Ecuador & Galapagos Cruise
Darwin's finch  
Sally Lightfoot crab  
Galapagos penguin  
Marine iguana  
Waved albatross  
Sea lion taking a nap...  
Red -footed boobie  
Sea lion are found throughout the islands  
Letty, dolphin deck  
Eric  
15 day tour
Including flights and transfers
Prices from
£5960

Tour Highlights

  • Evergreen Ecuadorian highlands
  • Cruise the fascinating Galapagos Islands
  • Classic Devil's Nose train journey
  • Colourful plazas of colonial Cuenca
I'm enquiring about: Ecuador & Galapagos Cruise
I'm enquiring about: Ecuador & Galapagos Cruise

Ecuador & Galapagos Cruise

Galapagos Islands      Ecuador

This two week trip explores the colonial highlights of mainland Ecuador and takes you on an eco-cruise around the world famous Galapagos Islands. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage site of Quito, take in the breathtaking Avenue of the Volcanoes, visit colonial Cuenca and spend a week discovering the wonderful wildlife of the Galapagos Islands aboard a first class yacht. The boats offer dedicated departure dates, especially during school holidays, which are ideal for children over the age of 8 and teenagers. Naturalists guides make the program more suitable for younger passengers.


Day 1
Day 1
Quito
Fly to Quito on a daytime flight and arrive in the evening. Transfer to the historic centre and spend a night at La Casona de la Ronda.
Accommodation: La Casona de la Ronda
           
Day 2
Day 2
Quito
Enjoy a morning tour exploring the art and architecture of historic Quito which is also a world heritage site. Start at the Independence Plaza, dominated by the Cathedral, the Municipal Building, the Presidential Palace and the Archbishop's Palace. Discover the amazing gilded interior of La Compañía de Jesús and explore one of the great religious building of the new world; The Monastery of San Francisco.

Travel 16 miles north of Quito to the Equatorial Monument which marks the exact middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Inside the monument is the Ethnographic Museum which depicts the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside this monument is a quaint town with a main square, restaurants and gift shops. You will even be presented with a certificate for having crossed the equator.
Day 3
Day 3
Avenue of the Volcanoes
Start in Quito before heading south to the charming town of Sangolqui. Here a stop is made to explore the traditional Andean market, buzzing with people and full of animals and produce. This is a great introduction to the Andean way of life. Continue east to Cotopaxi National Park, spanning 88,920 acres and home to the Cotopaxi Volcano which rises 5,897 metres (19,247 feet) above sea level.

Explore the evergreen landscape of the Ecuadorian highlands as you travel across the patchwork fields. Once you have reached the park there is a brief introduction about the habitat of the Andean páramo or high-altitude moorlands. Continue on to Limpiopungo Lagoon for a short walk and to observe a variety of birds and occasionally wild horses. On clear days, the Cotopaxi Volcano accompanies guests as a magnificent backdrop.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing along the Pan American Highway across the slopes of the famous Avenue of the Volcanoes. Next, travel by bus to Urbina Train Station at the foot of imposing Chimborazo Volcano. Visit a Tagua nut workshop to warm up with a canelazo and biscuits by the fireplace and, if the Chimborazo is clear, take in the remarkable sunset. Continue by bus to Riobamba for dinner.
Day 4
Day 4
Devil’s Nose Train
Enjoy an early breakfast before departing by road (around 2 hours) towards the small town of Alausí. This is the centre of the rehabilitation efforts of the Ecuadorian Railway Company. Hard work is underway to restore the 100 year old rail stations, replace railways and sleepers. Efforts are also being made to involve Indian communities in the rail operation for tourism along the route. A highlight is the 800 metre (2630 foot) descent down Devil’s Nose. At the bottom is the newly restored Sibambe Station and you will have time here to discover the local museum "Condor Puñuna" built and run by the Nizag community. See the displays of local crafts, fruit and medicinal plants and try the local coffee. The train whistle calls guests back on board for the return to Alausí Station.

