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Highlights of Ecuador

Overview

Choose this Tailor-Made itinerary or customise to create your own unique journey. Departs daily to suit your travel plans. Price based on Standard accommodation. Superior or Deluxe also available.

This snapshot tour of the wonderful country of Ecuador is a nature lover’s dream. From the lively city of Quito, tour the “enchanted Islands” of the Galapagos on board a comfortable yacht, followed by an unforgettable trip to the Amazon jungle.

Trip Code: ECTSHOE

Location: Quito, Galapagos, Coca, Amazon

Flights: Internal flights included in itinerary. Ask us to help book your flights to/from South America.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS ITINERARY

  • This itinerary packs the best of Ecuador, experience the amazing colonial architecture of Quito and the amazing wildlife offerings of both the Galapagos and Amazon.

  • This itinerary will introduce you to some of the most unique wildlife in the world including seals, iguanas, tortoise and an almost endless array of colorful unique fish and bird species. 

  • You will be able to visit the Charles Darwin research station in the Galapagos, renowned for its conservation efforts for the Galapagos tortoise a truly unique and beautiful creature. 

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel.
He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office. Please note this service is with a driver only.

Arrival transfer in Quito

Sitting at 2,850 metres above sea level high in the Andean foothills lies Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The city, a short distance from the Equator and with an amazing backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is known for its stunning colonial architecture and art-work. Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas. It was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.

Quito

This morning you will be collected from your hotel for your tour of Quito. Quito’s historic centre is one of the largest, least-altered and best preserved in the Americas. Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, it was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.

Head towards the Old City and Centro Histórico, beginning with a walk along the Street of the Seven Crosses or García Moreno as it is officially known, one of the most emblematic streets in Quito. The street gets its name from the stone crosses that are found outside the seven religious buildings that line the route. These include the Chapel of San Lazaro, El Carmen Alto Monastery, La Compañía de Jesus Church, the 17th century El Sagrario, the Cathedral, La Concepcion (the first monastery in Quito, dating back to 1575) and Santa Barbara Church that was built in 1550 and restored after the earthquake of 1987.

The walking tour starts from Plaza Independencia, now known as Plaza Grande, the main square in Quito, flanked by several important buildings. It takes in the Presidential Palace, also known as the Palace of Carondelet and the main Cathedral whose stone cross is still intact. The Cathedral is home to the ornate tomb of Mariscal Sucre, an important figure in Quito’s independence, a plaque that marks the site of President Gabriel Garcia Moreno’s death in 1875 and a famous painting of the Last Supper. The tour also visits La Compañía de Jesus Church, the most ornate church in Quito, capped by green and gold domes and dating back to 1605 when its construction began. Built in the baroque style, the outer façade is carved from volcanic stone and the interior is covered in gold leaf. It is here that former president Gabriel Garcia Moreno is buried.

The tour continues to the San Francisco Plaza where the San Francisco Church and Monastery is located, an amazing building with impressive façade and atrium, baroque interior with Moorish influences and the winged Virgin of Quito as its main altar. Construction of the San Francisco Monastery began in 1534, the largest colonial building in the city. Although some of the building has been rebuilt as a result of earthquake damage, the chapel of Señor Jesús del Gran Poder features the original tiling.

On completion of your tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Entrance fees are included. Please note this is a private tour.

Half Day Quito City Tour

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

San Cristobal airport. Reception at airport. Transfer IN. Welcome on board Galaxy Cruise. Welcome drink and lunch.

Tuesday: San Cristobal Island

Panga Ride, swimmingand snorkeling. Description of the place: this place is the habitat of seals, frigates, finches, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the small endemic Galapagos snake. Here, we can swim and snorkeling in the same place. Leon Dormido: This is formed by two rocks of approximately 148m above sea level named thus by its similitude with a lion we will pass between both rocks but we will not disembark because is not possible to do it.

