This fantastic adventure has been created to meet the needs of all types of travelers who want to explore and discover what Ecuador has to offer and who don’t want to miss a thing. This itinerary combines the best treasures of Ecuador from the Galapagos Islands to the majestic Andes Mountains. You will experience first-hand how life has been created on this planet by visiting the Galapagos Islands in the best way possible; both over land and by sea. In the Andes, you’ll get a taste for local living by learning about Indian cultures first-hand. You’ll go to the heart of the mysterious Amazon rainforest to explore wildlife and hike in the unspoiled jungles. In between adventures, you can relax in the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca, shop in the famous Otavalo Indian market or if you haven’t had enough adventure, opt for more in the lively little city of Baños. This is an example itinerary which can be 100% customised and personalised to your needs and preferences.
|Local Transportation: Van, Train, Canoe||Private certified national guide and local guides|
|Accommodation||Ecuador: 9 breakfasts / 2 lunches / 2 dinners|
|Activities: Hiking, Trekking, Canoeing, Chocolate making||Galapagos: 5 breakfasts / 2 lunches|
|Galapagos: Adventure gear||Flights to Galapagos|
|Travel Insurance||Tips for the guide|
|Extra meals / additional beverages|
We have nothing planned for your arrival day. You will be picked up at the airport by one of our trip leaders and on the way to the hotel there will be plenty of time to discuss details and answer any questions about the adventure. Depending on when your flight arrives, you can spend your time relaxing or exploring Quito..
About Quito: Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Ecuador’s capital. It’s considered the cultural capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. Because of its strategic location in the middle of the Andes, you can organize fantastic day trips such as: Quito City tour, including a trip to the Equator Line, Mindo Cloud Forest, Cotopaxi National Park, Quilotoa Crater Lake, Otavalo Indian market, Papallacta hot springs, Pululahua inhabitant crater, and more. Overnight stay in a suite in Hotel Plaza Grande.
Explore the diverse natural landscapes of Ecuador on a private tour of the Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve from Quito. See gorgeous waterfalls and rushing rivers amid the tropical rainforest, and catch sight of unique species of butterflies, insects and birds. During your hike, customised to your comfort level, your expert guide will inform you about the flora and fauna – from the mossy forest floor to canopy. This trip is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and bird-lovers. Overnight stay in Suite in Hotel Plaza Grande.
Otavalo Indian Market
We will begin our day heading up to the northern Ecuadorian Andes. On our way, we will stop at the look-out located at the entrance of Imbabura province, where we will get a breathtaking view of the Imbabura volcano as well as sparkling Lake San Pablo. After a 15 minute drive, we arrive at Otavalo, where we will have the opportunity to experience and spend time with local people from the the surrounding Andean villages. You will see them wearing their traditional dresses and hear them speak in their native languages. We will visit the Otavalo market, which is considered one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. Here you will be able to bargain for local crafts authentic to the area. Popular market items include sweaters, blankets, alpaca products, hammocks and jewelry. Overnight stay in Suite in Hotel Plaza Grande.
Papallacta Hot Springs
We will drive up to 4000 meters through the western range of the Andes on a road between two national reserves (Antisana and Cayambe Coca), both located in the high altitude Paramo and known for its short vegetation and for being the home of some incredible animals such as the spectacle bear, deer, puma, Andean condor and the cara-cara. After enjoying the great views this landscape offers, we will arrive to Papallacta Hot Springs, where we will relax and enjoy soaking in the volcanic pools, which are surrounded by mountains with colorful flowers and birdlife. Overnight stay in Superior Cabin in Hotel Thermas Papallacta.
Itamandi Amazon Eco Lodge
Early in the morning, we will descend a curvy road towards the Amazon Basin, where you will observe how the landscape and vegetation change drastically as we descend from an altitude of 3000 meters to 500 meters. Our first stop will be at Guango Lodge, where we will observe different species of hummingbirds in their natural habitat. These small and colorful creatures are famous for their incredible capacity to flap their wings rapidly as well as for their bright colors. After driving for an hour, we will stop at the Macaw Look-Out from where we will appreciate the tropical rain forest named “The Amazon” after the warrior women that fought the Spanish conquistadores during their expedition to this unknown place.
Once we arrive to the Itamandi Eco Lodge we will have the opportunity to explore the majestic Amazon jungle, by planning some night hikes, visiting parrots clay licks, and learning more at the Amazon animal rescue centers. Overnight stay in Superior Cabin.
