Whole Ecuador – Galapagos Cruise

Enjoy a wonderful trip around Ecuador from Quito to Guayaquil including the Amazon and Galapagos Islands

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ITINERARY

Day 1: Monday. Quito IN

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

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

Check in – 14:00

Day 2: Tuesday. Quito City Line

Breakfast.

Quito city tour is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, domes and roofs that have an important historical value. You will admire and learn about colonial art, architecture, culture, legends, and traditions. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 9.350 feet. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic Center in Latin America. The architecture and rich interiors, are pure examples of Quito School of sculpture, which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art. After four incredible hours exploring the Old Town, you’ll understand why Quito was the world’s first city named to UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage list.

Lunch at El Crater Restaurant.

At the afternoon, you will visit: “Cuidad Mitad Del Mundo” and Intiñan Museum

  • “Ciudad Mitad del Mundo”

“Ciudad Mitad del Mundo” is the touristic, cultural, scientific and commercial smallest city of Ecuador. Its architecture is based on colonial style. An obelisk and a museum relevant to its geographical location were built at the Middle of the World site. All of this is found among the drastic landscape surrounded by nature and modern buildings. The monument is crowned by a metallic sphere that represents the Earth. It is named Equatorial Monument and it geographical orientation coincides with the four cardinal points and is located precisely at Earth’s midpoint — 0 degrees latitude, 0 minutes, 0 seconds.

  • Intiñan Museum

Since the year 1960, the Intiñan Museum in Quito has been a center for the promotion of the many aspects of Ecuador’s culture.  This museum offers interactive exhibits on how the Incas determined the middle of the earth, plus interesting science experiments such as balancing an egg on a nail.

Return to the hotel.

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3: Wednesday. Quito - Amazon

Breakfast.

The first stop is in 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.

Continue to Tena.

Arrival at Cotococha Lodge in the afternoon. After the drive you will enjoy a special welcome drink, also you can relax for a while in our pool or in our beautiful spacious bungalow built in a rustic native design surrounded by gardens full of amazing jungle plants and flowers. A delicious dinner will be served in a romantic candlelight-setting at the attractively decorated restaurant. Afterwards, we will be relaxing ourselves around the elegant fireplace, to coordinate and discuss next day’s activities with the local crew. We’ll feel absolutely comfortable in this lovely peacefull setting filled with nightly sights and sounds of the Amazon jungle.

Accommodation: Cotococha Lodge 3*

(Breakfast,Dinner)

Day 4: Thursday. Amazon

Breakfast.

After breakfast, we depart by canoe upstream for ten minutes, arriving to a small shore where we begin a fun and thrilling one hour walk, marveling ourselves with the jungle’s secondary forest diverse flora and fauna. After our short hike, we’ll find ourselves in a breathtaking cascade “La Cascada de Latas” where we will take a refreshing bath in its clear crystal waters and enjoy the surrounding views, which, mixed with the jungle sounds, makes it an unforgettable experience. We return along the same way to have lunch at the lodge. However, you have the possibility to go back by canoe or take an exciting tube ride along the Napo River back to the lodge.

After lunch we put on our rubber boots to start an exciting walk in the jungle’s primary forest ready to find the secret wonders of the mysterious hidden jungle, finding amazing plant species with medicinal properties, which will be explained in detail by our expert native guide: their characteristics and how the jungle inhabitants used them in ancient times. We’ll also observe a great variety of insects, small groups of monkeys weaving around the giant trees; though we will need some luck to observe them, that’s why we must stay very quiet to admire these beautiful creatures. Dozens of curious colourful birds tag along with us during our walk whistling enchanted notes delighting our senses. After about three hours of walking we will arrive at the Lodge again. At night, a delicious dinner will be served and there is the possibility to do an exciting night walk, when you will observe many night insects. Afterwards, it’s time for a good and peacefull rest delighted by the nightly sounds of the jungle.

Accommodation: Cotococha Lodge 3*

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5: Friday.Amazon - Baños

Breakfast.

After breakfast we will continue to Baños.

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.

Accommodation: Luna Runtun 4+*

(Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 6: Saturday. 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” and enjoy the “Swing at the End of the World”.

Continue to Riobamba.

Accommodation: Hacienda Abraspungo 4* 

(Breakfast)

Day 7: Sunday. Riobamba - Ingapirca - Cuenca

Breakfast.

After breakfast you will continue driving south to the train Station of Alausí. On your way to Alausí you will visit the church of Balbanera. Enduring the pass of time, this is one of the oldest catholic churches in Latin America built by Sebastian de Benalcazar in 1534.

At Alausí you will board the train for a thrilling adventure with a 45-degree descent by a zigzagging railway built in the ledge of the Condor Puñuña Mountain, known as La Nariz del Diablo. This engineering achievement finally allowed to connect the coast with the Andes region and brought a new era for the republic of Ecuador.

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: Santa Lucia Hotel 4*

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 8: Monday. Cuenca

Breakfast.

Cuenca, 2560 m. high (8400 feet), the third largest city in Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated in a fertile valley in the southern highlands of Ecuador. Cuenca has kept its old-world architectural charm and its colonial ambience. The Old Town is best visited on foot. Our tour takes you along the cobblestone streets admiring the historic buildings, hanging balconies, carved wooden doors, the craft fair and colorful flower market, the main plaza with the Old Cathedral, which has been converted to the “Museum for Religious Art”, and the magnificent blue-domed Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. See silversmiths at work and handicrafts of almost every kind. You end the tour with a visit to the “Panama Hat” factory.

Accommodation: Santa Lucia Hotel 4*

(Breakfast)

Day 9: 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.

In the afternoon we travel to Guayaquil (3.5 hour drive). In the path we will visit a Cacao Plantation, her you can  learn everything about the process of growing, harvesting cacao and how prepared chocolate.

Lunch at Cacao y Mango Plantation.

Continue to Guayaquil

Accommodation: Wyndham Guayaquil Hotel 4*

(Breakfast,)

Day 10: 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 *

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 11: 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 12: 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 13: 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 Cotococha and 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 (opti0nal)
  • Health insurance (obligatory);
  • Tips;
  • Personal expenses;
  • Items not specified.

 ITINERARY subject to change without prior notice