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Trip Inspiration

10 Days: Quito + Galápagos

Quito + The Enchanted Islands

Experience the delightful city of Quito at your own pace before heading to the spectacular Galápagos Islands where you will board the M/Y Grace. Lounge with sea lions on the beach, snorkel with sea turtles, witness the giant tortoise in its only natural habitat, and photograph the unique species of Galápagos birds in one of the world's top wildlife viewing destinations.

Trip Highlights


  • 2 nights at Casa Gangotena in charming Quito
  • 7 nights aboard the M/Y Grace


  • Customized touring in and around the historic city of Quito
  • Abundant Galápagos wildlife viewing, from land and water
  • Snorkeling, hiking and beach fun on the islands
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Quito and The Galápagos Islands might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Quito, Ecuador

Welcome to Ecuador! Upon arrival in Quito you will be met for your private transfer to Casa Gangotena in the charming old city. Accommodations will be reserved for two nights, including breakfast daily.

Casa Gangotena Meals: N/A

Day 2


This morning after breakfast, you will be met by your private guide, who will be with you for a full day of touring.

Head to the north of Quito where the Chapel of Man, Oswaldo Guayasamin´s home, is located. Upon arrival enjoy a private tour of Guayasamín’s home and all its most intimate chambers, guided by an art specialist from the museum, who will share Guayasamin’s passion for art and culture and explain the most significant pieces of his private collection. This is a unique look inside the life of one of Latin America’s most creative minds in this past century. After, partake in a tasting of To’ak chocolate in Guayasamin’s private wine cellar, where he entertained some of the 20th century’s most notable figures including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Francois Mitterrand, the Prince of Monaco, and the King of Spain. Derived from a fusion of ancient dialects in Ecuador, the name To’ak means “earth” and “tree,” which together represent the true source of all chocolate, and nowadays is considered the best dark chocolate in the world.

After, head to Quito’s historic center, UNESCO’s first ever designated World Heritage Site. After a traditional gourmet lunch, you will visit San Francisco Church. Completed in 1650 after more than 150 years of construction, this architectural treasure houses more than 3500 work of art and is considered the oldest and most important religious site in Ecuador. From here, wander the charming, cobbled paths of the old city toward La Ronda Street, the city’s oldest, where you will find many handicraft stores and workshops. From here, continue on foot to the San Marcos neighborhood to see how the local live in this colorful, artsy part of the city.

Casa Gangotena Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 3

Quito to Galápagos Islands

(Embark the M/Y Grace)

This morning you will be met for your private transfer to the Quito Airport for your flight to the Galápagos.

Upon arrival at the Baltra  Airport in the Galápagos, you will be transferred to the M/Y Grace, your home for the next seven nights. Upon boarding, you will check in to your cabin before an introductory briefing and safety drill.

Once owned by Grace Kelly, this luxurious 16-guest yacht is the epitome of class and comfort. Enjoy expanded deck space, from which to view the archipelago’s stunning scenery, and newly refurbished common areas, including a lounge and bar. Meals can be taken al fresco or indoors, and each stateroom boasts incredible ocean views and every amenity needed to make your time aboard unforgettable.

Spend the afternoon walking along the white coral sand of Santa Cruz Island’s Bachas Beach, an important site for sea turtle nesting. While on shore, you can visit a small lagoon where flamingos are often found, along with great blue herons, common stilts, and other migratory birds. You can also snorkel in water that is slightly warmer than most other places in the archipelago. Keep your eye out for sea turtles!

Dinner will be served on board.

M/Y Grace Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4

Genovesa Island

Genovesa Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base! The southern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera, evidence of the sizable and mostly submerged volcano below.

Your first stop of the day is Prince Philip’s Steps. This is the best Galapagos landing site from which to see red-footed boobies, who comically perch by wrapping big red feet around tiny branches. You will walk a short distance across a broad lava field, all the while looking for short-eared owls preying on swarms of storm petrels. Snorkeling at the foot of the steps is also amazing with large, brightly colored tropical fish taking on a neon quality against the black lava background. This bay’s calm waters are also excellent for kayaking along the shore to observe nesting birds.

Genovesa is also known as “Bird Island,” and Darwin Bay, where you go ashore this afternoon, lives up to that name in a spectacular way! A gorgeous tidal grotto forms the backdrop to a gaggle of nesting and soaring seabirds birds. Follow a path up to the rookery cliffs to enjoy spectacular views of the bay along with colonies of gulls, tropic birds and frigates. Watch your step as you go, as marine iguanas, lava lizards and Galapagos doves perfectly blend in with the trail. Be sure to take time to snorkel or kayak along the walls and out in the middle of the sunken caldera. Remember to watch the inner bay at sunset as you might spot a giant manta ray.

M/Y Grace  Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5


Santiago Island

This morning you  will visit James Bay, where you land on a black beach doted with eroded rock formations. A path leads to a series of crystal-clear grottos and a natural bridge formed of broken lava tubes. This is the best place in the Galapagos to see fur seals and  marine iguanas feeding in tidal pools nearby. You will also find a colony of sea lions and Galapagos hawk frequent the area. Snorkeling offers encounters with Green Sea Turtles and tropical fish.