Lobos Island

Breakfast early in the morning. Our first visit: Bahia Gardner: wet landing, activities for this visit: short walking, swimming, snorkeling, and observation of seals colony.
The sea lion is one of the animals in Galapagos which gets the total attention of the visitors in the Galapagos: they are curious and playful, but at times aggressive; they are nice and loving, but also lazy. In Gardner Bay, we are going to find many of them relaxing in the beach enjoying of the sun. Snorkeling in the area where we will be able to swim with them, besides you observe these fascinating animals, we will swim with the sea turtles, diversity of tropical fish, marine iguanas etc. We will return to the ship, to sail toward the following island. Lunch.

Wednesday: Española Island

Dry landing, activities that were carried out in this place: walking; recommendable clothes: sports shoes, hat, cap, solar lotion. There is not color more amazing and outstanding in this tropical desert island that the blue-foot boobies; they have an impressive form to ''greeting'' and it is a real spectacle to see the ritualistic parade of the entourage. In several islands we can admire this bird due to that nests and feed are located in diverse places close to the coast. In this place we will be able to observe the Albatross with a weight from three to four kilograms and an importance of more than two meters, this creature of aristocratic aspect is one of the largest birds of the islands. Around twelve thousand couples have their nests in the Española Island (some few in the Silver Island near of main land Ecuador). This specie is considered endemic from this island during our walking we will be able to observe these fantastic birds, we will be part of the beautiful and only landscapes that offers this island. Important Note: Albatross will be not possible to see between January and March. Also we will observe colonies of marine iguanas, zayapas, mask boobies, finches, Española cucuves, and seagulls unique of the island. Our walking will be for lava rock path where we will be able to admire the hollow blowers. The vegetation of this island is of red mangrove. Delicious Snacks and fresh beverages expect for you.

Suarez Point

Breakfast early in the morning. Our first visit will be Post Office (Mail Bay): Wet landing. Activities in this place: short walk, swimming, snorkeling, review of the mail. Description of the Place: it is situated to the north of Floreana Island. The Post Office Bay name is because of Capitan James Colnett installed an empty Ron barrel, to use it as post office for the whaling fleets that frequented for a long time the Galapagos Islands. You can send some postcards from here to your friends and relatives or interchange letter to deliver in their destiny. Return. Delicious snacks and beverages will be expecting for you and lunch.

Thursday: Floreana Island

Wet landing, snorkeling and short trekking. This point is located at west of Floreana Island and it is famous to has a dark green beach due to the great quantity of olivine crystals. You can see many marine invertebrates, as well as also sea lions, sea iguanas, the frigates and pelicans.

Punta Cormorant

Activities in this place: panga ride and optional swimming. Panga ride around of a small island, this place was a satellite islet of the island Floreana. Here, we will find a group of rocks that seem to a crown, due to the constant erosion caused by the sea. It is one of the better places to do snorkeling (superficial diving) in the interior and around of the crown, excellent visibility to admire a great variety of fishes and sea animals.

Devil's Crown

Santa Fe: Wet landing, activities for this day: hiking, swimming and snorkeling. Description of this place: With 24 Km2 and 60 meters of height above sea level, it is an almost central island that has a unique place of visit: an incredible bay with turquoise water protected by a natural barrier of rocks and from you can appreciate colonies of seals and hawks flying over. It is home of one of the two species of land iguanas that have the islands, their main food are the leaves and fruits of the large and thick cactus. Crabs, nocturnal herons, marine iguanas, cucuves and land doves are seen frequently. The Bay is excellent place to swim and to do snorkeling. Marine Tortoises, rays, sea lions and tropical fishes are an amazing attraction! Snacks and refreshing beverages expect for you on board. Lunch. Navigation toward South Plazas Island.

Friday: Santa Fe & South Plazas Island

South Plazas are two small islands, created by land uplift where land iguanas are known to be smaller; they nest during warm time. The hike goes along an extraordinary cliff where sea birds nest.
Approximately, in this Island there are 1000 sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki)and they are located in south side of Plazas

South Plazas

We take our breakfast very early in the morning. Our luggage and all your belongings should be list to check out in the ship.

Saturday: Santa Cruz Island

Our last visit: Estación Charles Darwin: Charles Darwin Station is located in the Main Port of Santa Cruz Island, we will take our private bus that take us to the entrance of the center of breeding where we go to appreciate tortoises and land iguanas in captivity, this center is the main site of breeding of the islands. Animals that were in danger of extinction in the different islands are maintained in captivity and thanks at dedicated work of several institutions some species are saving, here was where the most famous tortoise ''the Solitary George” the last survivor of the species of Pinta Island lived. Transfer Out.

