Ecuador in Depth | Diversity & Traditions

This 28- day trip to Ecuador and Galapagos will give you the chance to really get to know both the mainland and the world-famous archipelago. The small nation on the equator offers you a great variety..
This 28- day trip to Ecuador and Galapagos will give you the chance to really get to know both the mainland and the world-famous archipelago. The small nation on the equator offers you a great variety of landscapes as well as nature and cultural highlights, which you will be able to observe on this fully guided tour. From the capital Quito, which was one of the first cities declared a UNESCO World Heritage site; you will go to the Amazon to experience the breathtaking Ecuadorian jungle. You will visit impressive volcanoes in the Andes, get to see colourful indigenous markets and finally follow in Darwin's footsteps on Galapagos. Enjoy of a four-world experience in one nation!
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Services

Included
  • Adventure program in private tour
  • Accommodation in selected hotels
  • 27 x Breakfast, 22 Menu lunch, 19 MenuDinner
  • Private transportation
  • English - Spanish speaking certified guide
  • All activities as mentioned
  • Entrances fee in National Parks, train tickets, Pailon del Diablo, Casa del Arbol, La Compañía, Inti Ñan, Teleferico, boat to Isla de la Plata, Parque Histórico, Termas de Papallacta, snorkelling
  • Coca tea
  • All airport transfers
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Flight tickets to Galapagos Islands and Amazon Jungle
Excluded
  • Personal expenses
  • Galapagos National Park fee $100,00
  • Ingala $20,00
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Morgan Cruise in Guayaquil (optional)
  • Activities not specified in the program
  • Travel insurance
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Tips
Optional (Available upon request)
  • Vegetarian meals or preferences
  • Flight tickets
  • German and French guides upon request

Tour Details :

Arrival to Quito

Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel by private transportation. Overnight in Quito.
Day 1

Quito City Tour – Cable Car – Mitad del Mundo

This city tour and Teleférico is a full day tour which includes the Basilica Church, where you will make a brief stop and next visit the “San Juan Mirador” from where you will have a beautiful view of The Colonial Center of Quito. After walking through the colonial streets, you will then stop at the Independence Plaza to admire the Cathedral and the Government’s Palace. Then you will visit La Ronda Street, The Company Church, Santo Domingo´s Church, The Sagrario´s Church and San Francisco´s Church, which was built during the 17th century. After visiting the historical site, you will go to the Teleférico. This is one of the best ways to enjoy the city with views of beautiful valleys, snow-capped mountains and the capital Quito. From a point of more than 13,000 feet (4000 m) high, you will enjoy magnificent views. In the afternoon, you'll will go to Mitad del Mundo which is located fifty minutes from the northwest of Quito (Ecuador). You will visit the current equatorial line and straddle the two hemispheres. In addition you’ll have the chance to participate in several experiments at the Intiñan Museum. Things like watching water go down a drain in a different direction only inches away from either side of the equator, or balancing an egg on a nail, or using an ancient sun dial are some examples of what you can experiment here. Overnight in Quito
Day 2

San Pablo´s Lake – Cuicocha Lagoon – Otavalo Market – Cotacachi

Departure early in the morning from your hotel in Quito. We will take the north Panamerican up to our first stop in San Pablo lake, where you will enjoy of a nice view of the volcano and the lake. Then we will visit an indigenous weaving worshop in Peguche. We also will know the natives from Otavalo, indigenous people rich in traditions and customs that permits the tourists enjoy the typical, multicolored handcrafts. After lunch, we will visit an indigenous family that will show us how to make andean music instruments and how to play them. Then we will go to Cotacachi, best known for its leather goods. You can find leatherjackets, boots, hand bags, just about everything. The quality is very good and its fairly inexpensive. After that and we will head up to Cuicocha lagoon (Guinea Pig Lagoon). Cuicocha Lake is in the crater of an extinct volcano that last erupted 3000 years ago. It fell in on itself, and the dome makes a big island in the middle of the lake. Overnight in Quito.
Day 3

