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Avenue of Volcanoes & Galapagos - LATC
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Expert Advice

Speak to an expert who has travelled in Ecuador & Galapagos on 44 020 8191 7772

100% Financial Protection

ATOL bonding (10287) and ABTA membership (Y1699) so you can book with us in confidence

We are independent

As a friendly, family owned and run company we take particular pride in our personal service having a stake in your trip’s success

Inclusions

All accommodation

All internal flights

All tours as specified in the itinerary

All meals as specified in the itinerary

All transfers and transportation

Galapagos National Park entrance fee

Galapagos migration transit card

All other entrance fees

24 hour emergency assistance

100% financial protection with our ATOL license & ABTA membership

Our exclusive 100+ page trip guidebook, personalised to your trip

Full support from your dedicated specialist

International flights – we CAN include these for you, just ask us for a quote.

Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides

Travel insurance to cover any medical treatment – it is now a requirement on entry for all travellers to Ecuador to have adequate travel insurance.

About this tour

One of our most popular Ecuador and Galapagos itineraries covering all the highlights along a classic route from the Andean highlands to the pacific and finishing with a Galapagos cruise. Discover the cobbled streets of colonial Quito, witness the towering peak of Cotopaxi volcano, hike to the spectacular Quilotoa crater lake, ride the infamous Devil’s Nose train, explore charming Cuenca and swim with sea lions in the Galapagos. This itinerary has it all!

Speak to an expert who has traveled to Ecuador & Galapagos on 44 020 8191 7772 or toll free from the USA on 0018448806752 Alternatively get in touch via email at [email protected]

DOWNLOAD THE TRIP DOSSIER
Remember this tour can be tailor made to fit your requirements!

Itinerary

Day 1 - Meet and greet at airport, transfer to hotel

On arrival to Quito you will be met at the airport by your friendly English speaking guide and driver who will welcome you to Ecuador, help you with your luggage and take you by private transfer straight to your hotel (about 1 hour).

The rest of the evening is at leisure.

quito plaza de la independencia at dusk

Meals Included: None today

Suggested Accommodation: La Casona de la Ronda

Day 2 - Private city tour of Quito

This morning you will be met at your hotel by your private local guide to begin your tour of historic Quito. Famously declared a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1978, Quito’s picturesque old town is full of narrow cobblestone streets, whitewashed walls and spectacular baroque churches. You will start the tour by walking through the historic centre accompanied by your guide who will teach you about the long history of the city. You will visit the main plaza where the cathedral, government palace and some of the most important 16th and 17th century churches including the San Francisco monastery can be found. After this you continue on to La Ronda street where you will learn about the traditional crafts and trades in colonial Quito. Finally to end the tour you will visit the spectacular Panecillo Hill for incredible views over the city and the famous Panecillo virgin.

plaza san francisco quito ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: La Casona de la Ronda

Day 3 - Begin your journey down the Avenue of Volcanoes

This morning you will be met at your hotel by your private guide who will be with you for the next three nights to begin a spectacular journey through Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes. Start by driving one hour south of Quito to the region around Cotopaxi National Park. Snowcapped Cotopaxi is the world’s highest active volcano and an imposing sight on a clear day. If this trip is starting on either a Friday, Saturday or Sunday this portion of the journey will be taken by train from Quito Chimbacalle station to El Boliche in Cotopaxi. Both the car and train take about 1 hour.

Visit to Cotopaxi national park

Accompanied by your private guide you will visit the interpretation centre and learn more about the history of the park, the local flora and fauna and the major volcanic eruptions that have taken place over the years. You will also have a guided walk along some of the trails including a visit to Limpiopungo Lake. On a clear day you will be able to see the peaks of Cotopaxi and Antisana volcanoes. There is an optional two hour hike to the J. Ribas refuge located at 4800 metres above sea level on the northern flank of Cotopaxi. From here there is a spectacular view of the volcano and the Andes mountains that surround it.

cotopaxi volcano and horses ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Hacienda El Porvenir

Day 4 - Quilotoa crater lake and journey to Riobamba

After breakfast this morning you will visit the spectacular two mile wide Quilotoa volcano crater within which an emerald green lake has formed. You will be able to drive right up to the crater and then take a short walk to a viewpoint for an incredible view. Accompanied by your private guide you may also choose to take an optional three hour hike around the circumference of the crater. The rim of the crater is very irregular and at its highest point reaches 3915 metres above sea level. After lunch in a local restaurant in the Quilotoa community you continue by road to Riobamba (about a 3 hour journey) arriving approximately 4pm – 5pm where you will stop for dinner and overnight.

