La Selva Lodge Hotel

la selva lodge hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador La Selva Lodge Hotel

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The nineteen suite La Selva Lodge lies in a rainforest paradise overlooking the glassy waters of Lake Garzacocha and bordered by Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. A pioneer of the first Amazonian eco-lodges in Ecuador, the breezy, stylish cabanas are inspired by native bamboo designs. Guests experience vibrant wildlife at every turn, whether dining on fine cuisine at the restaurant, sipping cocktails made from fresh fruit, or relaxing to nature’s serenade at La Selva’s award-winning open-air spa. Photograph animals seen nowhere else on guided tours, or from the top of the lodge’s newly constructed Observation Tower.

SPA WITH A VIEW

Named in Fodor’s “World’s Top 15 Spas With a View,” La Selva was completely remodeled in 2012 and has since become the premier eco lodge in Ecuador. Guests receive soothing care within the spa’s open-air, screened rooms with views across Lake Garzacocha. Located near the resort’s butterfly farm, exotic butterflies often make an appearance. Yoga classes on the spa deck provide a chance to see many of lake’s monkeys, jumping fish, and caiman.

TOWERING RAINFOREST

The newest feature at the lodge is the 38-meter observation tower hovering high above the forest floor. Sturdily made from sustainable steel, the large and spacious platform presents prime opportunities to see and photograph the many species of wildlife that make this area home. More types of birds reside here than in any other region of Ecuador, even more than both the USA and Canada combined.

Guests also have the opportunity to get out into the rainforest through guided tours. Visit colorful parrots where they gather to eat salty clay. Meet several indigenous communities near the lodge to learn about their way of life. Handle endangered Charapa Turtles and set them free into the wild. Come nightfall, grab a flashlight and see the forest and constellations of the Southern Hemisphere or hop into a canoe as guides spotlight caimans, bats, owls and more.

Ideal forthose looking for a land-based Amazon adventure with top guides and diverse flora and fauna

la selva lodge hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador La Selva Lodge Hotel

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highlights

  • Named Fodor's “World's Top 15 Spas With A View”; Full spa services including massages, facials, and Amazonian Baths with almond oil and indigenous herbs, or Silk Baths--a total-body exfoliation with honey and brown sugar
  • 38-meter observation tower with full panoramic views of the rainforest and Lake Garzacocha
  • Suites constructed from sustainable bamboo plantations
  • Restaurant with panoramic views of the lake, serving both native and international cuisine made from local, fresh ingredients
  • Guided tours through the Amazon on foot, by canoe and kayak, to see wildlife and meet local communities

rooms

  • Family Suite: King bed and two double beds; Private porch with outdoor tub; Hammock; Ceiling Fan; Private bathroom
  • Superior Suite: King bed or two double beds; Private balcony; Rainforest shower; Luxury bed linens; Private bathroom; Ceiling Fan; Panoramic views
  • Scenic Suite: King bed or two double beds; Private balcony; Rainforest shower; Luxury bed linens; Private bathroom; Ceiling Fan; Panoramic views

services

  • Spa
  • Yoga
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Observation tower
  • Guided tours

Napo Wildlife Center Hotel

Napo Wildlife Center hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Napo Wildlife Center Hotel

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At the edge of the great Añangu lake, surrounded by pristine rainforest, rests Napo Wildlife Center, one of Ecuador’s most beloved ecolodges. As the only lodge located inside the mesmerizingly diverse Yasuni National Park, guests experience Ecuador’s rich, extraordinary wildlife and vibrant local culture unlike anywhere else. Designed for nature lovers, this luxury lodge offers guests the chance to escape into the most most biodiverse place on the planet.

BUILT BY NATIVE HANDS

The most luxurious eco lodge in the Amazon was built by the indigenous Kichwa Añangu community. Providing spacious, large cabins with solar energy panels and water purification systems, the lodge is dedicated to both environmental and cultural preservation. Napo Cultural Center offers an unforgettable experience to meet the Kichwa Añangu community, taste their flavorful cuisine, and share ancestral rites like the “guayusada” ceremony, and Kichwa Catamaran, which emulates ancient forms of trade in the Amazon.

STEP INTO THE WILDERNESS

To get to Napo Wildlife Center, guests journey along the Añangu’s black-water creek by boat under the shaded canopy of the rainforest.

Guests have the chance to see over 600 bird species and hundreds of others like monkeys, jaguars, tapirs, endangered giant otters, turtles, and so many others that make this area of the world home.

From the lodge, guests are treated to guided hikes throughout the forest, and canoe tours along the surrounding waterways. Evening paddle boat rides offer an excellent opportunity to safely get close to black caimans, night monkeys, and others along the edges of the lake. Climb to the top of the lodge’s 40-meter observation tower for the best views of the Amazon.

Ideal fortravelers interested in staying inside one of Ecuador's most pristine Amazon areas, which is great for observing parrots and wildlife

napo wildlife center hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Napo Wildlife Center Hotel

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highlights

  • Guided hikes and canoe tours through the rainforest and along the Añangu lake
  • 40-meter observation tower providing full panoramic views of the rainforest
  • Interactive tours with the Kichwa Añangu community, including traditional cuisine and ancestral ceremonies
  • Eco-lodge dedicated to sustainability with solar panels, water purification systems, and cultural preservation

rooms

  • Luxury cabins: King-sized and twin-sized bed; Ceiling fan; Safety deposit box; Private balcony with views of Lake Añangu

services

  • Restaurant featuring local and international cuisine
  • Bar
  • Internet
  • Library
  • Laundry Service
  • Cultural center
  • Boutique with native-made crafts and art

Sacha Lodge Hotel

sacha lodge hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Sacha Lodge Hotel

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Deep in the Amazon, on a pristine 5,000-acre ecological reserve, hides the luxurious eco-friendly Sacha Lodge. Hidden amongst the trees, built directly upon Pilchicocha Lake, the dense wildlife creates a vibrant backdrop and magical curtain into another world. Walk high above the rainforest canopy, paddle the riverways as colorful birds fly overhead and monkeys leap through trees. See the most biodiverse region on the planet from the lavish comforts of the lodge’s suites, built snugly into the jungle’s grandeur. Dine al fresco on a flavorful gourmet menu, looking at the immensity of the stars, listening to the calls of the wild.

BLEND INTO THE WILDERNESS

Designed to blend seamlessly into its surroundings, the lodge is like just another part of the forest. The Balsa, Spanish for “raft,” is the heart of the Sacha Lodge experience. A covered al fresco lounge with breathtaking views of Pilchicocha Lake, it’s the perfect place to read a book with a glass of wine, spot birds, caiman, and giant otters, or watch the crimson sunsets and tremendous thunderstorms. Meals are served in the airy restaurant, windows open, where guests can dine listening to the cicadas.

Using fresh, sustainable ingredients, the chef prepares a la carte meals to delight the tastes of a world traveler while satisfying the appetite of an adventurer. Menus change daily, and often include the ever popular Amazonian paiche fish. Settle into the safari-style bamboo bar, serving wine, spirits, and classic cocktails created by a master barman.

THE AMAZON AWAITS

Adventure is a given at Sacha Lodge. Each acre along the banks of the Napo River has more biodiversity than the whole of North America. Cross the rainforest across a bridge 100 feet over the treetops. Step onto the 135-foot observation tower, built on the highest branches of a giant kapok tree. Take a short canoe trip down the Napo to the edge of Yasuní National Park to witness hundreds of parrots, or take a night-time expedition to find caimans on the lake. Under cover of darkness, take a canoe onto the water, lit only by the stars and the light of a guide’s flashlight.

All programs and itineraries are tailor-made and flexible to each guest’s needs and interests.

Ideal fortravelers looking to stay in a primary Amazon rainforest sanctuary with canopy walk, birdwatching tower, and amazing wildlife

sacha lodge hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Sacha Lodge Hotel

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highlights

  • Tailor-made guided tours of the jungle, canoe trips, night excursions, and overnight programs led by expert guides
  • Al fresco lounge area serving a la carte meals made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients
  • Plunge pool, protected by a mesh cage, allows safe swimming in Pilchicocha Lake
  • Rooms sealed against insects, and a mostly bug-free zone due to the black-water lake sediment
  • Turtle rescue program: adopt and name a baby turtle and release it into the wild
  • World-class bird-watching experts who know the best spots for those hard-to-find species
  • Largest butterfly farm in Ecuador with over 40 species
  • Shipati Warmi project, an initiative run by and for women of the Providencia community of Yasuní: learn about their daily lives in the jungle, taste their delicious foods, even learn how to shoot a blow gun

rooms

  • Room: Single, double, or triple accommodations; Screened against insects; Ceiling fans
  • Family suite: Two double beds; Private bathroom; Floor-to-ceiling windows in some; Screened against insects; Ceiling fans

services

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Canopy walk
  • Observation deck
  • Personalized guided tours
  • Bilingual staff
  • WiFi
  • Rubber boots and rain ponchos available for all guests
  • Laundry
  • Eco-friendly
  • Responsible, sustainable fishing practices
  • Highly knowledgeable, caring, and personalized guides from local communities dedicated to conservation, education, and guest comfort
  • Activities for children

Hacienda Zuleta Hotel

hacienda zuleta hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Hacienda Zuleta Hotel

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Lying in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador is the historic Hacienda Zuleta. This colonial working farm, dating from the late 16th century, was named Outside magazine’s “Top Ten Finds” in the world, and one of National Geographic Traveler’s best Ecuador Hotel. Guests are treated to hospitality filled with intimacy and warmth reminiscent of a century’s past. This eco lodge offers guests the chance to revel in the mountain’s beautiful mystique, walk amongst ancient Caranqui sites, and dine on traditional Ecuadorian cuisine prepared from organic ingredients grown right on the hacienda’s soil.

A FRESHLY MADE TABLE

As a recognized South American ecolodge, Zuleta takes pride in its beautiful organic garden, which produces vegetables, herbs, and fruits that wind up right on guests’ plates. The hundreds of Holstein Friesian cows produce the milk used to make the wide variety of Ecuadorian cheese, cream, and yogurt for Zuleta’s own creamery. Guests are invited to view the whole process, from cow milking, to cheese making.

LAND MADE FOR HORSES

Hacienda Zuleta offers a great variety of activities and places to visit, however the specialty is horseback riding. Housing nearly 100 horses, from pure Andalusians to polo horses, horses are the mode of transportation for workers inside and outside the hacienda. Guests enjoy horse tours through the scenic Andean mountains, and a horse drawn carriage for trips on the hacienda grounds.

