11 Day Best of Ecuador & Galapagos

South America > Ecuador

A truly unique lifetime adventure blending the spectacular geography of Ecuador’s mainland of active volcanoes, immense canyons, vast tropical rain forests and powerful waterfalls, with the enchanted Galapagos Islands, where the magic diversity of fearless animals flourishing in a volcanic ecosystem create an awe-inspiring
atmosphere.

This is a perfect combination that includes a wide variety of outdoor activities, while discovering the highlights of Ecuador in the same journey.

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Day 1: QUITO

Your first day begins in Quito, the biggest and best preserved colonial city of America. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, Quito is imbued with rich history and culture – home to an ancient Inca Empire just waiting to be explored. Depending on your arrival, you will spend the day exploring the history of this cultural capital. In the evening, our trip leader will greet you at the hotel for a tour briefing. Today offers a great opportunity to soak in information, while allowing your body to acclimatize.

Overnight Casa Gangotena (Dinner)

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Day 2: TREKKING IN COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast, we leave Quito driving southwards along the gorgeous Avenue of Volcanoes, getting the chance to see the colorful Andean fields. On our way, we will reach 12,000 feet. (3657 meters). After arriving at the Cotopaxi National Park, we will go hiking around Limpiopungo lagoon of the foot hills of the Rumiñahui volcano. From here, we have the best views of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. If the weather conditions permit, we will attempt to trek to the basecamp at 16000 ft. (4876 m). In the afternoon we continue our drive towards the Llanganates National Park tional Park, known as the sacred mountain, until we reach the town of Baños, located at the entrance of the Amazon. Here we can enjoy the best night life by drinking cocktails and dancing salsa. Trekking Activity Level - Moderate, this adventure is at high elevation, make sure you drink a lot of water or coca tea (in case of altitude sickness). The trail is on dirt surrounded by bushes and grass.

Overnight Samari Spa Resort (Breakfast and Lunch)

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Day 3: MOUNTAIN BIKING IN THE LLANGANATES NATIONAL PARK

This morning brings an invigorating mountain bike ride from Llanganates National Park to Pastaza River Canyon. The cloud forest is stunning, dotted with breathtaking waterfalls, Andean farmlands, and a beautiful canyon. The bike ride descends into the lush jungle offering great views of Baños, nestled in the foothills of Tungurahua volcano which has been active since 1999. A short hike (20 minutes) provides magnificent views of “Pailon Del Diablo,” the second largest waterfall in Ecuador. In the afternoon, we visit Misahualli also known as “monkey town,” a small village where monkey and human have learned to live in harmony.

Overnight Samari Spa Resort (Breakfast)

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Day 4: HIGHWAY OF THE WATERFALLS AND CANYONING IN THE AMAZON

From Baños we drive the “Highway of the waterfalls,” and hike through the cloud forest to reach Bride´s Veil waterfall, where we will board a cable car to cross the Pastaza River, then hike to Pailon del Diablo waterfall, the second highest in Ecuador. Later we delve deeper into the jungle on a 3-hour hike climbing along several waterfalls. The evening will be spent a jungle lodge.

Overnight Hamadryade Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 5: JATUNYACU RIVER RAFTING AND VOLCANIC HOT SPRINGS

After an hour drive to the Jatunyacu River, rafting guides will conduct a safety briefing as you prepare to embark on this class III whitewater rafting expedition. The gorgeous scenery is sure to inspire, revealing the magic of the Amazon rainforest. After the rafting adventure you head to the paradise of hummingbirds in Guango Reserve then continue to the volcanic Hot Springs resort.

Overnight Papallacta Spa Resort (Breakfast & Lunch)

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Day 6: TRAVEL DAY TO GALAPAGOS

From Quito, you will board a flight to Baltra Island. Once here, we travel to Puerto Ayora, the largest town in Galapagos. We’ll discover the spectacular Pacific coast archipelago with its gleaming waters and brilliant topography, which coincidentally is also one of the locations that laid the foundation for Charles Darwin's origin of species theory. You will then take a speedboat to Isabela, the biggest island within the archipelago and the area where lively volcanic activity takes place. The island is fringed with six volcanoes, five of which are still active, making it one of the most volcanically active regions on earth. When crossing islands, be prepared for the enthralling display of whales and dolphins around you (July to October).

Overnight Iguana Crossing Hotel (Breakfast)

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Day 7: HIKE TO SIERRA NEGRA AND SNORKEL IN TINTORERAS

The day begins with a drive from Puerto Villamil to the trailhead. Where we will prepare our backpacks for a hike to a fledgling forestry ecosystem, built on modern geological history. We will reach the rim of the still-active Sierra Negra Crater volcano. On arrival, immerse in panoramic vistas and discover different nuances of the lava-filled crater, extending over six miles across at its widest points. If you're up to continue hiking, we continue to the mesmerizing Volcan Chico for the opportunity to indulge deeper in puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations. Discover the geological marvels as you hike through events that have sculpted the spellbinding beauty of Galapagos Islands over centuries. In the afternoon we will visit the Tintoreras Islet, a short distance from Puerto Villamil and home to impressive wildlife. The gorgeous turquoise waters are made even more exquisite thanks to the presence of Galapagos Penguins, reef sharks, sea lions and turtles. You can also visit a mangrove-fringed beach where marine iguanas successfully reproduce.

