The best of Ecuador and The Galapagos
Explore magical Ecuador in luxury...
See the best that Ecuador has to offer and treat yourselves to doing so in style! This itinerary encapsulates the unique splendor of Ecuador's mainland and the stunning Galapagos islands. Stat in the capital - Quito - to explore the labyrinthine Old Town and the fascinating history of the city. Then head north to the captivating Cloud Forest for a magical stay at the award-winning Mashpi Lodge. Then fly to the incomparable Galapagos islands and relax on Isla Isabela's picturesque beaches; before embarking on a 4-night cruise aboard a luxury yacht. There really is no better way to take in the Galapagos than island-hopping on a 16-person catamaran! After a flight back to the mainland - to the bustling port of Guayaquil - end your amazing trip with a journey on the Tren Crucero. This 3-night route traverses the hidden parts of Ecuador, from volcanoes and thermal pools to plantations and markets. Relax back in Quito before heading home with a mindful of truly special memories...
Arrive in Quito
Arrive at Quito airport. Met and transferred to the Illa Experience Hotel in the capital's Old Town to stay for 2 nights.
Start with a private walking tour of Quito, the second highest capital city in Latin America. Visit the main sites, including the Plaza de la Independencia, the cultural heart of the colonial city, and La Compania church. Afterwards we will visit the Church of San Francisco, Quito’s largest and oldest colonial church, built in 1553 and climb the nearby Cerro Panecillo that has one of the best views across the city and the surrounding mountains. The afternoon is at your leisure.
The Cloud Forest
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Mashpi Lodge, in the Andean Cloud forest. The road passes along the western flank of the Andes and across the equatorial line. Continue westwards, following the course of the Rio Blanco, watching as the vegetation changes with every significant drop in altitude. After passing the town of Nanegalito, head northwest, along winding country roads, passing the archaeological site of Tulipe and various farming communities. Arrive at the Lodge at noon. Check in for 3 nights on a Full-board basis. Your stay includes all the lodge activities, with a professional guide.
After breakfast, transferred from Mashpi Lodge to Casa Gangotena Hotel, Quito for 1 night. Free day in Quito.
Isla Isablea, Galapagos
Transferred to Quito airport for your morning flight to Baltra Island, in the Galapagos. Connect onto your inter-island flight to Isla Isabela. Met and transferred to Iguana Crossing Hotel, for 3 nights.
Enjoy your small-group excursion to Los Tuneles: After breakfast, take a boat trip to Cabo Rosa, a small islet in the middle of the ocean located about 1 hour away from Puerto Villamil. Here you will see lava tunnels and lava bridges under and over sea level. You may be able to see blue footed boobies, sea lions, pelicans and if you are lucky Galapagos penguins. This a great place for snorkeling as you may be able to swim with sea lions, sea turtles, golden rays, trumpet fish, surgeon fish and if lucky with white tip sharks. Lunch on board.
This morning, enjoy a small-group excursion to Las Tintoreras: You may have the opportunity to see a small colony of penguins recently established in Puerto Villamil, often resting side by side with Blue Footed Boobies. Here a colony of white tip sharks may often be seen resting in a lava canal. You may snorkel or swim around this island, then you will be taken back to Puerto Villamil. This afternoon, take a small-group excursion to hike Sierra Negra - one of the six volcanoes that form Isabela. It offers an amazing experience as you hike along its enormous caldera and enjoy beautiful landscapes across a color-filled volcanic terrain. This 15km hike provides the opportunity to spot Galapagos Hawks, Mockingbirds, Darwin Finches and many endemic plants.
Galapagos cruise on The Endemic
Transferred to Isabela airport for your flight to Baltra airport, on Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos. Met & transferred to the port, where you board the luxury-class 'Endemic' for your full-board, 4-night/5-day Galapagos cruise. Your cruise includes all meals, snacks and soft drinks, at least 2 guided excursions per full day with a top Bilingual National Park Guide and use of wet suits, snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel, fins), sea kayaks and paddle-boards. This itinerary visits Santa Cruz island, Isla de San Cristobal, Española Island, Santa Fe Island and South Plaza Island.
Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Following a morning activity, The Endemic will dock and your incredible cruise has finished. The crew will assist with transferring you from the Endemic to Baltra airport. Met and transferred to Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island, to stay for 1 night in the Highlands.
After breakfast, transferred to Baltra airport for your flight to Guayaquil, on the mainland. Met at the airport and transferred to Hotel del Parque, for 1 night. The rest of your day is at leisure to explore this vibrant city.
Tren Crucero to Alausi
Transfer to train station in Duran, for the departure of the train crucero tour. The first leg, to San Antonio, will take you through plantations of sugar cane, banana, coffee and pineapple. Visit La Hacienda La Danesa, a traditional hacienda, to discover the process of harvesting and sowing cocoa and soon after we will continue our trip. Continue to Alausí and overnight in Hotel El Molino.
Tren Crucero to Riobamba
The second day begins with a descent through the fearsome pass of La Nariz del Diablo! The Sibambe station awaits us at the end of the tour and there we will be surprised with colorful costumes, characteristics of the villages of the mountains. When we return to Alausí we will visit the market of this town. Continue towards Colta where the "Black Monster" will be waiting, an impressive Baldwin steam locomotive, to take you to the Riobamba station. Transfer to Hotel Andaluza for dinner and accommodation.
Tren Crucero to Lasso
The route continues north through the Avenue of the Volcanoes where we can find more than 20 volcanoes; some of them showing their eruptive processes while enjoying a delicious lunch on board. Overnight and dinner in Hotel Cienega.
Tren Crucero to Quito
The final leg begins with a visit to the Cotopaxi National Park, towards the lagoon of Limpiopungo at the foot of the Cotopaxi Volcano. Visit the town of Machachi for lunch in a beautiful hacienda. Be part of the daily activities of the hacienda. Finally, your rail adventure ends, back in the capital. Transferred to the Plaza Grande Hotel in Quito for 2 nights .
Quito and Otavalo
Today, enjoy a private, full-day excursion to Mitad del Mundo and the famous Otavalo markets. Your tour includes transfers, private guide and entrance to included attractions.
Transferred to Quito airport in time for your international flight home.
Please note that the above is on a B&B basis unless otherwise stated. All domestic flights, including the Galapagos, are included; but international flights are NOT included (but can be added on request as a supplemental cost). Please consult us for different hotel combinations.