Un-Cruise Adventures is preparing to explore Ecuador’s famed Galápagos Islands and the historic city of Quito, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in 2016. There are eight planned voyages onboard the 48-guest La Pinta with additional pre- or post-cruise options in the Amazon or Machu Picchu.
The Unequaled Ecuador! Colonial Quito & Galápagos Islands itinerary (detailed on the map above) is nine nights in length starting with a 2-night stay at Casa Gangotena, a 31-room boutique hotel in Quito’s historic center, and walking tours of the city. Then a 7-night cruise sails around the Galápagos from San Cristóbal Island and visits Española, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, Bartolomé, Santiago and Chinese Hat Islet.
“The Galápagos Islands are a bucket list adventure,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO of Un-Cruise Adventures. “This particular itinerary was chosen because it visits two of the showcase islands—Española and Genovesa—both favorites.”
Inclusive tours, guided by naturalists, will discover a multitude of animals: giant tortoises, iguanas, green sea turtles, penguins, reef sharks, sea lions, three types of boobies, waved albatross, frigatebirds, Darwin’s finches, storm petrels, gulls, seabirds, shorebirds, tropic birds and the short-eared owl. Other included activities include kayaking, strolling, hiking, snorkeling, visiting the Charles Darwin Research Center and sailing in a glass-bottom boat.
Details provided by the cruise line: departure dates in 2016 include February 17, March 16 and 30, May 25, July 6, August 3, September 14 and November 9. Comprehensive inclusions consist of two nights deluxe hotel accommodations; two commercial flights between Quito and Galápagos; port fees/taxes; entry fees to national parks/preserves; exclusive transfers; tours and adventure activities; breakfast, lunch and private dinner in Quito; and all meals plus premium spirits, wine, and beer on board La Pinta. For 2016, rates begin at $8,995 per person, double occupancy for the inclusive land tour and island cruise adventure. Further explorations into the Amazon Basin, Peru and Machu Picchu may be added pre- or post-cruise and are outlined by the line below:
Amazon Rainforest Voyage
A four-night inclusive pre-cruise tour aboard the 36-guest Anakonda explores the Amazon River basin on a cruise along the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon River. In the Pañacocha Biological Corridor, guests explore Pañacocha (Lake of the Piranha) by canoe and by foot on jungle trails. The lake and reserve are home to pink and grey river dolphins, manatee, white caiman, squirrel monkeys and piranha. Daring explorers may elect to take a dip in the waters. A day is also spent exploring inside Yasuni National Park, a UNESCO Biological Reserve, home to two uncontacted indigenous tribes. Guests may hike through giant kapok trees to Parrot Clay Licks to see parrots, macaw and parakeets; and learn about local culture at the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center and the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Center.
Flights between Quito and Coca, exclusive transfers, one night luxury hotel in Quito and three nights aboard the ship with meals and activities are included. Rates start at $2,295 per person, double occupancy.
Peru and Machu Picchu
A six-night inclusive post-cruise tour explores the Sacred Valley of the Incas starting in Urubamba. Guests stay two nights at Sol y Luna Lodge and Spa where activities include exploring Inca ruins overlooking the valley and river, a colorful market, lunch at Wayra Ranch and a Peruvian Paso Horse Show. Three more Inca sites are explored on walking tours in Ollantaytambo, Moray and Maras.
A train ride to Aguas Calientes delivers guests to the doorstep of Machu Picchu, a 15th century Inca and UNESCO World Heritage Site, with an overnight stay at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo. In the afternoon, guests hike to the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) for a sweeping view before a guided exploration of the iconic ruins. The following morning, a climb to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, 2,000 feet above the site, presents guests with panoramic views of the surrounding Andes.
Two nights in Cusco at El Mercado Tunqui Hotel allows time for guided walking tours in the former capital and ruling center of the Inca Empire, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. A final tour in Lima adds a day of exploration and dining in Peru’s capital city—a new gastronomic hot spot—with guided tours of downtown and the historic center (also an UNESCO site). Rates begin at $3,995 per person, double occupancy and include flights between Lima and Cusco, Machu Picchu train, exclusive transfers, hotels, most meals and activities.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: UN-CRUISE ADVENTURES