An 8-day adventure in Ecuador, starting and ending in Quito. During this trip, you'll get to explore Quito, the Otavalo indigenous market, and the beautiful Galapagos Islands, possibly the best-preserved national park in the world.

Quito Highlights

  • See the colonial city of Quito, the world's first UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Enjoy incredible views of the Ecuadorian Capital from the "Teleferiqo" cable car
  • Visit the equator monument (be in two hemispheres at the same time!)
  • Visit Otavalo indigenous market, the largest market in South America
  • Take a tour of Cayambe Bizcocho (biscuit) factory

Galapagos Highlights

  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Tortoise breeding center
  • Visit a local farm where tortoises roam freely in their natural habitat
  • Relax in one of the most wonderful beaches in the Galapagos, Tortuga Bay
  • Snorkel with incredible marine life
  • Play with the sea lions in San Cristobal
  • Admire the fantastic Kicker Rock formation in San Cristobal Island

 Day 1: Arrival in Quito

Quito
The city of Quito from above

At your arrival, we will head into Quito to drop your luggage at your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, an afternoon city tour can be arranged (optional cooking class, bicycle ride trip, museum visit, or many more activities).

Day 2: Quito, Full-day Exploration

Cable car Quito
Views of Quito from the cable car

We will take this day to explore the capital of Ecuador, from the historic city center, the cable car, and the historic equator monument. The many sights will be complemented by interesting stories, delicious tasting of local food, and fascinating history of the country.

Day 3: Departure to Galapagos

Marine iguana, Galapagos
Marine Iguana in the Galapagos

In the morning you will be transported to the airport, where you'll catch your flight to the Galapagos Islands. As we arrive, we will visit the interesting sights of the "Centro de Interpretacion" (an introductory exposition of the islands, its formation, and its history), followed by a hike up to the nice viewpoint atop "Frigate Bird Hill" (Cerro Tijeretas). 

Day 4: Kicker Rock

Kicker Rock
Visit Kicker Rock in the Galapagos

We will join a trip to the majestic Kicker Rock formation, which sits close to the port. This amazing rock structure is home to many marine species including hammerhead sharks, whitetip reef sharks, and hundreds of fish. After our visit, we will take a speed boat across the ocean and into Santa Cruz, the largest city in the archipelago.

Day 5: Highlands and Tortuga Beach

marine iguana walking on the beach on Galapagos
Tortuga Bay beach

On this day you will explore Santa Cruz Island, where the largest portion of island inhabitants live. Here you will have the chance to head to a nice farm where the giant Galapagos Tortoises live freely and peacefully. In the afternoon, you will head to the amazing Tortuga Bay beach, a gorgeous secluded beach that is home to many breeding sea turtles parts of the year.

Day 6: Galapagos - Quito, Otavalo

Quito
Day hikes in Quito, from the cable car back down to the city

A morning transfer from your hotel in the Galapagos will take you back to the airport for your return flight to Quito. As you arrive, depending on your schedule, an afternoon visit to the Otavalo indigenous market can be arranged. This is the largest indigenous market in South America, where hundreds of people come to buy and sell handicraft and locally produced art. You can work on your negotiation techniques here as all prices can be discussed.

Day 7: Otavalo, San Pablo, Cayambe

Otavalo market
Browse endless stalls and handicrafts at the Otavalo indigenous market

In the morning of our last day, we can visit the Otavalo market (if we did not have time to yesterday), head to Cotacachi and the nice Cuicocha Lake to visit this handicraft town north of Otavalo. In the afternoon, we will head back to Quito, stopping by the factory of the delicious Bizcocho biscuits, where we can try a local specialty. We will arrive at your hotel in Quito late afternoon/night.

Day 8: Quito Departure

According to your flight schedules, we will take you to the airport in time for your flight back home. If the flight schedule is in the late afternoon, many options can be arranged for activities in the morning, including hikes, cooking classes, dancing lessons, and more.

Map

Map of Quito & the Galapagos Islands - 8 Days
Map of Quito & the Galapagos Islands - 8 Days

Recent Trip Reviews

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Pradyumn

Quito & the galapagos islands - 8 days, Ecuador - Apr 14 - Apr 18, 2019

Traveler: Pradyumn S. - Local specialist: Linda Schulz

Everything was well taken care of. No significant glitches. Good guides provided, who were knowledgeable, helpful and attentive. Superb experience. Communication and responses from Linda were prompt and clear.

Quito & the galapagos islands - 8 days, Ecuador - Dec 21 - Dec 28, 2018

Traveler: Ko-Hsuan C. - Local specialist: Mathias Onisseit

Mathias helped us plan a very last minute Christmas trip to Ecuador, and it turned out to be an amazing trip! He went through the trip plan multiple times even with limited time left before to the trip and responded to our questions pretty promptly. We spent 5 days in the Galapagos and 3 days in Quito. For the Galapagos -- We especially love the uninhabited island Seymour where we saw so many animals and the yacht was really nice! We were really amazed by the rich culture and nature around... read more

Mathias helped us plan a very last minute Christmas trip to Ecuador, and it turned out to be an amazing trip! He went through the trip plan multiple times even with limited time left before to the trip and responded to our questions pretty promptly. We spent 5 days in the Galapagos and 3 days in Quito. For the Galapagos -- We especially love the uninhabited island Seymour where we saw so many animals and the yacht was really nice! We were really amazed by the rich culture and nature around Quito. We especially enjoyed our time with David who took us to Cotopaxi National Park. All the tour guides pick us up on time. In addition, we realized the price Kimkim offered is really reasonable after we cross-checked the hotel and tour prices.