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11 Day Best of Ecuador + Galapagos

Best of Ecuador and Galapagos Islands

DESCRIPTION

Discover enchanted Ecuador with this adventurous 11 Day Best of Ecuador and Galapagos tour.  This trip explores the unique topography of Ecuador's mainland, shaped by active volcanoes, canyons, tropical rainforests and lofty waterfalls, to the mythical Galapagos Islands. Encounter an assortment of wildlife and enjoy the stunning landscapes of this incomparable environment. Mountain bike the slopes of Tungurahua volcano, explore the inners of Quilotoa crater-lake, explore the lush Amazon rainforest and raft the class III waters of Jatunyacu River.  Hike among the giant tortoises, swim with the sea lions, turtles, penguins and sharks at lava tunnels, and experience the Charles Darwin Research Station.

11-best-of-ecuador-galapagos-islands-watermark

ITINERARY

DAY 1
Quito

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

DAY 2
Trekking into the Quilotoa Crater Lake

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Illinizas Ecological Reserve, a beautiful drive through the Andes. Here you will begin your hike to the base of Quilotoa (just under a mile). The steep trail features unbeatable views of the turquoise water-filled caldera. Once at the bottom, you are free to explore the banks of this mythical, active volcano. You can enjoy a swim in the volcanic waters or kayak (optional approximately 1 hour). The hike back, takes roughly an hour and a half to complete.  Alternately, you can rent a mule and ride your way up the crater wall.  In the afternoon you will head toward the Amazon, where you can explore the nightlife of Baños, and discover the flow of salsa dancing. Overnight. (Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3
Mountain Biking in the Llanganates National Park

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

DAY 4
Jatunyacu River Rafting and Volcanic Hot Springs

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

DAY 5
Exploring Cayambe-Coca Eco-Reserve

Today you enjoy a 3 hour hike, exploring the enchanted thick cloud forest. Wildlife encounters are boundless and an incredible variety of birdlife are sure to be spotted. Abounding wildflowers blanket the terrain in this region offering an assortment of orchids, bromeliads and ferns. A soak in the volcanic hot springs at the Papallacta Spa Resort is a great way to spend the afternoon and in the evening we are transferred to Puembo, a small village near the Quito airport. Overnight.

DAY 6
Travel Day to Galapagos

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

DAY 7
Hike to Sierra Negra and Snorkel in Tintoreras

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

DAY 8
Lava Tunnels Snorkeling & Free Time

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

DAY 9
Santa Cruz, Charles Darwin Research Station

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

DAY 10
Travel Day back to Quito

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

DAY 11
Depart

After breakfast you are transferred to Quito Airport for departures. (Breakfast)

END OF SERVICES

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PRICES

2017 Price Per Person (USD)
Trip2 ppl3 ppl4 ppl 
11 Day Best of Ecuador + Galapagos$3,160$3,160 $2,830
Book Now

INCLUDED

  • Round-trip airfare from Quito, Ecuador to Baltra Island, Galapagos
  • Airport transfers 
  • Land and sea transportation
  • Accommodations 
  • Meals: 9 breakfasts and 3 box lunches
  • Activities - trek Quilotoa crater lake, bike Llanganates National Park and Highway of the Waterfalls in Baños, hike to Pailon del Diablo waterfall, white-water rafting on Jatunyacu river, hike the cloud forest, volcanic hot springs, trek Sierra Negra, snorkel Tintoreras and Lava Tunnels, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, and hike in Santa Cruz highlands
  • Trekking/hiking poles, cross-country bikes, helmets, gloves, rafts, paddles, life vest, snorkeling mask and fins
  • Expert guides

EXCLUDED

  • International airfare
  • Meals not described in the itinerary
  • INGALA transit card
  • Galapagos National Park fee
  • Pier use fee at Puerto Villamil
  • Snorkeling gear for optional activities
  • Wetsuit
  • Tips

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