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Ecuador And Galapagos Experience

Highlights

Quito - Mindo - Otavalo - Papallacta - Galapagos Islands (Santa Cruz -San Cristobal)

REF :

AJ-001

Dates

Prices*

Single Supp

1st Jan to 31st Dec 2022


Sunday departures

£3,135 / $3,915

£1,105 / $1,380

*Price per person based on twin/double share

Full Itinerary

DAY 1: QUITO.

Arrival into Quito. Time at leisure to explore the old town of Quinto and surrounding areas (optional excursions available to per-book).


DAY 2: QUITO (B).

Day at leisure to relax or explore (optional excursions available to pre-book). Tour leader welcome briefing at 1800 hrs.


DAY 3: QUITO - MINDO (B).

This morning travel north of Quito to witness the equator monument complex. Visiting the middle of the world is a mandatory stop once you are in Ecuador. Stand on both sides of the hemispheres, north and south, at the same time and feel the neutral forces of the equator. En-route stop to view the Pululahua crater, the third largest inhabited volcano crater in the world. Continue to the little town of Mindo, nestled into the cloud forest. Filled with a variety of plants and animal life – perfect for a nice introduction to the diversity of Ecuador and a birdwatcher's paradise, especially for hummingbirds! The day ends with a visit to a chocolate distributor to take a tour of the process of the cocoa, from harvesting the seed to the final product, like as a delicious brownie or a cup of real hot cocoa.


DAY 4: MINDO CLOUD FOREST (B).

Today explore the pristine cloud rain forest of Mindo. Cross cable car and hike along waterfalls surrounded by lush forest filled with toucans, hummingbirds and much more. Afternoon take the free time to enjoy the many optional activities including white-water rafting and the canopy zip-line. Visit the butterfly nursery and observe gargantuan butterflies the size of birds that land on your hand for a snack.


DAY 5: MINDO - OTAVALO (B, D).

Travel to the famous indigenous town of Otavalo. Admire the endless number of handicrafts from the locals. Stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, observing the Otavalo people in traditional blue ponchos. Visit their handicraft market, with its wonderful textiles, native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and more. In the afternoon, drive to the beautiful small village of Cotacachi and witness the impressive leather goods they offer. Time to explore or relax while sipping on one of the best coffees in Ecuador in the main plaza. Continue to the stunning historical hacienda of Pinsaquí where you will stay overnight.


Hands on cultural experience – Sustainable Sacha WarmiKuna women project

For lunch, head to Pijal, a small village located in the heart of the Andes to visit a sustainable project called Sacha WarmiKuna (women from the mountain). This is one fantastic effort with the main purpose to support their families and encourage women in the local society, providing them an alternative side work beside housekeeping, as a new option for an in-come. Experience an unforgettable cultural encounter, immersing yourself in the true spirit of the South American woman and their skills for textiles and a deep culinary knowledge coming from the past generations. You will be part of the preparation of “Aji”, a local spicy salsa which is part of their identity. Share precious time with them and a tasty traditional lunch in which local women have used the fresh products harvested the same day from the surrounding organic fields.


DAY 6: OTAVALO - PAPALLACTA (B, L).

Today visit Cotacachi Cayapas ecological reserve. The crystalline-clear waters of the active volcano and the landscapes are breath-taking. Hike along the rim of the Cuicocha Crater Lake and then take a boat to the centre to observe the volcanic activity bubbling away. Continue to Peguche, a small village in the heart of the Andes, and immerse yourself in an unforgettable cultural experience, including lunch. Late afternoon reach the luxury volcanic hot-spring resort of Papallacta. Relax at the spa surrounded by the views of the majestic Andes.


DAY 7: PAPALLACTA - COTOPAXI - QUITO (B).

After breakfast and a last dip in the open-air hot springs, depart and drive south on the Pan-American Highway to the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. The snow-capped volcano is surrounded by the national park, home to abundant plant life, a rich fauna and Inca ruins. Begin the visit at the interpretation centre, before continuing the drive across the páramo to Limpiopungo Lake. Observe a variety of birds and enjoy the stunning views on a short walk around the lake.


