Discover Ecuador's rich tapestry of history and culture on an incredible journey along the legendary Avenue of Volcanoes before encountering an astonishing abundance of wildlife during a six-night cruise in the Galapagos Islands. Learn about local traditions, visit indigenous towns, discover dramatic landscapes and get remarkably close to unique wildlife on this unforgettable adventure.

• Quito: 3 nights
• Otavalo: 1 night
• Quito: 1 night
• Galapagos cruise: 6 nights
• Guayaquil: 1 night

13nights Escorted Small Group Tour

Discover Ecuador's rich tapestry of history and culture on an incredible journey along the legendary Avenue of Volcanoes before encountering an astonishing abundance of wildlife during a six-night cruise in the Galapagos Islands. Learn about local traditions, visit indigenous towns, discover dramatic landscapes and get remarkably close to unique wildlife on this unforgettable adventure.

• Quito: 3 nights
• Otavalo: 1 night
• Quito: 1 night
• Galapagos cruise: 6 nights
• Guayaquil: 1 night

13nights Escorted Small Group Tour
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Quito Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to Quito. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. This evening is at leisure. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar). 

Day 2: Quito Begin your exploration of the capital – the world’s first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site – with a visit to the beautifully-preserved colonial quarter. Stroll along the evocative Calle La Ronda and visit the Caminos de San Roque, an educational project which helps to keep the city’s rich heritage alive, before learning how to make traditional quesadillas at a local bakery. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Quito Leave the city on a full-day excursion, driving past emerald valleys and craggy peaks as you journey through breathtaking scenery on the way to Cotopaxi National Park which is dominated by the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano – one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Enjoy a welcome lunch at the charming Hacienda San Agustin del Callo, a working farm which was built on the remains of an Incan palace and is one of the most important archaeological Inca sites in Ecuador. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar). B, L.

Day 4: Quito to Otavalo Travel north through beautiful mountain scenery to the colourful market town of Otavalo which is renowned for its handicrafts and hand-woven textiles. En route, visit Mira Lago to enjoy spectacular views of the San Pablo Lake and Imbabura Volcano, and the attractive town of Calderón. Continue to Peguche to see a pretty waterfall which is believed to have healing powers. Visit a local tailor’s shop to see local artisans creating traditional woven waistbands, and visit workshops which specialise in handcrafting musical instruments. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Medina del Lago. B, L, D.

Day 5: Otavalo to Quito Soak up the stunning scenery during a short boat trip on Laguna de Cuicocha, a crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano. Visit the nearby town of Cotacachi and browse for souvenirs. Continue to Otavalo Market, home to the Panamerican Highway’s most famous Indian market. Here you’ll find a colourful array of ponchos, scarves, blankets and many other crafts such as weavings and jewellery. Mingle with locals at the colourful fruit and vegetable market before visiting the Mercado la Compañia de Jesus, a beautiful neoclassical house with its own rose plantation. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar). B, L.

Day 6: Quito to the Galapagos Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island in the Galapagos (approx. 2¼ hours). On arrival board the MV Santa Cruz II. Dock next to Mosquera Islet, a long, narrow sand bank surrounded by lava reefs. Watch sea lions play in the shallow reef and learn about the islands’ fragile eco-systems. There will also be a chance to go snorkelling here. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 7: San Cristóbal Island Disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal’s capital and drive to the southern shore to Cerro Colorado, home to a giant tortoise breeding centre. You can also spot the endemic San Cristóbal lizard and San Cristóbal mockingbird. This afternoon, head to Punta Pitt at the eastern tip of the island and admire spectacular views of the shoreline. Take a panga (dinghy) ride along the coast before enjoying some time to swim, snorkel or kayak. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 8: Santa Fe Island & South Plaza Island This morning, take the dinghy over to the beautiful white-sand beach on Santa Fe Island which is home to many sea lions. Walk past prickly pear cacti and spot endemic land iguanas. You then have the option to snorkel, swim or take a trip in the glass-bottom boat. After lunch, visit South Plaza island which was formed by geological uplift. The island is home to the largest population of land iguanas in the archipelago. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 9: Santa Cruz Island Visit the town of Puerto Ayora, the islands’ main settlement and continue to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise breeding centre. Head to the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch and experience a completely different eco system. There are several options available this afternoon which can be discussed in advance with your expedition leader. After the activities, return to Puerto Ayora and reboard your ship. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 10: Española Island Disembark at Punta Suarez, home to the highest concentration of endemic species throughout the archipelago. During a walk along the coast you may spot endemic waved albatrosses (April-December), blue-footed boobies, hood mockingbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, among other species. You’ll also have the chance to see the island’s blowhole which sprays water high into the air at high tide. After lunch on board, visit Gardner Bay, a picture-perfect white coral beach. Observe sea lions, mockingbirds and finches while relaxing at the nearby Osborn Islet before swimming, snorkelling or kayaking. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 11: Santa Cruz Island & North Seymour Island Travel by panga to Eden Islet off the coast of Santa Cruz. Watch blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s time for snorkelling, and, if weather permits, a ride in the glass-bottom boat and kayaking. Continue to North Seymour Island which was lifted from the ocean floor by a volcanic event, resulting in flat plateaus. A tiny forest of palo santo trees is usually bare until rain brings it into bloom. This island is a real highlight for bird lovers as it’s home to colonies of swallow-tailed gulls, two species of frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies – if you’re lucky you may even get to see their mating ritual which involves the males showing off their colourful feet with an elaborate display of strutting, high stepping and stamping. You can also see sea lions and marine iguanas. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 12: The Galapagos to Guayaquil Disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil (approx. 2 hours). Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Stay: Hilton Colon Guayaquil. B, L, D.

