Active tour & Galapagos cruise

LUXURY TRIP

Enjoy an active tour in Ecuador and discover the Galapagos Islands a board a cruise

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ITINERARY

Day 1: Thursday. Quito

Arrival at Mariscal Sucre Airport, Quito. Transfer to Hilton Colon Hotel

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

Check in – 14:00

Day 2: Friday. Quito

Breakfast

Morning transfer to the “Teleferico”, and from here using the cable car, we will be transported up to the top of the hill known as Cruz Loma (3900m). From here, we start our 2 hours hike to the base of the extinct volcano Ruco Pichincha (4974m). The hike is easy with nice views of Quito and of the surrounding volcanoes. With good weather, we will be able to see Cotopaxi, Antisana, Cayambe and other volcanoes.

Return to the hotel

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 3: Saturday. Rafting

Breakfast

The day starts when we pick you up from your hotel. We travel west down through beautiful cloud forest to the shores of the river. The trip will take about 3 hours.

Before setting off we will fit you with life jackets and helmets, give you a comprehensive safety briefing and train each crew in the paddling techniques needed to navigate our way down the river. Once on the river you can expect both the action of thrilling whitewater and the tranquility of drifting silently through tropical rainforests. So while you’re guaranteed to get wet you’ll also have the opportunity to be absorbed by the sounds of the forest and to see wildlife up close from our mobile “viewing platform”. Rafting time approx. 3½ hrs. (NB. From March to May we usually run the upper Blanco river – 43km, approx. 4½ hrs).

During the trip we’ll stop by the side of the river for a delicious picnic lunch including fresh tropical fruits and served with soft drinks, juice and water. At the end of the trip we celebrate a fun day on the river with a few ice-cold beers and return to Quito (approx. 6.30-7.00pm).

The Ríos Toachi and Blanco are a fantastic introduction to the rivers of Ecuador. Flowing off the coastal side of the Andes they have some of the longest navigable sections of whitewater in the country. Combine this with the sights and sounds of the forest environment we pass through and you are guaranteed a day to remember.

Return to the hotel

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 4: Sunday. Quito - Mindo - Quito

Breakfast

Mindo is a tiny town set amidst some of the most beautiful and peaceful countryside in the entire country. It is a centre for both nature and for adventure activities.

You are going to visit a butterfly farm where you will also be able to see orchids and an array of colourful humming birds. Mindo has a great biodiversity. The forest landscape is home to over 500 species of birds and 400 species of orchids.

You cross the forest area in a cable car, located approximately 30 meters above the ground, then we will walk through the woods.

Another of the most popular activities in Mindo is the zip-lining canopy runs between towers high in the forest.

Also you have a chocolate tour which includes a demonstration of the chocolate-making process .

Return to the hotel

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast)

Day 5: Monday. Condor Trek

Breakfast

We pick up you from your hotel in Quito and then transport by car to El Tambo settlement on the highlands of Papallacta Lagoon. From here, our mules will carry our heavy equipment and luggage. The trek (4 hours) head south-west to the lower plains around the volcano lake (Laguna Tumiguina). Camp I at 3650m.

(Breakfast, Lunch Box, Dinner).

Day 6: Tuesday. Volcano Lake Camp – Antisanilla (Santa Lucia) Camp

Breakfast

This day we start early morning for the longest (6-7 hours) part of the trek. Some hill climbing is to start later crossing a luxuriant polylepis forest, and then with beautiful views through the day we will continue until we reach our next campsite on Santa Lucia highlands on the northwestern side of the Antisana volcano (5705m) and at the foothills of the Antisanilla Rocky peaks. From here, we can enjoy magnificent views of the impressive volcano. There is also a possibility of seeing condors at some time during the day. Camp II at 4,350 m.

(Breakfast, Lunch Box, Dinner).

Day 7: Wednesday. Antisanilla Camp – Pullurima Camp

Breakfast

After breakfast, we continue our trek first towards the beautiful Mica Lagoon. This huge lake is one of the main water sources for the city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. From here, we will trek passing the old house of Hacienda El Hato, one of the biggest highland haciendas in Ecuador (6,000 hectares!). Then we will continue our trek towards our camp at 4000m at the place known as Pullurima.

(Breakfast, Lunch Box, Dinner).

Day 8: Thursday. Pullurima Camp – Sincholagua (Shutog) Camp

Breakfast

This day we will continue our trek along the beautiful highlands of the paramo of the Antisana reserve. We cross small rivers heading south towards the base of the Sincholagua extinct volcano. During our way, we will be able to observe several Andean birds: Cara Cara, Mountain Gals, may be some Condors, etc. Our camp is located at an altitude of 4000m near to the base of the rocky peak of the Sincholagua Volcano and close to the place known as Quebrada Shutog at 4000m.

(Breakfast, Lunch Box, Dinner).