Overnight Iguana Crossing Hotel (Breakfast and Lunch)

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Day 8: LAVA TUNNELS SNORKELING & FREE TIME

We discover the remarkable lava formations shaped by the last Volcanic Island eruptions along the seashore. This mystical brilliance is a labyrinth of lava arches set amongst crystal-clear water filled with sea lions, eagle rays, reef sharks, sea turtles and much more. You'll have the opportunity to snorkel with these gorgeous creatures, while you relish the excitement of the curious Galapagos penguins playing around you. Some optional activities like kayaking in Tintoreras, snorkeling at Concha de Perla, surf lessons and biking are also available. Alternatively, you can unwind on one of the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela Island. The giant tortoise breeding center is worth visiting thanks to the unique splendor it offers.

Overnight Iguana Crossing Hotel (Breakfast and Lunch)

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Day 9: SANTA CRUZ, CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION

The morning begins with a speedboat ride from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. Don't forget your photo-ready cameras to capture the jumping whales and dolphins around you (July to October). On arrival, you will check in at the hotel, with time to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to explore more of the endemic species you met on your adventure. In the afternoon a visit to El Chato in the Santa Cruz highlands, is home of the famous Galapagos tortoise. Your hike is brought to life with the enchanting scenery and paradise-like topography as you indulge in nature at its best. You'll also see other wildlife like egrets, flycatchers and pintail ducks along the way. Savor the opportunity to observe frigate birds gathering to wash salt off their feathers at the fresh water lake. Spend the evening back in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos' most populous and lively town.

Overnight Hotel Finch Bay (Breakfast)

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Day 10: TRAVEL DAY BACK TO QUITO

After your last breakfast on the Galapagos Island, you'll be transferred to the Baltra airport to catch your flight back to the mainland.

Overnight Hotel Finch Bay (Breakfast)

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Day 11: DEPART

After breakfast you are transferred to Quito Airport for departures.

(Breakfast)

Accommodations

CASA GANGOTENA

occupies a pivotal spot in Quito’s historic heart: the southwest corner of San Francisco Plaza, the history of which dates all the way back to the time of the Incas.

You will feel entirely at ease, whether you’re reading about the city’s history in the eclectic, palm-filled patio, unwinding in the cozy bar area, or watching the sun set over Quito’s iconic skyline from the panoramic terrace. Be sure to head up to the third-floor terrace and enjoy unrivaled views of the majestic mountains and volcanoes, all as you reflect on the profound and historical significance of the San Francisco Plaza along with its surrounding churches and neighborhoods!

SAMARI SPA (BANOS)

Located in Baños, Ecuador, Samari Spa Resort is the result of 10 years of work, audacity and creativity, taking into account thousands of details with the aim of providing its guests with a destination of rest, adventure and unique well-being in their authentic and luxury style!

HAMADRYADE LODGE ECUADOR

Hamadryade Lodge is a luxurious hotel located in the High Amazon region, near Puerto Misahualli. This ecosystem, even if it is still the Amazonian Rainforest, is very different that the one in Lower regions. It sits at 500mts altitude with hills and small mountains. Therefore, the climate remains pleasant all year round (24°C in average), and the absence of swamps allows an easier access to the more remote zones of Primary Rainforest.

PAPALLACTA SPA RESORT

Papallacta is a small town in Ecuador located at an altitude of 3,250 m (10600 feet) in the Andes near the Eastern mountain range, which leads to the Amazon rainforest. Proximity to Quito´s airport, a beautiful high Andes landscape and the benefits of the thermal water, make it a magical place.

IGUANA CROSSING

Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel is a beachfront hotel in Galápagos Islands surrounded by endemic vegetation giving to guests a privileged accommodation for a memorable and relaxed stay. Decorated with genuine and exclusive materials of the Island, it approaches a harmonic atmosphere between nature and modernity. Named after the “iguana crossing” path, is the best place for the Galapagos tour and travel experience.

HOTEL FINCH BAY

The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, a proud member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the WorldTM, is your Galapagos exploration headquarters, a beachfront base from which to discover the wildlife of the islands and create your own adventures on land and on sea. The perfect complement to a Galapagos cruise, or a destination on its own, a stay at the Finch Bay allows guests to feel the islands’ essence.

  • Round-trip airfare from Quito to Baltra Island
  • Airport transfers
  • Land & sea transportation
  • Accommodations
  • Meals as described in itinerary
  • Trekking poles, bikes & gear, raft & gear, snorkeling gear
  • Expert guides
  • International airfare
  • INGALA transit card
  • Galapagos NP fee
  • Pier fee at Puerto Villamil
  • Snorkeling gear for optional activities
  • Wetsuit
  • Tips

Pricing starts at:

$8,200

Pricing
FOR 2 PEOPLE

$9,500

per person

Pricing
FOR 4 PEOPLE

$8,200

per person