Volcanoes & Galapagos

  No Trip Reviews No Booking FeesDedicated Consultant

Volcanoes & Galapagos

  No Trip Reviews No Booking FeesDedicated Consultant
Our Price From 6,703 Per Person
Exclusive Savings 147 Per Person
 Trip Length
15 Days
 Trip Starts
Quito
 Trip Finishes
Guayaquil
15 Day Volcanoes & Galapagos Itinerary (Explore)
Countries Explored: Galapagos Ecuador
Our Price From 6,703 Per Person
Exclusive Savings 147 Per Person
 Trip Length
15 Days
 Trip Starts
Quito
 Trip Finishes
Guayaquil
15 Day Volcanoes & Galapagos Itinerary (Explore)
Countries Explored: Galapagos Ecuador
Trip Operator:
Accommodation
Comfortable
Max. Group Size
15
Pace
Moderate
Trip Style
Wildlife
Trip Code
GPS
Trip Operator:
Accommodation
Comfortable
Max. Group Size
15
Pace
Moderate
Trip Style
Wildlife
Trip Code
GPS

Overview

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Explore's 15 Day Volcanoes & Galapagos. Discover the spectacular wildlife and fascinating cultural blend of mainland Ecuador, before exploring the 'enchanted Isles' of the Galapagos. Experience this natural paradise from a different perspective, staying on land on Santa Cruz and Isabela islands.
Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Explore's 15 Day Volcanoes & Galapagos. Discover the spectacular wildlife and fascinating cultural blend of mainland Ecuador, before exploring the 'enchanted Isles' of the Galapagos. Experience this natural paradise from a different perspective, staying on land on Santa Cruz and Isabela islands.

Itinerary

Arrive in Tumbaco, a quiet rural neighbourhood of Quito located around 20 minutes from the airport and 45 minutes from the downtown city centre.

Ecuador's mountain capital is, at 2,850m, the second highest capital in Latin America, lying in a narrow valley at the foot of the Pichincha volcano. Arriving into the city by plane is quite spectacular as you approach over snow-capped mountains and extinct volcanoes - a window seat is recommended!

Due to the number of evening flights into Quito, your Leader plans to do the welcome meeting on the morning of day two, and will leave a message in reception with details on timings and everything else that you'll need for the day. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Quito at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), approximately a 20 minute drive from our hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

The hotel is a tranquil, family property with a large garden and mountain views. If your flight arrives earlier in the day we recommend resting here and acclimatising to the altitude before the trip begins. It's approximately a 45 minute drive into downtown Quito, and the hotel can organise transport for you if you arrive early in the day and wish to visit the city. Stay: Ilalo Garden Hotel (Comfortable)

We'll go straight to rural Ecuador today, driving north towards the small market town of Otavalo, crossing over the equator line and stopping to commemorate this at the Quitsato Equator Monument.

Set within a fertile valley encircled by imposing sacred mountains, Otavalo is idyllically situated and is well-known for its thriving indigenous communities. This area is a real introduction into the Andean landscapes and culture that make Ecuador so special. On the outskirts, just before we reach the town, we'll visit Parque Condor, a rescue centre for injured condors, with the opportunity to witness these marvellous birds up close.

The afternoon is at your leisure. You may wish to spend some time discovering the local market. The Otavalenos are an incredibly dignified and assured people, proudly displaying their cultural traditions and ancient heritage through their handmade leather goods, wood carvings and weavings. After exploring the market, the visual majesty of the setting and colourful dress of the local communities make Otavalo a great place to sip a hot chocolate and watch the world pass by. Stay: Hostal Riviera Sucre (Comfortable) (B)

We'll drive out to the tranquil setting of Cuicocha this morning, a turquoise crater-lake located at 3,100m, approached through a wonderful landscape of alpine vegetation. We will walk on a segment of the trail that goes around the lake (an easy walk of approximately one and a half hours), and perhaps try to spot the King of the Andes - the wide-winged condors that soar high above the valleys in graceful flight.

