Ecuador & Galapagos in Depth (Suggested Holiday)
Day 1 - 2 Arrive in Quito and city tour
Day 3 - 4 Visit Otavalo for it's markets, handicrafts, weavers and instrument makers
Day 5 Relax in the termal baths of Papallacta surrounded by beautiful landscapes
Day 6 Return to Quito for a day at your leisure before embarking to the Amazon Jungle
Day 7 - 9 Travel to Coca & stay at the Napo Wildlife Centre in the natural surroundings of the Amazon
Day 10 Return to Quito to get ready for the exciting trip to the Galapagos Islands
Day 11 - 14 Flight to the Galapagos Islands for an exploratory time with nature
Day 15 Tour ends in Baltra (Galapagos Islands), you will travel back to Quito for your onward journey!
Days 1-2 :
Day 1: Quito
Quito is the starting place for your Ecuador adventure, this famous city is one of the highest cities in the world with a elevation of 2800meters above sea level. It’s also the capital of Ecuador and is the only capital in the world to be directly in front of an active volcano.
Our Quito at a glance package offers you with change to soak up the rich history Quito has to offer before heading off into this country to explore. Your package begins with a transfer from the airport to your hotel in the heart of the city where you begin your two night stay.
Day 2: Quito
After a good night sleep its time to explore this historic city and we have included a fantastic city tour into your city package which also includes the Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world). Quito is most impressive for its many churches, colonial buildings and the impressive basilica from the virgin which overlooks the city with spectator view of this unique city.
*Depending on what day during the week you are in Quito and you’re not too warn out from all the sights you have witnessed during the day we recommend having a great night out at the local theatre where you can enjoy an evening show with traditional dancers, it’s a great night out and a great insight to the local culture.
Day 3: Quito to Otavalo
Two hours North of Quito is the famous city of Otavalo. Otavalo is famous for having one of the biggest markets in South America selling unique weaving textiles and a huge animal market on Saturdays, this is defiantly a sight you don’t want to miss and the atmosphere is amazing. Your guide will collect you from your hotel in Quito and transfer you by private vehicle to Otavalo. En-route to Otavalo your driver will stop at the quaint Rose farm for lunch. It’s a beautiful place to visit and take in the lush scenery. Upon arrival into Otavalo you will be checked into your hotel and have the remainder of the day to enjoy this city.
We have two options of hotels in Otavalo for you depending on your comfort level, either our luxury hotel or the comfort hotel (its still 4/5Star) and set in the heart of the Otavalo atmosphere.
Day 4: Otavalo
Today is a full day of breathtaking sights and culture. This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel to start your first journey taking you to a local village where you can see how they live, this village is also famous for their leather. Following the village your guide will then take you to Cuicocha lake, the lakes in Otavalo are recognized as one of the most scenic páramos in the northern highlands. After spending some time at the lake your guide will then stop off at a local restaurant for lunch and then continue on in the afternoon to a local family where you will be shown how to weave heads. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to unwind after your cultural day or to explore the local streets in search of that perfect gift.
Days 5-6 :
Day 5 – Otavalo to Papallacta
After your experience in Otavalo it’s a nice break in the journey to travel onto Papallacta. You guide will meet you in the lobby of your Otavalo hotel for your private transfer to Papallacta. This is a small town but very famous for its thermal baths that are filled with hotel water from the nearby volcano Anti Sana. Papallacta is a wonderful place to relax and soak up the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Now Papallacta is not just about relaxing, yes there are plenty of thermal baths, relaxing treatments (facials, body massages, hydro massage and more) but Papallacta offers more than this; it’s also a ideal place for adventure with numerous treks and nature (plenty of wildlife).
The hotel we have selected is on the entrance route to the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle, this resort offers its visitors health, recreation, adventure and rest
Day 6: Papallacta to Quito
After breakfast and a relaxing morning taking in the sights and sounds Papalalcta has to offer (or perhaps squeeze in another massage or two!). Your driver will then transfer you back to Quito for one night, this afternoon we recommend having some traditional food at the many local restaurants near your hotel in Quito. Have an early night as you will want to be bright eyed for your experience into the jungle the following day.
Days 7-8 :
Coca, Napo Wildlife Centre
Day 7 – Quito to Coca
This is a great journey for anyone who is wanting something a little different while exploring Ecuador and is home to hundreds of bird species. Your journey starts off with a transfer to the airport from you hotel in Quito and an early morning flight to Coca. Once you arrive into Coca you are greeted by a representative of the Napa Wildlife centre and transferred to your accommodation where you will stay for 3nights.
The Napo Wildlife centre is the biggest and most luxurious eco-lodge in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Situated close to the Anangucocha lake, this lodge is run by a local community and in that way providing work for them all. Tailor made tours, great service and a small capacity make this an exclusive stay in the middle of the jungle.
Departing from Quito, 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 embarkonto a comfortable covered motor boat. Here we start a canoe ride along the Napo river forabout 2 . hours approx., lunch box in route. Along the way birds like herons, kingfishers andothers can be spotted. After arriving at NWC’s entry dock we disembark for restroom thentake a majestic and peaceful 1 hours dugout canoe ride surrounded by trees overhead,paddling along a narrow creek that connects to the lake where the lodge is located. Goodpossibilities of monkeys sights of various species as well as large birds like toucans, parrots oreven macaws. Late afternoon arrival to the NWC lodge by the overwhelming view of theAñangu lake, welcome drink and facilities. After dinner optional cayman (alligator)observation around the lake and natural sounds at night.
Day 8 Napo Wildlife Centre
Early wake up to reach the best and easy access parrot clay licks in Ecuador, about 1 houraway from the lodge, guests reach there just before parrot activity kicks off at the clay lickbetween 7:30 to 8:30. A total of 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen. Avisit that depends on weather conditions but usually successful.Later, hike along forest trail to visit to the Quichua community of Añangu and sharing timewith a family on their activities. Return to the creek and hike through a Terra Firme Forestfor about 30 minutes until we arrive to the second parrot clay lick where if the weatherconditions 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.
Days 9-10 :
Napo Wildlife centre, Quito
Day 9: Napo Wildlife centre
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 attached 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. Safety is the priority.
The platform at the top of the tree was constructed by tree platform specialists as well. From top to bottom, there is no finer canopy experience in Eastern Ecuador. Flocks of colourful tanagers pass right through the canopy of the tree, Blue-and yellow Macaws fly past, in nearby trees Spider Monkeys search for fruit, two species of large toucans call in the early mornings and afternoons, and the life of the forest canopy opens before you. Birds that are virtually impossible to see from the forest floor far below are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence. The canopy tower opens a whole new world to guests of the Napo Wildlife Centre!! Served lunch at the lodge.
Afternoon visit to a terra firme trail, hike along primary forest to discover the forest interior, possibilities of finding lizards, colourful manakins or the unique and endemic Golden mantle tamarin monkeys. After the hike, explore the lake and creeks by dugout canoe with great possibilities of running into a Giant otter family on the way
Day 10: Coca Jungle to Quito
Its 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 motorized canoe in order to return back to Coca, arrival approximately after 2 hours boat ride up river, in order to check for Coca – Quito flight, schedule to be announced according to departure details and arrangements. When you arrive into Quito you will have 1night back in Quito before heading off to the highlight of Ecuador.
Day 11: Quito to Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz
This morning you will be met in the lobby of your hotel for your transfer to Quito airport to board your flight from Quito to Galapagos Islands. When you arrive into Santa Cruz your guide will be waiting for you to bring you over land to the island Santa Cruz. During the trip you will make a crossing with a ferry, this will take about 10 minutes. Depending on the time you fly, you will arrive around 11:30 am in Santa Cruz, where you can check in at the Red Mangrove Adventura Lodge After lunch will be start the tour to El Garrapatero Beach, 25 minutes bus ride to the right spot were an easy trail start to lead you to the beach in only 15 more minutes. This beautiful white sandy beach is known for its flamingos and finches and a place where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. This is one of Santa Cruz's most peaceful and tranquil settings, the 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) of sand that compose El Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. It is about 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) northeast of Puerto Ayora. Surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees, the beach is home to an incredible array of birds, most notably, flamingos and mockingbirds. You can also find marine iguanas, shrimp, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, and patillos amongst the white sands and clear blue water. There's also a freshwater lake nearby that is home to even more tropical animals, such as herons, grebes, and many of shore birds. Enjoy the wonderful swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
After being back in Santa Cruz a welcome cocktail will be served, a briefing will take place and you will have dinner.
