Wildlife – Galapagos Cruise

Ecuador Wonders Is a tour operator registered in October 2010 and began the activities since February 2011.piqueros Our main office is located in the north of the city of Quito, capital of Ecuador. Our team is highly qualified in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, all of them are professionals in the Tourism Industry with years of experiences.

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ITINERARY

Day 1: Wednesday. Quito

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

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

Check in – 14:00

Day 2: Thursday. Quito - Cable Car

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.

After visit Quito, we continuer to Teleférico is located at the eastern end of the city, at the height of the boundary between the north and center of Quito. The moor of Pichincha volcano, at the top of Cruz Loma, offers a spectacular view of the whole city of Quito. If the weather is good can be seen some main elevations of the Andes mountain chain such as: Cayambe, Antisana, Cotopaxi, Pasochoa, Rumiñahui and the list goes on. Besides the beautiful view offered here is the Andean landscape, the cold wilderness with almost straight, flat road to the summit of Rucu Pichincha, Pichincha most visible elevation from Quito.

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast,Box Lunch)

Day 3: Friday. Quito - Otavalo

Breakfast.

Early in the morning, you begin the exciting and colorful journey to Otavalo, in Imbabura province. Your first stop will be at Calderon, a small town where marzipan figures of different designs, shapes and colors are made, perfect to start buying souvenirs. Your next stop will be at Guayllabamba, here you can find “chirimoya”, a traditional fruit that you can try if you want to.  Continuing your way, you will arrive to the “Mirador de San Pablo”, where you can appreciate the unique landscape of the lake that sits at the foot of Imbabura volcano.
In the afternoon you will arrive to Otavalo, a the handicrafts market of the city, known as “Plaza de Ponchos”, on this site you’ll find carpets, wool coats, bags and pottery made by the natives Otavalo Indians (Otavaleños).

Also you will visit Peguche Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall of 50 ft. in height, formed by the river of the same name, which starts at Lake San Pablo. The waterfall is one of the most important tourist attractions of Otavalo. Because of its proximity and easy access. This beautiful waterfall is considered as an Indigenous Ceremonial Site due to the purification baths held here a couple days prior the Inti Raymi celebration (Sun and harvest celebration, June 21st).

Accommodation: Hacienda Pinsaqui 4*

(Breakfast)

Day 4: Saturday. Otavalo - El Angel

Breakfast.

After breakfast we visit Condor Park. The Condor Park is located in a strategic point from which you can admire the Imbabura volcano, Cotacachi and the Cuicocha crater. It is a conservation and research space located on the Loma Pucara Cuniloma. It houses 80 birds of prey that cannot be reinserted into the wild.

One of the best features of Parque Cóndor is the educational bird show. Visitors will sit and get to learn more about the aim of the foundation while they get to admire free-flight demonstration of birds, such as the American bold eagle and other small birds.

Then we will continue to El Angel Ecological Reserve. Located in El Angel-Carchi, a village two hours from Ibarra, it has a natural vegetation adapted to cold climates, a real sponge water that supplies the entire province of Carchi. It is one of the most humid highlands of Ecuador, which offers a variety of flora especially frailejones (endemic to the Andes), polylepis trees and typical landscape of the moorlands. Its fauna is diverse and we can find deer, wolves, rabbits, ducks, moor doves that inhabit in the three lagoons.

Accommodation: Polylepis Lodge 4 *

(Breakfast,Dinner)

Day 5: Sunday. El Angel - Cuicocha

Breakfast.

At the morning you can take a walk around the Polylepis Forest.  This forest is considered to be the only one of its type in the world as it is  millennial and primary composed of polylepis “paper” trees.

Then we will continue to visit Cuicocha Lagoon. The Cuicocha Lagoon is located 12 km southwest site of Cotacachi town, it is part of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, occupies part of the provinces of Imbabura and Esmeraldas. Cuicocha is a collapsed volcanic crater, but still shows signs of activity. Inside the lagoon are two islets called Teodoro Wolf and Jose Maria Yerovi, its midst is separated by narrow water passage which only can be crossed by kayak or paddle- boat. The lagoon has a beautiful crystal waters and has a depth of approximately 200 m.