Returning towards Otavalo, we stop at a neighbouring indigenous community, diving deep into their day-to-day activities, customs and way of life. This sharing of rural life is what makes Otavalo come alive, and we'll get a taste of this over a home cooked lunch - seasonal food will be on the menu, which could be a traditional locro de papa (potato and cheese soup), fritada (fried chunks of pork served with all types of corn) or quinoa served with meat and vegetables. We'll also continue this afternoon to the village of Peguche, which is famed for its local families who make and play panpipes - a very Andean tradition. We'll get a taster of how these are made, as well as hearing a bit of this music played by the experts. Stay: Hostal Riviera Sucre (Comfortable) (B/L)

We take a spectacular drive today, leaving the sparse mountain landscapes of Otavalo for the dense cloud forest on the slopes of the western Andes.

We'll first reach the village of Yunguilla, a tiny ecotourism project made up of around 50 families, which was set up to protect a large area of surrounding forest from loggers and coal workers. We'll discover some of the entrepreneurial spirit here from the people who pivoted away from their jobs in industry and created a sustainable community tourism project that could help repair some of that damage.

After visiting the community, we'll take a spectacular drive, dropping several thousand feet to reach the village of Mindo. Much of this cloud forest area has been set aside as a nature reserve, playing home to over 400 species of bird, as well as some amazing flowers and plant life, beautiful waterfalls and pristine forest. In the afternoon we'll visit a hummingbird garden, catching some of the iridescent colours of the many hummingbird species that feed here. Stay: Bio Hotel Mindo Cloud Forest (Comfortable) (B)

An early start this morning gives us the best chance of spotting Mindo's bird life at a time when they are most active. We'll go deeper into the mountains towards the Mindo-Nambillo reserve, and take a 'tarabita' (cable car) up the mountainside, getting a birds-eye view of the forest.

The ride ends at a trailhead, and there are several walking possibilities here. One 20-30 minute walk takes us to a series of waterfalls, culminating in one of the area's largest drops - the Nambillo Waterfall. The longest trail takes about one hour from the trailhead to La Reina waterfall. The paths are well-maintained, predominantly downhill towards the falls and uphill on the return. Our tour leader will decide based on the weather conditions and how you're all feeling - along the way we'll see if we can spot butterflies, orchids, bromeliads and, of course, birds.

After a short time here, we'll drive to the chocolate producer at El Quetzal. Ecuador is famous for its chocolate and here you'll learn about every stage of the process from bean to bar. And, of course, you'll get to taste some of the produce!

In the late afternoon we drive to Quito, entering the downtown area of the city for the first time today. Stay: Hotel San Francisco (Comfortable) (B)

Ecuador's capital is one of the best preserved colonial cities of the Americas, and a UNESCO Heritage Site with a rich blend of colonial architecture, imposing churches and busy markets. We will visit some of the main sites, including La Compania church with its elaborate gilded altars, walls and ceilings, as well as Quito's largest and oldest colonial church, the Church of San Francisco, built in 1553.

A drive to the top of nearby Cerro Panecillo affords us one of the best views across the city and the surrounding mountains, presenting us with an unparalleled vista of the encircling Andes from the viewing platform offered by the statue of the Virgen de Quito.

We'll have some time free this afternoon. You may like to visit one of the city's many museums, or discover the Old Town at your own pace, stopping for a refreshing drink of horchata and a delicious empanada. Ecuadorian food is incredibly tasty - we'll find plenty of spicy ceviches, plantain, yuca and soups or stews on the menu as we travel around. Stay: Hotel San Francisco (Comfortable) (B)

Our journey today takes us through some of the most impressive mountain scenery in the entire country, into the landscapes so aptly described by the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt as the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes'. The spectacular Cotopaxi National Park is our destination - at only two hours from Quito it is an excellent day trip out of the city and an important area for birdlife.

Ecuador's second highest mountain, Cotopaxi, is a classic volcanic cone, snow-covered and rising an imposing 5,897m from the valley floor. Hopes of seeing the cone in its full glory are always high, but to temper the enthusiasm it's important to mention that the peak is often covered by a tantalising puff of cloud!

