Arriving at Guayaquil Airport, meet your driver/guide for a private transfer to Hacienda la Danesa. Located in Ecuador's tropical coastal region, it's only 90 minutes from Guayaquil and offers spectacular views of the Andes Mountains. Upon arrival, you will have a chance to relax before enjoying fine dining at their open-air restaurant. La Danesa takes great pride in crafting incredible meals using fresh, locally sourced, seasonal and organic ingredients, including fresh, hand-crafted artisanal cheese for guests to sample every morning.
After breakfast, you'll have a choice of a variety of activities offered by the Hacienda: a tour of the cacao plantation, teak plantation tour, mountain biking, or maybe tubing on lazy rivers. Afterwards, enjoy a cooking class and lunch. Charismatic and passionate Chef Joan will host a cooking class for guests. Chef Joan is an expert in both in domestic and international cuisine. Participants will learn how to prepare La Danesa's signature dishes using organic ingredients from the gardens and local markets. The class will end with guests sitting down to enjoy their culinary creations. In the afternoon, explore your surroundings by horseback riding. Riders can reconnect with nature, as you casually roam along different trails around forests, paddocks and rivers guided by a Montubio (coastal) cowboy. In the evening, a relaxing dinner awaits you.
After breakfast you'll have a private transfer to Puerto Cayo and on to the Las Tanusas resort. This Gastro Retreat is designed for lovers of fine dining, great food and drink. Bocavaldivia: their unique culinary art concept, offers the best of nature and local knowledge. Every menu is the result of the timeless hard work of ancestral fishing techniques (shore and mangrove), the gathering of shellfish, fruits, and seasonal vegetables.
After checking in, learn about and participate in artisanal fishing, and enjoy a lunch on the beach. You'll meet our team of fishermen and join them as they fish on the beach in front of Tanusas. Then with our harvest, we'll prepare our catch and have lunch on the beach. Returning to Tanusas, you'll have some free time to explore and relax. Later, enjoy a sumptuous five-course dinner in the main house, including a desert made with farm fresh ingredients. Then enjoy a restful evening in your Master Suite Ocean View room.
Start your day strong with a traditional and excellently prepared breakfast. After breakfast you will have some free time but don't go too far because later we visit the farm to gather the essentials for your cooking class! You'll meet Chef Rodrigo, who will teach you to make a new dish with fresh ingredients from the farm. Then enjoy lunch that you have had a hand in creating. Returning to Tanusas, the remainder of the day is at your leisure. This evening, meet us in the main house for dinner at BocaValdivia, this time for a memorable farewell dinner.
After breakfast, meet your driver for the private transfer to Guayaquil, and the final culinary experience of our trip. Once we arrive to Guayaquil you'll enjoy a tour of this wonderful city. Situated on the Guayas River, this bustling metropolis has an endearing, tropical atmosphere, plenty to experience, and is an important stop on every visit to Ecuador. On this tour, we visit several of the city's highlights such as the famous Malecon 2000 Boardwalk, the Parque Seminario, and an animal rescue center. Afterwards, we'll walk along the waterfront and learn about signature Guayaquil structures such as the Crystal Palace, the Moorish Tower, and the Governor's Office. We'll also visit Santa Ana Hill, the picturesque neighborhood where the city was founded, hear what life was like in Guayaquil a century ago, and enjoy the comical antics of the hundreds of iguanas that share the Seminario Park with its daily visitors. We'll finish the tour, arriving at the Hotel del Parque, a restored 19th century boutique hotel. After checking in, the remainder of the afternoon is free to rest or explore on your own. Stroll among the 7 acres of native gardens and several landmark buildings, including the church bell tower, which has been renovated as a massage treatment room. This evening for the grand finale in your epicurean journey, enjoy a delicious four-course dinner in one of the most prestigious and renowned restaurants in Guayaquil. Casa Julian's menu bursts with rich seafood fresh from the nearby Pacific Coast, as well as local ingredients like avocado, coconut, and world-renowned cacao in delightfully original creations. Drawing on the customs of traditional Ecuadorian cuisine and inspired by its soups, stews, and tropical flavors, their talented chef Juan Carlos Ordoñez brings unique tastes and a maverick aesthetic to the table.
