Two weeks in Ecuador - Andes, Amazon & Galapagos.
$4695 includes international air, hotels, tours, transportation and so much more!!!!
April 21 - May 6, 2023.
One of my favorite trips ever!!! What an amazing adventure!
This two week odyssey thought Ecuador will be amazing. We'll start in the Andes with Volcanoes, hot springs & waterfalls, spend two nights in a luxury lodge in the Amazon rainforest and cap it off with five days in the Galapagos Islands. Wow!
The country of Ecuador is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world. Between Mountains, jungles and Islands we'll get to see a rich array of flora and fauna that most people only dream about.
WHAT'S INCLUDED: The 15 day package includes international flights from JFK to Quito, all air taxes and fuel surcharges, all transfers and transportation in Ecuador (except domestic flights), three nights in historic Spanish colonial Quito, two nights in the Casa del Suizo lodge in the Amazon rainforest, high quality lodgings (see itinerary) in Otavalo, Papallacta and Banos, five nights on various islands in the Galapagos chain, all snorkeling, boating and other activities mentioned in the itinerary, breakfasts daily, 8 lunches, 2 dinners, English speaking guides and a pre departure meeting and orientation before we go.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED: The domestic flight between Quito and the Galapagos Islands. $328 + taxes at the time of this writing. (As soon as deposits are in the domestic flights will be secured). Entrance fees and transit control card to the Galapagos National Park ($100 + $38) to be paid individually upon arrival. All meals and beverages not noted.
Prices are based on double occupancy. There is a single supplement fee of $825. Airport departure taxes and fuel surcharges are included but subject to change until time of booking,
Transportation to the airport from Easton will be available at an additional charge.
This is a fantastic opportunity to visit three unique and diverse ecosystems within one country. The Andes mountain peaks with their Volcanoes, waterfalls and hot springs are truly majestic and awe inspiring. Relax in the swimming pool in our jungle lodge while gazing at the stunning Amazon rainforest. And, finally, the Galapagos Islands which need no introduction.
There are two ways to see the Galapagos.
One is living aboard a boat. While there are some pros to this method, I think they are outweighed by the cons: seasickness, cramped quarters and you are at the mercy of the sea as to where and when you can go. The other (the one we're doing) is by land. We will stay in comfortable lodges right in the very Islands we want to visit, visiting the sea lion colonies, bird sanctuaries & beaches and snorkeling and being able to explore the towns where we'll be staying. Of course we'll use boats to island hop when we need to, but otherwise we'll be comfortable and close to the action.
Otavalo is a town in the Andean highlands surrounded by volcanoes including the Imbabura Volcano. It's known for its Otavalo Market in the central Plaza de Ponchos, where traditionally clad indigenous townspeople sell colorful textiles and handicrafts.
Papallacta is a small village with natural hot springs at an altitude of 3,300 m in the Andes on the road from Quito which leads into the Amazon jungle.
Banos the gateway to the Amazon, surrounded by volcanoes, hot springs and waterfalls.
Tena Unusually for a jungle transport hub, Tena is an attractive place where many travelers find themselves hanging around quite happily for days before or after a trip into the rainforest.
San Cristobal Island is the easternmost island in the Galápagos archipelago, as well as one of the oldest geologically.
Isabela Island The archipelago's largest island, Isabela, was formed by the joining of five young volcanoes
Santa Cruz Island is known for sandy beaches and the town of Puerto Ayora, the archipelago’s tourism hub. Here, the Charles Darwin Research Station has a breeding program for endangered giant tortoises, which live wild in El Chato Reserve.
Meet you group leader - Manuel has traveled extensively throughout South America and has been to Ecuador three times. He is a native of Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in both Spanish and English, and he's a whole lot of fun!
In addition we'll have local English speaking guides joining us for the entire trip.
