14 day program
Day 1: Arrival to Quito
Welcome to Ecuador! Your guide greets you at the airport and takes you to your hotel.
Day 2: Quito & Equator
In the morning, see historical Plaza Grande, a forgotten cloister, the dazzling gold-covered La Compañía Church, bustling San Francisco Square, a bird's-eye view atop Panecillo Hill, plus some more great surprises. Then, we drive north to have lunch at the brim of a crater. In the afternoon we visit an interactive, open-air museum that proves you’re on latitude zero. (BL)
Day 3: Quito / Coca / Yasuní National Park
Afternoon departure from Quito by air for a short 30-minute flight arriving at Coca (Francisco de Orellana) in the Amazon rainforest. Transfer to the Napo River harbor and journey by motorized canoe downstream (90 minutes) to board the M/V ANAKONDA or M/V MANATEE, while observing the ever-changing forest-clad riverbanks of the silty-brown headwaters of the Amazon River. Soon after boarding, the cruise will start navigating downstream to observe amazing flora and fauna right from the sundeck. After dinner, enjoy an optional nocturnal walk into the forest to discover the mysteries of this unique environment and see how life emerges in the dark right before your eyes. (BLD)
Day 4: Peruvian Border / Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Disembark at one of the local homes to meet members of an Amazonian community. Learn about their culture, talents and ways of life that make them a giving and joyful people. Protecting their resources and cherishing the fragility of their ecosystem has been primary for their permanence in their fabulous natural habitat.
After lunch, the riverboat continues navigation towards the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, one of the most pristine black-water systems in the Amazon Basin, home to legendary pink river dolphins, black caimans and the enigmatic Amazonian anaconda. We may also spot river turtles and several species of monkeys, such as the black-mantled tamarin, red howler and squirrel monkey, as well as three-toed sloths and the primitive hoatzin, a bizarre bird locally called ‘stinky turkey’. The canoe trip upstream will reveal the stunning beauty of this aquatic jungle world. (BLD)
Day 5: Flooded Forest & Monkey Island
Explore a swamp forest while enjoying the comfort of a high-rise boardwalk. Chances are “high” to discover the wildlife that frequents these "morete" palm forests, where birds, primates and different aquatic creatures congregate. Afterwards, visit a local home where funerary urns from the XVII century have been discovered in archaeological excavations. After a wholesome lunch, there´s time to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings as the vessel navigates upstream. Spend some time exploring one of the larger islands, where many surprises await us. For our more adventurous guests, we offer "glamping" for the night (glamorous camping at an extra cost; please enquire for details). (BLD)
Day 6: Kuri Muyu & Parrot Clay Licks
Enjoy a cultural and ethnical encounter with local communities. Purchase local handicrafts and then head over to the Parrot Clay licks to witness one of the most exciting wildlife spectacles in Amazonia. In the afternoon, visit the Limoncocha Biological Reserve, an incredible lagoon with over four hundred bird species. As dusk falls upon us, search for black caimans in complete safety! Evening return to the boat. (BLD)
Day 7: Coca / Guayaquil city tour
After breakfast we will bid farewell to the MANATEE or ANAKONDA and take the canoe upstream for about 2 hours to reach the city of Coca and fly to Guayaquil (via Quito). Enjoy a guided tour of Guayaquil in the afternoon. Marvel at tame iguanas in Seminario Park and continue to the neoclassical City Hall building. Then, walk to the Moorish Clock Tower and to Malecón Simón Bolivar, a 2.5 km long boardwalk at the shore of the expansive Guayas River. At the monument of La Rotonda, learn about the enigmatic meeting that took place between South America´s independence heroes, Simón Bolivar and José de San Martín. We continue to the historic district of Las Peñas with its beautiful wooden houses to enjoy a panoramic view of the bustling city atop Santa Ana Hill. (B)
Day 8: Guayaquil / Galapagos Islands
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands! Our English-speaking guide greets you at the airport in Baltra prior to your trip to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island). After lunch, enjoy a bay tour at Lobería and Punta Estrada where you can snorkel with sea lions! Then, continue to Tintoreras Channel, Canal del Amor, and Las Grietas for a fun-filled afternoon. (BLD)
