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Classic Ecuador & Galapagos

  • Quito
  • Cotopaxi
  • Amazon
  • Northern Sierras
  • Galapagos Islands
Classic Ecuador & Galapagos Classic Ecuador & Galapagos
£ 8376

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 Ocean Spray – one of the most comfortable vessels cruising these ‘enchanted isles’.

15 days from
per person

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    Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1-2 Quito

    Board a day flight from the UK to Quito, the Ecuadorian capital.

    Note: There are no direct flights between the UK and Ecuador. The quickest connections are with KLM, via Amsterdam or Iberia via Madrid. There are also options via the USA, with British Airways and American Airlines. 

    You will be met and transferred to your characterful hotel in the heart of old Quito where you will be spending the first two nights.

    Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site and ancient capital of the Inca Empire. Your hotel is fabulously located in the city’s historic heart and on your second day you will be taken on a tour of the capital’s grand churches, imposing monasteries and historic squares.

    Stay: Two nights at Patio Andaluz – bed & breakfast

    Day 3-4 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 at Hacienda San Agustin de Callo – full board

    Day 5-7 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 motorised 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 at Napo Wildlife Centre – full board (including activities in small groups)

    Day 8-9 Northern Sierras
    Northern Sierras

    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 striking 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 at Hacienda Cusin – half board

    Day 10-13 Galapagos Islands
    Galapagos Islands

    On day ten you will fly to the Galapagos Islands, where you will board your small expedition ship for a four-night cruise of the archipelago.

    Throughout the journey, you will enjoy daily panga, snorkelling, kayaking and island excursions alongside experienced naturalists guides, who will give you a fascinating insight into the islands wildlife, history and geology.

    Ocean Spray is a sixteen passenger catamaran and is one of the most spacious and comfortable boats operating in the archipelago. It has one experienced naturalist guide on board, leading daily activities and on board presentations. Cabins are split across two-decks and each cabin has air-conditioning, a private bathroom and its own private balcony. There is a large sundeck, rooftop jacuzzi, alfresco dining area and comfortable lounge.

    Over the next four-nights you will explore the unique landscapes and wildlife of the islands. See blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds, colonies of sea lions and giant tortoises and snorkel with turtles, inquisitive fur seals and possibly even hammerhead sharks and whales. Explore beautiful sandy beaches, lava-tunnels and giant craters, each day returning to the boat for dinner and drinks.   

    Stay: Four nights on board Ocean Spray – full board (including activities with your naturalist guide)

    Day 14-15 Overnight flight from the Galapagos Islands back to the UK

    After your final breakfast in the Galapagos you will fly back to mainland Ecuador and connect onto your overnight international flight back to the UK.

    Other itineraries in Ecuador and Galapagos Islands

    • What was particularly impressive was the way in which Catherine listened to what we like to do and combined all of this in a destination we would not have considered - a truly terrific effort.

      OL, Caribbean