10 Days
ECUADOR & THE GALAPAGOS TOUR
TOURCODE: EC10
Countries Visited: 1
Activity Level: 2
Tour Style: Cultural
TRAVELLERS
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Tour Start: Quito
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Tour End: Quito
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Estimated Total:
(Price*traveller) *USD

Due to the nature of internal flights, this tour requires a $1000 per person deposit

 


 

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10 Days
ECUADOR & THE GALAPAGOS TOUR

An 'Experiential Adventure'
TOURCODE: EC10

Discover Quito, the beautiful high Andes landscape and the diverse island of the Galapagos; eco-friendly boutique hotels, splendid meals and superb hospitality; Soft adventure, comfort, local community and wildlife interaction; Local certified naturalists and some of the best adventure guides in the world; Support the local communities with our eco-friendly activities and green hotels that minimize your environmental impact on the destination

Tour Overview
Tour Overview
Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

This Ecuador & the Galapagos tour is an exciting addition to our itineraries that include the superlative Galapagos Islands.

The most attractive aspect of this trip is that it is not a cruise, but rather a land-based adventure that allows for more time and greater immersion in not only the natural splendour of this special place, but also in its unique and little-known island culture.

Unbeknownst to many is that the Galapagos actually supports a small human population, which it has since the early-to-mid 19th century. Subsisting on fishing turtles, lobster, and grouper, and small-plot farming and foraging, the earliest settlers - from Ireland, Norway, Germany, and mainland South America, among other places - established homesteads and small settlements, many of which still exist today.

Almost 60 years since 97% of the archipelago was declared a national park, four of the islands have permanent habitations and about 30,000 people live on the islands year-round.

Development is limited to the 3 percent of the islands that aren't part of the park and Galapagos's inhabitants live within specific urban and rural zones.

Organized tourism began in earnest in the 1970's, and around 170,000 people now visit the islands every year, most doing so as part of a cruise.

Though cruising will always be an extremely popular way of visiting the islands and do a fantastic job overall, we are delighted to offer our travellers an alternative that allows you to see and experience what it's like to live on the islands, either as a descendant of the early settlers, an adventurous entrepreneur, or as an iguana!

This is why we call this an "experiential" adventure; on this special journey you will experience all that this incredible place has to offer the inquisitive visitor, while doing so in a way that promotes sustainable tourism.

Islanders who used to eke out a living fishing turtles are now your expert guides; the delicious cuisine that you will experience is, as a much as possible, sourced locally; and stringent rules about waste and recycling ensure a minimal impact.

Add to this a continental component, which provides a sumptuous glimpse into pre- and post-colonial times in the Andes, and an optional 4-day Amazon extension (tour code EC11), you have a breathtakingly-varied Ecuadorian experience and one of the most intimate and immersive trips we offer anywhere.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.

 

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Due to the nature of internal flights, this tour requires a $1000 per person deposit

Optional Single Supplement: $1690 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $845 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.

 


 

Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary



Day 1 Arrival in Quito
Arrival to the Airport in Quito, assistance at the Airport and transfer to local hotel.

Overnight in Quito.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Quito City Tour - Transfer to Hacienda
After breakfast, we walk through the landmarks of Quito's colonial, historical downtown, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We meet local artisans and immerse ourselves in the city's vibe. The walk begins at the San Francisco market, where the chef of Restaurant La Purisima will be join us. He is a very good story teller about local Andean products, unique Ecuadorian condiments, colonial time granny recipes, and enjoys sharing his passion. At the market, discover traditional Andean healing techniques.

We continue our exploration of the city's historical center as we walk towards La Ronda, full of art and ancestral trades, handcrafts, tin sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, Escuela Quiteña paintings and sweets shops. La Ronda is your opportunity to live and shop like a local.