Day 13: Guayaquil This morning is at leisure so you’ll have time to explore the city before transferring to the airport for your overnight flight to the UK. Alternatively, you may choose to make Ecuador and the Galapagos your starting point for an epic South America adventure and continue to your next chosen destination. B.

Day 1: UK to Quito Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to Quito. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. This evening is at leisure. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar).

Day 2: Quito Begin your exploration of the capital – the world’s first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site – with a visit to the beautifully preserved colonial quarter. Stroll along the evocative Calle La Ronda and visit the Caminos de San Roque, an educational project which helps keep the city’s rich heritage alive, before learning how to make traditional quesadillas at a local bakery. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Quito Leave the city on a full-day excursion, driving past emerald valleys and craggy peaks as you journey through breathtaking scenery on the way to Cotopaxi National Park, which is dominated by the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano – one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Enjoy lunch at the charming Hacienda San Agustin del Callo, a working farm which was built on the remains of an Incan palace and is one of the most important archaeological Inca sites in Ecuador. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar). B, L.

Day 4: Quito to Otavalo Travel north through beautiful mountain scenery to the colourful market town of Otavalo which is renowned for its handicrafts and hand-woven textiles. En route, visit Mira Lago to enjoy spectacular views of the San Pablo Lake and Imbabura Volcano. Continue to Peguche to see a pretty waterfall which is believed to have healing powers. Visit a local tailor’s shop to see local artisans creating traditional woven waistbands, and visit workshops which specialise in handcrafting musical instruments. Approx. journey time: 2 hours, 82 miles. Stay: Medina del Lago (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Otavalo to Quito Start the day with a visit to the Otavalo Market, home to the Pan-American Highway’s most famous Indian market. Here you’ll find a colourful array of ponchos, scarves, blankets and many other crafts such as weavings and jewellery and mingle with locals at the colourful fruit and vegetable market. Soak up the stunning scenery during a short boat trip on Laguna de Cuicocha, a crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano. Visit the nearby town of Cotacachi and browse for souvenirs in the leather market. Approx. journey time: 2 hours, 82 miles. Stay: Hilton Colon Quito (or similar). B, L.

Day 6: Quito to the Galapagos Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island in the Galapagos (approx. 2¼ hours). On arrival board the MV Santa Cruz II. Dock next to Mosquera Islet, a long, narrow sand bank surrounded by lava reefs. Watch sea lions play in the shallow reef and learn about the islands’ fragile ecosystems. There will also be a chance to go snorkelling here. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 7: San Cristóbal Island Disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal’s capital and drive to the southern shore to Cerro Colorado, home to a giant tortoise breeding centre. You can also spot the endemic San Cristóbal lizard and San Cristóbal mockingbird. This afternoon, head to Punta Pitt at the eastern tip of the island and admire spectacular views of the shoreline. Take a panga (dinghy) ride along the coast before enjoying some time to swim, snorkel or kayak. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 8: Santa Fe Island & South Plaza Island This morning, take the dinghy over to the beautiful white-sand beach on Santa Fe Island which is home to many sea lions. Walk past prickly pear cacti and spot endemic land iguanas. You then have the option to snorkel, swim or take a trip in the glass-bottom boat. After lunch, visit South Plaza island which was formed by geological uplift. The island is home to the largest population of land iguanas in the archipelago. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 9: Santa Cruz Island Visit the town of Puerto Ayora, the islands’ main settlement and continue to the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise breeding centre. Head to the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch and experience a completely different ecosystem. There are several options available this afternoon which can be discussed in advance with your expedition leader. After the activities, return to Puerto Ayora and reboard your ship. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 10: Española Island Disembark at Punta Suarez, home to the highest concentration of endemic species throughout the archipelago. During a walk along the coast you may spot endemic waved albatrosses (April-December), blue-footed boobies, hood mockingbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, among other species. You’ll also have the chance to see the island’s blowhole which sprays water high into the air at high tide. After lunch on board, visit Gardner Bay, a picture-perfect white coral beach. Observe sea lions, mockingbirds and finches while relaxing at the nearby Osborn Islet before swimming, snorkelling or kayaking. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 11: Santa Cruz Island & North Seymour Island Travel by panga to Eden Islet off the coast of Santa Cruz. Watch blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s time for snorkelling, and, if weather permits, a ride in the glass-bottom boat and kayaking. Continue to North Seymour Island which was lifted from the ocean floor by a volcanic event, resulting in flat plateaus. A tiny forest of palo santo trees is usually bare until rain brings it into bloom. This island is a real highlight for bird lovers as it’s home to colonies of swallow-tailed gulls, two species of frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies – if you’re lucky you may even get to see their mating ritual which involves the males showing off their colourful feet with an elaborate display of strutting, high stepping and stamping. You can also see sea lions and marine iguanas. Stay: Santa Cruz II. B, L, D.