This won't detract from our visit though - while we come for the splendour of the volcano, we'll stay for the magnificent, bleak scenery of the paramo (the high altitude Andean grasslands). We'll take time to walk around the Limpiopungo Lagoon, an easy high of 1.5 hours taking us around a shallow glacial lake that's a haven for waterfowl, hummingbirds and other species such as the Andean Gull and the Andean Lapwing, as well as wild horses.

We return to Tumbaco this evening, at the hotel where we joined our tour. Stay: Ilalo Garden Hotel (Comfortable) (B)

The Galapagos are an isolated chain of volcanic islands supporting a distinct and unique flora and fauna, including prehistoric creatures found nowhere else on earth. Of the extraordinary animals to be found in the Galapagos many are reptiles, such as the giant tortoise, land iguana and three species of non-poisonous snake. There are also several species of turtle, which come ashore to mate. Up to three quarters of a million seabirds flock to the islands, including a third of the world's blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, cormorants, albatross and petrels. Of all the animals in this unique landscape, perhaps the most out-of-place is the penguin. Only 35 centimetres tall, the Galapagos Penguin can be seen swimming among tropical mangroves. Offshore it is common to see dolphins, sea lions and fur seals playing in the water.

The Galapagos National Park charges a visitor fee, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galapagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador's other national parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the national park system are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.

Today we fly to the island of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. It also boasts the most varied of the islands' vegetation zones. We visit 'Los Gemelos', two volcanic depressions that give us a deeper understanding of the formation of the islands, as well as passing through the evergreen highlands, where we will have the chance to see the iconic giant tortoises. In the afternoon we're at leisure to discover the island's main town, Puerto Ayora. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B)

This morning we leave Santa Cruz and journey west by speed boat for approximately 2.5 hours. Our destination is nearby Isabela Island, where we will spend the next two days.

The largest of the Galapagos Islands, Isabela is formed from five volcanoes, of which two are still active. An idyllic paradise of white sand beaches and swaying palms, it is home to the second largest caldera on earth and the highest point in the archipelago. We will base ourselves here, in the small town of Puerto Villamil on the southern coast.

On arrival we will visit the Arnaldo Tupiza breeding centre, approximately a 1.5km walk from Puerto Villamil. The walk itself is a nature experience through the wetlands, where we may see heron, flamingos and many other bird species as well as iguanas, lizards, crabs and other creatures. Once in the centre we will discover the history of the famous Galapagos tortoise, including the centre's ambitious aim to restore their numbers and release them back onto the islands. Stay: Hostel Gran Tintorera (Comfortable) (B)

The beauty of staying on land during a trip to the Galapagos is having the opportunity to explore its volcanic side. The geological formation of the Galapagos lends itself to hiking, and the scenery is just as impressive as the wildlife. Today we start by taking a walk up the Sierra Negra Volcano, an immense 12 kilometre mass that dominates the southern half of the island. The walk up to the top is three hours return, presenting us with some spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific, and across to the neighbouring islands.

In the afternoon we plan to snorkel at Concha y Perla and spot some of the many marine species that the Galapagos have to offer - sea lion, iguana, turtle, ray and a diverse array of reef species might be sighted, varying throughout the year depending on the tides, the weather and the season. Stay: Hostel Gran Tintorera (Comfortable) (B/L)

Formed from volcanic lava flow, the tiny islets of the Tintoreras Islets are fantastic for viewing wildlife, and accessible by a short boat trip from Puerto Villamil. On land, there is an array of birdlife and an abundance of the famous marine iguanas that are endemic and unique to the Galapagos. In the water, turtles, Galapagos penguins and sea lions may be spotted swimming around.

The wildlife's complete acceptance of our presence is a testament to the incredible diversity and unique quality of the Galapagos Islands. It makes it possible to view birds, reptiles and mammals from as close as a few feet.

