12D11N Ecuador & Galapagos Islands with Nature & Wildlife

Ecuador is an incredible culturally and naturally, rich country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast. Its diverse landscape includes deep Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and epic wildlife on the volcanic Galápagos Islands. The Galápagos Islands, located roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, remained a closely-guarded natural secret for millions of years. For a vastly different wildlife experience, take a journey into the wilds of the Galápagos Islands. Experience first-hand the lumbering giant tortoise, land and marine iguana – uniquely adapted to their environment.

Exceptional Experiences:

  • Experience the thrill of being in both hemispheres at the same time by visiting the Equator at Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the Earth)

 

  • Visit one of only two inhabited calderas in the world, Pululahua Crater and get panoramic views of the "Middle of the World."

 

  • Balance on the equator at Quitsato Sundial located at the Equator line

 

  • Visit the largest market in South America, the famous market of Otavalo where you’ll have the option to purchase local handicrafts such as dreamcatchers, hand-painted plates and traditional nut jewellery, to indigenous costumes.

 

  • Visit the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle with an experienced guide

 

  • Visit a Quichua indigenous community. Visit the locals and how they make necklaces and bracelets. Here, you can also try and practice the blowpipe and paint your faces with achiote, which is a natural paint.

 

  • Embark on the Treasure of Galápagos Cruise. With a max capacity of 16 passengers, this experience will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the destination and local culture.

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Itinerary:

Day 1: Quito

Upon arrival in the capital of Ecuador, the country's most populous city in Quito, meet your local guide and driver at the airport. Then, drive to check-in at your accommodation and take a rest after breakfast. (Approx. 40 minutes from the airport)

Then spend your day at leisure and recharge to kickstart your Ecuadorian adventure tomorrow.

In the evening, you may wish to utilize your complimentary 6-course tasting menu dinner for up to two people, once during stay, excluding drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) and gratuities.

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

Exclusive Amenities, For 2020:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily buffet breakfast for two, served in the restaurant
  • Complimentary 6 course tasting menu dinner for up to two people, once during stay, excluding drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) and gratuities
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

 

Day 2: Quito and Mitad del Mundo

This morning after breakfast, head out for a walking tour to see the sights of Quito’s Old Town.

Walk along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, passing 18th-century churches and picturesque plazas. Kickstart the walking tour at the lively Plaza Grande, with its shoeshine boys, singsong vendors and well-worn benches.

Then, check out Palacio de Gobierno (and changing of the guards on Monday) and head inside the cathedral for a look at paintings from the Quito School. After which, take a stroll down to García Moreno to La Compañía de Jesús, Quito’s most ornate church.

Thereafter, walk along with Sucre to the impressive Plaza and Monastery of San Francisco, with majestic Pichincha visible behind it on a clear day. Continue toward the historic street of La Ronda, which is lined with colonial balconied houses, galleries and shops. Next, visit the Church of Santo Domingo, its 17th-century domes making a nice backdrop to yet another picturesque snapshot.

From the Plaza Santo Domingo, head to Plaza del Teatro and take a peek inside the Teatro Sucre foyer to see what performances are on while you’re in town. From here, walk to the looming Basílica del Voto Nacional. Climb to the top of the clock tower for superb views over the Old Town.

Then, continue the walk to the handsomely restored Quito Observatory. After the walking tour, head for lunch before visiting the Equator at Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the Earth), a half an hour car ride from the city. Experience the thrill of being in both hemispheres at the same time at Mitad del Mundo.

After which, visit the viewpoint of the Pululahua Crater and get panoramic views of the "Middle of the World." The Pululahua Crater one of only two inhabited calderas in the world. About 40 families, who are mostly farmers, live inside the volcanic crater. The volcano was last active over 2000 years ago.

Then return back to Quito and return to your accommodation.

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

 

Day 3: Otavalo

This morning after breakfast, meet your local guide and driver and make your way to discover and the famous artesian indigenous market in Ecuador and some of the amazing views outside Otavalo.

Take a scenic drive through the Sierra highlands and arrive at Quitsato Sundial located at the Equator line, where you can balance on the equator! The monument works as well as a large calendar as well as a sundial, thus becoming the best place in the world to understand the apparent movements of the Sun, how the seasons work, the history of the calendar and more.

