This is a Group Tour
15 Days From £6,499 pp / $8,643 pp (Single Supplement £474)
A classic journey starting in the UNESCO world heritage city of Quito and driving south through the Avenue of Volcanoes visiting Quilotoa crater lake, bartering at Pujili market, riding the Devil’s Nose Train, hiking Cotopaxi, bathing in hot springs in Banos and wandering through old Cuenca. The following week will be spent exploring the rich wildlife of the Galapagos Islands from the tall-mast sailing ship, the Mary Anne.
Domestic flights, accommodation, activities, transfers, some meals, 8 day Galapagos cruise on board the Mary Anne, English speaking naturalist guides and drivers, full ATOL financial protection
International flights, travel insurance, Galapagos park fee and transit card $110, some meals
Wander through the cobbled historical streets of Quito
Travel though the Andes by road and rail
Swimming and snorkelling with sea lion pups and turtles in the Galapagos
To book this tour or start creating your own tailor made itinerary call us on: 0207 407 1478 (UK) or contact us.
Day 1: Quito – Arrive Quito / Hotel Patio Andaluz
Day 2: Quito – City tour of Quito with expert guide / Hotel Patio Andaluz
Day 3: Pujili – Hike Lake Quilotoa and visit Pujili market / Hacienda La Cienega
Day 4: Cotopaxi – Hike Cotopaxi N.P and visit rose plantation / Hotel Floresta
Day 5: Banos – Excursion to Pailon del Diablo / Mansion Santa Isabella
Day 6: Cuenca – Ride the Devil’s Nose train, continue Cuenca / Casa del Aguila
Day 7: Cuenca – City tour of Cuenca / Casa del Aguila
Day 8: Guyaquil – Visit El Cajas N.P. en route to Guayaquil / Grand Hotel Guayquil
Day 9: Galapagos – Fly to the Galapagos and visit Black Turtle Cove / Mary Anne
Day 10: Galapagos – Visit Darwin Bay and Prince Philip’s Steps / Mary Anne
Day 11: Galapagos – Visit Bartolome and Sullivan Bay / Mary Anne
Day 12: Galapagos – Visit Rabida Island and Cerro Dragon / Mary Anne
Day 13: Galapagos – Visit Mosquera Islet and Punta Carrión / Mary Anne
Day 14: Galapagos – South Plaza Islands and Santa Fe / Mary Anne
Day 15: Galapagos – Visit Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez / Mary Anne
Day 16: Galapagos – Visit the Charles Darwin Centre and fly back to mainland
THE LONG ITINERARY
Arrive in Quito and transfer to the hotel. Spend a night at the Hotel Patio Andaluz.
Today you’ll be taken on a tour of the city with an expert local guide. During the tour you’ll visit El Sagrario and La Compania churches, Santa Domingo, La Merced and San Francisco plazas and continue up to El Panecillo hill to see the Virgin Mary statue that towers over the city. Overnight at the Hotel Patio Andaluz.
After breakfast you’ll be driven south out of the city towards Cotopaxi province. The first stop is the colourful indigenous market of Pujili where you’ll have plenty of time to explore and barter with locals. Afterwards continue along the winding road to the crater lake Quilotoa where you can take a hike around the rim (or take an optional horse ride). Afterwards continue on to Hacienda La Cienega.
This morning do a short drive and hike around the snow-capped colossus that is Cotopaxi. Here you will discover plenty of flora and fauna. Afterwards continue to an altitude of 4,500 metres to view the bizarre and barren landscapes including the impressive glaciers. In the afternoon you will visit a rose plantation to find out about the production process and learn about the many different species. Lunch at a local restaurant before arriving in Banos. Overnight at Hotel Floresta.
The town of Banos is famed for its hot spring baths. Located at an altitude of 1,800 metres, the climate is almost permanently spring-like. Today you will take a guided adventure along ‘the route of the waterfalls’, a trail that runs along the Pastaza River Gorge through the cloud forests to the thundering waterfall Pailon de Diablo. In the afternoon you will continue to Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest volcano where you will find a desert-like landscape with herds of shy vicunas. It is possible to do some more guided hiking here if you wish. The day ends in Riobamba where you will spend the night at the Mansion Santa Isabella.
