Highlights of Ecuador

Classic, Quito to Quito

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Experience the wildlife of the Galápagos and the diversity of the Amazon on this ultimate Ecuadorean adventure. Get to know Ecuador inside out – from the Andes to the islands and everything in between. Explore the jungle by canoe and stay with a local Quichua family for an extraordinary cultural experience. Scour the indigenous handicraft market at Otavalo for special treasures before flying to the Galápagos to spend three nights exploring the islands aboard our comfortable yacht and on night on shore. From snorkeling with sea lions and other aquatic wildlife to taking a trek over volcanic rock, this trip will give you both incredible sights and indelible memories.

What’s included

  • Recharge: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit, Papallacta Local Living: Amazon Jungle Experience, Tena
  • Papallacta Hot Springs stay
  • Amazon Jungle homestay (2 nts)
  • Amazon Jungle lodge stay with guided walks and wildlife-spotting (2 nts)
  • Baños stay
  • Ingapirca ruins visit
  • Historic hacienda overnight stay
  • Otavalo visit
  • Galápagos Islands stay (4 nts)
  • Swimming and snorkelling with equipment
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Relax in andean hot springs
  • Spend the night with a local quichua family
  • Search for wildlife in the amazon jungle
  • Swim and snorkel in the galápagos islands
  • Finding land iguanas feeding in the cactus forests on south plaza island
  • Watching bright pink flamingos and other sea birds feeding in secluded lagoons
  • Explore colonial cities and hike up volcanoes.

Itinerary

Day 1 Quito There are no planned activities before an evening welcome meeting. Additional Notes: Booking pre- or post-trip accommodation is highly recommended to fully experience the city and take advantage of the many optional activities available. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Quito/Papallacta (1B) Take a local bus through the heights of the Andes en route to the Amazon. Stop for the night in Papallacta and relax in the natural mineral hot pools. Included Activities: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit Transport: Local bus (2.00 hour(s), 60km)
Day 3 Papallacta/Tena (1B, 1D) Descend into the Amazon Jungle region. Notice the scenery change dramatically heading from the mountains into the lush, tropical Amazon rainforest. Stay with a Quichua family enjoying the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle firsthand. Optional activities include visiting an animal rescue centre, caving, and whitewater rafting. Included Activities: Amazon Jungle Experience Transport: Local bus (4.00 hour(s), 95km) Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Day 4 Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) Spend a full day in the Amazon learning about life at a homestay. Enjoy cooking demonstrations and hiking to nearby waterfalls. Included Activities: Amazon Jungle Experience
Day 5 Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) Travel to a jungle lodge located on the Napo River, one of the Amazon’s two major tributaries. Explore by foot and canoe to learn about the natural history of this area. There is also an option for an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip on the Napo. Additional Notes: Please note: wildlife viewing in this part of the jungle is limited for a number of reasons. This visit is more a cultural learning experience. Included Activities: Jungle Excursions
Day 6 Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) Spend another day exploring the area. Included Activities: Jungle Excursions
Day 7 Tena/Baños (1B) Travel to Baños and enjoy numerous outdoor optional activities available like hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking or soaking in the hot springs. Transport: Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 8 Baños (1B) Enjoy free time to experience all this adventurous town has to offer.
Day 9 Baños (1B) Enjoy another free day to experience all this adventurous town has to offer.
Day 10 Baños/Cuenca (1B) Travel along the 'Avenue of Volcanoes', through Ecuador's central valley of mountains to the colonial town of Cuenca. Enjoy a full day trip with spectacular views along the way, stopping at the Inca ruins of Ingapirca — the largest and best-preserved archaeological site in Ecuador. Explore the city’s sights, including cobblestoned streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas, and museums. Included Activities: Day Trip to Ingapirca Ruins Transport: Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 321km)
Day 11 Cuenca (1B) Enjoy a free day to explore. Opt for a city tour or go hiking in Cajas National Park.
Day 12 Cuenca/Cayambe (1B) Fly back to Quito and continue on to Cayambe. Spend the night in a 400-year-old hacienda at the base of a volcano. Transport: Plane Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)
Day 13 Cayambe/Otavalo (1B) Travel to Otavalo. Optional activities include visits to Peguche Waterfall or the Cotacachi leather market, or a hike around Cuicocha Lake. Transport: Local bus (1.00 hour(s))
Day 14 Otavalo (1B) Explore the largest handicraft market in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables. Included Activities: Otavalo Handicrafts Market Visit
Day 15 Quito (1B) Spend free time in the city before an informational meeting about the Galápagos itinerary in the evening. Included Activities: Meet and Greet Hotel Welcome Meeting
Day 16 Quito/Puerto Ayora (1B, 1L, 1D) Flights from Quito to Baltra depart between 6:40am and 9:40am depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into the Galápagos between 9:30am and 12:30pm with a short refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will generally arrive at the boat in time for lunch before the afternoon activity. Additional Notes: The National Park charges a visitor fee of USD100, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galápagos as well as ecological study, conservation, and infrastructure development in Ecuador's other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage. Included Activities: Highlands Giant Tortoises Visit Transport: Plane (2.00 hour(s)) Xavier III
Day 17 Chinese Hat/Black Turtle Cove (1B, 1L, 1D) Spot Galápagos penguins and explore marine life that is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony at Chinese Hat as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen on the guided walk. Hike among the volcanic scenery, with good views to the cone of the island's volcano. In the afternoon, take an excursion by "panga" to Black Turtle Cove to witness the extensive mangrove system and interesting waterway canals. Sea turtles and different species of rays can often be seen in this cove, offering a peaceful and fascinating glimpse into the diversity of the area. Included Activities: Chinese Hat Visit Snorkelling (Chinese Hat) Black Turtle Cove Excursion Transport: Xavier III
Day 18 Cerro Dragón/Islas Daphne (1B, 1L, 1D) Visit Cerro Dragón on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island to see land iguanas and a salt water lagoon frequented by flamingos and other species of birds. Continue to Daphne Island in the afternoon to spot birds and wildlife. Included Activities: Cerro Dragón Visit Daphne Island Visit Transport: Xavier III
Day 19 Islas Plaza/Santa Fé Island (1B, 1L, 1D) Land at South Plaza in the morning for wildlife spotting opportunities. Afternoon visit to Santa Fé Island for guided walks to observe the wildlife and plentiful marine iguanas. Opportunities for swimming and snorkelling with the sea lions. Included Activities: South Plaza Island Visit Santa Fe Island Visit Transport: Xavier III
Day 20 San Cristóbal Island/Quito (1B) Transfer to the group hotel upon arrival, and enjoy one last night on the town. Additional Notes: Flights from San Cristóbal to Quito depart between 11:30am and 1:30pm depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into Quito between 4:00pm and 5:40pm with a refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will arrive back at the hotel in the early evening in time for dinner. Included Activities: Interpretation Center Visit Transport: Plane (3.00 hour(s))
Day 21 Quito (1B) Depart at any time. Additional Notes: Post nights in Quito are recommended to take advantage of the many activities available. Included Activities: Departure Day
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