altos de la Ballena Winery for Syrah, Merlot, Viognier and a long lunch close to Punta del Este, or Bodega Oceánica José Ignacio where striking onsite artworks, sculptures and displays are as important as the wines; to name a few. All of this, plus the rugged beauty of Uruguay’s southern coast to enjoy between tastings, makes a wine tour in Maldonado hard to resist.

best wine tours uruguay

Carmelo: The Oldest Vineyards and Uruguay Wine

For a real travel experience and some of the most boutique Uruguayan vineyards around, head to Carmelo, a sleepy town near the Rio de la Plata that’s primed for laidback tasting tours and cycling between the wineries. This region of Uruguay may be off the main tourist trail (for now), but they’ve been making wine here since the mid-19th century, as you’ll see with a visit to Almacén de la Capilla, home to some of the oldest vines in the country. Indeed Almacén de la Capilla has not changed much in its over 150-year history, so coming here is a real trip back in time too, on top of those great tasting wines.

Bodega El Legado is another must-visit while in Carmelo, known as it is for serving a full gastronomic experience of locally sourced bites, walnuts, creamy cheeses, chutneys and freshly baked bread to pair with each glass. Tannat is the main grape here, with the vines well adapted to Carmelo’s unique terroir, and producing award-winning labels as a result.

The rural pace of life, untouched countryside, gravel tracks and quiet bays of Carmelo seem to fit the idea of a Uruguay wine tour perfectly, with intimate experiences, privately guided vineyard tours, lunch with the owners, homecooked BBQs and some first-class labels here. Then, the prestigious Narbona Wine Lodge and CampTinto certainly take things up a notch in terms of luxury levels, though other Carmelo cellars such as Bodega Familia Irurtia, Bodega Zubizarreta and Bernardi are much humbler affairs that reflect a typical Carmelo spirit.

best places to eat colonia del sacramento

Why Book a Uruguay Wine Tour with Latin Excursions?

In short, the secret of Uruguay being one of South America’s finest wine producing countries won’t be kept for long. Some of the grapes here create exquisite batches of world-beating boutique labels, and the scenery also speaks for itself. Given that Uruguay is still not on everybody’s radar (compared with similar experiences in Argentina or Chile, for example), you get an authentic experience with the locals and not as many tourist as other destinations in South America. This fact alone, is reason enough for any self-respecting wine-lover to book a trip to Uruguay, and let us organize lip-smacking tasting tours throughout your journey.

uruguay wine tours

Someone once said, “your journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” We encourage you to take the first step by reviewing our collection of itineraries, hotels, villas, and ships to choose from here at Latin Excursions. Then, give us a call for your free, no obligation, trip assessment and to learn why travel experts like Wendy Perrin, Travel+Leisure and others recommend our services for private Latin America travel.

Active Uruguay Journey for Families

Known for its rolling plains that encompass mostly the entire country, to its extensive virgin beaches and rich nature areas to explore, Uruguay has a little bit of something for everyone. When you hear someone mention Uruguay, they likely know it as a ferry-ride over from Buenos Aires or a coastal holiday vacation spot. Well, we are here to tell you there is much more! This family-friendly journey to Uruguay features highlights of the country combined with biking, horseback riding, trekking, and cultural experiences for everyone to enjoy.

Visit our Uruguay Page
to learn a bit about Uruguay

Itinerary

Day1

Uruguay Flag

Day1

Arrival in Uruguay / Colonia del Sacramento

Welcome to Uruguay!

Upon arrival in Montevideo, transfer to your hotel in Colonia del Sacramento. From the hotel, your guide will take you on a walking city tour along the cobbled streets of Old Town. This walking tour will feature visits to Spanish and Portuguese Museums in this Old Portuguese City with artwork dating back to the XVII century – which has been declared Patrimony of Mankind by the UNESCO. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional “Mate” tasting to learn why nearly every local drinks this locally-popular beverage. If time allows, end the day with a bike ride along the riverside Rambla to witness the landscapes of rural colonia full of vineyards, olive plantations and lemon trees and finish at Finca La Primavera with an olive oil tasting.

Overnight Charco Hotel or Similar

Day2

colonia del sacramento

Day2

Colonia del Sacramento / Montevideo

After breakfast, private transfer to the bus terminal of Colonia to board a bus to the capital city of Montevideo. Upon arrival, meet your English-speaking guide and driver for a ride to your hotel with a stop at the lively port market for lunch. After you’ve settled into your hotel room, return to the lobby for a private walking tour of Old City featuring stops at the Carnival Museum to learn about the “murgas” and “candombe.” Although, if you’re in Uruguay during Carnvial season from late Feb to early March, you can participate in a rehearsal or parade! Continue to other sites such as the Cathedral and Cabildo, Columbian Art Museum, and Soils Theater before returning to your hotel.

Overnight Don Boutique Hotel or Similar

Meals B,L

Day3

bike tour montevideo

Day3

MONTEVIDEO / ROCHA, CASTILLOS

Enjoy a morning bike ride of Modern Montevideo including an exclusive invitation to the studio of highly respected drummer Lobo Núñez, who specializes in Candombe, a form of drumming made popular in the 18th century by the descendants of African slaves. It has since become a defining feature of Uruguay’s national identity and Lobo has found special acclaim since being visited by Mick Jagger in 2016. Onward to Estancia Guardia del Monte near Rocha, Castillos where you will spend the next two evenings.

Overnight Estancia Guardia del Monte

Meals B,D

Day4

Best Estancias in Uruguay

Day4

Estancia Guardia del Monte

Rise and shine at Estancia Guardia del Monte, a traditional Uruguayan Estancia for a day of exploration and wonder. Visit the local Ombu Forest and some quality birdwatching along the large area of marshlands and wetlands both of which are teeming with bird life (more than 400 species in this area), otters, coypus and capybaras. After a typical “asado lunch” enjoy some horseback riding to explore the Estancia surroundings. Dinner and accommodation at Guardia del Monte.

Overnight Estancia Guardia del Monte

Meals B,L,D

Day5

Sea Lion Uruguay

Day5

Cabo Polonio

Enjoy one last morning at the beautiful Estancia Guardia. After breakfast meet your local, English-speaking guide who will take you to the small village of Barra de Valzas. Begin a barefoot trek along the coastline and the incredible shifting sand dunes. Climb the “Buena Vista Hill” and appreciate the gorgeous view of the ocean before continuing to Cabo Polonio (3 hours trek). After a delicious lunch at a local seaside restaurant, visit the sea lions reserve (one of the biggest ones in South America!). Afternoon 4×4 truck-drive to the main entrance of Cabo Polonio where you will take a transfer to your hotel in the small town of La Paloma.

Overnight Hotel Proa Sur or Similar

Meals B,L

Day6

family travel to uruguay

Day6

LA PALOMA / LA BARRA

Today your guide takes you to the lighthouse of La Paloma via private transfer. Upon arrival, begin by biking to the Rocha Lagoon, a semi-freshwater lagoon of 72 km2 (28 sq mi) that happens to be a bird paradise during the winter months. This unique protected natural area is part of the “eastern Biosphere Reserve” which is internationally recognized within the framework of the Man and the Biosphere (MAP) of UNESCO since 1976. After the biking tour of La Rocha, cross the lagoon on kayak or boat for a picnic lunch on the shores of the other side and continue via private transfer to your hotel in La Barra.

Overnight Casa ZINC or similar

Meals B,L

Days7

Uruguay family active travel

Day7

La Barra

Morning tour of Punta del Este to visit Casapueblo and the most important historical and cultural attractions. Afterwards, a picnic lunch will be served followed by the choice of kayaking, horseback riding, or biking for the rest of the day.

Overnight Casa ZINC or similar

Meals B,L

Day8

uruguay family travel package

Day8

LA BARRA / MONTEVIDEO OR BUENOS AIRES / END OF TOUR

Depending on the location of your departing international or domestic flight, private transfer to the airport for your return home, or onward to your next destination.

Meals B

Hidden Gems in Brazil: Paraty & Pantanal

Start your “Hidden Gems of Brazil” journey by entering the country through Rio de Janeiro and spending a few days enjoying the magic of the people. No other city in the world combines nature, art, and architecture with the city infrastructure quite like Rio. After a few days exploring Rio, the adventure really begins with a visit to Paraty — a true colonial gem! Paraty is ideally located on the tropical rain forest coast between São Paulo (south) and Rio d Janeiro (north) and is incredibly rich in history and food. We combine this city visit with private mountain, ocean, and island tours that will make any photographer jump at the bit. From here, continue to São Paulo, one of the most exciting cities in all of South America where you can explore the city and its artistic treasures before continuing to one of Earth’s most biodiverse regions, Pantanal. Here you will find the best jungle and wildlife safaris in the entire continent, similar to Galapagos Islands in the sense that animals aren’t intimidated by humans, allowing you to get unreal photos to share with your friends and family. By visiting Brazil with Latin Excursions, you are traveling sustainably to help preserve the environment and supporting the local people by providing them with work through tourism. We look forward to seeing you in Brazil!

Visit our Brazil Page
to learn a bit about Brazil

Itinerary

Day1

day08-rio-soccer-lesson-latin-excursions

Day1

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to Brazil!

Upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro, meet your english-speaking guide and driver at the arrivals lounge, followed by a private transfer to your hotel for the evening.

Overnight Janeiro, Rio Fairmont, Palace Copacabana, or Fasano Rio

Meals None

Day2

Christ the Redeemer

Day2

Rio: Corcovado & Santa Teresa

Today your guide will lead you to the electric sky train as you board and hover over lush vegetation with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Rio from above. Afterwards, your private guide and driver will take you to the bohemian and picturesque Santa Teresa neighborhood for lunch at a local-favorite restaurant. After you satisfy your appetite, continue to the historic city centre of Rio to learn interesting historical facts of the region. This day allows you dive right into Rio’s most famous attractions by visiting the Corcovado Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the 7 Wonder’s of the World!

Overnight Janeiro, Rio Fairmont, Palace Copacabana, or Fasano Rio

Meals B,L

Day3

Best beach in Rio de Janeiro

Day3

A Carioca Day: Beaches, the forest, Samba and the Sugar Loaf

Take a glimpse into the soul of Rio de Janeiro by exploring the beaches, environment, and culture all in one day. Begin by exploring the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana by bicycle with your private, english-speaking guide before continuing via bike to Rio’s historical Botanical Gardens – recently labeled #1 Botanical Garden in the World by Wanderlust Travel Magazine.

Afterwards, visit “Samba City” for an insider private tour of where the Samba schools prepare and practice for next year’s Carnaval. It’s an extraordinary site to see the enormous floats being assembled and the seamstresses creating the costumes (which you can try on for yourself). To end the day, your guide will take you to catch a sunset from the Sugar Loaf before returning to your hotel.

Overnight Janeiro, Rio Fairmont, Palace Copacabana, or Fasano Rio

Meals B,L

Day4

UNESCO World Heritage Site Paraty

Day4

Rio de Janeiro to Paraty

Today you will meet your english-speaking driver at the hotel lobby for a ~4 hr. private transfer to your hotel in Paraty.

Overnight Literaria or Turquesa

Meals B

Day5

Best places to visit in Brazil

Day5

Paraty: A Day in the Bay

This morning, your guide will greet you at the lobby of your hotel and lead you to the nearby pier where you will board a boat for the day to visit Praia Vermelha along with Cotia and Algodão Islands. Along the way, your captain will give you the option to stop and snorkel or swim at destinations such as Saco de Velha. If time and weather allows, you will have the option to visi Saco do Mamanguá, a tropical fjord and a true hidden gem. For those more adventurous, ask your captain to stop at Pão de Acucar hilltop, a 1 hr steep climb to get an all-encompassing look of the Mamangua fjord. 

Overnight Literaria or Turquesa

Meals B

Day6

cachaca tasting in Brazil

Day6

Paraty: Waterfalls and Cachaça Tasting

Begin the day with a short Jeep transfer from Paraty to visit the Graúna region waterfalls. After a ~20 min. drive you will arrive at the starting point and begin a short 5 min trek to the first waterfall. The second waterfall is about a 20 min. walk, but well worth it! After visiting the falls, your private guide and driver will take you to Engenho D’ouro cachaça distillery (cachaça is a spirit made in Brazil) where the mill is still powered by a waterwheel. The cachaça is made from the local sugar cane field, harvested, naturally fermented and finally distilled, and stored in oak barrels. After tasting the homemade cachaça, continue to lunch at the restaurant Le Gite, which has an on-site waterfall that you can swim in before or after lunch (as long as you haven’t had too much cachaça). After lunch, you will return to Paraty with a stop at another local-favorite seaside cachaça distillery.

Overnight Literaria or Turquesa

Meals B

Days7

bike tour sao paulo

Day7

Paraty to São Paulo

Today you will meet your english-speaking driver at the hotel lobby for a ~4 hr. private transfer to your hotel in São Paulo.

Overnight Tivoli Mofarrej Sao Paulo, Fasano Sao Paulo, Oetker Sao Paulo

Meals B

Day8

beco do batman brazil

Day8

Signature São Paulo Tour

Today your english-speaking guide takes your to the city center to visit important sites such as Patio do Colégio, BOVESPA (the most important stock exchange in Latin America), the Municipal Theatre, and others. Afterwards, you will head to Trianon Park, a little tropical oasis next to Paulista Avenue and visit the MASP (Sao Paolo Museum of Art) a building easily recognized by its suspended glass structure supported by two red paralleled beams. From there, you will head to Ibirapuera Park to explore the lush tropical gardens and visit the MAC (contemporary Art Museum). To end the day, your guide will take you to Vila Madalena, famously known as the “Beco do Batman Alley” where you will find amazing street graffiti, contemporary art galleries and charming shops, cafes, and food stops.

Overnight Tivoli Mofarrej Sao Paulo, Fasano Sao Paulo, Oetker Sao Paulo

Meals B

Day9

Pantanal Birds

Day9

Flight from São Paulo to Pantanal; Onward to Caiman Ecological Refuge

At the arranged time, meet your driver at your São Paulo hotel’s lobby for a private transfer to the São Paulo airport. From here, you will catch your flight to Campo Grande Airport. Upon arrival in Pantanal, meet your english-speaking driver at the arrival’s lounge of the airport for a 3.5 hr. private transfer to Caiman Ecological Refuge (if you prefer to get there faster, we can arrange a private, small plane for an additional cost).

Pantanal is a unique wildlife gem that compares to Galapagos Islands in the sense that animals are fearless of human interaction. That being said, there are many opportunities for animal sightings here from the jaguar to the blue macaw that won’t disappoint. This region is the true safari area of the continent of South America, so get ready to disconnect from the city and reconnect with nature in southern Brazil’s ecological treasure.

Overnight Caiman Ecological Refuge)

Meals B,D

Day10-11

caiman brazil

Day10-11

Caiman Ecological Refuge Activities

Caiman Ecological Refuge is the first ecotourism operation in Pantanal, part of the Mato Grosso do Sul state in Brazil. This property sits on a vast 53 thousand hectare cattle farm and houses three independent lodges in different architectural and décor styles. Accessible by car all year round and by far the most luxurious hotel option in the Pantanal (although still rustic), Caiman boasts well qualified guides and services with all with the basic perks of a top-end country hotel. Some lodges may be rented out exclusively which is ideal for a family or group of friends, making it perfect for VIPs in addition to the fact that we can add private guides, vehicles and chefs for your group.

Enjoy these two days at leisure and partake in the activities/excursions offered by Caiman Ecological Refuge:

  • Photography

  • Safari

  • Walking tour

  • Canadian Canoe tour

  • Night Safari

  • Jeep Safari (4×4 car)

  • Caiman tour

Overnight Caiman Ecological Refuge

Meals B,L,D

Day12

best places to visit in pantanal brazil

Day12

Return Flight Home

At a previously scheduled time, meet your driver at the Caiman Refuge hotel lobby for a 3.5 hr. drive back to Campo Grande Airport (or we can arrange a small plane for an additional cost) then  board your domestic flight to Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, depending on the airport for your international flight home.

Meals B

IMPORTANT: We reserve the right to omit any part of this itinerary, to change the order of the places visited, or to alter reservations without prior notice due to weather conditions or road closures, safety concerns, national park policies, or other outside forces that may necessitate revisions to the itinerary. These decisions are based on the traveler’s welfare or are made in the interest of conservation. Please travel with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the spontaneity of your adventure.

Overnight The Singular Santiago

Meals B

What Goes into Making the World’s Most Expensive Chocolate?

A few years ago while seeking out the most rare and unique experiences we can offer in Ecuador, I was invited to a chocolate tasting class in Cumbayá. This small mountain town is booming with inspired startups and modern expressions of the culture, like an Ecuadorian Williamsburg right outside of Quito.

cumbayá ecuador

Galapagos Safari Camp x To’ak Chocolate

Our excursion hosts at Galapagos Safari Camp took our group to their headquarters in Cumbayá and introduced us to the makers of To’ak Chocolate. GSC partnered with them to make the first ever Galapagos-sourced chocolate, so they provided us with a presentation of their product to explain what magic goes into the making of a $260 bar – perhaps the world’s priciest chocolate. This was not my first rodeo enjoying fine chocolate and my interest was piqued.

“Why would anyone pay that much money for a candy bar?”

chocolate tasting in ecuador

Elevating the Chocolate Tasting Experience

To’ak Chocolate’s mission statement is:

“Transforming the way the world experiences dark chocolate, elevating its making and tasting onto the level of vintage wine and aged whiskey.”

The presentation pace was designed at such a delectable rhythm as to pull you out of time and space as they wrap you fully in their journey and carefully, richly draw your taste buds into a full palette flavor. I quickly began to realize that I was in for a real treat.

Co-Founder Carl Schweizer told us that they began To’ak “to preserve a seriously endangered cacao species.” All of the cacao we consume has been rapidly produced at a rate that has caused different breeds of species to combine and form hybrids. It is incredibly rare to find a pure cacao tree, but Carl and the To’ak team managed to find this rare, purebred cacao species before it became extinct.

Finding the Ecuadorian Nacional Cacao

They searched far and wide throughout the cloud forests of Ecuador, going village to village in search of this tree. After a long exploration, they finally found Piedra de Plata, a remote land region in the cloud forest, seemingly disconnected from the rest of the country until the 1990’s. The Nacional cacao tree had been preserved by the locals; some of the trees were 100 years old when they discovered them. DNA analysis confirmed the tree’s pure genetics, allowing this small region to become To’ak’s source of divine history and opportunity. Of course, making sure that the locals benefit from this historic finding as well.

A Rare Experience for Your Taste Buds

Tasting the chocolate is an enlightening experience in itself. We first tried the raw cacao bean and tasted the shell. As expected, not much flavor, but certainly had a strange smokey-dry taste. Next, we tried their dark chocolate bar with absolutely no additives. Making sure to appreciate the unique aroma first, I took a bite and chased it with some of the most amazing Caribbean dark rum I had ever tried. This combination was quite an adventure for my taste buds, and I am confident that I will never taste anything like it.

The First Ever Single Origin Chocolate Bar from Galapagos

At that time, Galapagos Safari Camp was helping To’ak source the first ever Galapagos-based chocolate bar, but it had not been released yet. Fast-forward to now, this signature bar has officially been released and will be available to purchase online in the new year. This is the first single-origin chocolate ever produced from the unique region of Galapagos Islands. Thanks for the wonderful efforts Galapagos Safari Camp & To’ak, we are proud to work with those who preserve Ecuador’s environment and pave the way for sustainable tourism. 

If you are interested in trying To’ak chocolate before visiting us in Ecuador & Galapagos, check out https://toakchocolate.com  and order yours today!

The First Ever Single Origin Chocolate Bar from Galapagos

When planning your dream journey to Ecuador with Latin Excursions, ask us about staying at the Galapagos Safari Camp and incorporating this chocolate tasting experience into your itinerary. Although, instead of having the tasting at the Safari Camp’s office in Cumbayá, we will arrange it at the Guayasamín Foundation Museum – the former residence of Oswaldo Guayasamín, one of the most famous Ecuadorian artists, who died in 1999. As one can imagine, this house has a stunning gallery and a terrace overlooking Quito’s valley.

Fundacion Guayasamin

Awasi Iguazu

awasi iguazu is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in argentina

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Welcome to Awasi Iguazu, a characterful, five-star boutique lodge in the Iguazu National Park, enveloped by lush jungle and just moments from the falls themselves. As a Relais & Chateaux favorite, this unique eco-lodge is recognized around the world as one of Argentina’s best luxury hotels. Awasi Iguazu has an enviable reputation; one which is well deserved.

YOUR OWN PRIVATE JUNGLE VILLA & POOL

With only a handful of private villas, all boasting their own rainforest-view plunge pools, deep soak bathtubs and lounge areas, you are all but guaranteed an intimate and supremely comfortable experience of Iguazu Falls while here, in the lap of luxury too. Those villas are in fact exquisite, both homely and unique while the award-winning cuisine is always seasonal, mostly grown onsite and presented to true fine dining effect. Then, with a long list of private excursions, personal guiding, exclusive 4×4 use and access to the wonderfully biodiverse Iguazu National Park, Awasi Iguazu really is hard to beat.

EXPERIENCE IGUAZU NATIONAL PARK IN DEPTH

The Iguazu Falls are undoubtedly one of the great natural wonders of the world, so to experience them with absolute ease and in such different ways, with the help of your private Awasi guide, is a privilege indeed. What’s more, in addition to the boat trips, nature trails and lookouts which surround the main falls, you’ll have our expert knowledge and exclusive access to much more. From off road drives to kayaking tours, birdwatching walks to remote wildlife hikes, see the best of this extraordinary and lesser visited national park during your stay at Awasi Iguazu.

AWARD-WINNING GASTRONOMY

As if your private plunge pool, luxurious terrace and irresistible villa were not enough, Awasi Iguazu also provides one of the ultimate gastronomic experiences at its world-class onsite restaurant too. Here, kaleidoscopic plates of seasonal produce, much of which is grown in the Awasi kitchen garden, are turned into fine dining masterpieces, presented like mini works of art each evening with flavor combinations to match.

Ideal forCouples seeking an exclusive, private and romantic stay near Iguazu Falls, though children over the age of 10 are welcome.

awasi iguazu is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in argentina

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highlights

  • A private plunge pool for every villa
  • Mouth-watering cuisine served each day
  • A personal guide and access to the Iguazu National Park throughout your stay
  • Complete immersion into the rainforest, with lush trees and abundant wildlife all around

rooms

  • Villa: king or twin beds, 1,075sq ft floorplan, private plunge pool and furnished terrace; jungle views. Deep soak bathtub and comfortable lounge area as standard, air conditioning and mini bar
  • Master Villa: Two bedrooms with either 1 king bed each or 1 king and 1 twin setup, 1,5000sq ft floorplan, huge terrace, lounge area and kitchenette, air conditioning and minibar

services

  • Room Service
  • Onsite Bar + Restaurant
  • Private 4x4 use
  • Private guide and activities
  • Transfers included
  • Complimentary canoes and bicycles
  • Wi-Fi
  • National Park Entry
  • Parking Available

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Insider Access Experiences from San Cristobal in Galapagos Islands

Latin Excursions: A Team of Galapagos Passionates

Planning a journey to Galapagos Islands is not a simple task. With the amount of information on the internet and nearly a dozen islands to choose from, it can quickly become overwhelming. At Latin Excursions, our trip designers will help you through every step of planning your dream journey to Darwin’s Archipelago. Our team is constantly doing site visits and meeting directly with the boat owners, property owners, guides and drivers to guarantee quality service from start to finish. We’re also on the hunt to find the most rare and unique experiences in Galapagos Islands.

What better place to do so than Galapagos Islands, where our Founder Eric Sheets first visited at the young age of 14 and later inspired him to create Latin Excursions. Twenty years later, Eric is still utilizing his passion of seeking out these unmapped experiences to share with the world. That’s exactly why we are excited to share with you a true gem of an experience that we’ve discovered on San Cristobal Island in Galapagos.

Experiences Only Available When Staying at Villa Galapagos 4

Before we begin listing these new adventure activities that we’ve discovered, it’s important to note that they are specifically designed for those staying at Villa Galapagos 4. If you haven’t already, check out Villa Galapagos 4 of our private Galapagos Villa Collection. Here, three neighboring oceanside Villas all with their own heated pool and jacuzzi await your arrival. This property is much more than a villa, they offer incredible adventure opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, free diving, catch & release fishing, surfing, and hiking all beginning and ending at your private villa! Allow us to visually break them down for you in this blog.

Surfing Galapagos Islands — San Cristobal

Surfing at Galapagos Islands is a unique adventure opportunity, to say the least. We invite you and your group to come stay at Villa Galapagos 4 of our private collection, where we provide travelers the opportunity to ride some of the best waves in the world. The only thing you will have to worry about is sharing your waves with friendly dolphins and sea lions!

Scuba Dive Kicker Rock

Scuba diving at Kicker Rock is a popular excursion especially for divers who want to scuba dive with schools of hammerhead sharks, without having to participate in a scuba diving liveaboard to visit Darwin & Wolf Islands. The main advantages of scuba diving Kicker Rock while staying at Villa Galapagos 4 is the strategic location, exclusivity (you and your group will be with a private guide and captain on your own boat), and the quality of service. Our diving guides are all highly trained and will make sure to follow the safest protocols and take you to the absolute best areas to view wildlife. This is a diving experience that will leave you wanting to come back for more!

Snorkel & Explore Isla Lobos

Isla Lobos is a tiny islet off the west coast of San Cristobal Island. If you are seeking to swim with as many playful sea lions as possible, make sure to ask us about this tour when we are helping you plan your dream journey to Galapagos Islands at Villa Galapagos 4.

Hike & Snorkel Tijeretas Hill in Galapagos Islands

Tijeretas Hill is located on San Cristobal Island and is only a 45 minute from the center of Puerto Boquerizo Moreno. Great for a fun hike with beautiful views, or a snorkeling adventure in the cove below with playful sea lions and sea turtles.

Scuba Dive a World War I Ship Wreck

Galapagos Islands is known for its magnificent marine and terrestrial biodiversity. Travelers from around the world visit Galapagos to scuba dive, snorkel, and enjoy nature. This unique diving experience features the Caragua Ship from World War I that was sunken over 100 years ago. It is one of the only shipwreck dives in the archipelago!

Eco Fishing Experience

Our Catch and Release fishing program from Villa Galapagos 4 helps support the local residents of the island by providing them with work outside of commercial fishing and allowing them to teach the best practices to travelers who are seeking this extraordinary experience.

Snorkel & Free Dive Punta Pitt

Punta Pitt is located on the northeast side of San Cristobal Island and is known for its fantastic volcano peaks. On this experience, we will take you there by boat for excellent scuba diving, snorkeling, or free diving in the waters beneath the island peaks.

Villa Galapagos 4 – San Cristobal

villa galapagos 4 preferred hotels when travelling in galapagos

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Galapagos is a magical destination full of adventure opportunities to explore in one of the world’s most ecologically protected marine environments. We invite you to come see it for yourself at Villa Galapagos 4 on San Cristobal Island for a completely private stay with you and your group in a contemporary-style oceanside home.

Private Island-Based Stay for Groups

Villa Galapagos 4 consists of the best three beachfront villas in Ecuador. Ideal for those coming off a small ship cruise or those looking for a comfortable, exclusive stay on land before boarding a private yacht or catamaran. Also, you can visit Galapagos Islands via Villa Galapagos 4 on Isla San Cristobal for the entire duration of your trip if you and your group don’t prefer sleeping on a boat. Choose one three villas – the Santa Maria, La Pinta, & La Nina, all sleeping at least 12 adults and children.

Boating Options from Villa Galapagos 4

You can come off one of the multiple Galapagos Islands shared boat options (that we have vetted) or even charter one of our recommended boats. A new one to consider is the M/C Elite.

If you would like to charter a boat for the day only from Isla San Cristobal we have options beginning at $2,500 per day for the entire boat. Includes pick-up/drop-off at a dock walking distance to Villa Galapagos 4, snacks, drinks, lunch, snorkel gear, naturalist guide, and visits to nearby islands/beaches.

Insider Access to Rare Experiences from Villa Galapagos 4

We have partnered with local guides who know the region like the back of their hand and live to share their passion of the natural beauty of these islands. Our company vision is supporting local guides and teams since we are big believers and contributors in sustainable travel in this destination. If you are into snorkeling and scuba diving, we will take you to the most exciting spots for a truly unrivaled underwater experience.