quilotoa volcano crater lake ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Hacienda Abraspungo

Day 5 - The Devil's Nose train & Ingapirca

There is an early start this morning with breakfast at about 05:30am and then a 1 hour 40 minute drive to Alausí for the start of the exhilarating Devil’s Nose train journey. This impressive feat of engineering was originally built in order to connect the Andes with the coast. The hair raising trip zigzags up and down steep mountain slopes with dramatic views. It also passes by rivers, narrow gorges and has to negotiate a seemingly impossible wall of rock! The entire journey takes 2 hours 30 minutes in total and the route is a round trip running from Alausí to Zibambe and then finishing back in Alausí. After the train ride you will have a box lunch and continue your journey south by road to the Ingapirca Ruins.

Tour of Ingapirca ruins & arrival to Cuenca

This afternoon you continue your journey south by car with your private guide to the Ingapirca ruins. This former Inca observatory and fortress is the most important Inca site in Ecuador which was the northern reaches of the Inca empire. Ingapirca was where the Inca king would stay on trips to this area. After your guided visit you continue for 1 hour 30 minutes by road to the charming colonial city of Cuenca where you will have some free time to relax before dinner.

the devil's nose train track ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucia

Day 6 - Private tour of Cuenca

Experience colonial Cuenca with it’s magnificent skyline of beautiful buildings, cathedrals and colourful domes. Declared a city of cultural patrimony by UNESCO in 1999, Cuenca is a charming and romantic place city with a small town feel. Famous for the flower markets, Cuenca is an extraordinarily pretty city with original ironwork balconies, four rivers running through and pleasant squares and gardens. An ideal size to explore on foot, your private guide will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you on a leisurely stroll around the city. Whilst walking along the cobbled streets your guide will teach you about the history of the city and the interesting mix of architecture. You will visit the cathedral on the main square, a huge imposing building, and all of the main streets. After the tour you will be returned to your hotel or you may wish to visit a restaurant for lunch.

street in cuenca ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucia

Day 7 - El Cajas National Park & arrival to Guayaquil

After breakfast this morning you will be met at your hotel by your private English speaking guide and driver for your trip to El Cajas National Park ending in Guayaquil. You start with a 40 minute drive out of Cuenca where you will reach El Cajas National Park. This 70,000 acre reserve is home to a huge variety of landscapes including rocky structures, jagged mountain peaks, cloud forests and more than 200 lakes. Most of the national park is located above 3000 metres in altitude and is characterised by hardy plants such as ferns and mosses and rugged terrain. There is a good chance of seeing wild Llamas that were re-introduced to the park in the 1990’s. Other wildlife include the Andean condor, toucans, hummingbirds, and the elusive puma and spectacled bear. Lunch is served in a local restaurant before you continue by car for about 3 hours to the port city of Guayaquil. The rest of the evening is at leisure.

el cajas national park ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

Suggested Accommodation: Oro Verde

Day 8 - Flight to the Galapagos & boarding your cruise

You will be collected at your hotel this morning by your private driver and taken to the airport (about a 15 minute drive) for your flight to the Galapagos islands.

Exact flight times to be confirmed.

On arrival to Baltra in the Galapagos you will be welcomed by your naturalist guide for the next five days and taken directly to the boat for check in. There is some time to settle into your cabin before lunch is served.

Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island

This afternoon we sail to Santa Cruz island where there is a wet landing. Your naturalist guide will lead you on a short hike to a saltwater lagoon where pink flamingos can often be seen. From here you will walk up to Dragon Hill which provides an incredible view of the bay. This area is a nesting site for land iguanas and there is also a mysterious forest of Scalesia trees. There is time for some snorkerling before heading back to the boat for dinner.

galapagos flamingo lagoon

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/Y Beluga

Day 9 - Santa Fe & South Plaza islands

After breakfast this morning you will explore Santa Fe island by hiking along the coastline that is covered with colourful flora and fauna. The land iguanas on Santa Fe island can grow up to five feet long and are distinctive by their bright yellow colour and unusual spikes along their spine. The Opuntia Cactus on Santa Fe are the last of their kind in the archipelago and grow up to 33 feet high. After a the morning walk you can relax with a swim in the calm waters of the bay or snorkel alongside friendly sea lions. Sea turtles and manta rays can also be seen.

