This is luxury cruise/tour for kosher travelers. Small group, travel with mashgiach and a tour leader. Stay in 5* resorts/lodges and cruise ship.

ECUADOR & THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS LUXURY KOSHER TOUR 

18 days/ 17 nights

28th January – 14th February 2016

Thursday 28th January 2016

When you arrive at Quito airport Ecuador, you will be met and transferred to our hotel for dinner and orientation. As members of the group may arrive at different times the orientation aspects and any important information will be ready for you in your rooms but whatever time you arrive there will be someone to meet and greet you.

The new airport is outside the city (– it used to be right in the middle!). As you fly in, if you are seated by a window, you may enjoy your first sight of the mountains and volcanoes which rise up on either side of the long valley in which the city lies.

Quito is probably the prettiest capital city in South America. It is 2,850 meters above sea level, 22 Kilometers from the equator, and enjoys a great spring climate and a magnificent view all around. The city itself lies at the foot of Mt. Roca Pichincha, which rises to a height of 4,700 meters.

Architecturally, Quito holds vast colonial treasures, and construction in the modern city has been under strict control since 1978 when UNESCO placed Quito on the list of World Heritage Sites.

Our Hotel in Quito will be in a beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of the Old City at the Plaza Grande

 http://www.plazagrandequito.com/#

Friday 29th January 2016

Your first day in Quito and we will have a tour of the city and visit the Middle of the World,  “Mitad del Mundo” and the Equator Monument situated at 0º0’0” latitude where the eighteenth century French Geodesic Expedition raised one of the three pyramids as landmarks for their planet calculations to deduct the shape of the planet in a complex which replicates colonial architecture, a typical central plaza, a church and bull-fighting ring. More entertainingly (and possibly more accurately positioned a very short distance away) we also visit the Intiñan Solar Museum, where you’ll find scientific and experimental aspects of being right at the Equator. Nearby we will visit  the Jewish Community Centre – an amazing complex  and have lunch there.and return to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat.

Shabbat 30th January 2016

We have our own special room for meals and for davening and it is possible that some of the local community will join us. In the afternoon there will be a guided walk to some interesting places nearby And a visit to the Central Bank Museum, which has permanent collections of archaeological, ethnographic, colonial and republican art, as well as old photographs, The art covers pre-Columbian and Inca art and all the way up to contemporary works.

In the evening we will go on a ‘Chiva’ tour outing.

Sunday 31st January 2016

The day starts with a two-hour drive east of Quito to the Papallacta Hot Springs resort in the Andean moorlands on the last mountain ridges before the land descends to the Amazon Basin.  Here you can unwind in fresh water thermal pools, hike a trail or enjoy a spa treatment (average costJ). We’ll lunch here and in the afternoon we will be descending into the Amazon basin crossing extensive valleys to the  Casa del Suizo lodge. Our ‘home in the jungle (for 2 nights)  http://www.casadelsuizo.com

Monday 1st February 2016

Today is an Amazon experience with Jungle activities All excursions will be led by a native guide with expert knowledge of the rainforest’s medicinal and other useful plants. A typical day begins after an early breakfast, and there are a variety of trails and activities to choose from the most likely will be as described below, but all can be weather dependent.

Typically the day starts with a canoe ride inside the Amazonian rainforest, along the Napo River. Arrive in Misahualli where the monkeys are as numerous as the people, follow this with a second canoe ride on the Arajuno. Visit "AmaZoonico", an animal rescue center in which numerous species are tended to, including toucans, a variety of colorful parrots, monkeys, jaguars, capybaras and much more. Enjoy a picnic on the riverbank and visit a Kichwa family to learn their ancient customs. Learn how to make Chicha, the ‘drink of the Incas’ a typical beverage (which of course all may taste), and finally, all may participate in a blowgun target-shooting contest – but don’t expect to beat the natives!

Walks may range from full day hikes through primary rainforest to short, easy walks along river islands, depending on each group’s interests and physical abilities. Along the Napo River it is possible to observe a variety of shore birds on the way to our trails. Once in the forest, where giant trees and tangled vines tower above, the guides will point out important aspects of the vegetation while on the lookout for tropical birds and other jungle creatures… Stay alert and you may find some yourself! 

Tuesday 2nd February 2016

Leaving the Amazon we head to Puyo where the local ‘industry’ is making things from Balsa wood – useful souvenirs as well as they weigh next to nothing! Visit Puyo area and  head down into the Pastaza river canyon to the so called "Avenue of Waterfalls" where we find Cascada de la Virgen, Maria Inés, the Bride’s Shroud, Path of Machay, Pailón del Diablo, all of which lie along the riverbed of the Pastaza and are surrounded by green lush vegetation.

