Explore Ecuador's cultural wonders and unique natural world
- Head deep into the Ecuador's Amazon basin
- Explore UNESCO-listed Quito on a guided walking tour
- Straddle the northern and southern hemispheres at the Middle of the World
- Snorkel with sea lions and watch giant tortoises on a Galapágos cruise
- 1 Night Quito
- 3 Nights Amazon
- 2 Nights Quito
- 1 Night Riobamba
- 2 Nights Cuenca
- 1 Night Guayaquil
- 4 Nights Galapagos cruise (MV Santa Cruz)
Activity adventure | Exploration cruise | History & culture | Natural world | Ocean cruise | Wildlife
Straddling the equator, mainland Ecuador boasts colonial cities, beautiful haciendas, towering volcanoes and green and steamy jungles. Combined with the incredible beauty and diversity of nature that can only be found on the Galapagos, it's a truly compelling destination.This tailor-made itinerary gives you of a taste of the options available, starting with the capital, Quito, before heading to the spectacular rainforests of the Amazon Jungle, the majestic volcanic landscapes of the Catopaxi National Park, the historic city of Cuenca and finally to the wildlife-rich island of Galápagos.
Day by day itinerary
Begin with included airport lounge access before your overnight flight to Quito, Ecuador's mountain-framed capital set high in the Andes.
Arrive in Quito and transfer to your city-centre hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore; perhaps head out into the city's UNESCO-listed old town whose Spanish-era architecture is among the finest in South America.
Stay: Patio Andaluz
After a scenic flight over the Andes and a four-hour river transfer from Coca – looking out for monkeys and macaws – you’ll arrive at the Napo Wildlife Centre in an Amazon nature reserve. This luxury lakeside eco-lodge was created and built by the indigenous Anangu community.
Stay: Napo Wildlife Centre
Meals: B D
The Amazon & Napo Wildlife Centre
Activities at the lodge include guided hikes in the rainforest, dugout canoe trips, indigenous village visits and trips to nearby clay licks (where parrots and macaws gather to eat clay from the riverbanks). There’s also a chance to climb the centre’s 12-storey canopy tower.
Stay: Napo Wildlife Centre
Meals: B L D
Return by river to Coca and fly back to Quito for a two-night stay. On day seven, you'll be treated to a guided tour of the capital's world-heritage city centre, a living museum where busy market stalls share bustling streets with a wealth of architectural treasures, from art-filled churches to plazas lined with grand, 17th-century façades. Then, with your guide, you'll head out of the city to the Cuidad Mitad del Mundo – the Middle of the World Monument – which marks the equatorial line between the northern and southern hemispheres.
Stay: Patio Andaluz
Avenue of Volcanoes
Travel from Quito down the Pan-American Highway, along the aptly named Avenue of Volcanoes. Stop in the town of Sangolqui and explore a traditional Andean market before spending time in Cotopaxi National Park, which surrounds the magnificent Cotopaxi volcano. Continue to Riobamba for dinner and a night at a beautiful hacienda on the outskirts of town, passing the imposing Chimborazo volcano as you go, the highest in Ecuador.
Stay: Hacienda Abraspungo or La Andaluz
Travel to Alausí where you'll take a thrilling trip on the Devil's Nose Railway. An engineering masterpiece of its time, the track winds its way down a series of switchbacks carved into a rockface for nearly 1,000m, all the while giving views of the surrounding lakes and mountains. You'll then continue south towards Cuenca, visiting the most famous Inca and pre-Inca site in Ecuador, the Fortress of Ingapirca. The following day is free to explore Cuenca itself, a World Heritage city of red-tiled roofs, cobblestone streets, flowery plazas and fascinating museums, all of which you'll explore on a walking tour. Then, take a drive along the Tomebamba River to admire the city's riverbank houses. Lunch is at one of the excellent restaurants in Cuenca and is followed by a visit to a Panama Hat factory, for it was in Ecuador not Panama that the famous hats originated.
Stay: Hotel Santa Lucia or similar
Today, a private driver will bring you to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and the gateway to the Galápagos. Along the way, however, you'll pause to visit the El Cajas National Park, 30 kilometres west of Cuenca. Surrounded by the mountainous grasslands of Andean foothills, it's a region of sparkling lakes and untouched countryside that must rank among Ecuador's most beautiful.
Stay: Oro Verde
A visit to the Galapagos is a unique experience and the trip of a lifetime. Lying 1,000km off mainland Ecuador, the islands are renowned for their fearless wildlife - brought about by the lack of natural predators – but no amount of hype can prepare you for such close encounters. You can snorkel with sea lions, watch giant tortoises lumbering through cactus forest, go gooey-eyed over seal pups and catch the courtship displays of blue-footed boobies and red-throated frigate birds. Although there are hotels on several of the islands, to stay on land limits the number of other islands you can visit. By far the best way is to explore by boat, which is why we've recommended this four-night cruise aboard the MV Santa Cruz II.
Stay: Santa Cruz II (Deluxe)
Meals: B L D
Disembark and catch the short flight back to Guayaquil to connect with your overnight flight to the UK. Upon arrival, continue your journey home to complete your Ecuador and Galapagos holiday.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £7,595 pp. incl. flights
from £7,830 pp. incl. flights
- Complimentary UK airport lounge access
- Return flights from London to Quito and from Guayaquil to London
- Domestic flights between Quito and Coca
- Domestic flights between Quito/Guayaquil and the Galapagos islands
- Private transfers in Quito and shared transfer in Guayaquil
- 5 nights accommodation in 4* hotels (Superior) on a B&B basis and 1 dinner
- 5 nights accommodation in 3+/4* hotels/lodges on a full-board basis
- 4 nights Galapagos cruise aboard Santa Cruz II in a Horizon Deck Explorer Cabin on a full-board basis, with daily excursions and tourist control card fee
- Private tour of 'Quito & Center of the World'
- Shared touring in the Amazon and along the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes'
Terms & Conditions
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
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