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Ecuador and the Galapagos for Explorers

Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,678

FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Discover cloud forests and volcanoes, architectural and cultural treasures, and witness the wonders of the Galapagos on an expedited yachting adventure as you are welcomed to ‘Primavera Eternal’.


Take a deep dive on one of South America’s most vibrant countries on this 11-day adventurer’s trip through Ecuador. Explore the cultural highlights and national parks of the mainland before flying to the Galapagos Islands, evolution’s ultimate laboratory.

Arrive in Quito for three days exploring the capital and its surrounds. A city tour gets you acquainted with the well-preserved colonial centre of the city, including the Government Palace, La Compania, and San Francisco Monastery. Stop in at Pancello for outstanding views before enjoying the afternoon at your leisure. A day trip to Cotapaxi National Park takes you to some of Central Ecuador’s most impressive landscapes, A hike amid these volcanic summits completes a spectacular day in the Andes.

Transfer to your ecolodge in Mindo, stopping in at an integrative butterfly garden, and a garden of orchids. Settle in before exploring the beauty of Nambillo Cloud Forest. A 2-hour guided exploration takes you to see some of its unique native birds, medicinal plants, and more. The following day, visit the “Cock of the Rock” where the birds of Mindo gather to feed. Then explore the Lorenzo Mountain Range, where more colourful native species await. One last birdwatching stop takes you to “Tony’s House” where over 24 species of hummingbird gather to feed.

Transfer back to Quito for one more night before flying to Ecuador’s most famous natural treasure, the Galapagos Islands. Make a dry landing on Santa Cruz to learn about the giant tortoise breeding program, and the conservation work being done in the Galapagos. Then embark on a journey to Dragon Hill, Batrolome, Rabida, the Santiago Islands, and more, each with its own unique wildlife offerings. Walk amid iguanas, seals, a wide variety of Galapagos birds including photogenic flamingos and boobies, and a vibrant volcanic landscape supporting a wide range of plant life. You’ll also have opportunities for snorkelling close to sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks among other marine life. Your adventure concludes at the sanctuary of Black Turtle Cove.

Return to Quito for one more night before your onward flight.


 

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Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 5,678

Itinerary View Trip Map View Trip Special

Day 1

Quito Airport to Hotel

Duration1 Hour

La Casona de la Ronda

Set in a colonial style house built in 1738, La Casona de la Ronda Hotel Boutique offers comfortable accommodation in the historic city centre. Decorated with stylish wooden furnishing and parquet floors, rooms at La Casona de la Ronda are very bright. Drinks from the bar and hot beverages from the coffee shop can be enjoyed in the garden and on the terrace.

Meal Plan Full Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

La Casona de la Ronda

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    La Casona de la Ronda



    Set in a colonial style house built in 1738, La Casona de la Ronda Hotel Boutique offers comfortable accommodation in the historic city centre. Decorated with stylish wooden furnishing and parquet floors, rooms at La Casona de la Ronda are very bright. Drinks from the …

    Set in a colonial style house built in 1738, La Casona de la Ronda Hotel Boutique offers comfortable accommodation in the historic city centre. Decorated with stylish wooden furnishing and parquet floors, rooms at La Casona de la Ronda are very bright. Drinks from the bar and hot beverages from the coffee shop can be enjoyed in the garden and on the terrace.

    Facilities

    • Fireplace
    • Lounge(s)
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 2

Quito City Tour

The place to start exploring Ecuador is Colonial Quito: a city of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city's many spectacularly decorated historic churches. The city has one of the best preserved colonial centers in all South America, and its integrity was assured in 1978 when the United Nations declared Quito a World Cultural Heritage site.

Morning visit to colonial Quito. We will walk through the Main Plaza, where you will see the Government Palace, La Compania, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including the San Francisco Monastery which was started 5 days after the founding of the city in 1534. Then we will visit the city's famous La Ronda street, where we will learn about traditional work in Colonial Quito.

For our last stop, we will also be visiting the 'Panecillo', the hill that dominates the South of the city, and where we will be able to admire the famous statue of Our Lady of the Panecillo and enjoy spectacular views of Quito.

Duration4 Hours
Day 3

Cotopaxi Daytrip

We will visit the Cotopaxi National Park where, weather permitting, you will be able to see the snowcapped summits of the Cotopaxi and Antisana volcanoes.

We will also visit the Interpretation center to learn about the history of this spectacular volcano's major eruptions, as well as the local flora and fauna. We will then visit Lake Limpiopungo and explore the surrounding area on foot.

If you feel like a longer walk, a 2-hour hike will take us to Volcan Cotopaxi's J. Ribas refuge (4,800 meters / 15750 feet) where you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of the volcano and the surrounding Andean peaks. We offer traditional mountain hospitality with a dose of adventure.

