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Ecuador & Galápagos...

Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise: San Cristóbal to Santa Cruz

10 days |  16 days with Peru extension
10 days |  16 days with Peru extension
Group size1535 travelers

4.9 star rating

Physical activity
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Venture into the heart of Ecuador’s societal and natural heritage.

Ecuador puts new meaning behind the saying, “good things come in small packages.” In terms of flora, fauna, and opportunities for viewing unique local wildlife, this South American country runs the gamut. Journey to Quito for a taste of Ecuadorean culture and Spanish colonial history. Then, island hop through the Galápagos, where you’ll move from mangrove swamps to lava flows to sunny shorelines, encountering scores of exotic creatures along the way. End in the indigenous city of Otavalo, famous for its colorful market.

Your tour package includes

  • 4 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 4 nights aboard the M/V Galápagos Legend cruise ship
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 5 dinners
Read more

Included highlights

  • Cerro Panecillo
  • Old Quarter Quito
  • La Compañía
  • Gardner Bay
  • Floreana Island
Read more
Start planning today

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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Quito3 nights
Day 1: Flight & late-night arrival in Quito

Welcome to Ecuador! Arrive in Quito late this evening and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Quito
Included meals: Breakfast, Welcome lunch

Today, embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Quito.

  • Drive up Cerro Panecillo hill for views of the city and surrounding volcanoes
  • Sit down to enjoy an included welcome lunch
  • Marvel at the neo-Gothic Basilica of the National Vow
  • Enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town, passing by the Legislative Palace, Independence Square, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito
  • Enter La Compañía, the city’s Baroque church, to view its gold leaf interior
  • Step inside the 16th-century Monastery of San Francisco
Day 3: Free day in Quito
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Quito or add an excursion.

Antisana Ecological Park & Hacienda Lunch

From $145 per person

Galápagos Islands4 nights
Day 4: Galápagos cruise & San Cristóbal
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Fly to San Cristóbal, the easternmost island of the Galápagos, to board your cruise this morning.

  • Enjoy an included lunch aboard the ship
  • Disembark and hike to San Cristóbal’s Frigatebird Hill for views of the bay, as well as birding opportunities to see the tropical frigatebirds

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Day 5: Española Island
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, visit Española Island to explore one of the most picture-perfect beaches that the Galápagos has to offer.

  • Relax on the white sand beaches and snorkel in the shallow waters just off the shore of Gardner Bay
  • Get up-close to the friendly Galápagos sea lions who call the island home
  • Look out for mockingbirds, finches, marine life, and more
  • Enjoy an included lunch
  • Visit Punta Suarez, on the western edge of the island, which is a wildlife hub for boobies, albatross, sea lions, iguanas, and more

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Day 6: Floreana Island
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Floreana has something for both history lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

  • Stop at Post Office Bay to visit the oldest operating post office in the Pacific, where whalers used to leave letters to be picked up by returning voyagers
  • Enjoy an included lunch
  • See flamingos feeding in the lagoon, diamond stingrays swimming offshore, and green sea turtles exploring their nesting grounds in Punta Cormorant
  • Explore the volcanic shore of Devil’s Crown and snorkel for the chance to see yellowtailed surgeonfish, creolefish, turtles, spotted eagle rays, parrotfish, and hammerhead sharks
  • Put on your snorkel and hit the water to get up close to green turtles, harmless whitetip reef sharks, and lots of fish in Champion Islet

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Day 7: Santa Cruz Island
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Your day on Santa Cruz Island is all about wildlife.

  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galápagos National Park, which houses gardens, exhibition halls, and a library, as well as research labs and facilities
  • Journey to the Highlands Tortoise Reserve, seeing the variety of the island’s ecosystems along the way
  • Observe giant land tortoises in their natural habitat
  • Enjoy an included lunch
  • Keep an eye out for king angelfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, rays, sharks, sea lions, marine iguanas, and more during an afternoon stop at Eden Islet or Ballena Bay

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Otavalo1 night
Day 8: Otavalo via Quito
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

End your time in the Galápagos with further exploration of Santa Cruz Island.

  • Take a dinghy ride to the Itabaca Channel, where you can view sharks, blue-footed boobies, and more
  • Travel to Baltra and board your flight back to Quito on the mainland

Transfer to Otavalo and celebrate your trip at a farewell dinner this evening.

