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HomeTours to Central and South AmericaEcuador / GalapagosA touch of Ecuador with island hopping in Galapagos
11 days

A touch of Ecuador with island hopping in Galapagos

Discover Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and go island hopping to the famous Galapagos Islands, where stunning scenery and unique wildlife await you.

We support sustainability development in Latin America. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees in Brazil. Read more about the sustainability project here.

A touch of Ecuador with island hopping in Galapagos A touch of Ecuador with island hopping in Galapagos
11 days

A touch of Ecuador with island hopping in Galapagos

Discover Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and go island hopping to the famous Galapagos Islands, where stunning scenery and unique wildlife await you.

We support sustainability development in Latin America. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees in Brazil. Read more about the sustainability project here.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Flights from the UK to Quito and return from Guayaquil with connecting flight(s) on the way
  • Domestic flight Quito – Baltra (Galapagos) – Guayaquil
  • Transfer to/from airports
  • Return crossing from Santa Cruz – Isabela
  • 9 nights at good hotels, including breakfast
  • 1 x lunch (day 4)
  • Individual tour, where all excursions take place in small, international groups with local, English-speaking guides.
  • ATOL certificate
  • 24-hour manned emergency telephone throughout the tour
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Possibility of daily departure

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Guided tour of Quito including visit to the equator
  • Galapagos – the island of Santa Cruz:
    Walk by the Los Gemelos sinkholes
    Visit Hacienda Primicias, where the large Galapagos tortoises live in the wild
    Discover the spectacular lava tunnels
    Visit the interesting Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Galapagos – the island of Isabela:
    Walk in Isabela’s wetlands
    Visit the historic Muro de las Lágrimas (“The Wall of Tears”)
    Visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Centre
  • Entry to mentioned attractions (except for Galapagos, which is paid for on-site)

The tour in short

On this tour, you will enjoy a taste of Ecuador’s friendly people, fascinating colonial history and utterly indescribable nature with mountains, volcanoes and the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.

The tour starts in the country’s capital, Quito, which is scenically situated in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of around 2,850 metres. Here, you will go an exciting guided tour of the UNESCO-listed Old Town and see all the impressive buildings, squares and cathedrals of the colonial era. You will also visit the equator line, which runs through the country, in northern Quito. Stand with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one foot in the southern hemisphere!

You will then fly to the Galapagos Islands, where you will spend the next 6 days island hopping on the main island of Santa Cruz and the island of Isabela, which is the largest island in the archipelago. Spectacular and diverse nature awaits you here in the form of lush highlands, rugged volcanic landscapes and beautiful, pristine sandy beaches. And then, of course, there is the wildlife, which is so profuse that there is something moving wherever you look! Look forward to meeting the iconic and huge Galapagos tortoises, sea lions, sea iguanas, reef sharks, flamingos and many more species.

In addition to a lot of organised tours, you also have time on your own to experience life on the islands and the cosy atmosphere that prevails both in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz and in Puerto Villamil on Isabela.

Why choose this tour

  • Our shortest tour to Ecuador with lots of experiences, both in Quito and in the Galapagos Islands
  • Experience the freedom of island hopping in the Galapagos Islands and enjoy amazing scenery and truly unique wildlife
  • Go on a guided tour of Quito’s Old Town, with its beautiful buildings, plazas and cathedrals from the Colonial Era
  • Visit the equator and try standing with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one foot in the Southern Hemisphere

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations
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Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Quito

Today, you will leave the UK and head to Ecuador with connecting flight(s) along the way. You land in the capital, Quito, where you will be picked up by a driver at the airport and driven to your hotel, which is located in the Old Town. The drive takes around 1 hour but, as in all other major cities, this depends on the traffic.

Quito enjoys a fantastic location in the Andes at an altitude of 2,850 metres, and on a clear day you can see the beautiful cone-shaped Cotopaxi volcano with snow on the top in the distance.

After arriving at your hotel, you have the rest of the day to yourself. You might like to go for a little stroll around the Old Town and dine at one of the cosy restaurants.
Remember to take it easy and drink a lot of water so your body can slowly acclimatise to the altitude.

Accommodation:
Day 2: Guided tour of Quito including a visit to the equator

After breakfast, you’ll go on a guided tour of Quito Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its beautiful, well-preserved historic buildings, squares and, not least, colonial cathedrals.

You’ll visit the characteristic 115-metre-high Basílica del Voto Nacional and Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square), which is surrounded by important buildings such as the Presidential Palace, the Government Building, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito

You will also visit Quito’s oldest church, the Iglesia San Francisco, and the most famous church, La Compañía, the inside of which is decorated with the purest gold leaf.

From here, you will drive up to El Panecillo hill, where the impressive 45-metre-high aluminium statue, Virgen del Panecillo, stands with Quito Old Town as a beautiful backdrop. There is a fabulous view of the city from up here.