DAY 8: QUITO - GALAPAGOS – SANTA CRUZ ISLAND (B, L).

Today fly to the Galapagos Islands.  Transfer to Santa Cruz a nearby island, crossing the narrow Itabaca channel by ferry. Continue to the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the iconic giant Galapagos tortoises. Visit a private ranch for lunch before heading out for a walk to find the giant tortoises. During the tour visit some lava tubes, which are formed when the surface of a lava stream solidifies. Continue to your hotel and evening is at leisure.


DAY 9: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND (B, L).

Today enjoy a half-day tour of Academy Bay. Swim and snorkel with exotic fish and marine life, and the very curious sea lions, who like to swim next to you underwater. Here you will also see the blue-footed booby birds. Climb to a nearby viewpoint and you might be lucky and see white-tipped reef sharks in the ocean below. Walk along the Playa de los Perros and view the sea iguanas basking in the sun. The enormous cacti, the deep red rocks and the turquoise ocean make a great photo opportunity.


DAY 10: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND - SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND (B).

This morning, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here you will learn about the many endemic species seen in the wild and the ongoing conservation efforts on the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon travel to San Cristobal Island via speedboat and be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October). On arrival check into the hotel. Evening at leisure.


DAY 11: SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND (B, L).

Today you will visit by boat the nearby Isla Lobos. During the short boat trip observe many marine animals. On arrival enjoy a guided tour where you will see manta, sea lions, occasionally sharks, and many frigate birds. Stroll and relax on the white coral beaches of San Cristobal before returning to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.


DAY 12: SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND - QUITO (B).

Time at leisure this morning until your airport transfer. Fly to Ecuador and transfer to your hotel. Evening at leisure.


DAY 13: DEPART QUITO (B).

Time at leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight or extend your trip.


WHAT’S INCLUDED

Accommodation - 12 nights in minimum 3-star hotels.

Meals – As specified in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).

Luggage – One normal suitcase and one handbag per person included for hotel porterage.

Transfers – all airport transfers from arrival on Day 1 to final day (assuming specific group flights booked)

Tours(with local bilingual English-speaking guides). - Ecuador: Equator Line Museum tour, waterfall hike in the cloud forest, Butterfly farm, Chocolate Factory, Otavalo Indigenous Market, Organic lunch cooking with locals, Cuicocha crater lake hike and boat ride, volcanic hot springs, Cotopaxi National Park. Santa Cruz Island: Highlands hike, half-day tour of Academy Bay, Charles Darwin Research Station, San Cristobel: Isla Lobos, resort activities.


WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

International flights and airport taxes to join the tour.

Internal flights to / from Galapagos Islands.

INGALA transit card: US$20 per person, cash only (subject to change).

Galapagos National Park fee: US$100 per person, cash only (subject to change).

Wetsuit rental: USD $10.

Tips for local guides / drivers.

Early Check-in / Late Check-out.

Travel Insurance.


NOTES

  • Check required group internal flights at time of booking.

  • Tour prices are based on shared group services (not private services).

  • Passport copies required 30 days prior to arrival for all passengers.

Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrival - Quito

DAY 2: Quito

DAY 3: Quito - Mindo

DAY 4: Mindo Cloud Forest

DAY 5: Mindo - Otavalo

DAY 6: Otavalo - Papallacta

DAY 7: Papallacta - Cotopaxi - Quito

DAY 8: Quito - Galapagos - Santa Cruz Island

DAY 9: Santa Cruz Island

DAY 10: Santa Cruz Island - San Cristobal Island

DAY 11: San Cristobal Island

DAY 12: San Cristobal Island - Quito

DAY 13: Depart Quito (or extend your trip)

Interests
Antiques & Bric-à-brac
baado la-estrella---formosa---crdito-ram
Extensions for this tour

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Duration:

13 days, 12 nights

PRICES FROM:
£3,135 / $3,915
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