In the afternoon, we come back together for a boat journey back to Santa Cruz Island, where we will spend the next three nights. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B)

We will be discovering one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos today, and our plan is at the mercy of the yacht schedule departing from Santa Cruz. The island visited could be either Seymour, Bartolome, Santa Fe or Plazas Island - but no matter which island we will certainly have a display of wildlife. We may see sea lions playing in the water just off shore, land iguanas strolling around their land, magnificent red-throated frigate birds, blue footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls or Galapagos penguins. We should also have some time free for snorkelling or hiking about the island.

Depending on the boat schedules, we may change around the order of activities during your days in the Galapagos, and any change in daily schedule will be fully briefed to you in country by your Tour Leader. It's also possible that we will visit islands outside of the four above depending on the yacht providers, for example Floreana island. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B/L)

This morning we take a walk to Tortuga Bay (5km return walk) where we have the opportunity to swim at one of the most spectacular beaches of the entire chain, an important turtle nesting ground.

After lunch we will visit the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station which has been responsible for conservation projects within the islands since 1959 (the centenary of the publication of Origin of the Species). During our time here we will visit the centre to learn more about the unique collection of animal and plant life that resides here. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B)

Leaving the Galapagos behind we fly to Guayaquil on the mainland, and on arrival we're free to explore at our leisure. The largest city in Ecuador and its principal port, Guayaquil has a bustling, lively atmosphere. 20 years ago several areas of the city had a somewhat edgy reputation, but after years of regeneration, community safety drives and cultural projects, it has been transformed into a really likeable, characterful destination.

A walk down the Malecon, or seafront, is a great introduction to the city, and at the end you'll come to the old district of Las Penas. This area of cobbled streets, painted houses and cafes is full of charm, and a perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.

Please note your leader may not fly with you to Guayaquil; if not you will be met by a local representative on arrival at the airport who will give you a brief for your stay in Guayaquil. Stay: Unipark Hotel (Comfortable) (B)

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Guayaquil.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Guayaquil at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Guayaquil's Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (airport code: GYE), which is approximately a 20 minute drive from our hotel. (B)

Arrive in Tumbaco, a quiet rural neighbourhood of Quito located around 20 minutes from the airport and 45 minutes from the downtown city centre.

Ecuador's mountain capital is, at 2,850m, the second highest capital in Latin America, lying in a narrow valley at the foot of the Pichincha volcano. Arriving into the city by plane is quite spectacular as you approach over snow-capped mountains and extinct volcanoes - a window seat is recommended!

Due to the number of evening flights into Quito, your Leader plans to do the welcome meeting on the morning of day two, and will leave a message in reception with details on timings and everything else that you'll need for the day. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Quito at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), approximately a 20 minute drive from our hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

The hotel is a tranquil, family property with a large garden and mountain views. If your flight arrives earlier in the day we recommend resting here and acclimatising to the altitude before the trip begins. It's approximately a 45 minute drive into downtown Quito, and the hotel can organise transport for you if you arrive early in the day and wish to visit the city. Stay: Ilalo Garden Hotel (Comfortable)

We'll go straight to rural Ecuador today, driving north towards the small market town of Otavalo, crossing over the equator line and stopping to commemorate this at the Quitsato Equator Monument.

Set within a fertile valley encircled by imposing sacred mountains, Otavalo is idyllically situated and is well-known for its thriving indigenous communities. This area is a real introduction into the Andean landscapes and culture that make Ecuador so special. On the outskirts, just before we reach the town, we'll visit Parque Condor, a rescue centre for injured condors, with the opportunity to witness these marvellous birds up close.

The afternoon is at your leisure. You may wish to spend some time discovering the local market. The Otavalenos are an incredibly dignified and assured people, proudly displaying their cultural traditions and ancient heritage through their handmade leather goods, wood carvings and weavings. After exploring the market, the visual majesty of the setting and colourful dress of the local communities make Otavalo a great place to sip a hot chocolate and watch the world pass by. Stay: Hostal Riviera Sucre (Comfortable) (B)

We'll drive out to the tranquil setting of Cuicocha this morning, a turquoise crater-lake located at 3,100m, approached through a wonderful landscape of alpine vegetation. We will walk on a segment of the trail that goes around the lake (an easy walk of approximately one and a half hours), and perhaps try to spot the King of the Andes - the wide-winged condors that soar high above the valleys in graceful flight.