To learn more about the unique and rare adventure experiences offered from Villa Galapagos 4, check out our new blog page: Insider Access Experiences in Galapagos Islands from San Cristobal

Ideal forFamilies and private groups, either active travelers or nature enthusiasts who prefer to travel in style.

villa galapagos 4 is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in galapagos

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highlights

  • Private house
  • Amazing views and amenities
  • Private chef - unforgettable culinary experience
  • Private Adventure Experiences you can't find anywhere else
  • Each house has a private heated pool and jacuzzi

rooms

La Niña:
The smallest of the three houses at Villa GPS 4, this accommodation can sleep up to 12 guests in four bedrooms, each with a private bathroom (2 of the rooms have bunk beds).
La Pinta:
Sleeping up to 16 guests in five bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, La Pinta is the second biggest house at Villa GPS 4.
Santa Maria:
The biggest house of the three at Villa GPS 4, this superb accommodation comfortably sleeps up to 18 guests in five bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, and three of which with a magnificent ocean view.

services

  • All meals with private chef
  • Wi-Fi
  • Private transfers to/from airport
  • Household & cleaning services
  • Option to add snorkeling, surfing, or scuba diving excursions
  • Panoramic heated pool
  • Jacuzzi
  • Outdoor BBQ pit
  • Laundry Room
  • White Sand Beach On Site
  • >

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Elite Galapagos Mega Catamaran

The M/C Galapagos Elite is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruising the galapagos

The award-winning Galapagos Elite offers a nicely grown-up, suitably stylish option for your luxury Galapagos cruise. With only eight cabins, this is one of the most exclusive Galapagos vessels around—and it really feels it once onboard. In fact, even from the outside with its bright white and golden hull, there is no doubting the Galapagos Elite’s boutique credentials; you simply won’t see a better looking catamaran cruising through the archipelago. Inside, the story continues, as the observation deck, surrounding daybeds and outdoor Jacuzzi are all first-class, contemporary and sleek, more like a private luxury yacht than a Galapagos cruise vessel. The Galapagos Elite also shines when it comes to the cabins and suites, each of which enjoys a wall of glass and French windows, a private balcony, king-size (or twin) beds and a sparkling en suite bathroom with a rain shower and marble sinks too. Add in a lounge bar, fine restaurant and routes which take in the best of the Galapagos’ western, central or eastern islands, and the Elite speaks for itself.

BOUTIQUE GALAPAGOS CATAMARAN

If you’re looking for a small, boutique Galapagos vessel that enjoys all the major highlights, wildlife, snorkeling and on-land tours whilst in a contemporary-cool, sophisticated setting, then the Galapagos Elite is a great bet. Its lesser passenger numbers mean that each tour feels a little more intimate, and when you do want a quiet moment to simply sit on-deck and admire the majesty of this beautiful place, it’s easily done. Whether in the privacy of your cabin and balcony or up on one of two plush observation areas, perhaps from your sunbed or the Jacuzzi, moments of appreciation for these blissful surrounds go hand-in-hand with time spent aboard the Galapagos Elite. The décor is also something special, high-end and minimalist, though subtle and certainly not out of place in such a special natural environment.

LARGE CABINS AND SUITES

Another major draw of booking a tour with the Galapagos Elite is the size of their cabins and suites, with all but the one single cabin measuring nearly 400sq ft in size, which includes a super spacious bathroom and walk-in rain shower, plus your private furnished balcony too. Then with a wall of glass (providing lots of natural light) and color scheme of white, chrome and blonde wood, that sense of space is amplified even further within each cabin—which can only ever enhance both your day-to-day comfort and overall enjoyment of this, a once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos cruise with the Elite.

Ideal forCouples looking for a boutique luxury catamaran tour, of families/small groups who would like a private, luxury Galapagos mega catamaran experience

M/C Galapagos Elite is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruises in the galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

2019 Per Person USD Rates 4D/3N 5D/4N 7D/6N 11D/10N 12D/11N 14D/13N
Golden Suites $3,590 $4,650 $7,450 $10,245 $11,180 $13,970
Charter $53,650 $69,420 $111,220 $152,995 $166,895 $208,565

Additional rates available along with holiday rates and single supplement; contact us for details. Prices are subject to change at time of booking.

Capacity:
16
Number of Cabins:
8
Facilities:
Lounge bar and restaurant, observation and sundeck with loungers and daybeds, a Jacuzzi, BBQ area, Wi-Fi, snorkeling equipment and sea kayaks
Length:
123ft
Speed:
12 knots
All cabins feature:
Panoramic windows and a private furnished balcony, one king-size or two twin beds, spacious en suite bathrooms with shower and marble tops, air-conditioning and power points
Food Serving Style:
All-Inclusive with Private Chefs
Dietary Accomodations Served on Board:
n/a
Drinks:
All non-alcoholic drinks included
Single Cabin Supplement:
yes
Children Discount:
yes
Guide Languages:
English/Spanish

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Villa Galapagos 2

villa galapagos 2 preferred hotels when travelling in galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

If you’re looking to visit the Galapagos Islands as a family or small group, and are looking for something luxurious, boutique, private, well-equipped and just a little bit different, then the four-bedroom Villa Galapagos 2 in Puerto Ayora, near Santa Cruz’s Pelican Bay, is your answer. The entire self-sufficient complex is only available for exclusive bookings, meaning you’ll have the whole mansion and its Annex to yourselves. This includes an outdoor pool with furnished sun patios and a Jacuzzi, four bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, plus a fully-equipped kitchen and beautiful lounge area. We include a private chef at mealtimes and personal concierge when required – the only other company you’ll have while at Villa Galapagos 2 – besides the local unique wildlife species, of course!

UNIQUE GALAPAGOS ACCOMMODATION

Villa Galapagos 2 really is among the most unique luxury accommodation options available in the Galapagos Islands, as few can compare to the level of independence and five-star facilities that guests here have exclusive use of—not to mention views of Pelican Bay from your garden and being less than a mile from El Garrapatero Beach too. If you are travelling to the Galapagos with children or additional family members, you will also have use of the mansion’s Annex which comprises two further bedrooms and bathrooms. Truly perfect for kids to keep their own space, leaving adults to enjoy the rest of the villa each evening.

PRIVATE CHEF AND CONCIERGE

Another entirely irresistible aspect of booking a stay at Villa Galapagos 2 is the one-to-one service which comes with it. As such, on arrival you’ll be introduced to your own private chef who will curate meals and snacks to suit the tastes of your group throughout, as well as a personal concierge to take care of everything else, from organizing watersports equipment to ensuring the mansion is kept spotless with the help of maids and housekeepers. The attention to detail and standard of care taken really makes Villa Galapagos 2 stand out among the best luxury Galapagos accommodation choices for families, and the privacy helps no end too.

Ideal forGroups and families, as Villa Galapagos 2 is completely self-contained and can sleep up to 8 guests in The House plus a further 4 in the Annex.

villa galapagos 2 is one of our preferred villas when travelling in galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

[wonderplugin_gridgallery id=98]

highlights

  • Private pool, Jacuzzi and sun decks
  • Personal concierge and chef who will create bespoke in-villa meals to your tastes
  • Top location overlooking Pelican Bay
  • Fully-equipped to accommodate 12 people in absolute comfort

rooms

The House:
The House at Villa Galapagos 2 is beautifully adorned in beach-chic stylings, with lots of exposed wood and beams, walls of glass and white-washed walls, lending an added sense of space. Within, you’ll be treated to four bedrooms (2 king and 2 double); four bathrooms; a living room, dining area and kitchen across multiple floors and balconies on the upper level too. There is then an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, hammocks, a sun patio, sundeck and outdoor lounge space, sea views and a poolside bar.
The Annex:
The Annex is a comfortable addition for children or extra guests, offering a main bedroom with two double and two single beds, plus a bathroom and instant access to the rest of the villa’s grounds.

services

  • All meals included and tailored to taste (private chef and concierge)
  • Swimming pool and Jacuzzi
  • Furnished sundeck, hammocks, gardens and patio
  • Housekeeping
  • Airport lounge access
  • Laundry service
  • Wi-Fi and air-conditioning
  • Sea kayaks, snorkeling equipment, paddle boards, wetsuits and bicycles available
  • Meals included (alcoholic drinks will be extra)
  • Laundry service
  • Housekeeping

Stella Maris

The Stella Maris is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruising the galapagos

A supremely comfortable luxury Galapagos yacht, the Stella Maris is undoubtedly among the best boats around. Fully available for private charter, highly exclusive and very easy on the eye, this is a fine boutique vessel that squeezes a lot of mod-cons and amenities into its communal spaces and cabins alike, from iPod docks to a deluxe walk-in shower, complimentary stand-up paddle boards and a fantastic restaurant to boot. The result is a chic and luxurious Galapagos boat equipped with a Jacuzzi and kayaks that, although feels more grown up than most, is perfectly family-friendly too.

Fine Dining Onboard the Stella Maris

Of the many highlights during a Galapagos Island tour aboard the Stella Maris, their fantastic gourmet restaurant certainly stands out. Here, whether al fresco on the deck during sunset or inside the dining room itself, fine dining cuisine of fresh seafood, Ecuadorian-inspired dishes, locally sourced ingredients and a specialized menu for vegetarians can be savored, day after day throughout your cruise. Such a gastronomic experience goes a long way to making the whole experience entirely memorable, as changeable menus and paired wine–sometimes an outdoor BBQ just for fun–make returning to the Stella Maris after every day of wildlife excursions even more exciting.

Chic Décor and Design

Stella Maris’ distinctively fashionable décor and interior design can’t be overlooked either. Inside each cabin, for example, expect plush beds and thickset patterned rugs, cream and honeycomb hues plus modern en suite bathrooms complete with an inviting walk-in rain shower. Then, elsewhere around the ship it’s all white sofas, perfectly polished decking and dark wood sun loungers, not to mention a stylish bar area and dining room that would not look out of place in any top restaurant.

Ideal forCouples with children or teens, and anyone seeking pure Galapagos luxury on a private yacht.

Stella Maris is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruises in the galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

[wonderplugin_gridgallery id=96]

2019 USD Rates for Entire Yacht Charter
5D / 4N From $138,000

Additional rates available along with holiday rates and single supplement; contact us for details. Prices are subject to change at time of booking.

Capacity:
14
Number of Cabins:
7
Facilities:
Al fresco dining area, restaurant, 24-hour room service, bar, two sundecks, Jacuzzi, snorkeling and scuba diving equipment, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards
Length:
125 ft
Speed:
14 knots
All cabins feature:
iPod docking station, TV, DVD player, air-conditioning, en suite bathroom, walk-in rain shower, closet, Wi-Fi
Food Serving Style:
All-Inclusive with Private Chefs
Dietary Accomodations Served on Board:
n/a
Drinks:
All non-alcoholic drinks included
Single Cabin Supplement:
no
Children Discount:
no
Guide Languages:
English

Why Travel to Brazil in 2020?

Picture pristine rainforests teeming with life, long crescents of powdery sand lapped by cerulean seas, hypnotic dances in the streets of preserved colonial towns and the energetic buzz of lively barrios at night; this is just a snapshot of what a Brazilian vacation looks like. This vast South American nation has long attracted visitors from far and wide, thanks to its enticing mix of culture and scenery, but why travel to Brazil in 2020? From visa-free entry to exciting new hotel openings, here is the lowdown on why you should start planning a Brazil trip for 2020.

US Citizens Can Now Visit Brazil Visa-free

Rio de Janiero trips

Did you miss our recent blog announcing the New Visa Requirements for United States Citizens Visiting Brazil? Well, if not, on June 17, 2019, the Brazilian government lifted visa restrictions for American and Canadian tourists, meaning that visitors from the USA and Canada can now stay for up to 90 days a year in Brazil. Not only does this make Brazil trips in 2020 more convenient, but also pocket friendly, as you no longer need to pay to enter this amazing South American country. Previously, it would have costed you $160 to do so.

Strong Currency Exchange Rate

Brazil’s currency (the Real) goes real far now against the dollar making the exchange rate is better than it has been in the last decade. So, now that it’s become even easier to visit Brazil, you can discover a true South American gem and its myriad delights in 2020—visa-free while getting the most “bang for your buck!”

Explore Paraty and Ilha Grande: Brazil’s newly established UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ilha Grande Brazil

UNESCO have just announced (in July 2019) that the Brazilian town of Paraty and nearby Ilha Grande have been selected as new World Heritage Sites, an amazing accomplishment for this beautiful corner of southern Brazil. Recognizing the rich heritage and natural wealth of Paraty and Ilha Grande, UNESCO has established the region as a mixed culture and biodiversity site, which is the first ever in Brazil—other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country are either designated as cultural or biodiverse separately, as opposed to being part of both categories at once. With this new UNESCO status, the region can look forward to greater economic support to help preserve its exceptional colonial architecture and beautiful natural sites, meaning that Paraty and Ilha Grande will hold on to its inimitable charm and picturesque scenery.

Discover Paraty

Paraty is a gorgeous little colonial town clutching the shores of Brazil’s southern coast, with cobbled lanes flanked by pretty pastel facades dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Spend the day exploring the main square and ornate churches around town while popping into artisan boutiques, galleries, and outdoor cafes along the way. We are not surprised that this top Brazilian destination has been given such highly prestigious status, considering it was here that gold was shipped over to Europe, having been mined in nearby Minas Gerais. You’ll definitely be able to see the distinctive Portuguese influence through the architecture and art of that era that still is vibrant to this day!

UNESCO World Heritage Site Paraty

Aside from the cultural and historical aspect of this region in Brazil, it has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its natural beauty. Wedged between the verdant Serra da Bocaina Mountains and sparkling Atlantic Ocean, Paraty flaunts a breathtaking backdrop that is simply stunning to witness, as tree-carpeted peaks rise above pristine crescents of sand and islands flung offshore. It makes up part of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, which is one of the top five biodiversity locations in the world, sheltering a vast array of species including Jaguars, Woolly Spider Monkeys and White-lipped Peccaries, all of which are sadly under threat.

While here on holiday, you can go island-hopping to any of the 65 islets rising above azure waters, take your pick from 200 beaches and go hiking through the Atlantic Forest. Best of all, Paraty and Ilha Grande are just a four-hour drive from bustling Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, making them even more irresistible to explore.

Rio de Janeiro: World Capital of Architecture 2020

Rio de Janeiro Architecture

Another recent announcement from UNESCO is that Rio de Janeiro—South America’s most iconic city—will be the World Capital of Architecture in 2020. The theme for the year will be ‘All the worlds. Just one world’, with the city being expected to tie in a variety of events and celebrations to this particular theme, so anyone with a passion for architecture and art should seriously consider visiting Rio in 2020.

The aim of this designation is to provide ‘an international forum for debates about pressing global challenges from the perspectives of culture, cultural heritage, urban planning and architecture.’ Throughout the year, Rio will undoubtedly showcase its distinctive architecture and unmistakable culture, while promoting exciting creative projects as well as one of the key goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.’

Festive Season Highlights and Options

If you’re looking for another excuse to hotfoot it to Brazil in 2020, and you’ve always wanted to catch the famous Carnival festival, be sure to visit between February 21 and 26 when the main celebrations take place. New year’s Eve is also a highlight of the summer with with lavish parties thrown all over the country. Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro is definitely the most popular destination to visit, but if you are looking for a more secluded celebration, try Trancoso: Brazil’s rustic chic paradise with a great New Year celebration in store. All this and more, can be relished on a 2020 Brazil tour with Latin Excursions.

Enjoy an insider’s view of Trancoso in the video below with drone footage captured recently when I brought my family to see my birthplace of Brazil!

New Direct Flights to Brazil

Although the USA is already well-linked to Brazilian airports, American Airlines and LATAM are looking to team up to provide new direct routes between South America and the USA. Americans are now able to travel from Miami to Belo Horizonte or Recife, and rumor has it that flights will soon be available from Austin and San Jose to São Paulo; so stay tuned…

New Hotels in Brazil for 2020

In 2020 you could also be among the first visitors at highly anticipated boutique hotels opening up around the country, from the city of Salvador to the Amazon Rainforest. Here’s our pick of the top new hotels in Brazil to check into in 2020:

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1) Fasano Salvador

Salvador Fasano

One of Salvador’s few truly luxurious offerings in the heart of Pelourinho, the city’s old town, is the new Fasano hotel which treads the perfect balance between grandeur and understated five-star standards. Discreet but impeccable service is at the heart of this esteemed hotel group, and their Salvador outpost is no different. But what is novel about this particular property is its exquisite heritage, owed to the 1930s building in which it is encased—the former headquarters of A Tarde, the newspaper, rising into the skyline above Castro Alves Square to afford views of All Saints Bay. In fact, the building is Cultural Heritage-listed, so a real privilege to stay in.

Many of the 70 rooms and suites provide views of the bay, while elsewhere in the Fasano Salvador you could take advantage of a rooftop pool and terrace, spa, gym and Italian restaurant; that is, when you’re not stepping out to explore the Pelourinho and all its delights

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2) Fasano Belo Horizonte and Trancoso

Fasano Belo Horizante

Though that’s not all from Fasano, as yet more hotel openings can be expected from this first-class group. One has just opened in Belo Horizonte, which is actually the city’s first ever five-star hotel, spotlighting the amazing cultural offerings of this lesser-known Brazilian town through its events venue, live jazz music in the bar and Italian cuisine courtesy of the Gero Belo Horizonte restaurant. 

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3) Anantara Maraú Bahia

Also studded on Brazil’s north-eastern coast in the state of Bahia is the new Anantara hotel, a gorgeous beach retreat set between Atlantic Forest and swathes of sun-kissed sand. Anantara is a highly reputable hotel brand with properties all over Asia and the Indian Ocean, but it is just about to establish its first resort in the Americas—the Anantara Maraú Bahia, Brazil—which will throw open its doors at the end of 2019.

A stay here promises access to the stunning beach; fabulous facilities including a pool, tennis courts, Anantara Spa and gym; activities like horse riding, surfing, deep sea fishing and diving; plus the chance to tuck in to exquisite Bahian cuisine or sip cocktails at the bar. In addition, while based at the Anantara Maraú Bahia, you can experience the local Afro-Brazilian culture too, discover hidden waterfalls or sail to secret islands; it’s going to be a game-changer.

Insider Access: Combine Remote Sand Dunes and Untouched Amazon

Take a brief visual journey of one of natures most exotic sand dune parks called Lencois National Park in the video below. This destination is a great place for family, couples or friends to explore in 2020. It’s truly one of the next great frontiers in travel in South America, and we can combine with a private yacht experience through an untouched region of the remote Amazon jungle!

Brazil Amazon yacht

Villa Galapagos 3

villa galapagos 3 preferred hotels when travelling in galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

With just three villas accommodating up to eight guests, nature trails and tortoise ponds, 42 acres of private highland reserve and even a kitchen garden to service their supreme restaurant, Villa Galapagos 3 are as intimate and stylish as they are idyllically placed and well-equipped, in one. No doubt about it, this is one of the most exclusive luxury lodges on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands. Prepare your tastebuds because their chefs will prepare showstopping cuisine each evening, for that pricelessly personal touch.

A GREAT GALAPAGOS LODGE FOR FAMILIES

One of the perks of booking a room at Villa Galapagos 3 is that you benefit from a wonderful combination of independence—thanks to each private abode’s multi-room layout, terraces, kitchen and lounge area—yet also all the trappings of a luxury Galapagos lodge such as yoga classes, massage treatments and all of your lip-smacking gourmet cuisine already included. This means that not only do you benefit from sizeable rooms and separate spaces for the kids to hang out in, but with meals taken care of and plenty to keep everyone entertained onsite, all that’s left is to sit back and enjoy the wonders of the Galapagos Islands while here.

AN INTIMATE ECO-FRIENDLY GALAPAGOS EXPERIENCE

Being family-run and hosting just a tiny handful of guests, you are guaranteed an intimate Galapagos experience while staying at Villa Galapagos 3, whether wandering the onsite nature trails, getting to know your hosts or enjoying a homecooked meal. Though that’s not all, as on top of everything else, this boutique lodge is also extremely environmentally conscious, with its water supply sourced from rainfall, electricity from solar panels, organic produce grown onsite and many of the materials used for construction coming from sustainable sources on the island itself.

Ideal forFamilies, also perfectly ideal for couples but particularly suited to family groups, with two of the three villas able to accommodate 4 people, and the third easily sleeping up to 8.

villa galapagos 3 is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

highlights

  • Exclusive Galapagos Lodge
  • Acres of private grounds and nature trails onsite
  • Gourmet restaurant and kitchen garden
  • Lovely views as well as easy access to the rest of the island

rooms

Villa Tortuga:
The largest of all villas at Montemar, Villa Tortuga enjoys a floorplan of nearly 3,000sq ft, including four bedrooms (one with en suite and private deck); multiple bathrooms and a tub; fully-equipped kitchen; living room and patio doors; a wood-fired oven, BBQ and yoga room. The décor within this villa is decidedly modern, all bamboo beams and teak wood floors, stone walls, wicker and soft tones throughout.
Villa Lechuza:
Smaller than Villa Tortuga (829sq ft) though with the same contemporary décor, Villa Lechuza is a great option if travelling as a group of 2, 3 or 4, as you still benefit from a private deck; en suite bathrooms; queen-size beds in two bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen and lounge area.
Villa Pinzon:
At 700sq ft Villa Pinzon is the smallest of the three and décor is a little more modest, though the villa is still very private and can sleep 4, as well as coming with a kitchen; living room; main bathroom and small outdoor space.

services

  • Restaurant + bar plus breakfast ingredients provided for your villa
  • Wi-Fi
  • Boat trips and island-hopping tours
  • Yoga studio and classes
  • Relaxation area and outdoor massage available
  • Onsite nature trails, tortoise ponds and a coffee plantation
  • Bathrobes, slippers, reusable water bottles, organic toilettes included
  • Beach bag, towels, rubber boots, umbrellas, rain jackets and flashlights available
  • Meals included (alcoholic drinks will be extra)
  • Laundry service
  • Housekeeping

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Why Chartering in the Galapagos is Not Only for the Rich and Famous

At Latin Excursions, we take pride in making your journey a meaningful time with family and friends never to be forgotten. Visiting Galapagos Islands is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Earth as it once was entirely before human civilization. Allow us to create an itinerary that is exactly catered to your interest. What better way than chartering a private yacht?

Charter a Yacht in the Galapagos Islands

Most people don’t know that there are small ship cruising options via small yachts and sailboats in the Galapagos that essentially cost the same amount for a family of 10 paying for small cabins on the boat.

The advantage of chartering a yacht is having absolute access to the right guide for your family, and not being shared with others or strangers, allowing us to customize an itinerary around your interest level in the Galapagos. The private time with family and friends is truly what makes this option unbeatable. Not to mention you are located on some of the most pristine and protected waters on the entire planet, completely away from any major noisy city.

Combine with a Land Tour or Machu Picchu Extension

Are you planning a journey to Machu Picchu, but also want to get a glimpse of the Galapagos? Considering the proximity and convenient flights from Lima to Guayaquil or Quito, chartering a private yacht is the perfect way to capture an all-encompassing glimpse of Darwin’s archipelago. Our expert Trip Designers are masters of crafting unique experiences catered to your interests, so allow them to help you select the perfect yacht and itinerary for your journey.

One way to keep costs down is to shorten the itinerary to 4 or 5 days, if you want to extend some land time in order to do more active adventures you can combine your yacht stay with a private villa, unique hotel, or even glamping stay! We recommend adding a few days before or after at the Galapagos Safari Camp or private Villa Amarilla.

Machu Picchu Latin Excursion

Scuba Dive the Galapagos in Private

Another big advantage of chartering a yacht in the Galapagos is the option to have a professional diving team meet you and your group for the day (or multiple days at various locations)! The way it works is that we coordinate with our diving team and have them greet your yacht in the morning with a small dive boat, then they will take you to certain dive locations privately. Talk about exclusivity!

You can expect to see plenty of playful sea lions, if you’re lucky they might come do a dance for you and your crew!

Scuba dive galapagos with sea lions

Maximize Your Galapagos Experience with Latin Excursions

Imagine seeing a school of 1000 dolphins jump out of the water, since the boat is yours, call the captain to stop and take some photos! The world is yours when you privately charter a yacht in the Galapagos with us. For more information about this option or traveling to the Galapagos in general, Contact Us and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date with our latest promotions!

Galapagos: By Land, Boat, or Both? – The “Great Debate”

17 Years of Custom Trip Planning to the Galapagos

There are many truths and myths about this controversy that can be found on the internet. The information cited below is compiled from more than 17 years designing custom trips to the Galapagos. I use the term, “custom” because travelers can actually create their own fully-personalized trip to the Galapagos when planning with Latin Excursions. Although some companies offer trips that sound “cookie cutter” in design, there are various ways to personalize your trip in order to maximize your excursion around your interests.

Here are a few questions one should ask when considering between different types of trips to the Galapagos:

  • Do you want to incorporate some relaxation on your adventure?

    – For example, would you enjoy having a long walk on the beach and being surprised by how close animals approach you? Every animal in the Galapagos thinks you are their best friend! This is one reason that makes staying on land quite the unique experience.

  • How much time do you see yourself in the water?

    – Galapagos is world-famous for swimming up close with sea lions, penguins, turtles and more! Watch our Marketing and Sales Specialist, Turney Maurer, snorkel with a sea lion gracefully along Isla Daphne Minor.

Galapagos Tour: Snorkel with Sea Lions and Dolphins from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

  • How active would you like this trip to be?

    – This is a big question one must take in consideration, if you would like to remain more land-based. Most Small Ships definitely have more relaxed day-by-day itineraries.

  • Are you or anyone in your party prone to motion sickness?

    – This is important to consider when entertaining large amounts of time on the water.

What month can you travel?

– This determines which islands you should consider or if you’re better off choosing a land-based stay or extension.


Boat Options: Pros & Cons

Pros:

More exposure and viewing of islands, better snorkeling opportunities, and the fact that you travel to new islands while you are asleep.

Cons:

Costlier in general and less exclusive unless opting for private yacht charter. It can feel regimented with strict National Park rules on the timings of the itineraries. Also, dependent on the time of year, if prone to motion sickness, boats can be more challenging than other months of the year.

Celebrity FLORA from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

Island Options: Pros & Cons

Pros:

More flexibility with active adventure, more space and privacy, and depending on selected island, you can stay an unlimited amount of time exploring without being limited, compared to a boat itinerary.

Cons:

Less areas covered and less diversity of nature if you have little time

SUP & Snorkel Galapagos

Pro-Tips from Latin Excursions to Maximize Your Galapagos Experience

Boat/Island Combination:

If you want a good mix of the two, the combination is arguably the most thorough way to visit to get the full bodied experience of the island to fully sense all it has to offer.

Private Villas:

Ideal for multi-gen families wanting privacy and time together. Villas we partner with come equipped with speedboats, fishing experiences, a chef and the ability to select from a variety of tours depending on the activity and age level. This option can also be added as an amazing downtime ending if coming off a boat option.

Make sure to check our Private Villas and contact us for inside access to specific ones in the Galapagos that we exclusively work with.


Private Yachts:

Lastly, this option offers full privacy and exclusivity to the consumer and their guests. Although not inexpensive, if the group size is right (12 passengers or more) the cost can ultimately be less than being on a larger vessel . We provide our years of guide expertise in matching the right guide with the right traveling group to make for one of the most unforgettable experiences.

Combined Ecuador and the Galapagos: Best of Land and Sea

Combining the best of Ecuador’s mainland with a land-based tour of the Galapagos Islands is a unique and memorable alternative to the traditional Galapagos cruise options. This combined Ecuador and Galapagos itinerary will first explore the highlights of Quito including its Old Town and equatorial line museum, followed by the pristine Mindo Cloud Forest. Here you can enjoy nature walks, birdwatching trails and elevated viewpoints aplenty as a scenic introduction to what comes next, a land-based Galapagos adventure. Visiting Santa Cruz Island and its closest neighbors North Seymour and Bartolome Island, time will be spent admiring pristine beaches, observing Sea Lion colonies, families of Blue-footed Boobies, Herons and countless other native Galapagos species as well as the depleted volcanic craters, nature reserves and the Charles Darwin Research Center. Then you head back to Mainland Ecuador and the dramatic High-Andean wilderness to meet local communities, visit traditional villages and craft markets, explore stunning valleys and even enjoy the chance to see Giant Andean Condors close-up, before returning to Quito and home.

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

Patio Andaluz

Day1

Arrive Quito, Ecuador

Having been greeted at Quito Airport by your guide on touchdown, a private transfer will take you straight to your hotel in Quito Old Town for check-in; a fitting start to this combined Ecuador and Galapagos vacation. Once here, you are ideally placed to explore the atmospheric streets, bars and restaurants of Old Quito this evening, as well as already being onsite for tomorrow’s walking tour.

Overnight Hotel Patio Andaluz or similar

Day2

quito`

Day2

Walking Tour of Quito

Spend the early morning at leisure, starting with a wholesome breakfast at your hotel before a private walking tour of Quito’s Old Town, which provides a fascinating introduction to Ecuador’s capital. The city’s historical center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, and it’s not hard to see why, with its exquisite colonial architecture comprising sublime churches, the Cathedral, Presidential Palace and Municipal Building. All of this stands proudly alongside cobblestone streets and the grand Independence Square, making Quito Old Town a marvel to behold.