Day 1. Friday, April 21. ✈ ARRIVAL to QUITO
Our Avianca Flight 021 departs JFK at 7:15am and arrives in Bogota at 12:05pm. After a brief layover we'll board our connecting flight AV8373 and arrive in Quito at 4:55pm. We'll arrive at Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre Airport in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, a country with the greatest biodiversity in the world
Welcome Cocktail!!! From the airport we'll head north to Ibarra. Accommodation and dinner in the Hacienda ChorlavÍ dating back to 1620. Relax and acclimate on the gorgeous grounds of this old mission.
Day 2. Saturday, April 22. QUITO - OTAVALO
Today we'll explore the region around Ibarra and Cotacachi, with stops at the famous waterfall of Peguche, an indigenous ceremonial center with artisan weavers and crafts and an authentic Ecuadorian lunch.
After lunch we’ll head to the beautiful Lake Cuicocha, located in the crater of the volcano Cotacachi. Accommodation and dinner in the Hacienda ChorlavÍ.
Day 3. Sunday, April 23. OTAVALO - PAPALLACTA
Otavalo is famous for it’s Plaza de los Ponchos market where indigenous locals sell their wares. After breakfast at our hacienda we’ll have the rest of the morning free for shopping.
After lunch we’ll depart for the natural hots springs of Papallacta. It’s a gorgeous ride though the Ecuadorian countryside. The afternoon will be free to enjoy and relax in the pool of our hotel located at the foot of the beautiful Antisana volcano. option: Enter the spa and its hot springs. Overnight in the beautiful Termas Papallacta hotel.
Day 4. Monday, April 24. PAPALLACTA - AMAZON
After breakfast we say goodbye to the mountains and head for the Amazon region, to the city of Tena, Punta Ahuano, and transfer to canoes for the ride to our Jungle lodge in the Amazonian rainforest. There’s nothing basic about this lodge. Clean, comfortable rooms with well-equipped bathrooms, complete with a swimming pool, a well stocked bar and delicious meals.
Reception by the lodge staff and lunch. Maybe go for a short nocturnal walk in the jungle or other activity. Be on the lookout for monkeys!! Dinner and overnight at the highly rated Casa del Suizo lodge.
Day 5. Tuesday, April 25. AMAZON
After breakfast we can hike in the tropical forest to observe its flora, the different trees, medicinal plants and their use. We’ll see all kinds of wildlife, and there are plenty of other optional activities to choose from.
Visit of a community or a Quechua indigenous family to learn about their way of life, customs, their handicrafts and agricultural products and their food. Dinner and overnight at the Casa del Suizo lodge.
Day 6. Wednesday, April 26. AMAZON – BAÑOS
After breakfast, transfer by canoe to our motor coach and return to the Andes, to the thermal city of Baños, located at the foot of the Tungurahua volcano (16479 ft) with natural thermal pools and beautiful waterfalls.
On the way to Baños we’ll visit the Pailón del Diablo waterfall, The Devil’s Cauldron. At 80 meters in height, it’s one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Ecuador. Walk out on the suspension bridge far an up close and personal experience!
In the afternoon you can relax and explore the city of Baños with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Overnight in the Hotel Sangay in Baños.
Day 7. Thursday, April 27. BAÑOS - COTOPAXI – QUITO
This morning we’ll head back north to Quito on the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" with some spectacular scenery.
Along the way, we’ll visit the Cotopaxi National Park, where you can see the Cotopaxi, one of the highest and most active volcanoes in the world (19347 ft in moderate activity since August 2015). We’ll hike around the Lake of Limpiopungo with tons of local flora and fauna and pretty views at the foot of the volcano and/or climb to the volcano refuge from 14763 to 15748 ft (depending on the weather).
Lunch at a hacienda en route.
In the afternoon, back “home” to historic Quito. Enjoy a panoramic sightseeing visit of the historical city center and it’s Spanish colonial architecture. Overnight in the Quito hotel with sweeping vistas and lots of walkable bars and restaurants.
Day 8. Friday, April 28. QUITO
Today is a rest day. We'll have the option to visit the equator at the "Middle of the World" visitor center and some free time in the afternoon and evening in the historic colonial center of Quito. Overnight in the Quito Hotel.