The hotel also offers mountain bikes and knowledgeable guidance on hikes through the surrounding wilderness.

PRESERVING CULTURES, THEN AND NOW

Mr. Galo Plaza lasso, a former president of Ecuador, bought the hacienda more than 100 years ago. Still owned by the Plaza family, Zuleta’s 4,000 acres provides a sanctuary for the best preserved relics of the ancient Caranqui culture. There are over 100 small mounds dating back to 700 A.D. and several large remnants of pyramids dating to 1200 A.D.

Ideal forthose seeking an excellent eco-lodge experience that's close to both cultural and scenic hotspots of the Ecuadorian Andes

hacienda zuleta hotel is one of our preferred hotels when travelling in ecuador

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Hacienda Zuleta Hotel

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highlights

  • Working hacienda with its own organic vegetable garden and creamery
  • Horseback riding through the Andes
  • Acres of ancient Caranqui archaeological sites

rooms

  • Junior Suites: King bed or two twin beds; Antique decorations; Fireplace; Authentic hand embroidered linens; Garden and mountain views. Some have access to private gardens, terraces, or a courtyard
  • Deluxe Room: Queen bed or two twin beds; Antique decorations; Fireplace; Authentic hand embroidered linens; Garden and mountain views. Some have access to private gardens, terraces, or a courtyard
  • Standard Room: Queen bed; Antique decorations; Fireplace; Authentic hand embroidered linens; Garden and mountain views. Some have access to private gardens, terraces, or a courtyard

services

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Library
  • Tours of the working creamery
  • Barn with farm animals
  • Stables filled with over 100 horses
  • Horse-drawn carriage rides
  • Organic vegetable gardens
  • Movies and games
  • Satellite television
  • Wifi

MAPAS DEL LUGAR

Anakonda

anakonda is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruising the amazon

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Anakonda

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The Anakonda is the only luxury boutique cruise of Ecuador’s untamed Amazon. Leisurely cruising an area of astounding biodiversity and exotic wildlife, Anakonda accommodates 40 passengers in true decadence. A charming 45 meter (148 ft) riverboat, she features an expansive observation deck complete with reclining chairs, as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi of refreshingly cool water. The al fresco lounge is ideal for cocktails, relaxation, reading or simply enjoying the spectacular view. Outstanding cuisine is served to you either on the outdoor terrace or from the spacious indoor dining room, and boasts a fusion of irresistible tropical delights, Ecuadorian dishes rich in Amazonian ingredients and perfectly crafted classics of International origin. When not out exploring on an excursion, you might relax in the plush lounge areas or the large and comfortable bed of your cabin. The Anakonda has 14 standard cabins and 4 slightly larger Deluxe Suites with their own Jacuzzi baths and private balconies from which to enjoy the spectacular starry skies.

WINNER OF THE 2016 WORLD TRAVEL AWARD

Proud winner of the 2016 World Travel Award as South America’s Leading Boutique Cruise, the Anakonda offers a one of a kind journey. Her expert naturalist guides and special travel concierge excel in providing you a personalized cruise experience. Excursions take you into the heart of the Yasuni National park, home to Indigenous tribes and extraordinary wildlife including jaguars, monkeys, iguanas and, of course, anacondas! Enjoy an afternoon of kayaking, or on a longer itinerary, you could spend a night glamping in the jungle for an even closer and more intimate glimpse into the unparalleled diversity of flora and fauna (please note that glamping incurs additional cost).

FLOOR to CEILING WINDOWS

The Anankonda winds its way through the upper basins of the Napo and Aguarico Rivers that border Limoncocha Wildlife Reserve and Yasuni National Park, Ecuador’s largest protected animal reserve. Offering an opportunity to see the Amazonian Basin of the Ecuadorian Rainforest from a place of optimal comfort and style, all cabins are graced with air-conditioning and fantastic floor-to-ceiling windows for unrestricted viewing of the unforgettable scenery.

Ideal forthose looking for a first-class yacht experience in the Amazon -- also a great adventure to combine with a Galapagos program

anakonda is one of our preferred luxury yachts for cruising the amazon

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Anakonda

discover all of our Ecuador journeys

Per Person USD Rates Master Suites (A1, A4) Twin Suites (A1, A3) Double Staterooms (C1, C2, C5) Twin Staterooms (C3, C4)
8D / 7N Sat - Sat $6,800 $6,300 $6,100 $5,880
Charter $104,000

Single supplement 75% // 100% Xmas, Easter, New Year $500 surcharge for Christmas, Easter and New Year, for individuals and $6,500 for charter CHILDREN under 11, 30% OFF / 2 discounts p/family, NO DISCOUNT on Christmas, Easter & New Year

Category:
Luxury
Capacity:
40
Number of Cabins:
18
Facilities:
Al fresco dining, bar, boutique, conference room, dining room, library, jacuzzi, observation deck
Length:
148 ft
Speed:
12 knots
All cabins feature:
Private bathroom with air conditioning and hot water
Single Cabin Supplement:
yes
Children Discount:
yes
Guide Languages:
English, Spanish

Itineraries

Journey to Ecuador

Nature lovers can check off everything on their bucket list with this comprehensive two-week adventure of Ecuador’s Andes mountains, Galapagos islands, and Amazonia. What could be better than exploring the Andes–Western World’s highest peaks–then snorkeling with sea lions and experiencing the legendary exotic wildlife and geology that has inspired scientists and naturalists for nearly 200 years. Then conclude with a journey deep into Amazon jungle, where the vast majority of the world’s plant and wildlife species reside – species you won’t see anywhere else, ever.

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Journey to Ecuador

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador/p>

Itinerary

Day1

LaRonda-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day1

Arrive in Quito

Welcome to Ecuador! On arrival in Quito, you are greeted at the international airport by your local English-speaking guide and privately transferred to your boutique hotel in the historical city center.

Overnight Casa Gangotena, Plaza Grande, or Casona La Ronda

Day2

quito-ecuador-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day2

Quito

Spend the morning at leisure. In the afternoon, you are met at your hotel for a half-day private guided excursion.

Activity Options:

Private tour of Quito’s colonial churches or insiders look at the country’s finest Pre-Columbian art collection

Spectacular horseback riding in high Andes near Quito

2-3 hour hike and birdwatching with Naturalist guide through nearby cloud forest to see hummingbirds and flora

Overnight Casa Gangotena, Plaza Grande, or Casona La Ronda

Meals B

Day3

la-pinta-exteriorb-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day3

Galapagos Islands

This morning, take your private transfer to Quito airport for flight to the Galapagos Islands.

Flight: Quito to Baltra, Galapagos (via Guayaquil)

Be met at Baltra airport by your naturalist guide and transfer to embark your boat to begin your 5D/4N cruise through the Galapagos Islands! This afternoon, enjoy your first Galapagos excursion to one of the islands.

Overnight Aboard selected boat such as Ocean Spray, La Pinta, Santa Cruz II, or Coral yachts

Meals B,L,D

Day4-6

Keri-P5140380-5-KF-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day4-6

Galapagos Islands

Over the next three days, explore the Galapagos by boat with daily morning and afternoon landings and excursions.

Overnight Aboard selected boat such as Ocean Spray, La Pinta, Santa Cruz II, or Coral yachts

Meals B,L,D

Day7

day07-pikaia-lodge-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day7

Galapagos Islands / Lodge Santa Cruz Island

Enjoy your last morning excursion of your Galapagos cruise. While the other cruise guests take their return flight back to the mainland, you are met by your private naturalist guide at Baltra airport and to be transferred across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island.

Enjoy lunch in town and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station before transferring to your new home base for your Galapagos land program. Spend the rest of afternoon at your leisure.

Overnight Options:

The Safari Camp has a circuit that takes you up two natural volcanic formations and viewpoints, where you’ll appreciate much of the native flora of the area, including scalesia, guayabillo, and palo santo, and get acquainted with the finches, warblers, fly-catchers, Galapagos Doves, and with any luck, the Galapagos Rail. End the day with a sunset cocktail, followed by dinner.


Pikaia Lodge offers guided tours of their very own wild great tortoise reserve. Or wonder along the white sand beaches, or check into the Sumaq Spa for some relaxation and pampering.

Overnight Galapagos Safari Camp, or Pikaia Lodge, or Private villa

Meals B,L,D

Day8

day08-galapagos-kayaking-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day8

Galapagos Safari Camp or Pikaiai Lodge

Activity Options:

• Specially custom designed program highlight the interests of your family such as special nature
• Full-day shared scuba diving excursion from Puerto Ayora. Visit two dive sites (TBD), with maximum 1 hour immersion at each
• Visit and tour of farm with two natural volcanic formations where you can observe the native plants and wildlife
• Tortoise Reserve visit to see giant tortoises roaming the ponds; visit nearby lava tunnels as well
• Visit Cerro Mesa that offers dramatic views and has the largest crater on Santa Cruz. After lunch, visit Garrapatero beach: mangroves, black lava, white sand, busy coastal bird life, small pink flamingo lagoon; kayaking and mountain biking excursions also available on request

This evening, return to your lodge for relaxation time and dinner.

Overnight Galapagos Safari Camp, or Pikaia Lodge, or Private villa

Meals B,L,D

Day9

galapagos-tortoise-latin-excursions-3-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day9

Galapagos Safari Camp or Pikaiai Lodge

Early in the morning, visit a Giant Galapagos Tortoise reserve with your private guide (this is a different reserve from the one visited during cruise). Then, continue to an organic coffee farm to learn more about sustainable farming in the Galapagos and to sample some local coffee. Afterwards, you are driven to the eastern part of the island for a hike at Cerro Mesa. At 490m above sea level, Cerro Mesa Reserve offers spectacular views of the largest crater on Santa Cruz Island, exotic plants, and seven unique subspecies of finch and the elusive vermilion flycatcher. Following lunch, explore Garrapatero Beach, with stunning contrasts of mangroves, black lava, white sand, and turquoise water — including a flamingo lagoon. Kayaking and mountain biking are optional here as well.

Overnight Galapagos Safari Camp, or Pikaia Lodge, or Private villa

Meals B,L,D

Day10

snorkeling-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day10

Galapagos Safari Camp or Pikaiai Lodge

Activity Options:

• With your private guide, hike to Puntudo and Cerro Crocker or Media Luna (this is a more demanding hike but offers great views and amazing wildlife; highest point on the island and great for birdwatching). Continue to Puerto Ayora for lunch, followed by snorkeling at Las Grietas or a one-mile walk at Tortuga Bay with swimming and relaxation time.
• Scuba diving excursion
• Sea kayaking or snorkeling excursion with private guide

Overnight Galapagos Safari Camp, or Pikaia Lodge, or Private villa

Meals B,L,D

Day11

Image-2017-07-16-01_04_32_035-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day11

Galapagos Islands / Quito

On your last day, have a leisurely morning or take a sunrise walk on the property before transferring to the airport for your return flight to the mainland.

