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

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

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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

A luxurious and private trip to the best of Ecuador and Galapagos. Arrive in Quito, Ecuador’s colonial capital, for impressive architecture before traveling north with your own private guide to explore the Andean highlands. Visit authentic local markets, take a spectacular train journey through the highlands and stay in a traditional hacienda to experience country life. Spend the second half of the trip cruising the Galapagos on board a luxury expedition yacht visiting all the highlights of the enchanted islands.

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]

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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: Hotel Plaza Grande

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: Hotel Plaza Grande

Day 3 - Exploring Otavalo with your private local guide

This morning you will be met at your hotel after breakfast by your expert private guide and driver who will be with you for the next four days. Today you will drive north of Quito (about 1.5 hours) to the town of Otavalo to visit the colourful market where locals from the surrounding villages come to sell their hand made products. Famous for their high quality weaving, wool and textiles the market also sells a wide array of leather goods that are handmade in nearby Cotacachi, the centre of Ecuador’s leather industry. Held daily on the main town square with Mount Imbabura looming in the background, the bustling market is a fantastic place to experience local Andean life. During your time at the market you will also pay a visit to some local handicraft workshops to learn more about the traditional Andean trades. After lunch in a local hacienda you continue north to the white city of Ibarra (about a 1 hour drive) arriving to Hacienda Piman at approximately 4pm. There will be some free time to relax before dinner is served in the evening.

NOTE: As you will have a private guide and driver at your disposal for the next four days this itinerary is flexible and can be taken at your own pace.

panama hats in a market ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Hacienda Piman

Day 4 - Train journey through the highlands

This morning after breakfast you will be taken by your private guide and driver to the train station in Ibarra (about a 1 hour drive) to begin the La Libertad train journey. This spectacular journey includes seven tunnels that were painstakingly dug out of the mountainside and several tall bridges that stretch across deep canyons. After a two hour journey across the Andean paramo you arrive to the remote Afro-Ecuadorian village of Salinas where you will be greeted by members of the community performing their traditional dance called La Bomba. You will have some time to learn about the very distinctive culture in this area, visit the Sal Museum and browse the artisan market. A delicious traditional lunch is included.

After lunch you continue by road to Hacienda Zuleta (about a 1 hour drive) where you will arrive at approximately 5pm. You will have some free time before dinner.

tren de la libertad ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Hacienda Zuleta

Day 5 - Hacienda Zuleta & Andean Condor Project

This morning after breakfast you have a leisurely two hour hike to the Andean Condor Project accompanied by your private guide. Along the trail you will stop to see some pre-Inca mounds and admire the scenery. The Andean Condor project has been internationally recognised for it’s work in breeding and rehabilitating the endangered Andean Condor with the goal of reintroducing them back into the wild. Currently there are as little as 75 wild condors left in Ecuador. At the Condor Project you will be able to see the eight condors they have in captivity and learn more about the work they are doing to protect this magnificent species. With any luck you may also be able to see wild condors circling overhead and landing nearby. Return to the hacienda in time for lunch.

Historic Hacienda Zuleta’s Cultural Heritage

Zuleta is an authentic working hacienda with 2,112 hectares of farmland and primary forest. This extensive estate includes a dairy, creamery and organic garden where 25 different types of fruit and vegetables are grown. There are about 300 cows that are used mainly for milking and 2000 sheep that are kept for their wool and meat. Six thousand litres of milk are produced every day and the cheese factory produces 11 varieties of artisan cheese as well as cream and yoghurt. Potatoes, wheat and barely are some of the more popular crops and the trout farm produces 26 tons of trout each year. The hacienda also keeps about 100 types of pure bred horses making the hacienda one of the best places for horse riding in Ecuador. You may choose to visit the embroidery museum, feed baby calves, talk to the Vaqueros, go horse riding or just relax in the beautiful surroundings.

andean condor project at hacienda zuleta ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Hacienda Zuleta

Day 6 - Hike to Cuicocha Lake

After breakfast this morning you check out and depart the hacienda heading towards the Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserve accompanied by your private guide and driver. Your guide will lead you on a 3 hour hike to the deep blue Cuicocha crater lake located on the lower southern flank of Mount Cotacachi. You will enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes including Cayambe, Imbabura and Cuicocha. There is also particularly good birdwatching along the trail with regular sightings of ruddy ducks, hummingbirds and silvery grebes. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant before continuing by road to Quito (about 1.5 hours). Arrival back to Quito is approximately 5pm and the rest of the evening is at leisure.

cuicocha lake ecuador

Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Grande

Day 7 - Flight to the Galapagos & boarding your cruise

This morning you will be picked up at your hotel after breakfast and taken by private transfer to the airport for your flight via Guayaquil to Baltra island in the Galapagos.