The group will have lunch at Restaurant La Purisima, located at the entrance of one of the first theaters in Quito. Bolivar Theather has been an emblematic piece of art due to its architecture and recently reopened after refurbishing jobs. Lunch will be arranged in a private area where we will get an Andean cocktail demo and our chef will delight us with dishes that feature traditional cuisine with a fusion of contemporary techniques. Continue the journey directly to the highlands for our hacienda stay.

Please note that we tend to alternate between two hacienda properties on this tour due to consideration related to ultimate group make-up and size and room availability at the time that our tour is confirmed, we alternate between Hacienda Zuleta and Hacienda Mirage, both of which offer the same level of accommodation quality and a similar highlands experience.

Hacienda Zuleta is an impressive 4,000 acre (2000 hectare) colonial working farm belonging to the family of the late Galo Plaza Lasso, former president of Ecuador, for over 100 years.

Hacienda Mirage is perched on a hillside, where you will discover a hidden corner of Ecuador and a hotel imbued with the native flavour of the Andes. The property has stunning gardens and beautiful views of the mountains.

For full information on both options, please refer to our website.

Overnight at a Hacienda.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 3 Andean Hacienda & Otavalo Market
Today we tour our hotel property and learn about its history and about the flora and fauna of the region.

We will also include a visit on to the indigenous market of Otavalo, famous around the world for their quality weaving. In early years the Otavalo Valley was filled with farmers who raised crops in fertile lands where they lived. In the 14th century the Inca expansion reached north into the Otavalo area. The Caraquis who inhabited the area resisted the invaders. For 17 long years, fierce fighting continued as the defiant Caraquis refused to be subjugated by the Incas. The Spanish arrived a few years after the Incas and established a Hacienda system of workshops where Otavalenos were forced to work 15 hour days weaving fabrics.

Today this weaving tradition forms the basis of a lucrative industry that has allowed the Otavaleno indigenous peoples to join the world economy while retaining their traditional values and skills. During our time in the valley we will have a chance to visit with the local Otavalenos and see them working their craft.

At the end of the day you'll have time to relax and enjoy the service and atmosphere of our hacienda.

Overnight at Hacienda.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 4 Highlands - Quito Airport - Fly to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands
Early this morning we transfer to the Quito Airport; flight to the Galapagos Islands (possibly via Guayaquil).

After a morning flight to San Cristobal Island, we’ll be greeted at the airport and head to our hotel. After lunch and a quick introduction, we begin our journey at the Galapagos Interpretation Center to learn about the unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics of the Galapagos.

After our visit, we hike to Tijeretas along naturally formed trails of lava rocks. The path is surrounded by native plants such as Galapagos cotton, palo santo, acacia, and cacti. Along the way yuor guide will help you spot and identify blue footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches in the vegetation and sea cliffs. Our guides interpret this amazing flora and fauna in the context of the island's natural history. We also enjoy scenic views of the rugged coastline and the tranquil town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

We cool off from our hike with a refreshing snorkeling session at postcard-worthy Carola Beach, surrounded by sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas, as we bask in the setting sun.

After dinner, we’ll explore the friendly, laid-back beach town and stroll down the boardwalk to visit the neighboring colony of Galapagos sea lions.

Overnight on San Cristobal Island.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 5 San Cristobal: Northern Coast
Today we explore the northern coast by boat. We visit either Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo (the visiting site depends on the week day and the Galapagos National Park regulations). On our exploration trip we make sure to search the nearby coves and cliffs for sea turtles, sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and Nazca boobies. Here we have the chance to get up close and personal with sea lions in their favorite playground. If you choose to snorkel, we might see eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and thousands of tropical fish. If we’re lucky, we may even come across hammerhead sharks.

Our hosts on board will prepare a delicious "Ceviche", a typical Ecuadorian lunch. After a full day spent exploring the seas, we head back to the hotel for dinner and a well-earned rest.

Overnight on San Cristobal.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 6 San Cristobal - Isabela
After breakfast, we say goodbye to San Cristobal with a quick small plane ride to Isabela Island.*

Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos and is still being formed by six active shield volcanoes. Isabela remains one of the most volcanically active spots on the planet. Upon arrival, we take short boat ride from town to Tintoreras, where we'll walk and have a chance to snorkel. These calm waters are the home of sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays and penguins. Tintoreras offers a high concentration of wildlife that will amaze you.

