Signature Galapagos Express

From Signature Galapagos Express
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Ecuador
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Signature Tours
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Tour Description

Short on time? Explore Quito and the Galapagos Islands over 8 magical days...think turtles, sea lions, albatrosses, iguanas and blue footed boobies!

Embark in an 8-day tour of Quito and the Galapagos Islands. The cruise includes three nights at the five-star boutique Illa Experience hotel in Quito, as well as the creature comforts of the MC Seaman Journey, a beautiful catamaran that can carry sixteen passengers.

Spend a few days touring Quito from the hotel, which is conveniently located in the city's old town. Then fly out to the Galapagos Islands to begin your Galapagos small ship cruise adventure. You may watch Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat, snorkel the white coral beach of Cerro Brulo, observe sea lions on Espanola Island, and spot blue-footed boobies and albatrosses at Suarez Point. You are sure to be fascinated by all the quirky and colourful species that call these islands home!

Want to explore further? This itinerary combines perfectly with our Signature Peru tour (including the iconic Machu Picchu), a stay in a stunning boutique lodge in Ecuador’s cloud forest, or a cruise on the Amazon!

Viva's Best Bits...

Observe the astonishing and unique species that call Galapagos home. Swim together and take photos of giant Galapagos tortoises, marine iguanas and more!

Your home in the Galapagos will be onboard the Seaman Journey, a first-class catamaran with a maximum occupancy of 16 passengers. This small and luxurious catamaran will give you access to remote and hard to access areas.

See the highlights of Quito and the Galapagos in 8 days....of course if you have more time we can add a longer Galapagos cruise so you have time to explore more islands and relax!

Tour Itinerary

Customisable ? This tour can be customised to suit your tastes and timing. Enquire here for more information.
Day 1

Welcome to Quito, Ecuador, a City declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978. You will be transferred from the airport to your hotel which sits nestled in the Andean foothills, 2,850 metres above sea level. The city is known for its stunning colonial architecture, artwork and amazing snow-capped mountain backdrop.

Day 2
Quito Six Senses Tour

Today you will enjoy a tour of the charming city of Quito. The tour will tick off all of the main sites, including Independence Square, the Government Palace, the busy street of La Ronda and some of the beautiful baroque churches that the city is famous for.

You will also enjoy a range of experiences. These will vary depending on the day and the time of year, but can include things like market visits, empanada or ice cream making (and tasting), working with an artisan to make your own Panama hat or even helping to restore colonial art!

Your tour will end with a cocktail at a rooftop bar where you will have the perfect view over the old town and Panecillo hill.

Overnight in Quito

Day 3
Cotopaxi National Park

Today you will head south from Quito to visit Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world. Despite the altitude, the park is home to numerous birds and varied plant life. Weather permitting, there are spectacular views from the north face of the mountain. The surrounding scenery includes volcanoes like Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Sincholagua. You will also have the opportunity to visit a local indigenous market. (B)

Day 4
Fly to the Galapagos Islands

Fly from Quito to the Galapagos. On arrival you will meet your naturalist guides who will collect your luggage and escort you by bus to the harbour to board the MC Galapagos Seaman Journey. In the afternoon you will visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre to learn about the history of the islands, local conservation efforts and the natural history. (B,L,D)

Day 5
San Cristobal, Galapagos

Today begins with a trip to Galapaguera, a breeding station and sanctuary for the giant Galapagos tortoise. The species is under threat and this centre provides a safe place to observe them in their natural habitat. This afternoon, head to the beautiful white coral sand beach of Cerro Brujo where there is the chance to swim and snorkel with sea lions and Galapagos turtles. Spot other local species like the blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and the San Cristobal lava lizard. (B,L,D)

Day 6
Espanola Island, Galapagos

This morning we head to the isolated southern island of Espanola. Brimming with native species like the Espanola mockingbird, lava lizard and waved albatross. Gardner Bay is a prime location for swimming, snorkelling and relaxing. You may also see sea lions, sharks and sea turtles in the clear waters. This afternoon’s excursion takes you to Suarez Point. Watch the blue-footed and Nazca boobies dance and the large albatrosses launch off the cliff. There’s a blowhole which can create spurts of 30-50 metre high. (B,L,D)

Day 7
Floreana Island, Galapagos

One of the most impressive flamingo lagoons is located at Cormorant Point on Floreana Island. There you will see flamingos and various other shorebird species and there are two beaches to visit, Green Beach and Flour Sand Beach. Here green sea turtles come to nest and you can also see rays in the water. You will have the chance to take a walk and go snorkelling. Spend the afternoon relaxing at Post Office Bay, which is a post office like no other. Today tourists leave letters and post cards here and you can sift through them to find any that might be close to your home. The idea is to take one and deliver them by hand. (B,L,D)

Day 8

Spend your final morning learning about the protection and conservation efforts of the islands at Turtle Trails. After, you will head to Baltra Airport to fly back to Quito or Guayaquil. (B)

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 3 nights boutique hotel in Quito
  • Included Copy 20 4 night Galapagos Islands cruise in a double/twin cabin
  • Included Copy 20 All meals during the cruise
  • Included Copy 20 Unlimited purified water, coffee and tea
  • Included Copy 20 Breakfast daily, and other meals as outlined in the included sightseeing tours
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All transfers & airport assistance
  • Included Copy 20 Round trip flight to/from Galapagos
  • Included Copy 7 Galapagos Islands National Park Entrance Fee & TCT USD$220 (Subject to change)
  • Included Copy 20 Naturalist Bilingual Guide level III
  • Included Copy 20 All visits and excursions according to the itinerary
  • Included Copy 20 Snorkel Gear (mask, tube and fins)
  • Included Copy 20 Kayaks
  • Included Copy 7 International Flights, Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable), tips, travel insurance

Galapagos Seaman Journey

16 Passengers


  • Included Small ship cruise in the Galapagos Islands
  • Included Visit Cotopaxi National Park, home to the highest active volcano in the world
  • Included Explore Quitos historical city centre
  • Included Excursions by dinghy and kayak
  • Included Walks in the Galapagos
  • Included Snorkelling and swimming
Click here for dates & prices

8 days

Price from

$5,413 USD

Per person, sharing

Selected Fridays