Antisana Volcano – Hike – Condors Bio reserve

The tour starts in the morning from you hotel. We will drive to visit the Antisana Volcano (19500 ft), the most impressive Andean mount near Quito and sanctuary of wild Andean condor and other birds. We will get up to the entrance of Hacienda Antisana, located along the foothills of the volcano. This part of the road will let you visualize the magnificent basaltic gorge of the Antisana Volcano and its glacier. Driving into the hacienda and visiting the wetlands, we'll see some species of paramo. Here we'll stop to watch interesting Andean birds like the Caranculated Caracara and Black Headed Ibis. We'll also have opportunity to see diferent animals as andean rabbits and white tail deer.Then we'll drive up to the Micacocha Lake where we'll have the chance to watch Andean gulls and speckled teals, typical birds of the Andean water systems. Little hike through the marvelous Andean areas to observe and recognize the Andean important flora species like the cushion plant, ranunculo plants, gentians, and others. Overnight in Quito
Day 4

Cloud Forest – Bellavista Lodge – Birds Watching

It starts in the morning from Quito, drive northwest of the city. After a nice travel along the Andes mountains, we will arrive to Tulipe, an important ceremonial center of the Yumbo culture that inhabited the area 1,200 years and whose archaeological remains of the monumental works reflect their knowledge of astronomy, geometry, architecture, etc. During the visit, you can walk the ceremonial pools and other religious sites in Tulipe, later after lunch we will go to Bellavista Cloud Forest. It is within the protected Mindo-Nambillo area is approximately 19,200 h located on the slopes of Guagua Pichincha volcano and humid subtropical forest area. This semi - tropical forest keeps many species that stand out for their beauty and attraction, as the variety of orchids, birds (tanagers, hummingbirds, trogones, click flowers, quetzals, etc), reptiles and butterflies. The hotel also has significant water resources, including rivers and small waterfalls. Overnight in Bellavista
Day 5

Mindo CloudForest – optional Activities

This day after breakfast, we will visit the complex of Nambillo waterfalls, on this site we will take the cable car to cross to the other side of the mountain; there, we will hike about 1 or 2 hours to observe different types of birds, orchids and visit 5 waterfalls here if the weather is good you can visit different waterfalls. Options like canopy, orchid garden are available depending on our time we spend in waterfalls. After this visit we will have lunch and head up to Papallacta Hot Springs. Overnight in Papallacta.
Day 6

Termas de Papallacta Spa – Hike – Relaxation

A full day tour that goes through the valley of Tumbaco and reaches Papallacta Hot Springs, just in the southeast side of the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve famous place by its thermal water pools in Napo province; then we will walk about 1 1/2 hours from a private cloud forest reserve where we can admire the beauty of nature rich in flora and fauna. After hiking we will go back to the thermal waters and enjoy a delicious bath taking advantage of the medicinal benefits that this place spring offers. Overnight in Tababela.
Day 7

Arriving from Quito to Coca – Yasuni National Park

Your journey starts with a 35-minute flight from Quito to Coca, where the staff will pick you up and transfer to a local hotel located on the banks of Napo River. There, your bilingual guides will explain about safety before embarking for a 2 ½ boat trip on the largest Ecuadorian affluent of the Amazon, the Napo River. During the journey you get a taste of the Amazon; ancestral communities, birds such as: herons, egrets, vultures, while enjoying delicious packed lunch. The canoe ride is followed by a 15 minute walk through flooded forest, and 20-minute paddle canoe across the beautiful Challuacocha Lake. The staff will welcome you with refreshing cold drinks and snacks before you settle down in your cabins. Late afternoon, you will have a short walk on the nearby trails or a canoe ride with many chances to observe primates, Amazonian birds, black caimans and a close encounter with the amazing flora represented by cedar trees, orchids, and bromeliads. Return to the lodge, where our chef will be happy to offer a wide variety of national and international cuisine that caters vegetarians and vegans. Briefing about Amazonia will be given by one of our bilingual guides, while enjoying Ecuadorian beers, spirits and cocktails prepared by our bartender.
Day 8