After lunch, a further delve into Ecuadorian life comes this afternoon at the Intiñan Solar Museum. This fun-filled Quito attraction is located on the line of the equator and exhibits artefacts from various cultures and tribes around the country, as well as hands-on science experiments and a planetarium. Here you can also visit the Mitad del Mundo (‘Middle of the World’) Monument and gardens, located on the very spot where a French explorer calculated the equatorial line’s location back in 1736!

Overnight Hotel Patio Andaluz or similar

Meals B

Day3

Rustic looking bridge with a thatch roof crossing a river in a cloud forest near Mindo, Ecuador

Day3

Mindo Cloud Forest

Day three of this combined Ecuador and Galapagos tour takes you to the ethereal Mindo Cloud Forest, a biodiverse haven that’s brimming with birdlife, abundant plant species and fun activities too. The drive to Mindo takes roughly one hour 30 minutes, though it’s a gentle journey along country roads with scenic lookout points along the way.

On arrival, you are treated to one of Ecuador’s natural highlights, a unique ecosystem covering nearly 50,000 subtropical acres that are home to around 400 different bird species, lush trees, orchids and waterfalls. You can visit them all with a guided tour plus time at leisure to explore Mindo’s many nature trails, butterfly gardens, treetop cable cars and, for those brave enough, an adrenaline-packed zip-line adventure.

Overnight Hotel Patio Andaluz or similar

Meals B,L

Day4

Room at Semilla Verde

Day4

Santa Cruz Island

Next up, your Galapagos land adventure package begins, as you fly from Guayaquil on Ecuador’s western coast to Baltra Island Airport, where our guides assist with any luggage, before crossing the crystalline Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island. Your destination is Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel, a homely Galapagos eco-retreat big on yoga, conservation, and exploring the best of the archipelago.

This afternoon is spent at leisure, maybe unwinding on the lawn, strolling along one of the nearby nature trails or trying a spot of yoga. Why not pay a visit to the harborfront streets of Puerto Ayora and the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center? Here, exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding programs. A suitable start as you witness the legacy left on the Galapagos Islands by Darwin himself.

Overnight Semilla Verde

Meals B

Day5

galapagos land turtle

Day5

Santa Cruz Island

The Santa Cruz Highlands are a pleasure to explore, with their endemic wildlife, roaming Giant Galapagos Tortoises and, of course, the Los Gemelos craters; two colossal sinkholes which must be seen to be believed. This all makes for a highlight of your Galapagos land-based vacation and provides a great snapshot of the wider archipelago, so is the focus of this morning’s tour. First a pleasant wildlife walk; keep an eye out for Santa Cruz Highlands’ many bird species and varied plant-life. On arrival at Los Gemelos, gaze out over lush foliage filling each of the two huge caverns–one stretching nearly 1,300ft across and 2,300ft deep.

Time can then be spent exploring an eerie world of underground lava tunnels here, or seeking out more of those Giant Galapagos Tortoises for one perfectly captured photograph to take home. After lunch your Santa Cruz tour continues by heading east. First enjoy the verdant Cerro Mesa Nature Reserve where the scenic viewpoints are as impressive as the variety of flora that fills this once active volcanic crater, and later to Garrapatero Beach, where mangroves and coastal vegetation open up onto bright white beaches and crystalline seas.

Overnight Semilla Verde

Meals B,L,D

Day6

galapagos-destination-penguins-latin-excursions

Day6

Santa Cruz Island / Bartolome Island

Today’s Galapagos wildlife tour focuses on Bartolome Island; its lookout spots and rugged coastline. First, moor up at a wooden walkway and begin your ascent to one of the best viewpoints in the Galapagos. The reason is that although Bartolome itself is relatively barren, all volcanic rock and petrified lava flows, from this angle you get a 360-degree panoramic look at the wider archipelago; a completely different perspective on the formation of these islands.

This then makes a Zodiac boat ride–the next part of your excursion–all the more enjoyable, as you glide past families of Galapagos Penguins, Herons and Hawks, before the golden beaches and Sea Lion colony of Pinnacle Rock. The waters which border these sands teem with marine life, making them perfect for snorkeling just off the adjacent ancient lava fields of Sullivan Bay; a real-life Galapagos highlight.

Overnight Semilla Verde

Meals B,L,D

Days7

Blue-Footed Boobies on Grand Seymore Island, Galapagos Islands,

Day7

North Seymour Island / Bachas Beach

Swap land for sea as you board the Sea Finch vessel once more. First up is North Seymour Island, where you can hike through a forest of Palo Santo trees–a favorite nesting place for Blue-footed Boobies–and follow coastal trails that provide a privileged view of Brown Pelicans, Frigate Birds and Yellow Land Iguanas. Then, swim with an astonishing array of marine life, such as Rays, White-tipped Reef Sharks and King Angelfish.

The final stop is at Las Bachas, a pair of impeccable beaches with white coral sands. Watch Blue-footed Boobies patrolling the shore, or Pink Flamingos, Great Blue Herons and White-cheeked Pintails wading the waters of a nearby lagoon. After swimming in warm seas, sail back to the Itabaca Channel and return to Semilla Verde for your penultimate night at this luxury Galapagos lodge.

Overnight Semilla Verde

Meals B,L,D

Days8

Semilla Verde Pool

Day8

Santa Cruz Island

The final day of your Galapagos adventure takes you to the lesser-visited hidden coves and dramatic coastline of Santa Cruz Island, alive as they are with wildlife and easily accessed from Semilla Verde. Begin with the picturesque islets of Daphne Major and Minor. Among other things, these small islands are well-known for their abundance of native bird species including Galapagos Martins, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Short-eared Owls and Red-billed Tropic Birds.

You can explore the shoreline and coastal nature trails here, keeping an eye out for Sea Lions and Reef sharks in the water, before lunch either onboard the boat or beach, and a final stop at Bahia Borrero, a pristine stretch of chalk-white sands and one of the ultimate places to finish this exciting Galapagos tour.

Overnight Semilla Verde

Meals B,L,D

Days9

Hacienda Cusin Fountain

Day9

Ecuadorian Andes

The diverse landscapes, ecosystems and environments of Ecuador keep coming today, as you first fly back to the mainland before driving towards the serene Ecuadorian Andes in the company of your private guide. On arrival at your rural Hacienda, check-in and enjoy a first afternoon of crisp mountain air in this timeless, beautifully scenic region.

Overnight Hacienda Cusin or Similar

Meals B,L,D

Days10

Haciend Cusin Staff

Day10

Ecuadorian Andes

Day ten of your combined Ecuador and Galapagos land package provides an unforgettable opportunity to admire picturesque, pristine scenery here in the Ecuadorian Andes, as well as visiting some of its traditional highland communities. Driving between stops is a joy in itself, such is the splendor of this mountainous region of towering peaks and sweeping valleys, as can be seen on the way to San Antonio de Ibarra, the provincial capital famous for its incredibly ornate woodworking and tradition of sculpture.

From here, it’s on to Peguche where more local culture and an authentic High-Andean way of life can be glimpsed, such as the town’s markets, traditional weaving, music and dance performances as well as a love for celebratory festivals! Picturesque Peguche is also surrounded by stunning scenery, hidden waterfalls and verdant valleys which, time permitting, can also feature as part of your Andean day trip.

Overnight Hacienda Cusin or similar

Meals B,L,D

Days11

Condor Ecuador

Day11

Condor Park / La Esperanza

A further exploration of the Ecuadorian Andes continues today, as you venture deeper into the landscape to meet some native wildlife as well as the rural communities who dwell here. Begin at Parque del Condor (‘Condor Park’), where not only Giant Andean Condors but Hawks, Owls, Eagles and Falcons are protected and cared for in a semi-natural environment, some of which have been rehabilitated from their perilous position in the wild.

Having seen these impressive native birds first-hand, and witnessed a live flight demonstration too, the next stop on day eleven of your Mainland Ecuador adventure is a visit to the indigenous San Clemente Community in nearby La Esperanza. Here there’s the chance to meet locals and share lunch together, learn the community’s traditions and customs as well as enjoying an informative nature walk with them, to see what life is like living among such wilderness. Finally, make your way back to the hotel for one last evening with your Ecuadorian hosts.

Overnight Hacienda Cusin or similar

Meals B,L,D

Days12

otavalo-market-latin-excursions

Day12

Cuicocha Crater Lake / Otavalo Market

As your combined Ecuador and Galapagos land tour draws to a close, there is still time to see one or two more Andean highlights before traveling back to Quito, depending on the exact time of your departing flight. First, some last-minute souvenirs can be picked up from the small town of Cotacachi, a village particularly famous for its fine leatherwork and crafts. Then, a last-minute nature walk through the forests to Cuicocha Crater Lake, a stunning site, the main attraction of the Ecuadorian Andes and well worthy finale to your tour.

Finally, the world-famous Otavalo Market. Otavalo is known across South America for its craftwork, such as weaving and musical instruments, though its most prized asset is their colorful market that has attracted local artisans, buyers and sellers for centuries. It’s a vibrant scene of locals wearing traditional outfits, and stalls topped high with rainbows of fruit, vegetables and textiles. Time permitting, you can pick up some treasures and enjoy lunch here before being driven back to Quito International Airport and home.

Meals B,L

IMPORTANT: We reserve the right to omit any part of this itinerary, to change the order of the places visited, or to alter reservations without prior notice due to weather conditions or road closures, safety concerns, national park policies, or other outside forces that may necessitate revisions to the itinerary. These decisions are based on the traveler’s welfare or are made in the interest of conservation. Please travel with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the spontaneity of your adventure.

Overnight The Singular Santiago

Meals B

No Visa Required, Come to Brazil!

No Visa? No Problem!

Brazil is a unique and extraordinary place offering a staggering array of exotic, colorful and sensual experiences that range from the fascinating natural sanctuaries to the contagious rhythms of Bahia and sprawling sophistication of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Unfortunately, for the last decade travelers from the United States and other certain countries have had to obtain a Visa in order to visit Brazil.

Today, for the first time since 2008, Brazil has officially announced the waiver of Visa requirements for citizens of the United States, Australia, Canada, and Japan which will go into effect on June 17, 2019.

Brazil Tourism on the Rise

The decision to waive visas is due to the success of an electronic visa pilot program launched on January 25, 2018. The results of this move by the Brazilian government were astonishing. There has been a 35.23% increase of overall visa’s emitted, while the World Travel Organization projected 25% of potential visits to arise from this decision. The impact on Brazil’s economy was huge too, bringing in over 1 billion USD from completed travelers who were visa recipients. Now, the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism hopes to reach a goal of 12 million foreign visitors by 2022, in contrary to the 6 million they had originally planned with the electronic Visas.

Visitors from the group of countries listed above are now eligible to stay in Brazil up to 90 days, extendable for an equal period provided such visit doesn’t exceed 180 days in a year, with days counted from the first entry in Brazil. If limits are exceeded penalties will apply. The benefit extends to current visitors in transit with valid passports for trips for leisure and business tourism, artistic or sporting activities or in exceptional situations for national interest.

Visit Brazil with Latin Excursions

For 15 years Latin Excursions has been creating unique travel experiences for adventurers looking to discover beautiful Brazil. We are excited to represent quality tourism to Brazil for citizens of the United States and Canada. There are plenty of great tour operators in Australia and Japan who can help get their citizens to Brazil as well. Overall this is a grand move in terms of global tourism. Advances in technology have made it possible for companies like us to find some of the most unique areas with reputable companies who provide quality assurance with their services for hotels, guides, drivers, adventure equipment, culinary, culture, and of course, safety.

Our Founder Was Born in Brazil

Did I mention Latin Excursions CEO/Founder, Eric Sheets, was born in the Brazil? In the first capital of Brazil to be exact – the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia. He recently took his wife and children to the region to explore the remote beaches of Trancoso, but also further north to the State of Maranhao to explore the white-sand beaches and dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park to teach his family a little bit more about the unique area he grew up in and to also see how it has changed. He was pleased with what he saw to say the least and understands there is a need for tourism in these ecologically-rich coastal areas. Get a glimpse of these wild dunes in the video below (Eric took the drone footage himself)!

Lencois National Park, Brazil from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

Below is another video of Eric and his family exploring the unique region of Trancoso, in the State of Bahia that I mentioned previously. Miles of remote beach and crystal-clear water for as far as the eye can see! This region can be discovered on our Journey to Brazil tour with international flights arriving in Rio de Janeiro, then domestic round-trip flights to Salvador. Our itineraries online are all examples of what we recommend, but please keep in mind that we are able to customize any tour to your preferences!

Custom Brazil Journeys with Latin Excursions: Learn More

To learn more about our offerings in Brazil, check out our destination page by clicking the link: https://latinexcursions.com/wpress2020/destinations/brazil/

Now that the United States doesn’t need a visa to enter the country, it’s easy to combine destinations such as our Extraordinary Journey to Brazil & Argentina! On this journey you will discover Iguazu Falls which lies on the border of the two magnificent countries.

Of course, if you are looking to explore the rainforest of Brazil, make sure to check out our Journey to the Brazilian Amazon or reach out to us for a multi-day small ship excursion of the Amazon. Whether you are considering a visit to Brazil and don’t know where to start, or have a bucket list destination in the country you have long wanted to visit, don’t hesitate to Contact Us to learn more and begin your dream journey today! The gates have opened, so allow us to get you there. The time is now!

Top 8 Treks to Machu Picchu

Hike or Take the Train

If you are not taking the train to Machu Picchu, understand that your only other option is hiking. There are no roads that lead to Machu Picchu; the entry hub to the Seventh Wonder of the world is Ollantaytambo. Whether you are taking the train, the single day hike to Machu Picchu, or a multi-day trek, every person must have a permit to enter Machu Picchu and you will not be granted entry without one; that goes for each trail system too. One cannot simply arrive in Peru and start walking a trail to the ancient citadel; it must be planned prior, and for most, it must be planned up to a year in advance.

Deciding which route to take can be a difficult process to begin- as there are many options to choose from, so planning can become confusing fast. That’s why we at Latin Excursions offer prospective travelers a free consultation with one of our Travel Designers to help alleviate the stress and create the perfect trip for you. Aside from taking the train to Aguas Calientes and doing the many different options of day hikes from there, hiking is the only other option to arrive at Machu Picchu. Therefore, we have broken down the eight best options of hiking to the Seventh Wonder of the World for you.

Top 8 Hikes to Machu Picchu

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1) Km 82 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Inca Trail Hike

Coming in at number one, this classic four day, three night trekking journey from Km 82 is truly astonishing. Considering this trail was actually the original route for the Inca Royalty to arrive at Machu Picchu, you can expect to discover a variety of ancient ruins from outposts to storage houses, and unfortunately, many tourists and campers. Due to the rising popularity of travelers wanting to mark this off of their bucket list, the trail has become increasingly more difficult to experience in peace year after year. Because of that, the Peruvian government has limited the selling of permits for this particular hike, and they sell out almost more than a year in advance from the departure date and have a strict deadline for when travel companies are able to purchase them.

That being said, this can cause overbookings and chaos with shared excursions. At Latin Excursions, we specialize in private travel for this very reason. We will take you and your group along the Inca Trail unbothered so that you can fully soak in the spirit of the Inca and not be distracted by the outer chaos. Specifically for this Peruvian journey, we highly recommend reaching out to us more than a year in advance with a full head count for your party. By doing so, we are able to book private campsites away from the mass crowds, offer private chefs, portable bathrooms, a masseuse, extra guides, elevated beds and upgraded tents, along with peace-of-mind knowing that we have secured your permits and can remain unbothered by outside travelers joining your journey.

*Plenty of Other Trekking Options Available*

Don’t get me wrong, the Inca Trail is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but if you aren’t able to plan a year in advance, don’t like camping, or would like a more adventurous route, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from!

Inca Trail Campsites

 

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2) Km 104 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

A personal favorite, this route is certainly the way-to-go if you are seeking a thrill of an entry to the Seventh Wonder of the World, but still prefer the comfort of sleeping in a bed with a roof over your head, opposed to a tent for the evening. From the beginning of the trail, you will begin an immediate ascent as the view of the Urubamba River flowing to Machu Picchu below becomes smaller and smaller. After about 2 hours of steep hiking, the trail planes out for about 1 hour until reaching the ruins of Wiñay Wayna – a station for Inca soldiers to manage who enters the royal Machu Picchu ruins. From there, you will make one final climb before entering the cloud forest region.

Once in the cloud forest, you will experience a cool breeze and a final descent to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) for your first glimpse of the magical Machu Picchu. Separate from the main crowds that enter by bus, the Sun Gate allows travelers to truly soak in the remoteness of this ancient kingdom.

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3) Choquequirao

Choquequirao is a sublime archaeological site in its own right, tucked away in the Apurimac River Valley of the Willkapamba Mountains some 60 miles from Cusco. Translating to ‘Cradle of God’, this lesser-known Inca ruin dates back to the 15th century though it was only re-discovered around 50 years ago; to this day, much of the site still remains unexcavated. Hiking to Choquequirao rewards trekkers with access to a beautifully secluded, ancient Inca city that few others get to experience (the only way to reach it is by hiking from Cachora). You can either embark on a four-day trek to Choquequirao, or opt for a longer hike that incorporates Machu Picchu as well. This nine-day adventure begins with a drive from Cusco to Cachora, then walking to Chiquisca and onward to Choquequirao the following day. After soaking up this mystical ruin, the remaining five days are spent trekking to Aguas Calientes, finishing up at the one and only Machu Picchu.

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4) Salkantay Lodge-to-Lodge Trek

The seven-day Salkantay Trek is a little different to other Machu Picchu hikes as, instead of camping each night, adventurers stopover in boutique mountain lodges along the way, with opportunities for extra activities too. This means that your hard work can be rewarded each evening with a peaceful night’s sleep in comfortable beds, delicious cuisine and even dips in bubbling hot tubs. The trek itself varies each day, starting with an easy/moderate hike to the Salkantay Lodge, a circular route to Lake Humantay on the second day, with the option to enjoy a horseback ride in the afternoon as well. Day three sees you hiking the Salkantay Pass–a challenging trek taking around seven hours, with views of the majestic Salkantay Mountain. Stay at Wayra Lodge before continuing on day four through the cloud forest to Colpa Lodge, then on day five pick from a mix of activity options: visit a coffee plantation, go zip-lining or try a biking adventure, finishing up at Lucma Lodge. You reach Machu Picchu on day seven, where you can soak up the magical citadel on a guided tour before taking the train back to Cusco.

Salkantay Trek

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5) Inca Jungle Trek: For Adrenaline Junkies

Love the sound of the Inca Trail but want to inject a big dose of adrenaline into your experience? Then the Inca Jungle Trek is just the ticket! This four-day hike to Machu Picchu incorporates thrilling activities like mountain biking, white-water rafting and zip-lining, all enjoyed en route to the Lost City of the Incas. From Cusco, adrenaline junkies are driven to the Abra Malaga Pass (at an altitude of 4,316m) where an all down-hill, hair-raising bike ride of 60km awaits, with the option to go white-water rafting in the afternoon. Having stayed overnight in Santa Maria, the second day involves a 15km trek through low-lying jungle towards the hot springs of Cocalmayo, and onwards to Santa Teresa. Day three offers the chance to try some zip-lining, soaring up to 150m above the ground, before carrying on to Aguas Calientes on foot or by train, depending on your energy levels! Afterwards, your fourth and final day is dedicated to exploring Machu Picchu itself, with plenty more exhilarating activities here to also take advantage of.

Abra Malagra

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6) Vilcabamba Trek

For a more rigorous Peruvian hike, strap on your walking boots and make way for the Vilcabamba Trek. This five-day route to Machu Picchu is certainly not for the fainthearted and does require a good level of fitness. Efforts are compensated by remote trails, isolated viewpoints, and little-known archaeological sites that are rarely visited by those in Peru to walk the Inca Trail. Even day one has its physical challenges- trekkers begin from Ollantaytambo in a varied–albeit relatively short–afternoon of hiking. Early ancient sites come at Rosaspata o Vitcos and Ñusta Hispana, before a lengthy uphill climb of five straight hours on day two, reaching 3,915m above sea level at the Asuntina Pass, and fantastic valley views as a result. Adventurers hike through quaint villages and rural pastures on the Vilcabamba Trek, as well as witnessing Yanococha Lake and the Tullu Tacanca Pass, a full 4,500m above sea level. Finally, having conquered four full days of extreme undulations and varied terrain, passing dilapidated ruins and small settlements, ‘journey’s end’ comes on arrival at Aguas Calientes, and a visit to Machu Picchu the following day.

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7) Lares Trek

The Lares Trek is one of the more versatile hiking routes to Machu Picchu, still relatively popular though drawing in far fewer visitors than the Classic Inca Trail. There are in fact several different hiking options that each takes alternative directions. All routes are accompanied by their own memorable highlights, striking views, ruins and remote regions. Importantly though, your end point is always the same: finishing up at the Sacred Valley’s Lost City itself. Depending on exactly which Lares route you choose, this wondrous trail will see you trek for up to six hours per day over a three or four-day itinerary. You get the chance to take a dip in thermal springs, stop at the traditional weaving community of Huacahuasi, reach passes such as Ipsaycocha that sit upwards of 4,400m above sea level, perhaps the scenic sights of Ipsaycocha Lake or elevated views from the Huilquijasa Pass. Along the way, there is a real sense of isolation while savoring the Lares trek, though you do come across more than one traditional settlement which certainly helps keep things interesting, before concluding the adventure at Machu Picchu, of course.

Lares Trek

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8) Ausangate Trek: The Rainbow Mountains

The Lares Trek is one of the more versatile hiking routes to Machu Picchu, still relatively popular though drawing in far fewer visitors than the Classic Inca Trail. There are in fact several different hiking options that each takes alternative directions. All routes are accompanied by their own memorable highlights, striking views, ruins and remote regions. Importantly though, your end point is always the same: finishing up at the Sacred Valley’s Lost City itself. Depending on exactly which Lares route you choose, this wondrous trail will see you trek for up to six hours per day over a three or four-day itinerary. You get the chance to take a dip in thermal springs, stop at the traditional weaving community of Huacahuasi, reach passes such as Ipsaycocha that sit upwards of 4,400m above sea level, perhaps the scenic sights of Ipsaycocha Lake or elevated views from the Huilquijasa Pass. Along the way, there is a real sense of isolation while savoring the Lares trek, though you do come across more than one traditional settlement which certainly helps keep things interesting, before concluding the adventure at Machu Picchu, of course.

Rainbow Mountain Peru

Hopefully now you have a better idea of what to expect when planning a hike to Machu Picchu! The options are far and wide, but there is definitely something for everyone. To begin planning your dream journey, fill out the this form and schedule a free consultation with one of our trip designers. We look forward to meeting you there!

Celebrity Flora

The Celebrity Flora is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruising the galapagos

The Celebrity Flora Galapagos yacht offers a unique, luxurious and ethical way of exploring the wondrous Galapagos Island Archipelago, a boat that allows you to experience the height of onboard comforts while also traveling guilt-free. This extraordinary all-suite vessel has been constructed and designed solely with the Galapagos in mind, aiming to minimize any footprint left by each and every voyage. In addition to the glamorous onboard restaurant and bar, observation deck, library, Jacuzzi and sumptuous balconied-suites, the Celebrity Flora also boasts anchor-less technology to protect the seabed, a solar paneled energy supply, plus ingenious purifiers that turn sea water and even air-conditioning condensation into perfect drinking water.

ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY LUXURY GALAPAGOS YACHT

Cruising the Galapagos Islands is an unforgettable travel experience, one which is made even sweeter by the environmentally conscious technology aboard the Celebrity Flora. From energy-supplying solar panels to reusing waste water, improved fuel economy and a state-of-the-art system that means the vessel never has to drop anchor onto the delicate seabed below–they really have thought of everything! The end result is a stunningly stylish luxury Galapagos yacht that lets you cruise between islands, enjoy on-land excursions and take in all of the Galapagos highlights, safe in the knowledge that your presence here is causing the minimal environmental impact possible.

MODERN DESIGN AND COMFORT IN MIND

There are many reasons to book a cabin on the Celebrity Flora Galapagos. If you’re wowed by cutting-edge technology, the kind of style and decor usually reserved for boutique design hotels and every possible comfort having been carefully considered, then this is the luxury Galapagos boat for you. The interior design of each space is both modern and minimalist: think glossy lightwood, sleek curved sofas and occasional Art Deco touches. The story continues out on deck where shell-shaped daybeds and a glitzy bar area would not be out of place in any five-star beachside resort. The suites are also larger than most and, depending on which category you choose, can include a king-size bed, spa bath, furnished veranda and even a separate lounge area–all styled to the same irresistible standard as the rest of Celebrity Flora, of course.

Galapagos Glamping Experience

Aside from the luxurious amenities and atmosphere of Celebrity Flora, this wonderful cruise ship offers unique experiences for all ages as well. They created the “Galaapgos Glamping experience” and bring it to life on this new-era cruise through the Galapagos. A first for the Galapagos Islands, this ship includes two lavish cabanas (one for sleeping and one for dining) where one can make s’mores underneath the seemingly endless stars of the Galapagos sky. Adults can choose from locally-inspired cocktails and sip South American wines while soaking in the sounds of Galapagueño wildlife and the ocean swiftly moving along the ship. Nature experiences like this combined with unrivaled service make the Celebrity Flora an experience you do not want to miss out on.

Ideal forCouples and anyone seeking a mixture of pure comfort and sustainability.

Celebrity Flora is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruises in the galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

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2019 Per Person USD Rates
8D / 7N From $7,399

Additional rates available along with holiday rates and single supplement; contact us for details. Prices are subject to change at time of booking.

Capacity:
100
Number of Cabins:
50
Facilities:
Lounge bar and restaurant, observation and sundeck with loungers and daybeds, a Jacuzzi and plunge pool, library, spa treatments, Wi-Fi, snorkeling and scuba diving equipment plus Zodiac boats.
Length:
333 ft
Speed:
10-12 knots
All cabins feature:
Panoramic windows and a balcony, en suite bathrooms with rain shower, large deluxe beds, a TV, and some suites also come with separate lounge areas and spa bathtub
Food Serving Style:
All-Inclusive with World-Class Chefs
Dietary Accomodations Served on Board:
n/a
Drinks:
All non-alcoholic drinks included
Single Cabin Supplement:
no
Children Discount:
no
Guide Languages:
English

Celebrity Xpedition

The Celebrity Xpedition is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruising the galapagos

The Galapagos vessel of renowned cruise group Celebrity was always going to be an impressive, luxurious ship, and as such the Celebrity Xpedition boat certainly does not disappoint. Although small compared to the group’s other cruises around the world, the Xpedition is one of the Galapagos’ larger vessels. With capacity for up to 100 guests, multiple drinking and dining haunts, a sundeck with Jacuzzi and even a gym and massage room, there are plenty of distractions when you’re not out exploring the archipelago on exciting excursions in style.

TWICE-DAILY ACTIVITIES IN THE GALAPAGOS

Celebrity Xpedition prides itself on providing fantastic tours of the Galapagos, taking place twice a day and always in the presence of an expert naturalist guide. To ensure that there is something to suit everyone’s tastes and abilities, excursions range from relaxed strolls to more challenging treks, gentle Zodiac rides to enthralling snorkeling experiences. There’s always an opportunity to catch sight (and even get up close to) some of the islands’ most extraordinary wildlife, leaving each and every visitor captivated by this special place. What’s more, naturalist seminars are held daily to keep you informed about the wildlife and changing environment of the Galapagos.

ALL-INCLUSIVE, HASSLE-FREE

For peace of mind, the Celebrity Xpedition offers a convenient all-inclusive policy. This means that meals and drinks can be enjoyed throughout the day and evening at either the Darwin Restaurant, Blue Finch Bar, Discover Lounge or Beagle Grill; even room service is complimentary. All your excursions are included as part of the package, along with necessary equipment, and so are the tips, national park entrance fees and onboard Wi-Fi. This ensures that your Galapagos cruise is hassle-free, leaving you to think about nothing else but the wildlife encounters and luxurious experiences to be had on such a special special trip.

Ideal forCouples, solo travelers and those who want everything included

Celebrity Xpedition is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruises in the galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

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2019 Per Person USD Rates
8D / 7N From $5,299

Additional rates available along with holiday rates and single supplement; contact us for details. Prices are subject to change at time of booking.

Capacity:
100
Number of Cabins:
49
Facilities:
Gym, Wi-Fi, massage room, indoor and outdoor restaurants, lounge, bar, sundeck, hot tub, gift shop, library, internet cafe
Length:
296 ft
Speed:
15 kts
All cabins feature:
En suite bathroom, workstation, Wi-Fi, closet, queen or twin beds, flat-screen TV with DVD player, direct-dial telephone, safe, air conditioning, refrigerator, MP3 docking station, hairdryer, bathrobes and binoculars
Food Serving Style:
All-Inclusive with World-Class Chefs
Dietary Accomodations Served on Board:
n/a
Drinks:
Complimentary beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks, coffee, teas and bottled water
Single Cabin Supplement:
no
Children Discount:
no
Guide Languages:
English

Where to plan travel in South America?