Overnight Flight1 night
Day 9: Otavalo market visit & departure
Included meal: Breakfast

Visit the Otavalo market to browse the stalls, shop for indigenous crafts, and attend a local weaving demonstration. Then, stop to view the Quitsato Sundial, a monument located on the equator, where you’ll view a demonstration of equatorial effects.

Afterward, relax in a dayroom before boarding your flight home late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Please note: If you’re traveling on the tour extension to Peru, you will spend the night in Quito this evening.

Arrive Home
Day 10: Arrival home

Arrive home.

Extension to Peru
Fly to Lima to experience the best Peru has to offer—and, yep, that includes Machu Picchu. Continue your trip to see the legacy of the conquistadors and uncover the Lost City of the Inca, all with your expert Tour Director at your side.
Quito1 night
Day 9: Otavalo market visit
Included meal: Breakfast

After your visit to Otavalo market, enjoy a free afternoon in Quito.

Lima1 night
Day 10: Flight to Lima
Included meal: Breakfast

Fly to Lima, Peru this morning and get settled in to your hotel.

Enjoy free time for the rest of the day in Lima.

Cuzco2 nights
Day 11: Flight to Cuzco
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Board your flight to Cuzco this morning, then enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city on your own.

Tonight, get a taste of Peruvian cuisine during an included dinner as you watch a traditional folklore show featuring indigenous dances from around the country.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Cuzco
Included meal: Breakfast

Set out on a sightseeing tour of Cuzco, the UNESCO-recognized ancient capital of the Inca Empire.

  • Stroll through ruins at Kenko, the “red fortress” of Puca Pucara and Sacsayhuaman, which was once completely covered in gold
  • View the towering Cristo Blanco statue, a thank-you gift from the Palestinian refugees who took shelter in the city during World War II
  • Stop at the colonial-era Plaza de Armas to enter Cuzco Cathedral
  • Walk through the city center and step inside the Convent of Santo Domingo, built by the Spaniards where the Inca temple of Koricancha stood

Enjoy a free evening exploring Cuzco or add an excursion.

Peruvian Cooking Demonstration & Dinner

From $165 per person

Machu Picchu Region1 night
Day 13: Aguas Calientes via the Sacred Valley
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, you’ll transfer to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. First, make a stop in the Sacred Valley to see the sights.

  • Peruse the colorful stalls of the wide-open Pisac Market, where you’ll find local fare and traditional crafts on display
  • Enjoy an included lunch in Urubamba
  • Continue to the ancient Ollantaytambo ruins to explore still-standing Incan homes
  • Board a train to Aguas Calientes

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Please note: Travelers must submit full passport details by Tour Finalization Date or risk being denied entry to Machu Picchu due to scarcity of tickets and daily entrance restrictions.

Cuzco1 night
Day 14: Sightseeing tour of Machu Picchu
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell lunch

On today’s guided tour, you’ll uncover the lost city of Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites on the entire South American continent.

  • Tour the ruins of the ceremonial center, cultivation terraces, and guard house
  • Visit Funeral Rock, the Main Temple, Temple of the Three Windows, Chamber of Ornaments, the Sacred Plaza, the Intihuatana Stone, the Temple of the Sun, the Rock Quarry, the Ritual Fountains, and the Condor Temple
  • Sit down for an included lunch
  • Enjoy a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley on your way back to Cuzco
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 15: Flight to Lima, sightseeing tour & departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Fly to Lima this morning. Then, enjoy a farewell lunch before setting out on a guided tour, which highlights Lima's modern and colonial quarters.

  • Visit the Miraflores district and Parque del Amor
  • View Plaza Mayor and the Municipal Palace in Lima’s historic center
  • Enter the Cathedral of Lima and descend into the catacombs below the Church of San Francisco

Later, relax in a dayroom before boarding your overnight flight home.

Arrive Home
Day 16: Arrival at home

Arrive home today.

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4.9 star rating

Overall rating 4.9 out of 5

Based on 7 authentic traveler reviews
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    5.0 star rating

    Galápagos Legend was Legendary !
    7/24/23 by 1st-time traveler Teresa

    Words cannot express how my time on and off the Galápagos Legend meant to me! The entire journey was a spiritual experience for me!

    5.0 star rating

    7/24/23 by 1st-time traveler Alex

    First ever tour with GoAhead and I loved everything about it. Rodrigo our guide was great, the activities were exquisite from hiking to snorkeling, to the awesome cruise around the unique Galapagos islands.

