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updated 4/13/2010 9:43:44 AM ET 2010-04-13T13:43:44

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Travel by: Through 2010

The deal: It was Charles Darwin’s visit to the Galápagos in 1835 and ultimately his development of the evolution theory that helped put these extraordinary islands on the map.

And now, 175 years later, this special archipelago is still leaving visitors awe-struck by its unique, pristine ecosystem and endemic species such as the Galápagos giant tortoise, and Blue-footed Booby. But vacationing there doesn’t have to put you on the fast track to financial ruin, because SouthFares.com is offering an 8-day adventure from just $1,799 that includes round-trip airfare and a stopover in Quito, Ecuador.

Also included in this sensational deal are the following:
•    A 2-night stay at Alameda Mercure Hotel in Quito, Ecuador
•    One city tour of Quito (includes a stop at the Middle of the World)
•    One full-day tour of Otavalo Indian Market
•    Round-trip airfare from the Ecuador mainland to the Galápagos
•    A 4-night stay in the Galápagos at the all-incl. Palmeras Hotel (sans drinks)
•    A Galápagos tour (Santa Cruz Floreana and Isabela Islands)
•    All meals in the Galápagos
•    A 1-night stay at Palace Hotel in Guayaquil, Ecuador
•    One city tour of Guayaquil
•    All transfers

Top 10 ecotourist hot spots

Note: The $1,799 price quote is valid for departures from New York City and Miami. Other departure cities such as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco are available for just $200 more.

About the vacation: Shortly after touching down in Quito and checking into your hotel, you’ll set out on the town for an in-depth tour of the colonial city, where you’re bound to learn about the local heritage and history. On day two, you can mosey around Otavalo and its renowned Indian market — a fantastic place to procure handicrafts such as silver jewelry, wool sweaters, paintings, and more.

The second leg of this adventure will take you to the scenic Galápagos Islands. These islands are an ideal place to snorkel and see exotic wildlife (some of which can’t be found anywhere else on Earth). In addition to a comprehensive history lesson of these legendary islands, your tour includes exhilarating boat rides and visits to empty beaches.

Before flying back to the United States, you’ll return to Ecuador’s mainland and stay in Guayaquil — the country’s most populous municipality — for one night.

The dollars: Rates are based on double occupancy. Taxes and fees (where applicable) are additional. Price quotes are subject to availability.

The catch: Every vacation you take after visiting the Galápagos will just be “OK.”

ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best travel deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week.

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