Ecuador & the GalapagosBook this package
based on Sep. 26, 2017 departure
|Featuring||Vibrant & colonial Quito & Otavalo, then an unforgettable Galapagos Cruise, including Santa Cruz, South Plaza, Santa Fe & San Cristobal Islands|
|Style||Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates; select from 4 open departures, August – November 2017|
|Departs||Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Themes||History & Culture, Nature & Wildlife, Small Ship Cruises|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, locally hosted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops. The Galapagos cruise portion of the tour may have up to 48 passengers on board.|
|As Seen in|
|Already Booked?||Find everything you need to know before you go, including how to pay your balance due, passport & visa requirements, flight information, weather, and more.|
Discover the wonders of Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, a remarkable collection of landscapes, people, cultures, animals, plants, and more. Our Ecuador & Galapagos Islands tour covers the highlights of this incredibly diverse country. You'll visit the capital city and UNESCO World Heritage Center of Quito and the colorful and bustling Otavalo market. Round out your tour with a guided cruise through the Galapagos Islands, the magical place that inspired Charles Darwin to propose his theory of evolution. All of this, plus airfare from Miami, is yours for an incredible price. We're excited about this tour and we know you will be too, but don't wait too long to book, as space is sure to sell out quickly!
Dates, Prices & Options
Departure Dates & Prices
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Tue||Apr 11||2017||Wed||Apr 19||2017||$4899||Departed|
|Tue||May 23||2017||Wed||May 31||2017||$5399||$4899||Closed|
|Tue||Jul 4||2017||Wed||Jul 12||2017||$5499||$4999||Closed|
|Tue||Aug 1||2017||Wed||Aug 9||2017||$5499||$4999||Available|
|Tue||Aug 29||2017||Wed||Sep 6||2017||$5499||$4999||Available|
|Tue||Sep 26||2017||Wed||Oct 4||2017||$5399||$4899||Available|
|Tue||Nov 21||2017||Wed||Nov 29||2017||$5399||$4899||Available|
|Tue||Dec 5||2017||Wed||Dec 13||2017||$5499||$4999||Closed|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates. Contact us about prices and availability.
Options & Fees
|Optionals & Upgrades|
|Double Occupancy, Luxury Cabin||included|
|Single Occupancy, Luxury Cabin||+$1899|
|Taxes & Fees|
|Galapagos National Park Fee of $100||included|
|INGALA Tourist Control Card of $20||included|
Flights & Departure Cities
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
How to Make a Reservation
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 105 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 105 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA/Arrive Quito
Accommodations: 2 nights Hilton Colon, Quito.
- Depart USA on your flight bound for Quito, Ecuador
- Arrive in Quito (9,500 feet above sea level) and transfer to your hotel
Day 2: Quito
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Panoramic city tour of Quito and Equatorial Monument
Full Day Itinerary: Today, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Quito. Arguably one of the loveliest of all South American cities, Quito enjoys a spectacular setting surrounded by mountains and several snow-capped volcanoes, including the still-active Mt. Pichincha. Begin your walking tour at Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, Presidential Palace, Municipal Building and the Archbishops’ Palace. The next stop, La Compañía de Jesús, has an ornate and richly sculptured facade and interior, with colored columns, 10-sided altars, and gilded balconies. Continue to the Monastery of San Francisco, Quito's oldest church and the largest colonial building constructed in Latin America.
Next, drive 16 miles north of Quito to the Equatorial Monument, the Mitad del Mundo ("Middle of the World"), commemorating the exact place where Charles Marie de la Condamine established the Equator, where you can stand with one foot in the northern and one in the southern hemisphere.
Day 3: Quito, Galapagos Cruise: Baltra & South Plaza Island
Accommodations: 4 nights Yacht La Pinta. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island, gateway to the Galapagos
- Continue to the dock to board your yacht, La Pinta
- Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch
- In the afternoon, arrive at South Plaza Island
Full Day Itinerary: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra Island, gateway to the Galapagos Islands to begin your adventure. Upon arrival, transfer to the dock to board your yacht, La Pinta, your home for the next 4 nights. Settle into your cabin, and enjoy an introductory briefing and lunch.
In the afternoon, arrive at South Plaza Island. The turquoise waters of the channel here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by yellow-grey land iguanas. Along the coastline you may find sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but spectacular island.
Day 4: Galapagos Cruise: Sante Fe Island & San Cristóbal Island
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- After breakfast, take a dinghy to Sante Fe Island
- Snorkel & swim from the beach or take a glass-bottomed boat ride
- Disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island
- Visit the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Habitat
Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, take a dinghy to Sante Fe Island, where you'll find an idyllic sandy white beach populated by many sea lion harems. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Here, you may snorkel and swim from the beach, or explore the water from a glass-bottomed boat.