Flight Baltra, Galapagos Islands to Quito (via Guayaquil)

Airport reception at Quito airport upon arrival.

Overnight Wyndham Airport Hotel

Meals B

Day12

day12-sacha-lodge-frog-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day12

Amazon Adventure

Today, begin your 4D/3N Amazon program of your choice. See options below.

Accommodation Options:

La Selva Lodge - one of the leading Amazon lodges


Napo Wildlife Center - lodge inside Tupinini National Park


Sacha Lodge - fabulous lodge for birdwatching and wildlife observation


Mashpi Lodge - Luxury lodge on private 3,000-acre cloud forest reserve (3-day Amazon program only for this option)

Overnight Amazon lodge of choice

Meals B,L,D

Day13

day13-sacha-lodge-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day13

Explore the Ecuadorian Amazon

Spend today exploring the cloud forest around the lodge, with shared naturalist guides.

Activity Options:

Nature walks

Canopy observation tower or sky bike

Visit butterfly farm or bird clay lick

Waterfall hikes

Nocturnal excursions

Overnight Amazon lodge of choice

Meals B,L,D

Day14

sacha-lodge-canoeing-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day14

Explore the Ecuadorian Amazon

Enjoy a second full day exploring the cloud forest around the lodge, with shared naturalist guides.

Activity Options:

Nature walks

Canopy observation tower or sky bike

Visit butterfly farm or bird clay lick

Waterfall hikes

Nocturnal excursions

Overnight Amazon lodge of choice

Meals B,L,D

Day15

SanFranciscoChurch-372x372 Journey to Ecuador

Day15

Depart Quito

After lunch at your lodge, return to Quito.

Day use of hotel, or overnight in Quito if your flight departs the following day.

Note: If you select Mashpi for your Amazon program, your return to Quito would be a day earlier (return to Quito on day 14).

Meals B

Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Nature lovers can check off everything on their bucket list with this impressive mix of Ecuador’s Andes mountains and the Amazon jungle. What could be better than going directly to the Andes, the Western World’s highest peaks with rich coffee plantations? Then, we take you deep into the Amazon jungle where the vast majority of the world’s plant and wildlife species reside – species you won’t see anywhere else, ever. You can’t help but feel you are at the very center of the natural world.

Stay in historic haciendas

Dine on traditional Ecuadorian cuisine at family-friendly restaurants

Explore vibrant local markets

Explore the rich sights and sounds of pristine jungle from the comfort of an Amazon lodge

Visit a parrot clay lick to view spectacular wildlife such as Giant Otters

View spectacular wildlife in the unparalleled Amazonian rainforest of Yasuni National Park

Ideal for families with tailor-made experiences

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador/p>

Itinerary

Day1

day01-panoramic-view-qutio-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day1

Quito

Welcome to Ecuador!

Airport reception at Quito Airport upon arrival and private transfer to your hotel in the city’s historical center.

Overnight Casa Gangotena, Plaza Grande, or similar

Day2

quito-ecuador-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day2

Quito

This morning, you are picked up for your half-day private guided tour of Quito, including a walking tour of its historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, the afternoon is at your leisure to spend relaxing or exploring the city further on your own.

Optional Activities:

Private tour of Quito’s colonial churches or insider’s look at the country's finest Pre-Columbian art collection

Spectacular horseback ride in the high Andes near Quito

2-3 hour hike and birdwatching with Naturalist guide through nearby cloud forest to see hummingbirds and flora

Overnight Casa Gangotena, Plaza Grande, or similar

Meals B

Day3

day03-anakonda-cruise-exterior-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day3

Exploring the Amazon

In the morning, take your private transfer back to Quito airport for your flight to Coca, gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon.

On arrival in the Amazon, transfer to the dock to embark on a motorized canoe and navigate down the great Napo River (approx. one hour) to board the Anakonda Amazon. An evening walk is organized after sunset to discover the forest’s nocturnal activity and listen to the incessant sounds of nature.

Overnight Anakonda Amazon Cruise

Meals B, D

Day4

day04-squirrel-monkey-ecuador-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day4

Exploring the Amazon

Continue downstream to the Pañayacu River delta; take a canoe trip upriver (1hr) to experience the sights of this fascinating reserve. Seek out pink river dolphins, common squirrel monkeys and much more. The rivers and lakes here are the perfect habitat for the infamous piranha, water monkey fish, and white caiman. After a refreshing swim, enjoy a delicious Amazon-style BBQ meal and refreshing beverages at a nearby camping site. In the afternoon, head out on trails and return onboard for dinner.

Overnight Overnight: Anakonda Amazon Cruise

Meals B,L,D

Day5

day05-parrot-clay-lick-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day5

Exploring the Amazon

Weather permitting, set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacles this side of western Amazonia known as parrot licks. Unique pools of mud become rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots and parakeets every day. Later, visit the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center where Kichwa women speak about their customs, cuisine and everyday life. Have the opportunity to buy crafts, local products and souvenirs. After lunch, visit the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Center before concluding your day with an interesting evening walk through the forest (dependant on accessibility, river water levels and weather conditions).

Overnight Anakonda Amazon Cruise

Meals B,L,D

Day6

hacienda-zuleta-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day6

Quito / Ecuadorian Highlands

In the morning, disembark the Anakonda and transfer by motorized canoe to Coca (1hr) for your return flight to Quito.

Flight: Coca to Quito (40 min)

Upon arrival in Quito, meet your guide for your private transfer into the northern highlands, where you will spend the next few tranquil days. The drive is approx. 1.5-2 hours and your guide will introduce you to the cultural and historical context of this rich area of the country along the way.

At Hacienda Zuleta, you are welcomed by staff and shown around the property. The afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy some activities on the property.

Hacienda Zuleta offers a great variety of activities and places to visit; however, the specialty is horseback riding. Housing nearly 100 horses, from pure Andalusians to polo horses, horses are the mode of transportation for workers inside and outside the hacienda. Guests enjoy horse tours through the scenic Andean mountains, and a horse drawn carriage for trips on the hacienda grounds. The hotel also offers mountain bikes and knowledgeable guidance on hikes through the surrounding wilderness.

Optional Activities:

Horseback riding

Horse drawn carriage rides

Mountain biking

Hiking / nature walks

Learn about everyday farm activities (i.e. cheese production)

Cooking Class

Embroidery Class

Overnight Hacienda Zuleta, or Hacienda Cusin

Meals B,L,D

Day7

hacienda-zuleta-horseback-riding-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day7

Ecuadorian Highlands

Spend the full day at Hacienda Zuleta, relaxing or enjoying the many activities offered on the property. Hundreds of winding roads through green pastures, pine and eucalyptus groves and native ecosystems make the Zuleta Valley a true paradise for outdoor activities and exploration.

The property is also home to an Andean condor rescue and restoration project, a creamery where artisanal cheese is made, pre-Inca mounds from the Caranqui culture, an organic garden and an embroidery workshop. You are also welcome to experience everyday activities like farming, milking, cheese production, harvest from the organic vegetable garden, and share with the hacienda workers, who will enjoy showing you how to do their chores. At the end of the day, unwind with a glass of wine and some of Zuleta’s homemade cheese near the fireplace.

Optional Activities:

Horseback riding

Horse drawn carriage rides

Mountain biking

Hiking / nature walks

Learn about everyday farm activities (i.e. cheese production)

Cooking Class

Embroidery Class

Overnight Hacienda Zuleta, or Hacienda Cusin

Meals B,L,D

Day8

day08-otavalo-market-latin-excursions-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day8

Ecuadorian Highlands

After breakfast and a leisurely morning, depart the hacienda to visit some highlights of the northern highlands en route back to Quito. Customize your afternoon to your interests. Dinner and overnight at a hotel near Quito airport.

Activity Options:

Visit Inca sites and ruins

Visit the colorful Otavalo artisan market, famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles and tapestries

See and learn about the local Zuleta culture and their mastery of a special weaving technique

Visit the country’s foremost Condor restoration project and learn why this is the national bird of the Andean cultures and country

Overnight Overnight: Su Merced ­(or similar)

Meals B,L,D

Day9

palmeras-372x372 Journey to Ecuador’s Amazon

Day9

Departure

In the morning or afternoon, take your private transfer to Quito airport for your flight home, or continue your trip to the Galapagos or Peru’s Machu Picchu.

Meals B

Ecuador Wildlife Cruise: Amazon and Galapagos Islands

Travel aboard the

The Anakonda Amazon Vessel &
The Galapagos Legend

This unique Ecuador itinerary is not only a must-do tour for wildlife lovers, but anyone keen to combine two of the best experiences in South America: a luxury Amazon river cruise and voyage around the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador is home to thousands of native and endemic species in each of its varied ecosystems, as seen during this trip. Begin aboard the boutique Anakonda Amazon river cruise, a popular and luxurious 40-guest boat offering the chance to swim in lakes teeming with Piranhas, take early morning birdwatching walks, spot monkeys and Pink River Dolphins during kayaking trips, and listen to the sounds of the jungle at night. Then, after a few days exploring the highlights of Quito, swap the Amazon River for open seas, as you join the comfortable, well-equipped Legend (accommodating up to 100 passengers) for an unforgettable Galapagos Islands cruise. Along the way, visit remote regions in the south-west of the 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 this Galapagos Island cruise, 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 Wildlife Cruise: Amazon and Galapagos Islands

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

New-8-2016-Amazon-River-Landscape-High-Resolution-372x372 Ecuador Wildlife Cruise: Amazon and Galapagos Islands

Day1

ARRIVE / QUITO / COCA / NAPO RIVER

An exciting start to your Galapagos and Ecuador Amazon river cruise awaits, as you fly from Quito to the port city of Coca, where you board a boat and get an early taste for life in the rainforest. Set off in the direction of the luxurious Anakonda Amazon, a boutique ship which is tailormade for the mightiest river setting of them all. Along the way, you pass native wildlife including monkeys, lizards or onlooking River Turtles, before arriving at the Anakonda itself.

The welcome party once on-deck includes the Anakonda’s expert guides, some early orientation and refreshments. Then, simply enjoying the sounds, sights and smells of the jungle on the ship’s sundeck, an unforgettable sunset, mouthwatering meal and nighttime wildlife walk.