Start Planning Now

Waiting until the last minute to plan a South America journey will certainly put you in a bind due to slim availability for the best lodgings, guides, trekking permits, National Parks, and UNESCO Heritage sites being booked months/years in advance. Allow us to breakdown which destinations, experiences and hotels you should consider booking now in order to get the best specials, excursions, guides, and accommodations!

Top 7 South America Holiday Experiences:

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Best Time to Explore Patagonia

Explore remote Patgonia

Patagonia is located at the southern tip of the continent and is split between Chile and Argentina. Needless to say, it is a huge area of land to cover, making the logistics of traveling rather difficult. We at Latin Excursions are South America travel experts and truly care about your experience with us. When visiting Patagonia, you are traveling to the ends of the earth where weather can at times be extremely cold with high-speed winds.

Therefore, the best views of Torres del Paine, Perito Moreno Glacier, and El Fitz Roy are offered in the Summer months from November – April. Although, if you wait until May or even sooner to begin planning with us, then we may find ourselves out of luck regarding availability at the best lodges. Take note that the high season is during Christmas and New Years Eve, all the way into February.

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Patagonia Planning Process: The One Year Rule

Here is the equation: if you want to visit Patagonia, its best to plan 10 months out or more. You can also plan now for a trip in 2020 Below are a few of our recommended custom-journeys for Argentina, Chile, and Patagonia:

Land of Fire & Ice: Journey to Chilean Patagonia

Combine two of Chile’s most spectacular regions – the stark beauty of the Atacama Desert mixed with the glaciers and imposing peaks of Torres del Paine in Patagonia – into one spectacular trip filled with adventurous excursions and luxurious accommodations to relax in after days of exploring, then you get the Fire & Ice journey to Chilean Patagonia by Latin Excursions.

Atacama and Patagonia Tours

Argentina & Chile’s Patagonia

In a unique fusion of culture and wilderness, this 12-day journey through Argentina and Chile sweeps you off your feet into a world of enchantment and luxury. Travel through Patagonia, an area known to be one of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes on Earth, while also visiting distinctly charming cities full of culture, performing arts, cobblestone streets and artist ateliers.

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New Years Eve & Other Festivals in Rio! No Visa Necessary!

Rio de Janeiro offers a New Year’s party that rivals Carnival in scale and splendor. The fireworks display at Copacabana is the main event, and millions of locals and tourists combined gather on the beach to watch the midnight show and revel until the early hours of the morning. Many Brazilians light candles for the Afro-American goddess of the sea, Yemanja, and place them in the sand, as they make wishes for the coming year. Also, learn more about how the Brazilian Government is now allowing U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan citizens to now visit without a Visa!

A rooftop New Year’s Eve celebration at Fasano Rio is one of the most elegant atmosphere’s you can find in all of Rio for the evening. After appetizers and drinks in the lobby, you will have dinner at Fasano Al Mare then proceed to the rooftop for a champagne toast and midnight kiss to bring in the new year! I mean, just imagine watching fireworks overlooking Copacabana from this poolside balcony…

Rio, Brazil HotelsRio de Janeiro New Year's Eve

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Plan a Family Reunion in a Galapagos Private Villa

When considering an excursion to South America, don’t forget about the Galápagos Islands! For a truly private experience unlike anywhere else in the world, bring your family to Villa Amarilla, a charming seaside villa with the character, comfort and class reminiscent of a European home in Tuscany. An in-home chef, maid and caretaker are included with your stay at Villa Amarilla. Alejandro and Mariana will make you feel at home and share an authentic experience of local specialties. 

Villa Amarilla – Galapagos Private Home from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

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Charter a Yacht in the Galapagos

Do you want to get away with your family for the holidays, but don’t want to stay in a hotel or resort? Then perhaps consider bringing the family aboard the exclusive 9-room motor yacht Grace, which happened to be the private yacht of Princess Grace–but now she can be for the entire family or crew for an 8-day cruise. Due to her smaller size, MV Grace can access certain Galapagos island sites that larger ships cannot! Enjoy fine dining al fresco, a sun deck, jacuzzi, sea kayaks and daily adventures. Go snorkeling with sea lions, linger with Blue-footed Boobies on a sand beach and watch Frigate birds soar overhead. There will be time spent with the Giant Tortoises and iguanas as well as penguins too.

If you decide that chartering the Grace, or any small ship in Galapagos, make sure to contact us at least one year in advance. The boat owners must create a gap in their monthly departures to guarantee the availability for your group. Even if you aren’t chartering a boat in Galapagos, it is wise to book your room far in advance. Unlike many cruises around the world, in the Galapagos there are only small ship vessels, so the best ones fill up quickly especially during the holiday time of year. There are also a plethora to choose from, so it may take time to decide which one is right for you (our trip designers will help find the perfect fit)!

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Belmond Cataratas Hotel, Iguazu Falls Hotel

Iguazu (or Iguassu) Falls is a hot destination for Brazil and Argentina, families from all over the Americas come to see this beaut. Being located in such a confined area for tourism, there are only a few hotels to choose from. Belmond Cataratas Hotel is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a private experience in this region. If you book your Iguazu adventure plenty time in advance, our travel designers will have a much greater chance of reserving the perfect waterfall view room and finding private experiences such as a helicopter flyover featuring panoramic views of Iguazu Falls, led by expert naturalist guides.

Luxury Hotel Iguazu Falls

We also work with the new Awasi Lodge, Awasi Iguazu on the Argentine side of these magnificent waterfalls. They provide opportunities for the locals to share experiences beyond Iguazu, since the region has such an amazing portfolio of tours to offer with its unique environment. Enjoy the video from our Vimeo page!

Awasi Iguazu Experience with Latin Excursions from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

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Visit Punta del Este / Jose Ignacio 

Looking for an exclusive, relaxing beachside vacation in Uruguay? Doesn’t sound bad if you ask me! Unlike Cartagena and Rio, where there are ample festivities for the masses, Punta del Este is highly exclusive, and many of the soirees are invitation-only. It’s a place to see and be seen, popular with the rich and famous from Buenos Aires and Brazil, and frequently compared to the Hamptons of New York.

Stay away from the tireless 24-hour casinos and party scene of La Barra, instead, allow us to set you up at Playa VIK Jose Ignacio, a strikingly contemporary property nearby Playa Mansa. For Christmas or New Years Eve, we can arrange a private transfer to Punta del Este (40 mins drive), for an elegant celebration, champagne toast, and fireworks. Return to Playa VIK that evening and wake up the next morning only to begin the new year by wind-surfing, horseback riding, sailing, surfing, or playing golf.

Celebrities migrate to Punta del Este for Christmas and New Year’s, and lavish private homes and trendy clubs are the places to be on December 31st. Playa VIK is one of Uruguay’s finest properties, so it typically is at capacity sometimes up to a year in advance for holiday dates.

Luxury Hotel Punta del Este

Someone once said, “your journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” We encourage you to take the first step by reviewing our collection of itineraries, hotels, villas, and ships to choose from here at Latin Excursions. Then, give us a call for your free, no obligation, trip assessment and to learn why travel experts like Wendy Perrin, Travel+Leisure and others recommend our services for private Latin America travel.

Travel to Colombia with Latin Excursions

Wendy Perrin WOW List of Trusted Travel Experts for Colombia

Our founder, Eric Sheets, is on Wendy’s WOW List of Trusted Travel Experts for his expertise and connections in Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama. At Latin Excursions, we arrange everything from custom itineraries that highlight Colombia’s different local cultures to family reunions, exotic honeymoons, and even villa vacations.

When you travel to Colombia with us, we treat you to insider-access experiences you won’t find anywhere else. Eric’s Insider Guide to Colombia by Wendy Perrin will provide perspective on hidden gems and touristy areas where you will want to avoid. We hope this Colombia travel guide will help you plan your next trip this wonderful country! See reviews from travelers who booked us through Wendy Perrin previously: Latin Excursions Colombia Reviews

Top 7 Colombia Travel Tips:

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What You Need To Know About Colombia

At Latin Excursions we always like to showcase the very best travel destinations in South America, its famous sites, iconic cities and many natural wonders, as well as some of the countless lesser-known spots and handful of hidden gems too.

On the face of it, Colombia hasn’t exactly been hidden from view for the past few centuries, with prominent pre-Columbian ancient cultures, 16th century Spanish Conquistadores and infamous 1970-90s cartels among its noteworthy residents. Yet the country has not necessarily been a go-to tourist spot over the years, Colombia’s current emergence as the up-and-coming place to visit in Latin America is something we certainly embrace.

Today, your private tour of Colombia with Latin Excursions will be one of picturesque plantations in the country’s western coffee region, the lively cosmopolitan spirit and party atmosphere of Medellin and one of the best-preserved colonial towns in the Americas, Cartagena, found further up the coast.

There are heavenly beaches here, idyllic islands hosting five-star resorts, fantastic scuba-diving, boat tours and the ever-enchanting Tayrona National Park with its wildlife, watersports, eco-lodges and hidden ancient ruins. When it comes to people, you’ll soon discover that Colombia’s turbulent past is truly confined to the history books, as locals will welcome you with open arms, proud to show off their beloved, long-overlooked country.

Explore Our Insider’s Tour of Colombia: Cartagena + Colonial Gem

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Best Times To Visit Colombia

colombia sunset

There are two seasons in Colombia that divide the year, the hot and dry season generally runs from December to January and again between July and August. The wetter seasons are in April and May, October and November.

Colombia sees its biggest tourist numbers between December and March because–across the country as a whole–it tends to rain less during these months

In between these peaks the climate is spring-like, milder and less humid. The climate does then change as you move around the country, with the coffee region tending to be warmer thanks to its surrounding hills, and high-altitude Bogotá being cold at night. In truth, many see this as a year-round destination, simply one that has slightly changeable climate conditions between its varying landscapes and altitudes.

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Visiting With Your Family

The country’s problems may have been immortalized in countless films and television series, though they really are a thing of the past, as 21st-century Colombia is today one of the ultimate South American travel destinations. It’s perfect for anyone seeking an authentic cultural experience–whether in the rural areas or vibrant cities–plus main attractions that are still relatively unaffected by huge groups of tourists.

There are far-flung paradise islands in Colombia such as San Andres, Isla de Providencia and Baru, boutique hotels and slick resorts that honeymooners will simply love and no shortage of outdoor adventure sports too.

That said, although Colombia is perfectly family-friendly, the country’s infrastructure is generally not as polished as their neighbors in Peru. Just ask our friend Clark Kotula and his son about their adventure to Hacienda Bambusa, Colombia’s finest adventure coffee-lodge!

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How To Get There

From the USA, popular direct flight routes include departures from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, New York, Miami, and Orlando almost always into the capital Bogotá and often Medellín or Cartagena as well. When it comes to your personal private tour of Colombia with Latin Excursions, the country is easily explored by road though one or two domestic flights linking the coastal regions with Bogotá is always advisable; the southern Amazonian areas still not being entirely set up and ready for large tourist numbers.

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The Best Way To Explore Colombia

Once here, further flights will be needed if traveling to many of Colombia’s remote island getaways, though no matter where your Colombian itinerary takes you there is a fantastic range of design hotels in the cities, authentic rural retreats in the countryside, boutique properties and eco-lodges to stay in along the way. To see all sides of Colombia a 10-day or two-week trip is advisable, as this will allow the opportunity to explore the country, its cities and more remote areas while also finding time for the beach.

Of course, any journey with Latin Excursions is tailor-made to suit your personal preferences, though unmissable highlights of Colombia include colonial Cartagena, the coffee region, Tayrona National Park and the islands, if possible. Comfortable clothing and sports shoes are suitable for walking tours and swimwear for time on the beach, though it can get cold in Bogotá so we always advise packing at least a couple of warm layers, plus hiking boots if looking to delve into Tayrona or any of the country’s more remote areas.

Colombia city tours

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The Geography of Colombia

The main tourist regions in Colombia begin in the capital Bogotá, a sprawling metropolis of busy streets, bohemian neighborhoods and no shortage of entertaining nightspots. The country’s history can be glimpsed in some of Bogotá’s best museums such as Museo del Oro, as well as the grand Plaza Bolívar with its colonial buildings and monuments. The Cathedral and Botanical Gardens of Bogotá are also well worth a visit if needing to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, though sanctuary can also be found by heading west to Colombia’s famed coffee region.

Here the pace of life could not be more different, as the rolling hills of Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio Provinces are home to authentic villages, small farms and coffee plantations; some of the best in the world. The countryside here is beautiful and makes for some of Colombia’s most picturesque walking trails, while further north lies an altogether more upbeat experience in Medellin, once a haven for Pablo Escobar though today an intoxicating city of street art, commerce and restaurant culture.

Then there’s Cartagena, an absolute must for anyone visiting South America for its preserved colonial architecture. These colorful cobbled streets have not changed in hundreds of years, with their atmospheric alleyways, flower laden balconies and horse-drawn carts showing lucky tourists the town’s main sites.

Off the coast of Cartagena, you also have the Rosario Islands, where boat tours and beach BBQs are the best addition to an afternoon of scuba diving and snorkeling here, while further around Colombia’s northern coast lies Tayrona National Park. Eco-lodges overlooking the bay, day-long treks to long-lost ancient ruins through the forest and deserted stretches of sand, rolling on for mile after glorious mile, characterize this iconic Colombian highlight.

cartagena boat tours

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Scuba Diving In Colombia

Unbeknownst to most people, scuba diving in Cartagena and along Colombia’s Caribbean Coast is some of the best in all of South America. Believe it or not, the coral reefs along this coastline and its nearby islands are still healthy, yet, in danger of becoming dredged for new shipping channels.

When scuba diving with Latin Excursions, you are going with companies who are involved in helping the island communities become involved in coral reef restoration and studies. Depending on where you dive, some of our diving operators provide the option for travelers to donate gear, or pitch in a few extra dollars to allow a local volunteer or two to tag along for the day and practice his/hers diving skills. It’s truly a special experience to dive in Colombia and see the efforts they are putting forward to preserve its marine environment. The people care and make the experience one you will never forget.

Beyond coral reefs, be prepared to see hundreds of tropical fish, moray eels, starfish, underwater architecture (artificial reefs), and ancient shipwrecks. The video below provides an insider’s view on exploring a shipwreck about .5 miles off the shore of Baru Island:

Scuba Diving Cartagena, Colombia – Baru Islands from Latin Excursions on Vimeo.

Someone once said, “your journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” We encourage you to take the first step by reviewing our collection of itineraries, hotels, villas, and ships to choose from here at Latin Excursions. Then, give us a call for your free, no obligation, trip assessment and to learn why travel experts like Wendy Perrin, Travel+Leisure and others recommend our services for private Latin America travel.

Plan a Colombia Honeymoon

Beaches, History and Coffee

A Colombia honeymoon has become one of the most popular destinations for such travel over the past decade for many reasons. The diversity of options for adventure activities abounds from the Caribbean coast to the coffee regions, as well as the cultural and historical cities found throughout this country. It also shares the same time zone as the East coast of the USA, so no need to worry about jet lag!

The value of a Colombia honeymoon begins to add up quickly for a couple. From the moment you are greeted at your arrival airport you will be bathed in the friendliness of the locals that is genuine and perhaps, a bit surprising to some. Combine this with the actual costs of accommodations, dining and activities and you will quickly see why honeymooners are flocking to Colombia from everywhere! While Colombia is a Spanish speaking country, it is not imperative for you to speak the language fluently to travel there. Although, if you know a little Spanish it will go a long way. Having an English speaking guide at times will also ease your tensions.

The final piece of the puzzle when planning your honeymoon in Colombia will come down to time and what you both want to do within that time frame. Some honeymooners simply want to be left alone in a romantic place to unwind after all the stress leading up to wedding day. If you two want to be active that is easily accommodated as well. You could simply visit two destinations in a one week honeymoon. If you plan two weeks you can see the beaches, the cities, the jungle and the mountains without rushing.

We have two Colombia proposals that can fit well for a private honeymoon, all interchangeable to fit your desires! Please find them below to learn more:

Cartagena

Many couples choose Cartagena as a honeymoon getaway destination because the city is very romantic and full of history on the Caribbean coast. We highly recommend escaping the city for a few days to enjoy one of many turquoise-water islands. The old walled city is especially romantic and is known for music, dancing, exotic cocktails and intriguing dining. Set aside at least one day just for a walking tour for a fascinating way to experience the history and culture. There are many wonderful properties, large or small, offering romantic accommodations that will meet or exceed your expectations. One we definitely recommend visiting is Casa de Indias! You can also choose to take day trips to the Rosario Islands if you would like to venture outside the city into the Caribbean without the overnight hotel.

Coffee Country

If you are both coffee lovers, combining a city stay with a couple days in the Coffee Country of Colombia will make for an unforgettable honeymoon experience. Waterfalls, the jungle, snow-capped mountains with hiking trails and of course, visits to coffee farms are on tap if you choose this part of Colombia for all or part of your honeymoon. There are several haciendas like Hacienda Bambusa for accommodations. You can also find some spectacular villas, like Villa Coffee Country, which is part of a coffee farm itself!

Bogota

You will find Bogota in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes mountains at an elevation of 8600′. Even though you are near the equator, because of the altitude, the climate is eternally Spring! This is Colombia’s capital and its’ largest city. As such, it is very cosmopolitan and you will hear English spoken almost as much as Spanish. If you two are cyclists you will revel in the way everyone celebrates biking every Sunday! A visit to the underground Salt Cathedral is also something you won’t see anywhere else. It’s quite possible to include Bogota with Coffee Country and/or Cartagena in the same honeymoon trip too!

Exotic, attractive and easy to get to! What more could you ask for in a honeymoon destination? Spend some time talking with one of our honeymoon travel specialists about the possibilities and what travel interests you both have and you will see why there is all this buzz going on about Colombia these days.

Remote Colombia Experience

When most people hear Colombia, the last thing they think about is cowboys. Well, if you venture far outside of the major cities you will find just that. Consider visiting the Corocora Camp at Los Llanos (the plains) located in the northeast sector of this beautiful country. Here, you will have access to authentic ranch culture and cattle herding, horseback riding, birdwatching and photo safaris, as well as Corocora Camp’s very own conservation projects. So, for something truly different while staying in Colombia, a wildlife experience full of blissful isolation at Corocora Tented Camp is definitely the answer. If you’re a Texas cowboy, then you better come here and see what the remote Colombia cowboys are all about.

Exotic, attractive and easy to get to! What more could you ask for in a honeymoon destination? Spend some time talking with one of our honeymoon travel specialists about the possibilities and what travel interests you both have and you will see why there is all this buzz going on about Colombia these days. Our team can accommodate any and all of your honeymoon needs while removing the time consuming, trip planning stress. All you do is book your flights and pack your bags, we will take care of the rest!

To learn more about our expertise in Colombia, visit Wendy Perrin’s WOW List of Trusted Travel Experts and see why Latin Excursions’ owner Eric Sheets is highly-acclaimed for his knowledge and trust in the area.

Insider’s Tour of Colombia: Cartagena + Colonial Gem

Captivating colonial towns, exotic Caribbean islands and tantalizing cuisine; a luxury cultural tour of Colombia promises to be a feast for all the senses. There’s no end of cultural hotspots to discover across the country, but this sample itinerary focuses on two hubs in northern Colombia so you can really get under the skin of each region. First, spend five nights based in the famous Walled City on the Caribbean Coast, Cartagena, a stunning place that’s awash with brightly colored facades and cobbled streets, where flowers tumble from centuries-old balconies and romance lingers in the air. As well as discovering the city itself, head out on a day trip to the Rosario Islands in the Caribbean Sea and meet fishing communities at La Boquilla, before flying south to the Santander province and using Barichara, a picturesque colonial village, as your base. Here, gentle hikes, coffee tasting, a canyon tour and cookery class await, as well as plenty of downtime in this relaxed corner of culturally-rich Colombia.

Visit our Colombia Page
to learn a bit about Colombia

Itinerary

Day1

Luxury Cartagena Trip

Day1

Arrival in Cartagena; Begin Cultural Colombia Tour

Touchdown in Cartagena where your cultural Colombian tour begins. A private transfer will be waiting to take you to the Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa for check-in, before you set off on a private walking tour of Cartagena’s Old Town in the afternoon.

Kaleidoscopic streets painted in a rainbow of colors await in Cartagena’s carefully preserved Walled City, where colonial buildings stand side-by-side down cobblestone streets, just a stone’s throw from the Caribbean Sea. Listen to your guide as they regale you with stories of pirates, conquistadors and battles over 500 tumultuous years, detailing a complex past that can be witnessed through the Old Town’s fortresses, Inquisition Palace and Gold Museum.

Overnight Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa

Meals None

Day2

colonial market cartagena

Day2

Visit the Bazurto Market

After breakfast this morning, savor the sights, sounds, aromas and flavors of Cartagena’s renowned Bazurto Market; an unmissable experience that few tourists even know about. This hidden gem of a place is buzzing with activity, as market stalls wind their way through a warren of alleys brimming with all manner of wares: from fruit and vegetables to fish and meat, even clothes and artwork. With a private guide by your side, navigate this brilliant bazaar and have your senses aroused by all the bustle of such a traditional, authentic market.

In the afternoon, enjoy time at leisure to either explore more of Cartagena or unwind in your boutique hotel. There’s a host of fine dining restaurants to try out, as well as street food vendors where you can sample local snacks while roaming the city’s beautiful streets.

Overnight Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa

Meals B

Day3

colombia island tours

Day3

Cartagena Island Tours

Having been introduced to beautiful Cartagena, day three of your Colombia culture tour offers something a little different, taking a break from urban delights and immersing you into the splendor of the Caribbean. Step aboard a private motorboat and speed off to the Rosario Archipelago, a cluster of picturesque islands strewn along turquoise Caribbean waters, where swimming, sunbathing and drinking in the exotic scenery is order of the day.

This full-day tour offers the chance to see a few of the Rosario Islands, with a picnic lunch whipped up by your private chef too. Sip cocktails, snack on tropical fruit and finger food–when you’re not snorkeling the coral reef or relaxing on pristine beaches, that is. Later in the afternoon, make the return journey to Cartagena and your city hotel, having relished a slice of the blissful Caribbean.

Overnight Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa

Meals B,L

Day4

Colombia Fishing Tour

Day4

Visit a Fishing Community in La Boquilla

Day four of this fascinating Colombia trip brings more opportunity to see an alternative face of Cartagena, this time at La Boquilla which, although just a short drive from the city center, is a world away from the grand colonial architecture and urban sprawl of town. La Boquilla is an authentic fishing community found amidst the mangroves and swamps east of Cartagena, and you can witness the fishermen’s way of life here by gliding over the waters in a small canoe, even having a go at catching something for yourself! A guide will act as an interpreter between you and the locals, as they explain how to use the fishing line and nets to best capture awaiting shrimp and crawfish. Along the way, learn more about the fishermen’s culture and traditions, which have remained the same for many generations.

After 2-3 hours, hopefully having been lucky enough to make a catch, return to Cartagena and spend the afternoon at leisure.

Overnight Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa

Meals B

Day5

cartagena hotels with pools

Day5

Explore Cartagena

Today is yours to enjoy as you please, so why not make time to enjoy the hotel’s spa and rooftop pool? Take a dip while soaking up the sweeping panoramas of Cartagena’s rooftops, while staff bring you fruit and ice cream to help keep you cool under the hot Colombian sun. Stop for lunch at Charleston Santa Teresa’s restaurant, where an open-air terrace invites you to linger over a delectable meal, or take your pick from one of the many eateries found right on your doorstep.

Overnight Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa

Meals B

Day6

northern colombia tours

Day6

Bucaramanga / Hacienda El Roble / Chicamocha Canyon / Barichara

This morning, a private vehicle transfers you to Cartagena Airport for a short flight to Bucaramanga in the province of Santander, one hour 20 minutes south of the Colombian coast. From Bucaramanga Airport another transfer and private guide will be waiting to collect you, beginning the next chapter of your cultural Colombian tour.

The first stop is made at Hacienda El Roble in Mesa de Los Santos, where you can see (and taste) first-hand why Colombian coffee is so revered around the world. This picturesque estate is home to a coffee plantation, sprawling for 300 hectares and much-loved by local birdlife, so be sure to take a relaxing stroll and drink it all in. Sit down for a typical local lunch, then bid farewell and hot-foot it to your next destination of the day: Chicamocha Canyon. The best way to view this staggering 2,000m-deep gorge is from the air, so float up in a cable car and lap up the sweeping panoramas as you glide over it; spectacular.

Overnight Casa Barichara

Meals B,L

Day7

Colombia Barichara Tours

Day7

Tour of Barichara and Guane

Wake up in your delightful boutique hotel, Casa Barichara, and tuck into breakfast on their terrace while looking out over the beautiful surrounding valley. Fueled up, it’s then time to embark on a hike to the little village of Guane, by taking the 9km-long Camino Real (‘Royal Road’) from Barichara through pretty countryside. The route–which was carved out in the 19th century as part of a wider network connecting villages in Santander–affords views of the surrounding valley, as well as Spanish moss hanging from trees and cacti lining the path. You might pass the odd local farmer or two, before reaching Guane itself after a couple of hours, where time can be spent feasting on lunch and enjoying the somnolent atmosphere all around.

Then, return to Barichara in a tuk-tuk (a typical means of transport here) and explore the village further on a walking tour. Discover the cobblestone streets, wood-beamed houses and monuments dotted across town; Barichara is a beautiful gem of a place in Colombia, with art and a laidback ambience at the heart of everything.

Overnight Casa Barichara

Meals B,L

Day8

cooking classes in colombia

Day8

Cooking Class in Barichara

This morning, treat your senses to a private cookery class at Casa Barichara, as there’s no better way to delve into local culture than with a taste of traditional cuisine. First, explore Barichara’s food market with a guide, observing the conversations and exchanges between traders and customers while also perusing the tempting produce on display. Then, return to the hotel kitchen and pull on an apron, ready to learn the chef’s secret recipes for traditional local dishes, before savoring each creation at the end; a just reward for your efforts!

After lunch, take the rest of the day at leisure to explore Barichara or unwind at your hotel. There’s a tempting pool to cool off in here, as well as hammocks on the terrace that are perfect for lazing with a book, and perhaps a cup of freshly brewed coffee in-hand.

Overnight Casa Barichara

Meals B,L

Day9

colombia colonial towns

Day9

Bucaramanga / Flight Home

Having relished your last few hours in this charming boutique hotel, at the appropriate time bid farewell to Barichara and head to the airport at Bucaramanga via private transfer, for your flight home.

Meals B

NOTE: The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

New Luxury Eco Lodge in Bolivia

“Glamping” Now Available in Bolivia

Glamping seems to be an up and coming trend in the travel industry recently, extraordinary lodges such as Galapagos Safari Camp in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island and Corocora Tented Camp in Colombia are popping up left and right. This is because well-traveled adventurers are beginning to realize the unique experience that each of these properties offer. Most of these ‘glamping’ destinations don’t have wi-fi and encourage their guests to detach from technology and reconnect with nature. They are all strategically placed to benefit the surrounding environment and provide the best views possible. Overall, the goal of these new-age lodging options are to preserve some of Earth’s most precious ecosystems, and Kachi Lodge is fully prepared to do just that.

Kachi Lodge Opening February 2019

We at Latin Excursions are excited to announce that Kachi Lodge, a new addition to the Amazing Escapes Luxury Camping Experience collection, will be opening for business in February 2019 at the mysterious Uyuni Salt Flats. Whether you plan on spending time in La Paz, Bolivia and are craving a quick visit to the world’s largest salt flat, or want to spend a month on a luxury South America adventure tour, we can accommodate your travel needs and get you to this new space age, out of this world lodge in Bolivia.

Tour the Uyuni Salt Flats

Set on the very Salar, Dome camp is somewhat of a Mad Max Adventure. From a distance, the white pods look like a space station designed by extraterrestials. The dome camp also has something of an observatory, or a folly built for a passionate astrophysicist. We will be cruising down south on easy wide dirt roads across never ending plains surrounded by volcanoes. Along the way, you’ll discover the first lagunas and their famous residents, the pink flamingos. On the last part, you’ll spot the giant cactus which can grow up to 10 meters high!

Its extreme geographical variations and culture can all be appreciated as part of a tailor-made luxury-travel journey in Bolivia. Take part in an adventurous journey through one of the wildest and most incredible lands on the planet, the surreal Uyuni Salt Flats. Experience our first-class services at exclusive spots in La Paz & Uyuni. Stay in luxury glamping domes with full camping equipment and private operation in Uyuni Salt Flat region, ending in La Paz, the highest capital on the planet. 

Someone once said, “your journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” We encourage you to take the first step by reviewing our collection of itineraries, hotels, villas, and ships to choose from here at Latin Excursions. Then, give us a call for your free, no obligation, trip assessment and to learn why travel experts like Wendy Perrin, Travel+Leisure and others recommend our services for private Latin America travel.

