Ecuador - The center of the world

Ecuador – The Center of the World

The middle of the world! The equator cuts straight through Quito. Here you can stand with one leg in the northern hemisphere and the other in the south. The Galapagos Islands gave Darwin many facts when he wrote “Origin of Species”. The endemic collection of flora and fauna on the islands is unparalleled. During a snorkeling trip you can meet turtles, penguins and swimming iguanas. You can not do that anywhere else on earth. Discovery and adventure trip is just the first name! Short for ECU by abbreviationfinder, Ecuador is a country located in South America defined by countryaah.

Ecuador - The center of the world 2

Ecuador – 18 days

Day 1 Departure / Arrival Quito

Early departure from Sweden with scheduled flights. Upon arrival in Quito, you will be met by your English-speaking guide for further transport to your hotel.

Day 2 Quito – Zuleta

After breakfast you leave the city on your way to your hacienda. The journey takes about three hours and with a little luck you will be able to see the peaks of some of Ecuador’s highest volcanoes. After making your stay at home, you are invited to a wonderful welcome dinner.

Day 3 Hacienda

The nature around Zuleta is showy where the hills turn into mountains with high peaks, most of the ancient volcanoes. The high height means that the tops are occasionally covered with snow, which in turn makes the vegetation lush. There are many water flows here which during their journey downwards turn into waterfalls. Together with your guides, you set up the days according to your wishes. A horseback ride gives another new dimension of what you get to experience up close.

Day 4 Zuleta – Cienega

After breakfast, say goodbye to your hacienda and be picked up for the trip on to the Indian Market in Otavalo. The small town is known far beyond Ecuador’s borders, where tourists and locals find textiles and handicrafts. The many beautiful woven fabrics are available in rugs, clothes, tablecloths, scarves and much more. Here you will also find much else from different countries and cultures in South America. For the casual visitor, the animal and food market is also well worth a visit to get a feel for everyday life in the country.

Day 5 Cienega – Riobamba

You continue south along “Volcano Avenue” through Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi is one of the world’s highest active volcanoes and the eternally snow-capped peak is an impressive and beautiful sight. You have time to take a short walk in the national park before continuing the journey through the highlands of Zumbagua. The journey goes through small villages and impressive volcanoes line your way. Late in the afternoon you arrive in Riobamba at the foot of Chimborazo, Ecuador’s largest and highest mountain.

Day 6 Train among the clouds

Early departure from the train station in Riobamba for the journey down “Devil’s Caldron”, a fantastic journey down the Andes. One of the highlights of the trip is sitting on the roof and enjoying the view of the Andean countryside. Along the way you stop to visit Native American markets and buy genuine handicrafts. When the sun goes down you continue to your hotel outside Baños.

Day 7 Baños – Cotopaxi – Quito

The nature around Baños is green and hilly and in the background is the snow-capped volcano Tungurahua and watches over the small town. In the surroundings there are lots of waterfalls and rivers. Together with your guide, you set up the day according to your wishes. Some examples of activities are hiking, biking or horseback riding. In the afternoon you return north to Quito where you arrive in the evening.

Day 8 Quito

After breakfast, embark on a city tour of the most beautiful and interesting parts of Quito’s colonial districts. At an altitude of 2,800 meters surrounded by the dramatic volcanoes of the Andes lies the colonial capital of Ecuador, Quito. Modern Quito is an exciting mix of old and new, in the older parts the churches and monasteries from the time of the Spanish Empire are well worth a visit. The modern parts of the city offer a bustling life and a rich selection of shopping, restaurants and cafes. At “El Panecillo” you get an adorable view of the city. After lunch you visit Mitad del Mundo – The Center of the World at latitude 0.00. Take the opportunity to balance on the center line of the world or stand with your feet on either side of the equator.