Overnight Anakonda

Meals D

Day2

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Day2

PANACOCHA BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR

Nestled between the Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, today’s destination–the Panayacu River Delta and Panacocha Lake–is like a mini Amazon biosphere in its own right; and provides plenty of fun along the way. Begin with a gentle cruise downstream in search of Squirrel Monkeys, River Turtles and, with any luck, a glimpse of the famous Pink River Dolphins which are known to visit these waters.

Eventually, arrive at Panacocha or ‘Piranha’ Lake, picturesque and perfectly suitable for swimming, though be warned it is called Piranha Lake for a reason and this is one of their favorite hangouts! Whether taking a dip in the lake or not, keep an eye open for White Caiman, giant Catfish and rare Butterflies too.

Overnight Anakonda

Meals B,L,D

Day3

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Day3

WESTERN AMAZON RAINFOREST

Day three of your luxury cruise takes in one of the most iconic Amazon experiences of them all, the so-called Parrot Clay Licks of Western Amazonia, your first outing after breakfast. A kaleidoscope of color, this natural spectacle is a joy as hundreds of Parrots, Parakeets and Macaws line the riverbank, attracted by a build-up of minerals and salts which are then exposed every day.

Next up is the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center, where you can learn a little of the Amazon Rainforest’s cultural heritage, the traditions, daily life and long-held customs of native jungle inhabitants courtesy of a women’s cooperative who help run the institution. Then, another great Amazon highlight, the Anangu Observation Tower; a 36-meter-tall canopy lookout point for views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

Overnight Anakonda

Meals B,L,D

Day4

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Day4

Coca / Quito

This morning, disembark the Anakonda and transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Quito, ready for an afternoon at leisure to explore the highlights of Ecuador’s capital at your own pace.
Having checked into your hotel, why not visit the real-life line of the equator for a fun-filled afternoon? Or perhaps the beautifully ornate Compania de Jesus Church, Plaza Grande or Basilica del Voto Nacional, for something more cultural. There are artisan food markets to enjoy, bohemian neighborhoods, galleries and museums aplenty, though if you are simply after a few more fantastic photographs then take the Teleferico sky tram to the top of Cruz Loma, hike a little, and prepare for sublime panoramic views of Quito.

Overnight Swissotel

Meals B

Day5

16QUITO-372x372 Ecuador Wildlife Cruise: Amazon and Galapagos Islands

Day5

WALKING TOUR OF QUITO

Spend the morning at leisure before an afternoon private walking tour of Quito’s Old Town, providing an interesting exploration of Ecuador’s capital, ahead of tomorrow’s onward journey to the Galapagos Islands. The city’s historical center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978; and it’s not hard to see why, with its exquisite colonial architecture comprising sublime churches, the Cathedral, Presidential Palace and Municipal Building, standing proud along cobblestone streets and the grand Independence Square. The pastel-hued facades with iron-wrought balconies only add to its charm, while a scattering of museums and galleries invite you to learn more about the city’s art, history and culture, such as the prestigious El Alabado Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.

Overnight Swissotel

Meals B/p>

Day6

San_Cristobal-372x372 Ecuador Wildlife Cruise: Amazon and Galapagos Islands

Day6

QUITO / SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

The next exciting stage of your journey begins on day six with a two-hour flight from Quito to San Cristobal Island, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin who strode ashore here on his famous voyage to the archipelago in 1835. At the airport, your guide assists with any belongings, whisking you off to the pier and the awaiting Legend vessel for boarding: the beginning of your Galapagos islands cruise.

First, a worthy introduction comes with a visit to the Interpretation Center, 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’. As the name suggests, these verdant cliffs are a popular nesting site for both the Great and Magnificent species of Frigate.

Overnight Galapagos Legend

Meals B,D

Days7

ESPANOLA-372x372 Ecuador Wildlife Cruise: Amazon and Galapagos Islands

Day7

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

Day8

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Day8

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

Day9

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Day9

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, Bellena 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

Day10

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Day10

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 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.

Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

Travel aboard the

The Coral I Or Coral II

Combining a land-based adventure and Galapagos cruise in one trip gives you the best of both worlds, with this itinerary being both varied and full of archipelago highlights. So, start your Galapagos Island adventure tour as you mean to go on with VIP service on arrival, before navigating emerald seas towards Santa Cruz Island. Basing yourself at the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp on Santa Cruz, you’ll enjoy nature walks, boat tours, delectable cuisine and dramatic ancient landscapes across various central islands, over two days that pack in more than you might have imagined. Then, a Galapagos Island tour to remember, aboard the supremely comfortable Santa Cruz II. This 50-cabin boat, which accommodates up to 90 people across its five decks, is extremely well-equipped with two Jacuzzis, a sun terrace, lounge bars and restaurants, not to mention their expert naturalist guides. They will be on hand as you explore the wonders and wildlife of Santa Fe Island, San Cristobal, Espanola, North Seymour and South Plazas Islands; all completely different and equally unique. Throughout, expect Galapagos multisport tours encompassing snorkeling, deserted beaches, glass bottom boat rides and panga excursions around the coast, all the while on the lookout for the countless native species which make the Galapagos Islands so special.

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

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

baltra-Ithabaca-canal-copy-372x372 Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

Day1

ARRIVAL BALTRA ISLAND / SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Your Galapagos Island adventure begins as soon as you arrive in the archipelago. Start by transiting through a VIP lounge within Baltra Island Airport, the guides assisting with any luggage, before taking to a stand-up paddle board or canoe, crossing the crystalline Itabaca Channel; a popular waterway separating the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz. With luck, you may spot the famous Blue-footed Boobies, Reef Sharks, Pelicans and maybe even a Sea Lion colony.

Upon landing, your next stop is a private reserve which surrounds the rustic Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, just outside the national park itself and home for the next two nights. Here, strap on your walking boots and hit the trails, searching for resident Giant Tortoises before nightfall, when starlit skies come blissfully into view.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals L,D

Day2

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Day2

OPTIONAL NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND / BACHAS BEACH / SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND / SANTA FE ISLAND / BARTOLOME ISLAND / SULLIVAN BAY

Touring these seas on an iconic boat trip is one of the best ways to explore the Galapagos Islands, and the Magic Camp has access to its own private yacht. This means that–depending on which day of the week you visit–the natural wonders of North Seymour Island, Bachas Beach, South Plazas Island, Santa Fe Island, Bartolome Island and Sullivan Bay are all within easy reach and ready to be explored.

If visiting North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach, expect families of Frigate Birds, Herons and Marine Iguanas, even Tiger Sharks prowling the shore. South Plazas is known for its huge populations of Land Iguanas and nesting Seabirds, giant cacti and a rocky coastline, while Santa Fe Island is where abundant Sea Lion colonies line heavenly stretches of golden beach. Lastly, the volcanic hills and lava fields of Bartolome and Sullivan Bay are an otherworldly sight indeed, before heading back to the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals B,L,D

Day3

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Day3

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Santa Cruz is one of the most diverse and intriguing of all the Galapagos Islands, so is well worth spending the extra time to uncover its many treasures. Begin the day with a walk or kayak along the paradise-like Tortuga Bay, an expanse of chalk-white sands, driftwood and sunbathing Iguanas. Next, a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center, where exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs. Finally, for anyone keen to pick up last-minute Galapagos souvenirs or simply see some expert local craftsmanship in action, a nearby wooden workshop is the place to do it.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals B,L,D

Day4

los-gemelos-372x372 Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

Day4

LOS GEMELOS CRATERS / SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

Before being taken to San Cristobal Island for your Galapagos cruise, the second half of this Galapagos land and sea package, there is one last natural wonder to explore on Santa Cruz: the colossal sinkhole craters of Los Gemelos. Hike through a Scalesia forest to reach these caverns, measuring up to 1,300ft across and 2,300ft deep and filled with lush foliage, before gradually retracing the trail towards your awaiting transfer. The Coral I and Coral II luxury yachts will be moored up on San Cristobal, a short boat ride away.

From the pier it’s time for boarding, introductions with the crew and an early visit to the informative Interpretation Center nearby. Then, a hike up Cerro Tijeretas, or ‘Frigate Bird Hill’; a popular nesting site for both the Great and Magnificent species of Frigate.

Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D

Day5

san-cristobal1-2-372x372 Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

Day5

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

This morning, navigate to the north of San Cristobal Island for a wet landing near Cerro Brujo or ‘Witches Hill’. These imposing black rock cliffs, made predominantly of petrified lava flows, are home to a wide range of species including Black-necked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, Great Blue Herons and Sea Lions. Cerro Brujo is best explored from all angles, discovering the coast on a panga boat ride, snorkeling, then walking along the bay in search of a scenic viewpoint.

Next, sail east to one of the most unforgettable Galapagos Island experiences, taking the rare opportunity to spot Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies all occupying the same natural habitat. This all takes place while hiking the rugged, red and green hued terrain of Punta Pitt, still on San Cristobal Island.

Overnight Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D/p>

Day6

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Day6

ESPANOLA ISLAND

Your voyage on the Coral continues in fine fashion, courtesy of the many nature and wildlife highlights that await on Espanola Island, beginning at Punta Suarez. Look 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. The vast array of birdlife here gives Espanola a reputation for extraordinary biodiversity.

This afternoon, the Espanola experience continues 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 is one of the most enchanting days of Galapagos wildlife encounters during your Galapagos cruise and land tour.

Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D

Days7

floreana-372x372 Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

Day7

FLOREANA ISLAND / CHAMPION ISLAND

From the postcard bays of Espanola Island to Cormorant Point on Floreana Island, south of Santa Cruz. There are two contrasting beaches here: Papakolea, which appears green in color due to its composition of volcanic olivine crystals, and Flour Beach, so-called for its powdery white sands. Keep an eye out for the Flamingos, Pintails, Stilts and other wading birds here, before snorkeling at the foot of Devil’s Crown and Champion Islet, swimming with reef fish, Giant Mantas and Dolphins.

After lunch comes Post Office Bay, once a pirate’s hangout and home to an 18th century whalers post office, where you can still pop a postcard in the rum barrel box and it will find its way home to this day! Finally, the Floreana Highlands and Asilo de la Paz or ‘Peace Haven’, a scenic spot surrounded by Scalesia Trees and Giant Galapagos Tortoises, Frigate Birds and an endemic snail population.

Overnight Coral I or Coral II

Meals B,L,D

Day8

gps-landscape-372x372 Galapagos Cruise and Land Tour Coral I & II

Day8

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND / BALTRA ISLAND / FLIGHT HOME

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.