Birding from the Tower - Yasuni National Park

After breakfast, experience the life on the tree tops from the 36 meter (108 ft.) observation tower. To get there your leaders will paddle on the Challuacocha Lake for 30 minutes followed by a short 10-minute walk. Over 565 species of birds have been registered so far, including colorful birds such as macaws, toucans, honeycreepers, tanagers, flycatchers, hummingbirds and with a bit of luck a close view of howler, squirrel monkeys or sloths resting on the canopy. The tower gives you a unique perspective, opening up a whole new world of Amazon biodiversity that is often difficult, if not impossible to see from the understory. The journey continues exploring the nearby trails searching for more Amazonian creatures. Return to the lodge for lunch. After lunch there are many alternatives for your enjoyment, bird-watching from the dining hall or simply get relaxed on the hammocks. In the afternoon, hike Chorongo or Coto trails, fantastic terra-firme forest to discover the relationships among the different living creatures and the rol they play in this complex ecosystem. Orchids, vines, strangle figs, ancient trees; bromeliads are all part of this fabulous tropical rainforest. Diner at the lodge. After dinner explore our black-water Oxbow Lake, one of the increasingly rare havens for the endangered black caiman, supporting a healthy population of these large up to 6 meter (18ft.) long south-American crocodilian. Back to the lodge.
Day 9

Parrots Clay – Indigenous Community - Yasuni National Park

After breakfast departure to the Napo River to board the boat and visit the parrot-clay lick at Yasuní National Park for a wonderful view of hundreds of parrots searching for a gap to land and eat the earth. Here you will see Mealy Amazon, Yellow-crowned, Orange-winged and Blue-headed parrots. Continue with a hike on the south of the Napo inside Yasuní National Park considered for scientists like the mostbiodiverse area in the world, here, some species that cannot be found in the north might be spotted: golden–mantled tamarins and spider monkeys, Blue and yellow macaws and with a bit of luck a close encounter with white-lipped or collared peccaries. Head back to Sani Community Center to visit a native house to get a taste of how a typical Kichwa family lives. Enjoy their food, drinks, customs, and culture of the Sani community and learn how the lifestyle of the locals is environmentally sustainable. Return to the lodge late in the afternoon for a well-deserved diner. After diner take a night walk to see how myriads of insects, spiders and frogs come alive
Day 10

Yasuni National Park – Return to Quito

The first day, your flight from Quito leaves early in the morning so you can get to the lodge before noon. Enjoy the afternoon on the lagoon and still have time to enjoy an evening´s activity. Your last day is far from ending, because it will be time for a final activity in the rainforest so as to close your stay with a flourish. Remember, you will have more time to spend doing the activities you love the most and enjoying the biodiversity that you will find only here in the Lodge.. *The operator reserves the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather, regulations or unforeseeable circumstances. Note: The itinerary varies according to lodges you have selected. This is the itinerary if you choose Comfort Service package.
Day 11

Cotopaxi National Park – Hike – Interpretation Center

Departure in the morning to reach the Cotopaxi National Park in Cotopaxi province where we will visit the Interpretation Center and Limpiopungo lagoon; posibility to take a short hike in the surrounding of Limpiopungo valley, then we will drive up to 4.500 meters and walk up to Padre Rivas Refuge (4.830 meters). Stop for a drink in the refuge, after that if you are in a good shape try to get to the glacier (5.050 meters). Overnight in Cotopaxi / Chugchilan
Day 12

Andes Landscape – Hike – Local Communities – Lake

On the way to Quilotoa we will stop to visit and indigenous local house from the “Paramos”, we will observe their clothes and customs, but the most important thing is that we are going to be with them in a typical indigenous house made of straw. we will sharing with them a short moment talking, watching and learning from them, about their life and how they prepare the soil to sow. We will also visit the town of Tigua, famous for its naive paintings. We will continue up to the Quilotoa volcano, where you will be able to descend to the lake located inside the crater or just walk around the crater. Prepare yourself to enjoy an unforgettable experience by mule back riding! Enjoy of the most beautiful landscape in the highlands and traditional indigenous villages! Possibly to visit and indigenous market. Overnight in Baños
Day 13

Pintoresque Waterfalls – Hot Springs – Village Scenery

A full day of exploration of the town of Baños and the picturesque Valley of the waterfalls. The Pailon del Diablo, is the largest and most spectacular Ecuador´s falls but other smaller ones are also impressive. There is also an opportunity to visit the hotsprings after which the town has been named. Our driver is at your disposal for the whole day to give you maximum flexibility in the visits that you would like to make such as: Visit to The House Tree, rafting, rest in the hotel, etc. Overnight in Baños.
Day 14

