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Natural Wonders of Ecuador and the Galapagos

From $9,699
Duration 13 Days
Departures from: Oct 2024 - Nov 2025
Book now
From $9,699
Duration 13 Days
Departures from: Oct 2024 - Nov 2025

Tour Overview

This holiday of a lifetime is a must for lovers of nature. Explore Ecuador's incredible cloud forest, before discovering remarkable landscapes and unique wildlife when you stay on three of the UNESCO-listed Galapagos Islands.
  • classic touring holiday Classic Touring
  • active holiday Walking
  • meals included tour Half Board
  • max group size Max Group Size 15

Your Holiday Includes

  • Just You Holiday Director as your host & Specialist Local Guide
  • 12 nights in 3 and 4-star hotels
  • A guaranteed twin or double room of your own
  • 30 included meals: 12 breakfasts. 11 lunches, 7 dinners including welcome drink & dinner and farewell dinner
  • Transportation excluding overseas transfers to and from the airport * & porterage

Included Holiday Highlights

  • Tour of Quito
  • Visit Mercado Iñaquito & sample the local produce
  • Visit a butterfly garden & orchid park
  • Visit a working chocolate farm
  • Hike in the Mindo Cloud Forest
  • See Hummingbirds
  • Visit Quitsato - the true latitude 0
  • See giant tortoises at a farm on Santa Cruz Island
  • Tintoreras snorkelling & hike
  • Visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre & a wetland on Isabela Island
  • Hike up the Sierra Negra volcano
  • The Charles Darwin Research Station
  • San Cristóbal Interpretation Centre
  • Snorkelling at Kicker Rock
  • Otavalo Market

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Quito

Make your own way to the hotel where your Holiday Director will meet you this evening. Meals included: D

Day 2 Quito

After breakfast, our explorations begin with a trip to Mercado Iñaquito, this is one of the city's most popular markets and we will get to try some of the varied and interesting fruits that Ecuador has to offer. A Local Guide will show us around and you'll be offered samples of local produce. After the market, we'll enjoy a visit to the new and old towns of Quito. Independence Square and the Churches of Basilica, La Compañia and La Catedral are a few stops we'll make before heading over to the Plaza Grande, the main square in the old town. Here we'll try the typical empanadas with coffee as a midday snack. Followed by a tasty lunch with a potato soup, typical of the Andes called Locro as we visit San Francisco Plaza with some traditional desserts to finish our tasting. Next, we'll wind our way to the Calle de la Ronda. We'll peruse the local shops as we hunt for a street food vendor and taste the empanada de viento (empanada of wind). To finish our day, we'll head to possibly the best lookout in Quito, the Panecillo, for a panoramic view of the city. Meals included: B,L

Day 3 Quito - Mindo

Today we're heading to the Mindo Cloud Forest, an area of spectacular scenery and wildlife. Our first stop is a chance to catch a glimpse of the small, interesting bird that enjoys the cloud forest climate – the hummingbird. The Alambi Cloud Forest is home to dozens of species of hummingbirds and is probably the best place in Ecuador to see them, along with a wide variety of other interesting species. You'll get so close to the hummingbirds that you'll feel and hear their wings fluttering right beside you! This afternoon after lunch, we will be visiting a butterfly garden where there are more than 1,000 species including the owl eye, the blue morpho and the Mariposas butterfly. We'll learn about the life cycle of a butterfly and may get an up-close look at some friendly butterflies that might land on an outstretched finger! Our adventure continues with an afternoon hike through the cloud forest, a great way to enjoy more of the spectacular scenery and wildlife. With our afternoon hike in the jungle complete, we'll head back to the hotel for a local dinner. Meals included: B,L,D

