Journey 3x nature in Ecuador

16 days - from € 12,500 per person

Andes - cloud forest - Galapagos 

This beautiful journey takes you to a number of special regions in Ecuador. The trip starts in the town of Otavalo in the Andean Mountains where you will spend the night in a farm that is still in operation. After this you will stay in the cloud forest where you will see beautiful nature and a rich wildlife. Finally you will fly on to the Galapagos Islands where you will board the M/Y Grace. During this cruise you will visit several islands with each unique flora and fauna, enjoy!

Day 1: Amsterdam – Quito - Otavalo

Today you will fly with your international flight to the Ecuadorian capital Quito. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be welcomed by our local staff and brought to your hotel near Otavalo, about a two hour drive from Quito.
Overnight stay: Hacienda Zuleta | full board

Hacienda Zuleta

You will stay in Hacienda Zuleta, which used to be the residence of the former president Galo Plaza Lasso. Zuleta is a beautiful hacienda, still owned by the Galo Plaza family. Galo Plaza was president of Ecuador from 1948 to 1952. The hacienda is located between 2870 and 3050 meters above sea level, about 110 kilometers north of Quito. At this altitude, near the equator, there is a temperate climate all year round. This is without a doubt a wonderful location where you can recover from your intercontinental flight and the pace of everyday life. The family is very hospitable and will do their utmost to give you a pleasant and relaxing stay here. The hacienda is also an excellent base from which to explore the rest of the area.

Day 2 and 3: Otavalo

These days are freely planned and so you can discover the surroundings of the hacienda yourself. The hacienda is still in operation as a full-fledged (cattle) farm on an immense estate. They produce a wide range of products and have a diversity of cattle, including cows, sheep and horses. About 10 years ago the family opened the hacienda to a limited number of tourists. The standard rooms are in the main building and are beautifully furnished. Some have access to a courtyard from the room. What can you do here? On the immense estate there is a trail of about 60 km marked out for walks, bird watching and/or mountain biking. There is also a fishpond and there is even Inca ruin on the estate. Here you will find the largest and best preserved archaeological sites of the Caranqui culture. There are about 132 small earthen ramparts from the year 700 A.D. and 5 large square truncated pyramids of 1200 A.D..
Overnight stay: Hacienda Zuleta | full board

Day 4: Otavalo – Quito

In the morning your guide will pick you up at your hotel and you will visit one of the largest traditional markets in South America. From the surrounding area the traditional people come to this place to sell their wares and to do their own purchases. By their unique costumes you can recognize which region the people come from. The market is a beautiful palette of colorful colors and many fragrances. From here you will be brought to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. You will stay in a beautiful classic hotel with elements inspired by the Renaissance, located within walking distance of the historic center of Quito. An ideal location, on the only cobbled stones street, to explore the city from here. The city has views from almost every place on one of the many volcanoes that surround the city. The colorful, picturesque streets, the busy squares and the authentic local atmosphere make a visit to the city definitely worthwhile. 
Overnight stay: Casa Gangotena | bed & breakfast

Casa Gangotena 

You will stay at Casa Gangotena, a beautiful classical hotel with elements inspired by the Renaissance, located on the Plaza San Francisco. The 31 rooms are all with a particularly classic interior. It is special that you as a guest, while enjoying a drink on the roof terrace, can enjoy a great view over the city. Dining outside the door is not necessary, the hotel has a restaurant with good international cuisine, where you can enjoy a delicious meal. In the evening you can enjoy a good wine at the bar with the other guests. Enjoy all the beauty this hotel has to offer.

Day 5: Quito – Mashpi

You will be picked up today at your hotel for your transfer to the cloud forest. Here you will first get to know the nature guides who will give you a brief introduction to the cloud forest and what to wear during your excursions and your stay. For nature lovers who love ecotourism, this is the perfect accommodation! There are several activities in which you can participate under the guidance of professional English-speaking guides. 
Overnight stay: Mashpi Lodge | full board

