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This Ecuador Explorer & Galapagos Island Hopping Tour is designed to highlight the extraordinary beauty and diversity of this small Andean country.

Straddling the equator and nestled between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador may be the smallest Andean nation but it’s packed with the most stunning contrasts of scenery. With a population of approximately 14.5 million, Ecuador possesses an astounding level of cultural and social diversity within its borders – it’s easy to see why this friendly and exotic destination is regarded as a microcosm of South America. Rich in history, the influences of various pre-Incan civilizations remain evident in present-day society in food, religious customs, music, and dress.

The Galapagos Islands are home to species found nowhere else on earth. This isolated group of volcanic islands and their fragile ecosystem has taken on almost-mythological status as a showcase of biodiversity. You don’t have to be a biologist or ornithologist to appreciate these incredible islands.

Please note that this Ecuador Explorer & Galapagos Island Hopping Adventure is fully customizable and can be tweaked to best suit your travel needs. Contact Us HERE.

Highlights

  • Exploring the world-renown markets in Otavalo
  • Following in the footsteps of Darwin in the Galapagos Islands
  • Learning about the unique endemic wildlife on the Galapagos Island Tour
  • Searching for wildlife in Mindo Cloud forest
  • Experiencing a cacao tour and coffee experience
  • Hiking around crater lakes and waterfalls near Cotocachi
Ecuador Explorer
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STARTS AT

$7995

USD per Person

THIS IS A CUSTOMIZABLE ITINERARY FOR GROUPS OF ALL SIZES.
DATES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

Quito - Ecuador Explorer Adventure

DAY 1: WELCOME TO QUITO, ECUADOR

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

Welcome to Ecuador! 
Today, you will be met at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport by your guide and private transportation which will take you to your hotel. The trip from the airport to your hotel will take approximately one hour.
Your guide will also give you a detailed description of tomorrow’s activities; suggestions are welcome… This is YOUR Tailor-made journey!

Enjoy an amazing welcome dinner at your hotel, made by some of the best chefs Ecuador has to offer.
Accommodation at your selected hotel.

Equator - Ecuador Tour

DAY 2: QUITO CITY TOUR & MIDDLE OF THE WORLD – KUORA CACAO & CHOCOLATE EXPERIENCE 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

Today, after breakfast, you will have your tour of Quito. You will walk along the narrow streets of Quito to discover this charming city and its secrets in its historic district. Our Visits include the San Agustin Monastery and its impressive Sala Capitular. Independence Square, flanked by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and the City Hall. Stroll past El Sagrario Church and marvel at the exquisite stone facade of La Compañía Church and its awe-inspiring golden altar. Visit the San Francisco Monastery, built over the ruins of an Incan Palace. Ride up the road to the top of Panecillo Hill for a breathtaking view of Quito.

Later on, we will drive 30 km north of Quito, towards the Middle of the World where the equatorial line divides the northern and southern hemispheres. While in this area, we will go to the Kuora Chocolate factory to learn more about Ecuador’s world-famous cacao and how some of the best chocolate in the world is made.

Accommodation at your selected hotel.
Meals: B/L/-

DAY 3: MINDO CLOUD FOREST FULL DAY – COFFEE EXPERIENCE

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

In the morning we will head towards the northwest of Ecuador. And, after a 2-hour trip, we’ll arrive in Mindo, an ecological paradise where hiking through the forest allows you to enjoy the diversity of plants and animals in the area. You will learn how the indigenous communities use these plants to their benefit. 

Enjoy the landscape of this wonderful place where you can also visit a butterfly preserve and chocolate factory. 
In the area, we will also learn more about Ecuador’s high-quality coffee that is harvested in the cloud forest, and see the whole process from harvesting to drying, and then taste some of the delicious final product!

In the afternoon visit an Orchid garden and return to Quito.

