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Ecuador And Galapagos Highlights

Highlights

Quito - Otavalo - Amazon Rain Forest - Baños - Chimborazo Volcano - Inca Ruins - Cuenca

REF :

AJ-002

Dates

Prices*

Single Supp

1st Jan to 31st Dec 2022


Friday departures

£3,455 / $4,320

£1,290 / $1,610

*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). Tour leader welcome briefing at 1800 hrs.


DAY 2: QUITO - OTAVALO (B, L).

Early departure 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, jewellery, 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 3: OTAVALO - AMAZON RAIN FOREST (B, L, D).

Early morning, travel along the curvy panoramic road towards the Amazon Rain Forest. As you descend from an altitude of 3000 m to 500 m (9843 ft to 1640 ft), observe how the landscape and vegetation change drastically between climates. The first stop will be the Guango reserve, which gives a unique opportunity to see many different species of colourful hummingbirds in the wild.  Continue to the “Guacamayos-Macaw Lookout,” located between Antisana and Sumaco National Reserves (low elevation cloud forest).  Observe the magic blanket of clouds that covers the Amazon rain forest, and then arrive at the Arajuno River, and take a short motor canoe up the river to the Eco Lodge.


DAY 4: AMAZON RAIN FOREST (B, L, D).

Today beings with a hike to explore the Tropical Rain Forest. Your guide will tell you about the medicinal plants and you can search for wildlife. Continue the day by leaning about the Amazonian Kichwa community and their way of life. Appreciate the skills of the indigenous women creating handmade pottery which helps support their people in their daily life. Take the opportunity to learn how to make your own chocolate from the raw fruit.


DAY 5: AMAZON RAIN FOREST - BAÑOS (B).

Today visit Sangay National Park where you will reach Rio Verde. From here you will hike to the second highest waterfall in Ecuadour, the Pailon Del Diablo. Watch the pounding water cascades crash on the rocks as you view from suspension bridge. Continue onto the incredible El Manto de las Novia waterfall where you will ride in a cable car crossing the canyon of the Pastaza River. Late in the afternoon, arrive at Baños, located on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. Every few months it can erupt, and you see lava and steam display which can be viewed from a safe point.


DAY 6: BAÑOS (B).

This morning, visit The Swing at the End of the World and feel you are swinging into nowhere! Take some amazing pictures with the stunning landscape as the backdrop. Afternoon is a leisure with optional excursions available.


DAY 7: BAÑOS - CHIMBORAZO (B, L).

Early morning, drive through valleys and farming villages to reach the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador, with an elevation of 6310 m (20702 ft) also whose summit is the furthest point from the centre of the earth on the entire planet. The majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many miles on a clear day. Take a short hike to reach the elevation of 5000 m (16404 ft) where the glacier begins. On the hike, spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic wonderland such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the timid vicuñas.


DAY 8: CHIMBORAZO - INCA RUINS - CUENCA (B).

After an early breakfast, visit Ingapirca, the most impressive Inca ruins in Ecuador. Spend the afternoon learning about this archaeological site, notable for its unique fusion of Inca and native Cañari architecture, as well as for its religious meaning. Later, continue to Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colonial architecture.


DAY 9: CUENCA - QUITO (B).

This morning, enjoy a city tour, visiting the most important buildings and notable places in Cuenca, such as Calderon Square, the New Cathedral, El Barranco and El Turi lookout point. In the afternoon visit a famous Panama hat factory to understand the whole process of making this traditional Ecuadorian hat. Fly to Quito.


DAY 10: 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 11: 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 12: 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 13: 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 14: 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 15: DEPART QUITO (B).

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


WHAT’S INCLUDED

Accommodation - 14 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: Indigenous Market and meet with indigenous people, Road of the waterfalls, Hike the glacier of Chimborazo, Amazon trekking and bird watching tour, canoeing and wildlife observation in the rainforest, Train to Devil's Nose, Cultural visit to Cuenca. 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.

Guango reserve fee at the Amazon.

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 - Otavalo

DAY 3: Otavalo - Amazon Rain Forest

DAY 4: Amazon Rain Forest

DAY 5: Amazon Rain Forest - Baños

DAY 6: Baños

DAY 7: Baños - Chimborazo

DAY 8: Chimborazo - Inca Ruins - Cuenca

DAY 9: Cuenca - Quito

DAY 10: Quito - Galapagos - Santa Cruz

DAY 11: Santa Cruz Island

DAY 12: Santa Cruz Island - San Cristobal Island

DAY 13: San Cristobal Island

DAY 14: San Cristobal Island - Quito

DAY 15: Depart Quito (or extend your trip)

Interests
History & Culture
Walking & Trekking
Wildlife & Nature
Cruising & Boat Trips
Diving & Water Sports
ECUADOR AND GALAPAGOS HIGHLIGHTS
Extensions for this tour

Contact us for available tour extensions

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15 days, 14 nights

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£3,455 / $4,320
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