Day 9: Friday. Pullurima Camp – Sincholagua (Shutog) Camp – Cotopaxi Limpiopungo Valley - Quito

Breakfast

On our last day trek, we will trek on the paramos of the south-east side of Sincholagua until we will get a beautiful view of the Limpiopungo Valley and of the Cotopaxi Volcano. Descend to the shores of the Pita River from where our transport will take us to Termas de Papallacta.

Papallacta is famous for its hot springs,. Papallacta is a small village in Ecuador located at an altitude of 3,300 m in the Andes just off the Eastern Cordilleras on the road from Quito which leads into the Amazon jungle. Descending from the peak to Papallacta, one passes through the portal where the ecosystems transform from alpine to tropical jungle.

There are three important reasons to visit “Termas de Papallacta”: Health, recreation & relaxation.
The thermal baths are located on the banks of the Papallacta River in a unique natural environment; here we can find nine hot thermal pools and three cold water pools. The source temperature of the thermal baths varies between 30°C and 70°C (86°F and 158°F). At the pools the temperature ranges from 36°C to 40°C (97°F to 104°F). Papallacta´s thermal waters contain sulfates, sodium, calcium, chloride and traces of magnesium which are odorless, colorless but have a slightly salty taste.
The baths’ curative properties are anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and anti-rheumatic.

Accommodation: Termas de Papallacta 4*

(Breakfast, Lunch Box)

Day 10: Saturday. Papallacta - Baños

Breakfast.

Time at Leisure enjoying Papallacta Hot Spring.

Continue to Baños.

Accommodation: Luna Runtun 4+*

(Breakfast)

Day 11: Sunday. Baños - Riobamba

Breakfast.

Baños is known as “The Gate of the Amazon Region.” Baños are located on the outside of the eastern range of the Andes. It is the perfect place to relax and explore. This small town is famous worldwide for its natural crystalline waterfalls.

Here you can see how it is made the famous “marshmallow” (candy, which is made from sugar cane).

Baños is the main tourist attraction for adventure, there are several ways to enjoy nature through hiking, horseback riding, cycling and rafting.

We will start the city tour and the visit the waterfalls: “Agoyán”, “Manto de la Novia” and “Pailón Del Diablo”.

Continue to Riobamba.

Accommodation: Hacienda Abraspungo 4+*

(Breakfast)

Day 12: Monday. Riobamba - Cuenca

Breakfast.

Continue to the Chimborazo Reserve. Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador, and of this reserve. The giant measures 6,310 meters above sea level and its upper slopes are by a vast bleak wasteland. This reserve, however, provides water to the three provinces below, borne from the Ambato, Chambo and Chimbo springs.

The reserve is home to a large population of vicuñas reintroduced from Peru and Chile in 1988. There are also llamas and alpacas, native domestic animals which were used by the ancient inhabitants of the Andes before the Spanish introduced horses, sheep, cows and donkey. The reserve was created to protect these animals and its historical legacy as well as the strange wasteland of which they are part.

After visiting the reserve, we go to the ruins of Ingapirca. Ingapirca is the largest and best preserved archaeological site in Ecuador, is located 80 km from the city of Cuenca, in Cañar province. It was built with millions of hewn stone in the middle of the eighteenth century. In the complex you can see the different architectural units, among which stands the Temple of the Sun, which have an elliptical shape 37 feet long and 12 meters wide, was used to perform ceremonies and rituals Cañari-Inca culture. In addition, you can observed the oldest building Ingapirca Pilaloma which consists of a series of rectangular rooms.

After visiting the ruins we will go to Cuenca, here you can rest and enjoy your free time.

Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucia 4+*

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 13: Tuesday. Cuenca - Cajas - Guayaquil

Breakfast.

National Park Cajas is located in the Ecuadorian Andes west of Cuenca. This is a striking name as the area is characterized by large outcrops of bedrock. This is called knob and kettle geomorphology and results in a spectacular landscape, where the outcrops alternate with lakes. The lakes and rivers are famous for their trout and pure water. The park is about twenty nine thousand square hectares large and ranges in altitude from 2800 meters to more than 4400 meters above sea level. Cajas is a National Park since 1996. Cajas was declared a National Area of Recreation in 1977. Humidity, low temperature, and high altitude with low atmospheric pressure create an ecosystem that accumulates organic material in the soil that is able to retain water. The National Park is home to a large variety of animals, some of which are endemic or highly endangered.

Continue to Guayaquil

Accommodation: Palace Hotel 4*

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 14: Wednesday. Guayaquil - Galapagos

Breakfast

Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands.

Assistance will be provided for you when you arrive to the airport by one of our representatives after you have landed.
You will arrive at San Cristobal Island in the morning. After passing through immigration and baggage claim you will be met by Cormorant staff and transferred to the yacht. You will be shown to your cabin where you will have some time to settle in before lunch and a welcome briefing.