South Plaza Island

The Plazas are two islands located off the east coast of Santa Cruz. North Plaza is not accessible to the public due to scientific research, but South Plaza can be visited. The afternoon begins with a dry landing and a walk along a rocky trail where you will be able to see enormous prickly pear cactus and the endemic sesuvian plant. These succulents are green from December – May but turn a bright red for the rest of the year giving the island an unusual appearance. South Plaza has one of the largest populations of land iguanas in the galapagos as well as marine iguanas that live along the coast. Hybrid iguanas (a mix of land and marine iguana) also exist here. The birdlife is abundant with Swallow-tailed gulls, Frigate birds, Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, brown pelicans, blue footed and masked boobies frequently seen. There will be time for snorkerling where you can see sharks, sea turtles, yellow mullets and other tropical fish.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Hiking, kayaking, panga boat rides, snorkeling

family on south plaza island galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/Y Beluga

Day 10 - San Cristobal Island

Cerro Brujo (witch Hill)

San Cristobal is the easternmost island in the Galapagos and one of only four inhabited islands. It is also where the administrative capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is located. You start the day with a wet landing at Cerro Brujo on the northern coast of the island. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago with white powdery sand, beautiful rock formations and wildlife that includes sea turtles, rays, sea lions, finches, shore birds, tropical fish and more.

Kicker Rock

Kicker Rock is a striking rock formation located a couple of hours off the western coast of San Cristobal. There are no landing areas, but it is a fantastic site to explore by kayak or snorkerling with hammerhead sharks, various types of sea bird, tropical fish, manta rays and lots of other marine life.

El Junco

The El Junco lagoon is one of the few permanent freshwater reservoirs in Galapagos. Frigate birds can often be seen cleaning the salt off their feathers in the freshwater. White cheeked pintails, common gallinules and other birds are also frequently spotted.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Hiking, kayaking, panga boat rides, snorkeling

kicker rock galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/Y Beluga

Day 11 - Española Island

Española is the most southernly island in Galapagos and at almost four million years old it is also one of the oldest. There is an abundance of wildlife on Española but it is most famous as the site where almost the entire world population of Waved Albatros congregate between March and January. This morning there is a wet landing at the magnificent Gardner Bay, a beautiful white sand beach with a colony of sea lions lazing in the sun. Offshore Gardner Bay offers some of the best snorkerling in the archipelago where you can swim with sea lions and sea turtles. Further out towards Tortuga Rock and the Gardner Islets there are large schools of tropical fish including yellow tailed surgeon fish, king angelfish and bump-head parrot fish. Huge manta rays and white-tipped sharks are also frequently spotted.

Punta Suarez

Punta Suarez is located on the western tip of Española and offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities such as sea lions, hundreds of different sea birds and the largest marine iguanas found anywhere in Galapagos. Punta Suarez is known as one of the best sites in the archipelago with an almost overwhelming amount of wildlife! Your guide will lead you along the trail where you can see sea lions, lava lizards, marine iguanas, masked boobies, Galapagos dove, friendly Hood mockingbirds, large cactus finch, warble finch, large-billed flycatcher and much more. Continuing down the trail you get to the nesting site for the Waved Albatros where over 12,000 pairs nest each year between March and January. Finish the afternoon at the dramatic blowhole where water shoots 30 metres into the air.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Hiking, kayaking, snorkeling

sea lion pup on the beach galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/Y Beluga

Day 12 - Charles Darwin Research Station & return to Quito

The Darwin Research Station is the centre of conservation and scientific research in the Galapagos. This active research centre plays a pivotal role in better protecting and maintaining the islands. It also has an educational aspect providing a curriculum for Galapagos guides and working within schools and communities on the islands. This morning you will have a short guided visit to learn about the different research projects and about the natural history of the islands. There is also a tortoise breeding centre where you will be able to see the emblematic giant tortoises and learn about the project. There are several interactive displays and other exhibits that guests can explore.

After a short visit you will be taken to the airport for your return flight to Quito via Guayaquil.

Exact flight times to be confirmed.

On arrival to Quito you will be met and taken by private transfer directly to your hotel.

The rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking

giant tortoise galapagos islands ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: La Casona de la Ronda

Day 13 - Transfer to the airport for departure

Check-out and private transfer from your hotel to the airport (about 1 hour) for your return flight.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Below is our suggested accommodation for this tour. Our Ecuador and Galapagos experts have intimate knowledge of all the accommodation options available. Speak to one of our specialists about the type of accommodation you would like to include.

Destinations Visited On This Tour

Click the links below to find out more about the destinations visited in this tour.

Call one of our friendly Latin America experts on 0208 191 7772 from the UK or toll free from the states on 0018448806752. Alternatively, just complete the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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