The tallest waterfall, Pailón del Diablo (the Devil’s Cauldron)  can be observed from a breathtaking suspension bridge.  There’s a cable car ride across the gorge and a viewpoint above Banos a glimpse at the Tungurahua volcano (all weather and time dependent)  leads us to Baños and our beautiful hotel and spa for the night : The Samari Spa (once a convent) set in lush gardenswww.samarispa.com

Wednesday 3rd February 2016

And on to the Volcanos.  The active Tungurahua is one of South America's most active volcanoes., A new lava dome has been growing in its summit crater since 2000. We will see the effects of the eruptions as we leave Baños and head for ‘Volcano Avenue’ where we’ll be visiting the highest mountain in Ecuador  - Chimborazo.  The summit is the point on the Earth's surface that is farthest from the Earth's centre!

Tonight we’ll be in Riobamba and staying at the at the Hacienda La Andalucha

www.hosteriaandaluza.com/

Thursday 4th February 2016

Today’s adventure includes the famous Devils Nose train excursion and the Inca ruins at Ingapirca. The Devil’s Nose Railway was one of the great railway engineering feats of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The line initially ran from Guayaquil on the coast to Quito, but now only the section between Riobamba and Sibambe is operational. This includes the spectacular ride down and up the Devil’s Nose between Alausi and Sibambe, with the line descending 1,000 metres down a steep slope on a series of switchbacks.

On our way to our next port of call – the beautiful city of Cuenca - we’ll visit Ingapirca. The Inca Trail in Ecuador is over 1,000 years old and was used by messengers to communicate between outposts in the Incan Empire, the largest and most significant ruins in Ecuador are here  -  the temple of the sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock.

The Cañari lived here long before the Incas arrived, erecting a Temple of the Moon, the foundations of which are still visible today. The Incas arrived at the end of the 15th century and defeated the Cañari. The Inca had enough respect for the Cañari to build a community together, and constructed their own Temple of the Sun to complement the original temple.

As well as employing their astonishing stonework, the Inca also built a complex underground irrigation network. Ingapirca was almost certainly used for ritual sacrifices because female skeletons have been unearthed on a site that was probably a convent for maidens.

Arriving at  Cuenca we’ll be staying at Maison Alcazar Boutique Hotel (for 3 nights) http://mansionalcazar.com

Friday 5th February 2016

A more relaxing day is in order and a city tour is what’s planned. Cuenca is arguably the most charming city in Ecuador with its cobblestone streets, old-world cathedrals, colonial parks and urban rivers. the city’s incredibly we preserved history, earned Cuenca the honour of being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site.

A bit of time to relax this afternoon and prepare for Shabbat .

Our hotel which is in the historical centre of Cuenca was a colonial mansion. The house belonged to Henry Lamb, son of the honorable former President Mr. Luis Cordero. It’s original name was “Casa Cordero”

Shabbat 6th February 2016

As on our first Shabbat there will be a walking tour in the afternoon near the hotel.

Sunday 7th February 2016

Now fully rested we’ll get set for the Galapagos. We travel to the coast to Guayaquil via the Cajas National Park home to 152 species of birds, loads of wildlife including llamas more than 275 Andean lakes lots of  waterfalls and stunning scenery.

In Guayaquil we have a city tour (of course) and stay at the Hilton Colon

http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/ecuador/hilton-co...

Get an early night as we start early and fly to the Galapagos in the morning.

Monday 8th – Thursday 11th February 2016

Galapagos Cruise on board the LEGEND

As the schedules change each year the current one may not pertain, also depending on the month the birds and animals you will see will be different. However you are likely to be enjoying one of two itineraries: I just don’t know which as the 2014 schedules haven’t yet been published.

The LEGEND itself does not come close to the Islands but anchors off shore and visitors are taken in groups of no more than 20 to the islands in fast Zodiac boats. One there there are two types of landing – either a ‘dry’ landing where one steps off onto a jetty or directly on to rocks, or a ‘wet’ landing here one steps off the Zodiac into warm ankle deep or knee high water on a sandy beach. Quite often there are opportunities to swim or snorkel as well as the hikes all of which are with highly qualified park rangers.

Possible Itinerary 1: On Monday morning we arrive at Baltra airport and explore our first bit of the island of Santa Cruz, where you will see giant tortoises in the wild and you explore pit craters and lava tubes – a bit scarey but ou don’t need to ‘do’ them if you don’t want to.

Tuesday morning’s visit is to Egas Point on Santiago Island This island was once home to a salt mining enterprise and its remains can still be seen if you walk from the black beach where you land, and continue along the coast. You will also see many inter-tidal pools that are homes to a large variety of invertebrate organisms.

Fur seals were thought to have gone extinct by 1905, but have since made a dramatic comeback. Santiago provides habitat for many of the 30-40,000 fur seals that call the Galapagos home. There are plenty of sea lions on the black beach of Puerto Egas and you can swim with them too.

