17-Day Ecuador trekking & Galapagos

Price
£12,990.00 /PP
Highlights
  • Cotopaxi Volcano Trek.
  • Quilotoa loop Trek
  • Cloud Forest hiking
  • Pujili Market
  • Chimborazo Volcano Trek
  • Banos hot springs
  • Lava tunnels
  • Sierra negra
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  • Details
  • Itinerary
  • INCLUDES & EXCLUDES
  • Photos

Overview

Trek in the Ecuadorian Andes while you discover an incredible world of stunning landscapes, hidden communities, indigenous cultures, and massive volcanoes. These features and more come together to shape the famous Avenue of Volcanoes in the Ecuadorian Highlands. This trekking adventure through the narrow trails used by the local mountain people will take you deep into the heart of the Andean culture and their lifestyle. Also,  look for a challenge in the Galapagos while exploring the best part of the islands.

Itinerary

Welcome to Quito! The largest and best-preserved colonial city of America was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and is located on the equator in a valley at the foothills of the Pichincha volcano.

Accommodation: GO hotel or similar

We begin this adventure driving south on the Pan American Highway for about 2 hours. This area is known as The Avenue of Volcanoes; it was named like this by the famous German Explorer Alexander Von Humboldt. On the way, you might be able to enjoy views of volcanoes like Cayambe, Antisana, Pichincha, Illinizas, Pasochoa, and Corazon.

Begin by hiking the sierra climate around the Limpiopungo lagoon (13000 ft/3800 m) on the foothills of the Ruminahui volcano. From here, we have the best views of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. There is also the possibility to see wild horses, wild bulls and some bird species. If the weather conditions permit, we will attempt to trek to the basecamp at 16000 ft. (4876 m). Concluding our day, we will drive to Isinlivi, where we will spend the night.

Trekking time: 2 hours on flat terrain around Limpiopungo Lagoon, elevation: 12,631 feet, elevation gain: 1,000 feet, distance: 5 miles, total steps: 15,345.

Accommodation: Hostal Llullu Llama or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner

The charming Andean Mountain landscapes will inspire us today on a trek along the Toachi canyon for 13.5 km (8.4 mi). Experience stunning views of small villages and indigenous people working in the fields. We will hike down to the canyon of the Toachi River and then back up to the main road that will take us to Chugchila´n, a small town located on the middle of the Quilotoa Loop. Here we will find our Eco-house accommodation, and in the afternoon, we can explore the village with the great opportunity to gain a bit of cultural experience with the locals.

Trekking time: 2 hours downhill from 10,810 ft. (3295 m) to the Toachi River at 9,500 ft. (2896 m) and then 2 hours uphill to Chugchila´n at 10,498 ft. (3200 m). Total steps: 25,481

Accommodation: Hostal Mama Hilda or something similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner

Early in the morning, after breakfast, we will start our hiking adventure for 11 km (6.9 miles) on small trails blazed by the mountain people and still used by locals to transport products and to travel across the canyons to reach neighbouring communities. While trekking on this trail, it is common to see the traditional custom of exchanging goods with one another; bartering is still being utilised today. We will venture down into impressive canyons to later climb back up to the top of the crater rim, where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Quilotoa Lake. The majesty of this place will take your breath away.

Enjoy a beautiful picnic with the best views from the volcano and transfer for 2.5 hours to lodge in a magical hacienda in the foothills of Chimborazo volcano.

Trekking time: 1 hour downhill from 10,498 ft. to the Toachi River at 9,800 ft. and then 2 and a half hours uphill to 13,000 ft. After 1 hour and a half on flat terrain,. Total steps: 27,518

Accommodation: Andaluza Hacienda or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Early in the morning, we will drive through valleys and farming villages to reach the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an elevation of 6310 m (20702 ft) above sea level, whose summit is the furthest point from the centre of the earth on the entire planet. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometres. Visiting this spectacular national park includes a short hike for 0.9 km (0.57 mi) to reach the elevation of 5000 m (16404 ft) where the glacier begins. On the hike, we will try to spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic climate, such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the timid wild Vicun~as. Once extinct in Ecuador, they were reintroduced into the wild and are now protected. This beautiful animal is related to the alpacas and llamas. A delicious picnic will be organised at the base camp before we leave.

