Latin America > Ecuador > Quito

11-Day The best of Ecuador and Galapagos Tour from Quito

Tour code: 423-8689
From USD $3038
  • Available: As the Calendar listed
  • Depart from: Quito, Ecuador
  • Language: English
  • Duration: 11 Days 10 Nights

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Highlights:

A truly unique lifetime adventure blending the spectacular geography of Ecuador's mainland of active volcanoes, immense canyons, vast tropical rain forests and powerful waterfalls, with the enchanted Galapagos Islands.

Tour Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Quito
  • Day 2
    Trek in Cotopaxi National Park (55 km)
  • Day 3
    Biking in the Cloud Forest
  • Day 4
    Canyoning in the Amazon
  • Day 5
    Rafting
  • Day 6
    Quito - Isabela Island (1410 km)
  • Day 7
    Isabela Islands
  • Day 8
    Puerto Villamil - Sierra Negra Crater - Volcan Chico - Tintoreras Islet
  • Day 9
    Isabela Islands - Santa Cruz Island (17 km)
  • Day 10
    Santa Cruz Island - Baltra Island - Quito
  • Day 11
    Quito
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Day 1 Quito

Welcome to Quito! Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the town of Quito and the surrounding area.
In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel at 18:00pm for a welcome briefing and there will be plenty of time to discuss details and answer any questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an informational and acclimation day.

Day 2 Trek in Cotopaxi National Park (55 km)

After breakfast, we leave Quito driving southwards along the gorgeous Avenue of Volcanoes, getting the chance to see the colorful Andean fields. On our way, we will reach 12,000 feet. (3657 meters). After arriving at the Cotopaxi National Park, we will go hiking around Limpiopungo lagoon of the foot hills of the Rumiñahui volcano. From here, we have the best views of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. If the weather conditions permit, we will attempt to trek to the basecamp at 16000 ft. (4876 m).

In the afternoon we continue our drive towards the Llanganates National Park, known as the sacred mountain, until we reach the town of Baños, located at the entrance of the Amazon. Here we can enjoy the best night life by drinking cocktails and dancing salsa.

Trekking Activity Level - Moderate, this adventure is at high elevation, make sure you drink a lot of water or coca tea (in case of altitude sickness). The trail is on dirt surrounded by bushes and grass.

Trekking Time: 3 hours

Trekking Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)

Elevation Gain: 1200 feet (366 meters)

Minimum Elevation: 12700 feet (3870 meters)

Maximum Elevation: 13850 feet (4222 meters)

NOTE - In case the weather and physical conditions are good you may trek to the Basecamp and the maximum elevation would be 16000 feet. (488 meters)

What to wear today: Pants, t-shirt, fleece, hiking shoes, gloves, hat, buff, bring rain jacket and pants, water bottle, sun cream, binoculars.

Day 3 Biking in the Cloud Forest

This morning we cross country mountain bike from the Llanganates National Park down to the Pastaza River Canyon, enjoying the beauty of the special cloud rain forest climate. The road brings us through some Andean farms and a great canyon with many waterfalls.

While descending into the jungle, we will have a breath-taking view of Banos, a town well known for its spectacular location right at the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. The volcano is the main attraction of this region. In the afternoon we will have some time to explore the town and also go to The Swing of the End of the World, where the winner of the 2014 National Geographic photo contest took his photo.

Biking Activity Level - Moderate, mostly downhill, the first 45 minutes up hill and then afterwards just down. You will be riding on cobblestone and dirt roads for the first two hours, and 1 hour on asphalt.

Biking Time: 3 hours

Biking Distance: 20 miles (32.18 km)

Elevation Gain: 500 feet (152 meters)

Minimum Elevation while Biking: 5500 feet (1676 meters)

Maximum Elevation while Biking: 10450 feet (3185 meters)

NOTE - In case you want to avoid the uphill, there will always be the support of our transportation, and our driver will be happy to give you a ride till you decide to join the biking group.

What to wear today: Shorts, t-shirt, fleece, tennis shoes, buff, bring rain jacket and pants, water bottle, sun cream, mosquito repellent.

Day 4 Canyoning in the Amazon

This morning we will hit the road of the waterfalls. The first stop will be at the Bride´s Veil waterfall, where we will take the Tarabita (cable car) to get across the Pastaza River. Then we will hike down to the Pailon del Diablo waterfall, the second highest in Ecuador.

Later, we will go deeper into the jungle inside the Llanganates National Park. The name "llanganates" comes from "beautiful mountain" in the local native language. Here, 600 years ago, the Incas hid their golden treasures. Many explorers have spent years looking for these treasures, some have even disappeared with no luck in this dense pristine jungle.

During a hike through the tropical rain forest, we will climb through several waterfall canyons. Our local native guide will teach about the incredible flora and fauna that thrive in this unequaled habitat.

We will spend the night at the Local Basic Jungle Lodge run by a kichwa indigenous family.

Canyoning Activity Level - Moderate, the jungle exploration will be done while hiking on the canyon that has been formed by the waterfalls and the Pimpilala river, so you will be hiking on irregular terrain and water surrounded by rain forest. The weather can be hot and humid which would make this a very refreshing activity. The highest waterfall to climb is 16 feet (4.87 meters) and the rest are smaller, we will use helmets, ropes and bring optional harnesses for people that want to use them.