Itamandi Amazon Eco Lodge
In the morning, we will take a motorized canoe down the largest river in Ecuador, Napo River, to experience the feeling of navigating on one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River on our way to the “Amazonico“ Rescue Animal Center”. Here, we will have the opportunity to see many different species of Monkeys, Capibaras, Caimans, Ocelots, Toucans, Parrots, and other animals that live in this area. After approximately an hour, we will get back on the boat in order to go to the Ahuano village with the purpose of appreciating the skills of the indigenous women manufacturing handmade pottery (ceramics). This is the main handicraft and source of income for this area. We will enjoy our lunch by the river right before we canoe up-stream for an exciting hour of pristine forest on our way back to Itamandi Eco Lodge. Here we will spend the afternoon relaxing in the Amazon and enjoying the facilities of this pristine lodge.There is an optional night hike in the jungle after dinner. Overnight stay in Superior Cabin.
Return to Quito
Today we will bring you back to Quito by private transport. Depending on the time we arrive, you will have time to relax or explore Quito. Overnight stay in suite in Hotel Plaza Grande.
Arrival in Santa Cruz
Upon arrival, guests are met by the hotel naturalist guides and accompanied directly to the yacht. Welcomed by captain and staff, guests are briefed about safety issues as well as the National Park regulations. Lunch is served on board, while the yacht sails to North Seymour Island.
This island is teaming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Further along, the rocky shore is interspersed with white sand, while large flocks of pelicans mass for a dive-bomb feeding-frenzy, painting a tableau from ages long past for us. The trail turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site in the Galapagos of the “magnificent frigate bird.” These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter (6-foot) wingspans, and males, with puffed up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain. Dry landing.
After the visit, the yacht sails to Itabaca channel, from where we cross by bus faster over Santa Cruz Island to reach the south shore where the Finch Bay Hotel is located.
Check-in and enjoy the glorious beach-front location and facilities.
El Manzanillo and Highlands of Santa Cruz
After a relaxed breakfast, our guests will leave Academy Bay by bus 15 km up to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. From there a short drive across the farming area will lead us to El Manzanillo, a site recently opened to visitors at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve.
The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker finches, mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit.
After lunch, we visit a small farm, where coffee, sugar cane and cocoa beans are grown, harvested and prepared – all organic and sustainable. We have the chance to taste the products while learning about the artisanal way to burn island spirits! We then return to the hotel to enjoy its pool, beach, or ask for suggestions for activities.
Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the archipelago. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted, and you can see where underwater lava once cooled off (pillow lava).
A wet landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right to be Beach Master, while smaller males masquerade as females and make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes.
The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name, with tree-sized trunks! Our goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana, native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in color with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs.
An indigenous species of rice rat also inhabits the thickets, and lucky hikers can spot harmless Galápagos snakes. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay, a great snorkeling opportunity with diverse marine life.
Every morning, hundreds of herons cross Divine Bay on their daily foraging trips, to return before sunset to perch amid the trees. Noddy terns use the natural burrows in the cliffs for nesting, while Galápagos brown pelicans prefer the evergreen mangroves, under the watchful eye of non-breeding blue footed boobies perched along the cliffs.
Beneath the sea, sea turtles graze on sea weed, hundreds of reef fish species swim about the lava crevices, and young reef sharks and rays employ the brackish streams as havens from large predators while they mature.
We can explore this lovely cove by boat while more adventurous guests could take the tandem, sit-on-top kayaks straight from the hotel’s beachfront. The morning’s visit includes snorkeling on a calm, but active, sector of the cove. This is next to a wooden dock we use to explore Punta Estrada. A dry landing and a short walk (0.5 km) will lead us to the south shore of the island, to a small beach called “Playa de los Perros” (Dog Beach). This is a great place to see intertidal organisms and learn about marine iguanas in their nesting sites. Also, there’s a nearby natural terrace from where young white tipped reef sharks can be observed from above as they swim about the lava crevices.
After this morning’s visit we return to the Finch Bay Hotel for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise breeding programme, with time to enjoy the town, or the hotel’s facilities.
After breakfast we leave the Finch Bay Hotel and on the way to Baltra, stop at the Twin Pit Craters, great geological depressions of volcanic material, formed by a long process of slow sinking of the ground, where exceptional Scalesia trees, ferns, mosses and orchids can be seen in the surroundings. Then, you are able to have some free time on the island Santa Cruz. Overnight in double room in Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
Today we will fly back to the mainland, after arriving in Quito you will be brought to spend the last night en suite in JW Marriot hotel.
13 Days – 13 Nights – from $5267 (based on two people)
This price can change depending your needs, size of group and requirements