Being one of the smallest countries in South America, Ecuador often gets overlooked but for a country that is less than 3% of the size of the US, it packs a massive punch!
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With your expert local guide you will be taken on a guided tour of the world’s second highest capital. You will have the opportunity to explore the historical centre of the city, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After breakfast on day 3 you will be driven out of Quito onto a windy road which will take you down into the lush cloud-forest, approximately 4 hours by road from the capital. En route stopping at the archaeological site of Tulipe, dating back to 800AD.
Soon you will arrive at Mashpi Lodge, a solid glass structure, surrounded by forest and built deep inside Mashpi’s own private reserve. This will be your base for the next two nights as you discover the secrets of the cloud forest.
During your stay the lodge’s expert guides will take you on daily activities into the cloud forest. Explore the trails of the 2,500 acre reserve, climb the 85ft observation tower, swim in waterfalls or strap yourself in for a ride on the ‘Dragon Fly’ – an open-air cable car system, which takes guests above the forest canopy. Huge numbers of tropical birds and mammals can be seen in the reserve and with Mashpi’s expert guides on hand, you will be well looked after as you explore one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet.
Stay: Two nights at Mashpi Lodge – full board
After a morning activity at Mashpi Lodge you will be driven back to Quito, for a final night in the city before flying to the Galapagos Islands
Stay: One night at Casa Gangotena – bed & breakfast
After an early breakfast on day 6 you will return to Quito airport for your flight to the Galapagos. On arrival you will be met by guides and crew of the Santa Cruz II expedition ship and taken on board for lunch and your first activity that afternoon.
Over the next four days the naturalist guides on board the Santa Cruz II will take you on a variety of activities, discovering the wildlife which makes the islands so iconic. From nature trails on the islands, to snorkelling with sea-lions in the crystal-clear waters, you will discover what makes the archipelago so special. Daily presentations take place on board the boat and each day you will be treated to delicious meals on board.
Stay: Four nights on the Santa Cruz II – full board
Disembark the boat in the morning of day 10 and taken to your hotel, in a tranquil setting on the coast of Santa Cruz island. Organise an activity at the hotel, visit the town of Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station or simply relax by the pool or on the beach. The final two days are for you to unwind before flying home.
Stay: Two nights at Finch Bay – bed & breakfast
Fly from the Galapagos back to mainland Ecuador and the coastal city of Guayaquil. Here you will connect onto your overnight international flight home.