Canyoning Time: 3 hours

Canyoning Distance: 2 miles (3.22 km)

Elevation Gain: 500 feet (152.4 meters)

Minimum Elevation while Canyoning: 2000 feet (609.6 meters)

Maximum Elevation while Canyoning: 2500 feet (762 meters)

What to wear today: Shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, water sandals, rain jacket, water bottle, sun cream, mosquito repellent.

NOTE - This is a very basic accommodation, you will have your own room but will have to share the bathroom. The rooms are very clean and all the beds have mosquito nets. There is no electricity in the room but there is a social area where you can have access to power to charge your batteries.

Day 5 Rafting

We greet the day by preparing our gear to paddle the wild waves of the Jatunyacu River, located just a 5 minute drive from the homestead. The beauty of this river will inspire you and reveal the magic of the Amazon rain forest.

After a very important safety briefing from our rafting guides, we will start our class III rafting expedition down the Jatunyacu River, well known for its clear waters and awesome rapids. We will have a lot of fun playing some games and also exploring one of the canyons. The end of the journey offers us a stop for a picnic, prepared by our guides.

We conclude our day with a drive back up to the Andes, stopping to visit the paradise of hummingbirds at the Guango Reserve.

Finally, we will continue up to Papallacta, where we will stay the night and recharge in the volcanic hot springs high in the midst of the cool Andes.

Rafting Activity Level
- Moderate, this is considered a class III river for white water rafting. There are some awesome waves and also plenty of flat water to go swimming. The river is surrounded by amazing views of the Amazon landscape.

Rafting Time: 4 hours, depending on the level of the water, it can be less time.

Rafting Distance: 18 miles (28.96 km)

What to wear today: Shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, water sandals, water bottle, sun cream, mosquito repellent.

Day 6 Quito - Isabela Island (1410 km)

Today we will catch a morning flight to Baltra Island. Once we arrive, we head to the town of Puerto Ayora, the largest town in Galapagos. From here we will take a quick boat ride to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago and where the most of the volcanic activity in the Galapagos is reported. During our inter-island travel, we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October).

Remark:

  • Flying time: 3 hours (including the stop at Guayaquil city on the way to Baltra airport)
  • Speed boat time from Santa Cruz to Isabela: 2 hours (If you normally get seasick is very important to take medication before getting on the boat)
  • What to wear today: Light pants, t-shirt, fleece top, tennis shoes, hat, sun cream.

Day 7 Isabela Islands

Explore the amazing formations of lava created by the last eruptions of the volcanic island along the seashore. This magical place has historically been filmed by BBC and National Geographic for their documentaries. It is a labyrinth of lava arches comprised of crystal clear water full of sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, sharks and more. Here, we will have the best snorkeling opportunity with all these beautiful animals, including the curious Galapagos penguins playing around. In the afternoon, we return to Puerto Villamil to go kayaking in Tintoreras to observe sea lions, penguins, turtles and marine iguanas. This will be the best snorkeling opportunity with all these beautiful animals, including the curious Galapagos penguin playing around. Before or after the trip, you can enjoy some optional activities such as snorkeling at "Concha de Perla", taking surfing lessons, biking or just relax on the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela Island. We recommend you to take some time to visit the giant tortoise breeding center located walking distance from the hotel..

Remark:

  • Boat ride to the Lava Tunnels time: 1 hour each way
  • Snorkeling time: 2 times of 1 hour each
  • What to wear today: shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, sandals or tennis shoes, bathing suit, hat or baseball cap, sun cream, mosquito repellent, buff.

Day 8 Puerto Villamil - Sierra Negra Crater - Volcan Chico - Tintoreras Islet

After driving up from Puerto Villamil to the trailhead, we will prepare our backpacks for the hike into a young forest ecosystem, a world of recent geological history. Our destination is the rim of Sierra Negra Crater, an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005. Upon arrival, we take in breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive, lava-filled crater, a caldera that is over six miles across at its widest point. If we feel energetic enough, we can continue our hike to Volcan Chico, a secondary crater that has a wild landscape of puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations; great examples of the dramatic geological events that have formed the Galapagos Islands over millennia. In the afternoon we will visit Tintoreras Islet, located at a short distance from Puerto Villamil and home to a great variety of wildlife.

Remark:

  • Hiking time: 4 hours both ways; Hiking distance: 6 miles (9.6 km) (10 miles -16 km- optional to Volcan Chico); Hiking elevation gain: 950 feet (289.5 meters); Maximum elevation while hiking: 3687 feet (1124 meters)
  • Kayaking time: 2 hours
  • Snorkeling time: 1 hour
  • What to wear today for hiking: shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes, rain jacket, hat, buff, sun cream, mosquito repellent.
    What to wear today for kayaking and snorkeling: sandals, shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, bathing suit, hat, sun cream, mosquito repellent.

Day 9 Isabela Islands - Santa Cruz Island (17 km)

In the morning, traverse from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. During our island crossing, we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October). Once we arrive, we will check in at the hotel. We will then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to Learn more about many of the endemic species seen in the wild, as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts on the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon, we will head to the 'El Chato' reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoises. Hiking through El Chato's beautiful landscape with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We will also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches and frigatebirds, which gather to wash the salt off their feathers at a fresh water lake. Afterwards, return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town..

Remark:

  • What to wear today: shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes or sandals, hat, rain jacket (for the boat ride), sun cream.

Day 10 Santa Cruz Island - Baltra Island - Quito

After our final breakfast in the Islands and the last photos taken with the sea lions, we will transfer to Baltra's airport in time to catch the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.

Day 11 Quito

Today our trip will end and you will have your International departures. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!

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