Charles Darwin Station

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel.
He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office. Please note this service is with a driver only.

Arrival transfer in Quito

Free time in Quito to explore this wonderful city on your own.

Free Day in Quito

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

At Quito International Airport you will be met by La Selva representative in the National departure area in order to assist you with the check-in process and give you a short briefing about the journey.

After a 30 minute commercial flight to Puerto Francisco de Orellana “El Coca”, our representative will transfer you by private transportation to the city's main dock at the Napo River. One of our naturalists is going to be there, and is going to describe to you with detail what is going to happen the next three hours. Our representative will provide you a box lunch, and a water bottle, and for those that want a cold beer.

An amazing fluvial journey of approximately two and a half hours in a motorized canoe will be the beginning of a great experience in the tropical rainforest.

At the end of the motorized canoe ride, you will be dropped off at La Selva's main dock and your first close encounter with the rain forest begins. After using the facilities and putting mosquito repellent on, a short 3 minute walk will lead you to a creek where a small canoe will take you on a fantastic 30 minutes paddle canoe ride along a narrow creek that connects with Garzacocha Lagoon in order to reach La Selva lodge. During this part of your trip you will have chances of finding wildlife with the help of the naturalist in charge of the transfer.

Do not forget that the only thing you must take care of is your carry-on and camera equipment. Your other luggage will be transported by our lodge´s staff.

The resident manager will greet you with a delicious juice, snacks and a short briefing with general information about the lodge.

INTRODUCTION TO THE RAIN FOREST: One of our naturalist guides is going to give you basic information about the tropical rain forest, Amazonia and the operation area of La Selva Lodge. The idea is to begin the activities with some background information about the amazing place that you have just arrived.

MATAPALO TRAIL: This trail was named after the Spanish name of the famous Strangler fig (Ficus sp) one of many remarkable trees that you will find during this short introductory walk. We also see a majestic Mahogany tree that has been in the area for more than 400 years. Here your native and naturalist guides will start to share with you part of their knowledge about flora and fauna of the tropical rain forest. Because of the time of the day, you will enjoy of the most amazing light and the transition of the activity between diurnal and nocturnal creatures.

SNACKS: At the bar you will find snacks that you can enjoy with a cocktail prepare by one of our bar tenders. Cocktail is not included.

19H30 - Dinner

Welcome to the Amazon

In due time please board your flight from Quito to Coca.

Depart from Quito to the lodge

TORRE TUCANETA OR MANDI FOREST: After a 20 minutes’ walk, you reach the tower. This amazing construction will allow you to be at 120 feet above the forest floor, and enjoy of the most amazing scenery of the canopy of the tropical rain forest. With the help of a spotting telescope your guides will show to you the colorful birds from the canopy including toucans, tanagers and parrots and with luck, the famous howler monkeys or a sloth. In the way back to the lodge you make a hike that is going to take you around 2 hours. During this time our native guide is going to show you some of the medicinal plants that they still use and the naturalist will provide information about ecology and natural history.

There is the option to visit the beautiful lagoon of Mandi Cocha. After one hour and a half of walking we reach this lagoon where we can have an example of an Igapo Forest, which is the temporary flooded forest by black water. Here we might see different species of birds and some of our guest with extra luck might encounter the very elusive giant otters.

CHARAPA TRAIL: This trail lasting one and a half hours, starts at the back of the lodge and ends on the edge of the lake. It's a wonderful loop that begins with a walk, returning to the lodge by canoe. Along the way we will try to sight different groups of mammals, monkeys and birds that in the afternoon hours get close to the lakeshore to look for food. Apart from a clear afternoon, you can also enjoy a beautiful sunset from the canoe.

NIGHT CANOE RIDE: With the help of a spotlight, your guides will take you in a paddle canoe around the lagoon looking for caimans, boas, bats, owls, night mammals and more nocturnal wildlife. If the sky is clear, we might have the chance to do some stargazing.

