Americas > Ecuador & Galapagos, > Natural Ecuador
What better way to experience the unique biodiversity and rich fauna and flora of Ecuador than on this 10 day trip taking you up into the Andean Mountains on adventure trails, and around the Galapagos islands on a yacht, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Quito’s colonial quarter..
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Stay for 3 nights in a luxury rainforest hotel in the clouds, named as one of National Geographic “Unique Lodges of The World,” Mashpi Lodge. And feel like an explorer discovering The Ecuadorian Choco Rainforest with an incredibly rich ecosystem, and species found nowhere else in the world. Visit the lodge’s Life Centre with its butterflies and plants, climb the eight-story observation tower, ride on the innovative Sky Bike, early morning bird watching, night walks, or simply sitting back to watch the clouds play hide-and-seek with the forest.
Spend 5 days snorkelling and swimming in the Galapagos, and explore the islands on foot with encounters with the unique wildlife and landscape from white coral beaches to black lava rocks. Get a glimpse of Galápagos sea lions, giant tortoises, iguanas and lizards, and visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station.
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 (B)
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: Mashpi (B/L/D)
Depart Quito for the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. Discover the spectacular natural diversity of the Andean landscape as you travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui into lush, misty cloud forest, and enter the magical world of Mashpi Reserve where your luxury rainforest retreat awaits you.
After lunch and a briefing to the cloud forest and its conservation, and the activities on offer during your stay, head out on our first adventure exploring one of the trails of the Reserve.
Day 4: Mashpi (B/L/D)
The forest always rewards the “early birds”, as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food. A good place to find birds is actually right at the hotel’s terrace, with a cup of fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate in hand, from where you can enjoy the beauty of the forest.
During your stay at Mashpi you have the opportunity to enjoy many rainforest experiences, as well as time to enjoy the lodge’s wellness offerings. Your guides will recommend the best daily programme for you and your group depending on your interests, your level of physical fitness and daily weather and trail conditions.
Day 5: Quito (B/L/-)
Once again, your day begins early at 6:30am, after a cup of coffee, venture out seeking many birds busy with their morning activities. Return to the lodge for breakfast. There is time for a short hike today or one of our other activities before you check out with a complimentary box lunch to enjoy during our drive back to Quito.
Day 6: Quito - Galapagos Baltra Airport & South Plaza Island (B/L/D)
Your adventure begins with a morning flight to Baltra Island and immediate transfer to the dock to board Yacht La Pinta for 5 days. There’s a welcome introductory briefing, and then lunch. Weigh anchor and start sailing for your first afternoon outing to South Plaza Island. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but spectacular island.
Day 7: Santa Fe Island - Cerro Colorado Tortoise Habitat, San Cristobal Island (B/L/D)
Take the dinghy over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by colonies of sea lions. The Santa Fe land iguana, unique to just this island, may be spotted during the walk. Following the walk, we can snorkel and swim along a natural wave barrier or ride the glass-bottom boat.
After lunch, we disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the island's capital, and drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, we visit the breeding centre for highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird, and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both island endemics.
Day 8: Punta Pitt - Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal Island (B/L/D)
Land at the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island this morning. After a walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim from the beach and snorkel. In the afternoon following lunch on board, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes us to Cerro Brujo's expansive, white coral beach, great for walking, with rewarding bird-watching featuring seabirds and shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in 1835.
Day 9: Punta Suárez - Gardner Bay, Española Island (B/L/D)
Your morning outing at Punta Suárez provides an exciting walk on lava terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April - January), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole” lava formation. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch, and then in the afternoon, set down at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches, or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkelling in this area, or else there’s time to kayak or ride the glass-bottom boat.
Day 10: Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz Island - Baltra Airport (B/L/D)
Disembarking in the morning, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the captive rearing programme for the giant tortoises. Then transfer via bus across Santa Cruz Island and a short ferry ride to Baltra. Your journey ends at Baltra Island, with a transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
Our Price Includes:
Air Tickets Guayaquil-Galapagos-Guayaquil
Ingala Transit Control Card for Galapagos
Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee
Accommodation based on twin/double room inclusive of tax & service charges
Private round trip transfer airport/hotel/airport
Tours as stated in the itinerary
Galapagos island sightseeing
naturalist guides and lecture services in English
Wet suit rental and snorkelling gear
Meals as specified (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
Galapagos 4 night boat tour
Mashpi 3 day experience with activities
Services of Odyssey World’s local agents in Ecuador
Our Price Excludes:
Any meals other than those specified
Return international flights from the UK & internal flight tickets &airport taxes
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.