EC10 Ecuador & the Galapagos Tour
An 'Experiential Adventure'
Discover Quito, the beautiful high Andes landscape and the diverse island of the Galapagos; eco-friendly boutique hotels, splendid meals and superb hospitality; Soft adventure, comfort, local community and wildlife interaction; Local certified naturalists and some of the best adventure guides in the world; Support the local communities with our eco-friendly activities and green hotels that minimize your environmental impact on the destinationINQUIRE ABOUT THIS TRIP
- DATES & PRICES
- FULL ITINERARY
- MAP & HOTELS
- TRIP INFORMATION
Dates & Prices
Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.
|Start Date||End Date||Price||More Info|
|Fri 05 Jun 2020||Sun 14 Jun 2020||$5380 USD$4880 USD||Discounted|
|Fri 20 Nov 2020||Sun 29 Nov 2020||$5380 USD$4880 USD||Discounted|
|Fri 04 Jun 2021||Sun 13 Jun 2021||$5380 USD|
|Fri 19 Nov 2021||Sun 28 Nov 2021||$5380 USD|
Due to the nature of internal flights, this tour requires a $1000 per person deposit
Optional Single Supplement: $1320 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $660 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.
This Ecuador & the Galapagos tour is an exciting addition to our itineraries that include the superlative Galapagos Islands.
The most attractive aspect of this trip is that it is not a cruise, but rather a land-based adventure that allows for more time and greater immersion in not only the natural splendour of this special place, but also in its unique and little-known island culture.
Unbeknownst to many is that the Galapagos actually supports a small human population, which it has since the early-to-mid 19th century. Subsisting on fishing turtles, lobster, and grouper, and small-plot farming and foraging, the earliest settlers - from Ireland, Norway, Germany, and mainland South America, among other places - established homesteads and small settlements, many of which still exist today.
Almost 60 years since 97% of the archipelago was declared a national park, four of the islands have permanent habitations and about 30,000 people live on the islands year-round.
Development is limited to the 3 percent of the islands that aren't part of the park and Galapagos's inhabitants live within specific urban and rural zones.
Organized tourism began in earnest in the 1970's, and around 170,000 people now visit the islands every year, most doing so as part of a cruise.
Though cruising will always be an extremely popular way of visiting the islands and do a fantastic job overall, we are delighted to offer our travellers an alternative that allows you to see and experience what it's like to live on the islands, either as a descendant of the early settlers, an adventurous entrepreneur, or as an iguana!
This is why we call this an "experiential" adventure; on this special journey you will experience all that this incredible place has to offer the inquisitive visitor, while doing so in a way that promotes sustainable tourism.
Islanders who used to eke out a living fishing turtles are now your expert guides; the delicious cuisine that you will experience is, as a much as possible, sourced locally; and stringent rules about waste and recycling ensure a minimal impact.
Add to this a continental component, which provides a sumptuous glimpse into pre- and post-colonial times in the Andes, and an optional 4-day Amazon extension (tour code EC11), you have a breathtakingly-varied Ecuadorian experience and one of the most intimate and immersive trips we offer anywhere.
*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.
The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.
Please note that this is one of the hotel properties we use for our highland experience. Due to ultimate group ... and size, and considerations related to room availability, we alternate between Zuleta and Hacienda Mirage, both of which offer the same level of accommodation quality and a similar highlands experience.
Zuleta is a colonial working farm of 4,000 acres (2,000 hectares) that belongs to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years. The hacienda has 14 beautifully- decorated bedrooms, all with their own fireplace; Antique gardens along with cozy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere. Delicious home Ecuadorian cuisine among other types of gastronomic adventures are offered daily, prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the Hacienda.
Click here to visit hotel website
Please note that this is one of the hotel properties we use for our highland experience. Due to ultimate group ... size, and considerations related to room availability, we alternate between Hacienda Zuleta and Hacienda Mirage, both of which offer the same level of accommodation quality and a similar highlands experience.
Perched on a hillside, less than three hours from Quito, you will find the hidden secret of Ecuador: a hotel mixed with the native flavour of the Andes. Most of our accommodations, with fireplace and sitting area, have a beautiful view of the mountains and gardens. This former hacienda is a paradise of plant life filled with a thousand fragrances from its bougainvilleas, hibiscus, roses and orchids that you will also find in freshly cut bouquets in your room.
Click here to visit hotel website
Location: San Cristobal
Located over the oceanfront boardwalk and only a few meters away from Playa de Oro beach. In addition to the ... location in town, Casa Opuntia features beautiful facilities, breakfast cuisine, and
strong sustainability practices. Breakfast renowned for having some of San Cristobal’s top breakfasts, including our American one, which is described as a mixture of delicious local and international food.
Click here to visit hotel website
Casita de la Playa
The Casita de la Playa or “Little Beach House” was once a quaint guest house with a perfect beach location. ... time it has gradually bloomed into a beautiful 12-room hotel. A short walk on the boardwalk will bring you right into Isabela’s small town square.