Day 6: Mashpi

Today you have the opportunity to participate in different activities, so you can choose to participate in one of the many trails that are offered. During the trails you will encounter spectacular flora and fauna, such as orchids, mosses, giant ferns, birds, reptiles, colorful insects, butterflies and chances are that you will pass beautiful waterfalls. Another excursion is a visit to the Life Centre, a place to learn more and do research into the area's famous biodiversity. The Sky Bike and observation tower are about 15 minutes away from the lodge. To get to the top of this tower you will need to climb 162 steps. From the top of the observation tower you can board a Sky Bike, which allows you to explore the area in a unique and great way. You can also choose to spot hummingbirds from the station or freshen up at one of the beautiful waterfalls. Finally, you can choose for an active, versatile activity The Dragonfly, where you can use a cable system to pass several stations and enjoy the flora and fauna. This activity is also combined with walks through the forest and swimming under the waterfalls. So you don't have to be bored for a moment!
Overnight stay: Mashpi Lodge | full board

Day 7: Mashpi – Quito

This morning you can choose to take part in one of the many activities offered. At the end of the morning you will be picked up at the lodge for your transfer back to Quito where you will arrive in the afternoon. The rest of the day in Quito is at leisure.
Overnight stay: Casa Gangotena | bed & breakfast

Day 8: Quito – Galapagos (Baltra)

In the morning you will be picked up at your hotel for your transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival on the island you will be taken to the M/Y Grace where you will have the opportunity to have lunch. You will be part of a unique journey aboard this ship. The Galapagos archipelago (at least 128 islands, 13 of which are large islands) is located about 1000 kilometers west of mainland Ecuador. This archipelago has never been connected to the mainland. Because of this the flora and fauna have developed in a unique way. Animal life has no natural enemies and is therefore not afraid of humans! The first stop will be on the island of Daphne Major where you will see a variety of birds, including Galapagos martins, blue-footed boobies, nazca boobies, owls with short ears and other tropical birds. In the evening you can enjoy a delicious dinner. 
Overnight stay: M/Y Grace | full board

MY Grace Galapagos cruise

In one word, this ship is "royal"! It is a luxury cruise yacht with an exciting past. One detail from this past; this ship is the former marriage boat of Princess Cracia and Prince Rainier of Monaco. With the elegance of yesteryear, but with the comfort of today, you will sail through the Galapagos Archipelago. Aboard the M/Y Grace, you will be completely pampered. Drink a cocktail on the sun deck, enjoy a high quality dinner and let the experienced guides guide you through the archipelago. This ship is part of Quasar Expeditions which sails on the Galapagos archipelago with another cruise ship. The M/Y Grace offers two different 8-day cruise programs with departure and arrival on Saturday. From the end of May 2020, the cruise will have departure and arrival on Tuesday.

Day 9: Galapagos

In the morning you will visit the island of Santa Fe which is home to one of the most beautiful and sheltered bays in the archipelago. It is a great place to snorkel through the crystal clear waters, but also to see sea turtles, swim with the sea lions and perhaps catch a glimpse of the white Galapagos shark. Then walk to an adjacent cliff to see land iguanas in an environment of cacti. In the afternoon you will visit South Plaza, one of the narrowest and most colorful islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Yellow iguanas wander through the bright red carpet weeds, waiting for prickly pears to fall out of the green cacti. The crabs rise above the blackened lava, which is surrounded by turquoise waters. We see swallowtail gulls nesting along the tip of the small island tilted upwards, while tropical birds with red beaks, frigate birds and shearwaters fly in dancing displays. 
Overnight stay: M/Y Grace | full board

Day 10: Galapagos

Tower Island could serve as a film set for a secret submarine base. The southern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera surrounded by the throat of an immense volcano below the sea surface. The island is located in the northwestern part of the archipelago and is also known as Bird Island. Your first visit is to Prince Philips Steps, where you can see the best landing site of the red footed boobies of the Galapagos, which have landed comically by wrapping large red feet around small branches. You can snorkel at the foot of the steps where you will see amazingly large, brightly colored tropical fish with neon color and black lava in the background. After lunch you can kayak along the walls of the sunken caldera at your leisure before visiting Darwin Bay. Darwin Bay is a beautiful tidal cave where many nests of seabirds form the backdrop. There is also a path that leads you to the rookery cliffs for views of the bay and tropical bird, seagull and frigate colonies.  
Overnight stay: M/Y Grace | full board

Day 11: Galapagos 

In the morning you will visit the island of Fernandina, home to the La Cumbre volcano which regularly erupts (most recently June 2018). You will visit Punta Espinoza, a narrow piece of land, where a number of unique species of animals can be seen in your close proximity, such as iguanas, sea lions, flying cormorants, (silver) herons and Galapagos goshawks. In the afternoon you will visit Urbina Bay, located west of Isabela's volcano Alcedo, where you will make an easy wet landing in the bay. You will walk about 5 km on the marine reef that has risen more than 4 meters out of the water. A highlight of this trip are the giant land iguanas and giant turtles. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel with different sea creatures or relax ashore. 
Overnight stay: M/Y Grace | full board