Accommodation: Hacienda Pinsaqui 4*

(Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 6: Monday. Cuicocha - Pululahua

Breakfast.

At the morning we start to return to Quito.  Our first stop is a rose plantation, where you can learn about all the diversity and colorful roses that Ecuador produces.  You will be able to take a closer look at what goes into the process of cultivating these beautiful flowers as well as the behind the scenes of the exportation and bouquet making processes.

Then we continue to visit the Equator Line “Cuidad Mitad Del Mundo” and Intiñan Museum.

“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.

Continue to the Pululahua Crater.  Pululahua volcano, is one of the largest volcanic craters in the world, 34km2 and 5km wide, which was last active about 2500 years ago. There is a lava dome rising 500m at the center which is covered in lush cloud forest vegetation. Pululahua was declared a Geobotanical Reserve in 1966. Pululahua is Quichua for cloud of water in reference to the fog that rolls in everyday at midday to fill the crater (it’s best visited early in the morning for this reason!) and which is the only real source of water for local crops. It is one of only two inhabited volcanic craters in the world, and the only one which is cultivated due to its rich soils on the crater floor. Pululahua enjoys a unique microclimate which supports cloud forests, orchids and all kinds of plants that grow on the crater walls and lava dome.

At the afternoon you can enjoy time at leisure.

Accommodation: El Crater Hotel 4* 

(Breakfast)

Day 7: Tuesday. Pululahua - Bellavista

Breakfast.

Transfer to Bellavista Lodge. Leaving Quito, we descend a scenic mountain road reaching the turn to Bellavista, you climb to the top of the mountain, again with fabulous views, where Bellavista’s lodge is perched. Settle into your room, and enjoy the flurry of the hummingbirds or take a hike into the forest on our varied trails. After lunch, you can take a hike on your own into the forest, or go on one of our guided hikes.

Your guided hike will acquaint you with the exuberant vegetation of the cloud forest, its bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment.

The evening is relaxed; we will help you discover the incredible variety of moths, many of which are unknown to science.

Accommodation: Bellavista Lodge 4 * 

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 8: Wednesday. Bellavista

Breakfast.

After a refreshing night’s sleep, an ample breakfast is served. Afterwards, take a guided hike or explore further on your own.

After lunch, an afternoon hike deep into the valleys of the reserve is recommended, and in the evening it is possible to see night birds and more.

Accommodation: Bellavista Lodge 4 * 

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 9: Thursday. Bellavista-Yanacocha-Cotopaxi

Breakfast.

Then depart for Yanacocha Reserve we head toward the Yanacocha Ecological Reserve located on the North side of Volcano Guagua Pichincha at 3600m/11,483 feet. Here we will see hummingbirds, and the mixed feeding flocks we will encounter will add many more tantalizing birds to the list! You have good chances to spot Barred Fruiteater, Great Sapphirewing, Golden breasted and Sapphire vented Pufflegs, Sword billed Hummingbirds, and many more.

After visit Yanacocha we continue to the Cotopaxi province.

Accommodation: La Cienega 4*,

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 10:Friday. Cotopaxi - Quilotoa - Quito

Breakfast.

After breakfast we will drive to the famous Quilotoa Crater Lake. On our way we will pass by the Tigua workshop and admire some impressive local artwork with impressions of life in the Andes.

At our arrival to the Quilotoa Loop, we will appreciate an emerald green lake inside the crater of an extinct volcano with steep jagged cliffs. We are going to trek into the crater to the lake shore and the return to the top of the crater is a mule ride.

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast)

Day 11: Saturday. Quito - Sacha Lodge

Breakfast.

Depart Quito´s airport at 11:00 am (subject to change). A 30 minute flight over the Andes Mountains leads you to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin. A quick lunch in Sacha´s private house and then its off to the town docks where you will board Sacha´s private canoes for the 2 hours journey down river to Sacha´s Lodges property.

