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Wonders of Ecuador and the Galapagos

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£2399/per adult
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Overview

Straddling the equator and home to spellbinding landscapes (from thick Amazon jungle to boulder-strewn Andean highlands and the beautiful Galápagos Islands), Ecuador is one of South America’s must-sees.

Quito is the country’s capital, nestled up high in the Andean foothills at a whopping 2,850 metres in altitude. Built on the foundations of an ancient Incan city, you expect Quito to be a living, breathing historical treasure trove; its 16th and 17th century churches, Moorish-style structures and well-preserved colonial centre are certainly a nod to its historical heritage. 

After wandering Quito and visiting the Equator Monument to the north, you’ll venture to Mindo (nestled in the Ecuadorian rainforest) and then to indigenous Otavalo (a town fringed by volcanoes). Sample Mindo’s local chocolate, feed bird-sized butterflies at the nursery and then tour Otavalo’s handicraft market. 

Continue the tour with visits to other dinky quaint towns and villages such as Cotacachi, Peguche, hot springs at Papallacta and finally visit the snow capped active stratovolcano of Cotopaxi before heading back to Quito.

Next, you’ll be whisked off to the paradisiacal Galápagos Islands – a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean lying 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador. The islands are unparalleled in beauty and considered one of the best places in the world for wildlife-viewing.

Visiting Isla Baltra first, a small, flat and arid island brimming with prickly pear cacti, you’ll then make your way to the island of Santa Cruz, home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, giant Tortoises, Sea Turtles and Marine Iguanas. Its natural harbour, Academy Bay, offers ample opportunity for swimming and snorkelling within crystal-clear waters. 

And after combing the Santa Cruz highlands for enormous tortoises and snorkelling within azure waters, fall in love with the island of San Cristóbal (geologically speaking, one of the oldest of the Galápagos archipelago) and Isla Lobos, where Sea Lions, Blue-Footed Boobies and Frigatebirds roam, before making your way back to mainland Ecuador for a night. 

Whats Included

Hotel stays blended with jam-packed excursions to islands and rainforests!
  • Return international flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights 
  • A relaxing 2 nights’ accommodation at the 5 Star Hotel Swissôtel Quito Hotel
  • An enjoyable 2 nights’ stay at the El Septimo Paraiso, Ecuador
  • A lovely night spent at the Hostería Hacienda Pinsaqui, Otavalo
  • A 1 night’s accommodation at the Termas de Papallacta
  • A wonderful 2 nights’ stay at the The Hotel La Casa De Judy in the Galápagos 
  • A fabulous 3 nights spent at the Hotel Blue Marlin on the island of San Cristóbal in the Galápagos
  • A lovely night spent at Unipark Hotel in Guayaquil 
  • Visit to the Equator Monument at Mitad del Mundo 
  • Brief stop-off at the stunning Pululahua Crater
  • Visit to a local chocolate distributer in the small town of Mindo (you’ll get to try some chocolate too!)
  • Excursion to Mindo’s cloud rainforest, filled with exotic flora and fauna
  • Butterfly nursery tour, giving you the chance to feed the butterflies 
  • Tour of the famous indigenous village of Otavalo
  • Visit to the small village of Cotacachi 
  • Excursion to the ecological reserve of Cotacachi Cayapas where you’ll hike along the rim of Cuicocha Crater Lake
  • Visit to the small village of Peguche where you’ll help prepare a delicious lunch with the help of locals 
  • A relaxing soak in the hot springs of Papallacta 
  • Excursion to the snow-capped volcano of Cotopaxi and tour along Limpiopungo Lake
  • Visit to Isla Baltra in the Galápagos Islands 
  • Excursion in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island
  • Lunch at a private ranch 
  • Half-day tour of Academy Bay with swimming and snorkelling 
  • Guided tour of the Charles Darwin research station
  • Excursion to Isla Lobos (the island of sea lions) and San Cristóbal’s powdery beaches 
  • Never go hungry: enjoy a daily breakfast, 6 lunches and 1 dinner during your holiday
  • All equipment included: snorkelling mask and fins, life vest, walking sticks for Cotopaxi National Park visit
  • Benefit from a certified English-speaking guide and a local nature guide for Galápagos National Park

Highlights

Islands of undeniable beauty, exotic wildlife and luxury hotel stays await!

  • Get up close to the stunning wildlife of the Galápagos Islands – Snorkel with Sea Turtles, Stingrays and Sea Lions in Academy Bay and comb the highlands of Santa Cruz for giant Tortoises
  • Venture to the idyllic island of Isla Lobos – ‘the island of sea lions’ – and wander its powdery shores
  • Experience the chocolate making process and sample exquisite chocolate in an area famed for this delicious treat. 
  • Haggle at the bustling handicraft market of Otavalo.
  • Experience Ecuadorian culture and help prepare a delicious homemade lunch with a local family…
  • Feel your troubles float away at the blissful hot springs of Papallacta
  • Hike through Cotopaxi National Park, home to a mighty active stratovolcano and the serene Limpiopungo Lake
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