Avenue of Volcanoes and the Galapagos Islands

Discover Ecuador's beautiful highlands before enjoying a 4 night cruise around the Galapagos Islands

Begin your holiday in Ecuador's high altitude capital city of Quito. Spend a few days visiting Quito's beautiful colonial centre and visit the 'Mitad del Mundo' the centre of the world. From Quito head south along the imposing Avenue of Volcanoes passing Coxopaxi and Chimbarzo on route. The following day you catch a ride on the Devils Nose train the most impressive and scenic section of Ecuador's rail network. Enjoy a couple of nights in picturesque city of Cuenca where you will visit a Panama hat factory, and enjoy a walking tour of the city centre. Finish your time in Ecuador by exploring the Galapagos Islands on 5 day cruise. A cruise around the Galapagos allows you to visit the more remote islands and gives you the opportunity to see more of the islands fascinating wildlife. 

Tour highlights

    • Explore Quito the second highest capital city in the world and one of first UNESCO world heritage sites 
    • Visit the 'Mitad del Mundo' (the centre of the world) where you can cross the equator line 
    • Journey down the Avenue of Volcanoes stopping off at the imposing Cotopaxi national park 
    • Take a ride on the Devils nose train and visit one of the prettiest towns in Ecuador - Cuenca 
    • Enjoy a 4 night cruise around the Galapagos Islands on the Seaman Journey visiting a variety of islands and giving you the chance to see plenty of the Islands famous wildlife
    • Flights from London Heathrow with Iberia (regional departure are also possible) 
    • Itinerary can be tailor made to your requirements

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival into Quito

Upon arrival at Quito airport, you will be met by your guide who will transfer you to your hotel. Situated in a circle of Andean peaks, Quito is the world’s second highest capital, with arguably one of the finest settings in the world. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was an important part of the Inca Empire, before being destroyed and re-founded by Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Benalcázar in 1534. The colonial center – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978 – is one of the largest and best preserved in Latin America. It is home to many excellent museums, churches and art galleries.

Overnight at the Casona de la Ronda. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 2

Quito city tour

Explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas, visiting some its most important churches such as the impressive Cathedral, majestic Compañía and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. We begin the tour the quirky Guapulo quarter; take in the Congress building, before heading to the Old Town. We finish the day at the “Panecillo” hillside with its breathtaking views of the old and modern city surrounded by the rolling Andes Mountains. As an addition to the Quito Colonial City Tour, we travel to “Equatorial line” complex. Its monument is located at the latitude 0º 0´0" and provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to straddle both hemispheres, or hop between the two in the blink of an eye.

Overnight at the Casona de la Ronda. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 3

Quito

Day at leisure to further explore Quito or visit Otavalo market which is a couple of hours to the north of Quito. 

Overnight at the Casona de la Ronda. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 4

Quito - Riobamba

After enjoying an early breakfast, the tour will depart Quito heading south through the famous “Avenue of the Volcanoes.” Almost midday we will arrive in the Cotopaxi National Park, which is located 60 km away from the city of Quito. The Cotopaxi Volcano is one of the most important landmarks in Ecuador because it is the highest active volcano in the world. Lush endemic flora and fauna of the area can be observed, one of the most representative species is the Chuquiragua (also known as the mountaineer’s flower) wild horses, deers, llamas, and more. Whilst in the National Park you can also visit Limpiopungo Lake, located near Rumiñahui volcano (149.96 meters), or go hiking to observe the birds. Afterwards we continue with the journey to the city of Riobamba.

Overnight at Abraspungo. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 5

Devils Nose Train - Cuenca

After an early breakfast the second day of the tour begins departing Riobamba to the south, as we head for Alausi where we will board the train to the “Devil’s Nose”. En-route we will make several stops, visiting the Balbanera Church, Colta Lake, and the indigenous town of Guamote (Thursday is market day). Mid-morning we will arrival at the town of Alausi where we will begin our adventure on Ecuador’s famous “Devil’s Nose” train. About a four hour ride, we will return to Alausi in the early afternoon. Continuing on, we will pay a visit the Ingapirca fortress, located at 3100m above sea level. These ancient ruins are the most important in the country. Their true history is still a mystery, as studies state they could have been a fortress, an observatory or a temple. After visiting the ruins, we will finish our trip on the road to Cuenca, arriving in the early evening.

