Latin America

Best of Ecuador - Holiday of a Lifetime

Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 7,439

Your fully escorted tour visits an impressive cross section of Ecuador where you will explore "the best of Ecuador" in all its splendour.


Guayaquil - Galapagos Islands - Quito – Northern Highlands - Otavalo

Your fully escorted tour starts with a visit to the cosmopolitan city of Guayaquil where you will explore the coastal scenery and the city itself. This is followed by a flight to the Galapagos Islands where you join your cruise vessel for a 5 day cruise to get a close up and personal view of the amazing animal and birdlife. Then fly back to the mainland to Quito, the capital with colonial influences parts of which are UNESCO World Heritage protected.

Next you head to the Northern Highlands staying close to Otavalo in a magical land of beautiful lakes and mountains. From here, continue to the typical Ecuadorean town of Otavalo with its backdrop of majestic volcanoes. Here you will have the opportunity to purchase bargains such as clothes at the renowned colourful Otavalo markets.

Return to Quito for an outstanding “Farewell to Ecuador” dinner at a local restaurant.


HOLIDAYS OF A LIFETIME - Your Choice

The Waltzing Matilda - 22 Days Australia & New Zealand

The Best of New Zealand - 10 Days

The Best of Australia - 15 Days 

The Magic of Africa - 12 Days + Optional Excursions

Ancient Civilizations - 18 Days Israel & Jordan

Signature Morocco - 14 Days

Splendours of China & Tibet - 18 Days

Splendours of India - 18 Days

The Best of Ecuador - 12 Days

Cradle of the Incas - 13 Days

Magical Ecuador and Peru - 26 Days

Colonial Crossroads - 11 Days Argentina & Brazil

Chilean Explorer - 15 Days Santiago, Easter Island


Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 7,439

Itinerary View Trip Map View Trip Special

Day 1

Fly Hometown to Guayaquil

Depart your hometown for your flights to Guayaquil, Ecuador, your first stop on our Best of Ecuador Holiday of a Lifetime Tour! After clearing Customs at Quito International Airport, you will be met by Goway's local representative who will assist you with your transfer to the hotel. This cosmopolitan city is the largest port in Ecuador and offers what any major city on the world can - rich historical background, wonderful museums, handsome modern districts with great shopping and good restaurants; a prosperous city leading the economy of the country, which it displays with great pride.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hilton Colon Guayaquil

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstarstar

    Hilton Colon Guayaquil



    Elegance, comfort, security and personalised service are just some of the characteristics that make Hilton Colon Guayaquil, a real five-star city resort hotel. The splendid building is located only five minutes away from Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport and dominates the city's new booming ...

    Elegance, comfort, security and personalised service are just some of the characteristics that make Hilton Colon Guayaquil, a real five-star city resort hotel. The splendid building is located only five minutes away from Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport and dominates the city's new booming commercial and financial zone in Ecuador. The hotel is surrounded by the main shopping centre and offers easy access to the downtown district area.

    Facilities

    • Business Centre
    • Children's Activities
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Lounge(s)
    • Pool (s)
    • Safe Deposit Box

    More Details

Day 2

Coastal Hacienda

Today, experience the coastal areas around Guayaquil and the Montubio way of living. Driving out of the city, you will see rice, banana & tropical fruit plantations. One of the stops will be at a very interesting place full of orchids of different sizes, aromas, textures, & colours where you will learn about the delicate process and care that the orchid requires to obtain the plants that will be exported. Ecuador has more than 4000 species of orchids already classified.

Our next stop will be at a Coastal Hacienda which brings the opportunity to learn about the process of obtaining some of the best cocoa in the world. Ecuadorian cocoa has been qualified as gourmet due to its aroma and excellent quality. Lunch will be taken at the Hacienda.