Dinner

Discover Amazon Trails

La Selva EcoLodge have a set of activities where you can choose from onsite, allowing you to create your own personalised experience deep in the Amazon. Below are suggested options you may like to choose from through-out your stay.

In the morning you will set off to see the spectacular parrot clay lick. A short canoe ride will see you headed back toward the Napo River. The motorised canoe ride will let you enjoy one of the most amazing natural wildlife displays in all South America. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets will approach the treetops and later will come down to a clay bank to eat this soil rich in minerals. It is essential to have binoculars to enjoy it. Once you identify the different species of parrots and parakeets, your naturalist guide will provide a lot of interesting information about this spectacular behaviour. The motorized canoe ride will continue for approximately 30 more minutes of bird watching along the river banks.

You may also choose to see the cultural offerings of the Amazon. An Amazonian Kichua woman will receive you on their community centre to explain to you about the life of the kichuas in Amazonia. A visit to the garden “chacra” followed by a visit to the house is going to show you that part of the Amazonia that you do not find on the maps: the Amazon people. Here you will have a deeply enriching and authentic look into the lives of these Amazonian communities. Share stories, learn of Amazonian lifestyles or even purchase handicrafts to take back in grateful reflection of this unique experience.

In the evening you may take part on a nocturnal trail walk. Here you will have the unique opportunity to enjoy the mysterious sounds of the nocturnal creatures at night. Perhaps you may even spot some of these unique species. Following these activities you will receive an evening departure briefing, providing you all the necessary information about your departure proceedings for the following morning.

Discover Amazon Trails

In accordance with your last night briefing, you will have an early wake up call, breakfast and departure from the lodge.

The lodge staff will assist you with your checked luggage. Motorized canoe ride upstream to go back to Coca, where our representative will take you to the airport to help you with your checked luggage and boarding passes.

Departure Day

This is a suggested itinerary. All Tailor-Made journeys can be customised to suit. Add in additional highlights, spend more time in areas of particular interest to you, or extend your journey to visit other regions of Latin America or Antarctica.

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ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Upgrade your Ecuadorian Amazon experience to include a unique luxury lodge. Mashpi lodge is located on a scenic plateau. The lodge experience uniquely interweaves Ecuadorian history with exotic wilderness experiences. Enjoy sightings of nocturnal animals and witness the jungle come to life in one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World. Find out more.

  • Experience unique Andean lifestyles and Ecuadorian culture on an authentic and historic Hacienda. Hacienda Zuleta has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. Enjoy Ecuadorian cuisine from the Haciendas organic garden, visit a cheese factory, take a horse ride to an Andean Condor reserve. This offers an intrinsic cultural experience to any Ecuadorian itinerary. Find out more.

  • Why not add a trip to Peru onto this amazing itinerary? Experience the unique cultural and scenic offerings of one of South Americas most popular destinations. Visit amazing cities like Lima and Cusco where a unique blend of urban modernisation meet, undertake the incredible journey to the Sacred valley and of course, bare witness to the archaeological marvel that is Machu Picchu. Find out more.

WHY TAILOR-MADE?

  • Personalise your itinerary
  • Access to great flight deals
  • Choose your accomodation
  • Tailored travel insurance options
  • Choose your preferred dates
  • Cater to your travel needs

Pricing & date

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Important Information

  • Private airport transfers
    Internal flights as part of this itinerary
    Accommodation with breakfast daily
    Sightseeing with local English speaking guides as detailed in itinerary
    Other meals where stated

    EXCLUSIONS:
    International flights
    Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable)
    Travel insurance
    Beverages
    Personal expenses
    Gratuities for tour guides and drivers
    Any items not mentioned as included

  • Available upon request, contact us for more details. 

  • All entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice.

    This is a Tailor-Made itinerary which can be customised to create your own unique journey. Contact us to discuss your travel plans.

  • Season and availability.

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Your Destination Specialists will turn your South America adventure dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first-hand experience, our Destinations Specialists will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

Chimu is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

While visiting the many national parks, heritage sites, museums and landmarks our travellers are encouraged to explore remain culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in our Travellers Guides and provided during your travels by guides and staff.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE