Land of the Grand Tortoise
ITINERARY OF YOUR TRIP
The day has arrived and you’re finally ready to start your Ecuadorian adventure, which begins in the country’s beautiful capital, Quito. After landing, you’ll have the rest of the day to get settled in your heritage hotel, La Casona de La Ronda, before leaping into action. Next day you will enjoy a comprehensive tour of the city and its surroundings.
From the top of Panecillo Hill, you’ll take in spectacular views of the city against the backdrop of the Pichincha volcano, which towers over Quito’s many slopes and winding streets. You’ll then visit the city’s historic center and discover a world of colorful houses, gorgeous churches and fascinating colonial architecture, which will set your imagination alight. After lunch, it’s time to cross the equator line and have the chance to straddle both hemispheres at the Middle of the World monument. Finish this action-packed first day with a tour of Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, where clouds cling to the peaks of undulating volcanic hills, making for spectacular vistas.
On Day 3, you’ll venture out of the city and delve into some of the country’s most stunning scenery on a day trip to Cotopaxi National Park, home to one of the world’s highest volcanoes, the eponymous Cotopaxi. This famous and active volcano is one of the country’s must-see attractions and when you see its dramatic reflection in the glassy waters of Limpiopungo Lagoon you’ll understand why.
On Day 4 you’ll have a private transfer to the airport for your flight to Baltra, the main arrival point of the Galapagos archipelago, from where you will cross to the island of Santa Cruz, where you'll be staying at the unique Finch Bay Eco Lodge, the only beachfront accommodation on the island. This is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world and the perfect place for you to experience some unique and interesting wildlife.
First up is a trip to the Highlands of Santa Cruz and the Giant Tortoise Reserve, where you can spot these gentle creatures as they make seasonal migrations to different areas of the islands. On your way back, visit one of the many impressive lava tunnels, whose jagged walls wind underneath the surface of the earth, and learn about the geological past of these islands formed by lava flows eons ago.
Day 6 sees you visiting South Plaza Island, a jewel in the archipelago whose shores teem with impossibly diverse flora and fauna, from vegetation that changes color with the turning of the seasons to inquisitive sea lions.
On your last day in the Galapagos, you'll visit Santa Fe, one of the oldest islands famed for its turquoise waters that make for perfect snorkeling. Not only can you spot spectacular sea creatures, but there are also underwater lava flows from previous seismic upheavals.
After being transferred to the airport on Day 8, you'll fly to the nation’s largest city to round off your trip. Guayaquil has plenty to keep you busy, from museums and parks to excellent eateries, and on Day 9 you’ll be treated to a private morning tour, stopping by the sleek waterfront and the picturesque Barrio las Peñas with its brightly colored houses. Flyback home in the evening with fond memories of beautiful Ecuador and those feelings of wanderlust satisfied - for now at least!