The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare on Lan Airlines to Quito; a round-trip flight between Quito and Baltra Island in the Galápagos; round-trip ferry transfers to Santa Cruz Island; two nights at the Radisson Royal Quito Hotel; two nights at the Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge on Santa Cruz Island; one night at the Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge; one night at the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge; six breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners; sightseeing activities including a visit to Los Gemelos on Santa Cruz, Pirate's Cave on Floreana, and the Wall of Tears on Isabela; a tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station; the Galápagos National Park entrance fee ($100) and the Galápagos Transit Control Card fee ($10); transfers and ground transportation; the services of English-speaking local guides; and hotel taxes and fuel surcharges; from $2,199 per person — plus airport taxes and fees of about $145.
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When: Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, 2010; additional departures in 2011 are available for $100 more.
Gateways: Miami; add $230 for New York City; $280 for Boston; $300 for Houston; $340 for L.A.; $375 for Dallas.
The fine print: Does not include taxes and fees of about $145 per person. (This includes a $45 departure tax that must be paid in local currency at the time of departure.) Based on double occupancy; single supplement is from $400. Maximum group size is 10. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: July 31, 2010.
Contact: Friendly Planet Travel, 800/555-5765, friendlyplanet.com.
Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest round-trip fare between Miami and Quito is $489, with taxes, for travel in late November (Copa Airlines). For an additional $1,855, this package covers the international airfare, as well as a round-trip local flight between Quito and the Galápagos Islands, six nights' accommodations, most meals, shore excursions, entrance fees and tickets, transportation, fuel surcharges, and hotel taxes. Plus, you'll benefit from having experienced English-speaking tour leaders and nautralists guide you through remote areas of the Galápagos Islands.
More: Optional trip extensions include an excursion to Cuenca, the third-largest city in Ecuador, from $359 per person for two nights' hotel, air and land transportation, and guided sightseeing.
Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.