11 days / 10 nights

$8,495 per person

Based on 2 people All Pricing Info

Destinations

Riobamba, Cuenca, Gualaceo and Chordeleg, El Cajas National Park, Guayaquil, San Cristobal Island, Espanola Island, Floreana Island, Champion Islet, Santa Cruz Island

This Galapagos Island adventure includes: Accommodation as described; All meals; VIP airport services on arrival; All transfers and ground transportation; Small boat excursions with snorkeling equipment; All activities and visits as detailed in the itinerary ; 1 or 2-person kayaks ; Expert English-speaking naturalist guide

Not Included (unless otherwise discussed): National Park entrance fees; Tourist transit card; Additional beverages; Laundry and dry-cleaning; Insurance; Tips.

Travel aboard the

The Galapagos Legend

To tour Ecuador and visit the Galapagos in one spectacular vacation is always going to be a unique and memorable experience, and this itinerary is no exception. The tour takes in the High Andean beauty of Riobamba, Cuenca and the Las Cajas National Park, with scenic drives and one of the most memorable train journeys in the world to look forward to in between. There are colonial towns to visit, local markets to pick up souvenirs and varied landscapes that set the scene throughout your Ecuador and Galapagos adventure. Then, a day exploring the highlights of Guayaquil, swap the Ecuadorian countryside for open seas, as you join the comfortable, well-equipped Galapagos Legend Cruise Boat (accommodating up to 100 passengers) for an unforgettable exploration. Along the way, visit remote regions in the south-west of the Galapagos Archipelago on San Cristobal and Espanola Islands, as well as some more well-known highlights such as the Charles Darwin Research Center, Post Office Bay and the Santa Cruz Highlands. Throughout, cameras at the ready for Sea Lions, Frigate Birds, Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, Reef Sharks, Giant Galapagos Tortoises, Sea Turtles, Rays, Iguanas and much more besides.

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Ecuador Cultural Highlights Tour and Galapagos Cruise

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

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Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

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Day1

ARRIVE / QUITO / RIOBAMBA

Touchdown in Quito to begin your Ecuador and Galapagos vacation in style, where a guide is waiting at the airport for a private vehicle transfer to Riobamba, a picturesque colonial town at the foot of Chimborazo Volcano. The journey of roughly 130 miles takes between three and four hours, depending on how many times you decide to stop for photographs, passing natural wonders such as the Cotopaxi Volcano, Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa and the rolling highlands of central Ecuador.

Depending on the exact time of your inbound flight, you may not have too long to explore the main attractions of Riobamba on arrival. However, the journey south will be scenic and–time permitting–the Museum of Religious Art, Cathedral and central square of Parque Maldonado are all well worth a visit.

Overnight Hacienda Abraspungo

Meals B,L,D

Day2

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Day2

ALAUSI / CUENCA

Today is a day of travel that covers nearly 200 miles of fascinating sights, as the journey south continues towards Cuenca, a 16th century colonial town. Departing your Riobamba hotel after breakfast, the drive begins by passing rural settlements and beautiful Ecuadorian landscapes, rivers and rolling hills. Then, reach Alausi Train Station; the last stop on a line-built in 1902 that leads to the famous ‘Devil’s Nose’ Canyon. Today, this High Andean railway is one of the most scenic train rides on earth, a popular tourist attraction and highlight of any vacation to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Board the train at Alausi and enjoy the trip of a lifetime, as each ascent and switchback provide more and more spectacular views, snaking your way through the ravine and valley below. After this jaw-dropping Devil’s Nose journey, continue towards Cuenca in your private vehicle and on arrival, check into the hotel, relax and enjoy one of Ecuador’s best preserved colonial cities.

Overnight Hotel Santa Lucia

Meals B,L

Day3

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Day3

cuenca

A walking tour of Cuenca is a fantastic way to understand and appreciate this culturally significant Ecuadorian city, in the company of an expert local guide. Cuenca’s historic center was established as a Spanish colonial settlement in the year 1557 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, characterized by its ornate sky-blue domes, columned buildings and wrought iron balconies.

As you pass Cuenca’s terracotta tiled roofs, quaint plazas and parks, cobblestone streets and churches, your private guide will take you to the city’s main attractions. These include the Flower Market, Cathedral, the Inca ruins of Pumapungo, Calderon Park, the Old Church of Cuenca as well as the Museums of Modern and Religious Art; all must see sites before an afternoon at leisure in Cuenca Old Town.

Overnight Mansion Alcazar

Meals B,L

Day4

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Day4

GUALACEO / CHORDELEG

The Ecuadorian towns of Gualaceo and Chordeleg, today’s two stops, offer a side of authentic daily culture that not many visiting tourists will have chance to see. Both are famous for their popular artisan craft markets and setting, dissected as they are by a pretty river and surrounded by High Andean hills. Here, all manner of handmade jewelry, traditional shawls, pottery, iconic Panama hats, woodcarvings and locally-inspired artworks can be purchased, not to mention kaleidoscopic fruit and veg stalls bursting with fresh produce.

Depending on exactly which day of the week you arrive, there will always be something to see and do, whether picking up souvenirs, tucking into the regional cuisine of slow-roasted pork or enjoying a coffee in one of the town’s lovely parks.