Then continue to Cayambe, located in Imbabura province which is known for its culture, history, folklore and cuisine. Taste and learn about the town’s famous Bizcochos of Cayambe and have breakfast here.

Then, continue to the famous market of Otavalo where you’ll have the option to purchase local handicrafts such as dreamcatchers, hand-painted plates and traditional nut jewelry, to indigenous costumes. This unassuming outpost in the Andes is home to the largest market in South America. Famous worldwide for the textiles and handmade artisanal products, there is enough here to lose yourself for hours amongst the small stalls. (Note: The official ‘market days’ of Otavalo Market are Wednesday and Saturday. On these days the market runs from 7 am until 6 pm)

Afterwards, visit the beautiful Laguna Cuicocha, which translates as the guinea pig lake is a large caldera lake nearly two miles across which is located in a volcano crater and contains 2 green islands.

Then, visit Cotacachi, a town famous for its leather garments. Afterwards, return to Quito.

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

 

Day 4: Cotopaxi National Park  

This morning after breakfast, meet your local guide and driver and take a one-hour drive to Cotopaxi National Park. With sweeping plains, rocky mountain trails, and glassy lagoons, Ecuador’s largest and most-visited national park is a spectacular setting for an outdoor adventure. Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Cotopaxi National Park is most famous for the much-photographed Cotopaxi volcano, the highest active volcano in South America.

Then, visit the Limpiopungo Lagoon, located on the slopes of the Cotopaxi Volcano, home to 24 species of bird; the Agua Longo Gully and Stone Valley; and the Centro de Interpretación Mariscal Sucre, an educational information centre.

Hike to the impressive Agua Longo Gully and Stone Valley and learn more about the national park at Centro de Interpretación Mariscal Sucre.

After which, make your way to your accommodation and rest for the night.

Accommodation: 3* Hacienda Hato Verde (As Latacunga, Cotopaxi is located in a province, we have arranged for the best available accommodation.)

 

Day 5: Baños

The area surrounding Baños is ecologically protected by the Sangay and Llanganates National Parks. There are over 60, ranging in size from peaceful and babbling to downright majestic waterfalls in the area. Visit and make a stop at some of the stunning waterfalls for a picture.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you may opt for a zipline or adventure or some white water rafting.

Baños also is famous for its hot springs. Each day, the town’s many public baths are filled with revitalizing mineral water that springs from the earth, warmed by lava flowing beneath your feet.

Enjoy the sunset over Baños and the surrounding mountains and rainforest. Nestled on a hill above the city, the Luna Volcan pools come with an extraordinary view of Baños and her countryside.

Then, head to your accommodation to rest for the night.

Accommodation: 5* Samari Spa Resort

 

Day 6: Puyo

This morning after breakfast, meet your professional guide who has vast experience about the area and you will be on your way to visit the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle to Puyo from Baños.

Board a private vehicle and head to Puyo. Your first stop of the day is a camp in Hola Vida Reserve, an ecological reserve of 225 hectares dedicated to the conservation of the environment. Then, your guide will bring you to visit a beautiful waterfall located about two hours away from the cabins in the reserve. Once there, you will have a chance to swim and enjoy the tranquillity of the forest.

Spend some time here, taking in the atmosphere and stunning settings, which make this area a memorable place. After which, it is time to head back to the cabins and camp. On your way back, you will pass through and explore the jungle with your guide. Learn about the rainforest and its flora and fauna and try to spot interesting flowers and birds.

Once you reach the cabins, you will enjoy a delicious and traditional lunch and then head on an exciting paddle canoe ride on the Puyo river. After 30-minutes of fun in the river, you will visit a viewpoint to admire an exceptional view of the rainforest.

Continue your journey and visit a Quichua indigenous community. Visit the locals and how they make necklaces and bracelets. Here, you can also try and practice the blowpipe and paint your faces with achiote, which is a natural paint.

After a day of a fun-filled jungle adventure, return to Quito.

In the evening, you may wish to utilize your complimentary 6-course tasting menu dinner for up to two people, once during stay, excluding drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) and gratuities.

