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Ecuador Highlights
Quito - Otavalo - Cotopaxi - Amazon - Galapagos Islands... This amazing itinerary truly takes in the crux of Ecuador and what it is all about. Explore Quito's hidden backstreets and the quirks of Otavalo's Indian markets before ascending up to the Avenue of the Volcanoes and Ecuador's highest mountain, Cotopaxi. Head down to sea level and enjoy a stunning Amazonian eco-lodge before traversing the magical Galapagos Islands.

9 Nights From
£2425
Tour Highlights

- Wander the pretty streets of the capital, Quito

- Paddle along the Napo River on the Amazon

- View birds such as Blue Footed Boobies and Fregate Birds

- Relax on your Galapagos Boat

Day to Day Itinerary
Calendar icon Day 1
Upon arrival into Quito airport, you will be met by a representative and taken to your escorted transfer between the airport and your hotel. 

Overnight at selected Quito hotel.

 

Calendar icon Day 2
A visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture.  Quito's colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America,  is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   The stroll starts at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior.   Continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar.

This is a walking tour at an altitude of 2800 meters (9200 feet) and involves climbing stairs. Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat).  Women should not wear shorts nor miniskirts as visits to churches are included. Take a sweater even if the day is warm and sunny.  Rain protection advised between January and April. Sun protection (SPF 40) and good walking shoes.

Overnight in chosen Quito hotel.

 

Calendar icon Day 3
Today you will be picked up from your Quito hotel and taken up to Otavalo.  This excursion goes north, to the land of the Otavalos and South America’s most famous Indian fair along the Panamerican Highway through dramatic mountain scenery to the textile market of Otavalo, where guests will enjoy visiting the many stalls full of ponchos, scarves, blankets, wall hangings, woven belts (fajas), hats, handbags and much more.  Here Otavaleños barter in silence, in marked contrast to the raucous noise of other markets; take your time to negotiate the best bargains.  Then, proceed to Peguche, an Indian village very near Otavalo that is home to the artisans who do the weaving in their homes; guests can learn about their culture and everyday life.

Lunch is at one of the charming country inns or haciendas of the area.

Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat).  Take a  warm coat for evening and rain protection from February to May.   This tour includes walking at an altitude of 2,560 meters (8,434 feet).  Sun protection (SPF 40) and good walking shoes are recommended as well as a camera owing to the great photo opportunities.

Overnight in Quito at selected hotel.

 

Calendar icon Day 4
Early departure from Quito by motorcar on the Pan-American Highway to the south, to visit the Cotopaxi National Park, an ecological sanctuary of 88,920 acres, around the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, which rises 5,897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level. 

The evergreen landscape of the Ecuadorian highlands is one of the main attractions, along valleys and mountains covered by multicolored fields.  After an hour and a half, the entrance to the park is reached and then it's up a dirt road for approximately one hour.  Upon arrival to the park there is an introductory briefing about the habitat of the Andean 'paramo' or moorlands, its flora and fauna in the small Interpretation Centre.  Continue on to Limpiopungo Lagoon to observe a variety of birds and occasionally wild horses.  On clear days, the Cotopaxi Volcano is the magnificent backdrop.  A short walk around the lagoon allows the observation of the Andean flora. 

Lunch is at a hacienda or restaurant of the area before returning to Quito in the afternoon.  The entrance fee to Cotopaxi National Park is extra (US $5pp)

We recommend warm clothing is needed and hat or cap, sunblock (SPF 40), good walking shoes, a camera, binoculars and sunglasses.
Altitude:  2800 to 4000 meters (9800 - 12,120 feet)
Average Temperature Day:  8°  to 20° C (46° to 68° F)

Overnight in Quito at selected hotel.

 

Calendar icon Day 5
This morning you will be transferred from your Quito hotel to Quito airport in time for your 30 minute flight to Coca over the eastern Andes mountain range. After landing, about mid morning, and airport procedures a 5 min transfer in local chiva (hired bus) or local taxi from airport to Port Francisco de Orellana will drive us to embark onto a comfortable covered motor boat.

Here we start a canoe ride along the Napo river for about 2 . hours approx, lunch box in route. Along the way birds like herons, kingfishers and others can be spotted. After arriving at Napo Wildlife Centre’s entry dock we disembark for restroom then take a majestic and a peaceful one hour dugout canoe ride surrounded by trees overhead, paddling along a narrow creek that connects to the lake where the lodge is located. Good possibilities of monkeys sights of various species as well as large birds like toucans, parrots or even macaws.

Late afternoon arrival to the Napo Wildlife Centre lodge by the overwhelming view of the Añangu lake, welcome drink and facilities. After dinner optional caiman (alligator) observation around the lake and natural sounds at night.

Overnight at Napo Wildlife Centre Lodge.

 

Calendar icon Day 6
Early wake up to reach the best and easy access parrot clay licks in Ecuador, about 1 hour away from the lodge, guests reach there just before parrot activity kicks off at the clay lick between 7:30 to 8:30. A total of 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen. A visit that depends on weather conditions but usually successful.

