2023-24 Christmas in Galapagos & New Year's in Buenos Aires Montserrat First Class yacht
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Arrival in Quito and transfer to your hotel.
Pick-up from your hotel for a visit of colonial Quito, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1978. You will enjoy the Old Town, including the Plaza de la Independencia; as the President still conducts business here. It is also the home of the tomb of Sucre and houses interesting 17th and 18th century paintings. The Plaza de San Francisco which was constructed by the Spanish in 1553 has a high altar made of gold and beautifully carved ceilings. A visit to the middle of the World monument before returning to your hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the early flight to San Cristóbal Island. Arrival, arrange payment of the Galapagos fee and then visit the Interpretation centre where you will learn about the origins of the Galapagos; from the very beginning of their volcanic origins through to today's conservation efforts. Tour the Human History exhibit to learn about the islands' discovery and colonization, and discover the natural history and variety of flora and fauna that make the Galápagos so fascinating. A visit to Tijeretas will follow, a great viewpoint and your first wildlife encounter. This hill bears its name thanks to the frigate birds as "Tijeretas". Here we will enjoy from a great view of beautiful landscapes at the foot of a frigate bird nesting colony. The tour on the cruise will then begin enjoying dinner onboard your first class yacht for the next 3 nights, the Montserrat.
Today, you will arrive to Española Island, one of the oldest in the archipelago. Visit the white sandy beach of Gardner Bay's and the bird colonies of Punta Suárez. Arriving at Gardner Bay's in the morning, you will spend the morning exploring on shore and snorkelling at Gardner Island in the bay, home to sea lions and sea birds. Be sure to explore the beautiful turquoise water and its incredible sea life and spot young sea lions and large schools of surprisingly big tropical fish, including yellow-tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, and bump-head parrot fish. Also, look out for white-tipped reef sharks napping on the bottom After lunch, sail to the western side of the islands to Punta Suárez, known for its amazing bird colonies and home to the waved albatross (April and December), it is home to one of most rich wildlife landing sites in the Galápagos. Be greeted by surfing young sea lions on arrival. Head to the trail to find many species of nesting sea birds, and, if lucky, see the waved albatross. Follow the path up to a cliff for great views over the ocean, and watch sea birds gliding in the wind. Return to the yacht for dinner and continue the cruise.
Today, you will land at Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island. You will enjoy guided walks to observe the bird and wildlife and learn about the natural history. You will discover two amazingly different beaches: one with green sand, coloured by olivine crystals, and another with white sand particles known as 'Flour Beach'. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, rays and colourful fish swimming by. There can be currents in this area, so this activity should be done by strong swimmers only.
Spend the afternoon observing flamingos and other shore birds feeding in the lagoon. Spot penguins and marine iguanas at the water's edge, and explore the lava tubes. Visit Post Office Bay and learn about its unique history. In the late 18th century, English whaling vessels placed a barrel here to be used as a post office. Today, the box is used mainly by tourists, who may drop off and pick up unstamped letters to be carried to far destinations. Continue the tradition - leave a letter and take one to deliver. Dinner onboard and continue the cruise.
Today, you will disembark at Puerto Ayora and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the giant Galápagos tortoises. You will visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity. Brought back from the brink of extinction, see the famous Galápagos tortoise up close - a corral houses adult tortoises, and a nursery cares for the young until around age three when their shells have hardened. This area also houses the Charles Darwin Research Station, a scientific organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galápagos' ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. While the offices themselves are not open to visitors, the research station provides a study location for international scientists and environmental education for the local community. After the tour, transfer to the airport for the flight back to mainland Ecuador and connect with your international flight to Buenos Aires Argentina. Arrival and private transfer to your hotel in Buenos Aires.
Free day at leisure.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Iguazu. Transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a full day visit to the fabulous UNESCO World Heritage Iguazu falls, the most voluminous falls in the world and more than three times the width of the Niagara Falls. The Argentinean side of Iguazu allows for a close appreciation. Set in a subtropical rain forest reserve of over 180,000 hectares, Iguazu is home to jaguar, puma, caiman and over 400 species of bird. The tour will include the Aventura ride, an exhilarating boat ride on the Parana River, heading towards the Iguazu falls themselves. Return to your hotel.
After breakfast, free morning before transfer to the airport for the return flight to Buenos Aires. Arrival, reception and transfer to your hotel.
In the evening, welcome in the New Year. Choose from a New Year's Eve Tango Show which includes a mouth-watering three course dinner, open bar, a champagne toast at midnight and, of course, a breathtaking tango spectacle.
After midnight, the tango houses turn into a party so you can dance your night away. We will endeavour to book you in at the Madero Tango with its Masquerade Party. This tango house is located in Puerto Madero, and as a plus it offers a great view of the best fireworks in the city.
Or you may prefer to choose a special dinner at a spectacular hotel or enjoy a street party in Palermo or Puerto Madero. In Puerto Madero, there is a delightful firework display over the Rio de la Plata. Return to your hotel.
Free day at leisure.
After breakfast, enjoy a private city tour with your knowledgeable guide who is also a local of the city. Buenos Aires is perhaps the most cosmopolitan metropolis in South America. Most of the population is of European descent and the city is reminiscent of Paris. It is situated on the Rio de la Plata, and as its name suggests, it is the city of good winds. The tour will include a visit to the Plaza de Mayo, the hub of the city centre and where many public buildings such as the Catedral Metropolitana can be found. At the east end, you will find the Casa Rosada presidential palace with the famous balcony from which Juan and Evita Peron greeted the masses. A visit to The Brighton, a bar and café notable, is one of the most stunningly situated restaurants in Buenos Aires for afternoon tea. Return to your hotel
After breakfast, transfer to a beautiful Estancia located in the pampas region. Once at the estancia, relax and enjoy the outdoor life, Argentinean style with a wide selection of outdoor pursuits including a delicious lunch. Return to your hotel.
Transfer back to the airport for your flight home.
Additional Hotel upgrades available
- Accommodation in double rooms at selected 3 & 4 star hotels and 3 nights aboard a First Class expedition yacht.
- All meals as indicated on the itinerary
- Transfers, tours and excursions as per itinerary with English speaking specialist guides
- All internal flight tickets in South America
- International Flight Ecuador - Argentina
- All entrance fees excluding the Galapagos National Park Tax ($100), the migratory fee ($20) (These must be paid in person in cash dollars)
- International flight to Ecuador and from Argentina
- Galapagos National Park Tax ($100), the migratory fee ($20) (These must be paid in person in cash dollars)
- Meals not indicated
- Personal expenses such as telephone bills, laundry expenses, beverages, etc
- Insurance against theft, loss, illness and/or accident etc
- Gratuities, baggage porterage and other extras not specified