Ecuador & Galapagos Holidays
Endemico Deluxe Tour
12 Night Itinerary from £6,391
Private Individual Tour
Combining Quito's colonial splendour with the atmospheric cloud forest and a deluxe island hopping adventure in the Galapagos archipelago
Select your preferred departure date
- Departing daily from the UK
- Our deluxe tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
- Explore the beautiful colonial streets of Quito, spectacularly located in the Andes
- Observe exotic birds up close in the atmospheric Cloud Forest
- Stay at the renowned Mashpi Lodge, deep in the heart of the forest
- Go island hopping in the Galapagos archipelago, based in a deluxe hotel and eco lodge
- Great alternative to a cruise, with varied excursions and spectacular volcanic landscapes
- Full day yacht tours get you close to tame creatures with endless photo opportunities
- Spend 3 nights luxury glamping on Isabela island
This itinerary can be modified and adapted to your preference with a specialst advisor, who can provide a guaranteed price, based on hotels, transport, excursions and flights.
Endemico Deluxe Tour
Fly to Quito
Fly with KLM, via Amsterdam, to Quito, arriving the same evening. You will be met on arrival by our representative and be transferred to your hotel in the heart of Quito where you stay for 2-nights. 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 old town, 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.Our guide is on hand to advise you on the programme ahead.
Colonial Quito, baroque churches and museums
Our 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 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.
Quito - First Boutique
Almost hidden away in the Old Town of Quito, this restored mansion houses a hotel which is part art gallery, part antiquarian, part restaurant. Its spacious gallery has many pieces by national and international artists. The six rooms are comfortably and stylishly furnished, all with private bathroom. the hotel also commands excellent views of the "Panecillo" one of Quito's great landmarks. The hotel restaurant serves Ecuadorean delights as well as Mediterranean cuisine.
Quito - Deluxe Hotel
Situated in a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco in the heart of the Old Town, the three-story Casa Gangotena has 31 luxury rooms: a showcase of eye catching style, contemporary design, antiques, furnishings, fine dining, modern technologies and quintessential comforts. Beautifully and eclectically appointed, the hotel invites its guests to explore and to relax, whether in the dining room, glassed-in patio, garden redolent with the perfume of native flowers, wood-panelled library, or else atop its panoramic third-floor terrace. Sophisticated and eclectic, historic yet contemporary, at Casa Gangotena style, passion and service blend seamlessly and delightfully.
The hotel includes several 'experiences' for its guests at no extra cost, including San Francisco’s courtyards & Brewery, Museo del Carmen Alto, San Fransisco Choir & Bell Tower and Chocolate Quiteno tasting.
Rates are on a room and breakfast basis.
Quito - First Boutique
This delightful 22 room hotel has been converted from an original Colonial townhouse, and is located on the pedestrian La Ronda street, close to many bars and restaurants. The rooms are comfortable and traditionally styled, decorated with fabricsand patterns from local communities. The hotel alos has a small lounge and fireplace, and serves local cuisine and Ecudorean wines.
Into the Ecuadorian cloud forest
Today we drive to the lush Bellavista Cloud Forest for a two night stay at the Mashpi Lodge on a full board basis. The three hour journey takes us into the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. Experience a shift in altitude (from 2,800 metres to 1,000) as we travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui towards the cordillera’s western flank, into misty cloud forest finally reaching Mashpi.
After settling into the lodge we head out on the scenic Napa Trail, where we appreciate the ecological succession processes and the importance of forest conservation in the Chocó region. Observe a forest of “iron palm”, the wood of which is used in house construction and spot colourful birdlife. Every evening an expert naturalist will give a lecture on cloud forest ecology and scientific projects.
Exotic birds, waterfalls and forest views
Up early today to discover the cloud forest's bird life as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food. After breakfast we visit the Sky Bike and Observation Tower. Looming above the treetops, Mashpi’s 30 metre high observation tower allows guests to enjoy the protected forest in all its glory. 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, we walk back to the lodge via the San Vicente waterfall.
After lunch we walk along the “Howler Monkey’s trail” across primary forest dominated by ancient trees. 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. We also visit the “tropical orchard”, where many varieties of fruit trees, including banana, manioc, cacao, hot chilli pepper, coffee and wild raspberries are grown.
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 journey to the Galapagos Islands.
