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Ecuador and theGalapagos Islands: 9-Day Encounter

Get to know Ecuador’s heart and soul in this amazing nine day adventure. Hike along active volcanoes, snorkel with sea lions, and swim in bubbling volcanic lagoons. In the Galapagos Islands, see species found nowhere else on earth — including the great Galapagos tortoise. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City of Quito, and small mountain villages. Visit the Otavalo artesanal market, and more!

USD $3,199.00

Per Person

Explore Ecuador’s Unsurpassed Natural Beauty and Outstanding Cultural Heritage on this 9-Day Encounter

On this outstanding and unforgettable 9-day tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, hike along active volcanoes, snorkel with sea lions, and swim in bubbling volcanic lagoons. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center to see endemic species found nowhere else on earth — including the great Galapagos tortoise.

Fall in love with Ecuador’s history and living cultural heritage, too. Explore small mountain villages and visit native artesanal markets where you’ll find textiles, native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries, and more. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City of Quito and learn why it’s considered the “Cultural Capital of South America.”

You’ll hike and swim along volcanoes, islands, and mangrove forests. You’ll explore bustling cities and small mountain communities. Discover a small country’s larger-than-life natural and cultural heritage on this unforgettable 9-day Ecuador tour.


  • Hike the Cuicocha Volcano and swim in the volcanic waters
  • Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano for panoramic views of the Galapagos Islands
  • Observe Galapagos tortoises at El Chato Reserve
  • Explore the Otavalo market, South America’s most famous native artesanal market
  • Snorkel in the Galapagos with giant turtles, rays, penguins, and sea lions
  • Explore Quito a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historic city center
  • Visit the birthplace of the “Baroque School of Quito” — a fusion of indigenous and European art

Tour Information

Duration: 9 Days/8 Nights
Start/End Location: Quito
Minimum Age: 12 years old
Group size: 2 — 12 people
Travel style: Active
Additional Notes: Guides are certified Wilderness First Aid Responders, and carry a complete first aid kit.


Day 1: Arrive in Quinto and Explore the City
Welcome to Quito! Founded by the Spaniards over the ruins of an Inca city, Quito is considered “The Cultural Capital of South America” and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding fusion of indigenous and European architecture and for its historic city center — among the oldest and best maintained in all of South America.

A trip leader will meet you at your hotel to discuss details and answer  any questions you may have about your trip, but otherwise, the day is yours to adventure or unwind as you’d like.

Visit the stunning city center and look for “Baroque school of Quito” art and architecture — an iconic blend of indigenous and European that once caused the king of Spain to announce he had no need for a Spanish Michelangelo.

Accommodation: Nu House Hotel or similar

Day 2: Stroll through South America’s Most Famous Artesanal Market
Today, you’ll explore Otavalo market, South America’s most famous native artesanal 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 the traditional blue ponchos, white trousers, and long braided hair of the native Otavalos, 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 goods. Then you will head to Peguche, a tiny village known for waterfalls, wind instruments, and woven fabrics.

Accommodation: Pinsaqui Hacienda
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3: Hike to Cuicocha Crater in Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve
After breakfast, set out for breathtaking full-day hike around Cuicocha Crater Lake, an active volcano located amidst 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 center of the lagoon to watch bubbles rising from the caldera. Here you’ll have the thrilling opportunity to jump into the volcanic waters for a refreshing swim!

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

Day 4: Encounter the Galapagos and Isabela Island
Today you will explore the amazing archipelago on the Pacific Coast and the birth place of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Galapagos is a truly magnificent natural wonder, where you can swim with sea lions, turtles, penguins, sharks, and countless tropical fish.

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 speed boat to Isabela, where you’ll hopefully spot dolphins and whales as you cross (July-October).

Isabela is 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!

Accommodation: Isabela Beach House or similar
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5: Hike along Sierra Negra Volcano and Snorkel in Tintoreras
After breakfast you set out on a full-day hike to the rim of Sierra Negra Crater — an active volcano! With a local guide, you’ll hike about 9.6 kilometers (6 miles) along the crater’s widest point and learn about native flora and fauna that thrive in the nutrient-rich, volcanic ash-filled soil.

Once at the summit you will have stunning views of the massive, lava filled crater. Depending on the timing or weather conditions, you may have the opportunity to continue onward to Volcan Chico.

Afterwards, you will visit the Tintoreras near to Puerto Villamil, 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 is one of the few places where marine iguanas can successfully reproduce!

Accommodation: Isabela Beach House or similar
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6: Explore the Isabela Island Lava Tunnels
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 breathtaking sunset over the beach of Puerto Villamil.

Accommodation: Isabela Beach House or similar
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7: Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and Spot the Famous Galapagos Tortoises
Today, you will take a speed 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: Leave the Galapagos and Return to Quinto
After one final breakfast on the Galapagos Islands, you will transfer to Baltra’s airport for a flight back to the mainland. You’ll have the evening to enjoy the city.

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

Day 9: Say Goodbye to Quinto

After breakfast, you’ll say goodbye Quito and your guide will transfer you to the airport for your onward travel.

Meals included: Breakfast

What’s Included

  • Entry fees to Cuicococha, Sierra Negra, Tintoreras, Lava Tunnels, Isabela island, Charles Darwin Research Station, and El Chato Reserves
  • Nightly accommodation (based on double occupancy)
  • Comfortable land and sea transportation
  • Meals as noted in above itinerary
  • Outdoor gear: hiking sticks, life jackets, kayaks, and paddles.
  • Expert English-speaking tour leader specialized in adventure expeditions
  • Local guides

What’s Not Included

  • Airfare from Quito to Galapagos.
  • Single room supplement  (Optional, $630.00 USD)
  • Travel insurance (Mandatory)
  • Meals not described in the itinerary (Consider food budget of $190.00 USD)
  • Galapagos National Park fee ($100.00 USD)
  • Pier Use Fee at Puerto Villamil ($5.00 USD)
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities (Optional)=

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

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.

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.



Quito, Ecuador

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Quito, Ecuador -0.180653, -78.467838

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