Overnight at Santa Lucia. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 6

Cuenca city tour

Today after breakfast we will enjoy a city tour of Cuenca. Cuenca is Ecuador's third largest city; yet it still retains its pleasant provincial air. Its red tiled roofs, cobblestone streets, flowery plazas and museums make it very special and the city is considered by many the most beautiful in all of Ecuador. This is a walking tour in the colonial downtown area of Cuenca, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the warmth and hospitality of its people, the colourful parks and plazas, religious monuments and handcraft shops, plus an explanation of Cuenca's history. In the afternoon, visit a workshop where Panama straw hats of the best quality are made and then drive up to the hill of Turi to admire the city.

Overnight at Santa Lucia. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 7

Cuenca - Guayaquil

Just after breakfast the tour will depart, heading northwest towards Cajas National Park. After a short drive we will arrive at Cajas National Park where we will be able to take part in different activities such as hiking, fishing, bird-watching or viewing flora and fauna. We can visit the Interpretation Center placed in La Toreadora Lake (the biggest and the most important in the whole region). Here we will see pictures and presentations of the park. In the afternoon we will make the journey to Guayaquil. On the road we will find mountain scenery and a delightful change of vegetation as we encounter the glorious Ecuadorian coastline.

Overnight at Oro Verde. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Guayaquil - Galapagos Islands

Today after breakfast you will be met by your guide and taken to Guayaquil Airport in time for your flight to Galapagos. On arrival in the Galapagos you are met and taken to your boat. 

PM: Interpretation centre 
This is an interpretation centre with exuberant gardens and stunning ocean views in contrast with the 1960´s buildings at Charles Darwin Centre. Visitors to the interpretation centre can learn a lot regarding the geological and human history of the islands, conservation facts and natural history. This is the oldest museum of the Natural History of the Galapagos Islands that is trying to preserve the nature of the islands.
Overnight on Seaman Journey. Standard cabin. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9

Galapagos Islands

AM: Galapaguera 

A short visit to the Galapaguera that is a good place to observe Galapagos tortoises in its natural habitat. San Cristobal island has endemic species such as: the Mockingbird   lava lizard , Chatham Leaf-toed Gecko and the tortoises. All of these species can be observed in this place, the beach is really big and it works as a nesting zone for marine tortoises. 

PM: Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal Island 
Cerro Brujo is a beautiful beach of white coral beach where you can swim and watch birds and sea lions, plus you can snorkel. This is the first coast where Charles Darwin walked in 1835. In this marvelous lava landscape where you can see seabirds like blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, herons, frigate birds and shore birds. Among the fauna that you can observe the Chatham Mockingbird and the San Cristobal Lava Lizard, both species are endemic to the island and unique to the area as they cannot be observed nowhere else.

Overnight on Seaman Journey. Standard cabin. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

Galapagos Islands

AM: Gardner Bay 

Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here we can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters. Here you will find three species of Darwin Finches. Also, here it is possible to observe resident and migratory bird species. This zone is really important for marine tortoises nesting.

PM: Suarez Point 
This area is great for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. A beautiful site on the ocean front, the large waved albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad. The famous attraction is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air at least from 50 to 75 meters high. This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.
Overnight on Seaman Journey. Standard cabin. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11

Galapagos Islands

AM: Cormorant Point 

This site offers probably the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks, and other migratory birds. 

PM: Post Office Bay & Baroness Lookout 
Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. 

Overnight on Seaman Journey. Standard cabin. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12

Galapagos Islands - Guayaquil

AM: Charles Darwin Station

Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the main attractions is the National Park information centre, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Centre for young tortoises and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity. After the morning excursion you will be taken to the airport for your flight to the mainland. Transfer to Baltra Airport, flight to Guayaquil. After arrival your guide will meet you and transfer to your hotel. 
Overnight at Oro Verde. Standard room. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 13

Departure for the UK

Private transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

If you are wanting to extend your time in South America then why not add on a few nights in Peru and visit Machu Picchu. 

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Hotels

Pricing

7th October 2016 - 30th November 2017

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