Trekking time: 1.5 hours uphill from 15,748 ft. to 16,732 ft. and then 45 minutes downhill the same way back. Total steps: 14,974

Accomodation: Samari or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Trek in Llanganates National Park for 6 hours, famous for its amazing landscapes and storied mystery. Legend has it that the Inca General Ruminahui has a large sum of gold hidden somewhere in the Tungurahua Mountain range. Start the hike at 3,200m (10,498 ft) above sea level and travel upwards to 3,600m (12,024 ft). See a variety of changes in vegetation while trekking to higher elevations. Expect stunning views of the Tungurahua Volcano and the Sangay Volcano (if visibility is good). After this beautiful trek, return to Banos to spend the last night in this magical town n.

good opportunity to join the neighbour spa and get a nice massage after a day of trekking the moon-like landscape of Chimborazo and driving on to the tropical town of Banos . In the evening, we can soak in the famous hot springs of Banos and experience the thriving nightlife of this town n.

Accommodation: Samari or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Banos is a town well known for its spectacular location right at the foothills of the active Tungurahua volcano and is an excellent place for outdoor activities including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rafting. It is one of the most popular and important tourist spots in the country. You will find many Ecuadorian families vacationing here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town, and you will know why. Surprisingly, it is pleasant and unspoiled. This morning, we will hit the road to the waterfalls. The first stop will be at the bride's veil waterfall, where we will take the Tarabita (cable car) to get across the Pastaza River. Then, we will hike down for one hour to the Pailon del Diablo waterfall, the second-highest in Ecuador. After a day full of adventures in the cloud forest, you will enjoy the scenic ride returning us to Quito City.

Trekking time: 45 minutes downhill from 5,249 ft. to 4,950 ft. and then 1 hour uphill, the same way back. Total steps: 13,000

Accommodation: GO hotel or similar

Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy the surroundings of Quito and marvel at what you can find.

Accommodation: GO hotel or similar

Meals: Breakfast

Today we get ready to explore the most amazing archipelago on the Pacific coast and the place where Charles Darwin based his theory of the evolution of species. We will board a morning flight from Quito to the island of San Cristobal. Once we arrive, we have a transfer to the hotel in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and a short briefing about the next few days before the adventure begins. In the afternoon, we will head to "La Loberia,"  which is the home beach for large Galapagos sea lions. We can spot them while snorkelling, as they are very curious and approach to swim next to you underwater. 

They may also be lazing over rocks or just lazy, dozing in the sand. We also get to see yellow warbler birds, frigate birds, and several species of Darwin’s finches along the beach. In between the rocks, we can find marine iguanas, which you can only see in the Galapagos. We also have the time to go for a refreshing swim, explore the waters with our snorkel equipment, and enjoy the beach.

Accommodation: Seaside Inn or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

In the morning, we will take a boat to Kicker Rock, located off the coast of San Cristobal, also known as the Sleeping Lion (Leon Dormido) because of some resemblance. This is the remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea. Two vertical rocks rising 500 feet (150 metres) above the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. This Galapagos Island’s natural monument has become a spectacular site due to the many tropic birds, frigate birds, and boobies that fill the sky in this area. Beneath the sea, the crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colourful fish, such as rainbow fish and sharks, like the hammerhead and white tip. After lunch, we will spend some time on the beach and travel back to the hotel.

Accommodation: Seaside Inn or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, hop to Isabela Island, the largest island in the archipelago and where most of the volcanic activity in the Galapagos is reported. The island was formed by six shield volcanoes: Alcedo, Cerra Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf; five of them are still active, which makes the island one of the most volcanically active places on earth. In the afternoon, we will explore the beautiful coastline on an exclusive trail on our bikes, taking us through an incredible ecosystem with a wide variety of wildlife, including flamingos, marine iguanas and giant tortoises. We start with a visit to the Wall of Tears, a massive wall built with lava rocks.

This site dates back to the 1950s, when Isabela was used as a penal colony and prisoners were forced to build the wall to keep them from going mad because of the isolation they experienced. As we continue our ride along the coast, we will explore pristine, white-sand beaches, mangrove forests and lagoons. This area is filled with a plethora of bird life, including American oyster catchers, herons, flamingos, finches and many other shore birds, as well as the ubiquitous sea lions and marine iguanas. Before dinner, we can enjoy a breathtaking sunset on the beach of Puerto Villamil.