Returning towards Otavalo, we stop at a neighbouring indigenous community, diving deep into their day-to-day activities, customs and way of life. This sharing of rural life is what makes Otavalo come alive, and we'll get a taste of this over a home cooked lunch - seasonal food will be on the menu, which could be a traditional locro de papa (potato and cheese soup), fritada (fried chunks of pork served with all types of corn) or quinoa served with meat and vegetables. We'll also continue this afternoon to the village of Peguche, which is famed for its local families who make and play panpipes - a very Andean tradition. We'll get a taster of how these are made, as well as hearing a bit of this music played by the experts. Stay: Hostal Riviera Sucre (Comfortable) (B/L)

We take a spectacular drive today, leaving the sparse mountain landscapes of Otavalo for the dense cloud forest on the slopes of the western Andes.

We'll first reach the village of Yunguilla, a tiny ecotourism project made up of around 50 families, which was set up to protect a large area of surrounding forest from loggers and coal workers. We'll discover some of the entrepreneurial spirit here from the people who pivoted away from their jobs in industry and created a sustainable community tourism project that could help repair some of that damage.

After visiting the community, we'll take a spectacular drive, dropping several thousand feet to reach the village of Mindo. Much of this cloud forest area has been set aside as a nature reserve, playing home to over 400 species of bird, as well as some amazing flowers and plant life, beautiful waterfalls and pristine forest. In the afternoon we'll visit a hummingbird garden, catching some of the iridescent colours of the many hummingbird species that feed here. Stay: Bio Hotel Mindo Cloud Forest (Comfortable) (B)

An early start this morning gives us the best chance of spotting Mindo's bird life at a time when they are most active. We'll go deeper into the mountains towards the Mindo-Nambillo reserve, and take a 'tarabita' (cable car) up the mountainside, getting a birds-eye view of the forest.

The ride ends at a trailhead, and there are several walking possibilities here. One 20-30 minute walk takes us to a series of waterfalls, culminating in one of the area's largest drops - the Nambillo Waterfall. The longest trail takes about one hour from the trailhead to La Reina waterfall. The paths are well-maintained, predominantly downhill towards the falls and uphill on the return. Our tour leader will decide based on the weather conditions and how you're all feeling - along the way we'll see if we can spot butterflies, orchids, bromeliads and, of course, birds.

After a short time here, we'll drive to the chocolate producer at El Quetzal. Ecuador is famous for its chocolate and here you'll learn about every stage of the process from bean to bar. And, of course, you'll get to taste some of the produce!

In the late afternoon we drive to Quito, entering the downtown area of the city for the first time today. Stay: Hotel San Francisco (Comfortable) (B)

Ecuador's capital is one of the best preserved colonial cities of the Americas, and a UNESCO Heritage Site with a rich blend of colonial architecture, imposing churches and busy markets. We will visit some of the main sites, including La Compania church with its elaborate gilded altars, walls and ceilings, as well as Quito's largest and oldest colonial church, the Church of San Francisco, built in 1553.

A drive to the top of nearby Cerro Panecillo affords us one of the best views across the city and the surrounding mountains, presenting us with an unparalleled vista of the encircling Andes from the viewing platform offered by the statue of the Virgen de Quito.

We'll have some time free this afternoon. You may like to visit one of the city's many museums, or discover the Old Town at your own pace, stopping for a refreshing drink of horchata and a delicious empanada. Ecuadorian food is incredibly tasty - we'll find plenty of spicy ceviches, plantain, yuca and soups or stews on the menu as we travel around. Stay: Hotel San Francisco (Comfortable) (B)

Our journey today takes us through some of the most impressive mountain scenery in the entire country, into the landscapes so aptly described by the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt as the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes'. The spectacular Cotopaxi National Park is our destination - at only two hours from Quito it is an excellent day trip out of the city and an important area for birdlife.

