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Ecuador Galapagos Islands and Otavalo Highlands Tour (9 Days)

Get to know Ecuador’s heart and soul in this amazing nine day adventure. From the beautiful city of Quito, and Otavalo markets, to the Andean mountains, and stunning Galapagos Islands.

USD $3,199.00

Per Person
1

Ecuador Galapagos Islands and Otavalo Highlands Tour (9 Days)

Highlights

On this Ecuador Galapagos Islands and Otavalo Highlands Tour you will:

  • Hike the Cuicocha active crater.
  • Snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Galapagos with giant turtles, rays, penguins, sea lions, and much more.
  • Encounter local tribes and experience the every day life of the locals.

Description

Discover Ecuador on this amazing nine day tour. Explore the mountainous city of Quito and the vibrant markets in Otavalo. Hike through gorgeous mountain scenery and around crater lakes. Snorkel in crystal clear water surrounded by amazing marine life on the Galapagos Islands. You’ll see marine life such as sea lions, sea turtles, sharks, and penguins.

Duration

9 days.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Quito.

There are no scheduled activities on the first day. A trip leader will meet you at your hotel and discuss details or answer any questions. You can spend the day exploring Quito, a beautiful city, Ecuador’s buzzing captial, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quito is considered as ‘The Cultural Capital of South America’ and is one of the most important cities of the old Inca Empire. It is cradled in the middle of the Andes, and a fantastic location for many day trips if you would like to explore outside the city. The company offers many tours, such as Pululahua crater horseback riding, Mindo canopy zip lines and tubing, Papallacta trekking, Jatunyacu river rafting, and many more.

Accommodation: Nu House Hotel or similar.

Day 2

Otavalo market.

Otavalo market is South America’s most famous Indian market. You will leave early from Quito and enjoy the dynamic mountain scenery as you head north to Otavalo. You will have plenty of time to explore the narrow cobblestone streets, admire Otavalo Indians wearing blue ponchos, white trousers, and long braided hair, and of course explore the handicraft market with its wonderful textiles, native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries, and more. You will continue to Cotacachi for lunch, an area famous for leather articles. Then you will head to Peguche, a tiny village known for waterfalls and wind instruments fabric.

Accommodation: Pinsaqui Hacienda. Meals included: Breakfast.

Day 3

Quito and trekking the loop of Cuicocha.

After a nice breakfast your day will start with a breath taking 5 hour hike around Cuicocha Crater Lake, an active volcano located amongst the stunning scenery of Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve. You will hike 14.4 kilometers (9 miles) around the crater then take a boat ride to the centre of the crater and watch bubbles coming up from the centre of the caldera. Here you will have the opportuntiy to jump into the volcanic waters for a nice refreshing swim. Transfer back to Quito.

Accommodation: Nu House Hotel or similar. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

Day 4

Galapagos and Isabela Island.

Today you will explore the most amazing archipelago on the Pacific Coast and the birth place of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Galapagos is a magical place, where you can swim with sea lions, turtles, penguins, sharks, and many other colorful marine species. You will take a morning flight from Quito to the island of Baltra, then head to Puerto Ayora, the biggest town on Galapagos. You will travel by fast boat to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago. Isabela Island is formed by six shield volcanoes called Alcedo, Cerra Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra, and Wolf. Five of them are active, thus making the island one of the most volcanically active places on earth. During your island crossing you will hopefully spot dolphins and whales. (July-October)

Accommodation: Isabela Beach House or similar. Meals included: Breakfast.

Day 5

Isabela Island. Sierra Negra volcano and snorkel in Tintoreras.

After a healthy breakfast you will drive to the trailhead where the hike to the rim of Sierra Negra Crater begins. Sierra Negra is an active volcano which erupted as recently as October 2005. You will hike about 9.6 kilometers (six miles) along the crater’s widest point while your guide tells you about the flora and fauna of the area. Once at the summit you will have stunning views of the massive, lava filled crater. Depending on the timing or weather conditions you might continue through the wild landscape to Volcan Chico, another volcano with colorful lava formations. Afterwards, you will visit the Tintoreras near to Puerto Villamil, which is home to many different types of wildlife. You can snorkel in the crystal clear water and spot White-Tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, marine turtles, and sea lions. One of the beaches is surrounded by mangroves, and one of the few places where marine iguanas can successfully reproduce.

Accommodation: Isabela Beach House or similar. Meals included: Breakfast.

Day 6

Lava Tunnels – Isabela Island.

Today you will explore the stunning lava formations created by the volcanic activity on the island. This magical place has been used by BBC and National Geographic for documentaries and is a labyrinth of lava arches and tunnels, above and below the water. The crystal clear water is full of large sea turtles, Eagle rays, sea lions, fish, White-Tipped reef sharks, and more. Through ‘Los Tuneles,’ turtles navigate their way from the mangroves to the sea giving you a great opportunity to snorkel with all these beautiful creatures. You will kayak in the afternoon, paddling along the shoreline of Las Tintoreras, on the lookout for wildlife. Then watch a breath taking sunset over the beach of Puerto Villamil.