    5.0 star rating

    Wonderful trip
    7/25/22 by 9th-time traveler Susan

    Excellent from start to finish

    Show more reviews

    Traveler photos

    Hotels, flights & FAQ

    Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


    We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
    Mercure Alameda Quito
    Mercure Alameda Quito

    This contemporary hotel is located in La Mariscal district of Quito. Guests enjoy two restaurants, a wine bar, a fitness center, and free Wi-Fi. Nearb...

    Read more +
    Galapagos Legend
    Galapagos Legend

    This boutique cruise ship sails in the waters around the Galápagos Islands. Guests enjoy a pool and jacuzzi, gym, and stargazing area. Nearby, you’ll ...

    Read more +
    Hosteria Hacienda Pinsaqui
    Hosteria Hacienda Pinsaqui

    An hour and a half north of Quito, Hacienda Pinsaqui is ideally located at the foot of Imbabura volcano and in the heart of the province of lakes in E...

    Read more +
    Hotel Jose Antonio Lima
    Hotel Jose Antonio Lima

    This contemporary hotel is located in Miraflores. Guests enjoy Wi-Fi, laundry service, and a business center. Nearby, you'll find Miraflores Central P...

    Read more +
    Hotel Jose Antonio Cuzco
    Hotel Jose Antonio Cuzco

    This comfortable hotel is located in Cusco's Main Square. Guests enjoy the sauna, on-site restaurant, and terrace. Nearby you'll find Cusco Cathedral,...

    Read more +
    El MaPi by Inkaterra
    El MaPi by Inkaterra

    This contemporary hotel is located in Aguas Calientes. Guests enjoy Wi-Fi, a bar, and laundry service. Nearby, you'll find Machu Picchu, Phuyupatamarc...

    Read more +


    Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.
    Add our airfare package and you'll get:
    • Round-trip flight for your tour
    • Airport transfers at your destination
    • A great price locked in today
    • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
    • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
    • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
    • Find out more about flights


