Wild & Wonderful

Ecuador & Amazon & Galapagos Islands

From one of the highest places on earth to one of the biggest highlights, this journey takes you from equatorial Ecuador to canoes in the Amazon and colonies of wildlife in the Galapagos Islands – truly wild!

Boutique luxury from £7600 per person

Itinerary Idea

Wild & Wonderful Ecuador, Amazon & Galapagos Islands over 15 Days / 14 Nights

Quito – Cotopaxi – Galapagos Cruise – Otavalo – Papallacta – Coca – Amazon

 

This truly inspiring luxury adventure into some of the wildest places on earth takes you from the heights of Quito and Cotopaxi on the Equator in the Andes, through cruising the remote and wonderful Galapagos Islands, to paddling canoes in the mysterious Amazon. This is definitely exploring in comfort but with sufficient exposure to reality to immerse you in wonder!

DAY 1: Quito, Ecuador

Arrive in Quito where you will be met by your personal guide after passing the customs area and then transfer to your boutique hotel ‘Patio Andaluz’ in Quito, your base for the next three nights.

DAY 2: Quito – Full day tour

Your personally guided tour starts with a visit to the Itchimbia neighborhood, a place offering a spectacular view of the old and new city. You’ll then visit old colonial Quito, walking through ‘La Ronda’ full of colonial houses where the Quiteños lived in the sixteen hundreds. On to San Francisco Plaza, where stands the oldest church in Quito. Visit to La Merced church to see its arabesque and baroque style followed by the main square, Presidential Palace and the main cathedral and La Compañía de Jesus church, which is one of the most beautiful churches in South America or perhaps the world. You’ll next stand on the equator, where you’ll learn about the different cultures in Ecuador and facts applicable on the Equator.

DAY 3:  Cotopaxi – Full day tour

You’ll be met by your guide early in the morning for a drive of about 60 km south of Quito along the Pan-American Highway – named the Avenue of the Volcanoes by Alexander Von Humboldt. Here you’ll find the magnificent Cotopaxi volcano, the highest active volcano in the world! You will have an opportunity to take short hikes and learn about the flora and fauna of the Paramo and, depending on weather conditions, to visit to the “refuge” (4.800m – 15.840ft). Lunch is at Tambopaxi base camp with a fantastic view of this most scenic volcano. Return to Quito late in the afternoon.

DAY 4: Galapagos – Santa Cruz

Transfer to the Quito airport in time for the Aerogal Airlines flight. Transfer to your first class cruise ship.
Begin your 6-night cruise through Darwin’s ‘Enchanted Islands’. Accommodation will be in one double occupation cabin. All cabins are spacious and feature a private balcony, bath/shower and air-conditioning. All meals, lectures and shore excursions (led by category 3 naturalist) are included. In the afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island

DAY 5: Galapagos Islands

No amount of words can describe the emotions you’ll experience whilst cruising the Galapagos Islands – every day is different – every sighting, snorkeling and wildlife experience unique. Today you’ll be visiting both Ballena Bay and Dragon Hill around Santa Cruz Island

DAY 6: Galapagos – Tintoreras – Humedales

CRUISING THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
AM: Tintoreras – Isabela Island.
PM: Humedales – Isabela Island.

DAY 7: Galapagos – Punta Moreno – Urbina Bay

CRUISING THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
AM: Punta Moreno – Isabela Island.
PM: Urbina Bay – Isabela Island.

DAY 8: Galapagos – Punta Espinoza – Tagus Cove

CRUISING THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
AM: Punta Espinoza – Fernandina Island.
PM: Tagus Cove – Isabela Island

DAY 9: Galapagos – Egas Port – Rabida Island

CRUISING THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
AM: Egas Port – Santiago Island
PM: Rabida Island

DAY 10: Galapagos – Egas Port – Rabida Island

CRUISING THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
AM: Bachas Beach – Santa Cruz Island.
Here you’ll transfer to Baltra airport for your flight to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, transfer with your private guide to Hacienda Cusin in Otavalo San Pablo area for two nights

DAY 11: Otavalo – Full day tour

This land is rich in friendly and colorfully attired indigenous people, historic working haciendas and towering volcanoes with verdant slopes. As you pass into the highlands, you’re treated to a sweeping view of Imbabura and Cotacachi Volcanoes rising above San Pablo Lake. Otavalo market, which dates back thousands of years and is famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles and tapestries. Lunch will be served at one of the local haciendas built between the 17th and 18th centuries, after which you’ll visit the village of Peguche where native weavers demonstrate their craft.

DAY 12: Otavalo – Papallacta

Today you will drive from Otavalo to the high Andes, a beautiful landscape filled with mountains, green fields and snow caps. Arrive in Papallacta and enjoy the thermal springs located outside your room.

DAY 13: Papallacta – Coca

Your guide will take you from Papallacta to the airport in time to take a 30 minute flight to Coca over the eastern Andes mountain range. Upon arrival, a 5 minute transfer in local chiva (hired bus) or local taxi from the airport to Port Francisco de Orellana enables you to embark onto a comfortable covered motor boat. Here you’ll begin a canoe ride along the Napo River. After arriving at the entry dock you’ll disembark and take a peaceful dugout canoe ride to where the lodge is located. There is a good possibility of sighting various species of monkeys as well as large birds such as toucans, parrots and macaws. Take an optional evening caiman spotting outing around the lake.

DAY 14: Amazon Adventure

Early wake up to reach the best and most easily accessed parrot clay licks in Ecuador, about 1 hour away from the lodge. You’ll arrive just before activity kicks off at the clay lick. A total of 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen. A visit that depends on weather conditions but usually successful. Later, hike along forest trail to visit to the Quichua community of Añangu and share time with a family on their activities. Return to the creek and hike through a Terra Firme Forest for about 30 minutes until arriving at a second parrot clay lick where,weather permitting you’ll find different species of parrots, parakeets and even macaws.

DAY 15: Amazon Adventure

After early breakfast, depart for a canopy tower on the Napo. The 36m high canopy tower is a great way to experience life above the forest floor. From top to bottom, there is no finer canopy experience in Eastern Ecuador. Flocks of colorful Tanagers pass right through the canopy of the tree, Blue-and-yellow Macaws fly past, in nearby trees Spider Monkeys search for fruit, two species of large toucans call in the early mornings and afternoons, and life of the forest canopy opens before you. Birds that are virtually impossible to see from the forest floor far below are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence.

DAY 16: Amazon Adventure

Early departure and your last excursion, canoeing back to the Napo River, the creek may reveal new sights of Giant otters, Monk Saki monkeys or many other rare birds.You’ll then embark on motorised canoe to return to Coca, in order to check for your Quito flight scheduled 11:55 pm. Arrive in Quito. Transfer to the valley of Guayllabamba only 30 minutes away from the airport where you will have the opportunity to enjoy a BBQ in a pleasant private place, use the facilities and also relax learning about the local plantations.