Later, visit the city of Guayaquil. Visit a number of historical places such as the Centenario, Las Peñas neighbourhood and the riverfront also known as the Malecon. We will have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

Fly Guayaquil to Galapagos

After breakfast this morning, we are transferred to the airport for our flight to the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival at San Cristobal, we are met and transferred to our vessel, the M/V Galapagos Legend, which will be our home for the next 4 nights while we explore these magical islands. We will visit the Interpretation Centre to learn about the Natural History which exists in the Galapagos. Later we will visit Tijeretas Hill to view a frigate bird nesting colony amid beautiful landscapes.

This legendary, 90 passenger, first-class vessel offers all the amenities of a large cruise liner without sacrificing the intimacy you would expect on a small sailing craft. The luxurious Legend is equipped with five decks, a swimming pool, exercise equipment, a library, 24-hour/pay medical service, international phone/fax/internet service, a glass-bottom boat, the most technologically advanced safety system in the archipelago and much more.

Furthermore, realizing that the ideal trip to the Galapagos should combine comfort, relaxation, and education, the Legend has one of the Islands' largest and most qualified staff on board. Among its courteous, professional team of 55 employees are 6 multilingual naturalist guides (each speaking an average of four languages), a concierge, a chef who constantly endeavours to spoil you with inventive combinations of Ecuadorian and international cuisines, and an M.D. who is always on call.

The Galapagos Islands consist of 13 major islands of which five are inhabited. The Island's interesting volcanic geology, as well as its rich flora and fauna, have been admired and studied by numerous travelers, scientist, and nature-lovers. Scientists are still faced with the mystery of how such a large diversity of species could develop in a remote location like the Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin's observations of the animals and the subtle variations between races of the same species living on different islands led directly to his theory of natural selection.

Galapagos National Park Service requires that all passengers return to their boats no later than 6pm. Each evening is one of relaxation and reflection on the day's activities. After our dinner sitting, we will join the naturalist's briefing on the next day's activities and then spend the evening with fellow passengers or perhaps reading or writing in one's journal.

Accommodation: M/V Galapagos Legend - Click below for more information

M/V Legend

Luxury Cruise Ship

MV LedgendThis legendary, 90-passenger, first-class vessel offers all the amenities of a large cruise liner without sacrificing the intimacy you'd expect on a small sailing craft, and consequently allows you to have it all. The luxurious Legend is equipped with five decks, a swimming pool, exercise equipment, a library, 24-hour/pay medical service, international phone/fax/internet service, a glass-bottom boat, the most technologically advanced safety system in the archipelago, and much more. Moreover, its 45 cabins all include twin beds, convertible double beds, and private facilities, among other amenities

Furthermore, realizing that the ideal trip to the Galapagos should combine comfort, relaxation, and education, the Legend has one of the Islands' largest and most qualified staff. Among its courteous, professional team of 55 employees are 6 multilingual naturalist guides (each speaking an average of four languages), a concierge, a chef who constantly spoils you with inventive combinations of Ecuadorian and international cuisines, and an M.D. who is always on call.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Category: Luxury Cruise Ship (High-End Cruise)
  • Departures: Monday - Thursday
  • Capacity: 90 Passengers

ACCOMMODATIONS:

45 luxurious cabins with private baths, A/C, a safe, a mini bar, music, a closed-circuit television, a private bathroom with hot water, wardrobes, an inter-cabin telephone, 110/220 volt sockets, and ocean view

**Standard cabins are without portholes or windows, Standard Plus cabins offer portholes and the Junior Suites and Legend or Balcony suites have full size windows.

On board: Swimming pool, gym, game room, library, 24 hours medical service, conference room, laundry service, international phone, fax and internet service, piano lounge, well-stocked bars, massage room, observation decks, sun decks

Crew: Captain, M.D., 47 other assorted crew members, and 6 multilingual naturalist guides

Speed: 17-20 knots

Length: 300 ft. (91m)

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Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration4 Nights
Day 4

Galapagos Islands

Today we will land on the white coral sand beach at Gardner Bay on Isla Espanola. We will see Galapagos hawks, American Oystercatchers, ground Doves, Hood mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, lizards, iguanas and Darwin's Finches. Swimming and snorkeling are possible here. Later we visit Suarez Point to explore volcanic formations and amazing wildlife including sea lions and seabirds such as Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies plus the world's largest colony of Waved Albatross.