Accommodation: Albemarle or similar

Meals: Breakfast

Explore the amazing formations of lava created by the last eruptions of the volcanic island along the seashore. This magical place has historically been filmed by BBC and National Geographic for their documentaries. It is a labyrinth of lava arches comprised of crystal-clear water full of sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, sharks and more. The turtles navigate their own highway from the mangroves to the open sea through "Los Tuneles". Here, we will have the best snorkelling opportunity with all these beautiful animals, including the curious Galapagos penguins playing around. Before or after the trip, you can enjoy some optional activities such as snorkelling at "Concha de Perla", biking or just relaxing on the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela Island. We recommend that you take some time to visit the giant tortoise breeding centre located walking distance from the hotel.

Boat ride to the Lava Tunnels time: 1 hour each way Snorkelling time: 2 times of 1 hour each.

What to wear today: shorts, a long-sleeve t-shirt, sandals or tennis shoes, bathing suit, hat or baseball cap, sun cream, mosquito repellent, and a buff.

Accommodation: Albemarle or similar

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, at around 08h00, you will depart for Sierra Negra Volcano. You will drive to the highlands of Isabela, where you would normally start hiking. The volcano, with its height of around 1,500 metres and an outer diameter of approximately nine kilometres, is the second-biggest lava dome in the world.

You will have lunch at a local restaurant in the highlands at around 13 a.m. at a beautiful organic farm whose owners prepare their food with vegetables and fruits grown locally at the farm. Prepared at a lava rock-grill, enjoy a delicious meal and after lunch, take a walk among the fruit trails or just take a nap in one of their hammocks and breath the clean air above a big Mango tree.
We then make our way back to the pier, arriving at 14h30, where, after a short briefing, we will start kayaking at the bay, where we can enjoy the local wildlife. On the way, we can observe penguins, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, iguanas Marinas, sea turtles, sea lions, eagle rays, and sometimes sharks, or "Tintoreras" juveniles. To finish this day, at 16:30, we will have a short visit to Concha & Perla, a small beach in Puerto Villamil, where we will snorkel. A short, beautiful walk through the mangroves on a boardwalk will lead you to the spot with turquoise waters and wildlife galore! You can expect to see plenty of other tourists alongside colourful fish, sea lions, sea turtles, pelicans, mockingbirds and maybe even marine iguanas!

Hiking time: 4 hours both ways
Hiking distance: 6 miles (9.6 km) (10 miles km—optional to Volcan Chico) Hiking elevation gain: 950 feet (289.5 metres)
Maximum elevation while hiking: 3687 feet (1124 metres)
Kayaking time: 2 hours
Snorkelling time: 1 hour

What to wear today for hiking: shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes, rain jacket, hat, buff, sun cream, mosquito repellent.

What to wear today for kayaking and snorkelling: sandals, shorts, a long-sleeve t-shirt, bathing suit, hat, sun cream, and mosquito repellent.

Accommodation: Albemarle or similar Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, traverse from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Once we arrive, we will check in at the hotel. We will then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about many of the endemic species seen in the wild, as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts on the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon, we will head to the 'El Chato' reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoises. Hiking through El Chato's beautiful landscape with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We will also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches and frigatebirds, which gather to wash the salt off their feathers at a fresh water lake.

Afterwards, return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town.

Accommodation: La Isla or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

Today, you can experience the Galapagos at your own pace, whether that be scuba diving (request in advance) or just time to relax on the beach! As an option, you can go on a self-guided exploration walk through a dry forest to Tortuga Bay (3.5 mi/5.6 km), a beautiful white sand beach and a nesting site for thousands of marine turtles. This beautiful place invites swimming or snorkelling. Alternatively, you can join any of the optional activities (at an extra cost), such as a trip to Floreana Island, Bartolome Island, or a scuba-diving day trip, just to mention a few.

Accommodation: La Isla or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

After our final breakfast on the Galapagos Island and the last photos taken of sea lions, we have a transfer to Baltra's airport in time to catch the flight back to the mainland.

Accommodation: Go Hotel or similar Meals included: Breakfast

Today our trip will end, and you will have your international departures. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Price Includes

  • Airport transfers (for domestic and international flights)
  • Intra-flight from San Cristobal to Isabela included (personnel baggage allowance of 25 lbs.)
  • Speed boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island; comfortable land transportation.
  • Accommodation based in double occupancy
  • Gear: Snorkeling mask and fins, life vest.
  • English-speaking adventure leader and naturalist local guides in Galapagos National Park.
  • 100% financial protection & Security with TTA
  • Responsible Travel

Price Excludes

  • International flights
  • Single Supplement
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Meals not described in the itinerary
  • Optional excursions
  • Tips for guides and drivers