Exuberant cloud forest, colonial splendour & Galapagos Island hopping

Combine the colonial splendour of Quito and the exuberance of the cloud forest with a deluxe island hopping experience in the enchanted islands of the Galapagos archipelago.

Travel Highlights

  • Our deluxe tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
  • Explore the beautiful colonial streets of Quito, spectacularly located in the Andes
  • Admire beautiful baroque churches and visit some of the best museums
  • Observe exotic birds up close in the misty Cloud Forest
  • Stay at the renowned Mashpi Lodge, deep in the heart of the forest
  • Go island hopping in the Galapagos archipelago, using two deluxe hotels as bases
  • A wonderful alternative to a cruise, with varied excursions and deluxe accommodation
  • Get up close to an extraordinary array of tame creatures for endless photo opportunities
  • Enjoy full day yacht tours and immerse yourself in spectacular volcanic landscapes
  • Spend a night glamping on Isabela island

Journey Breakdown

The Endemico Deluxe Tour
Travel Itinerary

Quito Days 1 - 2

Day 1 - Welcome to Quito

Day 2 - Colonial Quito, baroque churches & museums

Itinerary Description

Day 1 - Welcome to Quito

You will fly with KLM from London Heathrow to Quito, via Amsterdam and will be met on arrival by our representative to be transferred to your hotel in the heart of Quito.

The Ecuadorian capital is spectacularly located high in the Ecuadorian Andes, surrounded my mountains and overlooked by the towering Pichincha volcano. It is a city noted for its UNESCO World Heritage listed colonial era centre, highlighted by some of the continent's finest baroque churches and lavish palaces and municipal buildings. Overhead cable cars glide effortlessly, affording panoramic views of the city and surrounding peaks.

Day 2 - Colonial Quito, baroque churches & museums

Our special half day tour will guide you through the grand colonial centre of Quito, starting at  the Independence Square, flanked by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and the City Hall. Stroll past the El Sagrario Church and marvel at the exquisite stone facade of La Compañía Church, where almost five tons of gold-leaf have used to cover the interior of this magnificent Baroque-style church. You will also have the opportunity to admire its famous paintings on the walls. We continue to San Francisco convent and its magnificent church, built over the ruins of the Inca Palace in the 16th century.

The tours includes a visit to the Metropolitan Cultural Centre, the home of former philanthropist Maria Augusta Urrutia and the Alberto Mena Caamaño museum, which has a waxwork depiction of the beginning of the independence struggle, as well as modern and historical works of art. Alternatively if your tour falls on a Monday you will visit the Casa de Alabado, which is a Precolumbian Art Museum located in the historic downtown area of Quito, in a 17th century colonial house. It keeps a collection of over 5,000 archaeological pieces, 500 of which are on permanent display. Continue up the road to the top of Panecillo Hill for a breathtaking view of Quito.

Bellavista Cloud Forest Days 3 - 5

Day 3 - Into the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

Day 4 - Exotic birds, waterfalls & forest views

Day 5 - Return to Quito

Itinerary Description

Day 3 - Into the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

Today we drive out of the city and into the lush Bellavista Cloud Forest for a two night stay at the Mashpi Lodge. The three hour journey takes us into part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. The sudden shift in altitude (from 2,800 metres down to 1,000) will allow us to discover the spectacular natural diversity of the Andean landscape, as we travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui towards the cordillera’s western flank, into lush, misty cloud forest, and finally reach Mashpi.

After settling into the lodge we head out to the Napa Trail. This trail starts at the side of the road, across areas where the forest is regenerating and large patches of pristine forest. For this reason, this trail is ideal to explain the ecological succession processes and the importance of forest conservation for the Chocó region. Also, this is a trail of great scenic beauty and toward the end of the trail you will find one of the unique attractions, a forest of “iron palm”, the wood of which is used in different ways, mostly in house construction. This is also a very good trail for bird watching and is a moderate difficulty trail of about two hours.

Every evening for all our guests interested in knowing more deeply the cloud forest ecology, we have prepare a series of different lectures like the “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi, the trap camera project”, the “Chocó, a biological hotspot” about the formation and diversity of the Chocó, or about our scientific research projects. The lectures will be given by one of our naturalist or our resident biologist at 7:30 PM.