Exact flight times to be confirmed (two hour flight).

On arrival to Baltra you will be greeted by your naturalist guides for the next seven nights and taken directly to the boat for boarding. You will have some time to settle into your cabin before there is a quick briefing. After this lunch is served on board whilst the boat sets off towards the first visitor site of your trip.

Daphne Major Islet

This afternoon the boat will circumnavigate the Daphne Major islet. Daphne Major is located north of Santa Cruz island and west of Baltra. It is the island where Peter and Rosemary Grant carried out their groundbreaking research into Darwin’s Finches. The island is home to a wide variety of birds including the Galapagos martins, nazca boobies, short eared owls, red billed tropicbirds and the iconic blue footed booby.

NOTE: The exact itinerary and program of excursions for the Galapagos may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and national park policies and regulations.

mv evolution at sunset

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/V Evolution

Day 8 - Isabela & Fernandina islands

This morning there will be a visit Punta Vicente Roca, a marine only visitor site located on the northwestern side of the island. This is a fantastic site for snorkerling due to the nutrient rich waters caused by the cold Humboldt current. You can expect to see hundreds of colourful fish, sea lions, sea turtles and penguins whilst swimming and snorkerling in these waters.

Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island

After lunch the boat continues to Fernandina, the third largest island in the Galapagos. Fernandina is home to the active La Cumbre volcano which most recently erupted in 2009. Due to this volcanic activity the island is mostly rocky with cooled lava flows and little plant life. Punta Espinoza is a narrow spit of land where you will be able to observe a number of unique species such as the fascinating flightless cormorant. Large groups of marine iguanas congregate on the black lava rocks and sea turtles, Galapagos penguins and Galapagos hawks can all be seen in close proximity.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking & hiking, snorkeling & Panga boat rides

sea turtle and tropical fish galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/V Evolution

Day 9 - Isabela Island

After breakfast this morning there is an easy wet landing at Urbina Bay which is located to the west of Isabela’s Alcedo Volcano. The naturalist guides will lead you on a walk along the uplifted marine reef which stretches for three miles along the coast. The big highlight of this excursion are the huge land iguanas and giant tortoises that are frequently spotted. There is some time to go snorkerling or just relax on the shore before lunch is served back on board.

Tagus Cove

This afternoon you visit Tagus Cove, a site known for its fascinating geology. A wooden staircase takes you to the start of the trail that leads around Darwin Lake and through dry vegetation. The trail ends at a promontory that is formed by spatter cones, a type of cooled lava that has been ejected during an eruption. From this vantage point there are spectacular views of the Evolution’s anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin and Wolf volcanoes. The green algae underwater around the cove is a fantastic habitat for different marine wildlife and offers the chance to snorkel with marine iguanas, sea horses, sea turtles and penguins.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking & hiking, snorkeling, kayaking & Panga boat rides

marine iguana galapagos islands

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/V Evolution

Day 10 - Bartolome & Santiago islands

This morning there is a visit to the small island of Bartolome, one of the younger islands in the archipelago located just off the east coast of the larger Santiago island. Famous for the iconic site of Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome has some of the most beautiful views and landscapes in the Galapagos. Your naturalist guide will lead you along a trail to a viewpoint where there will be excellent views of Pinnacle Rock, the beach and the yacht in the bay. Galapagos penguins and sea lions are frequently seen here.

