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Isabela Island

Quito, Otavalo & Galápagos Island Hopping‬‬

12-day tailor-made journey from £4,935 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Move out from Ecuador’s cultural past to discover the unearthly natural world of the Galápagos

Highlights

  • Explore across the Galápagos on cruises, snorkel expeditions and hikes led by destination experts
  • Spot everything from Galápagos penguins and hawks to reef sharks, marine iguanas, whales and giant tortoises
  • Start in Quitos to explore Ecuador’s gilded colonial heritage and dip into its rural surrounds where bright-green valleys are spotted with colourful indigenous communities

In Brief

  • 3 Nights Quito
  • 3 Nights Isabela Island
  • 3 Nights Santa Cruz

About

Recommended for:
Activity adventure | City | History & culture | Natural world | Wildlife

Contrast the colonial charms and cultural surrounds of the Ecuadorian capital with South America’s premier natural wonder where unique wildlife dots otherworldly landscapes. After exploring Quito’s gilded heritage and next-door Otavalo’s rural beauty and colourful markets, you’ll fly out to the Galápagos. Here, you’ll stay on both Isabela and Santa Cruz as you explore the archipelago on yacht cruises, island hikes and snorkel dips. Your expert guides will bring you among spectacular scenery that ranges from volcanic jags to white-sand beaches to discover the likes of giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies and nesting turtles. 

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart UK

Board your overnight flight to Quito.

Days 2-3
Quito

Flying into the Ecuadorian capital, you’ll be met by your private driver who’ll bring you to your central hotel, a boutique, all-suite gem decorated with characterful artwork. Along the way, your driver will introduce you to Quito’s charms, pointing out its museums, art galleries and sites that you’ll fully explore the next day. A private guide will reveal how this once-Incan city was reinvented by the colonial conquistadors, bringing with them great mansions and formidable monasteries. Highlights include the palace-lined Independence Plaza, the beautifully Baroque Monastery of San Francisco and the stunningly gilded interior of La Compañía de Jesús. After learning about Ecuador’s Native American cultures at the Ethnographic Museum, you’ll end your tour with the chance to straddle the world with one foot on each side of the equator.

Stay: Patio Andaluz (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 4
Otavalo

Your last day in Quito will see you head out of the city to discover the region’s spectacular scenery. You’ll travel along the Pan-American Highway through great green valleys animated by colourful indigenous communities. Pausing at individual villages, you’ll visit their fantastic markets; Otavalo is a particular highlight. Here, the locals haggle in silence over everything from technicolour blankets and ponchos to handbags and woven fajas belts. After some time to peruse, continue on to Peguche, an Indian village famed for its crafts. You’ll visit its traditional homes where artisanal weavers practise their centuries-old craft before taking lunch at a nearby country inn.

Stay: Patio Andaluz (Superior)

Meals: B L

Day 5
Isabela Island

Begin your Galápagos exploration with a pair of scenic flights that will bring you to Isabela Island and your accommodation – a luxurious safari-style tent resort set in 40 acres of coastal forest. After lunch, you’ll head out and explore the youngest side of the archipelago, visiting great wetland lagoons, a giant tortoise-breeding centre and Puerto Villamil’s stunningly white beach.

Stay: Scalesia Lodge (Superior) 

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Isabela Island

Today, after an early breakfast, you’ll set out to visit Isabela’s centrepiece – the giant Sierra Negra Volcano. On a walk along what is the world’s second largest caldera, you’ll stumble upon twisted rock formations that evidence recent volcanic activity. After another delicious lunch of gourmet interpretations on the delicious local cuisine, you’ll have some free time to relax, perhaps back on the beach.

Stay: Scalesia Lodge (Superior) 

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Isabela Island

Your last day of touring on Isabala will bring you through the region’s national park and marine reserve. You’ll observe reef sharks, marine iguanas and a colony of Galápagos penguins in their natural habitat before returning to visit the island’s Wall of Tears. This 18-metre-high giant was built by prisoners of a mid-century penal colony, causing countless deaths in the process.

Stay: Scalesia Lodge (Superior) 

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Santa Cruz

Flying back to Baltra, you’ll board the Yacht Sea Lion for the short cruise to North Seymour Island. As you travel, you’ll be treated to sightings of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and, yes, sea lions and fur seals. They’re all set to a stunning backdrop of twisting torchwood trees, prickly pears, pillow lava boulders and pretty stretches of white sand. After lunch on board, you’ll arrive at Santa Cruz where you’ll take a short dinghy ride to your home for the next three nights – the Finch Bay Hotel. The best in expedition chic, the contemporary-luxe of its rooms, pool and gourmet restaurant are a stunning contrast to its wild, beachfront surrounds.  

Stay: Finch Bay Eco Hotel, Galapagos (Superior)

Meals: B L

Day 9
Santa Cruz

Back on board the Yacht Sea Lion you’ll cruise out to Santa Fe, a volcanic island just under 20 nautical miles away. Your wet landing on its sandy beach will place you right among its basking sea lions before a walk along its rocky terrain brings you to the island’s highlights – the endemic Santa Fe land iguana. You’ll find these alien creatures waiting under the giant cacti for falling fruits and pads. Its other wildlife showpieces include pelicans, boobies and the archipelago’s top predator, the Galápagos hawk. Returning to the yacht, you’ll travel on to one of the islands’ finest snorkelling sites, enjoying a dip into the region’s underwater realm. On the return leg, you’ll enjoy lunch on board as you keep your eyes peeled for whales and pelagic birds. Depending on the day of the week excursions on this day may visit North Seymour, Bartolome or South Plaza Island instead.

Stay: Finch Bay Eco Hotel, Galapagos (Superior)

Meals: B L

Day 10
Santa Cruz

After breakfast you’ll leave for Tortuga Bay, a pretty beach voted as Ecuador’s best. You’ll walk out from Santa Cruz’s town, Puerto Ayora, to learn more about the arid zone’s deciduous forest and its inhabitants. Your first stop is Playa Brava, a snow-white beach that’s a seasonal nesting ground for green sea turtles. Just a few minutes further, you’ll arrive at Playa Mansa. This secluded mangrove cove is an ideal spot for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. You’ll then board a small yacht to bring you back to the hotel and a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here you’ll learn about the region’s international conservation effort and its particular focus on the archipelago’s iconic giant tortoises.

Stay: Finch Bay Eco Hotel, Galapagos (Superior)

Meals: B L

Days 11-12
Depart for UK

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your overnight flight, via Guayaquil, back to the UK

Meals: B

Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior

12-day tailor-made journey from £4,935 incl. flights

Superior

Low Season

from £4,935 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £5,170 pp. incl. flights

Includes:

  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights from London to Quito and from Guayaquil to London
  • Domestic flights from/to Quito/Guayaquil and the Galapagos Islands
  • Private transfers in Quito
  • 3 nights accommodation in a 4* (Superior) hotel in Quito on a B&B basis 
  • 3 nights accommodation in a 4* (Superior) lodge on a full-board basis, with Galapagos islands day excursions/cruising
  • 3 nights accommodation in a 4* (Superior) lodge on a bed & breakfast and lunch basis, with Galapagos islands day excursions/cruising and tourist transit car fees
  • Private tour of Quito & the Centre of the World
  • Private Otavalo Handciraft Tour with lunch at Puerto Lago /Cusin

Note: Galapagos National Park entrance fee (approx. USD 100 per person) needs to be paid on arrival.

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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