 

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Galapagos Islands

We continue our journey with a visit to the Isla Floreana where the tradition of sending unstamped postcards was first introduced for sailors passing through. Today visitors can send cards for free but should not expect them to arrive in a hurry. Here we will see Yellow Warblers and lava lizards. There are opportunities to snorkel and view Green Pacific Sea Turtles. Later, land on an olive green sand beach and hike from the black mangrove beds to a lagoon which holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos and one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. We will se Blue-footed Boobies plunging into the water and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline. Once again, there will be time to swim or snorkel.

 

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Galapagos Islands

Today we continue cruising to the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Isla Santa Cruz. Dedicated to scientific research, education and conservation efforts, the Charles Darwin Research Station is a biological research centre created in 1964 with the aim of assisting the Galapagos National Park Service and the Galapagos Marine Reserve Service to safeguard this vulnerable habitat. With a team of over two hundred scientists, researchers, students, and volunteers from all across the globe, the Darwin Research Station is committed to preserving this sensitive ecosystem. Natural science subjects are taught here as well as more complex topics such as climatology, population genetics and evolutionary biology.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Fly Galapagos Islands to Quito

This morning, we circumnavigate the islet of Daphne, an eroded tuff cone formation that was created by successive volcanic activity and which gives the opportunity to see Darwin's finches and many other tropical birds. We end our adventure to the Galapagos Islands at Isla Baltra where we will board our flight to Guayaquil and then on to Quito.

Nestled in an Andean Valley at an elevation of 9000 feet, the city is literally surrounded by volcanoes and is considered to be one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world.
This evening, we will enjoy a welcome to Quito dinner at the Restaurant Belle Epoque at our hotel. Part of the magnificence of this dinner is the view from the restaurant. While La Belle Époque boasts the most stunning views of any restaurant in Quito’s Old Town, with its impeccable service, it is the city’s crème de la crème of fine dining.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Plaza Grande

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstarstar

    Hotel Plaza Grande



    Hotel Plaza Grande is 60-90 minutes from Quito's Airport, in the heart of the historic district of the city. The hotel faces Quito's central square and is surrounded by characteristic buildings: the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Carondelet Palace (Government Palace), the Archbishop's Palace and the modern ...

    Hotel Plaza Grande is 60-90 minutes from Quito's Airport, in the heart of the historic district of the city. The hotel faces Quito's central square and is surrounded by characteristic buildings: the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Carondelet Palace (Government Palace), the Archbishop's Palace and the modern City Hall.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Massage Treatments
    • Parking (Valet)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Safe Deposit Box
    • Sauna
    • Spa
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi

    More Details

Day 8

Quito

Today we explore the streets and main squares of Quito’s Historic Centre, the first city in the world to be declared by UNESCO, a “World Cultural Heritage” site in recognition of its architectural and artistic nature. Narrow and sometimes steep streets include classic architecture, colonial style houses, gracious flowered balconies, charming squares and more than 50 monumental churches, convents, monasteries, cloisters and historic monuments. There will be a visit to the Church and Convent of Santo including the domes. Also be charmed by the delicate and unusual beauty of this colonial Convent. Treasures as the Chapels of El Rosario and Pompeya whose walls and columns are decorated in gold with an original blend of vegetable and anthropomorphic figures are a vivid example of the world famous Quito School of Art. The Convent of Santo Domingo displays colossal doors and ceilings covered with oil paintings and gold leaf; it takes us back in time and dazzles us with its supreme beauty. Later, we drive to the hill of Panecillo or Itchimbia for a panoramic view of the city.