After lunch, we disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island and drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, we visit the breeding centre for highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristóbal mockingbird, and the San Cristóbal lava lizard, both island endemics.
Day 5: Galapagos Cruise: Punta Pitt & Cerro Brujo
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- This morning land at the eastern tip of San Cristóbal Island
- Enjoy a walk along the shoreline of Punta Pitt
- In the afternoon take a dingy to the white coral beach at Cerro Brujo
Full Day Itinerary: We land at the eastern tip of San Cristóbal Island this morning. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline; we can observe frigates, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim from the beach and snorkel.
In the afternoon following lunch on board, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes us to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coral beach, great for walking, with rewarding bird-watching featuring seabirds and shore birds. Also, look out for Galapagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835.
Day 6: Galapagos Cruise: Española Island, Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- Morning walk at Punta Suarez
- Enjoy the white coral beach of Gardner Bay
Full Day Itinerary: This morning, enjoy an exciting walk at Punta Suarez, to see its colonies of unique sea birds, including waved albatrosses (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tail gulls. You'll also see the famous Galapagos "blow-hole," and keep an eye out for the famous marine iguanas with their interesting red, green and black coloration. Return to the ship for lunch on board.
In the afternoon, the picturesque white coral beach of Gardner Bay provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches. Enjoy an opportunity to snorkel or ride aboard a glass-bottomed boat.
Day 7: Galapagos Cruise: Charles Darwin Research Station, Baltra Island & Quito
Accommodations: 2 nights Hilton Colon, Quito. Included meals: Breakfast.
- Disembark and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
- Transfer to the airport on Baltra Island for your flight back to Quito
- Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel
Full Day Itinerary: In the morning, disembark (dry landing) to visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoises within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, also home to many land birds. The Research Station is the headquarters of scientific exploration, conservation and the National Park administration. Later, transfer via bus across Santa Cruz Island and take a short ferry ride to Baltra Island. Transfer to the airport to take your flight back to the mainland.
Day 8: Otavalo Market & Quito
Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.
- Drive along the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo
- Explore the famous market at Otavalo
- Continue to Peguche, a nearby Indian village
- Return to Quito for a farewell dinner and overnight
Full Day Itinerary: This morning, set out on the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo. After driving through dramatic Andean scenery, arrive at the famous Indian fair and the textile market of Otavalo, undoubtedly one of the best in all of Latin America.
The beauty of Otavalo lies in its people, the Otavaleño Indians. Unlike other indigenous groups who have given up their traditional dress for modern jeans and t-shirts, Otavaleños are true to their ancestral cultural heritage, and are still easily identified by their distinctive dress. Women wear intricately embroidered blouses and a wealth of beaded necklaces, while men have long, braided hair and wear calf-length white trousers, ponchos and sandals. Stroll by their many stalls filled with ponchos, scarves, blankets, hats, handbags and more, and observe as the Otavaleños barter in silence.
Then proceed to Peguche, a nearby Indian village, where local artisans weave in their homes. Learn about their culture and everyday life. Later, return to Quito for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9: Depart Quito/Arrive USA
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Transfer to the airport for your return flight
- Arrive in the USA later today
- The high altitudes reached on this trip (Quito is at 9,200 feet above sea level) and the amount of walking involved, often on uneven terrain, require that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. We strongly suggest that you consult your physician if you have any concerns regarding your ability to handle these conditions.
- Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions, and the wildlife encountered. There is no guarantee that all the possible species mentioned will be seen.
- Itineraries and program are subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes or safety reasons.
Dry landing: guests step from a dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as a dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
In writing our evaluation, we did not have enough room to tell you about our guide, Patricio. He was, without a doubt, the most friendly, patient, and knowledgeable guide we have had out of many tours we have taken. We hope that you will pass this information on to the Friendly Planet office in Ecuador, as we feel that he should be given special recognition for the superb representation of your company. We had two medical emergencies with travelers in our group. He was able to get doctors for them and arrange for one of them to join our trip the next day. Another time, while telling us of the exportation from Ecuador of roses, he asked our driver, Jose, to stop for a moment. He came back a few minutes later with roses for all of the women on the bus! These were just two of the many kindnesses he extended to our group. He really understands the meaning of "guest service" and is to be commended for the way he conducts a tour. We came away feeling like honorary Ecuadorians!
Cathy and Rich Sholtanis, Tamworth, NH
Before You Book
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Please review the requirements about which documents you need before you travel.
- Should I purchase travel protection? Protect your travel investment with our recommended travel protection plan.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Yes, you can connect with other travelers to share a room and avoid single occupancy rates.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel.
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