Day 9. Saturday, April 29. QUITO – GALAPAGOS – SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND
After breakfast this morning we’ll transfer to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands.
After we check into our home for the next two nights we’ll head out to see our first sea lion colony! The visit begins with a hike along a trail observing marine iguanas and shore birds until you reach the beach where you will see a colony of sea lions.
Continue along a beachfront path (conditions permitting) until we reach a cliff where you can usually see Blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, Swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters and Procellariids. The view is amazing! Back to the beach for our first Galapagos snorkeling session to see turtles, sea lions, a wonderful variety of fish and more. Return to the perfectly located Zayapa hotel, right across from the ferry dock on the corner of Charles Darwin Ave and Herman Melville St! Overnight in the Zayapa hotel (or similar).
Day 10. Sunday, April 30. SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND and KICKER ROCK
After breakfast we’ll head to the quay for our boat ride to the “Kicker Rock”, the remains of a volcanic cone jutting out from the sea. Above the water, the monolithic rock formation rises over 150 meters above the Pacific, where it provides a habitat and home to many tropical birds such as blue-footed boobies and frigates. But the true charm of this place is under the waves. The natural erosion of this ancient cone has created a canal between the rocks that offers the ideal site to observe a variety of sharks and rays, such as the sea eel, the white tip reef shark, the Galapagos shark and the hammerhead shark. Lunch on board.
Afterwards we’ll enjoy swimming and snorkeling at Puerto Grande Beach. Then return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and overnight in the Zayapa hotel (or similar).
Day 11. Monday, May 1. SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND - SANTA CRUZ ISLAND - ISABELA ISLAND
This morning we have an early 6:30 departure and a two hour boat ride to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island where we’ll visit the reserve of semi-wild turtles. "El Chato", the natural habitat of the famous giant Galapagos tortoises and home to many nesting wild birds such as Finches, Scarlet flycatchers and Cattle egrets.
We’ll also have the chance to visit a crazy underground lava tube complete with lights so you don’t bump your head! Return to Puerto Ayora for some free time for lunch and shopping. It's the largest town in the Galapagos and there are lots of boutique shops and restaurants.
After lunch we board our trusty ferry for our 2 hr ride to Isabela Island, our home for the next three nights.
Day 12. Tuesday, May 2. ISABELA ISLAND
After breakfast we’ll visit the Flamingos Lagoon and enjoy the beautiful beach of Isabela. Visit the wetlands along the ocean and have lunch in the afternoon at a local restaurant.
Then we will continue our journey aboard a boat to the islet "Tintoreras" to observe a colony of marine iguanas and penguins. Then snorkeling nearby to observe tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, rays and seahorses. We’ll spend the night on Isabela Island at the Albermarle Hotel (or similar) right on the beach in Puerto Villamil.
Day 13. Wednesday, May 3. ISABELA ISLAND
On Isabela Island, after breakfast, we’ll head up to the Sierra Negra volcano, which is the largest and one of the most active volcanoes in the islands.They have one of the most important biological reserves in the world. This is where Charles Darwin studied the flora and fauna in the nineteenth century and wrote "The Origin of Species".
Or just hang on the beach and drink some coco locos!
Food: Breakfast/Box Lunch/-
DAY 14. Thursday, May 4. ISABELA ISLAND - QUITO
Breakfast at our hotel. Today we say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands and take an afternoon flight back to Quito. On the way to the airport we will take a ferry directly to Baltra Island where the airport is located.
We’ll arrive back to our “home” in Quito in time for dinner and a last evening in the city. Overnight in the Quito Hotel.
DAY 15. Friday, May 5. QUITO ✈ INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
We’ll have a nice relaxed day before our 6:05pm international flight home by way of Bogota, on Avianca flight AV8376. Our connecting flight AV020 departs Bogota at 10:55pm and we’ll arrive back at JFK the following morning.
DAY 16 Saturday, May 6 HOME
Our Avianca flight 020 from Bogota will arrive at JFK at 5:50am and we'll be home in time for breakfast.