Ecuador's second highest mountain, Cotopaxi, is a classic volcanic cone, snow-covered and rising an imposing 5,897m from the valley floor. Hopes of seeing the cone in its full glory are always high, but to temper the enthusiasm it's important to mention that the peak is often covered by a tantalising puff of cloud!

This won't detract from our visit though - while we come for the splendour of the volcano, we'll stay for the magnificent, bleak scenery of the paramo (the high altitude Andean grasslands). We'll take time to walk around the Limpiopungo Lagoon, an easy high of 1.5 hours taking us around a shallow glacial lake that's a haven for waterfowl, hummingbirds and other species such as the Andean Gull and the Andean Lapwing, as well as wild horses.

We return to Tumbaco this evening, at the hotel where we joined our tour. Stay: Ilalo Garden Hotel (Comfortable) (B)

The Galapagos are an isolated chain of volcanic islands supporting a distinct and unique flora and fauna, including prehistoric creatures found nowhere else on earth. Of the extraordinary animals to be found in the Galapagos many are reptiles, such as the giant tortoise, land iguana and three species of non-poisonous snake.

There are also several species of turtle, which come ashore to mate. Up to three quarters of a million seabirds flock to the islands, including a third of the world's blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, cormorants, albatross and petrels. Of all the animals in this unique landscape, perhaps the most out-of-place is the penguin. Only 35 centimetres tall, the Galapagos Penguin can be seen swimming among tropical mangroves. Offshore it is common to see dolphins, sea lions and fur seals playing in the water.

The Galapagos National Park charges a visitor fee, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galapagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador's other national parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the national park system are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.

Today we fly to the island of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos. It also boasts the most varied of the islands' vegetation zones. We visit 'Los Gemelos', two volcanic depressions that give us a deeper understanding of the formation of the islands, as well as passing through the evergreen highlands, where we will have the chance to see the iconic giant tortoises. In the afternoon we're at leisure to discover the island's main town, Puerto Ayora. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B)

This morning we leave Santa Cruz and journey west by speed boat for approximately 2.5 hours. Our destination is nearby Isabela Island, where we will spend the next two days.

The largest of the Galapagos Islands, Isabela is formed from five volcanoes, of which two are still active. An idyllic paradise of white sand beaches and swaying palms, it is home to the second largest caldera on earth and the highest point in the archipelago. We will base ourselves here, in the small town of Puerto Villamil on the southern coast.

On arrival we will visit the Arnaldo Tupiza breeding centre, approximately a 1.5km walk from Puerto Villamil. The walk itself is a nature experience through the wetlands, where we may see heron, flamingos and many other bird species as well as iguanas, lizards, crabs and other creatures. Once in the centre we will discover the history of the famous Galapagos tortoise, including the centre's ambitious aim to restore their numbers and release them back onto the islands. Stay: Hostel Gran Tintorera (Comfortable) (B)

The beauty of staying on land during a trip to the Galapagos is having the opportunity to explore its volcanic side. The geological formation of the Galapagos lends itself to hiking, and the scenery is just as impressive as the wildlife. Today we start by taking a walk up the Sierra Negra Volcano, an immense 12 kilometre mass that dominates the southern half of the island. The walk up to the top is three hours return, presenting us with some spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific, and across to the neighbouring islands.

In the afternoon we plan to snorkel at Concha y Perla and spot some of the many marine species that the Galapagos have to offer - sea lion, iguana, turtle, ray and a diverse array of reef species might be sighted, varying throughout the year depending on the tides, the weather and the season. Stay: Hostel Gran Tintorera (Comfortable) (B/L)

Formed from volcanic lava flow, the tiny islets of the Tintoreras Islets are fantastic for viewing wildlife, and accessible by a short boat trip from Puerto Villamil. On land, there is an array of birdlife and an abundance of the famous marine iguanas that are endemic and unique to the Galapagos. In the water, turtles, Galapagos penguins and sea lions may be spotted swimming around.

The wildlife's complete acceptance of our presence is a testament to the incredible diversity and unique quality of the Galapagos Islands. It makes it possible to view birds, reptiles and mammals from as close as a few feet.