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.

Ecuador Cultural Highlights Tour and Galapagos Cruise

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

quito-372x372 Ecuador Cultural Highlights Tour and Galapagos Cruise

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

San-Cristobal-4-372x372 Ecuador Cultural Highlights Tour and Galapagos Cruise

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.

Galapagos Land & Cruise Tour – Santa Cruz II

Travel aboard the

Santa Cruz II

Combining a land-based adventure and Galapagos cruise in one trip gives you the best of both worlds, with this itinerary being both varied and full of archipelago highlights. So, start your Galapagos Island adventure tour as you mean to go on with VIP service on arrival, before navigating emerald seas towards Santa Cruz Island. Basing yourself at the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp on Santa Cruz, you’ll enjoy nature walks, boat tours, delectable cuisine and dramatic ancient landscapes across various central islands, over two days that pack in more than you might have imagined. Then, a Galapagos Island tour to remember, aboard the supremely comfortable Santa Cruz II. This 50-cabin boat, which accommodates up to 90 people across its five decks, is extremely well-equipped with two Jacuzzis, a sun terrace, lounge bars and restaurants, not to mention their expert naturalist guides. They will be on hand as you explore the wonders and wildlife of Santa Fe Island, San Cristobal, Espanola, North Seymour and South Plazas Islands; all completely different and equally unique. Throughout, expect Galapagos multisport tours encompassing snorkeling, deserted beaches, glass bottom boat rides and panga excursions around the coast, all the while on the lookout for the countless native species which make the Galapagos Islands so special.

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Galapagos Land & Cruise Tour – Santa Cruz II

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

galapagos-icon Galapagos Land & Cruise Tour – Santa Cruz II

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

baltra-1-372x372 Galapagos Land & Cruise Tour – Santa Cruz II

Day1

ARRIVAL BALTRA ISLAND / SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Your Galapagos Island adventure begins as soon as you arrive in the archipelago. Start by transiting through a VIP lounge within Baltra Island Airport, the guides assisting with any luggage, before taking to a stand-up paddle board or canoe, crossing the crystalline Itabaca Channel; a popular waterway separating the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz. With luck, you may spot the famous Blue-footed Boobies, Reef Sharks, Pelicans and maybe even a Sea Lion colony.

Upon landing, your next stop is a private reserve which surrounds the rustic Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, just outside the national park itself and home for the next two nights. Here, strap on your walking boots and hit the trails, searching for resident Giant Tortoises before nightfall, when starlit skies come blissfully into view.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals L,D

Day2

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Day2

NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND / BACHAS BEACH / SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND / SANTA FE ISLAND / BARTOLOME ISLAND / SULLIVAN BAY

Touring these seas on an iconic boat trip is one of the best ways to explore the Galapagos Islands, and the Magic Camp has access to its own private yacht. This means that–depending on which day of the week you visit–the natural wonders of North Seymour Island, Bachas Beach, South Plazas Island, Santa Fe Island, Bartolome Island and Sullivan Bay are all within easy reach and ready to be explored.

If visiting North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach, expect families of Frigate Birds, Herons and Marine Iguanas, even Tiger Sharks prowling the shore. South Plazas is known for its huge populations of Land Iguanas and nesting Seabirds, giant cacti and a rocky coastline, while Santa Fe Island is where abundant Sea Lion colonies line heavenly stretches of golden beach. Lastly, the volcanic hills and lava fields of Bartolome and Sullivan Bay are an otherworldly sight indeed, before heading back to the Magic Galapagos Tented Camp.

Overnight Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

Meals B,L,D

Day3

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Day3

LOS GEMELOS CRATERS / MOSQUERA ISLET

Before the next stage of your combined Galapagos land and sea adventure, there is a chance for one more natural wonder. Hike through a Scalesia forest, frequented by Darwin’s Finches, to reach the Los Gemelos craters: two colossal sinkholes measuring up to 1,300ft across and 2,300ft deep, filled with lush foliage. Then, gradually retrace the trail back and prepare to board the Santa Cruz II cruise vessel.

Having been welcomed by the crew and treated to a delicious lunch, your Galapagos cruise begins, as the captain makes way for the soft sands of Mosquera Islet. This enchanting stretch of beach, peppered with occasional volcanic rocks, is best known for its families of Sea Lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs, as can be seen while wandering the bay or snorkeling offshore.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day4

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Day4

SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

This morning, moor up near Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, the capital of the Galapagos Province, and transfer to Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve in the south-east. Cerro Colorado is an inspirational project to protect Giant Galapagos Tortoises and allow them to thrive in their natural habitat, as the reserve organically weaves its way into the landscape. So, in addition to the Tortoises, you can expect to see all manner of birdlife, rare plants and native species such as the San Cristobal Mockingbird and San Cristobal Lava Lizard.

Next, sail east to one of the most unforgettable Galapagos Island experiences, taking the rare opportunity to spot Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies all occupying the same natural habitat. This all takes place while hiking the rugged, red and green hued terrain of Punta Pitt, still on San Cristobal Island.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day5

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Day5

SANTA FE ISLAND / SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND

The first stop on today’s Galapagos Island tour is Santa Fe Island, a sandy haven of iconic coastline, turquoise seas and lounging Sea Lions. Having anchored nearby and disembarked, there’ll be plenty of walking trails and wildlife observation spots to enjoy. Every walking route here is a joy, so be sure to make the most of them this morning, as well as spending time on the beach, kayaking or snorkeling.

Having conquered Santa Fe, the diversity of your Galapagos cruise continues on South Plazas Island. Nicknamed as the ‘Red Island’, this rocky, volcanic expanse is instantly recognizable thanks to the abundance of scarlet-hued sesuvium plants. The lands of South Plazas are also characterized by a healthy population of cacti, who are joined by a huge colony of Land Iguanas, over a thousand Sea Lions, Red-billed Tropicbirds and Swallow-tailed Gulls.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day6

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Day6

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Begin the day with a visit to the all-important Charles Darwin Research Center at Puerto Ayora. Here, exciting exhibits and interactive displays go together with real-life conservation projects, including Giant Tortoise breeding and rehabilitation programs, allowing you to witness the legacy of Charles Darwin first-hand.

Learn more about these gentle creatures in the Wild Tortoise Reserve up in the highlands of Santa Cruz, a place of dense, green forests awash with moss and lichen. Then, after a nature hike through subterranean lava tunnels and a Scalesia forest frequented by Darwin’s Finches, spend the rest of the day at leisure. As one of the most diverse of all the Galapagos Islands there are many highlights of Santa Cruz to explore, so take stroll along the paradise-like Tortuga Bay, or maybe a bicycle tour in Puerto Ayora, if you’re feeling active.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Days7

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Day7

ESPANOLA ISLAND

Your voyage on the Santa Cruz II continues in fine fashion, courtesy of the many nature and wildlife highlights that await you on Espanola Island, beginning at Punta Suarez. Look 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. The vast array of birdlife here gives Espanola a reputation for extraordinary biodiversity.

This afternoon, the Espanola experience continues 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 is one of the most enchanting days of Galapagos wildlife encounters during your tour.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Day8

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Day8

EDEN ISLET / NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND

Looping back to Santa Cruz once more this morning, gear up for a panga boat ride to Eden Islet, a pretty little outcrop where one last chance to spot Blue-footed Boobies beckons. The shoreline of Eden is best admired from the panga or kayak, before jumping in to snorkel with the abundant marine life who reside here, including Reef Sharks and countless Dreamfish.

Next up is North Seymour Island. First with a hike through forests of Palo Santo trees–a favorite nesting place for Blue-footed Boobies–before following coastal trails to view Brown Pelicans, Frigate Birds and Yellow Land Iguanas in their natural habitat. To cool off, swap your walking boots for flippers as you dive into the sea and swim with Rays, White-tipped Reef Sharks and schools of colorful King Angelfish, among many others.

Overnight Santa Cruz II

Meals B,L,D

Days9

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Day9

BALTRA ISLAND / FLIGHT HOME

As your Galapagos Island tour draws to a close, it’s farewell to the Santa Cruz crew. Your guides will 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.

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

Combine the colorful artisan markets and mountainous recreation of mainland Ecuador with the mesmerizing wonder of the Galapagos Islands. Begin in the historic center of Quito, Ecuador’s capital perched high in the Andean foothills and constructed on an ancient Incan city. Tour this UNESCO World Heritage site with visits to renowned museums of pre-Columbian art. Retreat to the mountain sanctuary of Hacienda where winding roads through green pastures, pine and eucalyptus groves and native ecosystems make the Zuleta Valley a true paradise for outdoor activities and exploration. The second half of your journey, based at eco-luxury Pikaia Lodge, abounds with opportunities to snorkel with sea lions and sea turtles, kayak and paddle board through turquoise waters, scroll along white-sand beaches, and relax poolside under a warm equatorial sun!  This expertly crafted itinerary covers all the highlights in an ambience of romantic luxury, artisanal character and pioneer adventuring.

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

galapagos-icon Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

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Day1

Arrive Quito, Ecuador

Welcome to Ecuador!

Upon arrival, your guide greets you at the airport and privately escorts you to your hotel, primely located in the historical center of Quito. The Hotel Plaza Grande is a restored, Spanish Colonial Mansion offering exclusive lodging in lavishly decorated suites.

Overnight Hotel Plaza Grande

Day2

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Day2

Walking Tour of Quito

The morning is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

In the afternoon, enjoy a privately guided walking tour of Quito’s historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including a visit to the El Alabado Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.

Overnight Hotel Plaza Grande

Meals B

Day3

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Day3

Otavalo Market / Hacienda Zuleta

After a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel, take your private transfer to Hacienda Zuleta in Ecuador’s northern highlands. On the way, visit the traditional artisan market in Otavalo, which is famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles, and tapestries. Other highlights are available according to your personal interest.

Lunch is included in the Otavalo area. Upon arrival at Zuleta, representatives will introduce you to the property and all the activities on offer. Take time to relax and explore before a delicious dinner.

Overnight Hacienda Zuleta

Meals B,L,D

Day4-5

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Day4-5

Enjoying Hacienda Zuleta

Spend two full days at Hacienda Zuleta (with private guide), enjoying the property and its array of activities, including hiking, horseback riding (extra cost), biking (extra cost for bike rental) and nature walks. The property is also home to an Andean condor rescue and restoration project, a creamery where artisanal cheese is made, pre-Inca mounds from the Caranqui culture, an organic garden and an embroidery workshop. You are also welcome to experience everyday activities like farming, milking, cheese production, harvest from the organic vegetable garden, and share with the hacienda workers, who will enjoy showing you how to do their chores. At the end of the day, unwind with a glass of wine and some of Zuleta’s homemade cheese near the fireplace.

Overnight Hacienda Zuleta

Meals B,L,D

Day6

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Day6

Quito to Baltra, Galapagos Islands

After breakfast at the Hacienda, take your private transfer to Quito airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands.

Flight: Quito to Baltra, Galapagos

Welcome to the Galapagos!

Guides from the Pikaia Lodge meet you at the airport and take you to the Itabaca Channel for a 7-minute ferry crossing to Santa Cruz Island, followed by a 50-minute scenic trip in private transport to Pikaia Lodge. Check-in at the lodge, then enjoy lunch at Evolution Restaurant or on the Pool Terrace. Take time to relax and familiarize yourselves with the lodge environment and facilities. We recommend walking, jogging or cycling the 3.5km of trails within the boundaries, or taking a swim in the infinity pool. An afternoon briefing will introduce you to the following days’ activities and special features about Pikaia Lodge and the Galapagos Islands.

Overnight Pikaia Lodge

Meals B,L,D

Day7

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Day7

Yacht Excursion Aboard Sea Finch

Today, enjoy a full-day yacht excursions to neighboring islands, Punta Carrion and South Plazas, aboard the Sea Finch.

This morning, you have the option of snorkeling in the calm waters of Punta Carrión where you might observe a variety of tropical fish and possibly white tip reef sharks that peacefully rest on the sandy bottom.

Located a few hundred meters away from the eastern coast of Santa Cruz Island, South Plazas and North Plazas islands were formed from uplifted seabed, giving both a uniquely tilted tabletop quality. Disembark on South Plazas where a colony of sea lions greet visitors. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-gray land iguanas sit beneath, waiting patiently for pears to drop. The trail gradually leads towards the southern cliff of the island where you may observe nesting swallow-tailed gulls and several sea birds such as tropic birds, Nazca and blue footed boobies.

Overnight Pikaia Lodge

Meals B,L,D

Days8

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Day8

Land Exploration

Each morning, Pikaia Lodge plans exploration options based on satellite weather imagery, wildlife seasons and tides charts. Depending on conditions, you might visit various beaches, volcanic craters, or lava tunnels; look for giant tortoises and endemic wildlife; visit the Charles Darwin Scientific Research Center at the National Park; or visit organic coffee farms in the highlands to see how settlers live.

Overnight Pikaia Lodge

Meals B,L,D

Day9

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Day9

Yacht Excursion Aboard Sea Finch

Enjoy a full-day yacht exploration aboard the Sea Finch to neighboring islands, North Seymour and Bachas Beach.

North Seymour Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event that created its low lying, flat profile. Swallow-tailed gulls sit perched in cliff ledges that sit only meters above the shoreline and a forest of Palo Santo trees lie just above the landing site. The islands are known for emblematic fauna, including sea lions, land iguanas and blue-footed boobies. As the scenic trail turns inland, dynamically active colonies of both “magnificent” and “great” frigate birds engage in courtship displays. The males sport magnificent and ballooned throats, accentuated by their impressive wing spans, which can reach up to 9 feet!

Las Bachas, a beautiful coralline beach located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, is the perfect place for snorkeling, swimming or simply kicking back to enjoy the soft, white sands. Several brackish lagoons lie only a few steps away from the sea are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to the iconic flamingos.

Overnight Pikaia Lodge

Meals B,L,D

Day10

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Day10

Baltra / Quito, Mainland Ecuador

After a leisurely morning and delicious breakfast, check out of the lodge and take your transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.

Flight: Baltra, Galapagos to Quito

Upon arrival, your guide will greet you at the airport and transfer to your hotel in Quito.

Overnight Hotel Plaza Grande

Meals B

Day11

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Day11

Quito: Half-day Tour

This morning, your guide picks you up for your half-day, privately guided tour in Quito. Begin with a visit to the Guayasamin Museum. This compound is a museum dedicated to one of Ecuador’s most famous artists, Oswaldo Guayasamin. Tour his home, a gallery of his artwork, and a museum depicting life in Ecuador. Afterwards, take the Teleferico (cable car) up the slope of Pichincha Volcano for a spectacular, panoramic view of the city and, on a clear day, the surrounding volcanoes. Your guide drops you off at your hotel where you have the afternoon to relax or explore further at your leisure.

Overnight Hotel Plaza Grande

Meals B

Day12

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Day12

Quito / Optional Day Tour

Today is yours to explore Quito at your leisure. Additional day trips to Nono Cloud Forest or the Antisana Ecological Reserve, for example, are available at an extra cost.

In the evening, transfer to Quito airport for your international flights back home.

Meals B

IMPORTANT: We reserve the right to omit any part of this itinerary, to change the order of the places visited, or to alter reservations without prior notice due to weather conditions or road closures, safety concerns, national park policies, or other outside forces that may necessitate revisions to the itinerary. These decisions are based on the traveler’s welfare or are made in the interest of conservation. Please travel with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the spontaneity of your adventure.

Overnight The Singular Santiago

Meals B

Best of Galapagos & Ecuador for Families

World-renowned as Darwin’s playground, the “Enchanted Isles” of the Galapagos are home to one of the most remarkable wildlife viewing experiences on Earth, having evolved with absolutely no fear of human visitors. This expertly crafted itinerary delivers an entertaining, engaging and safe adventure for families of all ages–children to grandparents and everything in between! Discover the Galapagos by land and sea on an immersive land safari and eight-day luxury yacht cruise aboard the 16-passenger Integrity. Spend two nights in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island in luxury African-style safari tents; during the day, enjoy personalized excursions into the islands. Then, don your sea legs for a full week of Galapagos exploration by boat, visiting highlights such as Isabela Island (the largest in the archipelago), Fernandina Island (the youngest island); and some of the gems in the Eastern Islands. Snorkel with sea turtles and other marine life; learn about unique flora, fauna and geology; swim with playful sea lions and kayak along wildlife-rich mangroves and into secluded coves. Return to the mainland for an authentic, upscale hacienda experience on a working local farm, brimming with the vibrant culture of the Ecuadorian Andes.

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Best of Galapagos & Ecuador for Families

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about Ecuador

galapagos-icon Best of Galapagos & Ecuador for Families

Visit our Galapagos Page
to learn a bit about Galapagos

Itinerary

Day1

hotel-oro-verde-latin-excursions-372x372 Best of Galapagos & Ecuador for Families

Day1

Arrive Guayaquil, Ecuador

After a meet and greet at the international airport, transfer with your guide to your hotel, primely situated in downtown Guayaquil, a port city of colorful houses and a waterfront promenade known as the gateway to sweeping Pacific beaches and the famed Galapagos.

The deluxe Hotel Oro Verde is teaming with authentic Ecuadorian hospitality and with five gourmet onsite restaurants, a wide array of culinary delights await. Rooms feature hardwood or tile floors, plush bedding and exquisite bathrooms, all of which make this sanctuary complete with a spa, fitness center and outdoor pool and hot tub, the perfect place to unwind after your flight and prepare for the adventure ahead.

Overnight Hotel Oro Verde or similar

Day2

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Day2

Flight to Galapagos Islands

After breakfast this morning, you are transferred to the airport in Guayaquil for an exciting flight to the Galapagos Islands, a World Heritage Site full of exotic surprises!

Flight Duration 1 hr 55Ms approximately.

Upon arrival at Baltra airport, your guide will warmly greet you and escort you to your hotel, the Galapagos Safari Camp, where an otherworldly family adventure awaits. Nestled in the wild highlands of Santa Cruz Island with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the National Park, this stylish camp allows your family to reconnect with nature while enjoying a very flexible and personalized program. Stay in the comfort luxury safari tents, or for added privacy and space, rent out the three-bedroom family suite. A panoramic lodge, an infinity pool under a canapé of endemic trees, a farm and a seasonal kids club makes this the perfect base from which to creating exciting memories for the whole family.

Overnight Galapagos Safari Camp

Meals B,D

Day3

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Day3

Galapagos Safari Camp Adventures

In an environment characterized by volcanic craters, exotic plants, lava tubes, white sand, turquoise waters, abundant birds and giant tortoises you truly cannot go wrong no matter which adventure you choose. The Galapagos Safari Camp offers an array of activities into this enchanted landscape, including a yacht trip to an uninhabited island, or a day on a private boat with local fisherman, or a naturalist guide to lead you in an exploration of the coastline. Perhaps you fancy snorkeling, sea kayaking or mountain biking, the choice is yours! Arts and crafts activities with a local artist are a great option for crafty kids.

Overnight Galapagos Safari Camp

Meals B,L,D

Day4

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Day4

Embark Galapagos Cruise

You are already awed by the exotic beauty surrounding you and today it is about to get even more exciting as a private transfer escorts you from the Safari Camp to Puerto Ayora to board your 7-night expedition cruise through the western islands of the Galapagos aboard the yacht Integrity. Like true adventurers, you will retrace Charles Darwin’s route of 1835 on this 8-day cruise to the western islands, including Floreana, Isabela, and Fernandina Islands. At the varied stops, enjoy panga rides to different islands, wildlife watching, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming and hiking.

Superb naturalists explain the history of these islands while pointing out unique wildlife at every turn. Dine on exquisite traditional cuisine, relax on the sun deck or in the jacuzzi, and nestle into your spacious stateroom. With its state-of-the-art stabilizers and engine vibration control system, the Integrity carries you through Darwin’s islands more smoothly than any other yacht.

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Day5

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Day5

Galapagos Cruise: Baltra Island / Santa Cruz Island

The Galapagos is such an ecologically unique place, seeped in the history of Darwin’s discoveries, that an educational visit to the highlands of Santa Cruz islands are an ideal stop-over before embarking on your cruise. Here lies the opportunity to see giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat of lush vegetation. In a forest of native daisy trees, watch vermilion flycatchers with their scarlet feathers flit against the emerald green backdrop where Darwin’s finches reside.

At the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galápagos National Park headquarters, learn about conservation and research efforts and the refuge for tortoises and iguanas.

Board the Integrity just in time to set sail as you sit for a gourmet meal specially crafted from local ingredients.

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Day6

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Day6

Floreana Island

This morning you will awaken to the green, olivine sand beaches of Floreana Island, next to a large lagoon filled with flamingos and other diverse water birds. Today’s highlights include a short hike to Flour Beach where sea turtles nest and small rays frolic in the surf and a snorkel at Champion Island with curious, playful sea lions. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the rare Floreana mockingbird.

Next, stop at the wooden barrel at Post Office Bay that has served as a mariner’s “post office” since the 18th Century. Leave a postcard, or take a postcard to continue the “postmaster” tradition. Afterwards, head into the highlands to visit a collection of tortoises and learn about the island’s ghostly human history at Wittmer Caves. End the day with a walk along Black Beach followed by an onboard barbecue as the sun sets.

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Days7

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Day7

Isabela Island

Today’s adventure begins on Isabela Island at Punta Moreno. Walk along volcanic terrain, over lava flows and past numerous prickly pear cacti. The area is dotted with numerous oases of brackish lagoons containing a wide variety of wildlife, including flamingos, paint-billed crakes, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules.

In the golden light of afternoon, a comfortable skiff will carry you through the narrow channels of Elizabeth Bay past mangrove lagoons filled with rays, flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, and lava herons. Don’t forget to watch the waters for sea turtles, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and the many exotic fish inhabiting the lagoons.

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Days8

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Day8

Isabela Island / Fernandina Island

Urbina Bay on Isabela Island is a visually stunning landscape. In 1954, volcanic activity caused a six-kilometer stretch of coral reef to shift upwards of five meters in a matter of hours and this is the legacy. Walk along the skeletal coral gardens, now home to lizards, mockingbirds and large, colorful land iguanas. During certain times of year, encounter Alcedo tortoises from the highlands nest in the warm sands of the bay.

The peninsula of Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine of the Galápagos. Upon landing, an abundance of marine iguanas and brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs litter the sands like drops of paint. Walk out onto the lava flow where, along the sandy shore, you can see flightless cormorants, pelicans, and numerous lounging sea lions.

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Days9

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Day9

Isabela Island

Along the western coast of Isabela Island, the largest island in the archipelago, sits to Tagus Cove. Named for a British warship that moored here in 1814, the cove was used as an anchorage for pirates and whalers, whose names are literally carved into the rock. A short, steep hike takes you to Darwin Lake, set within a tuff cone filled with salt water. The cove is an excellent place to view tree finches, Galápagos hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and sometimes even the woodpecker finch.

At Punta Vincente Roca, the large cave and caldera wall are impressive geological formations that provide a beautiful backdrop for blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and brown noddy terns. A calm, gathering area for sea turtles, the area makes for superb snorkeling full of colorful fish, penguins, sea lions, sea anemones, jellyfish, and a myriad of other sea life.

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Days10

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Day10

Santiago Island

This morning, you will reach a fork in the road! Choose from two trails of Puerto Egas, the first meanders along the coast to an inlet where shy Galápagos fur seals swim amongst the crags and marine iguanas and sea lions abound. The other trail leads inland to a lagoon at the Salt Mine Volcano where flamingos and other birds soar and dance.

Afterwards, sink your toes into the red sands of Espumilla Beach, a sea turtle nesting site. Hike inland to a small lagoon where many land birds fly overhead, including Galápagos hawks. Along the coast, snorkel or kayak Buccaneer Cove, home to amazing underwater geologic formations where sea lions, fur seals, sea turtles, rays, and sharks are to be found.

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Days11

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Day11

Santa Cruz Island / North Seymour Island

Enjoy a quiet and peaceful morning at the exquisite white sands of Bachas Beach.“Bachas” is so named due to the remains of a barge that ran aground decades ago, leaving just a few rusty spines still visible today. More striking are the resident flamingos that reside at the small lagoons just over the dune.

In Caleta Tortuga Negra take a silent skiff ride to where sea turtles feed and mate, an area also home to three species of shark, spotted rays, egrets, and lava herons. This is the perfect last chance to snorkel the Galapagos before landing on North Seymour island to visit the largest colony of magnificent frigatebirds in the area.

Sit back and marvel at your last sunset at sea, glancing back at the iguanas and sea lions lounging on the shores, and you, alive with memory and adventure inside!

Overnight Integrity

Meals B,L,D

Days12

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Day12

Disembark / Balta Island / Return Flight

Enjoy breakfast onboard the Integrity before returning to Baltra Island, where you will join your flight back to the mainland.

Fly from Baltra to Quito, Ecuador. Duration 3 hours (with short layover in Guayaquil)

Upon arrival at the airport, you are transferred two hours to your lodge.

Dating from the 16th century, Hacienda Zuleta lies in the spectacular Andean mountains range on a charming, private farm. The atmosphere is one of warmth, characterized by antique gardens, cozy living and reading rooms, and a fireplace in each of the tastefully decorated bedrooms. The homey feeling is accentuated by the Plaza family themselves; who welcome you with their natural warmth and hospitality to share life at an authentic hacienda in the Andes of Ecuador.

Overnight Hacienda Zuleta

Meals B,L,D

Days13

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Day13

Hacienda Activities (near Otavalo)

Miles of meandering roads through lush pasture land, pine trees and a eucalyptus forest make the valley of Zuleta a paradise for outdoor activities, such as hiking and trekking. Hacienda has twenty Zuleteño bred horses, mountain bikes and a horse drawn carriage upon which you can explore the area. Whether it’s bird watching, hiking, mountain biking or a romantic ride in a horse drawn carriage, the choice is yours!

Overnight Hacienda Zuleta

Meals B,L,D

Days14

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Day14

Quito City Tour

After breakfast, you will be privately transferred to your Hotel in Quito, a world renowned World Heritage Site. A half-day private city tour will lead you to exquisite churches, museums and picturesque neighborhoods filled with cobblestone streets, Spanish architecture and impressive plazas.

Return to your hotel and spend the afternoon at your leisure. Situated in the heart of Quito’s historical center and surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings, the Hotel Plaza Grande combines vintage taste with modern details. Furnished with fine woods and in a style beckoning Colonial Spanish times, the suites will transport you through time with all the luxury amenities of today!

Overnight Hotel Plaza Grande (or similar)

Meals B

Days15

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Day15

Depart Ecuador

Today, your visit to the Galapagos and Ecuador comes to an end. Relax and reminisce on your flight home, or perhaps fly onto other adventures if the allure of the unexplored has caught your spirit forever!

Meals B

IMPORTANT: We reserve the right to omit any part of this itinerary, to change the order of the places visited, or to alter reservations without prior notice due to weather conditions or road closures, safety concerns, national park policies, or other outside forces that may necessitate revisions to the itinerary. These decisions are based on the traveler’s welfare or are made in the interest of conservation. Please travel with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the spontaneity of your adventure.

Overnight The Singular Santiago

Meals B

Amazon Cruise – Anakonda

Travel aboard the

Anakonda

Journey into the endless web of biodiversity aboard a highly comfortable, state-of- the-art vessel through the Yasuní (Ecuador’s largest National Park), a wild and untamed realm in the Ecuadorian Rainforest. Climb observation towers for bird’s eye views of the canopy, explore black water tributaries escorted by otters and turtles, and hike trails while learning about the fascinating flora and fauna that inhabits this region. The 40-guest luxury Anakonda features floor-to-ceiling windows in all cabins, an expansive observation deck, outdoor Jacuzzi, al fresco lounge and fantastic cuisine.

Circle_Icon_Ecuador Amazon Cruise - Anakonda

Visit our Ecuador Page
to learn a bit about ecuador

Itinerary

Day1

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Day1

Quito / Coca / Napo River

Depart Quito on a short 30-minute flight to the frontier town of El Coca (Francisco de Orellana) and transfer to the dock, where you embark a motorized canoe and navigate down river for an hour to board the Anakonda.

Following a safety evacuation drill, your journey will be underway. Settle into your suite and acquaint yourself with the vessel’s spacious social areas and observation deck.

A local naturalist guide boards the Anakonda to share an introductory presentation about the Ecuadorian Amazon. Following this talk, enjoy dinner beneath a mesmerizing sunset. An evening walk is organized after sunset, giving you an opportunity to discover the forest’s nocturnal activity while listening to the incessant sounds of nature.

Day2

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Day2

Panacocha’s Biological Corridor

Continuing downstream to the Pañayacu River Delta, take a canoe trip up river to explore this reserve.

Upon reaching the Pañacocha Lake (Piranha Lake, in native language Quechua) marvel at the unique creatures that inhabit this area: squirrel monkeys and, of course, the infamous Piranhas. Pañacocha’s Lake ecosystem offers the perfect habitat for the Piranha, as well as water monkey fish and the White Caiman. After a refreshing swim (for the courageous!), enjoy a delicious Amazon-style BBQ and refreshing beverages at a nearby campsite. This afternoon, head out for a trail walk before returning onboard for dinner.

This evening, listen to a briefing delivered by your local guides, who are always happy to answer questions and provide thorough explanations and stories.

Day3

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Day3

Sani Warmi / Yasuni National Park

After breakfast on board, weather permitting, you witness natural phenomenon as we set out to visit one of the most amazing spectacle located on this side of the western Amazonia, known as Parrot Clay Licks. These unique pools of mud are rich in minerals and attract hundreds of parrots, parakeets and amazon birds every day.

Later, visit the Sani Warmi Kichwa Interpretation Center where a group of Kichwa women speak about their customs, cuisine and daily life. These women developed this center to showcase and share their culture, giving visitors a window into Amazonian life along the Napo River. Handmade crafts, local products and souvenirs are available for purchase.

Enjoy lunch on board as the boat navigates to Puerto Pedro. Weather permitting, you can take a short excursion to the Yakukawsay Kichwa Interpretation Centre.

Prior to sunset, visit the Añangu Tower for some outstanding photographic and bird watching opportunities.

Your trip into Ecuadorian Amazon ends here as you begin your trip back to Itaya. Enjoy a farewell cocktail with the staff to celebrate your last night in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Day4

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Day4

Coca / Quito

This morning, disembark the Anakonda in Itaya and transfer by motorized canoe to El Coca (one hour ride). From Coca, fly to Quito, Ecuador.

NOTE: The above itinerary reflects the intended program, however, should be read as a guide only. The actual itinerary will depend on weather conditions, wildlife encounters, and any unforeseen circumstances beyond the operator’s control.

Ecuador Tours that Discover the Lesser Known Side of Ecuador

Destination or Passing Through? Ecuador Tours are for Both Travelers

Ecuador is the gateway to Galapagos Islands which are a part of Ecuador even though they lie over 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Because of this, people from all around the world pass through Quito and Guayaquil en route. But did you know Ecuador, itself, is a fascinating destination? I’m from Ecuador so have both a soft spot for the country in general as well as for several special areas which are relatively unknown still.