Day 4 - Exotic birds, waterfalls & forest views

This morning you will rise early to watch the cloud forest's bird life as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food. A good place to find birds is actually right at the hotel’s terrace, with a cup of fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate in hand, from where we can enjoy not only the beauty of the forest, but also the many species that come to feed on insects and fruits at nearby trees. Our guides will help us spot what’s around, offering a peek inside their telescope for a close-and-personal view of the incredible bird richness Mashpi possesses.

After breakfast we then depart to the the Sky Bike and Observation Tower, a short walk from the hotel. Looming above the treetops, Mashpi’s 30 metre high and 162 step observation tower allows guests to enjoy the protected forest in all its glory. Peering into the treetops allows you to appreciate the complex structure of the forest and into an area where 70% of the forest’s biodiversity is found. The aerial bicycle makes for an original and exciting way to explore the canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points, around 200 metres apart over a gorge and river. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it's an activity that provides guests with yet another vantage point to experience Mashpi’s lush natural world. Once completed, you can walk back to the lodge along one of our many trails, perhaps via San Vicente waterfall.

A refreshing juice and lunch back at the lodge will give you the chance to relax and reflect upon the morning's activities. After lunch we will walk along the “Howler Monkey’s trail” across primary forest dominated by ancient trees. On the way your guide will listen out for rare birds and look for exotic creatures in the trees. They will also explain the unique ecology of the forest and the medicinal use of different plants. Once at the Life Centre, you will enjoy great view of the forest from the comfort of an expansive wooden deck, where wildlife abounds. Guides will identify the different birds and mammals that visit the fruit feeders. Not far from the centre is the “tropical orchard”, where many varieties of fruit trees, including banana, manioc, cacao, hot chili pepper, coffee and wild raspberries are grown. For those interested in learning more about the Ecuadorian cloud forest, there will be a short lecture that sums up the different scientific research projects that take place at Mashpi, including footage from hidden camera traps, a great display of the astounding diversity that thrives inside the forest.

Day 5 - Return to Quito

After a final activity in the cloud forest, we will depart late morning and return to the capital Quito by road for an overnight stay ahead of your next port of call; the Galapagos Islands!

Galapagos Island Hopping Days 6 - 13

Day 6 - Glamping in the Galapagos

Day 7-8 - Full day exploration

Day 9 - Tortoises of Santa Cruz Highlands

Day 10 - Full day yacht excursion

Day 11 - Coastal Exploration & Charles Darwin Research Station or Tortoise Breeding Facilities

Day 12 - Return to the mainland

Day 13 - Return to the UK

Itinerary Description

Day 6 - Glamping in the Galapagos

Take a morning flight to Baltra Island in the Galapagos archipelago and connect with a scenic inter-island flight to Isabela island, where you will stay overnight in safari style tents at the Scalesia Lodge. After lunch we head out for an afternoon of discovery to get to know the youngest side of the archipelago through its wetland lagoons the ,giant tortoise-breeding centre and the stunning white beach of Puerto Villamil. Head back to the lodge for dinner and to relax and soak up the remote beauty.

Scalesia Lodge

Day 7-8 - Full day exploration

Over these two days you will enjoy two of these full day excursions:

Sierra Negra Volcano: Walk along the rim of Galapagos’ largest caldera and see recent volcanic activity following the eruption in 2005 and the resulting fascinating formations. Wildlife focuses on the Darwin finches, flycatchers, mockingbirds, and occasionally the Galapagos hawk and rail. Stroll the beach at Puerto Villamil or rest in the afternoon.

Tintoreras Islets: Board the bay cruiser to explore the maze of reefs and islets off the shores of Isabela, with a dry landing and a short walk over volcanic terrain. Wildlife includes boobies, herons, penguins, marine iguanas and the white tipped reef sharks in the nearby lava crevasses. Bring your bathing suit to enjoy snorkelling in the shallow reefs. After lunch at the lodge explore the wetlands of coastal Isabela and enjoy spectacular sunsets at Puerto Villamil.

Wall of Tears: Follow a splendid coastal trail, wending through mangroves and brackish lagoons and traversing the arid palo santo forest until we reach the Wall of Tears, built by prisoners when Isabela was a penal colony. Wildlife include coastal Darwin finches, doves, stilts, ducks, flamingos, herons and giant tortoises.