Adventure Activities - Hot Springs - Andean Village

This morning is perfect to enjoy of the unique adventure activities that is village offers like hiking, horseback ride, bungee jumping, rafting etc. Our driver and guide are at your disposal for the whole day to give you maximum flexibility in the visits that you would like to make. After lunch we will travel along the Andes mountains to get to Alausi. Overnight in Alausi.
Day 15

Alausí – Devil´s Nose train – Ingapirca Ruins

After breakfast, early in the morning we depart to Alausí, just less than 100km (62 miles), beautiful old town with one hundred houses. Time to take the spectacular train, considered the most difficult train of the XX century. You will descend gradually from the highlands to the lowlands, at times zigzagging, or hugging the cliffs. In the descending at the lowest point the incredible devils nose an interesting rock will appear in the horizon. The train descends and then returns to Alausí again. Then we will depart to visit the indigenous market of Cañar before reaching the ruins of Ingapirca for a complete tour of the ruins and archeological museum, during the visit you will see the vestiges of Incas. Overnight in Cuenca
Day 16

Cuenca City – Parque Nacional del Cajas

We’ll head to Cajas National Park, which is located 30km east of Cuenca. In this area there are about 200 recreational lakes propagated between 3,150 m 4,450 m. The lakes are connected by small rivers and crystal clear waters flowing into the Pacific. After a walk through the mountains, we’ll return to the city of Cuenca. City Tour in the afternoon. Overnight in Cuenca.
Day 17

Chordeleg and Gualaceo Markets - Chorro del Giron Waterfall

Departure after breakfast to Gualaceo Valley, located 40 minutes from Cuenca. On the way enjoy the beautiful landscape of mountains, we´ll stop in the town of San Bartolome where we can see artistically crafted guitars and a variety of indigenous straw crafts. We’ll arrive in Gualaceo and come to appreciate the quality of the hand crafted gold and silver products there. In the afternoon we will visit the town of Chordeleg, famous for its hand crafted straw plant hats and silver. After that we will visit Chorro del Girón, this beautiful waterfall is about 70 meters high, its falling forms a natural pool of crystal clear water at the foot of the waterfall, there is a haven of approximately 10 x 10 m.Then follows the river with a width of 4 m. After this trip we will go to Cuenca again. Overnight in Cuenca
Day 18

Cuenca – Guayaquil

Early in the morning we will depart to Guayaquil (4 hours) In the afternoon, we will visit the “Parque Histórico de Guayaquil” which has a collection of over 50 birds, mammals, reptiles, plus many plants and insects. Four different ecosystems of Ecuador are represented in the Wildlife Zone: mangrove forest, flooded plains forest, tropical dry forest, and drizzle forest. The Wildlife Zone is home to mammals such as monkeys, deer, two-toed sloths, and tapirs, along with birds such as macaws, parrots, and toucans. Several species in the Wildlife Zone are on the extinction list. Overnight in Guayaquil
Day 19

Cacao Farm – Guayaquil – Chocolate Experience

Ecuadorian cocoa is recognized around the world because of its diversity in flavor and aroma. Thegeographical factors of each region in Ecuador allow for specic flavors and fragrances to be developed which delight the most demanding chocolate experts. Time to visit a nice Hacienda to learn about the cocoa beans cultivation process, tasting and enjoy of all the tropical products that this big farm plantation offers. Lunch in the Hacienda. In the afternoon, we will have a walking tour around “Malecon 2000” and “Las Peñas” neighborhood. Optional: Morgan Cruise (not included)
Day 20

Ecuador Mainland - Galapagos Islands

From Ecuador’s mainland off to the Galapagos Islands and onward to Isabela Island by inter-island flight Fly from Ecuador’s mainland to the Galapagos Islands (Baltra Island) and take a very scenic inter-island flight to Isabela Island. INTER ISLAND FLIGHTS limit to 9 kg (20 lbs) per passenger´s check-in luggage. If needed, some luggage could be sent directly to the Finch Bay Eco Hotel, where you will arrive Monday afternoon (DAY 4). Check in at Scalesia Lodge where you will eat lunch before heading out on your first afternoon of discovery. Get to know the youngest side of the archipelago while exploring rewarding visitor sites of the National Park, wetland lagoons, and the giant tortoise-breeding centre. Wrap up your day at the stunning white beach of Puerto Villamil before returning to the Lodge for dinner.
Day 21

