Americas > Ecuador & Galapagos, > Classic Ecuador
A journey full of breath-taking landscapes, cultural discoveries, ethnic encounters and culinary delights, this 12 day tour takes you from Quito south through the Andes to Cuenca and ends with a once in a lifetime trip to The Galapagos Islands.
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This trip includes visits to historic haciendas, Andean communities amd Otavalo’s world-famous handicraft market, the volcanoes of Cotopaxi National Park, Inca ruins and the city of Cuenca, passing through spectacular scenery. Finishing with 4 nights boat trip around The Galapagos, visiting 7 different islands to see bird colonies nesting, Galapagos fur seals, Galapagos sea lions, hawks, Darwin finches, mockingbirds and marine iguanas and much much more.
This classic tour of Ecuador lets you experience the sights and insights, textures and colours, aromas and flavours of the Ecuadorian Andes, combining culture, archaeology and adventure with nature and ecology fund nowhere else on Earth.
Day 1: Welcome to Ecuador!
At the airport you will be greeted and given a short briefing about Quito and Ecuador and all the information you need about your trip, before being taken to your hotel in Quito. The rest of the day is free to explore the capital city…
Day 2: Quito & Centre of the World Tour
Visit downtown Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit museums, temples, monasteries and churches in the scenic colonial and artistic Quito capital. After your tour continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 Kms north of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World. A certificate for having crossed the Equator will be given at the end of our tour!
Day 3: Otavalo Tour (B/L/-)
Otavalo is currently considered one of the most important tour destinations in Ecuador, due to its ancestral cultural heritage, enriched by millenary traditions, myths, legends and customs together with Andean landscapes of outstanding beauty: mountains, lakes, waterfalls and rivers, which as per the Otavalo Cosmovision, possess life and energy. This one-day private excursion has been designed to provide guests with an overall view of the dramatic Andean scenery, with an earlier departure to arrive in time to appreciate the activity of the Otavalo Market, visit the town of Peguche and observe the weaving processes at a textile workshop.
Day 4: Quito – Sangolquí – Cotopaxi – Urbina – Chimborazo – Riobamba (B/L/D)
Depart Quito to the town of Sangolqui to explore the traditional Andean market, full of animals, produce and people. Then start your Andean adventure with Cotopaxi National Park with the magnificent cone of the Cotopaxi Volcano. Upon arrival at the park, there is an introductory briefing about the habitat of the Andean páramo or high-altitude moorlands. Continue on to Limpiopungo Lagoon to observe a variety of birds and occasionally wild horses and to enjoy a short walk. Lunch is served at a local restaurant in the area.
Continue along the Pan American Highway, with the famous Avenue of the Volcanoes. Visit a Tagua nut workshop and warm up with a canelazo and biscuits by the fireplace. Then continue by road to Riobamba for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Riobamba - Alausí – Devil’s Nose – Alausi – Ingapirca – Cuenca (B/L/D)
Head off early this morning on a 2 hour drive to the start of the famous Devil’s Nose railway at Riobamba. The highlight is the thrilling 800-metre descent via zigzags cut into the rock of the Devil’s Nose.
Continue by road to the south, passing through stunning landscapes before visiting the Inca Fortress of Ingapirca en-route. Lunch is served in the area. Arrival at Cuenca at dusk, for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Cuenca World Cultural Heritage Site (B/L/-)
Day 7: Cuenca to Guayaquil via El Cajas National Park (B/L/)
Cajas is lake country, a protected area starting at 3,000 meters above sea level; the region shows remains of intense volcanic activity and glaciation. The scenery surrounding these 235 lakes is splendid, for walking and hiking, for observing flora, fauna and bird life.
Continue afterwards downhill to the Pacific Coast, Guayaquil city is awaiting, a tropical city, here the vibe is Caribbean, in marked contrast to Ecuador’s Andean region.
Day 8: Baltra Island & Santa Cruz Island (B/L/D)
Land at Baltra Island by plane in the morning and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz II, where you’ll receive a welcome introductory briefing, boat drill and lunch.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island) has a glorious white beach with a couple of brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. You may enjoy swimming and or snorkelling at this beach too. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for tomorrow and dinner.
Day 9: Santiago Island (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove (Santiago Island), learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. Opportunity for snorkelling, and a ride on the panga or glass-bottom boat.
Then to Puerto Egas (Santiago Island) and disembark at the beach. Enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, we head off to our walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions.
Day 10: Rabida Island & Bartolome Island (B/L/D)
Option to go for a fascinating panga ride along the shores or disembark on Rabida Island’s red-coloured beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Our walk brings us close to a colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach.
Today’s afternoon activities begin with a wet landing on the golden beach of this famous island, dominated by the imposing Pinnacle Rock. There’s great snorkelling and swimming from the beach plus the chance to ride the glass bottom boat. After returning to the ship hike to the summit for fantastic views of the archipelago. Then take to the pangas to explore the rugged and volcanic shoreline.
Day 11: Genovesa Island (B/L/D)
to reach a flat rocky plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). Kayaking is optional.In the afternoon, we land at Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island) with a beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkelling. Following our dip, we take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. Opportunity for snorkelling, kayaking and swimming.
Day 12: San Cristobal Island - Tortoise Reserve – Baltra airport (B/-/-)
Our Price Includes:
Air Tickets Guayaquil-Galapagos-Guayaquil
Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee
Ingala Transit Control Card
Accommodation based on twin/double room inclusive of tax & service charges
Private round trip transfer airport/hotel/airport
Tours as stated in the itinerary
Meals as specified (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
Galapagos 4 night boat tour
Services of Odyssey World’s local agents in Ecuador & Galapagos
Our Price Excludes:
Visas (if required)
Anything not stated above
Early check-in/late check-out charges unless otherwise stated
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, tips etc.