Active Tour & Galapagos Hotel

LUXURY TRIP

Enjoy an active tour in Ecuador and discover the Galapagos Islands with hotel accommodation

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ITINERARY

Day 1: The tour can generally begin any day of the week pending availability. Quito

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

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

Check in – 14:00

Day 2: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Papallacta - Baños

Breakfast.

Time at Leisure enjoying Papallacta Hot Spring.

Continue to Baños.

Accommodation: Luna Runtun 4+*

(Breakfast)

Day 11: 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: 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: 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: Guayaquil - Galapagos

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

When you land in Baltra a guide will be waiting for you. You will arrive at Santa Cruz Island crossing the Itabaca Channel, it is a waterway that connects two islands,(Baltra and Santa Cruz), in 10 minutes.

Then you will take a private bus to take you to the Silberstein Hotel. During the trip, we can admire the different environments, from a rocky red surface in the north to the green landscape of wildlife in the south. Once at the hotel reception your room will be assigned.

In the afternoon, you will visit Charles Darwin Research Station. This station has a museum of history and development of the Galapagos Islands, as well as information on the protection of natural heritage. Here you can watch the endemic giant tortoises from the islands.

Later you will have free time to explore the town of Puerto Ayora, where you can several souvenir shops.

Accommodation: Silberstein Hotel 3+*

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 15-16: Galapagos Islands

Breakfast.

From the second-day the excursion may change depending the availability. Visits to the islands are confirmed one week before arrival. Visits could be to the following islands (one island per day):

North Seymour Island:

North Seymour is a small island near to Baltra Island in the Galapagos Islands. It was formed by uplift of a submarine lava formation. The whole island is covered with low, bushy vegetation. This island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. It hosts one of the largest populations of frigate birds in Galapagos.

North Seymour has a visitor trail approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) in length crossing the inland of the island and exploring the rocky coast. North Seymour is an extraordinary place for breeding birds, and is home to one of the largest populations of nesting blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds. Pairs of blue-footed boobies can be seen conducting their mating ritual as they offer each other gifts, whistle and honk, stretch their necks towards the sky, spread their wings, and dance—showing off their bright blue feet.

Plazas Island: 

South Plaza is a small island off the east coast of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands. It has an area of 0.13 km and a maximum altitude of 23 metres. South Plaza was formed by lava up streaming from the bottom of the ocean. Despite its small size it is home to a large number of species and it is famous for its extraordinary flora. That is why this island is very popular with visitors. On the steep banks it is possible to see a great number of birds such as nesting Red-billed Tropicbirds and Swallow-tailed Gulls, but most of all, enjoying the beautiful view from atop the steep banks or strolling along the base of the cliff is an extremely pleasurable experience. Very attractive are the beautiful prickly pear cactus trees (Opuntia echios) and of course the large colony of Galapagos Land Iguanas. Depending on the season, the Sesuvium ground vegetation changes its colour from intense green in the rainy season to orange and purple in the dry season.

Bartolome Island:

Bartolome Island is a volcanic islet in the Galápagos Islands group. It is a volcanic islet just off the east coast of Santiago Island. It is one of the “younger” islands in the Galápagos archipelago. With a total land area of just 1.2 km², this island offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the archipelago. The island consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green, and glistening black volcanic formations.

Bartolome has a volcanic cone that is easy to climb and provides great views of the other islands. Bartolome is famous for its Pinnacle Rock, which is the distinctive characteristic of this island, and the most representative landmark of the Galápagos.

It has two visitor sites. At the first one, you may swim and snorkel around Pinnacle Rock; the underwater world there is really impressive. You can snorkel with the penguins, marine turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, and other tropical fish.

Isabela Island:

 Isabela Island is the largest island of the Galápagos with an area of 4,640 square kilometers (1,790 sq mi), and length of 100 kilometers (62 mi) nearly 4 times larger than Santa Cruz, the next largest of the islands.

One of the youngest islands, Isabela is located on the western edge of the archipelago near the Galápagos hotspot. Isabela is also interesting for its flora and fauna. The young island does not follow the vegetation zones of the other islands.

The relatively new lava fields and surrounding soils have not developed the sufficient nutrients required to support the varied life zones found on other islands. Another obvious difference occurs on Volcano Wolf and Cerro Azul; these volcanoes loft above the cloud cover and are arid on top.

Isabela’s rich animal, bird, and marine life are beyond compare. Isabela is home to more wild tortoises than all the other islands.

Floreana Island:

 Floreana is famous for its mystery stories evolving around its first inhabitants, Doctor Ritter and Dora Strauch and the Wittmer family. One of the spots to visit is the “Cave of the Pirates” which is located near a fresh water fountain and served as only source of fresh water for the families that lived there and was called the Asylum of Peace by the Wittmers. The incredible stories of these inhabitants come to life during your trip, which is also the perfect opportunity to spot birds, such as the medium tree finch, endemic to this island, the vermilion flycatcher and the Maria canary bird. Once you arrive in town, you will visit the breeding center for Galapagos Tortoises and will have lunch in a small restaurant nearby. In the afternoon you will be taken to the “Lobería” to see colonies of sea lions and to do some snorkeling in one of the best places for this activity.

Santa Fe Island

This island is the home to several land iguana species, as well as one endemic type of this specie, the Conolophus Pallidus, that only inhabits Santa Fe and has a pale yellow color and is of a bigger size than other land iguanas. You can also find four different types of endemic rodents, but being night active, they will probably not show themselves during the tour. Nevertheless, they are of great importance for the proper function of the food chain. Several studies talk about Santa Fe as one of the oldest islands of the archipel, being over 3 million years old. The turquoise water around the island is perfect for snorkeling and known as one of the best spots for this activity with a high probability of seeing sea turtles, sea lions, tropical fish and squids.

Accommodation: Silberstein Hotel 3+*

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 17: Galapagos Islands

Breakfast.

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Quito or Guayaquil.

(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