ECUADOR AND GALAPAGOS
Quito to Galapagos
Quito | Otavalo | Lasso | Cotopaxi National Park | Salcedo | Quilotoa | Baños | Galapagos
• Round-trip airfare
• Round-trip airport transfers
• 10 nights accommodation in a double room
• 10 breakfasts, eight lunches, 10 dinners
• All transportation and sightseeing as per the itinerary
• English-speaking tour guide
• Free chaperones based on single supplement (may be modified to required ratio)
• Any activities not mentioned in the itinerary
• Travel insurance (available upon request)
• Personal expenses, e.g. passport fees, meals not mentioned in the itinerary
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DAY 1 | ARRIVE IN QUITO
Arrival to the Quito International Airport. Transfer in a private vehicle to the hotel with a tour guide.
Dinner on your own.
Overnight in Quito (1 night)
DAY 2 | QUITO - OTAVALO (B, L, D)
After breakfast at the hotel, we start our tour through the modern section of Quito, before moving towards the historical area of the city. Our tour will take us along the narrow cobble-stoned streets of the 16th century UNESCO World Heritage Site of oldtown Quito.
We’ll take a walk and visit the colonial temples and monasteries of this urban jewel, starting at Independence Square, flanked by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and City Hall. We’ll also pass by the exquisite stone façade and the interior of La Compañía de Jesús church, which is one of the most notable of Latin American churches, due to the gold leaf décor and its baroque style.
We then continue to the church of San Francisco, with its impressive façade and atrium leading into its gilt interior. The interior is styled in Moorish Baroque, with a winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. At the Basilica, we will take a number of walkways and ladders to reach the tower at approximately 314 ft. (approx. 95 m), which offers an exceptional view of Quito.
We stop for lunch, before travelling northward out of the city towards the Equator line, 14 miles (approx. 22km) from Quito, where a monument and museum now mark the location. We will continue on to Otavalo where we will have dinner.
Overnight in Otavalo at the community (2 nights)
DAY 3 | OTAVALO (B, L, D)
Today we will join the local community in a traditional minga, which is communal work, involving the whole community, addressing a certain problem that they are facing.
Lunch is at the community, as well as dinner.
DAY 4 | OTAVALO - LASSO (B, L, D)
Starting early in the morning we continue to participate in the minga.
After lunch we leave for Lasso arriving in time for dinner.
DAY 5 | LASSO - COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK - SALCEDO (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we visit the National Park Cotopaxi which includes the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi (19,375 ft., approx. 5,900 m). Whilst in the park, we will see the mountainous landscape known as Paramo.
There’s time for walking through the park, bird watching and lunch before travelling to Salcedo and dinner at our hotel.
Overnight in Salcedo (1 night)
DAY 6 | SALCEDO - QUILOTOA - BAÑOS (B, L, D)
Today we drive to Quilotoa loop, a waterfilled caldera and the westernmost volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3 km wide caldera was formed by the collapse of the volcano following a
catastrophic eruption about 800 years ago. The caldera has since accumulated a 250 m deep crater lake, which has a unique green colour as a result of dissolved minerals. Fumaroles are found on the lake floor and hot springs occur on the eastern flank of the volcano.
After lunch, we continue on to the village of Baños, which is named after the thermal baths located in the area. Dinner is at our hotel.
Overnight in Banos (1 night)
DAY 7 | BAÑOS - QUITO (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we have free time to get to know Baños, sitting 1,800 m above sea level, which is located at the foot of the active Tungurahua volcano, sitting at 5,100 m above sea level.
Baños is a popular tourist area for its famous hot springs, scenery and the accessibility to the jungle. Whilst in the village, there are a number of points of interest to explore, including visiting the Church of the Dominican Order, a place of pilgrimage of Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa.
You can also watch the preparation of Melcocha, a type of sweet made with molasses using traditional methods, or wander through the fruit and vegetables market.
Later in the day we will see waterfalls, thermal springs, and breathtaking scenery, of the Andean region surrounding Baños. We'll visit the spectacular Pailón Del Diablo waterfall (weather permitting) and the beautiful Manto de la Novia waterfall. Both waterfalls are known as the most impressive waterfalls in the area. Pailón Del Diablo has the 10th highest waterfall in the world. If we have enough time we'll go hiking as well.
After lunch we continue on to Quito and dinner at our hotel.
Overnight in Quito (1 night)
DAY 8 | QUITO - GALAPAGOS (B, L, D)
After breakfast at our hotel we will leave for the airport to fly to Baltra in the Galapagos. We will be met at the airport by our naturalist guides and continue on to our hotel.
After lunch, we will visit the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will see the giant tortoises of the Galapagos, in a natural reserve. Approaching these enormous and slow-moving animals in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. The tortoises can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years!
We return to our hotel for dinner later in the evening.
Overnight in the Galapagos (3 nights)
DAY 9 | GALAPAGOS (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will visit some of Isabela Island, the biggest island in the Galapagos. The majority of the island is protected by the National Park, but today we will start early and reach the highlands by bus to begin our 6-hour trek to the Sierra Negra and Chico volcanos.
Sierra Negra has the second largest active crater in the world and has a radius of 10 km. Chico volcano is a cone of Sierra Negra. We will walk through the moon-like scenery and have great views all over Fernandina and the north of the island. This gives us an idea of how the islands looked at the time of their creation.
We will stop for lunch at a local farm and tortoise reserve and afterwards we will continue to Santa Cruz Island, before relaxing over dinner at your hotel.
DAY 10 | GALAPAGOS (B, L, D)
Today we start with an early breakfast, before taking a 2.5 hr flight to Floreana. Once we arrive we will have time to snorkel at Loberia beach and then visit the highlands, at a place called "Peace Asylum" where the first colonists of the island settled.
Our guide will talk about the history of the colonists and we may even see a Galapagos giant tortoise.
Lunch is in a small village called Velasco Ibarra. Afterwards, we will continue to Santa Cruz Island and have dinner at the hotel.
DAY 11 | GALAPAGOS (B, L, D)
For our final day, we visit the Charles Darwin Station. This is an international non-profit research station dedicated to the conservation of the Galapagos ecosystem and provides the
knowledge and support to ensure the conservation of island biodiversity through scientific research and complementary actions.
We will observe frigate birds, sea lions, blue footed boobies, iguanas and turtles, including Lonesome George, the famous last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island.
Afterwards we transfer to the airport for our flight to Quito for our flight home.
Prices will be quoted in CAD.
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