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Highlights of Ecuador & Galapagos tour - 12 Days

Get the best of both worlds.

Tour Prices

fr £4922pp

Valid between:

  • 01/11/2016 - 30/11/2017

Rates based on twinshare

Price includes

  • 3 nights BB Casa Gongotena
  • 2 nights Full Board El Mashpi Lodge
  • 6 nights Full Board Isabella Cruise
  • all Trasnfers
  • Guides & excursions
  • Ingala Transit Card $20 pp

Not included

  • Drinks
  • Tips
  • Domestic flights UIO-GPS-GYE $498 usd pp
  • National Park admission fee $100 pp

International flights not included unless otherwise stated

If you want to see the highlights of Ecuador and combine your visit with a memorable trip around the amazing Galapagos Islands, then this 12 day tour is simply perfect. Beginning and ending in Ecuador's capital city Quito, from where you will enjoy a whole host of adventures in the Andes, you go sailing around the Galapagos Islands for five nights in the footsteps of Charles Darwin seeing all the exotic birds and animals.

Full Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Quito

On arrival at Quito airport you will be met by one of our tour representatives who will take you to your hotel in the city, giving you a short briefing about what you have to look forward to. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Visit museums, monasteries and the golden altars of the many churches. Stand with a foot on each hemisphere on the Middle of the World memorial. Ecuador's capital has a setting that few cities in the world can match.

Day 2: Quito

Today you visit downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito's colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved in South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll along the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace and stop at the temple of La Compañía de Jesus to see its awesome gilded interior. Then visit the Equatorial Monument, which marks the exact Middle of the World.

Day 3: Mashpi

Leave the city today and drive the three hours to Mashpi Lodge in the evergreen wilds on the western slopes of the Andes. Mashpi is a nature sanctuary in a spectacular setting. After settling in at the lodge you are taken on an afternoon excursion along the Napa Trail where you will see lots of exotic birds and stop at the iron palm forest. Back at the lodge in the evening you will be given a lecture by a resident naturalist on the wildlife of the region and hear about the scientific projects in the area.

Day 4: Mashpi

As the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food, you are taken on an early morning birdwatching trip. Return for breakfast before taking a sky bike to an observation tower. The aerial bicycle is a fun and exciting way to explore the forest canopy close up and you cross a gorge and river on the way to the tower. If you would prefer, you can take one of the trails to San Vicente waterfall . After lunch you are taken to the Howler Monkeys trail and Life Centre and in the evening there's a night hike.

Day 5: Mashpi to Quito

More early morning birdwatching trips today with every chance of seeing new species. Then after breakfast enjoy a hike to the Copal Waterfall. This beautiful two hour long walk is through a landscape of moss-covered trees, bromelias and orchids. The trail ends at the spectacular waterfall. Then return to the lodge for lunch and say farewell to new found friends before beginning the journey back to Quito where you will be staying for another night.

Day 6: Quito to Galapagos

Today you are taken to the airport at Quito for your morning flight to the amazing Galapagos Islands. On arrival at San Cristobal Island you are taken to board the yacht Isabela 11 for your six day island hopping adventure. After lunch drive a few minutes along the shore to the visitor centre near Mann Beach, a resting place for sea lions. The centre offers a perfect introduction to the islands' natural and human history in a modern museum setting. Then return for a welcome cocktail, a talk on the next day's activities and dinner.

Day 7: Genovesa

Overnight the yacht sails north to the incredible bird island, Genovesa, crossing the equator on the way. The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by landing with a steep climb to reach a flat plateau. On a walk here you see big colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those who want to can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs. In the afternoon land at Darwin Bay to see more birds and go snorkelling at this beautiful natural harbour.

Day 8: Santiago

After breakfast enjoy a coastal exploration along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer’s Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds and sea lions. See fantastic natural formations such as the Elephant Rock, The Bishop and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkelling or a ride in a glass-bottom boat. Later stop at Santiago Island to see birds amid a landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze on the algae beds.

Day 9: Fernandina

In the morning visit the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina. Punta Espinoza has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Highlights include hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorant. Later moor at Tagus Cove on Isabela Island which used to be a favourite anchorage for pirates and whalers. An uphill hike takes you to the rim of Darwin Crater, filled with salt water, and to a dramatic viewpoint. Then take a panga ride to spot wildlife, with the possibility of swimming, kayaking or snorkelling.

Day 10: Isabela

After breakfast disembark at Urbina Bay, the result of an uplifting of the ocean in 1954. Here you can find corals, shells and many other calcareous organisms exposed above water. This area is also home to large and very colourful Galápagos land iguanas, and occasionally to giant tortoises. Along the shoreline you may encounter flightless cormorants and see penguins while snorkelling. In the afternoon go by dingy with a guide to explore the dramatic geology of Isabela Island.

Day 11: Santa Cruz

Disembark at Rábida Island’s red-coloured beach. A stroll allows you to observe marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach and you can also enjoy a panga ride, kayaking or ride in a glass-bottom boat. Later stop at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island where a walk includes circling brackish water frequented by lagoon birds, while further inland the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago.

Day 12: Baltra Island to Quito

The end of your wonderful Galapagos Island adventure today when the Isabela 11 arrives at Baltra Island. After saying farewell to the crew you are picked up and taken to the local airport for your return flight to Quito. Here you can stay on and see more of Ecuador's capital, catch a flight and continue your South American holiday, or begin your journey home. This tour is a great way see the highlights of Ecuador combined with the must-visit Galapagos.

All tours in Galapagos Islands