Around a 30–40-minute drive from the Old Town, you come to northern Quito, where the equator line is located. You’ll visit both the magnificent 30-metre-high equator monument and the small Intiñan Museum, located a couple of hundred metres away. Here, you’ll be allowed to try fun experiments testing the earth’s gravity and magnetic forces.

Both places claim to be where the true equator lies, and due to inaccurate measurement methods in the olden days, the location of beautiful, big equator monument may well be a little off.
Whether the equator lies in one place or the other, a visit to La Mitad del Mundo, which means the centre of the world, is a must on a visit to Quito.

You have the rest of the day to yourself.

Accommodation:
Day 3: Day on your own in Quito

There are no activities planned for today, and you can choose to purchase extra excursions from home or explore the city on your own.

If it’s a cloudless day and your body is coping with the altitude, you might like to head up to the Cruz Loma viewpoint located on the Pichincha volcano. A 2.5-km cable car ride, known as TelefériQo, takes you up to an altitude of almost 4,100 metres, giving you a unique panoramic view of Quito and the surrounding mountains and volcanoes.

If you would like to see more of Ecuador’s impressive volcanoes, we recommend purchasing an excursion to Cotopaxi National Park, where you can get right up close to the beautiful 5,897-metre-high snow-capped cone volcano Cotopaxi and the rugged Andean landscape that surrounds it.

If you’re interested in Ecuador’s indigenous culture, the excursion to Otavalo, where age-old traditions are still upheld, may be the thing for you. The town is famous for its colourful market where, among other things, you can buy beautiful hand-woven rugs and ponchos. En route to and from Otavalo, you pass towering volcanoes and scenic lakes.

Just a couple of hours from Quito lies the Mindo Valley, which is known for its beautiful nature and cloud forest with its profusion of birds – 500+ registered species.

Day 4: Quito – flight to Galapagos – amazing experiences on the island of Santa Cruz

Today, the second part of your tour begins, taking you to the fascinating Galapagos Islands, which are located around 1,000 km from the mainland. You will be picked up from the hotel and driven to the airport, where you will be required to pay 20 USD (cash) for a Transit Control Card before you can check in. The flight to Galapagos takes around 2.5 hours.

Upon your arrival at Baltra Airport in Galapagos, you will be required to pay an entry fee of 100 USD (cash). Your guide will be waiting for you outside the airport, and you will take the bus together down to the Itabaca Channel, where a boat will take you across to the main island, Santa Cruz. The ticket for the bus and boat is payable in cash (6 USD).

The first stop is Los Gemelos, also known as the twin craters, which are two enormous sinkholes right next to one another. Around the holes, you will experience a profusion of birds in the lush forest of sunflower trees (scalesia).
After a short walk around the holes, you head to the Hacienda Primicias ranch, where your first amazing animal experience awaits. This is where the world’s largest tortoise, the Galapagos Tortoise, lives in the wild. Getting right up close to the huge animals, which can weigh up to 250 kg and live to an age of 100+, is a wonderful experience. Your lunch (included) is enjoyed in the exotic surroundings of the ranch.

The Galapagos Islands are all created by volcanic activity, and in several places you can experience lava tunnels, which are a kind of volcanic cave created by solidified lava. Your guide will take you into one of these special lava tunnels and tell you much more about the creation of the islands.

The last stop of the day is the Charles Darwin Research Station, which was established in 1964 for the purpose of research and education. Here, you will be given an introduction to the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands as well as an exciting insight into the many important projects that scientists, biologists and volunteer helpers are involved with to preserve the fragile nature of the islands.

You have the evening to yourself to explore the pleasant port, Puerto Ayora, which buzzes with life and shops, nice cafés and restaurants.

Accommodation:
Days 5-6: Puerto Ayora on your own

You have two days to yourself in Puerto Ayora. If you’re up early, then head to the small fish market on Avenida Charles Darwin, which attracts hungry, curious sea lions and pelicans hoping for a small snack.

We also highly recommend packing your backpack, lacing your walking boots and spending the day at the beautiful beach, Tortuga Bay. A tarmacked path leads out to the beach, which starts in the south-western part of Puerto Ayora – a walk of around 45 minutes each way. At Tortuga Bay, you can sunbathe, surf or just observe all the sea iguanas and pelicans that live there. The current can be very strong, so if you want to swim in calm water, you should continue to the end of the beach (around 2.5 km), where the picturesque Playa Mansa beach is located in a small lagoon surrounded by mangrove forest.

You can rent a kayak here and paddle off to explore the quiet lagoon, where you might see sea urchins and turtles coming up to the surface for air before diving back down in search of food.

There are no facilities out here, so be sure to bring plenty of water, food and sunscreen for the excursion.