Day 4 Mindo - Quito

Our adventure continues by visiting El Quetzal de Mindo, you'll see cocoa trees and have a peek at a working chocolate farm. Learn about how Ecuadorian chocolate is made, and try some samples! You may want to try the locally made craft beer as well. Later this afternoon we'll arrive back in Quito, and there's time to relax before we get together for dinner and a briefing about tomorrow's journey to the Galapagos Islands. You may be provided with a duffle bag for your belongings - all luggage is inspected on arrival at Galapagos and duffle bags make this process easier. Meals included: B,L,D

Day 5 Quito - Santa Cruz Island

Today we're going to fly to the Galapagos. This archipelago of islands is home to an astonishing array of wildlife and the landscapes range from black volcanic rock to glorious white-sand beaches. A Local Guide will be waiting for us on Santa Cruz and the sightseeing will start straight away. We'll make our way to a private ranch in the Highlands, where giant tortoises roam free. Whilst we enjoy lunch, you'll want to keep an eye on the birds - many species can be spotted in the Highlands, including the Galapagos mockingbird. Meals included: B,L

Day 6 Santa Cruz Island - Isabela Island

After some free time this morning, we'll transfer by boat to Isabela Island and make our way to the little town of Puerto Villamil. Once we've arrived in Puerto Villamil and settled in, we'll have a practice snorkeling session to help us prepare and test our gear for the afternoon activity. This afternoon, after lunch we'll catch our panga for the Tintoreras tour. This small boat tour of Isabela's bay includes a short cruise along the coast, a snorkel and a walk on Tintoreras islet. It's our best chance to see the Galapagos Penguin along with pelicans, and hopefully blue-footed boobies! The snorkelling is done in a sheltered area, where you may spot colourful tropical fish, sea lions, starfish, urchins, rays, turtles and perhaps even sharks. On Tintoreras islet, we'll hop off for a short walk on this lava-laden land, which is home to nesting marine iguanas. This nursery area is protected from many predators, so you'll probably see marine iguanas and scurrying lava lizards about! Meals included: B,L,D

Day 7 Isabela Island

There's an exciting morning ahead, as we set off on a hike up the Sierra Negra volcano. Sierra Negra is one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos; its last eruption was in October 2005. On our way we will make a stop at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre, that houses almost 1,000 of these creatures in different stages of development and is helping to protect them from extinction.
Then we will make our way to the Volcano, and as we hike to the perimeter of the caldera, we’ll be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands like the bright red vermillion flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. Once we reach the rim, we’ll be met with a 9km view that stretches across one of the most active calderas in the world. We'll make our way back to town early afternoon. Meals included: B,L

Day 8 Santa Cruz Island - at Leisure

You're free to enjoy a lazy morning if you wish. However, if you enjoy snorkelling our optional excursion to Los Tuneles is a must. You'll head to one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos for a chance to explore underwater lava tunnels teeming with marine life. Look out for reef sharks, sea turtles, sea horses and more.
Later, we'll travel back to Santa Cruz by boat, and after dinner you might want to stroll down to the waterfront with your fellow travellers. At night the locals can often be found playing Ecua-volley, or Ecuadorian volleyball, which is always fun to watch. Meals included: B,L

Day 9 San Cristóbal Island

Today we're going to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we'll learn more about efforts to conserve several species of the giant tortoise. Lonesome George was perhaps the most famous Galapagos tortoise. His species, the Pinta Island tortoise, became extinct when he died in 2012 and after being preserved by expert taxidermists, he is now on display at the centre.
We'll travel to another island, San Cristóbal, by boat this afternoon. After checking into our hotel, we'll walk to the Interpretation Centre. Here you'll learn about the history of the archipelago, Charles Darwin's famous visit in the 19th century and today's work to protect the amazing landscapes. Afterwards you can explore the surrounding area at your leisure. Hiking trails take you to Frigatebird Hill, Punta Carola - a wonderful beach - and Darwin Bay, where a statue of Charles Darwin commemorates his landing on the island. Meals included: B,L