Day 12 - Santa Cruz to Floreana (Galapagos Islands)
At 08:00 am you will go on a turtle adventure! The trip starts with a tour to “Los Gemelos” (the twins); two enormous lava craters. The short, easy hike to each of these craters is amazing withflora and fauna you will only find on several places in the world. This tour gives you a goodimpression of the power of nature and the large biodiversity of the highlands of Santa Cruz. Hereinafter you will visit the 600 hectares big reserve where giant turtles walk around, graze and eat. It can be muddy, so you will be offered boots (big sizes available). With a truck you drive to the place where the turtles live and from there on you can walk around between these giant animals!
After having visited the turtles, you’ll drive in 5 minutes to the entrance of a lava tunnel. Here you will find stalagmites, stalactites and walls that have the most beautiful colours because of the minerals. Afterwards you get back to the lodge to have lunch. At 02:00 pm you leave to Floreana, this trip takes about 1,5-2 hours. When lucky, you will see dolphins and whales on your way. You will arrive around 04:00 pm. Tonight you sleep in Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge. After a briefing a delicious barbecue will be served. That will be around 07:30 pm.
Days 13-15 :
Day 13: Floreana - Isabela (Galagapos Islands)
At 08:00 am you leave to the highlands of Floreana, where the guide will tell you all about the first inhabited island of the Galápagos. You walk by the “Asilo de la Paz”, where you’ll see a source that has been used by pirates, whalers and the later inhabitants of Floreana, because it is one of the few sources in which fresh sweet water is available whole year round. Also you’ll visit the “Cuela de los piratas” (the pirate cave) where pirates used to hide and where the first inhabitants, the family Wittmer, gave birth to their son Rolf. Your guide will tell you all about the mystery of Floreana. Around 11:00 am you leave for Isabela, a boat trip of about 1,5-2 hours
When you arrive at Isabela, you check in at Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge where a warm lunch will be served. After lunch you’ll navigate in a small boat, very calmly to Las Tintoreras, so that you’ll be able to see enough birds and fishes. On Las Tintoreras you walk over a lava field in the direction of a channel where you can see sharks resting in the shallow water. The channel is situated between a small natural lava knob and a huge lava field. The environment is indescribable: the raven lava field, the emerald green see, the forest green mangroves and the volcanoes that will be shrouded by clouds...You won’t forget this island very easily! Also you can snorkel with sharks, sea lions, penguins and can see mangroves that are underwater. Do not worry, the sharks are not aggressive. When you get back to the Lodge you have time to take a shower before dinner is served around 07:00 pm.
Day 14: Isabela - Santa Cruz
At 08:00 am you drive from the village along the most beautiful, white beach of the Galápagos: Long Beach (3 kilometers). You’ll climb the stairs of the Cerro Orchilla for a spectacular view! Chances are big that you’ll see marine iguanas sunbathing at either side of the road and don’t be surprised to stop because a giant sea turtle is crossing the street.
After this you’ll visit the “Muro de las lagrimas” (the wall of tears). From 1946 to 1959 Isabela was a penal colony of Ecuador. The prisoners needed to build a wall of huge lava stones. Because of the hard circumstances in which the prisoners lived and worked, this site is known as the wall of tears. Also you’ll bring a visit to the turtle breeding centre, where different kind of turtles are protected who are threatened with extinction. Around 11:00 am you’ll navigate from Isabela to Santa Cruz, this will take about 1,5-2 hours. You will arrive around 01:00 pm in Puerto Ayora, where you will check-in in Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge and lunch will be served. At 03:00 pm you leave for the Charles Darwin Research Station.
After this tour you’ll have some time to buy some souvenirs. Around 07:00 pm dinner will be served.
Day 15: Santa Cruz - Baltra (airport) Galapagos Islands
After breakfast, you will be brought to the airport of Baltra, three hours before you leave, for your flight back to the mainland. Your Best of Ecuador package concludes at Baltra airport.