Accommodation at your selected hotel in Quito.
Meals: B/L

Textile Ecuador Market

DAY 4: ANGLA COMMUNITY – OTAVALO INDIGENOUS MARKET

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

After a delicious traditional breakfast, we will start our full day of activities with a unique experience, a visit to the local Anglaruna Kaway indigenous community.   During the visit to Angla you will have authentic insights into the everyday life of the Angla community by actively learning about their traditions and experiencing unforgettable cultural encounters. Here, you will enjoy a natural healing ritual called Andean “Chakana” which merges traditional indigenous and religious beliefs. You will also create cherished memories with the community by making traditional beverages and feel the peace of being surrounded by the awe-inspiring Imbabura Volcano and the stunning San Pablo Lake. This visit will undoubtedly immerse you in Ecuador’s indigenous culture.

After a delicious lunch in the community, it’s time to visit the famous Otavalo Indigenous Market, the largest of its kind in South America. Here is where vendors proudly offer a stunning variety of weavings such as the famous ponchos, among other textiles like rugs, mittens, and scarves. This market is like a rainbow due to the vibrant colors of the textiles exhibited. Without a doubt, it is an ideal place to find handicrafts, jewelry, and other artisanal craftwork.

Tonight, we will stay in the lovely city of Otavalo for our accommodation.

Meals: B/L

DAY 5: FULL DAY ACTIVITIES AT THE ZULETA HACIENDA

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

Today’s activities are completely up to you! The hacienda has a plethora of activities, ranging from hiking its private trails to embroidery and cooking classes, Zuleta has it all. Or just relax in the natural splendor that surrounds you, or take a laid-back private horse-drawn carriage ride around the area.

For lunch, we will enjoy  a private luxury picnic surrounded by stupendous scenery and the fresh Andean air. Enjoy the hacienda’s farm fresh meals and take in the beautiful landscapes while you rest after a busy morning.

Accommodation at your selected hotel in Otavalo.

Meals: B/ L

Ecuador Tour

DAY 6: PEGUCHE WATERFALL – CUICOCHA CRATER LAKE – COTACACHI – QUITO

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

We will start our day by continuing toward the Sacred Peguche Waterfall, a beautiful waterfall located within a protected forest. This waterfall was used by the Inca in ceremonies before the annual festival of Inti Raymi celebrating the sun and harvest.

We will enjoy a delicious lunch in the area before we visit Cuicocha , a crater Lake that lies at the base of the extinct Cotacachi volcano. This area is home to several mostly dormant volcanoes, which contributed to the lush and fertile land that spans one of the most productive agricultural regions in the Andean highlands. The Cuicocha crater lake is a must see in the Northern Andes with its water spotted with islands and rim covered in lush green forest.

At the end of the day we will head back to Quito to spend the night.

Meals: B/ L

 Galapagos Island Hopping

DAY 7: FLIGHT TO GALAPAGOS – ARRIVAL ON SAN CRISTOBAL – FRIGATE HILL – INTERPRETATION CENTER

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

Today, after breakfast, you will be transferred to Quito’s airport in order to take your flight to the Enchanted Galapagos Islands.

After arriving on San Cristóbal Island, we will visit the Interpretation Center, where we will learn more about the origin of the archipelago, its flora, and fauna, the history and stories of its first inhabitants. After that, we will hike for about 2 hours until Frigate Hill, where we will enjoy the endemic vegetation and the beautiful view of the island and its surroundings. But the main attraction here is the frigate birds. At the end of the day, we will visit Frigate Bay and do some snorkeling. Return to the hotel. Accommodation at the selected hotel.

Meals: B / L

DAY 8: NAVIGABLE TOUR TO ANOTHER ISLAND

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

Today, you will have a navigable tour to another island surrounding San Cristobal. This can either be to Española or Kicker Rock depending on the day and availability.

ESPAÑOLA ISLAND:

Located at the southern side of the archipelago, it takes approximately 2h30m of navigation from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal) to reach the island. The first spot that we can visit is Gardner Islet, where we can snorkel in a protected bay. The depth of the bay is not too deep, ideal for having good underwater visibility. 