Day 10 San Cristóbal Island

We're going to take a cruise along the coast and hopefully catch a glimpse of San Cristóbal's fabulous marine life today. Keep a lookout for birds including the great frigate and blue-footed booby as we head to Kicker Rock, where the remains of a volcanic tuff cone rises over 143 metres out of the ocean. If Kicker Rock were a building, it would have almost 50 floors! Snorkel a channel between the rocks in search of spotted eagle rays, chocolate chip starfish, sea turtles and Galapagos sharks, as well as damselfish, puffer fish, and, hopefully, curious sea lion pups.
After a busy morning you'll be ready for lunch on board. We're going to stop at a beautiful beach accessible only by boat – a little slice of paradise and the perfect place to relax. Meals included: B,L,D

Day 11 San Cristóbal Island - Quito

You're free to spend your final morning in the Galapagos at leisure. Perhaps head to the beach for one last swim, or shop for some last-minute souvenirs.
Later, we'll drive to the airport for our flight back to Quito. Once at the hotel, you can use the facilities for a relaxing afternoon and then sit down for an included dinner. Meals included: B,L,D

Day 12 Otavalo

Your holiday ends with a trip to the ‘Middle of the World’, and then the market in Otavalo. Leaving Quito, we will stop in Cayambe to visit the first ‘Middle of the World’ Monument followed by the visit to Quitsato where we can experience the real latitude zero. Moving on North, considered to be one of the biggest and best markets in South America, Otavalo Market is the next stop. There will be lots of colourful textiles and handicrafts on offer, so you might want to have a go at bargaining for a few souvenirs. Next we'll head to Cotacachi, a town famous for its leather. The main street is packed with shops selling jackets, shoes, wallets and more, so be warned, you might be tempted to treat yourself! This evening we'll get together for a farewell dinner and a chance to reminisce about the wonderful experiences we've shared. Meals included: B,L,D

Day 13 Departure

Today it's time to say goodbye to your fellow travelers as your trip comes to an end.

Meals included: B

Additional Information

To experience the best of the islands and their wildlife, this holiday requires a significant amount of walking. Please note: During this tour you will travel to altitudes of over 9,000ft where altitude sickness can occur. If you suffer from heart or respiratory conditions, or have any other concerns, please consult your doctor. Island Taxes of approximately $230 including Galapagos National Park entrance fee are not included in the cost of your holiday and will be payable locally upon arrival in Galapagos. Please note - hotels in the Galapagos Islands are generally more basic than those found on the mainland of Ecuador, and all properties used have been chosen due to location and optimised for the itinerary.

Accommodation

Cultura Manor

Located in the Mariscal neighborhood of Quito, the hotel is an old mansion that has been very tastefully refurbished into a boutique hotel. From the upper floors, there are breathtaking views of the Andes and nearby urban spaces.

Located in the Mariscal neighborhood of Quito, the hotel is an old mansion that has been very tastefully refurbished into a boutique hotel. From the upper floors, there are breathtaking views of the Andes and nearby urban spaces.

Septimo Paraiso Hotel

Septimo Paraiso Lodge, ecological country hotel, is located just outside of the village of Mindo. All hotel rooms have en-suite facilities with hot water from hotel's own hot spring. It offers rustic-style wooden interiors with elegant, wooden furnishing and canopy beds. Septimo Paraiso Lodge is surrounded by exotic and lavish cloud forest and offers an extraordinary experience of the amazing biodiversity of the area.

Septimo Paraiso Lodge, ecological country hotel, is located just outside of the village of Mindo. All hotel rooms have en-suite facilities with hot water from hotel's own hot spring. It offers rustic-style wooden interiors with elegant, wooden furnishing and canopy beds. Septimo Paraiso Lodge is surrounded by exotic and lavish cloud forest and offers an extraordinary experience of the amazing biodiversity of the area.