Dinner this evening will be at the Café Plaza Grande. Stroll back in time to a Quito of yesterday while enjoying delicious dishes and desserts from Ecuador’s rich culinary heritage.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Quito - Quitsato – Northern Highlands

An early start will take you north on a beautiful scenic drive to the province of Imbabura, a magical land of lakes and mountains of outstanding beauty. Today offers the opportunity to learn about local inhabitants’ way of life and also the effect on the Equator line at local archaeological sites. We will visit the Quitsato Sundial which is located near to Cayambe, 47 kiolometrs/30 miles north of Quito. This place was built at the exactly point of equinox line. It has a diameter of 52 square metres and its surface is composed of stone mosaic where solstices and equinoxes have been traced. The shadow of a large post 10 metres/33 feet in height which is placed in the centre of this platform marks the time in days and hours. We will also visit the village of Cayambe, well known for its dairy milk farm produce and its delicious “Bizcochos” (cookies).
In Zuleta, we will have the opportunity to see the hand broidery skills of the local women after which we will continue to Caranqui, the oldest stone road in Ecuador which was built 300 years ago once a way to connect between the town of Olmedo and Zuleta.

We arrive at the community of Magdalena a traditional Andean hacienda is located.
After lunch, we will see the strong and artistic hands of the people from San Antonio. Art studios working with wood, stone and ceramic sculptures that represents the Quito school of Art.

Dinner will be at the hotel.

Accommodation: Hosteria La Mirage

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Northern Highlands – Salinas Train

We transfer to the train station for the journey to Salinas. This is the land of craftsmen, lakes and legends and the train journey is filled with exotic and fascinating views. You will enjoy the natural landscapes that adorn the railway and will cross a number of bridges and tunnels built by pickaxe and shovel, which convert the train into a giant mole in the middle of the mountain. In Salinas the Afro-Ecuadorian community will delight you with its culture, music and dances. Transfer back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 11

Otavalo to Quito

Today our journey takes us to Peguche, a picturesque, little town whose habitants are famous for their weaving abilities on hand-made looms in vivid colours representing figures of the Andean Region. At Peguche, the art of colouring wools has become a recreational game where traditions, norms and rules end up in an incredible blend of hammocks, textiles, sweaters, etc, that the community exhibits with pride. Together with the weaving industry, the community of Peguche, following their ancestral traditions, is well known for the manufacture of wind instruments like the Sikus, Kenas and charangos, We will enjoy an exclusive musical demonstration at “La Casa de instrumentos Andinos” (Andean Instruments House).
Otavalos are known around the world for their weaving patterns and textiles which pre-date the Spanish conquest.

Visit the market, world renowned for its colourful textiles, its ponchos and hand-made textiles such as hats plus Indian jewellery. This is a unique occasion to wander through this maze of color and enjoy some fun bargaining and possibly buying good quality handicrafts at great prices. Lunch will be at one of the many charming Hosterias or Country Inns on the way back to Quito. En route, visit the place that is at the planet's Latitude 0´0´0´´where the Intiñan Museum known too as “The Trek of Sun” will guide us through the wonderful world of the Andean Cosmo-vision, culture and traditions.

This evening, we will have a Farewell to Ecuador dinner at the Restaurant Rumiloma and where we will be part of a cooking class to prepare traditional dishes. After the class, we will enjoy dinner. Overnight in Quito.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hotel Plaza Grande

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstarstar

    Hotel Plaza Grande



    Hotel Plaza Grande is 60-90 minutes from Quito's Airport, in the heart of the historic district of the city. The hotel faces Quito's central square and is surrounded by characteristic buildings: the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Carondelet Palace (Government Palace), the Archbishop's Palace and the modern ...

    Hotel Plaza Grande is 60-90 minutes from Quito's Airport, in the heart of the historic district of the city. The hotel faces Quito's central square and is surrounded by characteristic buildings: the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Carondelet Palace (Government Palace), the Archbishop's Palace and the modern City Hall.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Massage Treatments
    • Parking (Valet)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Safe Deposit Box
    • Sauna
    • Spa
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi

    More Details

Day 12

Quito to North America

Today we are transferred to Quito airport for our return flight back to North America.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

The Best of Ecuador can easily be combined with Goway's Cradle of the Incas Holiday of a Lifetime tour.

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