A 30 minute hike through the rainforest leads you to lake Pilchicocha. Here, you are met by native workers to paddle you across the lake to your final destination. Arrive at Sacha Lodge around 15:30 or 16:00 pm.

Swim in Lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake home to many species of fish and animals. A refreshing swim after arriving may be just what you need after being in the equatorial heat all day. Bird observing from the mini  tower offers guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds common around the lodge. Also a great place to watch the sunset. Visit the butterfly house with your naturalist guide to view the beautiful colors of many different species of butterflies.

After dinner, accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest to view the hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night. Or maybe a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.

Accommodation: Sacha Lodge

(Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12: Sunday. Sacha Lodge

Breakfast.

Begin morning activity between 6:00 and 7:00. Begin walking on trail Liana Chica and arrive at the canopy walk, for spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly colored birds.

Designed to be a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk. it is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha´s private reserve, 2miles from the shores of the Rio Napo and 1 mile from the lodge, the bird walk gives guests the opportunity to get an up close and personal view of the rainforest canopy. Two of the three towers have observation decks every 12 meters making  towers accessible for everyone. The canopy walkway is at 36 meters high and 275 meters long, giving guests a “birds eye view” of all the wonders and beauty the tropical rainforest has to
offer. The canopy walk is designed as a sturdy walkway enabling guests to casually move along while enjoying the spectacular views.

After the canopy walk, Liana Grande through terra firma and igapo forest habitats where native guides will explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been being used in their culture for hundreds of years.

Liana Grande will turn into the trail Higueron, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge Kapok and Fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head.

After lunch, you may choose to take a leisurely hike along the Rio Napo, or choose a little more challenging hike on the trail Leoncillo to try and spot the elusive dusky titi monkey. Either way the trails will lead you back to the main boardwalk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge.

Accommodation: Sacha Lodge

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13: Monday. Sacha Lodge

Leaving the lodge after breakfast, you begin your hike on trail Lagartococha. This trail offers you the chance to learn more about the native people and their relationship with the forest. earn about the trees where native people believe the spirits of their ancestors live, and the mysterious “dwende” or devil-man of the forest.

After arriving at lake Lagartococha, take a tranquil canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is the home of anacondas, caimans, and capybaras.After the canoe ride, a walk on the other side of Largatococha may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees.

Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the lake, or a nice relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony.

After lunch, your native guide will teach you how to fish for the infamous razor-toothed piranha. Keep in mind that piranhas will never attack a person and swimming at the same time is perfectly safe and fun!

Around 15:30 you will begin what many think is the best trail at Sacha, a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest. Where you have a good chance of being surrounded by troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter as well as the incredibly well camouflaged three-toed sloth!

After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha´s135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close up views of vibrantly colored birds through Sacha´s powerful scopes, and watch the sunset with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano, and possibly a view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes!

Leaving the tower just before or after sunset will give you an experience not soon forgotten. A canoe ride back through the flooded forest at night will be an awe-inspiring experience. Listen to the symphony of frogs and insects as you navigate through the narrow flooded forest trail, keeping your eyes open for caimans. Watch the several species of bats flying over your heads and listen to the many species of nocturnal birds making their eerie nighttime calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at lake Pilchicocha
and the welcoming lights of Sacha lodge.

Accommodation: Sacha Lodge

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14: Tuesday. Sacha Lodge

Breakfast and a departure from the lodge at 07:30 am. One last walk on the boardwalk to the river, and from there a 2 hours canoe ride back to Coca for your 35 minutes flight back to Quito. Arrive Quito at 12:30pm (subject to change).

Transfer to the hotel

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast)

Day 15: Wednesday. Quito - Galapagos Islands

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 * Standard cabin.

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 16: 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 * Standard cabin.

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 17: 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 * Standard cabin.

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 18: 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 Amazon 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 Coca;
  • Yasuni National Park Entrace Fee / USD 20 per person;
  • Community Entrace Fee / USD 70 per person;
  • 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.

RATES AND ITINERARY subject to change without prior notice