Day 9 Quito – Galapagos

Early transfer to the airport for your departure to the Galapagos. You land on the small island of San Cristobal and are met by staff from our ship for a short transfer to M / Y Grace, your home for the next seven nights. After lunch, the ship departs for the rocky coast to Cerro Brujo and the white beach. These are the same beaches that Charles Darwin admired in September 1835. San Cristobal was the first island Charles Darwin visited in the Galapagos. You travel with small rubber boats to Kicker Rock, also known as the sleeping lion because of the similarity. Kicker Rock is the steep cliff at 167 meters above sea level that has been eroded by sea and wind for thousands of years. Waves have carved this volcanic rock and formed two rocks side by side with vertical walls and a small channel between them. The cliff is an important nesting place for tropical birds such as blue-footed soles, Nazca soles and frigatebirds. Sea lions and fur sea lions can also be observed. The visibility in that water is good for seeing the rock wall under the water and the marine life. After about 1 hour journey through a small canal, you will reach Isla Lobos. The name means Sea Lion, which very aptly got its name from the many sea lions that settled here. There are good snorkeling opportunities here. Once back on the ship, we get a review of the next day’s activities and dinner with a welcome drink with the captain. which very aptly got its name from the many sea lions that settled here. There are good snorkeling opportunities here. Once back on the ship, we get a review of the next day’s activities and dinner with a welcome drink with the captain. which very aptly got its name from the many sea lions that settled here. There are good snorkeling opportunities here. Once back on the ship, we get a review of the next day’s activities and dinner with a welcome drink with the captain.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Ecuador - The center of the world 3

Day 10 Galapagos

You follow a path that leads through a colony of blue-footed soles and the only known nesting site on the islands for the huge galapagos albatross. Along the way we will be amazed by the dragon-like sea iguanas, light footed sally crabs and lots of seabirds. Be careful not to step on any of them, as they will not move for you. The path leads to the cliffs where you can see lots of seabirds and the Galapagos Hawk high up in the air. You will also be able to see the famous blowhole, a crack in solidified lava where the water sprays high into the air just like a geyser. At Gardner Bay we are met by sea lions and a new endemic subspecies of the moth, known for its behavior of stalking its visitors to beg for water. In addition, you see more subspecies of songbirds, shorebirds and some of the thirteen species of Darwin finches found on the islands. We share Gardner Bay’s chalky white coral sand with sea lions and sea iguanas and the snorkeling at the cliffs outside the bay is fantastic. Among other things, we have a chance to snorkel with both rays and the harmless white-finned reef sharks.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Ecuador - The center of the world

Day 11 Galapagos

Punta Cormorant is the name of a greenish beach that got its color from olive crystals. You follow a path inland to a lagoon with brackish water where flamingos and migratory birds thrive. Later you come to a beach with sand so fine that it can be compared to flour and is therefore called “Flour Sand Beach”. Here we see the green sea turtles’ nest high up on the beach and with a little luck also how it mates out in the bay. When you walk in the shallow water, you can see small stingrays and even small sharks. During the day’s tour you can see: flamingos, sea lions, several kinds of lizards and iguanas, frigatebirds, blue-footed sole, terns, pelicans, sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, fish and sometimes also penguins. Outside the Punta Cormorant is the Crown of the Devil, a collapsed volcano in the shape of a royal crown and one of the best snorkeling spots in the Galapagos Islands. During snorkeling, the chances are high that you will meet playful sea lions, sharks, turtles and lots of beautiful fish.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Day 12 Galapagos

After a short boat ride you visit the famous post office in the Post Office Bay on Floreana which has been in operation since 1793 when Captain James Colnett installed an empty thin rum to serve as a mailbox. Sailors and pirates left letters in the barrel which would then be picked up by the next ship that could take the letters to its destination. You keep the old tradition alive by adding our own postcards and bringing with us previous visitors’ postcards to e.g. Sweden. Behind the post barrel are some ruins from an old Norwegian cannery as the only remnants of an attempt at Norwegian colonization in the early 20th century with a tragic outcome. Floreana is full of stories that would make any modern gossip magazine seem ornate. Or how about the German countess with her three lovers who settled on the island and who all mysteriously disappeared, or the philosophical German dentist and his wife who pulled out all their teeth and then split a set of steel teeth. Or the pirate who was stranded on the island and who tricked ships into going aground with the help of fake lighthouses.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Day 13 Galapagos