Overnight Mansion Alcazar

Meals B,L

Day5

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Day5

EL CAJAS NATIONAL PARK

As you make your way south-west to Guayaquil, today’s journey of 130 scenic miles sees you stop at El Cajas National Park en route. With its 200 glistening high elevation lakes and 70,000 acres of mountainous terrain, the varied landscapes and many species encountered on your Ecuador and Galapagos cruise tour continues.

This area is renowned as one of the top hiking destinations in Ecuador, thanks to its myriad trekking trails, streams and mix of altitudes (ranging from 300 m to 4500 m above sea level). In turn, they attract a great variety of Hummingbirds, Partridges, Giant Condors and Hawks, Spectacle Bears, White-tail Deer, even Tapirs and Llamas, as well as Orchids and Bromeliads peppering the tundra. So, having enjoyed a day in the great outdoors it’s onwards to Guayaquil, staying in a beautiful hacienda just outside of town.

Overnight Hacienda La Danesa

Meals B/p>

Day6

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Day6

GUAYAQUIL

Today, explore the port city of Guayaquil. Often referred to as the gateway to the Galapagos, Guayaquil has its own attractions–many of which can be seen during an insightful walking tour. Founded in the 16th century though now an up-and-coming Ecuadorian city, the highlights of Guayaquil range from chic restaurant districts to the historic harbor area which saw turbulent times, piracy and looting.

The exact walking route may vary depending on your interests, but popular sites include the waterfront Park of Rio Guayas Malecon, the recently redeveloped and ever-colorful Las Penas Neighborhood–a declared Cultural Heritage Site of Ecuador–and busy cosmopolitan street of Avenida 9 de Octubre. So too the Cathedral, MAAC Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, unique Historical Park and the picture postcard hills of Cerro Santa Anna.

Overnight Hacienda La Danesa

Meals B,L

Days7

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Day7

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

This morning, prepare for stage two of your Ecuador tour and Galapagos cruise package, with a private transfer to Guayaquil Airport and onward flight to San Cristobal Island, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin who strode ashore here on his famous 1835 voyage. At the airport, your guide assists with any belongings, whisking you off to the pier and awaiting Galapagos Legend cruise vessel for boarding.

First, a worthy introduction comes with a visit to the informative Interpretation Center nearby, where the natural and human history of the Galapagos is vibrantly on show, and later, with a hike up Cerro Tijeretas, or ‘Frigate Bird Hill’. These verdant cliffs are a popular nesting site for the Great and Magnificent species of Frigate, though also offer nicely elevated views of a tranquil cove below.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,D

Day8

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Day8

ESPANOLA ISLAND

Having sailed south overnight from San Cristobal, wake up in your luxurious cabin and prepare for the many wildlife highlights that await you on Espanola Island, beginning at Gardner Bay, a pristine stretch of ivory-white beach. Armed with a snorkel or kayak, swim or paddle through the bay’s blue waters to see tropical fish like Yellow-tailed Surgeon and King Angelfish; larger marine life such as White-tipped Reef Sharks, Turtles and Sea Lions are also known to inhabit the bay.

This afternoon, the Espanola experience continues at Punta Suarez, looking out for Sea Lions frolicking in the water, Marine Iguanas gripping the rocks, and intriguing bird species such as Masked and Nazca Boobies, Lava Herons, Waved Albatrosses and Swallow-tailed Gulls.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,L,D

Days9

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Day9

FLOREANA ISLAND / CHAMPION ISLET

Despite its small size, Floreana has a fascinating cultural history. It has served as a penal colony, pirates hangout, and was the first Galapagos island to be colonized in 1832. It’s also home to an 18th century whalers post office, which you’ll discover this morning at Post Office Bay. Here, you can still pop a postcard in the rum barrel box, and it will find its way home!

From Post Office Bay to Cormorant Point, your guide takes you to two contrasting beaches on Floreana Island: the green volcanic olivine crystals of Papakolea, and Flour Beach, so-called for its powdery white sands. Keep an eye out for Flamingos, Pintails, Stilts and other wading birds that frequent a lagoon sandwiched between these two bays, before visiting Champion Islet for a spot of snorkeling.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,L,D

Day10

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Day10

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Begin the day with a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center at Puerto Ayora, where exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs. Witness first-hand the legacy left on the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin, then, learn more about these gentle creatures in the Wild Tortoise Reserve up in the highlands of Santa Cruz.

After lunch, take to the water once more while exploring the rich seas off Ballena Bay in western Santa Cruz, either aboard a panga boat, kayaking or snorkeling the shores. Among the many fantastic Galapagos snorkeling sites, Ballena Bay is particularly impressive thanks to its abundance of species, including King Angel, Sturgeon and Parrotfish, Rays, Sharks and Turtles.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,L,D

Days11

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Day9

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND / BALTRA ISLAND / FLIGHT HOME

As your Galapagos Island cruise draws to a close, there is still one last chance to witness a little more wildlife with a panga boat ride down the Itabaca channel, a popular waterway separating the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz.

Then, it’s farewell to the Galapagos as your guides escort you to the airport and assist with any luggage, in plenty of time for your onward flight.

Meals B

IMPORTANT:The above itinerary reflects an intended program, however, it should be read purely as a guide. This is because weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control on the day may affect the eventual itinerary, and route.

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