Epic Ecuador & Galapagos
Otavalo, Amazon, Quito, Galapagos, Guayaquil
based on 12 nights & daily experiences
* Pricing is a guideline only and excludes special offers. Travel over peak periods (e.g. Christmas, New Year and other public holidays) can affect prices considerably, as can exchange rates, flight class and room type.
International economy flights and taxes subject to availability
Based on 2 adults sharing
At a Glance
This action-packed itinerary really gets under the skin of Ecuador’s staggering geographical diversity and is packed full to the brim with the country's best experiences and dazzling sights
Uncover a little of Ecuador’s colonial history and cultural influences with a backdrop of dramatic snow-capped mountains and softly billowing volcanoes
Experience the magic of the Galapagos from the comfort of a luxurious catamaran with your own private balcony, the perfect spot for soaking up dreamlike sunsets with a chilled glass of fizz!
Get a real sense of remoteness as you paddle along winding rivers and walk amongst towering trees in the Amazon jungle, whilst caiman glide through the waters and colourful birds fly overhead
Take the opportunity to completely switch off, relax and fully recharge your batteries
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
There's never a bad time to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos. The peak season lasts from mid-June through early September and from mid-December through mid-January. The Galapagos national park limits the number of visitors to each island and coordinates each ship's itinerary, so the archipelago will never feel like Disney World. But if you visit in the summer, you are less likely to feel a sense of solitude and isolation.
From December through to May the water and the air are warmer, but this is the rainy season. It drizzles almost daily for a short period of time. Ironically, this is also the sunniest time of year.
June through November, the Humboldt Current makes it way up to the Galapagos from the southern end of South America. The current brings cold water and cold weather, but it also brings water rich in nutrients and plankton, which attracts fish and birds. During this season there always seem to be clouds in the air, but it rarely rains. It's also quite windy, and the seas tend to be rougher.
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. To start planning your holiday
We’ve packed two awesome wildlife experiences into one unforgettable trip! Hangout with monkeys and sloths in the mighty Amazon Rainforest, swim with sealions, turtles and sharks and get up close and personal with giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands. In between epic adventures and photographing animals, stay at beautifully appointed lodges with spectacular scenic backdrops.
Fly to Quito
Days 1-3: Otavalo
Upon arrival into Quito airport, you’ll immediately be whisked off into the beautiful Ecuadorian countryside, where your home for the next couple of days is a grand colonial hacienda with luxurious flourishes. Once the home of a former Ecuadorian President, this stunning property is tucked into a lush green mountain valley, set amongst manicured gardens and with views over snow-capped mountains and volcanoes. The opulent interior reflects the history of the hacienda and you can expect to be treated (and fed) like visiting royalty by the eager to please staff.
Take the time to really immerse yourself in the surrounding nature and switch off from the stresses of life back home. There are plenty of included activities to occupy your time; saddle up and canter through magnificent landscapes on horseback (the hacienda has its own well maintained stables), discover scented woodlands and winding mountain trails on foot, or hop on a bike and hit the scenic roads around the property. You can also get your first glimpse of Ecuador’s rare wildlife, the hacienda runs a successful condor rehabilitation project, so you can witness these huge majestic birds in their natural habitat.
The nearby town of Otavalo is renowned for its lively colourful market, one of the largest indigenous markets in Latin America, full of bright textiles, wooden carvings and locally grown fruit and vegetables (and even livestock on certain days!). Visits to the market can be arranged onsite.
As the evening draws in, laze around beside the roaring fireplace with a glass of wine whilst sampling some of the award-winning homemade cheeses, before a delicious three-course dinner, featuring fresh local produce from the market or picked that day from the garden. For those who’d like to learn more about traditional Ecuadorian cuisine a cooking tutorial can be arranged, and visits to the onsite cheese factory are encouraged.
Accommodation: Hacienda Zuleta (2 nights)
Days 3-6: Ecuadorian Amazon
Today the adventure ramps up a few notches as you head for the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. It’s just a short 30-minute flight to Coca, where you’ll board a boat and head down the mightily impressive Napo River before arriving at your secluded jungle retreat for the next few days. La Selva is a beautifully constructed wooden lodge, perched beside a shimmering blackwater lake and surrounded by pristine rainforest. More akin to a comfortable hotel than a rustic refuge, La Selva boasts luxuriously appointed cabins where bathrobes and slippers, L'Occitane amenities and a turn-down service come as standard. You can enjoy the sounds of the jungle as you relax on your own private veranda with a fruity cocktail, or whilst practising yoga on the decked area around the lake. The decadent onsite spa offers soothing massages and revitalising therapies, the perfect remedy after a day of exploration. There’s even Wi-Fi in the common areas so you can treat your social media followers to updates as to your whereabouts and jungle exploits!