After going around on the boat and walking on Tintoreras itself, we can snorkel for a chance to marine life abundant in this bay. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in town.

We then set out on one of the most scenic walks in the Galapagos. Our hike takes us along immaculate beaches, into an alluring poison apple forest and a lava tube cave, and through brooding mangroves and brackish lagoons.

* There is a strict 12kg / 25 lb per person checked luggage limit, plus carry-on. Excess luggage can be securely stored stored in Quito.

Overnight on Isabela.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 7 Isabela: Concha Perla & Flamingo Lagoon
This site is in Puerto Villamil, only a few meters from the El Embarcadero Port. A natural rock wall forms a circular concave bay-like structure that fills with ocean water according to the tides. It is a beautiful place in the bay of crystalline waters that is perfect for snorkeling. Dive in and explore these gorgeous waters while swimming with a variety of fish, sea turtles, penguins, and more. You can do snorkeling, diving or hiking in this area.

Our guide will take us to visit the Famingos' Lagoon. This is a approx. 2km trail where we will have explanation of the vegetation and geology of this young Island, Isabela Island. Arriving to the Flamingo lagoon we might be able to see flamingos feeding in this lake. This is an artificial lake, due to the excavation for construction the lake was made up by the rain.

Overnight on Isabela.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 8 Isabela: The Tunnels & Tortoise Breeding Centre
After breakfast, we will visit a unique place in the islands, “Los Tuneles”. Our path starts on board our speed boat on a 45 minutes trop. Our experienced captain will securely lead us across the waves that normally hide this treasure. The Tunnels were formed millions year ago when rivers of liquid lava ran across the island reaching the coast shore. The cold water froze their superficial layer isolating the interior while liquid lava kept flowing into the sea. When the eruption finished, a hollow structure was formed and its wall later broke allowing water to come inside and creating a tunnel.

Our guide will join us along hundreds of tunnels while we snorkel and discover the marine life such as sharks, lobsters, penguins, sea lions, boobies, marine turtles among other endemic species from Galapagos. A snack will be served on board our boat. If lucky enough, we will have the chance to witness giant mantarays feeding in open waters. Afternoon return to Isabella.

Along the way to the Tortoise Center, we pass through a manzanillo forest surrounded by wetlands, home to the famous giant pink flamingos a delightful and unexpected sight for Galapagos. After a delicious lunch made with local and organic products, we head to one of the favourite local hangouts, Concha y Perla, for a fantastic swim and optional snorkel.

Overnight on Isabela.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 9 Isabela - Boat to Santa Cruz
Wake up with the sea breeze as we travel by speedboat to Santa Cruz Island. After checking in at the hotel we head to El Chato in the Santa Cruz highlands to find the famous giant tortoise in their natural habitat. It is truly an honour to walk in the stately presence of these gentle giants, who can live to be more than 175 years old. We will also see pintail ducks, Darwin’s finches, frigate birds, egrets, and the vermillion flycatcher.

Our next stop is an organic farm dedicating their efforts to conservation and sustainable, organic permaculture. Their famed grown coffee has gained international attention and sold to exclusive buyers worldwide. We learn about growing coffee, organic farming, and why many farms in Galapagos are in need of restoration. We finish up on a beautiful platform overlooking the slopes of Santa Cruz while enjoying freshly-brewed coffee and fruit from the farm.

Overnight on Santa Cruz.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 10 Santa Cruz - Baltra - Quito - Departure
We transfer to Baltra Island for our return flight to the mainland and bid a fond farewell to the Galapagos and each other. Connect with homeward flights.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are booking your own flights, please ensure that your departure time from Quito is no earlier than 9:00pm to allow for our incoming flight from the islands (most northward flights depart around midnight; an extra night can be added if you cannot find a suitable onward option).

