Experience the best of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands on this multi-destination adventure. During your stay, you will visit the Andean city of Quito, and the magical islands of San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz with their beautiful landscapes, amazing wildlife, and laid-back beach towns.
DAY 1: Arrive Quito
Arrive Quito: Transfer to your hotel using the shuttle bus.
Overnight: Quito City Hotel
DAY 2: Quito to San Cristobal
Morning flight from the mainland to San Cristobal Island.
Your Galapagos adventure starts with a visit to the local Interpretation Center, where you will learn about the unique wildlife, geology, and natural history of the Galapagos.
Next, you will take a walk to Frigate Hill along natural lava rock trails. Along the way, your guides will provide insight on the Galapagos fauna and flora, which is quite unlike anywhere else in the world. On the way back, you’ll stop for a refreshing snorkel at Carola Beach, where you can swim with sea turtles and sea lions, while taking in the gorgeous sunset.
Overnight: San Cristobal
DAY 3: Snorkel the Northern Coast of San Cristobal
Today you will take to the water with your snorkels and fins to meet some of San Cristobal’s marine residents. Hugging the coastline on the way to Isla Lobos, you will search the coves and cliffs for sea turtles, sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and other bird species. In these tranquil waters, you’ll have the unique opportunity to swim with spotted eagle rays, golden rays, sharks, starfish, and many species of tropical fish. After a full day exploring the seas, you will head back to your hotel for the night.
Overnight: San Cristobal
DAY 4: Flight to Isabela Island
Today you will enjoy a 45-minute flight to Isabela Island, where you will check in to your hotel before heading to the Tintoreras Channel for the afternoon.
The Tintoreras Channels is bursting with marine life including penguins, Blue-Footed Boobies, Sea Turtles, and the Galapagos most famous native, the Sea Lion. You will also have the opportunity to meet Marine Iguanas and possibly White Tip Sharks during your marine adventure.
Overnight: Isabela Island
DAY 5: Fee Day on Isabela Island
Today you have a full day at leisure on the beautiful Isabela Island, where you can either rest and relax, or continue your Galapagos exploration on foot.
Overnight: Isabela Island
DAY 6: Exploring the Highlands and the Charles Darwin Research Centre
Your day will start with an exhilarating public speedboat ride to Santa Cruz Island, where, if you are lucky, you could spot dolphins and even whales. After checking in to your hotel, you will head to El Chato in the highlands, where you can view scores of Galapagos giant tortoises and an abundance of colourful birdlife.
Your next stop will take you to a group of cavernous lava tunnels, which were once frequented by the pirates that roamed the Galapagos, before you continue to Los Gemelos, an impressive pair of volcanic sinkholes at the highest point of the island.
Finally, you will visit the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Center, where you’ll learn about the ongoing conservation efforts to protect the future of the Galapagos Islands.
Overnight: Santa Cruz Island
DAYS 7 & 8: Island Hopping Wildlife Tours
You will spend the next two days exploring the nearby small islands of Plazas, Bartolome, or North Seymour.
Boat schedules vary throughout the week, and so the islands you visit will depend on the days you are travelling.
Each boat ride takes approximately 2 hours each way, and you’ll enjoy a range of activities including snorkelling, hiking and bird watching. Lunches will be enjoyed ‘picnic style’ during the day.
Overnight: Santa Cruz
DAY 9: Santa Cruz – Baltra - Quito
After breakfast, it’s time bid a fond farewell to the Galapagos as you transfer to Baltra Island for your return flight to the mainland. In Quito, you will transfer to your hotel for the night.
DAY 10: Signature Tour of Quito including traditional market, workshop and cooking experience
Today you will have the opportunity to walk through the streets of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with your guide who will explain all the landmarks and major attractions. You’ll meet local artisans, sample local ingredients, and learn about ancient Andean healing traditions.
In the artistic area of La Ronda, you can shop for handcrafted toys, pictures, ceramics, jewellery, wood carvings, and much more, before tantalizing your taste buds at one of the sweet shops, where you can try delicious ice creams and Cacao products. Finally, you will take part in a traditional cooking class with a local chef.
DAY 11: Otavalo Market and Leather Shops
After breakfast today, you will enjoy a scenic two-hour drive through Andean landscapes to Otavalo. You will make a few stops along the way, visiting Calderon, Cayambe, and of course, the iconic Equatorial monument, before reaching the Otavalo Market. One of largest markets in South America, you’ll find a variety of colourful blankets, traditional clothes such as ponchos, handmade tapestries, and much more. In addition to textiles, you’ll also find paintings, leather goods, ceramics, and Panama Hats, which contrary to popular belief, are made right here in Ecuador.
After a delicious lunch in a colonial Hacienda, you’ll transfer back to Quito in the afternoon.
DAY 12: Cotopaxi National Park
Today you will head south, driving through the ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’ to Cotopaxi National Park.
You’ll visit Limpiopungo Glacier Lake, before beginning your hike through the foothills of Rumiñahui, where you will enjoy magnificent views of Cotopaxi’s glaciated cone. If you are lucky, you may also see llamas, deer, wild horses and the Andean Condor.
After a scenic picnic lunch, you’ll return to Quito.
DAY 13: Papallacta Hot Springs
Driving through the Tumbaco valley, you’ll make your way to Cayambe-Coca Nature Reserve, before descending into the Amazon cloud forest. Your journey to Papallacta will take just under two hours. Upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to visit the local interpretation centre and take a nature walk through a private cloud forest reserve, before making your way to the Termas de Papallacta Spa & Resort, where you will spend the rest of the day indulging in these natural pools.
After a gourmet lunch, you’ll transfer back to Quito for one final night in the city.
DAY 14: Departure
All good things must come to an end, and after a final breakfast in Quito, you will transfer to the airport for your return flight home.