Ecuador & Galapagos travel compact
This compact round trip in Ecuador shows the most extraordinary places in Ecuador in a relatively short time. After starting in Quito, the most well-preserved colonial city of South America, you travel to the Amazon. Ecuador is one of the best countries in South America to experience the Amazon because of the large concentration of wildlife. You’ll observe monkeys, sloths, otters, caymans and other animals from a comfortable outrigger canoe and while walking. Then, you’re welcomed by the imposing Cotapaxi volcano with spectacular landscapes and glittering crater lakes. You end this extraordinary trip with a once in a lifetime wildlife experience at the Galapagos Islands.
Day 1 - Quito
Welcome to Quito.
Upon arriving in Quito (2800m), there’ll be a private transfer to the hotel, located in the old colonial centre.
Day 2 - Quito
In the morning, the programme features a private city tour to the old urban district of Quito. You’ll be able to enjoy fine examples of colonial architecture. There’s a reason Quito is known as South America’s most well-preserved colonial city.
Aside from the town houses with blue windows frames, beautiful patios and plazas, some of the many churches, like the San Francisco, the oldest church and the cathedral are also among the sights. You’ll also visit the Plaza de la Independencia, the convent of San Agustín and the Archeological Museum. Also enjoy the lively streetscape and delicious culinary treats! You can freely spend the afternoon.
Day 3 - Amazon
Transfer to the airport and flight to Coca, the base for an all-in stay in the Amazon. Ecuador is one of the best countries in South America to experience the Amazon. The high concentration of wildlife in this part of the Amazon is due to the low number of tourists, small-scale eco lodges that are in perfect harmony with their environment and the large river network that ensures you can spot the wildlife up close.
After the short flight and canoe trip of around 3 hours across the Napo river, the inhabited world is left far behind. Here, indigenous native tribes live in harmony with nature.
A nature guide and local guide peddle you to your lodge in an outrigger canoe through lush plant growth. You can already spot a lot of wildlife on the way there, like large otters, snakes, monkeys, beautiful birds, crocodiles etc. The lodge is located near a splendid Amazon lake, depending on your choice of accommodation, you can do yoga, enjoy the sunset and make an exciting evening boat ride.
Day 4 - Amazon
The upcoming days, you’ll explore the Amazon rainforest on foot and by boat with a guide. This is done in the early morning and late afternoon (sunset) when the animals are most active and awake. You’ll be provided with information about the species of plants and their medicinal properties, visit the local native community, a clay lick with colourful parrots and a high observation tower to meet the animals face to face. In the evening, you’ll head out by boat to spot the glimmering eyes of caymans, bats and enchanting fireflies using a torch. The nightly sounds provide a wonder night’s rest. Hundreds of bird species live in this area from toucans to hummingbirds, you can also run into several species of monkeys, tortoises, snakes, caymans and many species of insects. Those last ones provide a deafening concert.
Day 5 - Amazon
Spend another day enjoying the world of animals and plants of the Amazon.
Day 6 - Cotopaxi
Today, you’re brought back to Quito by outrigger canoe and plane. From there, a new adventure starts when you drive south to the volcano belt. The destination is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, the elegant Cotopaxi (5897 metres). The impressive snow covered volcano stands proudly in the middle of the beautiful national park that carries its name. You spend the night in an atmospheric hacienda at the foot of the national park.
Day 7 - Quilatoa crater lake
Early this morning, you’ll drive to Laguna Quilotoa, the most beautiful crater lake of Ecuador. The crater lake is at a height of 3900 metres and occasionally changes from emerald green to heavenly blue due to the high concentration of sulphur. You’ll be amazed by its beauty.
The lake is at a 5-minute walk from the parking lot. You can also choose from hikes of 3 or 6 hours across a properly constructed path along the edge of the crater. On the way, you’ll encounter llamas, alpacas and the beautifully dressed indigenous population.
A visit to the Shalala project is also one of the options. There are accommodations and a lookout tower built by the indigenous population with a spectacular view of the lake. They sell their handmade wares there and this allows you to provide a small contribution to the local economy.
At the end of the dag, you’ll drive back to Quito.
Day 8 - Galapagos
Transfer to the airport for a flight of around 2 hours to the Galapagos Islands. You’ll visit the Galapagos Islands for a 4-day trip. You’ll fly to Baltra; a small island north of Santa Cruz. On the island of Santa Cruz, you’ll visit a giant tortoise farm and the Darwin Research Station. In the evening, you can enjoy the display of schools of golden rays, sharks and playful seals from the pier.
You stay in a hotel on the island of Santa Cruz.
Day 9 - Galapagos
Today, you’ll leave for Isabella Island by boat. You’re dropped off at your hotel and have the entire day to explore the extraordinary island on your own. You can go to the beautiful Puerto Villamil beach, where you’ll be accompanied by playful sea lions and land iguanas. Another nice activity is to rent a bicycle and drive to the wall of tears, a splendid bike ride with many beautiful lookout points, flamingo lagoons and giant tortoises en route. You can also visit the tortoise breeding centre or snorkel at the Concha La Perla.
Day 10 - Galapagos
This morning, you’ll visit the Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabella Island, a desolate moonscape with smoking craters and lava fields with beautiful panoramas. In the afternoon, you’ll go snorkelling at Las Tintoras. In this extraordinary place, you snorkel through lava tunnels among turtles, sea lions, oceanic whitetip sharks, schools of rays and other colourful species of fish. You’ll also encounter blue-footed boobies and penguins. The underwater world of the Galapagos Islands is breathtaking. An experience to never forget!
Day 11 - Galapagos/return flight
After breakfast, the guide will take you to the Baltra airport for a flight to Guayaquil or Quito. Transfer to the hotel.
End of an extraordinary trip through Ecuador.
* All accommodations with breakfast
* Mentioned meals
* Transport like mentioned in the program, except from domestic flights
* Excursions like mentioned in the program, unless stated otherwise
* International and domestic flights
* Not mentioned meals
* Entry fees national parks, unless mentioned differently
* Optional and not mentioned services and excursions