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Galapagos Cruise – Evolution from Baltra Island

Travel aboard the

Evolution

Refreshingly elegant and well-equipped too, the 32-passenger Galapagos Evolution is a real standout cruise vessel, both for its nostalgic appearance and the quality of itineraries it offers, with this particular route beginning from Baltra Island being no different. The Evolution itself boasts two sundecks, a Jacuzzi, lounge bar and modern interiors in addition to its expert crew and guides; plus, throughout this Galapagos tour you’ll also be treated to some truly iconic sights. From Baltra Island and sunset around the Daphne Major Islet on day one, early Galapagos highlights then come in the form of Vicente Roca Point off Isabela Island and abundant wildlife on Fernandina Island. Both of these are known for their populations of Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, Pelicans and Penguins, then Iguanas and Flightless Cormorants once you reach Fernandina. Panoramic views, snorkeling and plenty of marine life come with voyages between Bartolome, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands, finishing up on the pristine sandy shores of Gardner Bay on Espanola Island; a classic Galapagos itinerary.

Visit our Galapagos page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

baltra-Ithabaca-canal-copy

Day1

BALTRA ISLAND / DAPHNE MAJOR ISLET

Having flown in from either Quito or Guayaquil, touchdown on Baltra Island where your guide is waiting at the airport to assist with any belongings and whisk you off to the dock and awaiting Galapagos Evolution cruise vessel. Once aboard, settle into your cabin and prepare for an early introduction to this Galapagos adventure, as the Evolution makes way for the picturesque islets of Daphne Major and Minor. Among other things, these small islands are well-known for their abundance of native bird species including Galapagos Martins, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Short-eared Owls and Red-billed Tropic Birds.

Day2

Marine iguana with blue footed boobies, booby, Sula nebouxii and Amblyrhynchus cristatus, on Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador, South America

Day2

ISABELA ISLAND / FERNANDINA ISLAND

Snorkeling these crystalline waters is a truly iconic experience, and some of the best in the Galapagos comes at Vicente Roca Point in the Bolivar Channel, Isabela Island. Day two of your Galapagos Evolution cruise begins by traversing the coastline on your way there, on the lookout for nesting seabirds, Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, Pelicans and Penguins, before entering the ancient volcanic coves of Vicente Roca Point itself. Once here you can swim and snorkel admiring the colorful marine life, tropical fish and Sea Lions as you go.

Next, think Iguanas, Iguanas, and more Iguanas–both of the Land and Marine variety–as you moor up at Espinoza Point on Fernandina Island, a relatively recent volcanic outcrop to the Galapagos Archipelago’s far west, for this afternoon’s nature walk. Despite its barren and dramatic appearance, life does exist here, not only the native Iguana population but also Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins and Hawks, with a peppering of sturdy cacti and occasional mangroves too; Galapagos wilderness at its primitive best.

Day3

galapagos-Evolution-Al-Fresco-Dining

Day3

ISABELA ISLAND / URBINA BAY / TAGUS COVE

Visiting Isabela Island is often a highlight of any Galapagos tour, awash with varied species and its fair share of natural wonders, rich biodiversity and distinctive, dramatic scenery. This is characterized by its great craters such as Sierra Negra, Volcan Chico, and the charred shores of Urbina Bay which lie in the shadow of Alcedo Volcano, your first stop of the day. A dramatic stretch of dark sand coastline buffeted by volcanic rock and foliage, Urbina Bay is also heavily populated with Land Iguanas and, at certain times of the year, Giant Galapagos Tortoises, which all makes for quite a sight.

From here, head to one of the most atmospheric and iconic Galapagos spots: Tagus Cove, a former pirate hangout which was visited by Charles Darwin, though for very different reasons. Today, Tagus Cove is a great location to hike and snorkel, thanks to an abundance of Flightless Cormorants, Penguins, Finches and Yellow Warblers above ground; Sea Turtles and innumerable tropical fish below it.

Day4

Galapagos Islands. Ecuador. Bartolome Island.

Day4

BARTOLOME ISLAND / SANTIAGO ISLAND / SULLIVAN BAY

Start today at Bartolome Island, navigating wooden walkways to ascend to one of the best lookout points in the Galapagos. From this angle you get a 360-degree panoramic view of the wider archipelago, offering a visual perspective on how these islands were originally formed–particularly Santiago Island, Sullivan Bay and Pinnacle Rock.

This afternoon, the Evolution ventures north to Santiago Island and anchors in Sullivan Bay, an extraordinary place sheltering unusual wildlife and a distinctive Galapagos icon: Pinnacle Rock. Spend the afternoon exploring jet-black lava fields in search of kaleidoscopic Locusts and Lava Lizards, mollugo and cacti plants, before jumping aboard the pangas for a boat safari through waters where Penguins, Eagle Rays and Sea Turtles are commonly sighted. Finally, return to the Galapagos Evolution vessel for another evening under the stars.

Day5

galapagos-evolution-hot-tub

Day5

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND / RABIDA ISLAND

Having enjoyed another memorable evening aboard the Galapagos Evolution, first up on day five is Santa Cruz Island and Las Bachas, a pair of impeccable beaches with white coral sands found to the north of the island. In this paradise-like backdrop, all manner of creatures thrive, from Blue-footed Boobies patrolling the shore to Pink Flamingos, Great Blue Herons and White-cheeked Pintails wading the waters of a nearby lagoon.

The afternoon takes you to Rabida Island, awash as it is with flaming red sands populated by Blue-footed Boobies, Sea Lions and Starfish. Take a short walk inland to spot more Pink Flamingos gracing the shores of a yellow lagoon and Brown Pelicans nesting, as well as panoramas of the surrounding crimson cliffs. Afterwards, paddle around Rabida’s eastern peninsula by kayak, seeking Sea Turtles, Striped Salemas, Galapagos Sharks and Yellowtail Surgeon Fish.

Day6

darwins-finch-latin-excursions

Day6

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND / CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH CENTRE

Your final full day on this versatile Galapagos itinerary begins, quite rightly, with a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center at Puerto Ayora. Here, exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs, allowing you to witness the legacy of Charles Darwin first-hand.

Learn more about these gentle creatures in the Wild Tortoise Reserve up in the highlands of Santa Cruz, a place of dense, green forests awash with moss and lichen. Then, after a nature hike through subterranean lava tunnels and a Scalesia forest frequented by Darwin’s Finches, spend the rest of the day at leisure. As one of the most diverse of all the Galapagos Islands there are many highlights of Santa Cruz to explore, so take stroll along the paradise-like Tortuga Bay, or maybe a bicycle tour in Puerto Ayora, if you’re feeling active.

Day7

espanola

Day7

Espanola Island

Your voyage on the Galapagos Evolution continues in fine fashion today, courtesy of the many nature and wildlife highlights that await you on Espanola Island, beginning at Punta Suarez. Look out for Sea Lions frolicking in the water, Marine Iguanas gripping the rocks, and intriguing bird species such as Masked and Nazca Boobies, Lava Herons, Waved Albatrosses and Swallow-tailed Gulls. The vast array of birdlife here gives Espanola a reputation for extraordinary biodiversity.

This afternoon, the Espanola experience continues at Gardner Bay, a pristine stretch of ivory-white beach. Armed with a snorkel or kayak, swim or paddle through the bay’s blue waters to see tropical fish like Yellow-tailed Surgeon and King Angelfish; larger marine life such as White-tipped Reef Sharks, Turtles and Sea Lions are also known to inhabit the bay. This is one of the most enchanting days of Galapagos wildlife encounters during your Galapagos cruise tour.

Day8

day01-Magnificent-Frigatebird-latin-excursions

Day8

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND / FLIGHT HOME

Your last day in the Galapagos with Evolution involves a visit to San Cristobal Island and the informative Interpretation Center nearby. Then, a hike up Cerro Tijeretas, or ‘Frigate Bird Hill’; a popular nesting site for both the Great and Magnificent species of Frigate.

Afterwards, it’s farewell to the Galapagos as your guides escort you to the airport and assist with any luggage, in plenty of time for your onward flight.

NOTE: The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

Galapagos Evolution

Evolution is one of our preferred luxury yachts for Galapagos cruises

discover all of our galapagos journeys

Both elegant and beautifully adorned, the 32-guest Galapagos Evolution Yacht fuses a nostalgic appearance similar to turn of the century steamboats with a modern, 21st century interior. From the outside, Galapagos Evolution is instantly recognizable with its tall sail masts, vintage-style wooden balconies and dramatic narrowing hull, while within, the cabin décor is decidedly contemporary, lounge areas are comfortable and an outdoor sundeck with Jacuzzi will surely keep you coming back for more. All of this, plus plenty of onboard excursion equipment, kayaks, dinghies and guides, help the Evolution stand out among the more unique luxury Galapagos cruise vessels.

Exclusive Galapagos Experience

With space for just 32 passengers, Evolution is certainly a boutique Galapagos yacht, a fact which enhances your experience of the archipelago no end. It means that there is a crew member for every two passengers, plus guides, so the service is always personal and excursions are intimate–there are no big group outings here! Then, between your Galapagos wildlife walks and snorkeling adventures, you also have plenty of space to unwind, either taking in the view from either of two sundecks, that irresistible Jacuzzi or the lounge bar; making for a gentler pace of life onboard the Galapagos Evolution Yacht.

Family-friendly Galapagos Boat

With slightly larger than average cabins available, comfortably fitting up to three or four people, the Galapagos Evolution is a good family-friendly option if travelling with the kids. Little ones will also love the games console room and tailored menu, plus certain excursions can be geared up towards sharing them with children, such as the two-person kayaks, child-friendly guides, special stargazing lessons and Explorers Kids Club too. What’s more, if traveling as a large or extended group, the entire Galapagos Evolution can be chartered privately, for something extra special.

Ideal forcouples and families

Evolution is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruising in the galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

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2019 Per Person USD Rates Master Suite: A1 Suites: A2 & A3 Premium Saterooms: C1-C3 & C5-C9 Premium Stateroom: C4 Deluxe Staterooms: D1-D4 CHARTER - All Cabins (Max 32 guests)
8D / 7N Sat $7,950 $7,550 $6,600 $6,200 $6,200 $203,000

Prices are subject to change at time of booking.

Single Supplement: 75% for suites, 50% for all other cabins. 100% Single Supplement applies in all cabins and no discounts for children in Christmas and New Year's cruises.
Child Rates: 15% discount off regular cruise rates for children 15 years old and younger. Maximum of 3 children discounts per family, per booking (no exceptions)
An additional $500-$700 per person holiday surcharge applies for FIT (individual passengers) for Christmas and New Years cruises. Private charter surcharges apply for Christmas and New Years cruises. Please inquire for details.

Category:
Luxury
Capacity:
12
Number of Cabins:
6
Facilities:
Panoramic Sky Lounge and Bar, Dining Room, Sun Decks for Al Fresco Dining, Secluded Sun Deck with Jacuzzi
Length:
159 ft
Speed:
10 knots
All cabins feature:
Own private bathroom with bathtub, air condition, hair dryers, usb charger
Food Serving Style:
Al fresco dining
Dietary Accomodations Served on Board:
Vegetarian, Vegan
Drinks:
Water, Coffee, Tea, Natural Juices; not included alcoholic and bottled beverages
Single Cabin Supplement:
yes
Children Discount:
yes
Guide Languages:
Spanish, English - with supplement - German, French & Italian

Itineraries

Corocora Camp

Corocora Camp one of our preferred hotels when traveling in Colombia

discover all of our colombia journeys

Situated in the surrounding plains of Colombia’s lush Orinoco River basin, Corocora Camp in Llanos Orientales offers a rare glimpse into the country’s cowboy culture and traditions, plus so much more during your stay. This is as exclusive and remote as it gets, with just four deluxe tents available, no Wi-Fi or mod-cons and very little phone coverage, though there is a great restaurant and bar, serviced by a friendly team of staff and guides. Instead, you have access to authentic ranch culture and cattle herding, horseback riding, birdwatching and photo safaris, as well as Corocora Camp’s very own conservation projects. So, for something truly different while staying in Colombia, a wildlife experience to remember and sense of blissful isolation while here, booking your stay at Corocora Tented Camp is the answer.

Real-life ranch in Colombia

Corocora is the real deal when it comes to experiencing authentic cowboy life in Colombia, with the chance to spend time with local llaneros (cowboys of the Orientales Region), learn the tricks of cattle herding, lassoing and of course, the all-important ranch BBQ! The history and traditions of this rural Colombian culture extends not only to the exciting cowboy pursuits themselves, but also a love of the land and wildlife within it, as can be seen while riding out into the countryside on one of Corocora’s well-trained and much-loved horses.

Exclusive wildlife experience

The available sleeping tents at Corocora Camp, plus a social tent full of books, sofas and games, feel every bit the safari wildlife lodge, with their simple though comfortable décor, vintage-style travel chests and hammocks outside; ideal for enjoying each picturesque sunset. When it comes to the surrounding wildlife then, whether being enjoyed on a nature trail, birdwatching walk or horse ride, there’s plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself into the action. Vast marshlands and Orinoco River estuaries here hide everything from White-tailed Deer to Jaguars, Monkeys, Pumas, Anacondas and even Pink River Dolphins! With numerous bird species, owls and herons to spot too, the daily sunrise walks, afternoon wildlife tours and nocturnal discoveries of Corocora Tented Camp are simply a must for nature-lovers visiting Colombia.

Ideal for Couples seeking a remote wildlife experience in Colombia, authentic cowboy culture and plenty of excursions, as well as a truly exclusive and authentic, rustic accommodation.

Corocora Camp is one of our preferred hotels when traveling in colombia

discover all of our colombia journeys

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highlights

  • Authentic cowboy lifestyle
  • Abundant wildlife excursions and birdwatching walks
  • Exclusive tented accommodation
  • Sunset on your own private veranda, relaxing in a hammock

rooms

  • Sleeping Tent: The four exclusive sleeping tents at Corocora Camp are spacious and comfortable, pleasantly furnished with safari-inspired travel chests and comfortable deck chairs, king-size beds and hammocks outside. Each is also equipped with an en suite bathroom and shower, binoculars and lamps, completing the ‘outback’ feel of these appealing private spaces.

services

  • Restaurant + bar
  • Communal social tent with sofas, board games, yoga mats and Bose speakers
  • Outdoor relaxation areas with hammocks
  • Lawn games including badminton and croquet
  • Extensive list of excursions, wildlife safaris, birdwatching walks and photo tours
  • Al fresco patio/observation deck and firepits
  • Satellite radio communications available

Galapagos Cruise – Evolution from San Cristobal Island

Travel aboard the

Evolution

Refreshingly elegant and well-equipped too, the 32-passenger Galapagos Evolution is a real standout cruise vessel, both for its nostalgic appearance and the quality of itineraries it offers, with this particular route beginning from San Cristobal Island being no different. The Evolution itself boasts two sundecks, a Jacuzzi, lounge bar and modern interiors in addition to its expert crew and guides; plus, throughout this Galapagos tour you’ll also be treated to some truly iconic sights. Beginning at Isla Lobos, an early taste of Galapagos wildlife comes with this small island’s large Sea Lion population, though Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies are also popular here. Time will be spent exploring the dramatic rocky outcrops of South Plazas Island and Carrion Point, both known for their local birdlife such as Red-billed Tropicbirds and Swallow-tailed Gulls, as well as some fantastic snorkeling opportunities. With James Bay, lesser-visited Genovesa Island, wildlife-rich North Seymour, Santa Fe, Floreana and Santa Cruz Islands also featuring–each with their own species, viewpoints, beaches and volcanoes to admire–this is a truly versatile Galapagos itinerary offered by the Evolution.

Visit our Galapagos page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

street in san cristobal galapagos islands ecuador

Day1

ARRIVE SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND / ISLA LOBOS

Following a two-hour flight from Quito, land on San Cristobal Island. This is a fitting place to begin your Galapagos luxury cruise with the Evolution, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin who stepped ashore here on his infamous voyage to the archipelago in 1835.

The ever-elegant Galapagos Evolution sets sail, traveling north of San Cristobal to reach a tiny islet, Isla Lobos, named after its raucous residents: Sea Lions, who are as playful as they are loud! Snorkel around these friendly creatures, before encountering more native species on a hike along milky-white sands and meandering walking trails on-land, searching for endemic Galapagos shorebirds like Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies. After your exploration of Lobos Island, settle into your luxe cabin back onboard and enjoy your first evening with the Evolution crew.

Day2

Beautiful landscape of Galapagos South Plaza island

Day2

SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND / PUNTA CARRION / MOSQUERA ISLET

Day two of your Galapagos Evolution cruise begins by sailing to South Plazas, a rocky, volcanic island that is instantly recognizable thanks to the abundance of scarlet-hued sesuvium plants, and a healthy population of cacti. Local birdlife such as Red-billed Tropicbirds and Swallow-tailed Gulls can also be seen nesting on the cliffs as you approach, while Land Iguanas are easily admired during a fun wildlife walk, having anchored just offshore.

Next up is Punta Carrion, a place of tranquil blue waters hosting all manner of marine life including Sharks and Rays, making it an ideal place to swim and snorkel. Today is rounded off in truly iconic fashion at the soft sands of Mosquera Islet. This enchanting stretch of beach, peppered with occasional volcanic rocks, is best known for its families of Sea Lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs, as can be seen while wandering the bay or snorkeling around its shoreline.

Day3

Closeup of Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis). Vulnerable and endemic specie living in the Galapagos islands. Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Day3

SANTIAGO ISLAND / JAMES BAY

Another day, another island, as you explore the highlights of Santiago with its mix of history, wildlife and natural formations. First, enjoy a visit to so-called ‘Chinese Hat’ for a chance to see Galapagos Penguins and Sea Lions, which you can swim and snorkel with or admire the marine life: Octopus, Moray Eels and Galapagos Sharks among them.

More of Santiago Island’s delights come this afternoon on the black beaches of James Bay. From these black sandy shores you’ll hike along a gentle trail joined by Galapagos Hawks, Lava Lizards, Finches and Oystercatchers, though this is also one of the best Galapagos spots to witness Seal and Marine Iguanas in their favored habitat too. A relaxing afternoon here can also include more swimming and snorkeling if you wish, before heading back to the Evolution.

Day4

Red-footed booby on Genovesa island, Galapagos National Park, Ec

Day4

GENOVESA ISLAND / DARWIN BAY / PRINCE PHILIP’S STEPS

Lesser-visited Genovesa Island is as dramatic and intriguing as any island in the Galapagos archipelago, a place of steep cliffs sheltering volcanic craters and home to countless nesting seabirds. It all makes for quite a sight, and one of the more memorable experiences due to the entirely untamed look of the landscape here. Of the many unusual native bird species that can be found on Genovesa, they include Puffball–chicks, Yellow–crowned and Lava Herons and Red-footed Boobies, so boat rides around the coast and intrepid nature walks on-land are always in order, during an entire day exploring the island.

In the afternoon, climb the famous Prince Philip’s Steps. So-called after the British monarch’s visit here in the 1960’s, the path leads up to an open plateau that provides fantastic views of Darwin Bay, which itself can then be enjoyed as Sea Lions lounge on these chalk-white shores. Finally, return to the Evolution for an evening at leisure up on deck.

Day5

santa-fe

Day5

NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND / SANTA FE ISLAND

Having enjoyed another memorable evening aboard the Galapagos Evolution, first up on day five is North Seymour Island, where you can hike through a forest of Palo Santo trees–a favorite nesting place for Blue-footed Boobies–and follow coastal trails that provide a privileged view of Brown Pelicans, Frigate Birds and Yellow Land Iguanas. Then, swim with an astonishing array of marine life, such as Rays, White-tipped Reef Sharks and King Angelfish.

This afternoon, visit Santa Fe Island, a sandy haven of iconic coastline, turquoise seas and lounging Sea Lions. Having anchored nearby and disembarked, there’s plenty of walking trails and wildlife observation spots to enjoy here. Every walking route here is a joy, so be sure to make the most of them, as well as spending time on the beach, kayaking, snorkeling or simply admiring the views.

Day6

punta-cormorant-floreana-flamingos

Day6

FLOREANA ISLAND / CORMORANT POINT

Today’s Galapagos adventures begin at Post Office Bay, once a pirate’s hangout and home to an 18th century whalers post office, where you can still pop a postcard in the rum barrel box and it will find its way home to this day! Next, the Floreana Highlands and Asilo de la Paz or ‘Peace Haven’, a scenic spot surrounded by Scalesia Trees and Giant Galapagos Tortoises, Frigate Birds and an endemic snail population.

After lunch comes Cormorant Point on Floreana Island, south of Santa Cruz. There are two contrasting beaches here: Papakolea which appears green in color due to its composition of volcanic olivine crystals, and Flour Beach, so-called for its powdery white sands. Keep an eye out for the Flamingos, Pintails, Stilts and other wading birds here, before snorkeling at the foot of Devil’s Crown and Champion Islet, swimming with reef fish, Giant Mantas and Dolphins.

Day7

Galapagos giant tortoise on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos Natio

Day7

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND / CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH CENTRE

Your final full day on this versatile Galapagos itinerary begins, quite rightly, with a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center at Puerto Ayora. Here, exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs, allowing you to witness the legacy of Charles Darwin first-hand.

Learn more about these gentle creatures in the Wild Tortoise Reserve up in the highlands of Santa Cruz, a place of dense, green forests awash with moss and lichen. Then, after a nature hike through subterranean lava tunnels and a Scalesia forest frequented by Darwin’s Finches, spend the rest of the day at leisure. As one of the most diverse of all the Galapagos Islands there are many highlights of Santa Cruz to explore, so take a stroll along the paradise-like Tortuga Bay, or maybe a bicycle tour in Puerto Ayora, if you’re feeling active.

Day8

Green sea turtle swimming underwater

Day8

BLACK TURTLE COVER / FLIGHT HOME

Your last day in the Galapagos brings one final opportunity to marvel at fascinating flora and fauna, this time at Black Turtle Cove, found on the northern shores of Santa Cruz Island. A tangle of dense mangroves, this cove unfolds for nearly a mile inland and is a stomping ground for Sea Turtles, Rays, Brown Pelicans and Herons, which can be spotted from your panga.

Afterwards, it’s farewell to the Galapagos as your guides escort you to the airport and assist with any luggage, in plenty of time for your onward flight.

NOTE: The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

Galapagos Magic Camp

galapagos magic camp is one of our preferred hotels when traveling in galapagos

discover all of our Galapagos journeys

Stay at the family-friendly Magic Galapagos Tented Camp for some of the best Santa Cruz Highlands’ views, authentic eco-lodge accommodation and easy access to the archipelago’s many wildlife excursions. Dotted around the grassy plains of a private reserve on Santa Cruz Island, and home to a healthy population of Giant Galapagos Tortoises who happily roam the grounds, this laidback retreat is just what you need for a real slice of both excitement and adventure. You’ll find a charming restaurant onsite serving local favorites–surrounded by wooden beams and soft lighting, fully functioning bathrooms connected to each tent, Wi-Fi, an infinity pool, and the ‘Lava Lounge’, where cocktails are savored amidst the petrified remains of ancient lava caves; a true Galapagos experience in itself.

AN AUTHENTIC ECO-EXPERIENCE

For an all-encompassing Galapagos wildlife tour, the Magic Tented Camp is hard to beat. It’s keen environmental ethos, unbeatable watchtower views of the national park, educational guides and excursions, abundance of species such as the resident Tortoises found onsite, and the accommodation itself all serve its purpose to reconnect you right back with nature. Nights here are spent under a canopy of stars or huddled around the fireplace, before waking up each morning surrounded by the pristine Santa Cruz Highlands, native birdlife and ever-popular Galapagos Tortoises simply roaming free. There is truly nowhere like it in the world!

EXCLUSIVE GALAPAGOS ACCOMMODATION

With only nine comfortable tents available, some raised on stilts and others a fully-fledged treehouse, plus a three-bedroom suite for families, the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp is about as intimate as it gets. This works in harmony with the camp’s all-natural setting, as with so few fellow guests the evenings are calm and cozy, excursions feel personal and you know the wildlife is not being disturbed. For each tent, an en suite bathroom (in most), furnished terrace and comfortable bed add a touch of luxury, though generally the earthier approach here is all part of the appeal.

Ideal forFamilies, couples, and small groups.

Galapagos Magic Camp is one of our preferred hotels when traveling in Galapagos

discover all of our galapagos journeys

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highlights

  • Onsite wildlife including Galapagos Tortoises
  • Easy access to the national park and Pacific Ocean
  • Exclusive accommodation, an inviting infinity pool and cozy restaurant
  • Excellent onsite guides and excursions

rooms

  • Luxury Safari Tents: En suite bathroom for most tents (some with private bathroom but shared shower facilities); roll-up canvas windows; furnished terrace; seating area; double or twin beds and a natural décor scheme of canvases and locally produced ornaments. (six raised tents, four unique elevated treehouses).
  • Family Suite: Finished to the same standard as the Luxury Safari Tent, though much larger with multiple bedrooms; a playroom; and expansive terrace.

services

  • Infinity Pool
  • Sundeck and Loungers
  • Observation tower
  • Onsite farm and birding area/li>
  • Kids club
  • Bar + restaurant/li>
  • Communal fireplace and lounge
  • Wi-Fi

Private Alternatives to the Inca Trail With Latin Excursions

We at Latin Excursions love Peru, adore the Inca Trail and know all too well that visiting Machu Picchu is one of the most rewarding travel experiences in the world. So, imagine avoiding the crowds and enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime tour on a remote trail in the company of a private guide–keep reading to find out how!

The classic Inca Trail is a truly iconic, unforgettable adventure that leaves its mark on everybody lucky enough to do it; four days of scenic hiking through the mountains, which culminates at the Lost City. However, alternative routes to Machu Picchu do exist, are just as spectacular and, importantly, get you nicely off the beaten track, meaning an even more intimate and exclusive experience away from the sometimes busy campsites of the main trail. Because we live and breathe this part of the world, we know all of the different Inca Trail options. The Ancascocha Trek is our favorite because it can be done privately, making it even more of a meaningful bucket list experience than any other in the region.

Being so remote, Latin Excursions is one of the few companies who offer private Ancascocha Treks for just your party; great news for anyone seeking a private Inca Trail of their own. In fact, National Geographic have placed the Ancascocha Trek in their top 25 list of Best Hikes in the World. Thanks to the ever-changing landscapes, rural Andean settlements and ancient ruins you encounter along the way, it is a well deserved accolade.

Setting off from Cusco, the trailhead proper begins at Soqma, a traditional Peruvian village, aiming for the blissfully isolated Chancachuco Valley. Day one of the Ancascocha Trail leads you past the Perolniyoq waterfall and little-visited Inca ruins of Corimarca, through thick forest and out onto open, scenic plains during several hours of picturesque hiking. At the end of the day  you have a well-earned camp and warming meal at Qeuñacancha to look forward to, a great spot to admire the views and reflect on your first day of exploration.

Day two of this spectacular hike has you walking for a good 6 or 7 hours.  Your effort will be richly rewarded with more Inca ruins along the way. Plus, find stunning views of Mounts Huayanay and Salkantay, as well as several mountain passes to enjoy. Undoubtedly though, a real highlight of the trail comes when you reach that evening’s camp at Ancascocha Lagoon, a high-altitude lake of deep blue waters and still more of those unforgettable Andean vistas.

Day three of your Ancascocha trek, we swap aerial views and steep climbs for remote settlements and river gorges, during a day of descents along gentler, tree-lined trails. As native foliage leads the way, this penultimate day of the hike takes you past Veronica Peak, across the Sillque River and further into the Urubamba Valley, getting ever-closer to Machu Picchu itself, though you will still not see a fellow tourist in sight!

Day four starts early with a short hike to Chillca to catch the jaw-dropping train ride to km104 where you will disembark to hike a section of the classic Inca Trail seeing more preserved ruins and finishing at the Sun Gate for your first view of Machu Picchu from afar. You then hike down to the Lost City of the Inca itself. Followed by a bus ride to Aqua Calientes and well deserved night in a hotel.

Day five you return to Machu Picchu for a full immersive experience spent exploring the warren-like passages, rooms, lookouts and temples. A private tour of this wonder of the world is the only way to do it. There will be plenty of time for discoveries before returning to Aguas Calientes by bus and onward to Cusco.

Adventure Travel FAQ – While this trekking experience is not for everyone, fit hikers will find it a challenging and rewarding experience. A majority of the hiking is done above 10,000 feet, reaching as high as 15,419 feet. The total length of walking is 36 miles, or roughly 8 miles a day.

How much do you carry while trekking? The trek includes pack animals to carry tents, food and cooking equipment and personal gear up to a maximum of 9kg per person (including sleeping pad and sleeping bag). On day 4, we  include a porter to carry guest’s personal belongings directly to your hotel in Aguas Calientes. So for the most part you carry just your box lunch and personal items in a day pack.