In the afternoon you’ll be able to enjoy a dinghy ride and snorkeling around Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), also known as the Sleeping Lion because of its resemblance.  This site is located off the coast of San Cristobal.  There are remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea and two vertical rocks rising 500 feet above the ocean which forms a small channel that is navigable by small boats.  This Galapagos Island’s natural monument has become a favorite sight for cruises due to the many tropic birds, frigatebirds and boobies that fill the surrounding area.  Beneath the sea the crystal waters offer a brilliant sight of colorful tropical fish and invertebrates.

Possible Activities: Snorkeling & Dinghy Ride
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: No Landing (Kicker Rock/Leon Dormido)
Highlights: Deep water snorkeling, sharks, tropical fish, turtles, manta rays (occ.), hammerhead shark, spectacular rock formations, sea birds such as Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies & frigatebirds; second best place to snorkel in Galapagos.

Accommodation: M / C Cormorant 5 *

Day 15: Thursday. Galapagos Islands

In the morning, we will begin the day at Suarez Point on a trail where you will have the chance to see Blue-footed Boobies, albatrosses and Nazca Boobies. We will also visit a beautiful site on the ocean front where there is a cliff that large albatrosses use as a launching pad! You’ll also have the chance to see the famous blowhole that spurts water into the air. The landscape is great for photography.
Possible Activities: Hike (1.9 mi / 3 km)
Difficulty: Difficult
Type of Landing: Dry Landing
Highlights: Hood Mockingbird, Nazca Boobies, Waved Albatross, Red-billed tropicbirds, lava lizards, Galapagos Hawk, Blue-footed Boobies, blow hole, amazing landscape.

In the afternoon, we will visit the spectacular Gardner Bay & Osborn Islet .  After landing, you can walk across a lovely white sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups.  It is also the breeding site of nearly all of the world’s 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses.
Possible Activities: Snorkeling, dinghy ride, kayaking, short hike of (0.6 mi / 1km)
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Wet Landing
Highlights & Animals: White sandy beach, sea lions, mockingbirds. Snorkeling: colorful fish and sea lion nursery.

Accommodation: M / C Cormorant 5 

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 16: Friday. Galapagos Islands

We will visit two sites on Floreana Island. Floreana is known for its fabulous snorkeling sites, its vibrantly pink flamingos and its black sand beaches.
We will head to Cormorant Point in the northern part of Floreana. Here, land on a green colored beach from the olivine crystals it is composed of. Enjoy a hike to a salt-water lagoon which is home to flamingoes an other sea birds. The trail continues to another beach known as Flour Beach because of the very fine white-sand particles it is made of, it is also really important to turtles that nest there. You will also get to swim in Champion, one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands.
Possible Activities: Hike, Dinghy Ride & Snorkeling (1.2 mi / 2km)
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Wet Landing
Highlights: Sea lions, flamingoes, rays, olive crystals, rock formations.

In the afternoon, we will visit the famous Post Office Bay and Baroness View Point. You will land on a beach and head to a spot where 18th century whalers once placed a wooden barrel for use as an unofficial mail box. The custom continues to this day with Galapagos visitors. So, don’t forget your postcards, and don’t be surprised if the post card arrives to its destination before you even get home!   Baroness View Point offers spectacular views of the coastline and is a great place to learn more about the endemic Mangroves.
Possible Activities: Short hike (less than 0.6 mi / 1km) & snorkeling, historical views
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Wet Landing
Highlights: Barrel Post Office, nice sandy beach, Mangrove forest, great views of coastline.

Accommodation: M / C Cormorant 5 *

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 17: Saturday. Galapagos Islands

In the morning we start at the Charles Darwin Station- Breeding Center “Fausto Llerena” home to turtles ranging from 4-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long.  Here you will observe the various sub-species of turtles interacting with each other, and possibly with you.  Many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, and will stretch out their heads for a pet.  The babies are only kept until they are about four years old, or large enough to survive in the wild.  These conservation efforts continue to be extremely successful.
Possible Activities: Walking, rocky beach to observe iguanas and crabs, interaction with tortoises
Difficulty: Easy
Type of Landing: Dry Landing
Highlights & Animals: Giant Tortoises, land and Marine iguanas, variety of birds.

After this final visit, you will be transferred to Baltra’s airport in time to catch your flight back to the mainland.

(Breakfast)

INCLUDES:

  • Private transportation and tours with English Speaking Guide in Mainland Ecuador as described on the itinerary;
  • Shared transportation and tours with English speaking guide in  the Galapagos Islands as described on the itinerary;
  • Accommodation as listed on the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed on the itinerary;
  • Entrance fees as listed on the itinerary.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Flight to/from Galapagos Islands;
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee / USD 100 pp (subject to change);
  • Ingala Transit Control Card / USD 20 pp (subject to change);
  • International flights;
  • Travel Insurance (optional)
  • Health insurance (obligatory);
  • Tips;
  • Personal expenses;
  • Items not specified.

 ITINERARY subject to change without prior notice