Sierra Negra Volcano - Beach-combing at Puerto Villamil - Isabela Island

Enjoy an early breakfast before setting out to explore Isabela Island and its top feature: Sierra Negra Volcano. Walk along the rim of the world’s second largest caldera and see recent volcanic activity and the resulting fascinating formations. A light snack will be provided along the way while lunch is served back at the lodge. Stroll the beach at Puerto Villamil or rest in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Scalesia Lodge.
Day 22

Isabela Island - Sea exploration at Tintoreras and Wall of Tears

Today we get to know both the National Park and the Marine Reserve, each with their own unique features. After breakfast, start out at the Tintoreras visitor site, a small group of islets reachable only by boat, to observe reef sharks in their natural habitat, intertidal organisms, marine iguanas, and a colony of Galapagos penguins. Lunch at the lodge. Later in the day, we can explore the history of Isabela Island at the Wall of Tears visitor site. Sunsets at Puerto Villamil are spectacular. Dinner and overnight at Scalesia Lodge.
Day 23

Baltra Island - North Seymour Island

After breakfast, Scalesia Lodge´s staff will bring us back to Puerto Villamil’s airport. A short, but interesting flight will bring us back to Baltra, where we will board Yacht Sea Lion for a short cruise to North Seymour Island. Marvel at the sight of Galapagos sea lions and fur seals, blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. Torchwood trees and prickly pears, pillow lava boulders and white sand add to an unforgettable landscape. Lunch on board Yacht Sea Lion. Afternoon cruise to Itabaca Channel and drive across the island Santa Cruz to reach Puerto Ayora. Finch Bay Eco Hotel lies a short dinghy ride and a few steps among mangroves apart from the town. Dinner is up to you: choose the hotel´s signature cuisine or one of the many options in town. Overnight at the Finch Bay.
Day 24

Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Giant Tortoises

Start the day with the Finch Bay’s generous breakfast, featuring local and international favourites, before leaving for El Manzanillo. Located in the loftier region of the island, Manzanillo is within the natural path of one of Santa Cruz’ species of giant tortoises. A short walk will lead you to the grazing grounds and water ponds where these giant reptiles wallow in mood pools. The cooler highlands are also home to many interesting land birds, plants and trees exclusive to these islands. We will stop briefly at the Twin Craters, Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we will stop briefly at a local sustainable ranch before returning to enjoy the hotel facilities. You are free for dinner. Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
Day 25

Exploring the National Park - Santa Fe Island

After breakfast, we will board Yacht Sea Lion minutes away from the hotel at Academy Bay. The yacht will cruise to Santa Fe, an impressive volcanic island 16 nautical miles away from Puerto Ayora. After a wet landing on a fantastic white sandy beach amongst basking sea lions, we walk along a rocky terrain to find the island´s highlights the endemic Santa Fe land iguana patiently waiting under the enormous giant cacti for falling fruits and pads. Other relevant species today are pelicans, boobies and the archipelago´s top predator, the Galapagos Hawk. Return to the yacht and enjoy one of Galapagos best snorkelling sites. Lunch on board Yacht Sea Lion. Upon the cruise back to Puerto Ayora, we scan the sea surface for pelagic birds and whales. Enjoy cocktails around the pool and stay for dinner or make it a night on the town. Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
Day 26

Tortuga Bay - Playa Brava - Playa Mansa - Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island

After breakfast, we leave to Tortuga Bay, voted as Ecuador´s best beach. We walk from Puerto Ayora’s western border, 2Km (1.3miles) along a fairly flat and straight paved path, where we explore and understand more about the arid zone´s deciduous forest and its inhabitants. First, we arrive to Playa Brava, a stunning 1km long snow-white beach, a seasonal nesting site for the green sea turtles. A few minutes further, we reach Playa Mansa, a secluded natural mangrove cove, with clear and tranquil waters, ideal for swimming, snorkelling, paddling on tandem kayaks, or simply enjoying the landscape from the shade of a mangrove. We will board a small yacht to sail back to The Hotel´s dock at Academy Bay. Lunch at Finch Bay. For the afternoon, the grand finale includes strolling around the Charles Darwin Research Station where the highlight is the conservation program for the iconic giant tortoises.
Day 27

Transfer out to Baltra Airport

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Baltra Island and airport by Hotel staff.
Day 28

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