Tuesday afternoon is  on Bartolome This island is home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Climbing to the top of this popular landmark rewards visitors with panoramic views of varied lave formations, volcanic peaks and moon-like landscape. Walking on the rocks at the base of Pinnacle Rock are Galapagos Penguins. This is the smallest species of penguins and the only species found north of the Equator. At the beach on the southern side, if you come in the right season, you can see nesting sea turtles resting in the sand or wading in the shallow water. You might also spot a white-tipped reef shark patrolling the close to the shore.

Wednesday it’s Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz the second largest island in the Galapagos. Santa Cruz is also the only island where six different vegetation zones can be seen: Coastal, Arid, Transition, Scalesia, Miconia and Pampa zones. Dragon Hill, or "Cerro Dragon," is named after its population of land iguanas. The site offers a beautiful view of the landscape and two small brackish lagoons where flamingos and other shore birds occasionally feed. Along the trail, we'll cross a beautiful "white forest" of Palo Santo (incense) trees and Galapagos cotton plants. .

in the afternoon North Seymour. This tiny island is packed with countless sea lions and it's one of the most popular breeding grounds for sea birds. A very large colony of frigate birds nest here, and it's almost guaranteed to see a few males proudly displaying their red pouches to impress a mate. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of their courtship dance, which is quite peculiar and amusing  It is also one of the best places to see blue-footed boobies.  . Also, while visiting this island, you might very well witness a great show of acrobatic flight, namely a frigate bird robbing a booby, a gull or even another frigate bird of their food.

Thursday it’s back to the North side of Santa Cruz to Bachus Beach. Here you may see sea turtles, flamingos and migratory birds and lapwings. Its crystal waters invite you to relax and swim or sunbathe to rounds off the Galapagos experience before lunch. In the afternoon it’s back Baltra and  to the airport.

You can go swimming/snorkelling at Egas Port, Bartolome, Borth Seymour and Bachus Beach

There’s also a dinghy ride at Bartolome and North Seymour.

Thursday 11th February 2016

In the afternoon  we fly back to the mainland to Quito and travel immediately on to Otavalo .

Aarriving at  La Mirage Garden SPA a former Hacienda in wonderful gardens for a busy Friday and a  relaxing Shabbat   http://www.mirage.com.ec/en-us/mainpage.aspx

Friday 12th February 2016

we’ll visit the famous Otavalo Indian Market and villages – .

The Otavalo Indian market is the most famous indigenous market in Ecuador and maybe one of the most colourful in South America. You will find an impressive variety of all kinds of Ecuadorian handcrafts. At dawn you may see indigenous people arriving to the market place from many mountain trails surrounding the city. We won’t see this, but we will visit some of the workshops of these local weavers working on back strap and Spanish treadle looms, as well as other artisans at work making musical instruments, felt hats, knitting sweaters or weaving straw mats. We will spend a short time at  the leather market – a street of leather shops - in the town of Cotacachi.

Shabbat 13th February 2016

 Relaxing enjoyable day with a few walks thrown in for good measure.

Sunday 14th February 2016

We’ll end up at the airport but depending on the time of flights may have time for exploring more of the  Cuicocha-Cotacachi area and also see a Rose plantation.

Price per person double occupancy in USD

This depends on your choice of cabin on the ship. See description at at http://galapagosecuador.com/legendsleep.html

Standard plus cabin: This cabin has portholes not windows $10,550

Junior Suites: These cabins have large windows $10,982

Legend Suite: Probably the largest is in the front of the ship $11,235

Balcony Suite : About the same size as the Junior suite but with a private balcony $11,545

Balcony Suite plus: Larger than the Balcony suite and of course with it’s own private balcony $11,770

The Balcony suites are on an upper deck

Junior suites are on the deck with the lounge

Single supplement (to add to double occupancy price)

standard plus $2,000
Jr suite $2,170

INCLUDED IN THE COST:

Accommodation in 5 star hotels , top of the range Jungle lodge and high class Haciendas,

-  Breakfast & Dinner in the Hotel, lunch sometimes as picnics  

-  Visits according to Itinerary.

-  Entrance to the Reserves/museums.

-  Private Transportation.

-  English speaking Guide.

- Tips to local service personnel

-  Galapagos taxes/ fuel surcharge

-  Flight from mainland  to Islands and return

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE

-  Accommodation in air-conditioned cabins with private bathroom.

-  Meals scheduled on board.

-  Daily visits to the islands with English-speaking guide.

-  Snorkeling opportunities.

-  Briefings and lectures on board.

-  Transfers to/from the Islands from/to the ship.

 -  Tips to naturalists and serving staff

-  Mashgiah Kashrut throughout tour.

EXCLUDED

International flights to and from Quito Ecuador

Personal Insurance – health, baggage, etc.

Personal expenses – laundry, etc.

Spa treatments

Drinks on board ship other than other than those provided with meal.

Discretionary tip to mashgiach kashrut