Sullivan Bay on Santiago

Sullivan Bay is one of the most outstanding volcanic sites in Galapagos and is of particular geological interest. In this harsh environment only a few plants have managed to survive such as the Mollugo and Lava Cacti. Oystercatchers can be seen fishing for mollusks and crabs in the rock pools. After exploring the distinctive lava flow with your naturalist guides there is time for swimming and snorkeling with friendly sea lions or just relaxing on the shore.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking & hiking, snorkeling & Panga boat rides

panorama of bartolome island galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/V Evolution

Day 11 - Santa Cruz & Rabida Islands

This morning you land on Las Bachas, a white sand coral beach located on the northern coast of Santa Cruz island. The beach gets its name from the remains American barges that were abandoned at sea and washed up on the beach. The rusty remains of the pontoon can still be seen today. Marine iguanas, sally lightfoot crabs, flamingos, black necked stilts, brown pelicans and other migratory and aquatic birds are often seen around the salt water lagoon. The beach is also an important egg laying site for sea turtles.

Rabida Island

This afternoon you will visit Rabida island which is also commonly known by its English name, Jervis, after the 18th century British admiral John Jervis. This island is distinctive for the deep red colour of the beach and cliffs. Sea turtles are commonly seen in the waters and ashore there are blue footed boobies and pelicans. A thick forest of Palo Santo trees obscures a saltwater lagoon where pink flamingos congregate. Your naturalist guide leads you on a walk up to a peninsular where there is a wonderful view of the red beach and lagoon.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking & hiking, snorkeling & Panga boat ride

rabida island galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/V Evolution

Day 12 - Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the archipelago and the most populated of the four inhabited islands. The capital of Puerto Ayora is the biggest settlement in the islands. This morning you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the land iguana and giant tortoise breeding centre. You will have the opportunity to get up close to the fascinating giant tortoises and learn about the conservation efforts that are made to protect them. You will also be able to see the body of Lonesome George who has been embalmed and is now on display at the Research Station. Lonesome George was the last of his particular species of Giant Tortoise and became a worldwide symbol of conservation.

The highlands of Santa Cruz

After lunch you will visit the lush highlands of Santa Cruz island where the dry coastal vegetation gives way to green wet fields and overgrown forests full of moss and lichens. There will be a visit to the giant tortoise reserve where you will be able to see these emblematic animals in the wild. Return by bus to Puerto Ayora where there is some free time to wander on your own before dinner is served back on board the M/V Evolution in the evening.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking & hiking

giant tortoise in the santa cruz highlands galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/V Evolution

Day 13 - Española Island

Española is the southernmost island in the archipelago and one of the highlights of the Galapagos due to the large amount of endemic species. There is a huge amount of wildlife to be seen on Española and it is also the site where the entire world population of Waved Albatross congregate from January until March. This morning there is a visit to Punta Suarez where you will see the largest species of marine iguanas in the Galapagos. Waved Albatross, masked boobies, blue footed boobies, Galapagos hawks, Hood mockingbird and lava lizards are among the myriad of other wildlife that can also be seen.

Gardner Bay

Gardner Bay is one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Galapagos. Sea lions are usually found lazing on this magnificent beach and the inquisitive mockingbirds come to say hello. Just offshore there is some fantastic snorkerling where you can swim with sea lions, sea turtles, reef sharks and an abundance of tropical fish. The afternoon is spent relaxing on the shore, swimming snorkerling or kayaking before returning to the M/V Evolution in the evening for your final dinner and night on the yacht.

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking & hiking, snorkeling, kayaking & Panga boat rides

sea lion on the beach gardner bay galapagos

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: M/V Evolution

Day 14 - San Cristobal & return to the mainland

Today you wake up in San Cristobal, the easternmost island in the archipelago and one of only four inhabited islands in Galapagos. It is also where the administrative capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is located. This morning you will have a guided visit to the Galapagos National Park visitor centre where you can enjoy the comprehensive exhibits on the natural history, human history, flora, fauna and different ecosystems on the islands. There is also a short trail to Frigatebird Hill where you will be able to see both great and magnificent Frigatebirds in the same colony. After this you will bid goodbye to the Galapagos and be taken to the airport for your return flight to Guayaquil on the mainland.

Exact flight times to be confirmed (two hour flight)

On arrival to Guayaquil you will be met at the airport and taken by private transfer to your hotel.

The rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure to relax in your room and the peaceful grounds of your hotel

ACTIVITIES TODAY: Walking & hiking

red throated frigatebird galapagos islands

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel del Parque

Day 15 - Transfer to the airport for departure

Check-out and private transfer from your hotel to the airport (about 30 minutes) for your return flight.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Below is our suggested accommodation for this itinerary. Our Ecuador and Galapagos experts have wide ranging 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.

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