During your stay at the lodge you’ll embark on a variety of explorations and discoveries, accompanied by an English-speaking guide and a native guide with acute local knowledge and an eye for even the most well-hidden creatures! Kayak through overgrown creeks in search of giant river otters and caiman, looking out for playful groups of monkeys swinging through the trees and a sloth if you’re lucky. Visit a clay lick, where brightly coloured parrots gather to feed and hike forest trails amongst huge trees as your guide explains the medicinal purposes of indigenous plants. Climb the 35-metre canopy tower at dawn to witness the incredible sunrise over the canopy and listen to the jungle as it wakes up, and in the evening head out with a headtorch to spot nocturnal insects, frogs and snakes hiding in the undergrowth. There’s also a chance to visit a nearby indigenous community to learn about their traditional lifestyle and how it’s now being impacted by oil exploration and deforestation. All meals and guided excursions are included throughout your jungle stay.
Accommodation: La Selva Jungle Lodge (3 nights)
Days 6-7: Quito
Return to Quito and check-in to your snazzy boutique hotel, located in the heart of the city’s picturesque colonial district. A former historic mansion, ILLA Experience Hotel is a gorgeous boutique hotel that maximises space, light and elegant touches.
At 2,850 metres above sea level it is one of highest capital cities in the world and the first to be named a UNESCO Wold Heritage site. Stroll through the cobbled streets and pretty plazas, and make sure to stop in at one of the artisan chocolate shops where you can sample (and purchase) some of Ecuador’s finest cacao treats. Back at the hotel, head up to the cool roof top lounge, popular with the city’s fashionistas, for a unique view of the historic centre, expertly mixed cocktails and a highly recommended culinary experience.
Accommodation: Illa Experience Hotel (1 night)
Days 7-11: Galapagos
It’s time to crank up the excitement levels as today one of the world’s most sought after bucket list destinations awaits. Bid farewell to the mainland as you board your flight to the magnificent Galapagos Islands. Your feet won’t be on land for long as you will be whisked off to your uber-lux stylish catamaran, which has recently benefitted from a complete makeover. This huge vessel offers plenty of privacy and some of the largest and most comfortable cabins in the Galapagos, each one with its own private balcony. With an expert crew and some of the best guides around you’ll be well looked after from the moment you arrive. Expect nice touches such a warm towels and hot drinks after swimming in the sea, delicious canapes and sundowners in the evenings.
A trip to the Galapagos Islands is a real privilege, with visitor numbers limited to protect the fragile and unique ecosystems. Over the next few days you’ll have the opportunity to explore a series of wonderfully different islands, home to a myriad of endemic and peculiar wildlife, through a combination of land and water activities.
Snorkel with curious sealion pups and turtles and as they playfully tumble through the waters and watch as hammerhead sharks circle underneath. Paddle around marine reserves on a kayak and observe the iconic blue-footed boobies, neon pink flamingos and even penguins. On land, hike across grasslands home to the famous giant tortoise and barren lava fields where marine iguanas bask in the hot sun. From the top deck of your vessel, whilst you relax in the jacuzzi with a cocktail in hand, observe manta rays jumping out of the water and whales breaching and slapping their tail as they pass by. Not to mention that you’ll also be treated to some of the best sunsets, with unobstructed views of the sun as it melts into the horizon and the sky turns a gorgeous shade of burnt orange and purple!
With each island comes a unique experience, so regardless of the exact itinerary you can guarantee no day in the Galapagos will be the same, but the memories will last forever.
Accommodation: Ocean Spray (4 nights)
Days 11-13: Guayaquil
It’s always sad to leave somewhere this special, but on your last day in the Galapagos there is usually time for one final excursion before you wave goodbye to the crew and transfer back to the airport, followed by a short flight across to the mainland.
From Guayaquil, it’s a scenic overland journey through banana plantations to Hacienda la Danesa, a real gem of a property where you’ll enjoy luxurious and super stylish accommodation and first-class hospitality. The hacienda is a family owned working dairy farm and was originally established as a cacao plantation, it offers a great insight into rural life in Ecuador and is the perfect place to recharge your batteries before returning home.
There are a number of activities included in your stay, from signposted nature trails and hikes to waterfalls, river-tubing adventures, horse and bike-riding opportunities, cooking workshops and even cacao tours where you can pick the fruit fresh out of the tree and even make your own chocolate to take home. With a strong ethos on farm to table, you’ll enjoy locally harvested tropical fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood and gastronomic experiences with an Ecuadorian influence. Of course, this is also a chance to relax, so why not book a sumptuous massage treatment and finish that holiday read you’ve been carrying around the whole trip!
Accommodation: Hacienda la Danesa (2 nights)
Make the most of your last day, enjoy a leisurely breakfast whilst basking in the morning sun and perhaps a final excursion, before transferring to Guayaquil airport to check in for your flight home.
Otavalo, Amazon, Quito, Galapagos, Guayaquil
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