Our brand-new, modern-rustic décor is sure to please our every guest. The lounge opens directly onto the beach, and the second-floor social and breakfast area offers majestic views of the Isabela coast. Our rooms, most with ocean views, are a pleasant balance of modern and local Island design, which makes for an authentic and unforgettable Galapagos getaway.
Click here to visit hotel website
Location: Puerto Ayora
Within 5 minutes' walk from various restaurants, Hospedaje Vista al Mar is located in Puerto Ayora city centre. Free WiFi ... is available, and the Puerto Ayora restaurant district is 50 metres away.
All the rooms are simply furnished and have a flat-screen cable TV, a fan and a wardrobe. The private bathroom includes free toiletries and a shower with hot water. Linens and towels are provided.
Click here to visit hotel website
Breakfast and dinner daily (hotels and restaurants) and all but one lunch per full tour day. Bottled water where required. All accommodation, transport (including internal flights), sightseeing and entrance fees for sites and activities noted in the detailed itinerary (including Galapagos park entry fee, snorkel and biking equipment).
We include gratuities for local drivers, restaurant staff, and porters (if available). The gratuities for your main Galapagos guide and your guide in the highlands are on your own account (we will provide guidance in your pre-trip package).
Airport transfers are included for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.
International airfare to/from the tour. Guide gratuities as noted above, one lunch, bottled/alcoholic drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance.
Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs, shopping, and locally-paid departure taxes.
Seasonality and Weather
There’s no real summer and winter in Ecuador, and its weather generally varies by regional geography with temperatures determined more by altitude than by season or latitude. The warmest (by a few degrees) and driest months in the sierra (mountains) are June to September, though this is complicated by various microclimates found in some areas. Outside these months (when we schedule our tours), typical sierra weather offers sunny, clear mornings and cloudy, often wet, afternoons. We avoid the busy (and expensive) Christmas and summer school holiday seasons.
GALAPAGOS: As stated above, we avoid June, July, August and September and late December to January, peak seasons across Ecuador due to European/North American school holidays.
December to May are the warmest months in the Galápagos, with the wind dropping for calmer seas. Although there is also a greater chance of rain, these are the best months to visit if you’re spending any time on a boat. June to November is drier and cooler. Wildlife is visible and active throughout the year in the Galápagos, although certain species and activities (such as turtles laying eggs and sea lions being born) are restricted to specific times.
Transport and Travel Conditions
As opposed to our other programs in Ecuador and around the world, this one doesn't feature any long road journeys. On this tour we concentrate on smaller geographical areas, enhancing the depth of our experience rather than trying to cover as much ground and as many sites as possible. Local road transport is provided by van or minibus, and longer distances are covered by short-hop air connections and boat transfers. Because of the limitations presented by transport, boutique accommodation, and water-based excursions, we limit group size to a maximum of 16.
This trip also departs from most of our "cultural" tours in that it involves certain "soft adventure" elements that require a certain degree of physical fitness in order to fully enjoy our activities and excursions. While any mention of snorkeling is, of course, not mandatory, much of what the isles have to offer is underwater! If you've never snorkeled before, you mustn't be daunted. This isn't technical diving and all you need to do is paddle and breathe, often not very far from shore.
Our cycling excursion describes an easy, reasonable flat route along the coast. Just as with the snorkeling on offer, no experience is required for this or any other activity. The walks/hikes as mentioned are on well-worn trails on undulating terrain. Our pace is leisurely and plenty of stops are made over the course of a couple hours. Our guides will be able to assess your limitations and advise as to your suitability as the tour unfolds; however, in order to get the most out of your experience, a certain degree of stamina is important.
On the mainland, our activities are not "active" per se, but you should be aware that Quito and our Estancia are located between 2700-2900m (9,000-9,600 ft). Though most people are not seriously affected, we require that all participants submit a “Self-Assessment” form confirming their suitability for this journey. We suggest that you preview this form, which includes more detail regarding what you can expect on tour, by clicking the “Resources” tab at the top of this page.
Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.
Spectacular, special, unique, intimate, beautifully-located are only a few descriptors for our accommodation on this tour.
For our highlands experience on the mainland, we tend to alternate between two hacienda properties due to consideration related to ultimate group make-up and size and room availability at the time that our tour is confirmed. For full information on Hacienda Zuleta and Hacienda Mirage, please click on the 'Map & Hotels' tab elsewhere on this page.
On the islands our hotels are well-appointed, well-located, surprisingly plush and superbly-managed smaller properties with plenty of island charm.
For full information on hotels and a route map, please click on "Map & Hotels" on the tab above (please note that the properties listed as samples on this site are rather small and can change depending on our ultimate rooming configurations and the timing of our confirmation of the tour).
Staff and Support
Our small group and specialist nature of our adventure dictates the employment of expert naturalist/cultural guides and support staff. On the islands, our program is managed by our Galapagos-based partners and guides. In the highlands, you are in the hands of our estancia hosts and guides.
Because of our small group size, the quality of local staff, and the enormous and unnecessary cost of placing a Tour leader from North America, this adventure will be fully-supported by our trusted partners already at destination.
Maximum 16 plus Tour Leader
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