If you like the itinerary below please quote REF SOUTH AMERICA 25 when enquiring for further details.
Alternatively you may like modify this trip with your own Holiday Wish List
Bienviendos a Ecuador! Upon arrival you will be met at the international airport and transferred to your hotel in Quito where the rest of the day is free.
This morning visit down town Quito and its architectural treasures on a shared city tour. Your stroll takes you through Independence Plaza, past the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace, and on to the temple of La Compañia de Jesús with its dazzling gilded interior. Touring continues with the Equatorial Monument that marks the exact point of the Middle of the World. With a latitude of 0°, you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere and collect a certificate for having crossed the Equator. Next visit the Ethnographic Museum to learn about the different Native American groups living in Ecuador.
A scenic flight over the majestic Andes mountains followed by a motorised canoe ride along the Napo River brings you to your stunning jungle lodge.
Over the next two days you will have plenty of opportunities to discover the pristine Ecuadorian rainforest. During the day venture out into the wilds for wildlife spotting and outdoor activities Swim in the local lakes, observe bird species from the mini observational towers, visit the vibrant butterfly house and explore the jungle at night on foot or by boat looking out for the glowing orange eyes of the black caiman. There’ll also be numerous hiking trails available along the Rio Napo or deep into the rainforest and for those looking for a bird’s eye view, the canopy walkway is the perfect vertigo-inducing experience.
After your final breakfast in the Amazon, take an easy walk on the boardwalk to watch monkeys one last time before departing your jungle lodge and heading back to Quito by plane. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free.
Enjoy a semi-private excursion to the market town of Otavalo. A stunning journey through dramatic Andean scenery brings you to your first stop of the day, the small town of Calderón. Continue along the valleys of Guayllabamba and Cayambe to arrive at Otavalo in time for the famous market of local handicrafts. Next stop is the traditional Indian village of Peguche where artisans weave in their homes. Lunch is taken at one of the charming haciendas in the area. Return to your Quito hotel.
This morning transfer to the airport in Quito for your flight to Cuenca, the colonial jewel of the south. Considered to be one of Ecuador’s most beautiful cities, Cuenca is surrounded by the Cullca hills to the north and Turi to the south. Arrival transfer to your hotel, enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Spend the day independently exploring Cuenca at leisure. Head down to the Rio Tomebamba to see the overhanging houses lining the slopes and colourful laundry hanging out to dry or wander through the colonial heart of the city and marvel at the UNESCO-listed architecture. You might also want to bag yourself a Panama hat from a local outlet.
Departing Cuenca this morning journey through the El Cajas National Park, an expanse of glacial lakes, Andean cloud forests and volcanic peaks. Stop for a stroll at Llaviucu Lake and to admire the views at La Toreadora Lake. Later continue to the coastal city of Guayaquil. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the numerous barrios, each with their own distinct flavour.
Early this morning transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos. Arriving on San Cristóbal Island you embark your cruise. After check in you have the option to either visit El Junco, the only permanent body of fresh water in the archipelago, or visit the Interpretation Centre. After lunch on board continue to the eastern tip of the island to see the eroded tuff cone of Punta Pitt. A trail ascends from the beach to provide spectacular views of the shoreline and the colony of bachelor sea lions that position themselves along the beach.
The sandy white beaches of Santa Fe Island are home to numerous male sea lion harems where bulls vie for the right of ‘beach master’ while smaller males masquerade as females to make stealthy mating moves. Continue to the small, lava-formed island of South Plaza where the turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black rock of the shoreline littered with bright orange ‘Sally Lightfoot’ crabs. Further exploration of the island reveals yellow land iguanas sitting beneath cacti waiting for pears to drop.
This morning visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration in the Galápagos. Meet the giant tortoise and visit the impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. Lunch is enjoyed in the cooler highlands of the island. The afternoon brings with it several different options for land and water based activities. Trek along trails amid miconia forest, mountain bike down to Garrapatero Beach, sea kayak or visit an organic coffee plantation.
Enjoy a morning outing to Punta Suárez for an exciting walk over lava and boulder terrain to visit unique sea bird colonies of waved albatross, Nazca boobies and swallow-tail gulls. Among its land birds the Hood Island mockingbird, Galápagos doves and three species of Darwin’s finches are common highlights. In the afternoon explore the white coral beach of Gardener Bay to observe sea lions. There’s also the chance to swim, snorkel or ride aboard the glass-bottom boat. In the evening back on board enjoy a farewell cocktail and dinner.
Disembarking at Baltra Island this morning, bid farewell to your captain, crew and fellow guests and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the coastal city of Guayaquil on the mainland. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the numerous barrios, each with their own distinct flavour.
Today marks the end of your incredible journey through the wilds of Ecuador. After breakfast and hotel check out you will be transferred to the airport in time for your onward international departure flight.