BUEN VIAJE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Map & Hotel
Map & Hotel

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hacienda Zuleta
4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Cayambe
Country: Ecuador

Please note that this is one of the hotel properties we use for our highland experience. Due to ultimate group
... and size, and considerations related to room availability, we alternate between Zuleta and Hacienda Mirage, both of which offer the same level of accommodation quality and a similar highlands experience.

Zuleta is a colonial working farm of 4,000 acres (2,000 hectares) that belongs to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years. The hacienda has 14 beautifully- decorated bedrooms, all with their own fireplace; Antique gardens along with cozy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere. Delicious home Ecuadorian cuisine among other types of gastronomic adventures are offered daily, prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the Hacienda.
Hacienda Mirage
4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Cayambe
Country: Ecuador

Please note that this is one of the hotel properties we use for our highland experience. Due to ultimate group
... size, and considerations related to room availability, we alternate between Hacienda Zuleta and Hacienda Mirage, both of which offer the same level of accommodation quality and a similar highlands experience.

Perched on a hillside, less than three hours from Quito, you will find the hidden secret of Ecuador: a hotel mixed with the native flavour of the Andes. Most of our accommodations, with fireplace and sitting area, have a beautiful view of the mountains and gardens. This former hacienda is a paradise of plant life filled with a thousand fragrances from its bougainvilleas, hibiscus, roses and orchids that you will also find in freshly cut bouquets in your room.
Casa Opuntia
4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: San Cristobal
Country: Ecuador

Located over the oceanfront boardwalk and only a few meters away from Playa de Oro beach. In addition to the
... location in town, Casa Opuntia features beautiful facilities, breakfast cuisine, and
strong sustainability practices. Breakfast renowned for having some of San Cristobal’s top breakfasts, including our American one, which is described as a mixture of delicious local and international food.
Casita de la Playa
4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Isabela
Country: Ecuador

The Casita de la Playa or “Little Beach House” was once a quaint guest house with a perfect beach location.
... time it has gradually bloomed into a beautiful 12-room hotel. A short walk on the boardwalk will bring you right into Isabela’s small town square.

Our brand-new, modern-rustic décor is sure to please our every guest. The lounge opens directly onto the beach, and the second-floor social and breakfast area offers majestic views of the Isabela coast. Our rooms, most with ocean views, are a pleasant balance of modern and local Island design, which makes for an authentic and unforgettable Galapagos getaway.
Isla Sol
3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Puerto Ayora
Country: Ecuador

Within 5 minutes' walk from various restaurants, Hospedaje Vista al Mar is located in Puerto Ayora city centre. Free WiFi
... is available, and the Puerto Ayora restaurant district is 50 metres away.

All the rooms are simply furnished and have a flat-screen cable TV, a fan and a wardrobe. The private bathroom includes free toiletries and a shower with hot water. Linens and towels are provided.

 


 