After breakfast you will be taken to the train station in Alausi for the thrilling Devil’s Nose train ride that zigzags up an almost sheer rock face and back down again. After lunch you’ll visit the huge complex or Ingapirca, one of very few Inca sites in Ecuador, and certainly the most impressive. Continue on to the beautiful city of Cuenca and overnight at the Hotel Casa del Aguila.
Today you will be taken on a tour of Cuenca with an expert local guide. Declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in the late 90s, the city is packed full of charming colonial architecture, plazas, churches and cathedrals. Visit the colourful daily follower market and a museum on the famous Panama hat. After lunch you will be free to explore at your own pace. Spend another night at the Hotel Casa del Aguila.
This morning head out of the city driving west towards Guayaquil. Along the way you will stop at El Cajas National Park where you will have some time to explore. The park has an astounding array of flora and fauna and over 240 different sized lagoons. Arrive in Guayaquil and check into the Grand Hotel Guayaquil. In the afternoon take a guided city tour including the Parque Bolivar, Plaza de Administracion, the Moorish clock tower and Malecon 2000. Overnight.
Early this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil. When you arrive you will be met by the naturalist guide and crew and transferred to the port to board the beautiful 16 passenger tall-mast sailing ship, the Mary Anne. All meals, excursions and guides are included on board. This will be your home for the next eight days. Each day you will make at least two excursions to different islands, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There will be a series of presentations each evening by the naturalist guide to help you learn more about the geology and wildlife of the archipelago. After a spot of lunch, you will navigate to Black Turtle Cove, a large mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz Island. Here you will take a panga ride to view turtles, sharks, pelicans and schools of golden rays. Return to the yacht for a relaxed evening.
This morning you will travel to Genovesa Island and reach Darwin Bay. Here you will make a wet landing and hike along the red mangrove and cacti forests in search of red-footed boobies and great frigatebirds. After lunch visit Prince Philip’s Steps and climb the cliff to an impressive nesting site of frigatebirds, Nazca boobies and red-footed boobies. You may also see the red-billed tropicbird and Galapagos storm petrels. Return to the yacht in the late afternoon.
After breakfast make a dry landing on Bartolome Island and climb the wooden steps to reach the summit of this spatter cone for breathtaking panoramic views of Pinnacle Rock and neighbouring Santiago Island. In the afternoon arrive in Sullivan Bay on Santiago and walk over the recent lava flow. Along the shoreline you will find Galapagos penguins and herons who are searching for fish. Return to the yacht in the late afternoon.
Today you will arrive at Rabida and make a wet land. The beach here is deep-red and the island’s saltwater lagoon is home to Darwin’s finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, yellow warblers and much more. After lunch you will head across to Cerro Dragon on Santa Cruz Island where another saltwater lagoon reveals greater flamingos, black-necked stilts, white-cheeked pintails and land iguana nesting sites.
Step ashore the beautiful white coralline beach on Mosquera Islet this morning, home of the largest colony of Galapagos sea lions on the archipelago. Here you will do a short wildlife hike and have plenty of time for snorkelling with the marine life from the beach. After lunch back on the yacht you will take a panga ride around Punta Carrion to take in the landscapes and observe wildlife, ending the day with more snorkelling in the shallow turquoise waters. Return the yacht in the late afternoon.
This morning, make a dry landing on one of the Galapagos’ oldest docks on Plaza Sur. This island is home to vibrant green prickly pears, deep-red Sesuvium and coppery-orange land iguanas. The impressive cliffs are excellent for a variety of coastal birds. In the afternoon visit Santa Fe Island where you will search for the endemic land iguana, larger and yellower than any others. The largest prickly pear cacti is found here also. Return to the yacht in the late afternoon.
This first half of the day will be spent at Gardner Bay on Española where an outstanding beach full of sea lions, marine iguanas and Española mockingbirds can be found. In the afternoon arrive on Punta Suarez and take a spectacular walk along a trail that reveals nesting sites of blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and the waved albatross. Marine iguanas, lazy Galapagos sea lions and much more can also be found here. End the day at an amazing viewpoint of the famous blowhole. Return to the yacht in the late afternoon.
This morning you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to view the giant Galapagos tortoises and learn about the breeding program. In the late morning you will be taken to the airport for your flight back to the mainland and onward journey.
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