Bellavista Cloud Forest - Deluxe Lodge
Located in the Ecuadorian Choco, just 3 hours’ drive from Quito, lies Mashpi Lodge, in the heart of a 1,300-hectare pristine lush tropical forest where you will experience the perfect fusion of nature and luxury. The lodge offers the perfect base for adventures in the Ecuador forest, where you discover the sounds and colours of nature, meet the world of hummingbirds & butterflies, and discover hidden waterfalls.
Perched at 900 m (3,116 feet), the Lodge is surrounded, by a profusion of plant species, from ferns and bromeliads to hundreds of orchid species, many newly-discovered. A staggering 500 species of bird - including some 36 endemics - are also can be seen. Monkeys, peccaries and even puma, although rarely seen, make their homes inside the Reserve. The highlight of any trip to Mashpi is a ride aboard the Dragonfly, an innovative cable system which carries you under, through and above the forest canopy: a unique way to see the world anew.
The rooms, arranged over three floors, all face north, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, some on two sides. You wake up to a captivating view awash with greens and browns, with trunks, branches, vines, leaves, birds and clouds all around. It's a bit like being in a capsule, observing life beyond from the comfort of your bed. The rooms' lighting is subdued, hidden LED lights running along the handsome wooden bedheads.
There are 22 luxurious rooms, including 3 'Yaku' suites and 19 'Wayra' rooms. The Lodge features a beautiful outside terrace with a pergola roof extends, tables and seating, as well as lounge chair - a wonderful location for a morning yoga session. On the first floor, there is a Library, with an extensive collection of books, which is used by guides and the resident biologist for talks and presentations. Close-by, the small boutique sells a range of books, guides, clothing and crafts, as well as essentials for guests. There is also a computer with internet access, and Wi-Fi is available throughout the lodge. The Wellness Space is opened to the breezes and sounds of the forest, perfect for relaxing after hikes, while specialized massages and treatments using natural local ingredients such as earth, stones, and herbs.
Galapagos Island Hopping - 7 Nights
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
Days 12-14 Return to the mainland and UK
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 for 3-nights in safari style tents at Scalesia Lodge on a full board basis. After lunch we head out to explore the archipelago through its wetland lagoons, the giant tortoise-breeding centre and stunning white beach of Puerto Villamil. Head back to the lodge for dinner.
Scalesia Galapagos Lodge is situated in the highlands of Isabela Island on the slopes of a volcano, about 20 minutes from the town of Puerto Villamil. The modern, luxurious, safari-style tents are set in 40 acres of magical forest with spectacular views of the coast of Isabela Island, the Pacific Ocean, and other Islands of Galapagos dotting the horizon. Each tent has hot water showers, decking and panoramic forest views. The main lodge is a modern and minimalistic social area with a restaurant, bar, meeting areas and wrap-around decks. There are many activities available at the lodge including trekking, kayaking, birdwatching, biking and fishing. You will feel very connected to nature when you stay.
Full day of 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, winding 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.
Full day of exploration
Tortoises of Santa Cruz Highlands
This morning fly 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 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 for a 3-night stay on a full board basis. Enjoy the hotel’s beachfront facilities.
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, 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: we board the Sea Lion yacht and sail a 21-nautical mile stretch along waters where dolphins or whales are often seen. A dry landing marks the start of the trail over a wooden walkway 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.
Coastal Exploration and Charles Darwin Research Station
Depending on the day 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 famous visitor centre.
Return to the mainland
Transfer to Baltra Airport and fly back to the mainland, staying overnight in the port city of Guayaquil.
Fly back to the UK
Transfer to Guayaquil airport for your KLM overnight flight back to the UK, via Amsterdam.
Galapagos Islands - First Boutique
The charming Finch Bay Hotel stands surrounded by mangroves just a few steps from a private beach and offers a tranquil setting to relax and enjoy daily excursions. The hotel is located on Punta Estrada (a 2 hour drive from Baltra Airport), on the island of Santa Cruz and across the bay from the small town of Puerto Ayora. Finch Bay has 6 suites with sea facing views and 21 twin or double bedded rooms. All have private facilities, balcony or porch, air conditioning, hammock and unlimited water supply as the hotel has its own desalinisation plant.
The entire infrastructure as well as the activities are totally oriented to a concept of true ecotourism in a pristine natural environment. Delicious healthy international and Galapagos inspired menus are prepared daily, using fresh ingredients. Public facilities include a swimming pool, bar and beach. The hotel offers a wide choice of land and sea Galapagos itineraries, depending on your length of stay and interests. Please call our travel experts to discuss your requirements.
The rates are on a bed and breakfast basis.
|Multiple Travellers - Twin Room||£6,391|
Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.
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