Gallery
What People are Saying
Elaine D.
Coupeville, WA - US
Torres del Paine and our local tour guide were great. Also, I really was amazed at our guide's knowledge while visiting Perito Moreno glacier. Seeing it calve was fantastic. The hotels were all very good. Our tour leader was very easygoing but always aware and on top of things. His great sense of humor helps to diffuse any bumps in relations. Truly value his experience and great natural way with people. I would recommend this company and tour to anyone!
Michael N.
St Albert, AB - CA
We tried to plan a trip to Italy for several years and this tour exceeded our expectations. We never felt rushed yet we covered a lot of the major sites and museums and still had time to do a few of our own things Our tour guide Andrew was amazing and we would highly recommend him and this tour. November turned out to be a wonderful time to go because, although it did rain and was cloudy,the museums and many sites were not crowded at all. Our local guide at the Uffuzi gallery in Florence was amazed that there were so few people. He told us that he had never been in the gallery that holds the Michelangelo painting by himself.. ever! Italy is an amazing country to visit and this tour covers the highlights with a fantastic guide, delicious food and charming hotels, all arranged for you.
Alan A.
St Agatha, ON - CA
An insightful trip into a major cultural event, Day of the Dead. As well you visit significant archeological sites and churches. If you have any interest in Mexican culture, beyond beaches and tequila, this is the trip for you. You will gain so much knowledge of the history and struggles of the Mexican people. I can't recommend this trip enough.
Eleanora M.
Kingston, ON - CA
Having a narrow and perhaps stereotypical view, influenced by the media. I was blown away by what I experienced:Turkey is a beautiful country with modern, safe cities,dramatic scenery, spectacular mosques and palaces, amazing well-preserved ruins of Greek and Roman antiquity. A melting pot of Muslim, European, Greek, Roman cultures, fabulous food and warm friendly people... so many World heritage sites I would encourage others to visit Turkey.
Arleen C.
Sagamore Hills, OH - US
I had been searching for several years for a tour that included Paraguay and was delighted to find this one. The mission visits were excellent, in terms of both the sites and the explanations. The Pipore Yerba Mate tour was terrific and I loved our guide there. Iguazu Falls was spectacular and again, we had a very good guide. Our trip to Purmamarca was surprising and very good. The buses and vans were very good. The hydrofoil trip was good also. All the dinners were wonderful, with excellent food and in lovely locations. The hotels were very good. Overall it was an excellent tour, with many interesting destinations.
Erle J.
Gloucester, ON - CA
A good tour with lots of interesting sites and spectacular scenery. I really learned a lot about these 3 countries and Latin America. I most enjoyed the Jesuit Missions, Iguazu Falls, and the Safari to the Clouds. All the hotels were very good. Meals on the tour were very good. I really liked our tour leader ordering appetizers to be shared which allowed me to try more local foods. Local Guides were either very good or excellent.
Merle H.
Glenview, IL - US
We loved the whole trip and the surprises of touring in between trains. Also some of the little towns for lunch were a delight. The food on this trip was exceptionally great. All the meal choices and ordering off the menu was perfect. Our tour leader ordered tapas for us and a few planned meals were great too. If we hadn't walked as much as we did, we would have gained weight. The best thing was that all the hotels were centrally located and we could walk easily to highlight places and good restaurants. Perfect. You did an outstanding job selecting these hotels. Loved the train (and dashing for two of them). Had never done train travel before and the stations and facilities were mind blowing. First class seats were really nice. Love your guides and quality of local guides. Love AA.
Linda R.
Thunder Bay, ON - CA
We enjoyed the scenic west coast of Ireland the most. In particular, Killarney, Dingle peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands. Also the Giant's Causeway. The local guides in Dublin, Londonderry and Belfast were very good. We had a small van for our small group and it worked out very well. The meals were tasty and substantial. There was generally a good variety of selections. A very good tour.
Vera G.
Victoria, BC - CA
I loved the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula and Aran Islands. Belfast, Dublin and Killarney were the best cities. The hotels were good and well located. Hotel staff were excellent and rooms were clean and comfortable. Another great Adventures Abroad trip! You never disappoint!
Steven H.
Vancouver, BC - CA
By-and-large the sights, locales, neighbourhoods, etc were extremely interesting. The bus was great! A good size for the group size. It gave us a good sense of a 'home-on-the-road'. I didn't know what to expect for meals and was very pleased with what was presented. Our tour leader, Subash's, knowledge of 'everything Indian', the customs, sights, culture, etc was inexhaustible. He was the perfect person to introduce us to the culture, people, sights and history of India. His insights into the Hindu philosophy were deep, informative and colourful. I consider myself luck to have had him as our guide (almost a mentor). I felt that the quality of the hotels were very good and more often than not, higher than expected. The uniqueness of the two 'Orchard' settings and the desert 'camp' tents were quite fun and very comfortable. Overall: Highly Enjoyable, Very Well Managed, Well thought out Itinerary, Excellent Tour Guide.
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