Day 9: Day trip to South Plazas
Pick up at 08:00 for your journey to Itabaca Channel (40-minute ride) to board the boat to South Plazas Island (navigation time about one hour and forty minutes). Formed by uplifted lava-fault blocks, this island is inhabited by large land iguanas, Audubon’s shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans, sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls and more, framed by a vegetation of opuntia cacti growing over low patches of sesuvium, a striking red succulent. Hike and swim at this island. Lunch is served on board while returning to Santa Cruz around 16:00. (BLD)
Day 10: Santa Cruz Island / Isabella Island
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station (optional). Hike to Tortuga Bay Beach (2 kilometer walk each way), one of the most beautiful sites in Puerto Ayora where you can snorkel and see even more wildlife. In the afternoon, take the speedboat to Isabella; the trip takes approximately 2.5 hours. After arrival, enjoy a brief rest at the hotel before heading to the Flamingo Lagoon, the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and one of the major mating sites for flamingos. (BLD)
Day 11: Isabella Island
After breakfast, enjoy a full day tour to Sierra Negra Volcano, located 13 miles from Puerto Villamil and the world’s second largest volcanic crater, measuring 6 miles in diameter and 300 feet deep! Hike the crater for a splendid view of the island before continuing on to Chico Volcano, still active as it warms the surrounding ground! A hearty box lunch will be provided. In the afternoon, return to the hotel before a great opportunity to snorkel at Concha Perla, along with sea lions and a variety of colorful fish, starfish, and sea urchins. *Snorkeling equipment is included in this visit: tube, mask, fins. (BLD)
Day 12: Isabella Island
Visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, the estuary, and finally the Wall of Tears – here’s the story: From 1946 to 1959, Isabella was a penal colony and prisoners were forced to build a wall with enormous blocks of lava. The arduous labor and harsh conditions in which the prisoners lived gave origin to the name of this place. Additionally, visit a small lava tunnel and a flamingo lagoon before returning to the hotel for lunch.
In the afternoon, set sail to Tintoreras Islet. Here, white-tip sharks known as “tintoreras” come daily to rest on the bottom of the sea. We can also observe penguins, sea lions, and marine iguanas, as well as go snorkeling with sharks and other colorful tropical fish while enjoying the beaches of Isabella. (BLD)
Day 13: Isabella / Baltra / Guayaquil
We sail back to Santa Cruz in the early morning and drive to Baltra Airport. En route we visit "The Twins" which are similar to craters, but formed by a collapse of the earth underneath due to lava flows that passed below it. We will also walk through the “scalesia forest” to encounter Galapagos fly-catchers and other endemic birds. The tour will end upon the arrival to the airport where you will return to Quito or Guayaquil. (B)
Day 14: Departure
Transfer to the airport for your flight back home. (B)
− Private airport transfers.
− Transportation throughout trip.
− Accommodations in double occupancy.
− Activities as per itinerary.
− English-speaking guides.
− Meals as specified (B breakfast, L lunch, D dinner).
− Domestic flights.
− Snorkeling equipment in Galapagos.
− Entrance fees to museums and nature reserves.
Does not include:
− International flights.
− Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee: USD 100 per person.
− Transit Control Card: USD 10 per person.
− Drinks with meals & meals not specified.
− Travel insurance.
− Wetsuit rental in Galapagos.
The itinerary allows for flexibility in regards to activities and visits, depending on weather conditions, clients’ interests, and other circumstances. If changes are to take place prior or after your arrival, you will be duly notified beforehand.
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Quito and the Middle of the World
Otavalo and other indigenous markets
Cuenca via the Central Andes
Quilotoa circuit hike and drive
Amazon cruises and lodges
Volcano watch and mountain climbing
Shamanism and natural healing
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