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

Exclusive Amenities, For 2020:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily buffet breakfast for two, served in the restaurant
  • Complimentary 6 course tasting menu dinner for up to two people, once during stay, excluding drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) and gratuities
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

 

Day 7: Baltra – Galapagos Islands – Santa Cruz Island

This morning after breakfast, meet your driver in the lobby and depart for the airport. You will depart Quito for Galapagos Island of Baltra (Approx. 2 Hours Flight) where you’ll embark on your five-day cruise aboard the Treasure of Galápagos. With a max capacity of 16 passengers, this experience will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the destination and local culture.

Join your naturalist on a Guided Excursion to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station— established to help conserve the Galápagos’ natural habitat and protect the famous giant tortoises. While here, learn about the tortoise-rearing program and see many of the various islands’ tortoises.

Later onboard your ship, join in a briefing of the next day’s adventures and enjoy a Captain’s welcome with cocktails and dinner.

NOTE: The ship’s itinerary may vary according to Galápagos National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, and seasonal changes to create the perfect cross-section of sites visited.

Accommodation: Onboard Cruise

 

Day 8: Santiago Islands

This morning, you will find yourself anchored in the western-central part of the archipelago where volcanoes are still active, attributing to the dramatic scenery. Take a Naturalist Led Excursion of Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island where you will walk on newly-formed (less than 100 years ago) lava flows reminiscent of the lunar landscape. You can catch sight of lava lizards, marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and even the Galápagos penguin.

Then, in the afternoon, cruise to Bartolomé Island.

Take a Guided Hike to Bartolome’s 114-meter summit for spectacular panoramic views of the region with two beautiful bays and fascinating formations of lava flows and spatter cones, including the iconic Pinnacle Rock. Later, take a snorkel and swim off the beach here—home to playful sea lions, Pacific green turtles, white tip reef sharks, and Galápagos penguins.

Accommodation: Onboard Cruise

 

Day 9: North Seymour Island

This morning, take a Naturalist-Led Excursion to see colonies of remarkable bird species, including blue-footed boobies, great frigate birds, and magnificent frigate birds—with its inflated red chest and nearly 7-foot wingspread. Watch for gulls and herons of all assortments.

Then, take a Guided Snorkeling Excursion in the aqua blue waters just off North Seymour Island’s shore—teeming with sea lions and amphibious marine iguanas—found only in the Galápagos.

This afternoon, cruise for the sandy island of Mosquera Islet. Here, take a Guided Walk on the white coral beaches to the islands’ largest congregation of Galápagos sea lions. You’ll see a wide variety of shorebirds reflecting the island’s amazing biodiversity—from the deep-grey lava gull to the yellow-crowned night heron.

Accommodation: Onboard Cruise

 

Day 10: South Plaza Island

This morning, take a Naturalist-Led Excursion to South Plaza Island to observe wildlife, including sea lions, land iguanas, marine iguanas, and hybrid iguanas (only found on this island and a result of a cross between land and marine iguanas). You will see blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon’s shearwaters, and many other species.

This afternoon, cruise to Cerro Brujo on San Cristobal Island. Take a Guided Walk at the site where Charles Darwin first visited the Galápagos. See the volcanic remains of magnificent Kicker Rock—also called León Dormido (Sleeping Lion). Walk beside one of the island’s blue lagoons to see a number of migratory birds, including pelicans and great blue herons.

Accommodation: Onboard Cruise

 

Day 11: Galapagos Islands – San Cristobal – Quito

This morning, cruise to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for a Naturalist Guided Tour of the San Cristobal Interpretation Center. You’ll learn about the Galápagos’ fascinating volcanic origins, remote location, climate, and the arrival of diverse species that inspire both imagination and science.

This afternoon, you’ll say farewell to the magical islands of Galápagos and fly to Quito. This evening, spend free time relaxing or enjoy one of Quito’s many fine restaurants.

Accommodation: Onboard Avalon Waterway Cruise

 

Day 12: Quito

Spend your day at leisure before departing Ecuador for Singapore

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

 

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Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect on the tour but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored based on the interests of the group.


This itinerary and its package inclusions might be changed later in time, subject to availability.

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