Continue exploring the Andean world by road to the south, passing through incredible scenery on the way to the Inca Fortress of Ingapirca en-route. Lunch is served in the area. Arrive at Cuenca at dusk for dinner and an overnight stay.
Accommodation: Santa Lucia
       
Day 5
Day 5
Colonial Cuenca
Ecuador’s third largest city, Cuenca still retains its pleasant local feel with cobbled streets, flowery plazas and red tiled roofs. Visit the Plaza of San Sebastian, a colourful artisans market selling local crafts and then take in the Museum of Modern Art which features an excellent collection of contemporary fine art. Next visit the flower market which sits in front of the small plaza at the entrance to the church of El Carmen de la Asunción. Stroll to the main square and take in the blue-domed Cathedral, the Municipal Palace, the Court of Justice, the Church of El Sagrario and the Governors Palace. Enjoy a drive along the Tomebamba River and admire the riverbank houses before lunch at an excellent restaurant in Cuenca. In the afternoon a short drive visits a ceramic craft shop and a visit to a Panama Hat factory where the process of making hats of high-quality toquilla straw. Spend the night in Cuenca.
Day 6
Day 6
Cuenca to Guayaquil
Take an overland transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil via El Cajas National park. This national park in the western Cordillera of the Andes has an area of 28.544 hectares, an altitude of 3200 to 4000 metres above sea level with Andean cloud forests and 235 lakes of glacial origin. Stop at Llaviucu Lake for a short stroll and to view La Toreadora Lake with its beautiful scenery. Spend the night in Guayaquil at the Oro Verde Guayaquil.
Accommodation: Oro Verde
         
Day 7
Day 7
Galapagos Islands
Fly to the Galapagos Islands to board your cruise and spot some on the unique wildlife that can be found in the area. Arrive at Puerto Baquerizo where our crew is waiting at the airport to escort you by bus to your yacht in the port. Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, welcome brief and safety drill before travelling south by bus to the southern shore to visit La Galapaguera Cerro Colorado. A breeding programme has been established in the national park for the giant land tortoises that you can spot here living in their natural habitat. Learn about their origin, evolution and threats by introduced animals at the centre for visitors. On the trail look out for the San Cristobal (Chatham) mockingbird, lava lizard and Calandrinia plant, that are endemic to this island.
Accommodation: Eric and Letty
       
Day 8
Day 8
Galapagos Islands Cruise
Visit the northeast tip of San Cristoba to Punta Pitt, considered to be a first class site for bird spotting. This tuff formation serves as a nesting site for many sea birds such as Blue-footed, Nazca and Red-footed boobies, Frigate species, swallow-tailed gulls and a colony of sea lions. A Zodiac ride is offered as well as kayaking and snorkelling from the beach. Later arrive at a breathtaking white coral beach, Cerro Brujo, considered one of the most spectacular in Galapagos. This is a scenic place for a peaceful walk with expansive views and good bird watching and there is the opportunity to snorkel or kayak from the beach or swim with sea lions. Afterward return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.
Day 9
Day 9
Galapagos Islands Cruise
Disembark at Punta Suarez, Espanola Island where you can discover the highest rate of endemic species in Galapagos. Hear the noisy sea lions on the beach; watch the unique species of marine iguana and spot colourful sally light-footed crabs as they scuttle along the shoreline near the famous “blow hole”. After your wet landing on Gardner Bay, Espanola Island, walk along seemingly endless stretches of white sand beach to find colonies of sea lions. As there is no trail to follow this is a perfect opportunity to explore on a long jog or walk. If you are lucky you will spot Galapagos Hawk, Hood Mockingbird or Darwins Finches. Swim with sea lions off the shore and discover the bays and islets by kayak. There’s an excellent snorkelling site off Gardner Islet with a colourful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock and you can explore the caves by Zodiac. Return to the yacht for a briefing and dinner.
Day 10
Day 10
Galapagos Islands Cruise
Visit one of the few populated islands in the Galapagos, Punta Cormorant, Floreana. Here you will discover a rich human history of mystery and intrigue. When you land on the green-sand beach you will be greeted by the sounds of sea lions while further inland you will find a brackish lagoon which is home to pintail ducks, common stilts and Greater flamingos (the pinkest in the world). Follow the trail through a variety of plants which lead to a beach with soft powdery sand. This is where sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand and rays swim in the water. You will have the opportunity to snorkel at Devil’s Crown or Champion, a shallow sunken crater which is home to colourful fish and corral. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the deck or dine inside. You will visit Post Office Bay, one of the most scenic sites in the Galapagos. This is where a post barrel was erected and put into use by English whaling vessels in the late 18th Century. Pick up post and send out post cards from here. Return to the yacht for dinner.
Day 11
Day 11
Galapagos Islands Cruise
Disembark in port and travel to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island by bus. As the bus winds through the several vegetation zones found in the Galapagos the scenery changes. Visit the tortoise reserve at Las Primicias, one of the highland farms that are home to giant tortoises. Take in Los Gemelos which is Spanish for ‘The Twins’, a pair of large pit craters where you will spot red male vermillion flycatcher. Also fit in a visit to the former Charles Darwin Research Station - Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena. Explore the breeding centre full of new hatchlings and miniature tortoises that are not ready to be released. In the evening you have the choice to return to your yacht for a buffet dinner or remain in the town. If you wish to dine on board the yacht there is the option to return to town to shop, catch a football game or relax in a pub or internet café.
Day 12
Day 12
Galapagos Islands Cruise
Disembark at Bartolome, a volcanic islet which has a landscape reminiscent of the moon. This young island is inhospitable to most animal and plant life. Climb for 30 minutes towards the summit of a once active volcano. Pause on the ascent to marvel at the lava bombs, cinder cones and spatter cones. From the top of the stairs you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the island and Pinncale Rock, is an eroded tuff cone. Snorkel in the crystal clear water with the schools of tropical fish and Galapagos penguins or enjoy a zodiac ride. Visit Las Bachas, Spanish for ‘barges’. Here there is a long stretch of soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where you will spot Greater Flamingo. There is also excellent opportunity for snorkelling in the clear sea here.

