Marvel as you fly in to Quito, a sprawling city wedged amongst the peaks of the Andean foothills. Explore the wonders of Quito and its surrounding areas, including visiting local communities and their busy markets and voyaging through the beautiful volcano region. Next, travel to the south of the country to discover Inca ruins to rival Machu Picchu, and picturesque towns. Finally, extend your tour to spend a few days getting up close and personal with the famous wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.
Price: From £1600 per person
This Ecuadorian journey begins in the highland capital of Quito, with
a guided tour of the city’s well-preserved colonial art and
architecture and a trip to the nearby monument which marks the equator
line and houses a museum showcasing the country’s diverse ethnic roots.
Explore the country’s indigenous heritage with a visit to Pujili market, before heading south towards the Cotopaxi province, following winding
roads past the stunning Ecuadorian Andes.
Out of Quito, the journey continues by bus through Cotopaxi National
Park, home of the world’s highest active volcano, stretching to the sky
in a distinctive cone rising to almost 5,900 metres. Stop off for a short hike to discover the diverse local flora and fauna. Ascend to the José Ribas
refuge, at 4,800 m to take a short path to the edge of the glaciers.
Later, visit a rose plantation and learn about Ecuador's famous roses
and the production of these flowers.
Continue to Baños to explore “The
route of the waterfalls”, the highlight of which is in Rio Verde, where you can take a short walk through the cloud forest to reach the
thundering waterfall known as "Pailon del Diablo" (Devil's Cauldron).
the small town of Alausí, witness the revival of Ecuador’s 100-year-old
railways, which have been restored and renovated to their former glory.
This includes a dramatic ride along the Devil’s Nose, a thrilling
800-metre descent along a precipitous rocky route towards the Inca
fortress site of Ingapirca.
This part of the journey ends in
Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, but with peaceful cobbled streets
and pretty tiled roofs that provide a relaxed atmosphere for visiting
the local markets and art collections.
Accommodation on the mainland is either in larger upscale hotels or, if you prefer, we can provide smaller boutique residences.
Following your tour of the mainland, you have the option to extend your trip with a few days in the Galapagos Islands. We offer two main ways to
discover the unique bird, animal and plant life up close.
option is to take a four-day cruise aboard one of our selected vessels that provides comfort, expert
guidance and adventure to get the very maximum out of your time
exploring this special place. You will have excursions on land, with a visit to the Charles Darwin
Research Station and trekking to secluded beaches. You will also have opportunities for kayaking, and scuba-diving.
A second option
provides a more land-based experience, staying in staying in select
hotels each evening and island-hopping by small plane or speedboat. Take
naturalist-guided drives and hikes to take in the dramatic volcanic
landscapes, beaches and spectacular island wildlife, including penguins,
frigate birds, iguanas, and giant tortoises. This option still allows
for snorkeling expeditions to see rays, sea lions and sharks or optional
sea kayaking. Meals are usually taken at the hotels, with stops to dine at a local finca and the home of a local fisherman.
Price per person
Mainland Tour: From £1600
Galapagos Extension: From £2170
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- Day 1: Quito
International arrival in Quito. Transfer from airport to hotel. City tour of Quito and visit to the Centre of the World, the Equatorial Monument which marks the exact middle of the world.
- Day 2: Pujili Indigenous Market – Quilotoa Crater Lake
Visit the indigenous market of Pujili, a riot of smells and colours. Continue to the picturesque Quilotoa Crater Lake - walk from the rim of the crater down to the turquoise shores and ride back up on horses or mules. Lunch overlooking the lake.
- Day 3: Cotopaxi National Park – Rose Plantation – Baños
Drive to Cotopaxi National Park for a short hike at the feet of the snow-capped colossus. Continue to the José Ribas refuge, at 4,800m, to take a short path to the edge of the glaciers. Later visit one of the many rose plantations that have made Ecuadorian roses famous all around the world, then continue on to Baños; a lively pilgrimage town with famous thermal springs and a beautiful cathedral.
- Day 4: Pailon del Diablo – Baños – Riobamba
Visit the beautiful cathedral and enjoy the extraordinary scenery before starting the day’s adventure: “The route of the waterfalls”, which runs along the Pastaza River Gorge. In the afternoon, continue to the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo (6,310 m).
- Day 5: Devil's Nose – Ingapirca – Cuenca
Travel towards the small town of Alausí, the heart of the rehabilitation of the Ecuadorian Railway Company in recent years. Take an 800-metre (2630-foot) descent via zigzags cut into the rock of the Devil's Nose formation. At the bottom spend time in the newly renovated Sibambe Station and visit the museum "Condor Puñuna" built and run by the Nizag community. Continue by bus to the Inca fortress of Ingapirca before arrival at Cuenca at dusk.
- Day 6: Cuenca city tour
Discover Ecuador's third largest city, with its red tiled roofs, cobblestone streets, flowery plazas and museums.
- Day 7: Cajas National Park – Guayaquil
Travel across El Cajas National Park before descending to the coastal region, passing through beautiful and changing landscapes. Enter the bustling metropolis of Guayaquil, the largest city in the Ecuador, before exploring the area on foot.
- Day 8: Galapagos
Fly to Baltra Island before crossing the Itabaca Channel, which separates it from Santa Cruz Island. Visit the highlands of the Island, and see the Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat, a unique experience!
- Day 9: North Seymour Island
A stroll on flat terrain allows the observation of Palo Santo trees and colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and magnificent frigate birds. Towards the other side of the island, the ocean crashes against the rocks and sea lions surf in the waves.
- Day 10: Plaza Island
This small island is full of fascinating wildlife, at sea side and along the cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colour with the seasons.
- Day 11: Santa Cruz Island
Leave the hotel early in the morning for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, home to famous "Lonesome George" and many other giant tortoises. Then, overland transfer to the airport in Baltra to take the flight back to the continent.