Day 9 - Tortoises of Santa Cruz Highlands

A short but interesting AM flight will bring you from Puerto Villamil back to Baltra. Your guide will lead you across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island, where the day’s visit includes a brief exploration of Los Gemelos - a natural volcanic formation in the upper end of the windward side of the island. Surrounded by a forest of high growing endemic daisies, this area is home to some of the most elusive land birds of Galapagos. Then we visit the Tortoise Reserve, admiring impressive lava tunnels en route to a delicious lunch at a restaurant in the highlands. In the afternoon, you will reach Puerto Ayora’s only pedestrian neighbourhood; Punta Estrada, where the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is located. Check in and enjoy the hotel’s beachfront facilities. Overnight at the Finch Bay.

Day 10 - Full day yacht excursion

Depending on the day and availability, you will enjoy a full day yacht excursion to one of the following:

North Seymour: Your day includes a dry landing and walk over a mixture of sand and rounded boulders, where you can observe land and marine iguanas, Nazca- and blue-footed boobies, frigates, sea lions and fur seals. We then visit Las Bachas, a stunning white beach with small brackish lagoons, home to various waders, such as plovers, stilts and flamingos. You have a chance to swim or snorkel here.

Santa Fe: The yacht will cruise to Santa Fe, an impressive volcanic island 17 nautical miles away from Puerto Ayora. After a wet landing on a fantastic white sandy beach populated by basking sea lions, we walk along a rocky terrain to find the island’s highlight: the endemic Santa Fe land iguana patiently waiting under the enormous giant cacti for falling fruits and pads. Other species here include pelicans, boobies and the archipelago´s top predator, the Galapagos hawk. Return to the yacht and enjoy one of Galapagos best snorkelling sites. After lunch on board the Sea Lion yacht, cruise back to Puerto Ayora, scanning the sea surface for pelagic birds and whales.

Bartolome: Drive to Itabaca Channel on the north shore of Santa Cruz, where we board the Sea Lion yacht. A 21-nautical mile sailing stretch along waters where Dolphins or whales are often seen. A dry landing marks the start of the trail over a wooden boardwalk with a staircase of 366 steps. There are several observation platforms on the way up to the summit of Bartolome, from where you can soak in one of Galapagos’ most famous views: the tilted pinnacle rock, the golden beach of Bartolome and the impressive lava fields of Santiago Island. Upon descending back to the coast, you will have a chance to scan the volcanic shore, in search of flashy Sally Lightfoot crabs and Galapagos penguins, before enjoying a soothing dip at the beach.

South Plaza: Your day includes 2 highlights, snorkelling/swimming as Punta Carrion and South Plaza Island where an amazing abundance of wildlife greets you upon arrival: dozens of frolicking sea lion pups, patrolling alpha male sea lions, basking marine and land iguanas, stunning red crabs and various Darwin finches await.

Day 11 - Coastal Exploration & Charles Darwin Research Station or Tortoise Breeding Facilities

Depending on the weekday and availability, you will visit either Tortuga Bay and the Charles Darwin Research Station or Divine Bay and the Charles Darwin Research Station, a combination of wonderful beaches, wildlife and a speciailsed visitor centre.

Day 12 - Return to the mainland

Today you will be taken to Baltra Airport for your flight back to the mainland, staying at the port city of Guayaquil.

Day 13 - Return to the UK

Transfer to Guayaquil airport for your KLM flight back to the UK, via Amsterdam.

Travel Details
Endemico Deluxe

What's Included

  • 13 Days / 12 Nights
  • International flights
  • Accommodation and breakfast
  • Transfers to and from accommodation
  • Excursions with English-speaking guides
  • Transport and meals as shown

Price Breakdown

Prices are per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - - £5,994 - - -
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - - - - - -
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - - €6,292 - - -
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - - - - - -
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -
Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates
Room Arrangement Tourist First Deluxe Tourist First Deluxe
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room - - $6,792 - - -
Multiple Travellers - Own Room - - - - - -
Single Traveller - Own Room - - - - - -

Booking Terms & Conditions

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