Duration8 Hours
Day 4

Quito to Mindo

You will be picked up from your hotel in Quito and be transferred to Mindo and El Monte Ecolodge. En route stop, admire, and enjoy the interactive butterfly garden where, surrounded by hundreds of colorful butterflies, you will be able to observe the four stages of a butterfly's life. While you are in the garden, you will be able to feed one or more of the 25 different species of butterflies. Later visit to a Garden of Orchids, where you will see about 35 to 60 species of orchids in bloom. Mindo has about 370 species of orchids in the reserve. The orchid is undoubtedly one of the most impressive attraction to those visiting the place, the un-spoilable range of species on display. Some of them are can be seen by a magnifying glass. At the end of the tour, you have the ability to observe Hummingbirds and other bird species.

The El Monte Lodge is located just outside the town of Mindo, recognized as a world-class bird watching site by Bird Life International. Arrival to El Monte Sustainable Lodge is by "tarabita" or hand pulled cable car. This cable car entrance of 20 meters over the Rio Mindo gives us a sense of privacy from the outside world, while providing access to El Monte and the buffer zone to the Mindo-Nambillo Protected Reserve.

On arrival, your hosts will offer a short introduction to the lodge and its garden, plus a few tips in regards bird species will greet us. El Monte is not simply a place to stay; the Lodge and its owners are dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural beauty of Mindo - Nambillo Forest, one of the most biologically diverse and endangered Cloud Forests in the world.

In the afternoon, your local guide will take us on a 2-hour exploration besides Mindo River and through the nearby forest, where you will spot exotic birds, find local medicinal plants and learn more about their uses.

Guests at El Monte stay in private cabanas alongside the crystalline Rio Mindo. Each cabana has a comfortable bathroom complete with a full size tub and unlimited hot water, plus separate areas for socializing and sleeping.
The design of all the cabanas and the main house is original and also very functional taking into account the mild climate, lack of strong winds and local construction materials that blend nicely with the landscape and river.

Each cabana is equipped with a flush toilet and an independent waste treatment system that is comprised of an enclosed sand bed with bamboo growing inside to remove nitrogenous buildup. This system has worked extremely well for us, and we would be glad to share the plans on request.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

El Monte Cloud Forest Ecolodge

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Location View map
  • starstarstar

    El Monte Cloud Forest Ecolodge



    Stay in private riverside cabanas and see firsthand the moss covered trees, crystal clear streams, spectacular orchids, exotic birds - awaken to the symphony of forest noise, hear the sounds and try to imagine the source. Experience Cloud Forest with all your senses, an ecosystem …

    Stay in private riverside cabanas and see firsthand the moss covered trees, crystal clear streams, spectacular orchids, exotic birds - awaken to the symphony of forest noise, hear the sounds and try to imagine the source. Experience Cloud Forest with all your senses, an ecosystem not widely known by name but could be described as the Garden of Eden or Paradise Found.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Game Room

    More Details

Day 5

Mindo

Today you make an early start to visit our "Cock of the Rock", a place where these marvelous birds congregate to feed. After a nourishing breakfast, you will walk along the heights of the stunning San Lorenzo Mountain Range with your guide leading the way, and weather permitting; you catch a glimpse of spectacular birds such as the Golden-Headed Quetzal, the Choco Toucan and the Crimson Rumped Toucanet, amongst many others.

Return to the lodge midafternoon. Free evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Return to Quito

Today, before heading back to Quito, you will visit "Tony's House", an iconic spot where you can admire more than 24 species of hummingbirds. Tony is an expert on the birds and their songs and has placed a lot of hummingbird feeders around his house, as well as in the forest, to attract the amazing variety of brilliantly colored birds you will see here. More than 19 varieties can regularly be seen, including some of the rarest specimens.

Return to Quito where services end.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch

La Casona de la Ronda

Set in a colonial style house built in 1738, La Casona de la Ronda Hotel Boutique offers comfortable accommodation in the historic city centre. Decorated with stylish wooden furnishing and parquet floors, rooms at La Casona de la Ronda are very bright. Drinks from the bar and hot beverages from the coffee shop can be enjoyed in the garden and on the terrace.

Meal Plan Full Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

La Casona de la Ronda

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    La Casona de la Ronda



    Set in a colonial style house built in 1738, La Casona de la Ronda Hotel Boutique offers comfortable accommodation in the historic city centre. Decorated with stylish wooden furnishing and parquet floors, rooms at La Casona de la Ronda are very bright. Drinks from the …

    Set in a colonial style house built in 1738, La Casona de la Ronda Hotel Boutique offers comfortable accommodation in the historic city centre. Decorated with stylish wooden furnishing and parquet floors, rooms at La Casona de la Ronda are very bright. Drinks from the bar and hot beverages from the coffee shop can be enjoyed in the garden and on the terrace.

    Facilities

    • Fireplace
    • Lounge(s)
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 7

Mainland to Galapagos, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center (Santa Cruz)

Today marks your departure from mainland Ecuador to Baltra (approx. 2 and half hour flight). You will be picked up at the airport by your guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the Corals.

In the afternoon, make a dry landing on Santa Cruz for a visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises breeding program, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The center is conducted by the Galapagos National Park staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station. Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the "galapaguitos" (newborn tortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70s, more than 2000 specimens have returned to their own islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects, botanical research, providing environmental education to communities, schools within the Islands and tourists. If there is enough time, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora.

Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Flat
Duration: 1.5 hour visit

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

M/V Corals

More Info

Location View map
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    M/V Corals



    The M/Y Coral I and the M/Y Coral II have a total of 18 and 11 cabins respectively. The Ocean View, air-conditioned cabins have lower beds and private facilities in which matrimonial, double or triple options are available. We have interconnecting doors suitable for families …

    The M/Y Coral I and the M/Y Coral II have a total of 18 and 11 cabins respectively. The Ocean View, air-conditioned cabins have lower beds and private facilities in which matrimonial, double or triple options are available. We have interconnecting doors suitable for families or friends traveling together. Each cabin includes: safe, entertainment system with LCD TVs, hair dryer, special bedding in each category, and remodelled furniture in each cabin. Our voltage is set for 110-220 volts/60 Hz.

    Facilities

    • Barbeque Area
    • Pool
    • Restaurant
    • Sun Terrace

    More Details

Day 8

Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz) and Bartolome

In the morning, walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across a typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, there will be an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighboring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin's finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.

Difficulty level: Intermediate
Type of terrain: Rocky
Duration: 2 hour walk

This afternoon make a wet landing to discover a fascinating landscape formed by different volcanic parasitic cones -lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones - that resembles the moon. Going up to the summit there will be an impressive view of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock. We also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies.

Beach time is a great opportunity to do snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best snorkeling experience. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life it has to offer.

Due to its geographical location, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable however, there are pioneer plants including the endemic Tiquilia nesiotica and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes.

Difficulty level: Intermediate
Type of terrain: Trail made of 372 steps
Duration: 1.5 hour walk / 1 hour snorkel

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Rabida and Santiago Islands

This morning you will explore Rabida, also known as Jervis Island in English, one of the most diverse in terms of volcanic activity as it lies at the very heart of the archipelago's volcanic origin. In this deep red beach, surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes of volcanic cinder cones it is usual to find nesting colonies of brown pelicans, as well as, nine species of Darwin finches, fur seals, and Nazca boobies. Snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active and colorful.

Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy
Duration: 1.5 hour walk / 1 hour snorkel / 1 hour dinghy ride

During the afternoon, you will visit Buccaneers Cove / Espumilla Beach in Santiago Island.

This is an amazing location, featuring the remains of an eroded shoreline that is home to seabirds, fur seals and the playful sea lions. Its different shapes have been made throughout a process caused by erosion of the waves and the wind. Espumilla Beach is a white-sandy beach in James Bay and is a popular place among visitors. There are mangroves and a small palo santo forest that lead to salty-water lagoons that are home to wading birds like flamingos. In the upper dunes are a nesting site for sea turtles. A good place to snorkel to see rays.

Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: White sand
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkel / beach time

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz) and Return to Mainland

This morning enjoy a dinghy ride on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, where four species of mangrove crowd form an internal lagoon. Turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface, while the fish and rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus seabirds including pelicans, herons, and egrets feed from the cove. This cove has been declared as a "Turtle Sanctuary".

Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: None
Duration: 1 hour dinghy ride

Later, transfer directly to Baltra Airport for your return flight to mainland Ecuador.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Quito Hotel to Airport

Duration1 Hour

Wyndham Quito Airport

Offering a terrace and spa centre, Wyndham Quito Airport is located in the Quito airport and 23 miles from downtown. The perfect choice when connecting to the Galapagos, the Amazon, the coast or Cuenca.

Meal Plan Buffet Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Wyndham Quito Airport

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Wyndham Quito Airport



    Offering a terrace and spa centre, Wyndham Quito Airport is located in the Quito airport and 23 miles from downtown. The perfect choice when connecting to the Galapagos, the Amazon, the coast or Cuenca.

    Offering a terrace and spa centre, Wyndham Quito Airport is located in the Quito airport and 23 miles from downtown. The perfect choice when connecting to the Galapagos, the Amazon, the coast or Cuenca.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Reception
    • Air Conditioning
    • ATM
    • Courtyard
    • Dry Cleaning
    • Elevator
    • Event Space
    • Fitness Centre
    • Gift Shop
    • Hot Tub
    • Laundry Service
    • Massage Treatments
    • Restaurant
    • Sauna
    • Spa
    • Steam Room

    More Details

Day 11

Depart Ecuador

Following breakfast, prepare to depart on your onward flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Mondays

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • 5 nights in first-class accommodations in Quito
  • 2 nights in eco-lodge accommodations in Mindo
  • 3 nights aboard the M/Y Coral I or II
  • Private-guided Quito city tour
  • Private-guided day tour to Cotopaxi
  • Small group excursions at El Monte Ecolodge
  • Small group excursions during Galapagos cruise
  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Meals & beverages not explicitly listed as included
  • Gratuities
  • Optional excursions
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa fees if applicable

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

DP QUITPK11DEC1
13 Dec 2021
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