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Classic Ecuador & Galapagos

  • Quito
  • Amazon
  • Otavalo
  • Galapagos
  • Cotopaxi National Park
Classic Ecuador & Galapagos Classic Ecuador & Galapagos
£ 8432

A fine introduction to some of Ecuador’s greatest highlights. Explore the historic, cobbled streets of Quito, swim with reef sharks in the Galapagos and discover the riches of the Amazon Rainforest.

You’ll visit the beautiful colonial churches and monasteries of the old Inca capital of Quito before journeying east to the jungles of the Amazon Basin, a vast green carpet of rainforest crisscrossed with rivers and sanctuary to a plethora of exotic wildlife.

Then comes the Galapagos Islands, one of the natural world’s last treasure houses with uniquely-developed giant land tortoises, comical penguins, masked boobies, waved albatrosses and great sea lion colonies. See them for yourself from the open deck of the Santa Cruz II – one of the most comfortable vessels cruising these ‘enchanted isles’.

17 days from
per person

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Day 1 London - Madrid - Quito
London - Madrid - Quito

Fly into Quito from London. You will be met and transferred to a boutique hotel in the heart of old Quito where you will be spending one night.

Stay: One night in a double room at Patio Andaluz – bed & breakfast

Day 2-4 Amazon

Today you will board a flight to the Amazon, staying in a remote eco-hotel within the Yasuni National Park. The journey from the airport to the lodge consists of a car ride to the dock, a motorized canoe trip along the Napo River and finally a meandering journey in a small, dugout canoe up to the lodge. Throughout the journey you can keep an eye out for giant otters, jacamars, monkeys, kingfishers and hoatzins.

The next few days will be dedicated to experiencing the wonders of this rich and incredibly diverse wilderness. You’ll explore the rainforest alongside expert local guides on excursions that range from canoe trips along the river to specialist bird watching tours. You can also follow one of the many canopy trails in the area, which will offer you a fabulous view over the rainforest.

Stay: Three nights in a double room at Napo Wildlife Centre – full board

Day 5-6 Otavalo

Swapping the rainforest for the Andean highlands, your holiday now brings you to the famous market town of Otavalo. Your accommodation is a beautiful hacienda within walking distance of the renowned Otavalo Market where you can browse for brightly coloured ponchos, Indian jewellery and various locally made handicrafts.

Those looking to explore further can wander along walking trails, climb picturesque hills and mountains, go horse riding and mountain biking, and take excursions to traditional villages specialising in weaving, leather work and wood carving.

Stay: Two nights in a double room at Hacienda Cusin – full board

Day 7-8 Cotopaxi National Park
Cotopaxi National Park

Today you will journey south along the Avenue of Volcanoes to reach your traditional hacienda on the slopes of the Rumiñahui Volcano. It’s the perfect spot from which to immerse yourself in the Andean way of life, as well as enjoy numerous activities in and around Cotopaxi National Park.

Amongst the activities on offer are hiking, climbing, horseback riding and biking, as well as soaking up the magnificent views dominated by the distinctive snow-topped peak of the Cotopaxi Volcano. You will be able to follow trails through the mountains and forests to reach the indigenous communities of the area, where you can meet the locals and learn more about their culture and traditions.

Stay: Two nights in a double room at El Porvenir – half board

Day 9 Quito

Today you fly back to Quito, UNESCO World Heritage site and ancient capital of the Inca Empire. In the afternoon you will enjoy a guided tour, a chance to take in the beautiful colonial architecture of this bustling city. Your boutique hotel is fabulously located in the city’s historic heart, close to grand churches, imposing monasteries and historic squares.

Stay: One night in a double room at Patio Andaluz – bed & breakfast

Day 10-15 Galapagos

Today you will fly to the Galapagos where you will board the modern and comfortable Santa Cruz II. After a welcome briefing and lunch you will begin your cruise, making your first wet landing at Mosquera Islet – a long, narrow sandbank enclosed by lava reefs and home to several sea lion colonies.

The following day brings you to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre on San Cristobal, where you can also encounter a variety of endemic birds including the San Cristobal mockingbird. Later in the day you’ll visit Punta Pitt where you can snorkel, swim and kayak. It’s also the only place in the archipelago where all three species of boobies are found together.

On the third day you’ll discover Santa Fe, home to sea lions, land iguanas and the giant prickly pear cactus, where you can go snorkelling or enjoy a ride in a glass bottom boat. You’ll also arrive at South Plaza, where the white sands and black lava of the shoreline are lapped by brilliantly turquoise waters. On day four you will disembark at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, headquarters of scientific investigation and conservation.

Day five is dedicated to the island of Española where you will discover various sea bird colonies including waved albatross, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. In the afternoon you’ll land on the white coral beach of Gardner Bay and the nearby islet of Osborn, both beautiful places where you can enjoy swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.

The next two days will be spent exploring Eden Islet on Santa Cruz – home to blue-footed boobies, reef sharks and frigates – and North Seymour Island with its low, flat terrain and tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees. On day seven you’ll disembark at Baltra Island and be transferred to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.

Stay: Six nights in a double cabin aboard the Santa Cruz II – full board

Day 16-17 Galapagos – Guayaquil – Madrid – London

Your Galapagos cruise ends at Baltra, where you’ll be taken to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil. You will then board your flight to Madrid, and connect with your onward flight home.

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