    Print FAQ
    About the cruise ship
    • An expedition ship that offers a luxurious sailing experience, the M/V Galápagos Legend brings a bit of elegance to adventure cruising. Onboard experts, trained at the Darwin Center, help you get an intimate yet environmentally safe look at the islands. Download a detailed summary of the ship’s amenities and available cabins [PDF].
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    Passport, visa & entry requirements
    • In order to enter Ecuador (and Peru on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
    • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
    • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
    • Upon arrival in Peru on the tour extension, you will receive an Andean Immigration card that you will need to present when visiting Machu Picchu.In order to secure your entrance to Machu Picchu, travelers are required to confirm their full passport details with Go Ahead Tours no later than 45 days prior to your departure date.
    • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
    • On the tour extension, entrance tickets into Machu Picchu require full passport information. Travelers must enter these details via your online account, mobile app, or by giving the Traveler Support Team a call by your Tour Finalization Date or risk being denied entry into Machu Picchu due to scarcity of tickets and daily entrance restrictions.
    • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code EC1.
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    Tour pacing & mobility
    • You will walk for at least 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets, unpaved trails, and sandy paths, with some hills at high altitudes
    • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance and should be able to walk up and down steps without handrails. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
    • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of small boats.
    • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
    • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
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    Transportation & arrival information
    • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in and depart from Quito (or Lima on the tour extension). A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
    • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
    • Round-trip flights between Quito and the Galápagos Islands are included in the price of your tour. (The tour extension also includes flights from Quito to Lima, Lima to Cuzco and back to Lima).
    • A four-night Galápagos Islands cruise and other boat rides are also included in the price of your tour.
    • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
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    Baggage allowance
    • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
    • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that on your included on-tour flights, it may be required that your checked bag weigh less than 44 pounds and your carry-on bag weigh less than 20 pounds.
    • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
    • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
    • On the tour extension in Peru, you will need a small overnight bag (such as your carry-on bag) for your stay in Machu Picchu, as most luggage will need to be stored in Cuzco.
    • When visiting Machu Picchu on the tour extension, there are restrictions in place for backpacks, food, umbrellas, and camera tripods.
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    Clothing & packing tips
    • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. Comfortable, casual clothing, a lightweight jacket, and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are a must for sightseeing.
    • Waterproof shoes or sandals, a swimsuit, sunscreen, and insect repellent are recommended for daily activities.
    • Binoculars are handy for a closer look at local wildlife and scenery.
    • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
    • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
    • When visiting Machu Picchu on the tour extension, there are restrictions in place for backpacks, food, umbrellas, and camera tripods.
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    • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at
    • Please be aware that you will be traveling at altitudes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. These high altitudes can sometimes cause difficulties for travelers who have heart problems or respiratory ailments. If you suffer from any of these conditions, please speak to your healthcare provider regarding any potential health risks.
    • Even healthy travelers may sometimes experience altitude sickness, a temporary condition featuring symptoms of headache, fatigue, nausea, and light-headedness. Until your body acclimates to the higher altitudes, we suggest that you stay hydrated and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
    • There are inherent risks associated with water activities, particularly for those with preexisting medical conditions. Discuss your planned activities with your doctor or healthcare provider for the best advice on participation.
    • Seasickness while on board the cruise ship is uncommon, but medication will be available if needed. If you are particularly prone to seasickness you may want to bring your own medication and take it at least 24 hours before the cruise starts.
    • Take proper care with sun exposure, as the sun can be especially strong in some of the regions on this tour.
    • Drink bottled water only. Refrain from ingesting tap water, including when brushing your teeth. Ice on board the cruise ship is made with purified water.
    • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they’re cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
    • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
    • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
    • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code EC1.
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    • Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, reflecting the availability of ingredients across the country. At higher elevations, meat-based dishes are more popular, while along the coast you’ll find seafood in abundance. Traditionally, meals are served with soup and rice, and many feature starches like potatoes and yucca root. Bananas and plantains are also a major Ecuadorian export, appearing in many recipes. You might try patacones, a fritter made with mashed plantains, which is a popular Ecuadorean side.
    • On the tour extension, Peruvian cuisine reflects both the country’s indigenous cultures as well as European colonial and Pacific Rim influences. Staples include grains such as quinoa, maize, and rice, as well as beans, potatoes, and meat. Ceviche, traditionally raw sea bass marinated with lime and chilies, is a national dish. Adventurous eaters may want to try cuy, or roasted guinea pig that’s cooked over an open fire. You can also raise a toast with Peru’s famous pisco, the delicious (and sour) white-grape brandy.
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    Electricity & air conditioning
    • Ecuador operates on 120 volts and uses Types A or B plugs with two flat pins or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively.
    • The cruise ship operates on 110/220 volts. Both European and American outlets are available on the vessel. The frequency is 50 Hz.
    • On the tour extension, Peru operates on 220 volts and uses Types A or C plugs with two flat pins or two round pins, respectively.
    • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
    • The strength of the air conditioning in some hotels in this region may not be as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
    • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
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    • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. In more remote locations, internet access may be limited and is not guaranteed.
    • Wi-Fi connection is accessible when anchoring in main ports. Satellite phone service is offered while at sea.
    • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches
    • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
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    Time zones
    • Mainland Ecuador (and Peru on the tour extension) is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the same as Eastern Time (ET). Ecuador and Peru do not observe Daylight Saving Time.
    • The Galápagos Islands are six hours behind GMT, but your cruise ship will operate on Ecuador’s mainland time.
    • From November through March, when it’s noon in New York City, it’s noon in Ecuador and Lima on the tour extension. From April through October, when it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am in Ecuador and 11am in Lima.
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    • You will use the U.S. dollar in Ecuador (plus the Peruvian sol in Peru on the tour extension).
    • Please note that U.S. bills in denominations higher than $20 may not be accepted in some areas of Ecuador.
    • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
    • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
    • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
    • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
    • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
    • On your cruise ship, you may open an account at reception to pay for on-board expenses with a credit card; Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and U.S. dollars are accepted. You can select your payment method upon arrival.
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    • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in USD.
    • We recommend tipping $8USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
    • If applicable, we also recommend $2USD per local guide.
    • On your cruise, tipping your waiter, busser, and cabin steward at the end of the voyage is customary if you're pleased with the service. We recommend $15USD to $20USD per traveler per day, to be divided among the crew on the cruise ship.
    • Separate tips are recommended for the naturalist guides. We recommend $10USD per traveler per day.
    • Tips can only be paid in cash.
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    Purchasing excursions on tour
    • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
    • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
    • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
    • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.
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    Shore excursions
    • While on the ship, you'll have the opportunity to follow expert naturalists to discover the unique beauty of the Galápagos Islands. These knowledgeable guides lead excursions ranging from snorkeling to bird-watching, giving you the chance to get closer to the incredible animals that make the Galápagos their home. International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.
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