Lay of the Land

Ecuador gained independence from Spain in 1822 and functions as a Democratic Republic. The US State Department warns against travel in the far Northwest corner of the country that borders with Colombia due to increased crime. But for the most part, travelers planning Ecuador tours should exercise caution as one would anywhere in the world. Vaccines that are recommended or required before entering the country include: typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, rabies, and influenza. The country offers striking scenery rising from sea level to the tops of the Andes mountains. At lower elevations, you are in the equatorial tropics while the mountains offer eternal springtime.

From Quito, Overnight in Banos or Riobamba

If you are staying in Quito, enjoy a fun tour to Banos and/or Riobamba. Banos is 2.5 hours and Riobamba is 3 hours travel time from the capital city. This region is the active adventure hub of Ecuador. Traverse some of the most stunning Andean drops, even seeing waterfalls heading into the Amazon. Plan to stay two or three nights in Banos and add another night in Colta. This region around La Cordillera de los Llanganates is remarkable for outdoor enthusiasts including the Chimborazo, a mountain peak that dominates the view from the valley.

The Cacao Trail

If you have an interest in chocolate and how it’s produced from cacao beans, you can tour the plantations outside of Guayaquil en route to Cuenca. Visit the cacao plantations as a day trip from Guayaquil–with two to three hours of travel time–or make it an overnight. This tour is one of the few places on the planet where, in less than three hours, you cover terrain from sea level to 12,000 feet. There is so much to see, like Cajas National park known as the “lakes district” of Ecuador, featuring spectacular alpine lakes. Cuenca is a city in Ecuador’s southern Andes mountains. The central square is a great place to buy handicrafts and for sightseers, the blue-domed Catedral Nueva and the 16th-century Catedral Vieja, now a religious museum, are not to be missed!

Coastal Explorations from Guayaquil

A great route from Guayaquil is to drive north along the Pacific coast to Salinas and Ayampe. Along the way, spot hummingbirds and revel in the unique dry, tropical coastal forests. A great experience for families, this region offers whale watching, snorkeling and scuba diving that’s reminiscent of the Galapagos Islands. Salinas is quite modern with popular beaches and outstanding seafood. Ayampe is a sleepy, rustic surf town along a beautiful, quiet beach–perfect for beachcombing walks.

South from Cuenca to Loja and Vilcabamba

For art and culture lovers, a visit to Loja is essential. The region is also known for orchids, superb coffee and an eternal Spring climate. The drive from Cuenca is about three hours. Accommodations are in posadas which are generally 3-star facilities (in other words, nothing fancy). But what it lacks in luxury it makes up for being off the well worn tourist path of other regions in Ecuador. The village of Vilcabamba is rumored to produce some of the oldest living people on the planet! Loja is very picturesque and known for its vibrant music scene. You can enjoy four distinct climates within a 45-minute drive from the town. This part of the country is very peaceful and distinctly pretty.

Private Ecuador Tours

We have several detailed itineraries for all four of these great Ecuador tours which you can request. They make great opportunities for those not in a hurry to and from the Galapagos. Plus, all of our tours are private. This means that we either plan your details and send you on your way, or we provide a guide who drives and walks you through these destinations. Our local guides are full of knowledge, folklore and tales. With a guide all you have to do is show up and enjoy! We customize your time to do just the things that interest you–unlike all the cookie-cutter options available out there!

Latin Excursions Selected for Wendy Perrin’s WOW List 2018

“Wendy Perrin shares her travel secrets, and it’s as close as you can get to vacation perfection.”  —Town&Country

Latin Excursions is delighted to be selected on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List 2018, as one of her trusted travel experts for Latin America. Read on to find out more about the WOW List, Wendy Perrin and exactly why we have been handpicked as her go-to travel planner for the best travel experiences in Latin America.

Who is Wendy Perrin?

Wendy Perrin is an oracle in the world of luxury travel, having spent more than 25 years immersed in travel journalism. Wendy is highly respected in her field, working for Conde Nast Traveler, TripAdvisor (she is their first ever Travel Advocate for some 315 million monthly visitors) and more, winning awards along the way and making many TV appearances. Without a doubt, Wendy Perrin possesses unrivalled knowledge and secrets when it comes to getting the most out of your vacation, and her website is dedicated to sharing all of it with travelers who want to experience something out of the ordinary.

What is the WOW List?

The WOW List is Wendy Perrin’s black book of the very best travel contacts around the globe. Whether you’re looking for a safari in Africa or unforgettable South American adventure, Wendy has tried and tested it all for her readers and is unbeatably placed to recommend the best travel planners and experience makers in the industry. As she puts it herself, she has ‘thoroughly vetted’ them all and only endorses a travel expert if she would use them for her own vacation. There is no one more qualified than Wendy to curate the WOW List!

Latin Excursions on the 2018 WOW List

We are thrilled to feature on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List 2018, as her trusted travel planner for Colombia, Ecuador and Panama. While of course we at Latin Excursions specialize in destinations across South America–from the Galapagos to Patagonia, Cuba to Peru–Wendy’s experience of us is in these three particular countries; for now anyway! Wendy understands that Eric’s multicultural background (his father is American, his mother is Ecuadorian), his extensive travel experience from a young age, and his split bases in Miami and Ecuador, all play a huge part in his flair for customizing tours in Latin America. This is coupled with Eric’s passion for authentic travel experiences, looking beyond the cookie cutter destinations and digging deeper into local culture. It is a great privilege that our philosophy at Latin Excursions is recognized by such a prestigious and credible travel journalist like Wendy, as it really is our passion to create totally unique trips across Latin America.

Read Wendy Perrin’s verdict on Latin Excursions as her trusted travel expert:

Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama
Eric Sheets, Latin Excursions
“Eric has lived in six Latin American countries—he was exposed to the region from an early age by his globetrotting American father and Ecuadorian mother—and today he’s based in Miami and Ecuador, arranging everything from custom itineraries that highlight Colombia’s different local cultures to family reunions, exotic honeymoons, and even villa vacations, not only in Colombia but also in neighboring countries Panama and Ecuador. Travelers have their own private guide and vehicle—to allow maximum spontaneity and flexibility, not to mention rare access to places most travelers don’t see—and stay in top-drawer hotels that share Eric’s commitment to sustainability.”
Trips start at $800 per day for two travelers.

Click here to read Wendy Perrin’s WOW List 2018.

WENDY PERRIN – SAVING THE WORLD FROM MEDIOCRE TRIPS
Town&Country magazine calls Wendy “The Travel Whisperer” who will take you “as close as you can get to vacation perfection.” Condé Nast Traveler praises “The Wizardry of Wendy” and her “encyclopedic knowledge of all things travel.” After 25 years at the pinnacle of travel journalism, Wendy has amassed comprehensive knowledge of the world’s best travel solutions and fixers. She wants to share this knowledge and help people have the best trips possible.

Prior to founding WendyPerrin.com, she was the Director of Consumer News and Digital Community at Condé Nast Traveler, where she wrote her practical advice column, The Perrin Report, for 17 years and her award-winning blog, The Perrin Post, for eight years. She started out long ago as the magazine’s Ombudsman (consumer advocate), investigating reader complaints about travel companies and helping wronged travelers get compensation, and that led to her book Wendy Perrin’s Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know (Fodor’s).

Wendy is also TripAdvisor’s first-ever Travel Advocate, advising its more than 315 million monthly visitors—the world’s largest travel community. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide, on cruise ships, at Harvard University, and at the United Nations. Television appearances include The Today Show, Good Morning America, and many programs on CNN. She has won the Travel Journalist of the Year award, earned a Lowell Thomas award for investigative journalism, and been a finalist for a National Magazine Award—the magazine industry’s most prestigious editorial honor. She graduated cum laude from Harvard, where she majored in History and Literature.

Ecuador: Gateway to the Amazon and Galapagos

The Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands are two of the world’s most exciting destinations for wildlife safaris and nature experiences, topping the bucket lists of many travelers around the globe. With their rich biodiversity, extraordinary landscapes and endemic species, this comes as no surprise – but did you know that it’s Ecuador that offers the fastest, most direct access to both destinations? Read on to find out how you can visit the Amazon and Galapagos Islands from their gateway; Ecuador

Accessing the Ecuadorian Amazon

The Amazon is a vast jungle, a pristine wilderness of trees, rivers and lakes that spills over 40% of the South American continent. While much of this mighty rainforest is untouched and inaccessible, there are particular access points in countries like Brazil, Peru and Ecuador that afford wide-eyed visitors the chance to experience the spectacular wilderness first-hand. However, while it is possible to reach Iquitos from Lima in Peru, and Manaus from Sao Paolo in Brazil, these flights take two and four hours respectively; yet it’s just a 30-minute journey from Quito to Amazonian Coca, in Ecuador. There’s even the possibility to drive to the Ecuadorian Amazon, if you so wish! This means that, with less time and energy spent on getting there, you have more moments to enjoy the delights of the Ecuadorian Amazon, whether that’s the Cuyabeno National Reserve, Yasuni National Park or the Achuar Territory.

Ecuador: Gateway to the Galapagos Islands

With its wildlife encounters and head-scratching geological formations, the Galapagos are extraordinary to say the least, leaving each and every visitor here utterly captivated. There are multiple ecosystems, varied landscapes and intriguing endemic species here, the same mix that led Charles Darwin to his Theory of Evolution. So, any cultured traveler will be in awe during their own Galapagos cruise or land-based vacation, it’s hard not to be. These islands make up part of Ecuador, so flights to this secluded Pacific Ocean archipelago are easily done from either Quito, the capital (taking around 2.5 hours), or Guayaquil, the country’s largest city and port town (a flight time of 1.5 hours). Ecuador really is the gateway to the Galapagos Islands!

Multi-center Trips to Ecuador, the Amazon and Galapagos

With such easy, direct access to the Amazon and Galapagos Islands, you can experience both on one amazing trip to Ecuador. After touching down in Quito, either take the time to explore the UNESCO-stamped Old Town of Ecuador’s capital city, its high Andean surrounds and cloud forests, or head straight for the Amazon on a short flight to immerse yourself in the jungle for a few days. Exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon is a great introduction to the immense biodiversity of this compact South American nation, before you then continue on to the Galapagos Islands, where an even greater variety of flora and fauna – not to mention beautiful beaches – lie in wait. Take a look at our sample Ecuador itineraries to get a flavor for Amazon and Galapagos trips, before getting in touch with us to start planning your own perfect vacation. You can also incorporate the fascinating mainland towns and villages, national parks and protected reserves into your trip too – talk to one of our expert travel designers to find out more.