Day 12: The Galapagos to Guayaquil Disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil (approx. 2 hours). Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Stay: Hilton Colon Guayaquil (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 13: Guayaquil This morning is at leisure so you’ll have time to explore the city before transferring to the airport for your overnight flight to the UK. Alternatively, you may choose to make Ecuador and the Galapagos your starting point for an epic South America adventure and continue to your next chosen destination. B.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

Perfect for wildlife-lovers keen to explore the Galapagos Islands in depth, as well as delve into Ecuador's culture and history.

Good to know

• For guests over 16. Other operators may permit children under 16 on the cruise

• Average group size of 10 guests

• A maximum of 16 guests for land section (90 for cruise).

What to expect

• This itinerary is subject to change and late amendments due to weather and ocean conditions or National Park regulations

• Dry landings involve guests stepping from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock; wet landings involve guests stepping into knee deep water and wading ashore

• Galapagos National Park fee/tourist card are included

• A good level of fitness is required

• Wet suites are available to rent

• Comfortable walking shoes and rubber-soled shoes are recommended

• Tipping is customary and at your discretion. We recommend tipping at the end of your cruise.

Accommodation on tour

The MV Santa Cruz II is one of the largest and best-equipped ships in the Galapagos and it has one of the most experienced and professional crews in the archipelago. Head out on Zodiacs for shore excursions, spot whales or dolphins from the observation platform, and relax on board in the Jacuzzi or on the Sun Deck. Activities include kayaking, snorkelling with sea lions, and glass-bottom boat excursions. There are 50 spacious cabins, an elegant and spacious dining room, lounge, bar and library.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £739

Is this for you?

Perfect for wildlife enthusiasts who are keen to explore a unique, untouched and spectacular part of the world.

Good to know

• For guests over 16
• Average group size of 8 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests in Ecuador. Ship accommodates 90 guests and you will share activities and excursions with the other guests
• Journey times do not take into account stops or local traffic conditions
• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag
• A good level of fitness is required.

What to expect

• Itinerary is subject to change and late amendments due to weather and ocean conditions or National Park regulations
• Dry landings involve guests stepping from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock; wet landings involve guests stepping into knee-deep water and wading ashore
• Galapagos National Park fee and tourist card fees are included
• Tour is not suitable for those with respiratory problems as you will visit altitudes up to 2850m (9300ft)
• Tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties due to the terrain and wet landings
• Wetsuits are available to rent for approx. US$17 (subject to change)
• Comfortable walking shoes and rubber-soled shoes are essential
• Tipping is customary and at your discretion. We recommend tipping at the end of your tour and cruise.

Accommodation on tour

The MV Santa Cruz II is one of the largest and best-equipped ships in the Galapagos and has one of the most experienced and professional crews in the archipelago. Head out on Zodiacs for shore excursions, spot whales or dolphins from the observation platform, and relax on board in the Jacuzzi or on the Sun Deck. Activities include kayaking, snorkelling with sea lions, and glass-bottom boat excursions. There are 50 spacious cabins, an elegant dining room, lounge, bar and library.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £739

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2019 Apr 14; May 12; Aug 19; Sep 15; Oct 13

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• 6-night full-board Galapagos cruise on the MV Santa Cruz II
• Mixed meal plan on land (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• Insightful local tour leaders and expedition guides
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage
• All specified flights.

Tour dates

2020 May 10; Jun 07; Aug 02

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups
• Porterage
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• All specified flights.

Ecuador & Galapagos Explorer

Kuoni highlights

This tour has a strong wildlife focus, with the opportunity to see an abundance of rare and unique species during an extensive six-night cruise around the Galapagos Islands. There are also plenty of cultural experiences in Quito and the Highlands to immerse you in Ecuador's colourful traditions and heritage, as well as breathtaking Andean scenery as you explore the dramatic Avenue of Volcanoes.

Kuoni highlights

This tour has a strong wildlife focus, with the opportunity to see lots of rare and unique species during an extensive six-night cruise around the Galapagos Islands. There are also plenty of cultural experiences in Quito and the Highlands to immerse you in Ecuador's colourful traditions and heritage, as well as breathtaking Andean scenery as you explore the dramatic Avenue of Volcanoes.