What is the food like? Your trek chefs have been trained by several institutes in Lima, Cusco and also by chefs coming from the NY Culinary Institute. They have learned the HACCP method and their operation ensures maximum hygiene. Above all, be prepared to have a superb culinary experience during the trek, including generous and delicious breakfasts, snacks, lunches, tea services and dinners that can be adapted to your very specific requests. Menus include a variety of Peruvian and international food and also cater for vegetarian, vegan and special dietary requests.

What are the accommodations like? During the camping nights, we include personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field. Hotel nights will be from a choice of our recommended lodgings in Aquas Calientes and Cusco.

From its secluded camp sites to the timeless views, beautiful mountain scenery and no shortage of ancient ruins throughout, Ancascocha, the alternative Inca Trail, really is one of adventure travel’s best kept secrets, to be enjoyed by the hearty few like yourself.

How to Plan the Perfect Galapagos Island Honeymoon

Your Galapagos Honeymoon

Start your life together as a couple on a very special honeymoon experience in the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of South America’s Ecuador. Do only the things the two of you enjoy when you break free from the cookie-cutter honeymoon plan and create a custom, romantic vacation. It’s no secret that the top destination for honeymoons in South America is the Galapagos Islands. Your first step is to decide whether you want to explore from land-based accommodations or from aboard an intimate small ship. We’ve been helping travelers plan Galapagos honeymoons honeymooners for over a decade. Here are our top 5 Galapagos honeymoon experiences.

Two Land Based Galapagos Honeymoons

Chances are you are both a bit adventurous if you are considering the Galapagos for your honeymoon destination!

Why not consider glamping and fall asleep to the sounds of nature? The Galapagos Safari Camp Hotel is a one-of-a-kind accommodation to be sure. Here, you will find an African-style tent camp on the island of Santa Cruz, comprised of just nine eco-luxury tents, infinity pool and a panoramic lodge. This is a 5-star, luxury honeymoon experience like no other. Spend your days mountain biking, kayaking, trekking and boat excursions to other islands full of discovery! The farm-to-table cuisine from their own farm will top off an each memorable day.

The oceanfront Finch Bay Eco Hotel offers a somewhat more traditional style of accommodation with guest rooms and ocean view suites. Recognized as one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, the hotel offers a myriad of activities including SCUBA certified diving excursions. There are no cars on this side of the island, so bicycling is carefree. Not only is this honeymoon hotel seriously committed to sustainability, you’ll find Galapagos inspired menus prepared by a Cordon Bleu Chef. Have dinner by candlelight on the beach or maybe in a cavernous lava tunnel! Each day, choose from naturalist guided tours, snorkeling, surfing, day-trips to nearby islands and much more.

Two Perfect Honeymoon Small Ship Cruises

Want to feel like royalty on your honeymoon? The 9-room motor yacht Grace, was once the private yacht of Princess Grace–but now she can be yours! Take an 8-day honeymoon cruise aboard this magnificent classic yacht. Due to her smaller size, MV Grace can access certain Galapagos island sites that larger ships cannot! Enjoy fine dining al fresco, a sun deck, jacuzzi, sea kayaks and daily adventures. Go snorkeling with sea lions, linger with Blue-footed Boobies on a sand beach and watch Frigate birds soar overhead. There will be time spent with the Giant Tortoises and iguanas as well as penguins too!

If your interests in cruising lean more towards modern than traditional, we invite you to consider the Origin, one of the newest small ships to enter the Galapagos cruising fleet. With only ten spacious staterooms, you’ll feel like the ship is all yours! With two naturalist guides on board, prepare to see all the flora, fauna and wildlife you’ve heard so much about. Amenities aboard include: fitness center, massage, jacuzzi, library, wet bar and more! Onboard equipment includes kayaks, snorkel gear, wetsuits and stand-up paddle boards. The cuisine is world-class. An eight-day honeymoon cruise aboard this special ship will provide memories that last a lifetime.

Ecuador – Galapagos Combination Honeymoon

Combine pioneer adventuring with romantic luxury and artisanal character on a 12-day overland honeymoon tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos. Hacienda Zuleta, named one of “Top Ten Finds” in the world by Outside Magazine, treats guests to a mountainous sanctuary high in the Ecuadorian Andes. Ride horses through Zuleta’s scenic 4,000 acres, hike or mountain bike to the Caranqui archaeological sites on the property, and dine on traditional Ecuadorian cuisine prepared fresh from the garden and creamery. Following this Andean cultural retreat, jet set over to the Galapagos Islands for an eco-luxury cruise or land adventure!

Did you find the sort of Galapagos honeymoon plan here that you are seeking? We recommend you give us a call, 866-626-3750, where we can talk about all the possibilities for yours. Perhaps you want to combine a cruise with some time on land? Or, spend more time in Ecuador? The choice is yours and our travel consultants are here to help you decide about the details!

The Atacama Desert Experience

The Atacama is not for everybody. But for adventurous travelers it is a must-do, bucket list destination. How can that be? Read on to learn more about Chile’s Atacama Desert which stretches from a high plateau of the Andes all the way down to the Pacific Ocean!

Calama

Most visits to The Atacama Desert begin at Calama by flying into the airport here, most likely, from Santiago. Set just above 7,400 feet, this city of 150,000+ residents is known as the gateway to the Atacama region. It is one of the driest cities in the world. Calama sprang to life as an oasis along the Loa River during the time of the Incas. Since then, it has thrived as the largest open-pit copper mine in the world.

San Pedro de Atacama

This small, desert town of 5,000 people is a good place to base your explorations of the region. It is unique, in that the local people are carrying on just like they have for thousands of years and you get a chance to witness it first-hand. Believe it or not, you will find one of the top 10 spas of Latin America near here, at Alto Atacama Hotel! The accommodations we work with in the Atacama region provide unexpected, unique luxury and offer tours, excursions and daily treks to the featured attractions found in the region.

Hard or Soft Adventure?

The best part about the Atacama Desert experience is the fact that it’s a great destination for all adventure travelers; not just for the hardcore climbers and adrenaline junkies. For those of you who thrive on the extreme, you’ll find activities like sand boarding, mountain biking and out-of-this-world hiking!  For the rest of us, who just like to get “out there” visiting the far-flung reaches of our planet, you will find tamer, yet no less adventurous experiences, such as hot air balloon rides, spotting flamingos, gazing at high altitude geysers or just enjoying the stars in some of the darkest skies found in the world.

Stay and Play

How much time you spend here is up to you. There are enough attractions and activities to make a complete vacation of 5-10 days. At a rough glance, we count a dozen things we would like to see and do that all take the better part of a day to experience, allowing for leisurely lunches, meandering through the villages and haggling for indigenous arts and crafts. On our Chile travel page we have created a 10-day pre-designed private tour and a sample 10-day custom-designed private tour to help you learn about the possibilities. When you choose a custom-designed private tour of the Atacama Desert, we start with a blank piece of paper. It gets filled in with only the kinds of experiences you want and none that you don’t!

Combine Atacama with Other Destinations

To get to the Atacama Desert is a long journey for anyone; so it makes sense to combine a visit there with another destination(s) as well. By far, the most popular combination we design for many travelers is Atacama and the Torres del Paine region of Patagonia. Allow at least ten days for this sort of itinerary. In Patagonia, you can experience a boat excursion, endless hiking opportunities, horseback riding and much more. You might also consider a side trip of a few days to Valparaiso on the Pacific coast. Or, hop on a plane to Buenos Aires in Argentina to include some Southern Hemisphere cosmopolitan time. We also combine journeys to either the beach or wine country of Uruguay with Atacama visits. If time permits, you could even do it all!

Top South America Honeymoon Destinations

The reward for a well planned wedding ceremony and reception is the honeymoon! It’s when you get to wave goodbye to everyone who celebrated the event with you. South America is a preferred choice for honeymooners. This is happening for a variety of reasons; not the least of which is the couples desire to get started with a new combined travel bucket list! What we like about planning South America honeymoon travel for clients are the wide variety of choices we can present. Some newlyweds want physical activities while others are looking for more passive pursuits. Some honeymooners want to stay in one place while others want to combine a few destinations. Here are the top 5 South America honeymoon destinations our clients have had us plan for them the past few years to help you get your own planning underway.

Galapagos Islands

Visiting the Galapagos is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! So, why not make it how you start your life together? It’s a little tough to get to but that is one of the reasons it is so rewarding a destination. With good planning it can be a magical journey and it is the #1 honeymoon destination we book!

A land-based Galapagos honeymoon can be ideal. The centrally located island of Santa Cruz is the best choice. It is the hub for many activities including sandy beaches and the approachable wildlife. There are few places in the world where beaches come alive with nature as happens here. With our decades of experience in the archipelago, we have developed a great relationship with three wonderful places to stay on the island. One of the most unique lodging experiences we have found in the world is the Safari Camp Hotel. If you are looking for more of a traditional luxury property, the Pikaia Lodge will provide a very enjoyable honeymoon base. If waterfront accommodations are what you are looking for, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel will fill that need and much more! Each one of these properties has a plethora of activities, tours and boats to help you explore.

If a cruise around the Galapagos islands is more to your liking, we personally know the small ships that cater well to honeymooners. MV Origin is a newly launched ship that accommodates just 10 passengers on two different 8-day itineraries. The classic MV Grace was once the personal yacht of  Princess Grace of Monaco. It underwent extensive refurbishment recently and accommodates 18 guests in 9 cabins for 8-day cruises. Both of these small ships offer a luxurious and intimate experience.

Brazil

If you dream of tropical beaches off the beaten path, the Bahia region of Brazil can’t be beat. Our top pick is the authentic UXUA experience in the UNESCO preserved beach town of Trancoso. It features one-of-a-kind accommodations, spa and fine dining. If we could only pick one beach destination for our honeymoon it would be this! We also have some very unique villas here if you are looking for the ultimate private beach honeymoon!

But you could also split your time between the peaceful quiet of UXUA and the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro as well. Create a custom journey that includes both of these destinations for a full dose of relaxation and culture. Go one step further and combine Trancoso ,with Iguazu falls – Florianopolis, and Rio for an ideal Brazil itinerary between nature, relaxation, and intensely colorful culture.

Want to see and do even more? Its important to tell your travel planner what you both like to do on vacation. That way, the itinerary can be created exactly with those experiences!

Colombia 

Do you both like history and coffee? A honeymoon that includes Cartagena and Colombia’s coffee country will fill that bill and so much more! Start or end in Cartagena. It was an important port for Spain in the 1500’s. In 1984, Cartagena’s colonial walled city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mix of Spanish and Caribbean influences is romantically intoxicating! What’s more, you won’t have a long flight from the USA and the time zone will be familiar which means no jet lag!  There are many choices for accommodations in the city but we choose Casa San Agustin Hotel for its location in the old city and the services provided there. It was recently named the #1 hotel in Columbia by TripAdvisor too. It’s a small boutique hotel but has the services of a much larger luxury property with inhouse spa and dining. You can choose as much or as little structure to your Cartagena visit, including english speaking, private walking tours and activities like sailing, cooking lessons or art workshops.

After the city, its time to visit coffee country which we fly you to. We have chosen the Hacienda Bambusa for your  accommodations and unique farm to table experience. After a tour of the coffee plantation you will find many diverse types of experiences to enjoy like ziplining, hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, birding and more.

If you want more Colombia on this trip, we can whisk you off to Bogota, high up in the Andes mountains too. Or, maybe you want to save that for a return trip in the future? Either way, your honeymoon trip to Colombia or any of our destinations will include airport meet and greets, transfers from the airports to the hotels and really, anything you can think of that will make your travel that much more special to you.

Uruguay

If you are seeking pampas, wine and style, few places can offer such an amazing mix as Uruguay. This is a destination best visited in our winter season. Don’t stay in Punta del Este, unless nightlife is the principle reason for your visit. The good restaurants, shops, marina and golf course are easily reached from the other nearby beach spots should the need arise. The airport that is the gateway to the Uruguay coast is here.

Instead, we suggest the smaller and more romantic, Jose Ignacio, up the road a bit. There you can stay at Playa or Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio. The Viks are ideal for travelers and our favorites would be Playa or Bahia for honeymooners. Hotel features a spa and wide variety of activities like riding horses and wine tasting. That’s just the start. you will never want to leave!

The village of Garzon is a short drive from the fashionable beach village of Jose Ignacio, yet the village itself is set in rolling hills and Tuscan like countryside and it is away from the the party scene. Its here that South America’s best-known chef, Francis Mallmann, has chosen to locate his latest restaurant venture as part of a charming 5 bedroom country hotel which has been wildly praised from all corners. It is also home to one of Uruguays top wineries which is a must visit.

Chile

If your heart pounds for the outdoors, designing a trip with the Atacama desert will be a true bucket-list highlight for a honeymoon.

This region is known for some of the most dramatic scenery in the entire world. The Atacama air is the driest on the planet, which gives it a perfect transparency. Experiences such as floating effortlessly on the lagoons will be a life-long memory. A famous one is called “ojos de salar” which appears almost out of nowhere in the flat of a barren desert plain.

Experience a geothermal field located in the Andes Mountain range. The fumaroles of  these geysers, the highest on the planet, are produced by the high temperatures of their water. We will begin our excursion very early to arrive by dawn at the heights of the Andes that allows to observe great steam fumaroles and burning mud craters, originating from the deep depths of the Earth.

Other expeditions can be Desert dunes horseback riding through the big valley of Quebrada de Kari and arrive by surprise to the Moon Valley. We then return to San Pedro by a big open plain in front of the Andes Mountains and by the main oasis of San Pedro to conclude this adventure of a lifetime.

Endowed with one of the clearest skies in the world, Atacama offers a spectacular view of the stars. The high altitude and dryness create a privileged setting to see the constellations, stars, planets and galaxies in this dark sky location.

Spend 3 or 4 days at Awasi Atacama located just outside of San Pedro near a pre-Inca fortress. Enjoy daily shared excursions as well as use of the spa, jacuzzi, sauna, pool, and sun deck, bicycles and transportation between the lodge and nearby village.

We suggest combining a visit to the Atacama of Chile with either Patagonias’ Torres del Paine or the Iguazu waterfall region that separates Brazil and Argentina. These three destinations in combination will satiate even the most adventurous couple!

Your Travel Guide To The Galapagos Islands

A trip to the Galapagos Islands is undoubtedly one of those experiences that will leave a lasting impression on your psyche. Famed for its variety of endemic wildlife as well as its impressive landscapes that range from volcanoes to stunning beaches, the Galapagos Islands are a must visit destination for lovers of the natural world. Here are the top 10 Galapagos Islands Travel Tips you need to know before you go.

Top 10 Galapagos Islands Travel Tips:

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What You Need To Know About The Galapagos Islands

The enchanting beauty of the Galapagos Islands makes it a destination many are eager to cross off their bucket lists, and it’s interesting geological past combined with lush, verdant scenery make it both an educational and recreational experience for travelers.

Part of the Republic of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands form the Galapagos Province of Ecuador as well as the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The archipelago is comprised of 19 islands that are located approximately 1,000 km away from the Ecuadorian coast in the Pacific Ocean, and are volcanic in origin.

Explore Our Galapagos Islands Trip Options

To this day the islands feature a grand total of 13 volcanoes with eruptions occurring every couple of years. The landscape of the Galapagos has been formed in part by these eruptions, creating beautiful black sand beaches and other fascinating geological landmarks.

Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of the Galapagos Islands is its variety of native wildlife species. Because the Galapagos were formed by volcanic activity, the islands were never connected to a landmass, which means that all wildlife arrived to the islands either by air or sea.

For this reason, there are very few natural predators on the island and most animals are more than comfortable with up close and personal human interaction. Some of the native species you’ll enjoy seeing on the islands include the Galapagos Tortoise (which has an average lifespan of more than 150 years), the marine iguana, penguins, sea lions, and a number of bird species including the highly unique flightless cormorant.

Observing the native wildlife is perhaps one of the most exciting things about a trip to the Galapagos, and should no doubt be incorporated into your experience.

One important thing to note is that in order to preserve the natural ecology of the island, many of its areas are protected and require the accompaniment of a licensed guide. Another thing to note is that there are few ATMs on the island, and although many stores and boutique’s do accept credit cards, it’s advised to take out as much cash as you can in advance.

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Best Times To Visit The Galapagos

Conditions in the Galapagos are ideal year-round for visitation, and temperatures generally range from 69°- 84°F. Despite the fact the islands are located close to the equator, the climate in the Galapagos is not tropical. The year is typically split into two seasons: the warm season, which ranges from January to June, and the dry season, which stretches from July to December.

During the warm season expect a unique mixture of warmth, sunshine, and some afternoon rain showers. Because the ocean temperatures are also warmer during this time, it is great for swimming and snorkeling. Average temperatures during the warm season range from 80°F to 90°F, and this is an excellent time of year to observe birds mating and to see sea turtles nest on the beaches.

The dry season is marked by cooler temperatures on both land and in water, as well as cloudier skies. The cooler weather provides the perfect breeding ground for plankton and other nutrients, making it the ideal time to observe sea birds and penguins feeding. The dry season is also the mating time for the Blue-Footed Boobies and short-eared owls.

The humpback whale is one of the Galapagos Island’s few migratory species, and they typically arrive in the surrounding ocean between the months of June to September. If tiny baby seals are what you’re after, arrive in August when they are born, or wait until November to watch them learn how to swim. For sea turtle lovers, arrive earlier on in the year to watch the mothers lay their eggs on the beach, or arrive two months later when they hatch to watch them crawl out to sea.

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Visiting With Your Family

What better way to awaken your children to the magic of the animal kingdom and the beauty of the natural world than a trip to the Galapagos Islands? The Galapagos Islands make for an excellent family vacation because of the never-ending list of things to see and do and the variety of guided and educational tours.

The Galapagos Islands are a fantasy for many children, and being able to safely approach and interact with the wildlife makes it an experience they are not soon to forget. When booking your trip, bear in mind that there are excursions that cater specifically to families with children to make your experience more enjoyable.

For example, the “Best of Galapagos & Ecuador for Families” trip offered by Latin Excursions offers 15 days of uninterrupted fun, starting off with the “Galapagos Safari Day Adventure” complete with arts and crafts activities for the kids. The “Embark Galapagos Cruise” portion of the trip starts the next day and retraces Charles Darwin’s 8-day cruise to the western islands. If your kids are beach lovers, not to worry – there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the pristine waters of the Galapagos while getting up close and personal with sea turtles, small rays, and sea lions.

Other fun activities for kids include kayaking, which gives children a way to safely explore the water while catching glimpses of wildlife beneath the ocean surface. The Charles Darwin Research Center is another great option for kids as it features an exhibition hall, native gardens, a public library, as well as staff members that are well versed on the variety of wildlife on the islands. The center has worked on conservation, restoration, and sustainable development on the archipelago for decades.

Galapagos Islands Travel Tips

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How To Get There

Commercial flights are the only way to get to the Galapagos Islands, and all visitors must fly to Ecuador first before arriving. Contrary to popular belief, there is no boat or cruise that takes visitors from the mainland to the islands.

The only flights available are from Quito or Guayaquil, both of which offer morning flights to the islands. Flights from Guayaquil are approximately two hours long, and are only half an hour from Quito.

An overnight stay in either city is recommended since flights leave in the morning. However, both Quito and Guayaquil are destinations in their own right, and offer plenty of sightseeing options and should you wish to stay longer.

Learn more about Flights to the Galapagos Islands.

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The Best Way To Explore The Galapagos

Cruises are an excellent way to experience the Galapagos Islands as they provide you with a greater amount of time to explore without the hassle of having to travel to and from your hotel by boat each day.

On cruises, you can sit back, relax, and wake up each morning in a new exciting destination without needing to map out a plan.

The Galapagos National Park has restricted the number of passengers on each boat to 100 as to not overload the beaches. Luckily, Latin Excursions’ selection of small ships offer a more intimate and personalized experience for those traveling to the Galapagos.

When selecting your package, you can choose from variety of luxury yachts including the brand new Ocean Spray megayacht catamaran, which offers space for 16 guests in cabins that are spacious, and equipped with their own private balconies.

Larger expedition cruises, such as the National Geographic Islander, are only allowed to reach the maximum of 100 guests per ship, so while not as intimate as the smaller ships, they are still less crowded than more traditional cruises. The benefits of larger capacity boats are the number of onboard amenities, which can include medical facilities and guest lectures.

Discover the Top 10 Beaches in the Galapagos.

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Lodging Options on Land

If you want to book lodging on land and explore the islands from your hotel, there are plenty of options for you to do just that.

Located on the remote island of Santa Cruz and across the bay from Puerto Ayora, the Finch Bay Eco hotel offers guests a luxurious stay that is close to nature. This award winning eco-friendly hotel provides beachfront access as well as plenty of day trips to nearby islands by yacht with experienced guides.

The hotel is located on the carless side of the island, so guests can get around comfortably on bicycle. Activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, bird watching, sea kayaking, bay tours, and much more are available at this hotel.

Another excellent on-land option is the Galapagos Safari Camp Hotel, which is a great choice for families with children. This hotel is also located on Santa Cruz island and offers incredible sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from its many balconies. Inspired by African safaris, the Galapagos Safari Camp Hotel is surrounded by nature and gives guests the feel of being completely in tune with nature.

Guests can choose to stay in either the unique “luxury safari tents,” which are raised on wooden platforms and offer ocean views, or if traveling with a large party they can book the family safari suite which offers three bedrooms and is located next to the main lodge.

The hotel offers excursions to wildlife reserves and volcanoes as well as opportunities to dive and hike.

Another lodging option is the Pikaia Lodge Hotel, also located on the island of Santa Cruz. The unique highlight of this hotel is that it features its very own 105-foot exploration yacht, offering guests the chance to explore surrounding islands that are less frequented by tourists. Guests can take a dive off of the yacht deck, relax in the hot tub, on the sundeck, or even take a fishing class from one of the trained local fishermen.

Additional features and amenities at the hotel include a private giant tortoise reserve on the premises, an infinity edge pool, spa, and art and photography exhibit.

Lastly, The Villa Amarilla on Santa Cruz is a great option for those who want an intimate seaside experience. Offering “old world” charm, the Villa Amarilla was built to resemble a Tuscan style villa, and offers five large bedrooms, each with an ocean front terrace. Amenities at the hotel include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and an outdoor BBQ among others.

Families can take daily excursions from the hotel including snorkeling, diving, kayaking, hiking, and more.

Scuba Diving in the Galapagos Islands

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Scuba Diving In The Galapagos

Because the Galapagos Islands are located at the intersection of three different ocean currents, the varying temperatures mix to create a nutrient rich water that attracts a variety of species unlike anywhere else on earth.

Scuba diving provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to experience the wealth of wildlife beneath the ocean surface and come into contact with some truly fascinating species.

A few animals divers can expect to see include marine iguanas, fur seals, penguins, and sea lions, depending on where they dive.

Another wonderful benefit of the diving in the Galapagos is the high visibility, making it one of the most sought after diving locations in the world.

Some islands are more well-known than others for their dives, and “El Arco” at Darwin Island definitely tops the list. This spot is home to massive schools of hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, turtles, whale sharks, and manta rays.

Other great dives on Darwin Island include “El Arenal,” at Darwin’s Arch, which features an abundance of marine life including big-eye jacks, more hammerhead sharks, and blacktip sharks.

Roca Redonda, located off the north coast of Isabela Island is another favorite for divers in the Galapagos. Divers can look forward to seeing Galapagos sharks, barracudas, sea lions, and even sea horses at this site.

Be aware that all divers must be certified in open water scuba diving before they attempt to dive, and some recommend an Advanced Open Water Diver certificate in order to dive in the Galapagos.

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Experiencing Wildlife

The wildlife on the Galapagos Islands is perhaps one of its best known attributes, and it continues to draw large numbers of tourists year after year. Because the islands are so remote, the number of endemic species on each individual island is unlike anywhere else on earth.

Many of the native species on the islands are either reptiles or birds due to the ease with which they were able to arrive to the islands, but be on the lookout for a few mammal species as well, including sea lions and the Galapagos fur seal.

The Galapagos Tortoise is one of the most iconic animals on the islands, and the islands themselves were actually named after the reptile, as the word “Galapagos” is taken from the old Spanish word for tortoise.

The Galapagos Tortoise is the world’s largest tortoise species and can reach an impressive 500 pounds. The largest diversity of Galapagos Tortoise subspecies can be found on Isabella Island, which is also home to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where visitors can get a close view of tortoises at various stages of life.

The marine iguana is another iconic species living on the Galapagos that visitors have come to know and love. It is the only species of iguana that is not based on land, and it adapted after many years on the island to be able to swim in the ocean in search of food. Visitors won’t have to go far to find a marine iguana as they inhabit every one of the Galapagos Islands.

More wildlife of interest includes Darwin’s Finches, also known as the Galapagos Finches, which are comprised of 13 species of finches native to the islands. The finches are widely known to have contributed to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution because of the unique features they developed due to their environmental conditions.

Be on the lookout for The Galapagos Penguin, the Blue Footed Booby, the Galapagos Green Turtle, as well as many other species on your Galapagos adventure. Keep in mind that the Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and as such are highly protected. There are certain limitations required of visitors, including not being allowed to pick flowers or remove rocks, not feeding the animals, not handling or touching the animals, not taking any food to the islands, and other regulations. You can find a full list of park rules here.

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Galapagos Points of Interest

There are so many things to do on the Galapagos Islands that its best to have a rough outline of where you want to go and what you want to do before you head there. While the number of things to do is truly endless, there are a few places and experiences you’re definitely going to want to check off your list before you leave.

Tortuga Bay, located on Santa Cruz Island is a popular point of interest due to its beautiful white sand beaches as well as being a great spot for snorkeling. Here you’ll find calm, warm waters for swimming, as well as a variety of small sharks, iguanas, and other animals swimming in the clear waters. Visitors can either take the roughly one-hour walk to this beach from the main water taxi dock in town, or take a water taxi from Puerto Ayora, which costs $10.50 each way.

If you want to take a walk among the Galapagos Tortoises, the El Chato reserve is the perfect place to do it. Also located on Santa Cruz island, this reserves provides plenty of acreage for the iconic tortoise to roam freely. Admission to the reserve costs $3.000 and includes a guided tour, as well as access to the property’s lava tunnels. Feel free to approach the tortoises and be sure to take plenty of photographs.

Los Tuneles are another great point of interest for visitors, and most especially for those who want to scuba dive. This location is known as one of the best for diving, and provides crystal clear water to explore amidst a series of arcs and tunnels that were created from cooled lava. Snorkelers and divers alike can weave in and out of the tunnels and spot turtles, sea horses, and a number of sharks.

The best time to visit the tunnels are between the months of January and May when the waves are not as strong.

Read More: Top 5 Reasons to go to the Galapagos Islands

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Side Trips To Ecuador and Peru

This final Galapagos Islands travel tip helps you get the most out of your journey. If you have time either before or after your Galapagos experience to explore further, Peru and Ecuador are easy side trips to make. Because all flights must pass through either Quito or Guayaquil before entering the Galapagos Islands, a trip to Ecuador is a highly convenient one to tack on.

If you want to explore Ecuador’s capital, Quito before you take off for the Galapagos, popular sites in this colonial city include the “Ciudad Mitad del Mundo,” which is located 26 km north of Quito, officially marking the exact location of the equator, the Pichincha Volcano, and the Basilica del Voto Nacional, which is the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas. The historical center of Quito is a destination in its own right, and has been named one of the largest, least-altered, and and best preserved in the Americas.

Guayaquil meanwhile, is Ecuador’s largest and most populous city and offers an equally interesting mix of activities. While there, be sure to visit the famous “Malecon 2000,” a boardwalk that parallels the Rio Guayas, with food stands and a variety of historical and modern buildings along the way. Take a stroll through the historic Las Penas neighborhood while admiring the brightly colored houses, or stop by the Parque Historico to round out your stay.

A side trip to Peru, while a little further off track, is another way to make the most of your time in South America. The ruins of Machu Picchu are one of its most iconic landmarks, and are worthy of an extended visitation if time permits. If you’re looking to take a shorter trip, the capital and coastal city of Lima is filled with an eclectic mix of museums, historical landmarks, and of course, delicious Peruvian food.

Start Your Galapagos Islands Journey Here

Machu Picchu and the Amazon: Explorer’s Dream Destination

With its contrasting landscapes, varied ecosystems and fascinating cultural highlights, an adventure tour to Peru is filled with excitement at every turn. From Machu Picchu to the Amazon, Cusco to the Sacred Valley, this active vacation is perfect for anyone seeking the best adventure experiences in Peru. Arrive in Lima and, if time allows, opt for a guided tour to get to know this cosmopolitan city a little better. Then, continue to the Sacred Valley for outdoor activities like horseback riding, kayaking and hiking, before heading on to Machu Picchu–one of the Seven Wonders of the World and top travel destination in South America. After taking a couple of days to really get to know this iconic citadel, travel on to Cusco, where impressive architecture is met with vibrant culture. From here, fly north to Iquitos for an Amazon River Cruise, or fly south to Puerto Maldonado and enter the Tambopata National Reserve, for a couple of days immersing into one of two Peruvian biodiverse rainforests, enjoying wildlife safaris and canopy walks in the company of passionate, naturalist guides. Incorporating action, culture and wildlife, this Peruvian adventure tour takes you to the highlights of the country while including as many activities as possible, with wonderful Inkaterra hotels in the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the Amazon.