The next stop, after resting of our first activity, is Punta Suarez. Here, we will require a 2 hours hike after our wet landing, so we need to be prepared for it. Once we are at the beach, we can enjoy the soft and white sand that this shore has, but also the lava rocks in its surroundings. Some of the species that we can see during this activity are the lava lizards and Galapagos snakes which is harmless. There is also possible to see: the Nazca boobies, Galapagos Mockingbirds as well as the famous Waved Albatross, colonies of marine iguanas, Galapagos Hawks, Galapagos Doves, and many more species. 

KICKER ROCK:

Kicker Rock (León Dormido in Spanish) is located on the northwest side of San Cristobal island. To visit this famous snorkeling and diving site, it is important to begin the navigation early in the morning. Once we are here, we will dive/snorkel, being able to observe different species of sharks, rays, and fish.

After this visit, we’ll visit one of the following beaches: Playa Ochoa, Playa Puerto Grande, or Playa Manglecito. 

In the afternoon, we will return to San Cristobal; lunch is included during these tours.

Meals: B/L

DAY 9: FREE DAY

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

Today, you will have a free day to explore the island or simply relax at your hotel. San Cristobal has many places to visit, and your guide will be glad to help you with any additional information for your free exploration.

Accommodation at your selected hotel.

Meals: B

Galapagos Tortoise - Island Hopping Tour

DAY 10: TRANSFER TO SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

We will head to the port to take a speed boat (2,5h) or fly to Santa Cruz Island. Once we arrive in Puerto Ayora, we will take a shuttle to the Highlands of the Islands where we will enjoy its green vegetation. Also, we will visit a Ranch to observe the Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. We will have lunch at the ranch. In the highlands, we will also have the opportunity to visit the Santa Cruz Brewery, where we will learn about the delicate processes that go into making craft beer on the islands, and learn a bit more about life as a local on the islands as well. Transfer back to Puerto Ayora and free afternoon to check out the town.

Accommodation at your selected hotel.

Meals: B/L

DAY 11 & 12: NAVIGABLE TOUR TO ANOTHER ISLAND

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY

In the next couple of days we will have the opportunity to enjoy a daily tour to one of the nearby islands as an opportunity to discover the diversity of the Galapagos Islands. These tours are subject to availability to one of the following islands:

Bartolome Island: We will discover an amazing landscape as well as fascinating geological formations like Pinnacle Rock. Here we will have a great opportunity for snorkeling.

North Seymour Island: The main species on this island are the Land Iguanas, the Magnificent Frigate Birds, characterized by their incredible scarlet pouch, the famous blue-footed boobies, and their particular courtship dance as well as the playful sea lions surfing across the waves.

South Plazas Island: This is a small island, yet it has an outstanding concentration of wildlife, dramatic cliffs, a spectacular natural red carpet of algae, and great contrasts to be seen

Santa Fe Island: This island has a lot of diversity. The lagoons of Santa Fe Island provide an excellent place for snorkeling alongside colorful fish, sea lions, giant tuna, and even small sharks that are often sited in these environments.

Meals: B/L

Ecuador Explorer & Galapagos Island Hopping itinerary

DAY 13: SANTA CRUZ TO ISABELA ISLAND

After breakfast, we will take a speedboat (or fly) to get to Isabela Island. This island is the biggest and youngest of the Galapagos Archipelago. After two and a half hours of navigation, we will be transferred to our selected hotel to check-in before your tour to the Tintoreras islets.

The Tintoreras Islets, located a short distance from Puerto Villamil, are home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, and sea lions. One of its beaches, surrounded by mangroves is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can reproduce successfully. Reaching the Isle of Tintoreras, we will get to know a lot of these species. Most of the part of this island is formed by AA lava.

Return to your hotel after this outing and accommodation.

Meals: B/L

Ecuador Explorer & Galapagos Island Hopping Adventure

DAY 14: SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO HIKE

Today, we go by car until reaching the mountainside of the Sierra Negra Volcano. We will have a hike to reach the crater of the volcano. Once there, we will have a wonderful view of the crater and with a little bit of luck, we will be able to see a Galapagos sparrow hawk or two. We will get to know the geology of the Sierra Negra Volcano. Most of the part of this island was formed by AA lava. After this wonderful sight, we will head to the sulfur mines of the volcano, where will get a unique sight of some volcanic activity on this active volcano, we will return to Puerto Villamil.