Following lunch, you will visit Espumilla Beach, where a short walk leads inland to a group of mangroves and a brackish lagoon. You’ll spot flocks of pink flamingos and white cheeked pintails wading in search of mollusks. Continuing on, the trail passes through a sparse Palo Santo forest, home to Galapagos finches and Vermillion flycatchers.

You will then set off to explore Buccaneer’s cove. A short walk up the beach leads inland to a mangrove typically inhabited by Common stilts. Beyond the mangroves is a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white cheeked pintails wade in search of mollusks. The trail passes over a tiny hilltop through a sparse Palo Santo forest before looping back to the beach. Galapagos finches and Vermilion fly catchers inhabit the area. The tuff formations that form the cliffs surrounding the cove have created a natural sculpture gallery rising from the sea. Formations include the Monk and Elephant Rock.

M/Y Grace Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 6

Isabela Island

Your day starts with a visit to Punta Vicente Roca, located on Isabela Island. You’ll spot blue-footed boobies along the sheer cliffs while flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline.  As a result of the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current, snorkeling is incredible here. You’ll have the chance to see colorful fish, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles in the water.

In the afternoon you will visit Tagus Cove, also on Isabela Island. Here, a wooden stairway rises to the trail entrance and continues around Darwin Lake. You will pass through a dry vegetation zone and end in a promontory (elevated piece of land that extends out into water) formed by spatter cones. The site provides spectacular views of the Grace’s anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf Volcanoes. The Cove’s pastures of underwater green algae offer the chance to snorkel with marine iguanas, sea turtles, penguins and sea horses.

M/Y Grace Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 7

Fernandina Island & Isabela Island

In the morning, you will explore Fernandina Island, home to the La Cumbre volcano, which erupts frequently (most recently in May 2005). Its recent lava flows stretch their way around the coast. On shore, you will make your way to Punta Espinoza, a narrow spit of land, where a number of unique species, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, herons, egrets and Galapagos hawks can be seen in close proximity.

Lunch will be served back on board the M/Y Grace after which you will visit Urbina Bay. Sitting directly west of Isabela’s Volcano Alcedo, you will make an easy, wet landing (a hop into a few inches of water) and walk along a three mile stretch of marine reef that has been lifted above the water by as much as 13 feet. A highlight of this excursion is sightings of the giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as the opportunity to either go snorkeling among marine creatures or relax on shore.

M/Y Grace Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 8

Isabela Island

Isabela Island’s Elizabeth Bay is one of the most sensitive habitats in the Galapagos, so this morning’s outing is entirely aboard your zodiac. The tangle of mangroves roots that line the bay calm the waters and make it seem like you are boating through a giant aquarium. Spotted eagle rays, golden rays and sea turtle glide just below the surface. You may also see a Galapagos hawk circling high overhead as you drift the calm waters, and sea lions can be spotted lounging on the mangrove trunks.

After lunch, the Grace makes her way a bit farther along the coast of Isabela to Punta Moreno, one of the least visited sites in the Galapagos. Approaching shore, you’ll have the chance to see Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants and a colony of marine iguanas. Landing on lava, you will set off for a hike over this volcanic landscape. Along the way, you’ll come upon natural pools and a series of coastal lagoons, that provide a surprising oasis of green mangrove forests where pelicans nest.

The snorkeling off Punta Moreno offers a similar assortment of wildlife including sea turtles, sting ray and sea lions mixed in with bumped head parrot fish, king angel fish and schools of yellow tailed and surgeon Pacific creole fish and much more.

M/Y Grace Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 9

Isabela Island

Landing in Puerto Villamil, a tiny fishing village founded in 1897, you will visit Las Tintoreras, home to an abundance of wildlife. Here, you’ll find colonies of sea lions, Galapagos turtles and iguanas, skates, sharks, penguins, sea cucumbers, urchins and a myriad of additional native flora and fauna. You then continue to Cuevas del Sucre which are fascinating lava formations, caves and tunnels located at an endemic forest.

Your final stop this morning will be a breeding station for the endemic giant tortoise lead by the National Park Service. You’ll also encounter a hyper-saline lagoon frequented by flamingos and other waders and shore birds.

This afternoon, enjoy all of the comforts the Grace has to offer as you sail toward Santa Cruz Island. Soak in the jacuzzi, enjoy a cocktail on the sundeck, and relax with a book.

M/Y Grace Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 10

Disembark M/Y Grace and Depart Ecuador

This morning you will bid farewell to the Grace and set off for a visit to Los Gemelos, where the terrestrial world of the tortoise and the underworld of the lava meet. These two large sinkhole craters were formed by collapsed lava tubes. The contrast between the marine desert coast and verdant Lost World look of the highlands is most striking here and you can easily encounter rain even when sun is shining on the coast, just thirty minutes away. Los Gemelos are surrounded by a Scalesia forest, a tree endemic to the Galapagos and home to many other endemic and native species. This is an excellent place to view some of Darwin’s famous finches along with the elusive and dazzling vermillion flycatcher.

 Afterward, you will head to the airport for your flight back to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, you will make your way to your connecting flights home.

Overnight Flight Meals: Breakfast