EB Hotel Quito

The EB Hotel Quito offers modern decor, 5-star service, unique state-of-the-art amenities an impressive lobby bar and restaurant with a fusion of local, Ecuadorian and international cuisine that will make your visit unforgettable.

The EB Hotel Quito offers modern decor, 5-star service, unique state-of-the-art amenities an impressive lobby bar and restaurant with a fusion of local, Ecuadorian and international cuisine that will make your visit unforgettable.

Silberstein Hotel

Albermarle Hotel

Hotel Albemarle directly sits on one of the Galapagos’ spectacular beaches. A truly stunning location is complemented by the facilities and services this hotel has to offer. Guests can enjoy the fresh water swimming pool or choose to relax in a hammock or on a sun bed. The rooms are air-conditioned, have private facilities and electronic safes. Wi-Fi is also available for those staying at the Albemarle.

Hotel Albemarle directly sits on one of the Galapagos’ spectacular beaches. A truly stunning location is complemented by the facilities and services this hotel has to offer. Guests can enjoy the fresh water swimming pool or choose to relax in a hammock or on a sun bed. The rooms are air-conditioned, have private facilities and electronic safes. Wi-Fi is also available for those staying at the Albemarle.

Silberstein Hotel

Miconia Hotel

Hotel Miconia is a property which boasts a fantastic location and facilities that are unrivalled in San Cristobal. Guests are only a short walk from the beach and will have access to amenities that are unique in the area. There is a fully furnished gym, a restaurant/bar with a sea view and an excellent outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. All the rooms have air conditioning and are fitted with private facilities, a paid minibar, a TV and a safety deposit box.

Hotel Miconia is a property which boasts a fantastic location and facilities that are unrivalled in San Cristobal. Guests are only a short walk from the beach and will have access to amenities that are unique in the area. There is a fully furnished gym, a restaurant/bar with a sea view and an excellent outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. All the rooms have air conditioning and are fitted with private facilities, a paid minibar, a TV and a safety deposit box.

EB Hotel Quito

The EB Hotel Quito offers modern decor, 5-star service, unique state-of-the-art amenities an impressive lobby bar and restaurant with a fusion of local, Ecuadorian and international cuisine that will make your visit unforgettable.

The EB Hotel Quito offers modern decor, 5-star service, unique state-of-the-art amenities an impressive lobby bar and restaurant with a fusion of local, Ecuadorian and international cuisine that will make your visit unforgettable.

Optional Excursions

Experience even more of your destination by adding one or more optional excursions to your trip before you set off. Take a look below at the extra trips you can enjoy on this tour

Isabela - Los Tuneles Snorkelling Experience

Isabela - Los Tuneles Snorkelling Experience

Head to Los Tuneles for an incredible snorkelling experience where sleeping sharks, sea horses, sea turtles and strange lava tunnel formations are just some of the underwater sights you could witness.
Also called Cabo Rosa, this area is about one hour from the town and was created millions of years ago when lava flows from the volcanoes touched the water and solidified forming tunnels, arches and sheltered bays. They are the perfect feeding grounds for sea turtles and resting places for other species like Galapagos sharks! Even the Galapagos penguins have been known to visit this area at times. It is one of the most diverse snorkel spots in the entire archipelago, and home to some birds, such as nesting blue-footed boobies. And there is so much more – keep your eyes peeled for sea lions, eagle rays, octopus, tropical fish, sea stars and sea urchins that can also be spotted in these crystal clear waters.

Safe access to this snorkelling site is only possible at certain tides and due to the lava formations, the ride to get to this here can be a little rough – but this experience is worth it! If you want to maximise the time you spend in the water in the Galapagos, Los Tuneles should be on your list.

1/2 Day – Moderate Walking – Once in a Lifetime experience

Please note: This excursion must be booked 40 days before departure.
Head to Los Tuneles for an incredible snorkelling experience where sleeping sharks, sea horses, sea turtles and strange lava tunnel formations are just some of the underwater sight...

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