Another excursion option from Puerto Ayora is Las Grietas, which is a deep, elongated “water hole” in an earth fracture where you can swim and snorkel. From Puerto Ayora, you take a taxi boat (roughly 1 USD) to Angermeyer Point, which is around 700 metres from Las Grietas along a small bumpy path, so remember to wear good walking shoes. This is a destination popular with the locals at the weekend.

If you haven’t been down to the pier in Puerto Ayora yet, stroll down there and see all the reef sharks, rays and sea lions in the shallow water, as well as the colourful crabs and sea iguanas that live on the rocks.

You can also choose to purchase a boat trip to one of the nearby uninhabited Galapagos islands, all of which offer amazing scenery and diverse wildlife.

Day 7: Boat to the island of Isabela – experiences on Isabela

It’s time to say goodbye to Puerto Ayora, and new adventures await you on the neighbouring island of Isabela. Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, covering an area of 4,640 km2. Only a couple of thousand inhabitants live on the island, however, and a truly relaxed island atmosphere reigns here. Isabela is where you will also find the highest point on the Galapagos Islands, the 1,707-metre-high Wolf Volcano.
It takes around 2 hours to sail to Isabela, and on your arrival, you will be required to pay a harbour tax of 10 USD (cash). You will be picked up at the pier and driven the short distance to the main town of Puerto Villamil, where you check into your hotel.

In the afternoon, you’ll be going on an excursion to a fascinating wetland located just outside the town, where you’ll find exciting birds such as the black-winged stilt, the moorhen, the white-cheeked pintail and the fascinating flamingos.

You’ll also visit the 25-metre-high Muro de las Lágrimas (‘The Wall of Tears’ in English), which is a sad reminder of Isabela’s history. The wall was built between 1945 and 1959 by prisoners at the island’s penal colony. The name came from the hard toil that caused prisoners to cry from the pain and unfortunately also cost many lives.

The tour ends with a visit to the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Centre, where volunteers work to increase the tortoise population on the island, and you’ll be able to see hundreds of tortoises of all sizes.

You have the evening of your own to explore the cosy little harbour town, where the high street is sand and where you may spot lazy sea lions hogging the benches by the water.

Day 8: Puerto Villamil on your own

You spend the day on your own in Puerto Villamil. There are many fabulous beaches here where you can relax and swim.
A popular walk on the island heads out to the enormous shield volcano, Sierra Negra. The volcano is 1,124 metres high and has a crater with a diameter of more than 9.5 km.

There are also plenty of opportunities to snorkel around Isabela. A great snorkelling experience is to be had at Las Tintoreras, which are some small islands off the coast of Puerto Villamil. There are lots of crevices and rocks where reef sharks, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles like to hang out.

Day 9: Isabela – Santa Cruz – Baltra – Guayaquil

The time has come to say goodbye to the magical Galapagos Islands, and early this morning, you’ll take a boat from Isabela back to Santa Cruz. On your arrival in Santa Cruz, you’ll be picked up by an English-speaking guide and driven across the island to the Itabaca Channel and sail over to the airport island, Baltra. The bus will be waiting here to drive you the short distance to the airport. The ticket for the boat and bus is payable in cash (6 USD). The flight from Baltra to Guayaquil takes around 1.5 hours.

Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city with more than 2 million inhabitants. The city is located on the Guayas River and is the country’s most important port. Despite being the commercial and financial centre of Ecuador, the city still manages to ooze charm with its beautiful cathedrals, parks and cobbled streets. Unlike Quito, which is surrounded by mountains, Guayaquil enjoys warmer temperatures, and you can look forward to an evening stroll along the city’s modern harbour promenade, Malecón 2000, and dining at one of the many outdoor restaurants and cafés.

On your arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to do as you please.

Day 10: Guayaquil on your own – the journey home begins

You have the morning to yourself in Guayaquil. You can purchase a guided tour or explore the city on your own. A visit to the old town, Las Peñas, which enjoys a scenic hilltop location, is a must. 444 stairs take you up there from the harbour promenade. The reward for all your hard work is a stunning panoramic view of the city. Stroll around the cobbled streets and enjoy the beautiful colourful buildings and a cup of coffee at one of the cosy little cafés.

If you haven’t had your fill of land iguanas on Galapagos, then visit Parque Seminario, which is also known as Parque de las Iguanas (‘Iguana Park’). Large numbers of the colourful dragon-like reptiles live in the wild here.

Your tour of Ecuador has come to an end, and in the afternoon, you’ll be picked up and driven to the airport, from which you will fly back to the UK with a connecting flight(s) on the way.

Day 11: Arrival in the UK

You arrive in the UK after an unforgettable holiday in Ecuador.

Single room supplement £270
Single supplement (when single traveler) £645
Special offers for groups of 3 or more. Request a quote today for more info.
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