Today you arrive in the “capital” of the Galapagos, Santa Cruz. You start with a visit to Charles Darwin’s research center where you get an insight into how today’s researchers work on the islands and a lecture in their work to preserve the islands’ unique flora and fauna for the future. The highlight for many is visiting the hundreds of little turtles waiting to be released into the open. After this visit, you will have one of the few chances to reconnect with civilization in Puerto Ayora, the largest city in the Galapagos. Here you will find shops, pharmacies, internet café etc. After lunch you make another excursion and visit the highlands of Santa Cruz. The highlight is the hike in the lush cloud rainforest to see the Galapagos giant turtles in the wild. These huge creatures move freely all over the island and are the only place on the Galapagos where you have the opportunity to see its ancient turtles munching on the lush vegetation and wallowing in the mud. On the other islands, the giant turtles are high up near the craters of the volcanoes where no visitors are allowed.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Day 14 Galapagos

Las Bachas is a white sand beach on the northwestern part of Santa Cruz. Sea turtles come here to lay eggs. The name Las Bachas comes from the depressions that the turtles leave in the sand. On the white sandy beaches, in addition to the sea turtles, you will also see flamingos and migratory birds. Bachas is a great place to swim and swim. In the afternoon we head north to Black Turtle Cove, a beautiful mangrove lagoon with lively wildlife. Here you do at a very calm pace a boat trip in our small rubber boats to hopefully see the screaming eagle, different types of rays, white-spotted reef shark, sea turtles and lots of waders.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Day 15 Galapagos

You steer further over dolphin-rich waters towards the island of Rabida. Here is one of the archipelago’s best snorkeling waters with tropical fish in all the colors of the rainbow. With a little luck, you will also see what a penguin looks like underwater. Up on the beach, majestic pink flamingos usually live. James Island and Sullivan Bay are one of the archipelago’s most beautiful places and definitely the most photographed view. There is a wonderful sandy beach called Golden Beach with great snorkeling and the best chances to both see and snorkel with the Galapagos penguin! An experience to encounter them in the water and see how quickly, easily and quickly they wiggle forward with their distinctive body.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Day 16 Galapagos

After a new boat trip you come to the island of Bartholome where you have the opportunity for new fantastic snorkeling with coral fish and penguins, or just to relax on the beautiful beach. After you have boarded again and take a short boat trip before you anchor again. After landing, you go up a long wooden staircase with 360 steps and get an outstanding view of a large part of the archipelago. On the way up we go through a landscape that is characterized by the vegetation that is the first to colonize a newly formed volcanic island. In this way, you will make a journey through time that takes you up to 5 million back in the history of the Galapagos. After lunch you arrive at North Seymour, a low, flat island that was formed as a result of the stomach pressure from below. It is covered with low, bushy vegetation and contains the largest colony of frigatebirds that nest in the Galapagos. Most amazing are the males with their huge inflated red balloons under their beaks that are used to impress the females. If you are lucky, you will also see the mating dance of the blue-footed soles. On the island you also see the cousin of the sea iguana, the land iguana, which, however, has chosen to live on land. The difference between these two species of iguana with a common ancestor is a striking example of the evolution that gave rise to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Yacht: M / Y Grace, Galapagos (full board)

Day 17 Galapagos – Return

Your last beach trip on the Galpagos will be Isla Mosqueia, a small sandy island, 120 x 600 meters, without paths and where you wade ashore on the fine-grained beach. Here lives a small colony of sea lions that like to play with us while snorkeling. Mosquera Islet also has a very rich bird life. At lunch you leave, probably a little reluctantly, MY Grace for a transfer to the airport on the island of Baltra. Your flight back to Europe departs later in the evening.

Day 18 Homecoming

Ecuador - The center of the world 4