Welcome to Ecuador and the city of Guayaquil, gateway to the Galapagos islands! Arriving to and leaving from Guayaquil is a much more comfortable option than Quito from every aspect, and this tour is all about comfort.
There are flights from NY, TLV and all points to bring you to Guyaquil (GYE) on Sunday including a DIRECT overnight flight from JFK.
On arrival at Guayaquil's Airport you will be met and transferred to our hotel, just a very short drive away. The remainder of the day is for you to relax and recover from the trip. We’ll look after you meal-wise irrespective of your arrival time.
Over dinner, you will receive a briefing where we will explain all the tour details. Dinner won’t be fancy but there is a brand new (Israeli-style) kosher restaurant in Guyaquil that we will support!!!!
Accommodation: Wyndham Hotel, Guayaquil, 5*
Click here for some more info regarding this excellent hotel
This morning we will be transferred to the airport for the flight to the Galapagos Islands. We will be met in the arrival hall of the airport by a National Park Guide, and transferred to our fabulous “home” for the next few days - Pikaia Lodge.
Accommodation: Pikaia Lodge http://pikaialodge.com/
For a better understanding about this hotel’s unique aims and concept, click here. If you want to know why Naomi Tours has chosen to visit the Galapagos islands staying on land, here it is: we are offering our guests the ability to sleep in absolute luxury in a fabulous brand new hotel without taking anything away from the Galapagos experience.
The hotel is being transformed IN ITS ENTIRETY to kosher for the duration of our stay and this combination will, we believe, make this the ULTIMATE tour to the Galapagos for the Kosher traveler.
All day tours will be on our own private boats!!
The small island of North Seymour is home to many different species of animals, and is the best place to see the frigate birds with their bulbous red throats, watch the iconic blue footed boobies dance, spot land and marine iguanas, and search for Galapagos sea lions and fur seals.
On a two-hour walk around this magical island you’ll also spy other sea birds like swallow-tailed gulls and shearwater, as well as many tropical birds. After the walk you’ll return to the boat for lunch, then sail to Bachas beach on Santa Cruz Island.
This is a nesting area for sea turtles and there’s a small lagoon where flamingoes can occasionally be seen. You’ll also strap on your mask for some snorkelling through the beautiful waters.
Bartolome is the most recognizable and photographed island in the archipelago thanks to its distinctive pinnacle rock.
You’ll walk along a wood trail to the top of this once-active volcano, seeing the different lava rock formations that were created during the formation of island on the way.
At the top you’ll have a fantastic panoramic across to Santiago Island’s Sullivan Bay – look out for the surrounding plants like lava cactus, as well as Darwin's finches.
After the walk, we’ll take a zodiac ride along the island to meet the cheeky Galapagos penguins, and then disembark on the beach for some snorkelling.
This is a great place to see white tip reef sharks, sea turtles, many fish, and maybe swim alongside sea lions.
Then it’s back to our hotel.
Today we will visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. This is the picture you’ve all been waiting to take!!!!!
The small town of Puerto Ayora is the economic center of the archipelago, and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. As well as undertaking vital conservation work, the station also makes for interesting exploration and offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. You will also observe baby tortoises and land iguanas.
Afterward we’ll head up into the highlands for a total change of scenery. Beginning at the coast we'll travel across Santa Cruz through the agricultural region and into the misty forests. This is a lush humid zone containing miconia bushes, scalesia and inactive volcanic cones. Santa Cruz has more endemic plants than any of the other islands and you are likely to see Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat and perhaps even the bright red feathers of a vermillion flycatcher!
For operational reasons the group will have to split into two smaller groups on certain days but everyone will see everything!!
We say goodbye to the Galapagos today and take a flight back to Guayaquil arriving at about mid-day. Shabbat starts at 18.00!!
Shabbat will again be in the Guayaquil Wyndham and we’ll eat with the small community before leaving Sunday morning for a couple of days in Quito.
This morning we'll drive straight from the airport to visit the famous Otavalo Market. Villagers from the surrounding area travel to Otavalo each week to sell their wares. You'll find everything from handmade goods to fruit and vegetables, to livestock. Many of the regional indigenous communities still wear traditional dress of intricately woven fabrics and the men often tie their hair into long ponytails. On the way back to Quito will visit as much of the beautiful countryside around Otavalo as time will allow, so please wear comfortable footwear as the terrain can be unpredictable.
This morning we’ll visit Quito. We’ll explore Quito's Old Town with its countless churches, engrossing history and wonderful museums. We visit the Panecillo hill in the middle of the old town (a lookout point), which affords the best view of Quito, then we come down to see the Presidential Palace and Independence Square.
After lunch we’ll transfer to airport for your international flight.