Later, hike along forest trail to visit to the Quichua community of Añangu and sharing time with a family on their activities. Return to the creek and hike through a Terra Firme Forest for about 30 minutes until we arrive to the second parrot clay lick where if the weather conditions help will be able to find different species of parrots, parakeets and even macaws.

Box lunch at the parrot clay lick observatory.

Late afternoon arrival to the lodge.

 

Calendar icon Day 7
After early breakfast, depart from the lodge to the finest experience at a canopy tower on the Napo. A 36m high canopy tower opened to guests in November 2004, a great way to experience the life above the forest floor. This is the second tower at the Napo Wildlife Centre (the first is attched to the dining hall and allows great views of the lake).

The canopy tower is located about 20 minutes from the lodge deep within the terra firme forest. As you ascend the 12-story tower, you pass through different levels of the forest and emerge on top of a huge Ceiba tree. Here you cross onto a wooden platform that is actually built into the tree and experience the view formerly reserved only for the birds. The metal tower itself was constructed to the highest standards, galvanized, and carefully inspected by engineers.

Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the lodges facilities.


 

Calendar icon Day 8
This morning after breakfast, take an early departure and last excursion canoeing back to the Napo river, the creek may reveal new sights of Giant otters, Monk Saki monkeys or many other rare birds. Entry docking area, use of restrooms and embarking on motorised canoe in order to return back to Coca, arrival approximately after 2 hours boat ride up river, in order to check in for your Coca – Quito flight, schedule to be announced according to departure details and arrangements.

Please note - this is a sample itinerary subject to change due to weather conditions,  safety and particular interests of guests and groups. Changes and additions are made in order to maximize wildlife viewing and wilderness enjoyment, cultural interaction with local people, and all possible time at the richest rain forest in Ecuador: the Yasuni National Park.

Upon arrival back into Quito, you will be met and transferred to your Quito hotel.

 

Calendar icon Day 9
This morning, you will be picked up from your Quito hotel and transferred to Quito airport in time for your flight to the Galapagos Islands.

The Galápagos Islands have been named after the giant Galápagos tortoises. The archipelago, 1000 kms (600 miles) off Ecuador's Pacific Coast originated from undersea volcanic activity, six million years ago.  The archipelago's 13 major islands, 6 smaller ones, and scores of islets are all part of Ecuador's National Park system.

In 1835, the English naturalist Charles Darwin visited the islands and discovered this 'living laboratory' which inspired his writings on the Theory of Evolution.  Many of the animals on the Galápagos Islands have developed into different species from their continental relatives, and because they have never experienced man as a predator, they show no fear of humans.

The world's most wondrous group of islands is yours for unhurried exploration.  Follow the nature trails; enjoy the amazing sights, wade and even dive among the animals of land and sea.

Guests are taken to shore in small groups by a multilingual naturalist guide, who will explain the fascinating geology and history of an eco-world that takes you back millions of years.  There is ample opportunity to walk, swim, snorkel, photograph, and observe the abundant variety of wildlife on each island.  You can swim with sea lions, walk among black marine iguanas basking in the sun and observe the elaborate mating rituals of boobies, albatrosses, or male frigate birds displaying their red pouches.

Is the new way of travelling and Galápagos is a fantastic place to convey all concepts that make an expedition safe, educational, fun and soul lifting.  You will become a participant of this wonderful expedition, you are not a passenger; you are a guest.

While we embrace a spirit of adventure, we ensure that you always travel in comfort and safety. Your ship provides private, tasteful accommodations; fresh, healthy, contemporary international and local cuisine; an attentive staff-a unique advantage to small groups.

Choose between any of the following Galápagos options:

M/V Santa Cruz
3 nights/4 days expedition – Friday to Monday
4 nights/ 5 days expedition – Monday to Friday
7 nights/5 days expedition - Friday to Friday

Yacht Isabela II
3 nights/4 days expedition – Tuesday to Friday
4 nights/5 days expedition – Friday to Tuesday
7 nights/8 days expedition - Tuesday to Tuesday
 
Yacht La Pinta
7 nights/8 days expedition -  Friday to Friday

**Please note - The Galapagos Cruise is not included in the price of this itinerary**

 

Calendar icon Days 10-12
For those taking the 3 nights/4 days itinerary on either MV Santa Cruz or Isabela II, you will dock back at Santa Cruz and transferred to Baltra for your flight back to Guayaquil.

You will then be transferred to your chosen Guayaquil hotel.

 

Calendar icon Day 13
For those taking the 4 nights/5 days itinerary on either MV Santa Cruz or Isabela II, you will dock back at Santa Cruz and transferred to Baltra for your flight back to Guayaquil.

You will then be transferred to your chosen Guayaquil hotel.

 

Calendar icon Days 14-17
For those taking the 7 nights/8 days itinerary on MV Santa Cruz, Isabela II or La Pinta Yacht, you will dock back at Santa Cruz and transferred to Baltra for your flight back to Guayaquil.

You will then be transferred to your chosen Guayaquil hotel.

 

Calendar icon Day 18
You will be picked up from your Guayaquil hotel and transferred to Guayaquil airport in time for your flight back to the UK.

 

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