Ecuador and Galapagos explorer
13 days from £3,842* per person Saving you £936 per person*
This itinerary isn’t set in stone. Pick, mix, swap however you like – your trip will be totally tailor made for you.
Day 1 Arrival in Quito
You’ll be greeted at the airport in Quito and taken to your comfortable hotel.
Day 2 Quito city tour
Today you’ll be guided through the beautiful World Heritage City of Quito and its colonial centre. This is one of the oldest cities in South America, preserving numerous monuments and artistic treasures of the Spanish colonial period and overlooked by the winged virgin up on El Panecillo hill.
Day 3 Otavalo
Time to visit the colourful Otavalo market. It’s the biggest and most renowned indigenous and handicraft market in Latin America. Browse the local textiles and handmade wares, as well as agricultural produce on offer.
Day 4 Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi, at 5,898 metres above sea level, is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Enjoy a drive through the park and out onto the plain of Laguna de Limpiopungo, a lake fed by waters from the Rumiñahui volcano that towers over it. At the water’s edge, spy ducks, swallows, frogs, toads, and even an eagle or a great Andean Condor. If it’s a clear day you can catch stunning views of Cotopaxi and the surrounding volcanoes.
Day 5 Quilotoa
Today you’ll visit Quilotoa, an impressive lagoon contained in the crater of the volcano that bears the same name. This beautiful natural wonder, which is also the only salt lake in mainland Ecuador, was formed when the volcano erupted onto the ﬂow of the Toachi River. The intense colours ranging from yellow to green come from minerals emerging from the still active volcano.
Day 6 Galapagos Islands
A sailing adventure awaits. You’ll be taken to the airport to board your plane to the Galapagos Islands.
Your first visit is to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center to see the various island tortoises. Check out the town and shops of Puerto Ayora before settling into your cabin aboard your ship, the Mary Anne.
Day 7 Galapagos / SS Mary Anne
Spend the day on Floreana, the former home of the infamous Baroness Von Wagner Bosquet. Your boat will stop on the olivine beaches of Punta Cormorant. Keep your eyes peeled for greater flamingos on your way to a fine sand beach, where you might spot nesting turtles, sharks or rays. Take a short panga boat ride to Devil’s Crown, a draw for keen snorkellers.
After lunch, visit Post Ofﬁce Bay and drop your postcards into the barrel as the whalers did centuries before you.
Day 8 Galapagos S/S Mary Anne
In the morning, visit Floreana Island´s black beach and learn about the intriguing ﬁrst human inhabitants here. Visit the fresh water source, known as Asilo de La Paz, as well as the caves that served as pirate hideouts.
Spend the afternoon whale and dolphin spotting between Floreana and Isabela Islands.
Day 9 Galapagos S/S Mary Anne
Step ashore at Punta Moreno on Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos. You’ll walk onto a pahoehoe lava ﬂow surrounded by giant shield volcanoes, then complete a short hike to a lagoon to try and catch a glimpse of the local ﬂamingos.
Take an afternoon Panga ride around Elizabeth Bay. Here you’re likely to be greeted by sea turtles, and you may also see flightless cormorants and Galapagos penguins.
Day 10 Galapagos S/S Mary Anne
Disembark at Urbina Bay onto a black sand beach, a nesting site for green sea turtles. You’ll take a brief hike inland in search of land iguanas and giant tortoises. Back on the beach, admire the remains of a geological uplift exposing coral heads and marine fossils.
In the afternoon, your ship will take you across Bolívar Channel to unspoiled Fernandina Island. Follow your guide along the shoreline, keeping an eye out for ﬂightless cormorants, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins and hawks, marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs.
Day 11 Galapagos S/S Mary Anne
Land near Tagus Cove, the historic pirate hideaway where names of countless ships are recorded on the cliff face. Hike to Darwin Lake, a salt-water crater lagoon surrounded by tuff stone.
In the afternoon, take a panga ride along the coastline before plunging into the water for an unmissable snorkelling session. The underwater cliffs here are an amazing sight, ﬁlled with colour and dazzling marine life.
Day 12 Galapagos S/S Mary Anne
Today you’re heading to central Santiago Island. You’ll disembark at Espumilla onto a sandy beach favoured by nesting green sea turtles. Follow the forest trail to observe yellow warblers, Galapagos ﬂycatchers and Darwin ﬁnches.
At Puerto Egas step onto a volcanic beach of dark sand, a great place to spy sleepy Galapagos fur seals. Take a walk along the shore and see if you can spot more of the creatures that call this place home.
Day 13 Goodbye Galapagos…
Land on North Seymour, a small island where you can walk right up to the nesting bird colonies of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Back to your ship, which will drop you back at Baltra where your Galapagos adventure ends.
*Prices are based on private arrangements (not lower priced escorted tours with set dates). Quality three star accommodation is quoted here (unless mentioned otherwise), with breakfast included and other meals where mentioned. Mostly private transfers with an English speaking driver/guide and all activities mentioned, with top guides, are included. Domestic flights and transport all included from Day 1 to end point. Can be tailored to your needs, so prices could be lower for budget arrangements or higher for luxury.
International flight is not included