Discover the magic of Ecuador’s biodiversity and culture on an exploration of the rural and urban charms of one of South America’s most rewarding destinations.
Along the Andean Mountain range, we admire the contrast between the equatorial lushness in the valley and glacial volcanoes. Find treasures at the largest market in South America where numerous Indigenous groups come to barter, and later slip into a world of “ahhh” in a mountain hot spring. Our tour takes us into the Amazon to see jungle wildlife, its impressive landscapes with exotic flora, fauna and a rich culture. Best of all, all these flavours are packed together, so you can be in the jungle in the morning and at the foot of a glacier by the evening. Ecuador also has one gem found nowhere else: the pristine and fragile Galápagos Islands, made famous through the writings of Charles Darwin.
The ultimate experience for animal lovers awaits in the Galápagos Islands, where an incredibly diverse and unique array of wildlife prosper among fertile lands and volcanic formations. 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.
Quito (2 nights), Otavalo (1), Papallacta Hot Springs (2), Amazon (3), Banos (1), Quito (1), San Cristobal Island (2), Santa Cruz Island (3), Quito (1)
Tour date: April 10th to 26th, 2020
Tour cost: Click Here
Day by Day itinerary: Click Here
Perched high in the Andes, Quito is dramatically situated, squeezed between mountain peaks whose greenery is concealed by the afternoon mist. Thanks to one of the largest and best-preserved colonial cores in Latin America, Ecuador’s capital was named the very first UNESCO World Heritage site. Its best-kept secrets are hidden in the narrow cobblestone streets, candlelit monasteries, and leafy plazas that reveal themselves when the mist clears.
Arrive and transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 – Breakfast and Dinner
Following an orientation we set out to explore the rich history of Ecuador’s capital, while experiencing the modern city. Visit Quito’s ancient and bustling Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We stroll through its maze of narrow cobbled streets and into the wide open Plaza San Francisco where Ecuador’s oldest Monastery stands. Explore the fine collection of Ecuadorian art at Museo de Arte Colonial. Travel to over 4100m elevation on the TeleferiQO for a spectacular view of Quito and the surrounding Andean valley and volcanic peaks.
Meet with a local family in the highlands community of San Clemente to learn about their everyday life, before enjoying a traditional lunch.
Spend a night in the Otavalo area and visit its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables.
Visit the home and studio of Don Miguel, a man working to keep his culture’s traditions alive. For thousands of years the indigenous people of the Otavalo region have used the backstrap loom to create their woven goods, however new technologies have slowly been pushing out the tradition. Learn how Don Miguel and his family are working to help revive this ancient art as he demonstrates every step of the process, from cleaning the wool, to naturally dyeing it, to backstrap weaving.
Continue to the Papallacta Hot Springs Resort for onsite hot springs, optional spa treatments, and hiking excursions. There is plenty of time to soak, relax, and enjoy the mountain views.
Enjoy a morning walk through the Guango private cloud forest reserve to learn about the unique flora and fauna of the region.
A free afternoon to enjoy the beautiful mountain settings.
DAY 6 – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Next stop, the Amazon! Along the way we stop for lunch in Misahualli to view the cheeky Capuchin monkeys who call this town home. Continue to Tena to catch our motorized canoe to the Amazon lodge.
Settle in and receive a briefing from the local naturalist guide about the lodge and area.
Day 7 – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Embark on the Arajuno River to visit AmaZOOnico, an animal rescue centre that rehabilitates, reintroduces, and cares for animals who are victims of illegal trafficking.
The balance of the day is free to enjoy the eco-lodge.
Day 8 – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
For bird lovers we take a canoe ride upstream early in the morning to visit a parrot clay lick (Saladero). These clay walls are a natural formation caused by erosion where parrots, parakeets and macaws go daily to eat the mineral-rich clay which helps them digest fruits or seeds. The spectacle is just impressive not only for the color diversity but for the incredible acoustic show of different sounds bids do when licking the clay.
Later, enjoy a unique cultural experience at a local family’s home to learn about their traditions and what daily life is like, living in the Amazon. Tonight there is an optional night walk to learn about the nocturnal creatures of the Amazon.
Day 9 – Breakfast
Depart the Amazon to Baños, a stunning town surrounded by volcanos. Along the way we stop to visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park and discover ethnobotany – the study of the relationship between cultures and the plants around them.
As we make our way to Quito, we stop at Cotopaxi National Park to enjoy a beautiful hike around Limpiopungo Lake and learn about the volcano ecosysytem. Spot many species of birdlife and learn about the flora and fauna of these unique National Parks in the Andean ranges.
After our lunch picnic, we return to our Quito Hotel to get ready for our Galapagos adventure.