Visit our Peru Page
to learn a bit about Peru

Itinerary

Day1

Catedral Metropolitana

Day1

ARRIVE LIMA

Welcome to Peru for your Machu Picchu and the Amazon adventure!

Upon arrival, you will be greeted by an English-speaking Latin Excursions representative who will assist you to your nearby hotel located across from the main Lima airport terminal. Mostly every flight from the United States arrives in Lima late at night, and returns to the U.S. on a red-eye route. If you happen to choose a flight that arrives early in the day, we can arrange tours and experiences for that day to make the most out of your time in Lima.

Overnight Wyndham Lima Airport Hotel or Similar

Meals None

Day2

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Day2

LIMA / SACRED VALLEY

After breakfast, your Lima representative will greet you in the lobby with your boarding pass to help you check in for your flight to Cusco. Here, you are met by a private guide and driver, setting off to the Sacred Valley. Along the way to your hotel, stop at the Awanacancha Textile and Camelid Center. Meet the Llamas and Alpacas, while also witnessing local women at work, dexterously weaving the wool into elaborate textiles, which you can purchase from the souvenir store.

To finish this enchanting day, enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal at the authentic Hacienda Huayoccari, a working farm which serves up traditional dishes using whichever seasonal ingredients are grown onsite. The surrounding Sacred Valley views here are simply stunning, tempting you to head out and explore it all on horseback with the hacienda’s guides, but there is so much more to discover on this journey so make sure to save your energy. After lunch, your private guide and driver will take you to your hotel to relax for the evening.

Overnight Sol y Luna or Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba

Meals B,L

Day3

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Day3

SACRED VALLEY

Begin day three of your Machu Picchu and Amazon Tour with a relaxing and scenic kayaking session on Piuray Lagoon, a beautifully tranquil spot surrounded by grass covered plains, native forest and undulating mountains. Your paddle can be taken at a leisurely pace, making the most of your surrounds before a picnic by the lake shore. Afterwards, return to your hotel for the evening to enjoy the tranquility of the Sacred Valley, dine at the delicious restaurants located on-site, or partake in their offered on-site excursions.

Overnight Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba

Meals B,L

Day4

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Day4

OLLANTAYTAMBO / MACHU PICCHU

Today, prepare for the iconic Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu, which is even more jaw-dropping in reality than you could ever imagine. A private transfer whisks you off to the train station in Ollantaytambo, where you board the First Class Train by Inca Rail. If you would like to hike to Machu Picchu from Km104 of the railroad, please let your trip designer know and we’ll incorporate it into this itinerary. This journey isn’t your usual train ride, but an immersive experience with dancers, food and spectacular views of the shifting Sacred Valley scenery outside.

Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, your guide greets you and together make the onward bus journey up from town. Before exploring Machu Picchu properly, take lunch at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge to enjoy first class food with unbeatable views of the ruins. Then, it’s time to uncover the iconic delights of Machu Picchu, an ancient wonder of the world and top highlight of South America, with a private guided tour. Afterwards, your private guide will lead you to the train station to board your train back to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival, your private driver will be waiting for you and your guide outside the train station for a ride back to Cusco where you will spend the next two evenings.

Overnight El Mercado, Libertador Palacio del Inka, or Similar

Meals B,L,D

Day5

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Day5

CUSCO CITY TOUR / CHOCOMUSEO & MUSIC WORKSHOP

The charming town of Cusco is a highlight of any essential Peru tour, perched up in the Andes, surrounded by rippling peaks and ruins. Cusco is ancient, dating back 3,000 years, and you can learn all about this magnetic city on a guided walking tour. Begin at the archaeological site of Sacsayhuamán, a vast complex that stands guard over the city. Next, the Cusco’s warren of cobblestone alleys and vibrant markets, the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Assumption on Plaza de Armas and Church of Santo Domingo, home to the original ‘Temple of the Sun’, Qoricancha; the most sacred site of the Inca.

This afternoon, it’s a slight change of pace with a fun-filled chocolate making workshop at the nearby ChocoMuseo before a delicious lunch opposite the central Cathedral in Plazas de Armas, and later, visiting a musical workshop.

Overnight El Mercado, Libertador Palacio del Inka, or Similar

Meals B,L

Days6

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Day6

CUSCO / PERUVIAN AMAZON – TAMBOPATA NATIONAL RESERVE or Iquitos Amazon Cruise

Savor your final breakfast in Cusco before the next stage of your Peru adventure vacation begins, with a private transfer to the airport, and flight to Iquitos for an Amazon River Cruise or Puerto Maldonado to stay at a luxurious jungle retreat. Upon arrival in Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado, you will be greeted by guides and taken to your jungle ecolodge or boat.

Although you are surrounded by the lush greenery of the Tambopata National Reserve, there are still luxuries to be enjoyed at this sublime Amazon ecolodge. Make the most of a jungle spa, generous buffet meals at the rustic chic restaurant, and beautifully designed cabanas bedecked in local wood and crisp white drapes. Don’t hesitate to explore the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve, with 4.5 miles of walking trails. If you decide to go to Iquitos, your options for jungle cruises are the Aria, Delfin I, Delfin II, or Delfin III.

Overnight Aria, Delfin I, II, or II | Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion, or Tambopata Research Center

Meals B,L,D

Day7-9

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Day8-10

PERUVIAN AMAZON – Amazon River Cruise or Explore Tambopata National Reserve

Whether you choose an Amazon Boat Cruise from Iquitos or a Jungle Retreat in Tambopata National Reserve, guided excursions are all included and help you delve deeper into the rainforest. Every day you will have opportunities to kayak, SUP, or hike to spot species such as Giant River Otter, pink dolphins (on the Amazon cruise only!) Red Howler Monkeys, Macaws and Yellow-spotted Sideneck Turtles. No matter what excursions you choose, prepare to fully immerse into the Peruvian Amazon in style.

Deciding what portion of the Amazon to visit in Peru can be a difficult one, but don’t stress, that’w why we are here. Your trip designer will listen to your travel desires and will custom-tailor this private Peru Journey just for you.

Overnight Overnight Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

Meals B,L,D

Day10

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Day9

PUERTO MALDONADO / LIMA / DEPARTURE

Tuck into a delicious jungle-inspired breakfast this morning before returning to the Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos airport for your domestic return flight to Lima. Depending on the time of your domestic arrival in Lima and your return flight home that day, either relax at the airport before your connecting flight or we can arrange a private transfer and guide for a Lima city tour and final sunset dinner before you depart picturesque Peru.

Meals B

The Ancascocha Trek and Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

You may not have heard of it, but the Ancascocha Trek is a fantastic alternative to the Inca Trail, ranked as one of the top 25 hikes in the world by National Geographic. Latin Excursions is one of the few operators who can take you on the Ancascocha Trek, venturing along the path less visited to reach Machu Picchu. The journey–which feels much more private and exclusive than the Inca Trail–is just as important as the final destination on this Peruvian trek, meandering through verdant valleys and High Andean mountains, encountering rural settlements and ancient ruins along the way. Hike over the course of four days, covering around 36 miles of jaw-dropping Sacred Valley scenery, accompanied all the while by enthusiastic guides who are on-hand to show you the hidden wonders of this lesser-known trek to Machu Picchu.

Visit our Peru Page
to learn a bit about Peru

Itinerary

Day1

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Day1

CUSCO / QEUNAQOCHA

Day one of the Ancascocha Trek starts with several interesting sites being passed on the journey between Cusco, passing the village of Tomacaya to the Hustacancha region, where the trail begins. An early morning departure is the best way to ensure a scenic sunrise along the way, travelling through remote settlements and rolling hills, until reaching the remarkably well-preserved Inca ruins of Tarawasi.

Having then followed the banks of the Apurimac River, arrive in Hustacancha (10,098ft above sea level), before braving your first steps along the Ancascocha Trail itself, with roughly 7.5 miles of trekking ahead. For the initial three hours, take a gradual ascent through native forest and into more open plains, stalking the Lechería River, past Perolniyoq Waterfall and little-visited Inca ruins. Stop for lunch at Yawar Maqi, before continuing the steady climb towards a well-earned camp and warming meal at Qeunaqocha (14,054ft above sea level), surrounded by dramatic landscapes.

Meals L, D

Overnight Qeunaqocha Campsite

Day2

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Day2

QEUNAQOCHA / LAGUNA ANCASCOCHA

Today is a challenging yet rewarding day, with around 7.5 miles of uphill hiking to conquer, though plenty of picturesque mountain views to keep you company throughout. Expect between six and seven hours of trekking, beginning with a three-hour climb towards Accojasa Pass (15,419ft above sea level), the highest point on your Ancascocha Trek. From this vantage point, enjoy panoramic views of Huayanay and the surrounding mountainscape, before an undulating, isolated section of the trail.

Continue on to the Huayanay Pass (15,147ft above sea level) for further spectacular views of the imposing Mount Salkantay, one of the Ancascocha Trek’s many photo-worthy moments, to be admired as you then descend further into the valley, its trickling streams, waterfalls and grassy plains. Finally, a real highlight of this trail comes upon reaching camp at Laguna Ancascocha (13,776ft above sea level); a foreboding high-altitude lake of deep blue waters.

Overnight Overnight Laguna Ancascocha Campsite

Meals B,L,D

Day3

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Day3

LAGUNA ANCASCOCHA / CAMICANCHA / CHILLCA

Day three of the Ancascocha Trek is the longest, with 8.5 scenic miles to cover. However, it’s mostly downhill and passes ancient agricultural plains, so aerial views and steep climbs are exchanged for remote settlements, river gorges and tree-lined trails. Blissfully, even the occasional farmhouse or herdsman does not detract from feeling fully immersed within the remote Andean wilds; only steep mountain ridges, canyons and the green grasslands of Peru’s Sacred Valley in each direction.

This penultimate day takes you initially to the rural community of Ancascocha. A quick stop is in order to meet friendly locals, before descending further into the Urubamba Valley, crossing the Sillque River towards Camicancha; a small collection of farmhouses surrounded by pristine wilderness. Here, take a moment’s rest and push along sloping trails to the traditional village of Chillca (9,069ft above sea level), home for the night and not a fellow tourist in sight!

Overnight Chillca Village

Meals B,L,D

Day4

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Day4

CHILLCA / OLLANTAYTAMBO / SHORT INCA TRAIL TO AGUAS CALIENTES

An early morning start on day four is well worth it, transferring from Chillca to Ollantaytambo, catching a train bound for Machu Picchu. Disembark at the km. 104 railroad stop to complete a section of the Classic Inca Trail, finishing at the Sun Gate for your first glimpse of the Lost City.

A visit to the Chachabamba Archeological Ruins then sets the scene, and from Chachabamba the last leg of your Ancascocha Trek is one to remember; a four-hour hike along the Classic Inca Trail. One of the Inca Trail highlights is Winaywayna, a stunning hillside complex of stepped agricultural terraces and housing, perfectly preserved with unbeatable views of the Sacred Valley too. Next, the Sun Gate and South America’s most iconic site, Machu Picchu. Admire this wonder of the ancient world from afar, before moving down to the citadel, followed by a bus to nearby Aguas Calientes and an evening at leisure, ahead of tomorrow’s fuller exploration.

Overnight Overnight: Overnight Aguas Calientes Hotel

Meals B,L

Day5

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Day5

MACHU PICCHU / CUSCO

Wake up in your authentic, charming guestroom and enjoy an early breakfast before venturing back to Machu Picchu. Uncovering the delights of Machu Picchu with a private guided tour is the best way to do it, before some leisure time later this afternoon to explore further and find your own quiet spots.

You might want to climb up Wayna Picchu, the citadel’s distinctive jagged peak which is a vertiginous, exhilarating ascent. Or, discover the Inca Bridge, reached via a 30-minute trek along the cliffside. This bridge is in fact a gap of 20ft, disconnecting the pathway so that had any unwelcome visitors approached the citadel, Incans would raise the wooden planks and thus prevent any possible entry to their sacred home. Take it all in during your tour, enjoying that free time afterwards to contemplate Machu Picchu by yourself, before returning to Aguas Calientes by bus and onward to Cusco.

Meals B,L

Ecuador Tours that Discover the Lesser Known Side of Ecuador

Destination or Passing Through? Ecuador Tours are for Both Travelers

Ecuador is the gateway to Galapagos Islands which are a part of Ecuador even though they lie over 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Because of this, people from all around the world pass through Quito and Guayaquil en route. But did you know Ecuador, itself, is a fascinating destination? I’m from Ecuador so have both a soft spot for the country in general as well as for several special areas which are relatively unknown still.

Lay of the Land

Ecuador gained independence from Spain in 1822 and functions as a Democratic Republic. The US State Department warns against travel in the far Northwest corner of the country that borders with Colombia due to increased crime. But for the most part, travelers planning Ecuador tours should exercise caution as one would anywhere in the world. Vaccines that are recommended or required before entering the country include: typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, rabies, and influenza. The country offers striking scenery rising from sea level to the tops of the Andes mountains. At lower elevations, you are in the equatorial tropics while the mountains offer eternal springtime.

From Quito, Overnight in Banos or Riobamba

If you are staying in Quito, enjoy a fun tour to Banos and/or Riobamba. Banos is 2.5 hours and Riobamba is 3 hours travel time from the capital city. This region is the active adventure hub of Ecuador. Traverse some of the most stunning Andean drops, even seeing waterfalls heading into the Amazon. Plan to stay two or three nights in Banos and add another night in Colta. This region around La Cordillera de los Llanganates is remarkable for outdoor enthusiasts including the Chimborazo, a mountain peak that dominates the view from the valley.

The Cacao Trail

If you have an interest in chocolate and how it’s produced from cacao beans, you can tour the plantations outside of Guayaquil en route to Cuenca. Visit the cacao plantations as a day trip from Guayaquil–with two to three hours of travel time–or make it an overnight. This tour is one of the few places on the planet where, in less than three hours, you cover terrain from sea level to 12,000 feet. There is so much to see, like Cajas National park known as the “lakes district” of Ecuador, featuring spectacular alpine lakes. Cuenca is a city in Ecuador’s southern Andes mountains. The central square is a great place to buy handicrafts and for sightseers, the blue-domed Catedral Nueva and the 16th-century Catedral Vieja, now a religious museum, are not to be missed!

Coastal Explorations from Guayaquil

A great route from Guayaquil is to drive north along the Pacific coast to Salinas and Ayampe. Along the way, spot hummingbirds and revel in the unique dry, tropical coastal forests. A great experience for families, this region offers whale watching, snorkeling and scuba diving that’s reminiscent of the Galapagos Islands. Salinas is quite modern with popular beaches and outstanding seafood. Ayampe is a sleepy, rustic surf town along a beautiful, quiet beach–perfect for beachcombing walks.

South from Cuenca to Loja and Vilcabamba

For art and culture lovers, a visit to Loja is essential. The region is also known for orchids, superb coffee and an eternal Spring climate. The drive from Cuenca is about three hours. Accommodations are in posadas which are generally 3-star facilities (in other words, nothing fancy). But what it lacks in luxury it makes up for being off the well worn tourist path of other regions in Ecuador. The village of Vilcabamba is rumored to produce some of the oldest living people on the planet! Loja is very picturesque and known for its vibrant music scene. You can enjoy four distinct climates within a 45-minute drive from the town. This part of the country is very peaceful and distinctly pretty.

Private Ecuador Tours

We have several detailed itineraries for all four of these great Ecuador tours which you can request. They make great opportunities for those not in a hurry to and from the Galapagos. Plus, all of our tours are private. This means that we either plan your details and send you on your way, or we provide a guide who drives and walks you through these destinations. Our local guides are full of knowledge, folklore and tales. With a guide all you have to do is show up and enjoy! We customize your time to do just the things that interest you–unlike all the cookie-cutter options available out there!

How to fly to Galapagos Islands

All flights lead to Ecuador for travelers headed to the Galapagos 

Some of the most worthwhile destinations in the world are also a little harder to get to. No matter where in the world you are coming from, traveling to the Galapagos requires you to connect in Ecuador, either through Quito or Guayaquil. From there you fly to the Galapagos Islands which are roughly 550 miles off the coast of Ecuador. LATAM airlines (formerly LAN) has connecting flights from New York City and Miami. TAME airlines also offers connecting flights from Ft Lauderdale and NYC. For, perhaps, the smoothest flight itineraries these two carriers should be research starting points. Unless you love this kind of research, it could be best to employ a travel specialist to sort out all of the flight variables from your home city.

Linger in Ecuador

In today’s hurry-up world it can be hard to slow down. For the least stressful travel experience, flying to the Galapagos nearly demands that you do. Sure, you can try to book close connections and short overnights en-route. But unless you revel in travel stress, you would be best to plan a few days coming and going from the Galapagos in Ecuador itself. Many people tag on Machu Picchu or The Amazon with their Galapagos visit. Simply, though, spending time in Quito or Guayaquil can be very enjoyable as well. We recommend you allow a 2-day layover if you want a relaxing trip. With that sort of schedule you can handle any sort of travel hassle!

Spend a few days in Quito

While you may want to go straight to Guayaquil where nearly all the flights to the Galapagos depart from, a visit to Quito can be very worthwhile. After all, Quito (UIO) is the Capital of enigmatic Ecuador. It is placed in the high foothills of the Andes at about 8500 feet of elevation! The city is quite charming and has a very well preserved center composed of 16th and 17th century architecture. The combination of elevation and latitude conspire to offer an eternal springtime range of temperature. Major USA carriers like United, American and Delta all fly to Quito. The airport is about an hour away from the city. Just a couple of ideas for enjoying Quito include:

  • Horseback riding up in the Andes
  • Downhill mountain biking in the Andes
  • Otavalo Market
  • Cloudforest Hummingbird viewing
  • Culinary exploration

Spend a few days in Guayaquil

Guayaquil (GYE) is a port city and as such is found at sea level. It is at the equator just barely into the Southern Hemisphere and as such has tropical weather year around. It is a larger city than Quito with approximately 2.5 million people. Major USA carriers fly to here as well and the airport is quite close to the city. Most flights from Quito to the Galapagos connect through Guayaquil. So, we feel the perfect itinerary is 2 days in Quito on the way to the Galapagos and 2 days in Guayaquil on the way home. Just a few of our favorite things to do around Guayaquil include:

  • Whale watching tours
  • Surfing and surf lessons
  • Bird watching
  • Fruit markets

Fly to the Galapagos Islands

After a short break in either Quito or Guayaquil, it’s time for your final flight to the Galapagos Islands. As mentioned, if you stayed over in Quito, your flight from there will most likely stop in Guayaquil before heading to the islands. There are several flights a day offered. Most go to Baltra Island. But there are also Flights to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island too. Where you fly to will be based on where you start your cruise or land-based island adventure. TAME, Avianca and LATAM (formerly LAN) are the air carriers who fly to the islands.  Read all our Galapagos Travel Tips Blog

Galapagos Interisland Flights

Depending on your interests you may want to fly within the Galapagos. There is one main air carrier called Emetebe which offers inter-island flights. There are four airports with commercial service; San Cristobal, Baltra, Santa Cruz and Isabela.

Ecuador: Gateway to the Amazon and Galapagos

The Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands are two of the world’s most exciting destinations for wildlife safaris and nature experiences, topping the bucket lists of many travelers around the globe. With their rich biodiversity, extraordinary landscapes and endemic species, this comes as no surprise – but did you know that it’s Ecuador that offers the fastest, most direct access to both destinations? Read on to find out how you can visit the Amazon and Galapagos Islands from their gateway; Ecuador

Accessing the Ecuadorian Amazon

The Amazon is a vast jungle, a pristine wilderness of trees, rivers and lakes that spills over 40% of the South American continent. While much of this mighty rainforest is untouched and inaccessible, there are particular access points in countries like Brazil, Peru and Ecuador that afford wide-eyed visitors the chance to experience the spectacular wilderness first-hand. However, while it is possible to reach Iquitos from Lima in Peru, and Manaus from Sao Paolo in Brazil, these flights take two and four hours respectively; yet it’s just a 30-minute journey from Quito to Amazonian Coca, in Ecuador. There’s even the possibility to drive to the Ecuadorian Amazon, if you so wish! This means that, with less time and energy spent on getting there, you have more moments to enjoy the delights of the Ecuadorian Amazon, whether that’s the Cuyabeno National Reserve, Yasuni National Park or the Achuar Territory.

Ecuador: Gateway to the Galapagos Islands

With its wildlife encounters and head-scratching geological formations, the Galapagos are extraordinary to say the least, leaving each and every visitor here utterly captivated. There are multiple ecosystems, varied landscapes and intriguing endemic species here, the same mix that led Charles Darwin to his Theory of Evolution. So, any cultured traveler will be in awe during their own Galapagos cruise or land-based vacation, it’s hard not to be. These islands make up part of Ecuador, so flights to this secluded Pacific Ocean archipelago are easily done from either Quito, the capital (taking around 2.5 hours), or Guayaquil, the country’s largest city and port town (a flight time of 1.5 hours). Ecuador really is the gateway to the Galapagos Islands!

Multi-center Trips to Ecuador, the Amazon and Galapagos

With such easy, direct access to the Amazon and Galapagos Islands, you can experience both on one amazing trip to Ecuador. After touching down in Quito, either take the time to explore the UNESCO-stamped Old Town of Ecuador’s capital city, its high Andean surrounds and cloud forests, or head straight for the Amazon on a short flight to immerse yourself in the jungle for a few days. Exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon is a great introduction to the immense biodiversity of this compact South American nation, before you then continue on to the Galapagos Islands, where an even greater variety of flora and fauna – not to mention beautiful beaches – lie in wait. Take a look at our sample Ecuador itineraries to get a flavor for Amazon and Galapagos trips, before getting in touch with us to start planning your own perfect vacation. You can also incorporate the fascinating mainland towns and villages, national parks and protected reserves into your trip too – talk to one of our expert travel designers to find out more.

Galapagos Land & Cruise Tour – Santa Cruz II

Travel aboard the

Santa Cruz II

Combining a land-based adventure and Galapagos cruise in one trip gives you the best of both worlds, with this itinerary being both varied and full of archipelago highlights. So, start your Galapagos Island adventure tour as you mean to go on with VIP service on arrival, before navigating emerald seas towards Santa Cruz Island. Basing yourself at the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp on Santa Cruz, you’ll enjoy nature walks, boat tours, delectable cuisine and dramatic ancient landscapes across various central islands, over two days that pack in more than you might have imagined. Then, a Galapagos Island tour to remember, aboard the supremely comfortable Santa Cruz II. This 50-cabin boat, which accommodates up to 90 people across its five decks, is extremely well-equipped with two Jacuzzis, a sun terrace, lounge bars and restaurants, not to mention their expert naturalist guides. They will be on hand as you explore the wonders and wildlife of Santa Fe Island, San Cristobal, Espanola, North Seymour and South Plazas Islands; all completely different and equally unique. Throughout, expect Galapagos multisport tours encompassing snorkeling, deserted beaches, glass bottom boat rides and panga excursions around the coast, all the while on the lookout for the countless native species which make the Galapagos Islands so special.

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

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Day1

ARRIVAL BALTRA ISLAND / SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Your Galapagos Island adventure begins as soon as you arrive in the archipelago. Start by transiting through a VIP lounge within Baltra Island Airport, the guides assisting with any luggage, before taking to a stand-up paddle board or canoe, crossing the crystalline Itabaca Channel; a popular waterway separating the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz. With luck, you may spot the famous Blue-footed Boobies, Reef Sharks, Pelicans and maybe even a Sea Lion colony.

Upon landing, your next stop is a private reserve which surrounds the rustic Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, just outside the national park itself and home for the next two nights. Here, strap on your walking boots and hit the trails, searching for resident Giant Tortoises before nightfall, when starlit skies come blissfully into view.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals L,D

Day2

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Day2

NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND / BACHAS BEACH / SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND / SANTA FE ISLAND / BARTOLOME ISLAND / SULLIVAN BAY

Touring these seas on an iconic boat trip is one of the best ways to explore the Galapagos Islands, and the Magic Camp has access to its own private yacht. This means that–depending on which day of the week you visit–the natural wonders of North Seymour Island, Bachas Beach, South Plazas Island, Santa Fe Island, Bartolome Island and Sullivan Bay are all within easy reach and ready to be explored.

If visiting North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach, expect families of Frigate Birds, Herons and Marine Iguanas, even Tiger Sharks prowling the shore. South Plazas is known for its huge populations of Land Iguanas and nesting Seabirds, giant cacti and a rocky coastline, while Santa Fe Island is where abundant Sea Lion colonies line heavenly stretches of golden beach. Lastly, the volcanic hills and lava fields of Bartolome and Sullivan Bay are an otherworldly sight indeed, before heading back to the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals B,L,D

Day3

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Day3

LOS GEMELOS CRATERS / MOSQUERA ISLET

Before the next stage of your combined Galapagos land and sea adventure, there is a chance for one more natural wonder. Hike through a Scalesia forest, frequented by Darwin’s Finches, to reach the Los Gemelos craters: two colossal sinkholes measuring up to 1,300ft across and 2,300ft deep, filled with lush foliage. Then, gradually retrace the trail back and prepare to board the Santa Cruz II cruise vessel.

Having been welcomed by the crew and treated to a delicious lunch, your Galapagos cruise begins, as the captain makes way for the soft sands of Mosquera Islet. This enchanting stretch of beach, peppered with occasional volcanic rocks, is best known for its families of Sea Lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs, as can be seen while wandering the bay or snorkeling offshore.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day4

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Day4

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

This morning, moor up near Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, the capital of the Galapagos Province, and transfer to Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve in the south-east. Cerro Colorado is an inspirational project to protect Giant Galapagos Tortoises and allow them to thrive in their natural habitat, as the reserve organically weaves its way into the landscape. So, in addition to the Tortoises, you can expect to see all manner of birdlife, rare plants and native species such as the San Cristobal Mockingbird and San Cristobal Lava Lizard.

Next, sail east to one of the most unforgettable Galapagos Island experiences, taking the rare opportunity to spot Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies all occupying the same natural habitat. This all takes place while hiking the rugged, red and green hued terrain of Punta Pitt, still on San Cristobal Island.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day5

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Day5

SANTA FE ISLAND / SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND

The first stop on today’s Galapagos Island tour is Santa Fe Island, a sandy haven of iconic coastline, turquoise seas and lounging Sea Lions. Having anchored nearby and disembarked, there’ll be plenty of walking trails and wildlife observation spots to enjoy. Every walking route here is a joy, so be sure to make the most of them this morning, as well as spending time on the beach, kayaking or snorkeling.

Having conquered Santa Fe, the diversity of your Galapagos cruise continues on South Plazas Island. Nicknamed as the ‘Red Island’, this rocky, volcanic expanse is instantly recognizable thanks to the abundance of scarlet-hued sesuvium plants. The lands of South Plazas are also characterized by a healthy population of cacti, who are joined by a huge colony of Land Iguanas, over a thousand Sea Lions, Red-billed Tropicbirds and Swallow-tailed Gulls.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day6

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Day6

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Begin the day with a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center at Puerto Ayora. Here, exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs, allowing you to witness the legacy of Charles Darwin first-hand.

Learn more about these gentle creatures in the Wild Tortoise Reserve up in the highlands of Santa Cruz, a place of dense, green forests awash with moss and lichen. Then, after a nature hike through subterranean lava tunnels and a Scalesia forest frequented by Darwin’s Finches, spend the rest of the day at leisure. As one of the most diverse of all the Galapagos Islands there are many highlights of Santa Cruz to explore, so take stroll along the paradise-like Tortuga Bay, or maybe a bicycle tour in Puerto Ayora, if you’re feeling active.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Days7

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Day7

ESPANOLA ISLAND

Your voyage on the Santa Cruz II continues in fine fashion, courtesy of the many nature and wildlife highlights that await you on Espanola Island, beginning at Punta Suarez. Look out for Sea Lions frolicking in the water, Marine Iguanas gripping the rocks, and intriguing bird species such as Masked and Nazca Boobies, Lava Herons, Waved Albatrosses and Swallow-tailed Gulls. The vast array of birdlife here gives Espanola a reputation for extraordinary biodiversity.