Day 12: Galapagos 

In the morning, you will visit the Tagus Cove on Isabela island. A wooden staircase takes you to the entrance of the trail which continues around Lake Darwin through a zone of dry vegetation and ends in a cape formed by falling rocks. This site offers spectacular views of the bay and your ship, as well as of the Darwin and Wolf volcanoes. The green algae underwater around the bay allow you to snorkel with marine iguanas, sea turtles, penguins and seahorses. In the afternoon you will visit Punta Vicente Roca on the island of Isabela. Here you can snorkel really well due to the nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt stream where you can bathe on the western side of the archipelago. Once again you will have the chance to see different sea lions, penguins, colorful fish and sea turtles in the water. 
Overnight stay: M/Y Grace | full board

Day 13: Galapagos

You will make a short walk from the beach inland to a mangrove which is mostly inhabited by common stilts. Outside the mangroves there is a lagoon made up of brackish water where flamingos and white stingrays are looking for mollusks. The walk passes a small hilltop through the Palo Santo forest before returning to the beach. The Galapagos finches and flycatchers inhabit this area. The tuff formations that form the cliffs are surrounded by the inlet which has created a gallery of natural sculptors rising from the sea including the Monk and Elephant Rock. In the afternoon you will visit James Bay, where we arrive on a black beach with eroded rock formations. A track leads to a series of crystal clear caves with a natural bridge formed from the broken lava tubes. This is the best place in the Galapagos archipelago to see fur seals, as well as marine iguanas that are being fed. You will spot a group of sea lions and Galapagos hawks in this area. If you decide to go snorkeling, you will meet green sea turtles and tropical fish.
Overnight stay: M/Y Grace | full board

Day 14: Galapagos 

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic center of the Islands. In the morning we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. Here we used to find Lonesome George (now deceased), the last of his particular race of tortoise. In the afternoon visit to the Highlands, where the dry coastal vegetation transitions to lush wet fields and forests overgrown with moss and lichens. Our destination is the Tortoise Reserve, where we will have chances see these animals in the wild. 
Overnight stay: M/Y Grace | full board

Day 15: Galapagos – Guayaquil – Amsterdam

Today's Galapagos cruise comes to an end, but before saying goodbye you will visit the Galapagos National Park Visitor Centre. The national park gives you a comprehensive exhibition of the history and existence of the islands, human interaction, ecosystems, flora and fauna. From the center you will make a short walk to the Frigate Bird Hill, where both beautiful and large frigates can be seen in the same colony. You will then return to the airport where you will take a domestic flight to mainland Ecuador, to Guayaquil. In Guayaquil you will board your intercontinental flight to Amsterdam where you will arrive the next day.  

Day 16: Amsterdam

You arrive at Schiphol today.

Price: from € 12,500 per person

  • Based on 2 persons traveling together
  • Depending on time of booking, availability of the flights and the period of travel

Included:

  • domestic flights, economy class
  • 2 overnight stays in Casa Gangotena Quito, meals as stated
  • 3 overnight stays in Hacienda Zuleta, full board basis
  • 2 overnight stays in Mashpi Lodge, full board basis including excursions accompanied by professional guides
  • 7 overnight stays on board M/Y Grace, full board basis including excursions accompanied by professional guides
  • all transfers and excursions as stated
  • our backup 24/7; locally and in the Netherlands
  • extensive travel documents package with small attention

Not included:

  • international flights, if you wish, we reserve these for you
  • early check-in / late check-out, based on availability, this is sometimes provided by the hotel. If you want to be sure that you have this, ask us about the additional cost.
  • Galapagos National Park one-time Fee (USD $ 100 adults, USD $ 50 children)
  • INGALA Transit Control Card one-time fee (USD $ 20)
  • (Dutch) public tax Travel disaster fund; € 2.50 per booking
  • travel and cancellation insurance

Make an enquiry for Ecuador

Would you like to go on this rountrip? We can arrange the itinerary for you, but we are also happy to put together a program based on your wishes and ideas. Do not hesitate to contact us. Call us on +31 73 610 62 04, send an e-mail to info@sapapanatravel.nl or ask us to plan your taylor-made trip. We are happy to help.

Plan your trip

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