Accommodation at your selected hotel.

Meals: B/BL

DAY 15: FREE DAY ISABELA ISLAND

Today, you will have a free day to explore the island or simply relax at your hotel. Isabela has many places to visit, and your guide will be glad to help you with any additional information for your free exploration.

Accommodation at your selected hotel.

Marine Iguana - Galapagos Island Hopping Adventure

DAY 16: TRANSFER TO FLIGHT TO QUITO

Today early in the morning, we will be transferred to the port where we will take an approximately two-and-a-half-hour boat trip to Santa Cruz island (or flight). Once we arrive on the island, a tour guide will drive us to the Baltra Airport and then assist us with the check-in process for the flight back to Quito.

Upon arrival in Quito, you will be taken to Papallacta, a small town on the Eastern slopes of the Andes, renowned for its hot springs, to relax and spend the night.

Meals: B/L

DAY 17: DEPARTURE DAY

At an appropriate time, you will be taken to Quito’s international airport in order to take your flight back home or on to your next destination.

Meals: B

  • Services of professional English-speaking guides
  • Accommodation in selected hotels
  • All breakfasts and meals mentioned in the itinerary (B/L/D)
  • Entrance fees to sites in the itinerary
  • Local guides for all excursions and sightseeing
  • All excursions, visits, and entrances mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transfers between the islands (either speed boat or flights)
  • Tips for luggage porters at airports and hotels

Tour Exclusions

  • International & Domestic Flights (can be arranged through us [email protected])
  • Mandatory travel medical insurance and optional cancellation insurance (free Travel Insurance Quote HERE)
  • Beverages and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Items of personal nature
  • Services and entrances not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Airfare (Quito – Galapagos – Quito)
  • Galapagos National Park Fee ($100USD pp)
  • Galapagos Migration Card ($20 USD pp)
  • Passport and visa fees – Covid Tests and costs associated
  • Tips/Gratuities for housekeeping, service staff, guides, drivers, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTES

PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change. Although we always do our best to stick to the itinerary, due to the ever-changing nature of Mother Nature, activities, hotels, and visits are subject to change due to forces beyond our control.

FLIGHTS: Please do not purchase your flights until this tour is confirmed.

PASSPORTS: Must be valid for at least 6 months upon return date to your home country. Proper documentation is the responsibility of each traveller.

VISAS: (responsibility of the traveller)

VACCINATIONS: Please note that travellers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel to most countries. Other vaccines (such as Yellow Fever) may also be required. This is the responsibility of the traveller.

Travel Insurance

Cancellation, Travel, Flight, and Health insurance are required and are the responsibility of the participant to research and secure the appropriate coverage. Click HERE for a Travel Insurance Quote or please email [email protected] for a quote.

Check with your local travel agent /insurance provider/health plan for advice about traveling overseas.

Waiver Form

All participants will be required to sign a Waiver Form prior to departure.

SAMPLE HOTELS

QUITO – Mama Cuchara

OTAVALO – Hotel Otavalo

SAN CRISTOBAL – Golden Bay Hotel

SANTA CRUZ – Ikala Hotel

ISABELA ISLAND – Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel

Please note that these are just sample hotels and can be adjusted to best suit your travel needs.

Are you all ready for your next adventure?

Even though we wish you a flawless trip, things can happen, especially nowadays. Make sure you are prepared with a Travel Insurance policy that is right for you. Finisterra recommends Manulife Insurance or World Nomads Insurance. Please feel free to ask us about Covid-19 Insurance Coverage, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance, Travel Medical Insurance, or any other questions you may have.

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR CANADIANS

Travel with confidence knowing that you’re covered with Manulife Insurance.

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TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR EVERYONE ELSE

Explore the world, stress-free, when you book travel insurance with World Nomads.

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Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding our Covid-19 policies.


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