Fly to San Cristóbal, the easternmost island of Galápagos and one of the oldest. The principal town is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galápagos.
After lunch, visit the Interpretation Centre and learn more about the history of the Galápagos, sometimes referred to as “the Enchanted Islands.” Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on Mann Beach or swimming with playful sea lions as the frigate birds glide on the thermals.
For dinner, enjoy a sample some of the island’s fresh fish and produce.
Day 12 – Breakfast, Lunch
The day begins with a short boat ride to Isla Lobos, an islet populated by numerous sea lions, which give the island its name. Spend the day snorkeling – a fantastic opportunity to observe the abundant marine life that Galápagos is renowned for. Snorkeling right off the beach in peaceful Isla Lobos, you will see families of sea lions and their inquisitive pups looking to play. You can spot nesting frigate birds and the famous blue-footed boobies resting on the shore. Be sure to bring your camera to catch some snaps at this prime wildlife watching haven.
Back aboard the boat, sail to San Cristóbal and have free time to enjoy the beaches and surrounding areas. Option to hire a bike for a ride around the island or rent snorkeling equipment and search for marine life. Choose to take a walk around the area and enjoy island life.
Travel by boat to Santa Cruz Island. On arrival, visit the highlands of Santa Cruz to see the Galápagos giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. Explore the area and its incredible underground lava tunnels – some are more than 1km (.6 mi) long! Wander along the volcanic tubes and keep an eye out for the (mainly) nocturnal barn owls that sometimes roost here.
Please note: We leave early morning when the seas are the calmest to avoid rough seas. Please bring sea sickness medication if you need it.
Day 14 – Breakfast
Grab a life jacket and go for a kayak adventure in the mangroves of Tortuga Bay. Keep an eye out for a wide variety of marine life, including colorful reef fish, rays, and sea turtles, as you paddle the blue waters. Relax after on a beautiful fine white sand beach, and soak up some sun – you may spot some iguanas also trying to catch some rays on the shore.
Day 15 – Breakfast
Start the day on a boat tour of Lobería, Las Grietas and Playa de los Perros, spending time exploring, swimming, and snorkelling in the crystal clear water. Named for the sea lions that inhabit the beach, Loberia is a coral sand beach with an abundance of wildlife. Keep an eye out for the sea lions as they bask on the beach.
Afterwards, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, a science organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galapagos ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientisits, researchers, and volunteers. Tour the exhibition centre to see photo displays of recent volcanic eruptions, charts outlining geological formations, and drawings of the evolutionary development of endemic species. The station is also a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity, brought back from the brink of extinction.
Day 16 – Breakfast
Travel over the island of Santa Cruz en-route to Baltra Island for our return flight to Quito.
Explore the city of Quito at leisure before our farewell dinner this evening.
Day 17 – Breakfast
Aidos! Today we transfer to the airport for flights home. (or you can extend your stay and join our Inca Explorer Tour in Peru)
2020 Ecuador & Galapagos Highlights Tour Dates & Prices
April 10 to April 26th, 2020
|Tour Cost per person based on double occupancy||$5399.00 CAD|
|Air Fare: Flights to Ecuador are available from many Canadian cities. Contact our office for air fares and flight information.||Call for air fares from your city|
In order to make each tour a special experience space is limited to 20 people. We encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment and for the best air fares.
Flights: Call us for flight and air fare information from your closest airport in Canada as we can often access flights not easily found on the Internet and offer alternatives.
Not included: Travel insurance, air fare and transfers if your deviating from the scheduled group transfer.
Singles wishing to share: We often get requests for single travellers wishing to share accommodation. If you are interested in traveling with a companion please let us know and we can try to match you up with a suitable traveling partner.
Transfers: To and from the airport to your hotel are included on the tour dates. Airport transfers can be arranged for a cost when you purchase extra nights before or after the vacation.
Insurance: Medical insurance is mandatory. Cancellation and trip interruption insurance is optional. Premiums depend on your age, the length of time away and the cost of your tour and insurance will be discussed and quoted at the time of booking.
Forms of Payment: Cheque, Visa and Master Card or by e-mail. Payments made by credit cards will be subject to a 3 percent processing fee. For information regarding e-mail payments contact your financial institution. It is easy and convenient.
Cancellation Policy: In the event that you have to cancel you must notify Discovery Tours immediately in writing. The following scale of charges will apply according to the date that notice is received. Air fare penalties may differ and will be discussed at the time of ticket purchase.
K-435 Rosser Avenue
Brandon, MB. R7A 6S2
PHONE 204-727-2305, FAX 204-726-5856
1-800-417-0250 from anywhere in Canada or the USA
To Book the Ecuador & Galapagos Highlights Tour Click Here