Accommodation: Isabela Beach House or similar. Meals included: Breakfast.

Day 7

Santa Cruz highlands and Charles Darwin research station.

Today, you will take a fast boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. Be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October). After you check in at the hotel, you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about the endemic species around Galapagos Islands, and the ongoing conservation and management efforts. Then it’s off to El Chato Reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoises. Hiking through El Chato’s stunning scenery with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience. You will also see other highland wildlife such as Pintail ducks, Egrets, Flycatchers, Finches, and Frigate birds. In Puerto Ayora you will have free time in the evening.

Accommodation: Galapagos Inn or similar. Meals included: Breakfast.

Day 8

Quito. Flight back to Quito.

After one final breakfast on the Galapagos Islands, you will transfer to Baltra’s airport for a flight back to the mainland.

Accommodation: Nu House or Similar. Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

Day 9

Departure from Quito.

End of services. Safe journey! Hopefully you will visit the paradise of Ecuador again!

Meals included: Breakfast.

What’s Included

  • Otavalo market, 4 hour trek around the active volcano Cuicococha, trekking the rim of Sierra Negra, snorkeling in Tintoreras and Lava Tunnels, kayaking around Isabela island, Charles Darwin Research Station, and El Chato Reserve.
  • Accommodation is based on double occupancy. 2 nights in Hotel Boutique in Quito, 1 night in a colonial hacienda in Otavalo, 3 nights in a 4 star hotel on Isabela Island, and 1 night in a 4 star hotel on Santa Cruz Island.
  • Comfortable land and sea transportation.
  • 8 breakfasts and 2 lunches.
  • Outdoor gear, such as hiking sticks, life jackets, kayaks, and paddles.
  • And expert, English speaking tour leader specialized in adventure expeditions. Plus local guides.

What’s Not Included

  • Airfare from Quito to Galapagos.
  • Single room supplement – cost $630 USD.
  • Travel insurance. (Mandatory)
  • Meals not described in the itinerary.
  • Galapagos National Park fee – $100 USD.
  • USD $5 per person for “pier use fee” at Puerto Villamil. (Isabela Island)
  • Personal expenses.
  • Extra meals – consider a food budget of $190 USD.
  • Tips.

What to Bring

  • Passport.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Airline tickets.
  • Credit or debit card. (For personal spending money)
  • Pocket knife.
  • Fleece top.
  • 4 shirts/t-shirts.
  • 1 pair of shorts.
  • 2 pairs of long trousers.
  • 1 pair hiking pants/track pants.
  • Sport sandals.
  • Toiletries. (Biodegradable)
  • Watch or alarm clock.
  • Quick dry clothing.
  • Rain coat.
  • Rain pants.
  • Waterproof binoculars.
  • Bug spray.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Flashlight.
  • Sun hat.
  • Waterproof camera if possible.
  • Swimming suit.
  • Waterproof back pack.
  • Water bottle.
  • Tennis shoes.
  • Hiking shoes.
  • Money belt.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Dry bag for your belongings.

Important Notes

Minimum age: 12 years old.

Group size: 2 — 12 people.

Travel style: Active.

Itinerary disclaimer: The intention is to adhere to the itinerary described, however, on occasions it may be necessary or desirable to make small changes. Weather conditions and unpredictable local circumstances may lead to route or travel time alterations. Hotels and flight schedules might change according to availability. Not all wildlife specified in the itinerary is guaranteed to be seen during the trip.

Activities time: Kayaking: 1.5 hours; Snorkeling Tintoreras: 1 hour; Lava Tunnels: 2 hours; Trekking Sierra Negra: 30 minutes uphill, 1.5 hours flat, 30 minutes downhill, then return the same way; Cuicocha Crater Lake: 5 hours moderate due to altitude.

Average temperature: Day 15-34ºC / 59-93ºF – Night 12-17ºC / 53-62ºF

Water temperatures: The unique waters of the Galapagos Islands range between 65ºF and 85ºF.

Difficulty level: Moderate to challenging. The Cuicocha trek can be challenging because of the altitude. Hiking in Sierra Negra is moderate but long and muddy during the wet season (July – November). No experience is needed for snorkeling and kayaking.

Meals: Your guide will identify typical food and suggest the best places to eat. Some meals are not included giving you flexibility about where, what, and with whom you eat. If you have allergies or food restrictions, please inform the company prior to departure.

Accommodation: Prices are based on double occupancy. If you are travelling solo, you will be matched with someone of the same sex. If you prefer a single room at an extra cost, please contact the company prior to departure.

Sustainable eco and cultural tourism: You will receive a conservationist interpretation of the ecology of the Andes, Amazon Rainforest, and Galapagos Islands with the factors that threaten it. The company aims to promote long term conservation of the local people, culture, and their environment. Your visit will support responsible ecotourism. The company transports out and recycles all non organic garbage.

Guides are certified Wilderness First Aid Responders, and carry a complete first aid kit.

Map

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Quito, Ecuador

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Quito, Ecuador -0.180653, -78.467838

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What Happens After I Book?

After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.

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