In the afternoon, we come back together for a boat journey back to Santa Cruz Island, where we will spend the next three nights. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B)

We will be discovering one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos today, and our plan is at the mercy of the yacht schedule departing from Santa Cruz. The island visited could be either Seymour, Bartolome, Santa Fe or Plazas Island - but no matter which island we will certainly have a display of wildlife. We may see sea lions playing in the water just off shore, land iguanas strolling around their land, magnificent red-throated frigate birds, blue footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls or Galapagos penguins. We should also have some time free for snorkelling or hiking about the island.

Depending on the boat schedules, we may change around the order of activities during your days in the Galapagos, and any change in daily schedule will be fully briefed to you in country by your Tour Leader. It's also possible that we will visit islands outside of the four above depending on the yacht providers, for example Floreana island. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B/L)

This morning we take a walk to Tortuga Bay (5km return walk) where we have the opportunity to swim at one of the most spectacular beaches of the entire chain, an important turtle nesting ground.

After lunch we will visit the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station which has been responsible for conservation projects within the islands since 1959 (the centenary of the publication of Origin of the Species). During our time here we will visit the centre to learn more about the unique collection of animal and plant life that resides here. Stay: Hotel Deja Vu (Comfortable) (B)

Leaving the Galapagos behind we fly to Guayaquil on the mainland, and on arrival we're free to explore at our leisure. The largest city in Ecuador and its principal port, Guayaquil has a bustling, lively atmosphere. 20 years ago several areas of the city had a somewhat edgy reputation, but after years of regeneration, community safety drives and cultural projects, it has been transformed into a really likeable, characterful destination.

A walk down the Malecon, or seafront, is a great introduction to the city, and at the end you'll come to the old district of Las Penas. This area of cobbled streets, painted houses and cafes is full of charm, and a perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.

Please note your leader may not fly with you to Guayaquil; if not you will be met by a local representative on arrival at the airport who will give you a brief for your stay in Guayaquil. Stay: Unipark Hotel (Comfortable) (B)

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Guayaquil.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Guayaquil at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Guayaquil's Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (airport code: GYE), which is approximately a 20 minute drive from our hotel. (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Staying in hotels, explore the Galapagos Islands and discover the incredible wildlife on daily boat trips
  • Experience local communities and mountain scenery on Ecuador's mainland
  • Visit the Yunguilla community in Ecuador's Mindo cloud forest

  • Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you'll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included

  • Staying in hotels, explore the Galapagos Islands and discover the incredible wildlife on daily boat trips
  • Experience local communities and mountain scenery on Ecuador's mainland
  • Visit the Yunguilla community in Ecuador's Mindo cloud forest

  • Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you'll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified.
  • Flights not specified are not included
About Explore!
About Explore!

Launching in 1981, Explore offer trips from over 130 countries - from classic small group tours. Read more

Explore Leaders
Explore Leaders

Explore's leaders are more than just your typical guide. They're your local expert are are passionate about sharing their expertise with you. Read more

Where do we Stay?
Where do we Stay?

The places Explore stay are every bit as important as the sights they visit and the things you do. Read more