This afternoon, the Espanola experience continues at Gardner Bay, a pristine stretch of ivory-white beach. Armed with a snorkel or kayak, swim or paddle through the bay’s blue waters to see tropical fish like Yellow-tailed Surgeon and King Angelfish; larger marine life such as White-tipped Reef Sharks, Turtles and Sea Lions are also known to inhabit the bay. This is one of the most enchanting days of Galapagos wildlife encounters during your tour.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day8

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Day8

EDEN ISLET / NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND

Looping back to Santa Cruz once more this morning, gear up for a panga boat ride to Eden Islet, a pretty little outcrop where one last chance to spot Blue-footed Boobies beckons. The shoreline of Eden is best admired from the panga or kayak, before jumping in to snorkel with the abundant marine life who reside here, including Reef Sharks and countless Dreamfish.

Next up is North Seymour Island. First with a hike through forests of Palo Santo trees–a favorite nesting place for Blue-footed Boobies–before following coastal trails to view Brown Pelicans, Frigate Birds and Yellow Land Iguanas in their natural habitat. To cool off, swap your walking boots for flippers as you dive into the sea and swim with Rays, White-tipped Reef Sharks and schools of colorful King Angelfish, among many others.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Days9

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Day9

BALTRA ISLAND / FLIGHT HOME

As your Galapagos Island tour draws to a close, it’s farewell to the Santa Cruz crew. Your guides will escort you to the airport and assist with any luggage, in plenty of time for your onward flight.

Meals B

IMPORTANT:The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

Ecuador Wildlife Cruise: Amazon and Galapagos Islands

Travel aboard the

The Anakonda Amazon Vessel &
The Galapagos Legend

This unique Ecuador itinerary is not only a must-do tour for wildlife lovers, but anyone keen to combine two of the best experiences in South America: a luxury Amazon river cruise and voyage around the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador is home to thousands of native and endemic species in each of its varied ecosystems, as seen during this trip. Begin aboard the boutique Anakonda Amazon river cruise, a popular and luxurious 40-guest boat offering the chance to swim in lakes teeming with Piranhas, take early morning birdwatching walks, spot monkeys and Pink River Dolphins during kayaking trips, and listen to the sounds of the jungle at night. Then, after a few days exploring the highlights of Quito, swap the Amazon River for open seas, as you join the comfortable, well-equipped Legend (accommodating up to 100 passengers) for an unforgettable Galapagos Islands cruise. Along the way, visit remote regions in the south-west of the archipelago on San Cristobal and Espanola Islands, as well as some more well-known highlights such as the Charles Darwin Research Center, Post Office Bay and the Santa Cruz Highlands. Throughout this Galapagos Island cruise, cameras at the ready for Sea Lions; Frigate Birds; Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies; Reef Sharks, Giant Galapagos Tortoises; Sea Turtles; Rays; Iguanas and much more besides.

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

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Day1

ARRIVE / QUITO / COCA / NAPO RIVER

An exciting start to your Galapagos and Ecuador Amazon river cruise awaits, as you fly from Quito to the port city of Coca, where you board a boat and get an early taste for life in the rainforest. Set off in the direction of the luxurious Anakonda Amazon, a boutique ship which is tailormade for the mightiest river setting of them all. Along the way, you pass native wildlife including monkeys, lizards or onlooking River Turtles, before arriving at the Anakonda itself.

The welcome party once on-deck includes the Anakonda’s expert guides, some early orientation and refreshments. Then, simply enjoying the sounds, sights and smells of the jungle on the ship’s sundeck, an unforgettable sunset, mouthwatering meal and nighttime wildlife walk.

Overnight Anakonda

Meals D

Day2

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Day2

PANACOCHA BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR

Nestled between the Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, today’s destination–the Panayacu River Delta and Panacocha Lake–is like a mini Amazon biosphere in its own right; and provides plenty of fun along the way. Begin with a gentle cruise downstream in search of Squirrel Monkeys, River Turtles and, with any luck, a glimpse of the famous Pink River Dolphins which are known to visit these waters.

Eventually, arrive at Panacocha or ‘Piranha’ Lake, picturesque and perfectly suitable for swimming, though be warned it is called Piranha Lake for a reason and this is one of their favorite hangouts! Whether taking a dip in the lake or not, keep an eye open for White Caiman, giant Catfish and rare Butterflies too.

Overnight Anakonda

Meals B,L,D

Day3

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Day3

WESTERN AMAZON RAINFOREST

Day three of your luxury cruise takes in one of the most iconic Amazon experiences of them all, the so-called Parrot Clay Licks of Western Amazonia, your first outing after breakfast. A kaleidoscope of color, this natural spectacle is a joy as hundreds of Parrots, Parakeets and Macaws line the riverbank, attracted by a build-up of minerals and salts which are then exposed every day.

Next up is the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center, where you can learn a little of the Amazon Rainforest’s cultural heritage, the traditions, daily life and long-held customs of native jungle inhabitants courtesy of a women’s cooperative who help run the institution. Then, another great Amazon highlight, the Anangu Observation Tower; a 36-meter-tall canopy lookout point for views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

Overnight Anakonda

Meals B,L,D

Day4

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Day4

Coca / Quito

This morning, disembark the Anakonda and transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Quito, ready for an afternoon at leisure to explore the highlights of Ecuador’s capital at your own pace.
Having checked into your hotel, why not visit the real-life line of the equator for a fun-filled afternoon? Or perhaps the beautifully ornate Compania de Jesus Church, Plaza Grande or Basilica del Voto Nacional, for something more cultural. There are artisan food markets to enjoy, bohemian neighborhoods, galleries and museums aplenty, though if you are simply after a few more fantastic photographs then take the Teleferico sky tram to the top of Cruz Loma, hike a little, and prepare for sublime panoramic views of Quito.

Overnight Swissotel

Meals B

Day5

16QUITO

Day5

WALKING TOUR OF QUITO

Spend the morning at leisure before an afternoon private walking tour of Quito’s Old Town, providing an interesting exploration of Ecuador’s capital, ahead of tomorrow’s onward journey to the Galapagos Islands. The city’s historical center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978; and it’s not hard to see why, with its exquisite colonial architecture comprising sublime churches, the Cathedral, Presidential Palace and Municipal Building, standing proud along cobblestone streets and the grand Independence Square. The pastel-hued facades with iron-wrought balconies only add to its charm, while a scattering of museums and galleries invite you to learn more about the city’s art, history and culture, such as the prestigious El Alabado Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.

Overnight Swissotel

Meals B/p>

Day6

San_Cristobal

Day6

QUITO / SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

The next exciting stage of your journey begins on day six with a two-hour flight from Quito to San Cristobal Island, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin who strode ashore here on his famous voyage to the archipelago in 1835. At the airport, your guide assists with any belongings, whisking you off to the pier and the awaiting Legend vessel for boarding: the beginning of your Galapagos islands cruise.

First, a worthy introduction comes with a visit to the Interpretation Center, where the natural and human history of the Galapagos is vibrantly on show, and later, with a hike up Cerro Tijeretas, or ‘Frigate Bird Hill’. As the name suggests, these verdant cliffs are a popular nesting site for both the Great and Magnificent species of Frigate.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,D

Days7

ESPANOLA

Day7

ESPANOLA ISLAND

Having sailed south overnight from San Cristobal, wake up in your luxurious cabin and prepare for the many wildlife highlights that await you on Espanola Island, beginning at Gardner Bay, a pristine stretch of ivory-white beach. Armed with a snorkel or kayak, swim or paddle through the bay’s blue waters to see tropical fish like Yellow-tailed Surgeon and King Angelfish; larger marine life such as White-tipped Reef Sharks, Turtles and Sea Lions are also known to inhabit the bay.

This afternoon, the Espanola experience continues at Punta Suarez, looking out for Sea Lions frolicking in the water, Marine Iguanas gripping the rocks, and intriguing bird species such as Masked and Nazca Boobies, Lava Herons, Waved Albatrosses and Swallow-tailed Gulls.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,L,D

Day8

Floreana---GalapagosCormorantIguana

Day8

FLOREANA ISLAND / CHAMPION ISLET

Despite its small size, Floreana has a fascinating cultural history. It has served as a penal colony, pirates hangout, and was the first Galapagos island to be colonized in 1832. It’s also home to an 18th century whalers post office, which you’ll discover this morning at Post Office Bay. Here, you can still pop a postcard in the rum barrel box, and it will find its way home!

From Post Office Bay to Cormorant Point, your guide takes you to two contrasting beaches on Floreana Island: the green volcanic olivine crystals of Papakolea, and Flour Beach, so-called for its powdery white sands. Keep an eye out for Flamingos, Pintails, Stilts and other wading birds that frequent a lagoon sandwiched between these two bays, before visiting Champion Islet for a spot of snorkeling.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,L,D

Day9

santa-cruz-Dragon-Hill

Day9

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Begin the day with a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center at Puerto Ayora, where exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs. Witness first-hand the legacy left on the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin, then, learn more about these gentle creatures in the Wild Tortoise Reserve up in the highlands of Santa Cruz.

After lunch, take to the water once more while exploring the rich seas off Ballena Bay in western Santa Cruz, either aboard a panga boat, kayaking or snorkeling the shores. Among the many fantastic Galapagos snorkeling sites, Bellena Bay is particularly impressive thanks to its abundance of species, including King Angel, Sturgeon and Parrotfish, Rays, Sharks and Turtles.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,L,D

Day10

Santa-Cruz-Highlands

Day10

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND / BALTRA ISLAND / FLIGHT HOME

As your Galapagos Island cruise draws to a close, there is still one last chance to witness a little more wildlife with a panga boat ride down the Itabaca Channel, a popular waterway separating Baltra and Santa Cruz.

Then, it’s farewell to the Galapagos as your guides escort you to the airport and assist with any luggage, in plenty of time for your onward flight.

Meals B

IMPORTANT:The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

Galapagos Adventure Tour: Santa Cruz, Floreana & Isabela

Travel aboard the

Overview

Visiting the Galapagos archipelago is always a privilege and a joy, even more so on this island hopping Galapagos adventure tour. Not only does this week-long trip take in the natural wonders of four central/western islands (Santa Cruz, Bartolome, Floreana and Isabela), but affords you enough time on each to get to know them and their wildlife intimately, with stays at the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, Floreana Lava Lodge, and Isamar Hotel. Along the way, you’re in the safe hands of expert naturalist guides who ensure that nothing is missed, and the experiences are varied: snorkeling, kayaking, remote walking trails, volcanoes, and first-hand encounters with native Galapagos species. You are also treated to some of the most memorable sunsets, extreme landscapes and pristine beaches across the whole archipelago, making this Galapagos active tour just too good to miss.

Visit our Galapagos page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

baltra-SC

Day1

ARRIVAL ON BALTRA ISLAND / SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Your Galapagos active adventure begins as soon as you arrive in the archipelago. Start by transiting through a VIP lounge within Baltra Island Airport, the guides assisting with any luggage, before taking to a stand-up paddle board or canoe, crossing the crystalline Itabaca Channel; a popular waterway separating the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz. With luck, you may spot the famous Blue-footed Boobies, Reef Sharks, Pelicans and maybe even a Sea Lion colony.

Upon landing, your next stop is a private reserve which surrounds the rustic Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, just outside the national park itself and home for the next two nights. Here, strap on your walking boots and hit the trails, searching for resident Giant Tortoises before nightfall, when starlit skies come blissfully into view.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp or Similar

Meals B,L,D

Day2

Bartolome-Island

Day2

BARTOLOME ISLAND / SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Today, embark on a grand tour of Bartolome Island; its lookout spots and rugged coastline. First, having crossed the Itabaca Channel and moored up, take to the island’s wooden walkways and begin your ascent to one of the best viewpoints in the Galapagos, affording 360-degree panoramas of the wider archipelago.

This then makes a subsequent Zodiac boat ride all the more enjoyable, as you glide past families of Galapagos Penguins, Herons and Hawks, before passing the golden beaches of Pinnacle Rock, home to a large Sea Lion Colony. The waters also teem with marine life, making them perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving, which you get to do just off the adjacent ancient lava fields of Sullivan Bay; one of the real-life Galapagos highlights.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp or Similar

Meals B,L,D

Day3

isla_floreana_d2

Day3

Floreana Island

An early start and scenic speedboat navigation is well worth it this morning, departing Magic Galapagos Camp in the direction of Floreana Island; the least populated of all the Galapagos. On arrival, check into Lava Lodge and either walk, kayak or paddle-board to nearby Black Beach, strolling the sands, maybe working up an appetite with some snorkeling or paying a visit to the hidden caves once used by 19th century pirates.

Lunch at a local restaurant is a just reward, before visiting Sea Lions at La Loberia. This white sand bay is a good opportunity to paddle, kayak or snorkel once more, on the lookout for tropical fish and Sea Turtles. As the sun begins to set, journey back to the lodge for a meal under the stars, anticipating more Galapagos active adventures tomorrow.

Overnight Floreana Lava Lodge or similar

Meals B,L,D

Day4

isla_floreana

Day4

FLOREANA ISLAND

Today is best spent exploring the many hidden treasures of Floreana and learning of its folkloric tales in the company of an expert guide. Wander remote wildlife trails, seeking out birdlife and endemic plant species, hearing plenty of myth and hearsay surrounding the history of Floreana Island, which only adds to its allure. Make for the Floreana Highlands and Asilo de la Paz or ‘Peace Haven’, a scenic spot surrounded by Scalesia Trees and Giant Galapagos Tortoises–who prefer the highland conditions–as well as Frigate Birds and an endemic snail population.

After lunch, the afternoon can be spent completely at leisure, either returning to La Loberia, finding your own secluded spot, visiting the Galapagos’ first ever post office or simply unwinding at the lodge.

Overnight Floreana Lava Lodge or Similar

Meals B,L,D

Day5

isabela-isl

Day5

Isabela Island

Today is best spent exploring the many hidden treasures of Floreana and learning of its folkloric tales in the company of an expert guide. Wander remote wildlife trails, seeking out birdlife and endemic plant species, hearing plenty of myth and hearsay surrounding the history of Floreana Island, which only adds to its allure. Make for the Floreana Highlands and Asilo de la Paz or ‘Peace Haven’, a scenic spot surrounded by Scalesia Trees and Giant Galapagos Tortoises–who prefer the highland conditions–as well as Frigate Birds and an endemic snail population.

After lunch, the afternoon can be spent completely at leisure, either returning to La Loberia, finding your own secluded spot, visiting the Galapagos’ first ever post office or simply unwinding at the lodge.

Overnight Floreana Lava Lodge or Similar

Meals B,L,D

Day6

IsabelaSunset

Day6

ISABELA ISLAND

Hiking the trails which crisscross Isabela is one of the best ways to uncover the island’s many natural treasures. Set off after breakfast and head in the direction of Sierra Negra Volcano, an otherworldly terrain of undulating lava fields and scorched soil leading to the second largest volcanic crater on earth, a full six miles wide. Along the way, you might spot Lizards, Hawks and Finches.

Next, it’s onwards to Volcan Chico. The lunar-like landscapes continue as you hike, with jagged, red-hued rock formations lining the way; a truly atmospheric Galapagos experience. On arrival at Volcan Chico, stop for a picnic ‘like no other’ with Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands all visible as you eat, before one final stop on the golden sand beaches of Puerto Villamil; a just reward.

Overnight Isamar Hotel or Similar

Meals B,L,D

Day7

Rainbow over the sea off the coast of the Galapagos Islands, Las Bachas beach

Day7

BALTRA AIRPORT

As your Galapagos active tour draws to a close, why not enjoy one last Pacific Ocean sunrise before taking the speedboat first to Santa Cruz and later Baltra, in time for a private airport transfer and your onward journey, or home.

Meals B

NOTE: The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

Travel aboard the

The Coral I Or Coral II

Combining a land-based adventure and Galapagos cruise in one trip gives you the best of both worlds, with this itinerary being both varied and full of archipelago highlights. So, start your Galapagos Island adventure tour as you mean to go on with VIP service on arrival, before navigating emerald seas towards Santa Cruz Island. Basing yourself at the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp on Santa Cruz, you’ll enjoy nature walks, boat tours, delectable cuisine and dramatic ancient landscapes across various central islands, over two days that pack in more than you might have imagined. Then, a Galapagos Island tour to remember, aboard the supremely comfortable Santa Cruz II. This 50-cabin boat, which accommodates up to 90 people across its five decks, is extremely well-equipped with two Jacuzzis, a sun terrace, lounge bars and restaurants, not to mention their expert naturalist guides. They will be on hand as you explore the wonders and wildlife of Santa Fe Island, San Cristobal, Espanola, North Seymour and South Plazas Islands; all completely different and equally unique. Throughout, expect Galapagos multisport tours encompassing snorkeling, deserted beaches, glass bottom boat rides and panga excursions around the coast, all the while on the lookout for the countless native species which make the Galapagos Islands so special.

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

baltra-Ithabaca-canal-copy

Day1

ARRIVAL BALTRA ISLAND / SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Your Galapagos Island adventure begins as soon as you arrive in the archipelago. Start by transiting through a VIP lounge within Baltra Island Airport, the guides assisting with any luggage, before taking to a stand-up paddle board or canoe, crossing the crystalline Itabaca Channel; a popular waterway separating the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz. With luck, you may spot the famous Blue-footed Boobies, Reef Sharks, Pelicans and maybe even a Sea Lion colony.

Upon landing, your next stop is a private reserve which surrounds the rustic Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, just outside the national park itself and home for the next two nights. Here, strap on your walking boots and hit the trails, searching for resident Giant Tortoises before nightfall, when starlit skies come blissfully into view.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals L,D

Day2

Napo-Wildlife-Lodge---Heading-deeper-into-the-jungle

Day2

OPTIONAL NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND / BACHAS BEACH / SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND / SANTA FE ISLAND / BARTOLOME ISLAND / SULLIVAN BAY

Touring these seas on an iconic boat trip is one of the best ways to explore the Galapagos Islands, and the Magic Camp has access to its own private yacht. This means that–depending on which day of the week you visit–the natural wonders of North Seymour Island, Bachas Beach, South Plazas Island, Santa Fe Island, Bartolome Island and Sullivan Bay are all within easy reach and ready to be explored.

If visiting North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach, expect families of Frigate Birds, Herons and Marine Iguanas, even Tiger Sharks prowling the shore. South Plazas is known for its huge populations of Land Iguanas and nesting Seabirds, giant cacti and a rocky coastline, while Santa Fe Island is where abundant Sea Lion colonies line heavenly stretches of golden beach. Lastly, the volcanic hills and lava fields of Bartolome and Sullivan Bay are an otherworldly sight indeed, before heading back to the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals B,L,D

Day3

sta cruz1

Day3

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Santa Cruz is one of the most diverse and intriguing of all the Galapagos Islands, so is well worth spending the extra time to uncover its many treasures. Begin the day with a walk or kayak along the paradise-like Tortuga Bay, an expanse of chalk-white sands, driftwood and sunbathing Iguanas. Next, a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center, where exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs. Finally, for anyone keen to pick up last-minute Galapagos souvenirs or simply see some expert local craftsmanship in action, a nearby wooden workshop is the place to do it.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals B,L,D

Day4

los gemelos

Day4

LOS GEMELOS CRATERS / SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

Before being taken to San Cristobal Island for your Galapagos cruise, the second half of this Galapagos land and sea package, there is one last natural wonder to explore on Santa Cruz: the colossal sinkhole craters of Los Gemelos. Hike through a Scalesia forest to reach these caverns, measuring up to 1,300ft across and 2,300ft deep and filled with lush foliage, before gradually retracing the trail towards your awaiting transfer. The Coral I and Coral II luxury yachts will be moored up on San Cristobal, a short boat ride away.

From the pier it’s time for boarding, introductions with the crew and an early visit to the informative Interpretation Center nearby. Then, a hike up Cerro Tijeretas, or ‘Frigate Bird Hill’; a popular nesting site for both the Great and Magnificent species of Frigate.

Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D

Day5

san-cristobal1-2

Day5

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

This morning, navigate to the north of San Cristobal Island for a wet landing near Cerro Brujo or ‘Witches Hill’. These imposing black rock cliffs, made predominantly of petrified lava flows, are home to a wide range of species including Black-necked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, Great Blue Herons and Sea Lions. Cerro Brujo is best explored from all angles, discovering the coast on a panga boat ride, snorkeling, then walking along the bay in search of a scenic viewpoint.

Next, sail east to one of the most unforgettable Galapagos Island experiences, taking the rare opportunity to spot Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies all occupying the same natural habitat. This all takes place while hiking the rugged, red and green hued terrain of Punta Pitt, still on San Cristobal Island.

Overnight Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D/p>

Day6

EspanolaBlowhole

Day6

ESPANOLA ISLAND

Your voyage on the Coral continues in fine fashion, courtesy of the many nature and wildlife highlights that await on Espanola Island, beginning at Punta Suarez. Look out for Sea Lions frolicking in the water, Marine Iguanas gripping the rocks, and intriguing bird species such as Masked and Nazca Boobies, Lava Herons, Waved Albatrosses and Swallow-tailed Gulls. The vast array of birdlife here gives Espanola a reputation for extraordinary biodiversity.

This afternoon, the Espanola experience continues at Gardner Bay, a pristine stretch of ivory-white beach. Armed with a snorkel or kayak, swim or paddle through the bay’s blue waters to see tropical fish like Yellow-tailed Surgeon and King Angelfish; larger marine life such as White-tipped Reef Sharks, Turtles and Sea Lions are also known to inhabit the bay. This is one of the most enchanting days of Galapagos wildlife encounters during your Galapagos cruise and land tour.

Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D

Days7

floreana

Day7

FLOREANA ISLAND / CHAMPION ISLAND

From the postcard bays of Espanola Island to Cormorant Point on Floreana Island, south of Santa Cruz. There are two contrasting beaches here: Papakolea, which appears green in color due to its composition of volcanic olivine crystals, and Flour Beach, so-called for its powdery white sands. Keep an eye out for the Flamingos, Pintails, Stilts and other wading birds here, before snorkeling at the foot of Devil’s Crown and Champion Islet, swimming with reef fish, Giant Mantas and Dolphins.

After lunch comes Post Office Bay, once a pirate’s hangout and home to an 18th century whalers post office, where you can still pop a postcard in the rum barrel box and it will find its way home to this day! Finally, the Floreana Highlands and Asilo de la Paz or ‘Peace Haven’, a scenic spot surrounded by Scalesia Trees and Giant Galapagos Tortoises, Frigate Birds and an endemic snail population.

Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D

Day8

gps landscape

Day8

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND / BALTRA ISLAND / FLIGHT HOME

Despite its small size, Floreana has a fascinating cultural history. It has served as a penal colony, pirates hangout, and was the first Galapagos island to be colonized in 1832. It’s also home to an 18th century whalers post office, which you’ll discover this morning at Post Office Bay. Here, you can still pop a postcard in the rum barrel box, and it will find its way home!

From Post Office Bay to Cormorant Point, your guide takes you to two contrasting beaches on Floreana Island: the green volcanic olivine crystals of Papakolea, and Flour Beach, so-called for its powdery white sands. Keep an eye out for Flamingos, Pintails, Stilts and other wading birds that frequent a lagoon sandwiched between these two bays, before visiting Champion Islet for a spot of snorkeling.

Meals B

IMPORTANT:The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

Ecuador Cultural Highlights Tour and Galapagos Cruise

Travel aboard the

The Galapagos Legend

To tour Ecuador and visit the Galapagos in one spectacular vacation is always going to be a unique and memorable experience, and this itinerary is no exception. The tour takes in the High Andean beauty of Riobamba, Cuenca and the Las Cajas National Park, with scenic drives and one of the most memorable train journeys in the world to look forward to in between. There are colonial towns to visit, local markets to pick up souvenirs and varied landscapes that set the scene throughout your Ecuador and Galapagos adventure. Then, a day exploring the highlights of Guayaquil, swap the Ecuadorian countryside for open seas, as you join the comfortable, well-equipped Galapagos Legend Cruise Boat (accommodating up to 100 passengers) for an unforgettable exploration. Along the way, visit remote regions in the south-west of the Galapagos Archipelago on San Cristobal and Espanola Islands, as well as some more well-known highlights such as the Charles Darwin Research Center, Post Office Bay and the Santa Cruz Highlands. Throughout, cameras at the ready for Sea Lions, Frigate Birds, Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, Reef Sharks, Giant Galapagos Tortoises, Sea Turtles, Rays, Iguanas and much more besides.

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

quito`

Day1

ARRIVE / QUITO / RIOBAMBA

Touchdown in Quito to begin your Ecuador and Galapagos vacation in style, where a guide is waiting at the airport for a private vehicle transfer to Riobamba, a picturesque colonial town at the foot of Chimborazo Volcano. The journey of roughly 130 miles takes between three and four hours, depending on how many times you decide to stop for photographs, passing natural wonders such as the Cotopaxi Volcano, Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa and the rolling highlands of central Ecuador.

Depending on the exact time of your inbound flight, you may not have too long to explore the main attractions of Riobamba on arrival. However, the journey south will be scenic and–time permitting–the Museum of Religious Art, Cathedral and central square of Parque Maldonado are all well worth a visit.

Overnight Hacienda Abraspungo

Meals B,L,D

Day2

00_Alausi

Day2

ALAUSI / CUENCA

Today is a day of travel that covers nearly 200 miles of fascinating sights, as the journey south continues towards Cuenca, a 16th century colonial town. Departing your Riobamba hotel after breakfast, the drive begins by passing rural settlements and beautiful Ecuadorian landscapes, rivers and rolling hills. Then, reach Alausi Train Station; the last stop on a line-built in 1902 that leads to the famous ‘Devil’s Nose’ Canyon. Today, this High Andean railway is one of the most scenic train rides on earth, a popular tourist attraction and highlight of any vacation to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Board the train at Alausi and enjoy the trip of a lifetime, as each ascent and switchback provide more and more spectacular views, snaking your way through the ravine and valley below. After this jaw-dropping Devil’s Nose journey, continue towards Cuenca in your private vehicle and on arrival, check into the hotel, relax and enjoy one of Ecuador’s best preserved colonial cities.

Overnight Hotel Santa Lucia

Meals B,L

Day3

CuencaTomebambaRiver

Day3

cuenca

A walking tour of Cuenca is a fantastic way to understand and appreciate this culturally significant Ecuadorian city, in the company of an expert local guide. Cuenca’s historic center was established as a Spanish colonial settlement in the year 1557 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, characterized by its ornate sky-blue domes, columned buildings and wrought iron balconies.

As you pass Cuenca’s terracotta tiled roofs, quaint plazas and parks, cobblestone streets and churches, your private guide will take you to the city’s main attractions. These include the Flower Market, Cathedral, the Inca ruins of Pumapungo, Calderon Park, the Old Church of Cuenca as well as the Museums of Modern and Religious Art; all must see sites before an afternoon at leisure in Cuenca Old Town.

Overnight Mansion Alcazar

Meals B,L

Day4

gualaceo

Day4

GUALACEO / CHORDELEG

The Ecuadorian towns of Gualaceo and Chordeleg, today’s two stops, offer a side of authentic daily culture that not many visiting tourists will have chance to see. Both are famous for their popular artisan craft markets and setting, dissected as they are by a pretty river and surrounded by High Andean hills. Here, all manner of handmade jewelry, traditional shawls, pottery, iconic Panama hats, woodcarvings and locally-inspired artworks can be purchased, not to mention kaleidoscopic fruit and veg stalls bursting with fresh produce.

Depending on exactly which day of the week you arrive, there will always be something to see and do, whether picking up souvenirs, tucking into the regional cuisine of slow-roasted pork or enjoying a coffee in one of the town’s lovely parks.

Overnight Mansion Alcazar

Meals B,L

Day5

cajas

Day5

EL CAJAS NATIONAL PARK

As you make your way south-west to Guayaquil, today’s journey of 130 scenic miles sees you stop at El Cajas National Park en route. With its 200 glistening high elevation lakes and 70,000 acres of mountainous terrain, the varied landscapes and many species encountered on your Ecuador and Galapagos cruise tour continues.

This area is renowned as one of the top hiking destinations in Ecuador, thanks to its myriad trekking trails, streams and mix of altitudes (ranging from 300 m to 4500 m above sea level). In turn, they attract a great variety of Hummingbirds, Partridges, Giant Condors and Hawks, Spectacle Bears, White-tail Deer, even Tapirs and Llamas, as well as Orchids and Bromeliads peppering the tundra. So, having enjoyed a day in the great outdoors it’s onwards to Guayaquil, staying in a beautiful hacienda just outside of town.

Overnight Hacienda La Danesa

Meals B/p>

Day6

AS-Cerro-Santa-Ana-Guayaquil-latin-excursions

Day6

GUAYAQUIL

Today, explore the port city of Guayaquil. Often referred to as the gateway to the Galapagos, Guayaquil has its own attractions–many of which can be seen during an insightful walking tour. Founded in the 16th century though now an up-and-coming Ecuadorian city, the highlights of Guayaquil range from chic restaurant districts to the historic harbor area which saw turbulent times, piracy and looting.

The exact walking route may vary depending on your interests, but popular sites include the waterfront Park of Rio Guayas Malecon, the recently redeveloped and ever-colorful Las Penas Neighborhood–a declared Cultural Heritag