Off the southern rip of Santiago is Sombrero Chino, otherwise known as Chinese Hat due to its shape. After a wet beach landing near the loud sea lion colonies, wander along a trail which gives way to a landscape of cracked lava formations, lava tubes and volcanic rubble. You may spot marine iguanas or pairs of oyster catchers. You can also snorkel here and perhaps spot Galapagos penguins. Enjoy dinner upon the yacht in a calm bay.
Day 13
Day 13
Galapagos Islands Cruise
Today visit South Plaza, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering stunning views. Trails lead through Prickly Pear cactus or Opuntia and Sesuvium. The Galapagos land iguana feeds on cactus leaves in this area and at the end of the hill you will find a colony of sea lions. You will also spot Swallow tailed gulls, Red-billed tropic birds and Shearwaters who build their nests along the cliffs. Next take a short flight to North Seymour, and follow a trail that leads us to Blue-footed boobies, Swallow-tailed gulls, and the endemic Land iguanas. What’s more, you will visit the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds found in Galapagos. Further along the sand find Marine Iguanas and sea lions enjoying the northern swells. After this scenic walk there is a fantastic snorkelling opportunity offered in the deep water. Return to the yacht for the Captain’s farewell cocktail party and evening meal as well as a special slide show presentation by your guides.
Day 14
Day 14
Galapagos Islands Cruise
The Interpretation Centre opened in 1999 on San Cristobal Island and provides a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Spend some time in port before heading to the airport for your flight back to the mainland. Spend the night in Guayaquil.
Accommodation: Oro Verde
         
Day 15
London
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to London.

Pricing Information & Dates

15 day tour, from £5960 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
Price Notes
Ecoventura alternates two different full week 7 night itineraries as required by the Galapagos National Park in an effort to better reduce usage on heavily visited sites.

Tour Route Map

  1.   Quito
  2.   Avenue of the Volcanoes
  3.   Ecuador's Galapagos Islands
  4.   Cuenca

Accommodation on this Tour

Eric and Letty
Eric and Letty
Galapagos Islands
Eric and Letty This flotilla of sister ships each has the capacity for 20 passengers in ten outside cabins. Shore excursions are arranged in small groups, led by a naturalist guide in a maximum group......
       
La Casona de la Ronda
La Casona de la Ronda
Quito, Ecuador
La Casona de la Ronda La Casona de la Ronda is situated on a celebrated narrow, winding street dating back to 1480 and earning its name in 1580 from the traditional nightly rounds that took place in......
           
Oro Verde
Oro Verde
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Oro Verde The Oro Verde Hotel Guayaquil is a Member of The Leading Hotels of the World in Ecuador. Strategically located in the downtown commercial and banking heart of the city, and approximately 10......
         
Santa Lucia
Santa Lucia
Cuenca, Ecuador
Santa Lucia Santa Lucia is a unique hotel and is actually one of Cuenca´s most historic antique buildings. It is centrally located in an elegantly restored colonial house with 20 rooms around a......
       

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