DAY 1: QUITO
Arrive in Quito airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free, for you to relax after your flight or explore, as you wish.
DAY 2: QUITO
This morning you have a guided city tour. Quito is a city of two halves - old and new - with each having its attractions. Quito is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, and so modern building is now strictly controlled.
The afternoon is at leisure. It's a great place to go shopping, either in the markets or perhaps some of the shops selling Ecuadorian crafts and art in the new town too. Breakfast.
DAY 3: QUITO TO THE GALAPAGOS
How exciting! It's the day you head for the Galapagos!
We will take you to the airport for the roughly 4 hour flight to Baltra. On arrival you will be taken to your home for the next 8 days, Cachalote. Up to 16 guests can stay on the Cachalote which is a comfortable superior tourist class yacht.
This afternoon we visit the highlands or Charles Darwin Centre on Santa Cruz. You will be able to make the acquaintance of the giant Galapagos tortoise today. We may as well start the trip with a highlight!
DAY 4: SOMBRERO CHINO & RABIDA
Today you visit the island of Sombrero Chino (meaning Chinese hat). Bright Sally lightfoot crabs shine out against the black rock and this is also a great spot for snorkelling with seals. With a bit of luck you might even see penguins here.
Later we head for Rabida with its red sandy beach often full of sealions.
DAY 5: ISABELA - SIERRA NEGRA
Isabela is the largest of the islands and has various interesting landing sites. Today we will visit the small port town of Puerto Vilamil, and nearby Tintoretas where we hope to see white-tipped sharks, penguins, marine turtles and iguanas.
Sierra Negra is the world's second largest volcanic caldera. We set off from Vilamil to see some of this volcano.
DAY 6: ISABELA - PUNTA MORENO & ELIZABETH BAY
Still on Isabela, we head for Punta Moreno and Elizabeth Bay. The beautifully-sculpted rocky shores around here are home to a big colony of Galapagos penguins, so cross fingers we see them today! Inland at Punta Moreno, the pools and lagoons attract flamingoes, herons, ducks.
Brown pelicans just love the mangroves here, and keep your eyes out for golden rays, flightless cormorants and sea turtles.
DAY 7: ISABELA - URBINA BAY & TAGUS COVE
Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove are our Isabela destinations today. Urbina Bay is geologically fascinating, showing as it does an 'uplifted' area of land. It is also home to tortoises, penguins, flightless cormorants and brown pelicans.
We get to Tagus Cove through a cold channel where dolphins and whales are often seen, and once at the cove the wildlife is hugely varied.
DAY 8: FERNANDINA & ISABELA
Today you arrive at Fernandina Island, west of Isabela, and visit the only visitor site on the island, Punta Espinosa. This, the youngest island, has fascinating lava fields, and amongst other wildlife we hope to see penguins, flightless cormorants and a huge colony of marine iguanas.
In the afternoon we visit the marine-site of Punta Vicente Roca at Isabela. The deep waters here are teeming with life. Divers love it here!
DAY 9: SANTIAGO & BARTOLOME
You will call in to the island of Santiago to see the superb tidal pools at Puerto Egas.
Bartolome gives us a wonderful overview of the archipelago when we walk up an extinct lava cone. Passing volcanic ash fields and splatter cones interspersed with cactus, the view from the top is dramatic and very worthwhile.
DAY 10: GALAPAGOS TO GUAYAQUIL
On the morning of your final day we visit North Seymour island. This has one of the largest colonies of magnificent frigatebirds, plus blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. What an end to the wildlife cruise!
Returning to Baltra airport, you fly to Guayaquil on the Ecuadorian mainland where your holiday ends. It is easy to get flights from Guayaquil back to Europe.