After breakfast, meet your driver for a private transfer for your flight to Baltra or San Cristobal in the Galapagos. Your guide from your selected cruise* or island hopping package will await you in the arrivals hall.
*Please Note: Itineraries will differ depending on chosen cruise or island hopping package. Here is a sample itinerary for one possible option: the Endemic 4 Night Itinerary C. Arriving in Baltra Airport, you'll pass through customs and immigration, then meet your guide for your transfer to the port and on to the Endemic.
This brand new ship (navigating as of July 2018) was designed by a team of expert ship builders with comfort and style in mind. The 8 panoramic suites offer natural light, an outdoor balcony, and all the necessary comforts. After checking in and learning about the vessel, you will head out on your first visit, to Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. Walk among the land iguanas that just a few decades ago were on the brink of extinction. You will also see a flamingos' lagoon, pintail ducks and other endemic birds including flycatchers and warblers. After a short trek, amazing view awaits us up the hill. Enjoy offshore snorkeling before returning to the yacht.
Today we'll visit Kicker Rock, an impressive geological formation created by erosion. This is a nesting place of sea birds. Additionally, curious sea lions, and other marine life can be found, such as fish, turtles, sharks, rays - making snorkeling the main attraction. Next, we'll visit Witch Hill, a tuff cone hill located South West of San Cristobal. This name comes from the Spanish name of the bird known in English as Vermilion Flycatcher. A zodiac ride will take passengers into amazing rock formations along the island shore. A white sand beach and crystal-clear waters are part of this enchanted location, providing another fantastic opportunity for snorkeling.
In the afternoon, you will visit Lobos Island, where a population of blue-footed boobies, frigates, marine iguanas, and great frigate birds nesting can be observed. Snorkeling with sea lions in this calm bay is also part of the excursion.
Gardner Bay offers an excellent beach to relax, swim and even kayak, plus the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here you can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters. A short dinghy ride will take you to the Osborn and Gardner Islets, which are superb locations for snorkeling with young sea lions and a greater variety of tropical fish and corals. In the afternoon, head to Suarez Point, on Española Island. Suarez Point is an area with an outstanding variety of wildlife. The walking trail will take you past nesting sites of Nazca and blue-footed boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds and finches. You will also pass a geyser which can spray water up to 25m into the air - a spectacular feat of nature. Finally, when you reach the top of the breathtaking cliffs, you can enjoy watching waved albatrosses launching themselves out across the ocean.
Our first stop will be Santa Fe Island, formed as a result of a volcanic uplift millions of years ago. Santa Fe is inhabited by the endemic yellow-green Santa Fe iguanas. There are two main trails on the island, one that leads to a beach through a forest of tall Opuntia (prickly pear) trees; another that takes you into the highlands and culminates in a stunning cliff top viewpoint where Galapagos hawks can be sighted. It is also possible to snorkel along the shoreline with the highly entertaining sea lions.
In the afternoon visit South Plaza Island. One of two small islets, South Plaza island houses a rich diversity of wildlife and vegetation. After passing a large colony of sea lions and ascending the slopes, you may catch a glimpse of swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, red-billed tropic birds, frigates and the rare lava gull. The ground is carpeted in Sesuvium, which transforms from bright red in the dry season to a vibrant green in the wet season, and land iguanas crowd around towering prickly pear cacti, waiting patiently for their juicy fruits to fall.
After breakfast, you'll visit the Charles Darwin Research Center. The Darwin research center is instrumental in carrying out important scientific research about the preservation of the archipelago's ecosystems and initiating a significant breeding program in 1970 for giant tortoises. As well as accessing a wealth of information about the flora and fauna found across the islands, you will have the chance to see tortoises at all stages of their development. Having been reared in captivity, they are very accustomed to humans, so don't miss out on getting a photo with one of these remarkable animals. After the morning excursion you'll have a transfer to Baltra Airport for your return home or onward to your next Avanti Destination!