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Availability

Saturday 01 Apr 2023
Saturday 15 Apr 2023
Status
From: $7,040
  Sold Out
Saturday 06 May 2023
Saturday 20 May 2023
Status
From: $7,040
  Sold Out
Saturday 03 Jun 2023
Saturday 17 Jun 2023
Status
From: $7,250 $7,105
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 24 Jun 2023
Saturday 08 Jul 2023
Status
From: $6,840 $6,703
Save $137 Enquire
Saturday 29 Jul 2023
Saturday 12 Aug 2023
Status
From: $7,040 $6,899
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 09 Sep 2023
Saturday 23 Sep 2023
Status
From: $7,250 $7,105
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 07 Oct 2023
Saturday 21 Oct 2023
Status
From: $7,040 $6,899
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 28 Oct 2023
Saturday 11 Nov 2023
Status
From: $7,040 $6,899
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 11 Nov 2023
Saturday 25 Nov 2023
Status
From: $7,040 $6,899
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 18 Nov 2023
Saturday 02 Dec 2023
Status
From: $7,040 $6,899
Save $141 Enquire
Sunday 17 Dec 2023
Sunday 31 Dec 2023
Status
From: $7,040 $6,899
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 01 Apr 2023
Saturday 15 Apr 2023
Status
From: $7,860
  Sold Out
Saturday 06 May 2023
Saturday 20 May 2023
Status
From: $7,860
  Sold Out
Saturday 03 Jun 2023
Saturday 17 Jun 2023
Status
From: $8,060 $7,915
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 24 Jun 2023
Saturday 08 Jul 2023
Status
From: $7,650 $7,513
Save $137 Enquire
Saturday 29 Jul 2023
Saturday 12 Aug 2023
Status
From: $7,860 $7,719
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 09 Sep 2023
Saturday 23 Sep 2023
Status
From: $8,060 $7,915
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 07 Oct 2023
Saturday 21 Oct 2023
Status
From: $7,860 $7,719
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 28 Oct 2023
Saturday 11 Nov 2023
Status
From: $7,860 $7,719
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 11 Nov 2023
Saturday 25 Nov 2023
Status
From: $7,860 $7,719
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 18 Nov 2023
Saturday 02 Dec 2023
Status
From: $7,860 $7,719
Save $141 Enquire
Sunday 17 Dec 2023
Sunday 31 Dec 2023
Status
From: $7,860 $7,719
Save $141 Enquire
Saturday 20 Jan 2024
Saturday 03 Feb 2024
Status
From: $7,140 $6,997
Save $143 Enquire
Saturday 10 Feb 2024
Saturday 24 Feb 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 30 Mar 2024
Saturday 13 Apr 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 04 May 2024
Saturday 18 May 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 25 May 2024
Saturday 08 Jun 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 08 Jun 2024
Saturday 22 Jun 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 27 Jul 2024
Saturday 10 Aug 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 07 Sep 2024
Saturday 21 Sep 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 05 Oct 2024
Saturday 19 Oct 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 26 Oct 2024
Saturday 09 Nov 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 09 Nov 2024
Saturday 23 Nov 2024
Status
From: $7,240 $7,095
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 16 Nov 2024
Saturday 30 Nov 2024
Status
From: $7,140 $6,997
Save $143 Enquire
Monday 16 Dec 2024
Monday 30 Dec 2024
Status
From: $7,350 $7,203
Save $147 Enquire
Saturday 20 Jan 2024
Saturday 03 Feb 2024
Status
From: $7,990 $7,847
Save $143 Enquire
Saturday 10 Feb 2024
Saturday 24 Feb 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 30 Mar 2024
Saturday 13 Apr 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 04 May 2024
Saturday 18 May 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 25 May 2024
Saturday 08 Jun 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 08 Jun 2024
Saturday 22 Jun 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 27 Jul 2024
Saturday 10 Aug 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 07 Sep 2024
Saturday 21 Sep 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 05 Oct 2024
Saturday 19 Oct 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 26 Oct 2024
Saturday 09 Nov 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 09 Nov 2024
Saturday 23 Nov 2024
Status
From: $8,090 $7,945
Save $145 Enquire
Saturday 16 Nov 2024
Saturday 30 Nov 2024
Status
From: $7,990 $7,847
Save $143 Enquire
Monday 16 Dec 2024
Monday 30 Dec 2024
Status
From: $8,190 $8,043
Save $147 Enquire
Show more dates...
Key
Definite Departure. Minimum numbers reached for this departure to operate.
Available Departure. Minimum numbers not yet reached, so while this departure is expected to operate, it’s not yet a Definite Departure.
Not Available. Places on this departure are unavailable.
Exclusive Global Journeys Savings. Available for a limited time or until sold out.
Note
Your Global Journeys Travel Advisor will check the availability of your departure date when you enquire. Additional savings may apply. We guarantee the lowest price in Australia. T&C’s apply.
Note
Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Explore.

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