The Galápagos Islands and Amazon rainforest are two of South America's most biodiverse regions—and you'll see them in style over 10 packed days. It's a grand Ecuadorian adventure starting in the islands, where you'll alternate between excursions on land and time enjoying the scenery from the deck of your luxury cruiser. Then, trade the ocean for the jungle as you head into the Amazon for nature hikes, swimming with river dolphins, cooking classes with Indigenous communities, and more.


  • See famous Galápagos animals up close, from giant tortoises to blue-footed boobies
  • Enjoy luxury cruises around the Galápagos and deep into the Amazon rainforest
  • Feed friendly pink river dolphins and take cooking lessons from Indigenous families
  • Marvel at the Amazon from observation towers rising over the jungle canopy

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Welcome Dinner Quito
Day 2 Fly to the Galápagos, Transfer to Cruise, Tortoise Tour Cruise Ship
Day 3 Day Trip to Isla Española, Nature & Birding Tour Cruise Ship
Day 4 Day Trip to Cormorant Point & Post Office Bay Cruise Ship
Day 5 Visit Mosquera Islet, Fly to Quito Quito
Day 6 Fly to Yasuni National Park, Transfer to Cruise, Nocturnal Forest Hike Yasuni National Park
Day 7 Pink Dolphin Encounter & Indigenous Community Visit Yasuni National Park
Day 8 Kichwa Family Cultural Exchange & Amazon Cooking Class Yasuni National Park
Day 9 Day Trip to Amazon Observation Tower & Nature Photography Yasuni National Park
Day 10 Fly to Quito, Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Welcome Dinner

Welcome to Ecuador! The country's capital is famous for its grand colonial architecture and elegant plazas

Welcome to Ecuador! Buckle up for an exploration of this country's two most famous regions: the Galápagos and the Amazon rainforest. Even better, you'll travel in style on luxury cruise ships on oceans and rivers. It begins with your arrival in Ecuador's capital, Quito. Your driver will pick you up at the terminal for the short ride to your nearby hotel, EB by Eurobuilding.

Even though this is just a stopover on your way to the Galápagos, this 5-star hotel doesn't skimp on class and comfort. Its well-appointed rooms and suites feature adjustable beds with luxury linens, minibars, and flat-screen TVs. There's also a swimming pool where you can relax in a lounger amid views of Quito's surrounding green hills. And in case you want a midnight snack, the hotel offers 24-hour room service. Save your appetite, though, because, in the evening, you'll enjoy a welcome dinner to kick off this memorable Ecuadorian adventure.

Day 2: Fly to the Galápagos, Transfer to Cruise, Tortoise Tour

The perfect spot to relax after a day meeting the archipelago's resident turtles (photo courtesy of M/C Elite)

Return to the airport early this morning, where you'll catch a four-hour flight from mainland Ecuador to Baltra, an islet adjacent to Isla Santa Cruz, one of the 13 main volcanic islands that comprise the Galápagos archipelago. After passing through airport inspection, you'll meet your guide and driver for the ride to the harbor in Santa Cruz. There, you'll hop aboard your home for the next few nights.

The M/C Elite is a sleek, twin-hulled vessel that would be right at home cruising along the French Riviera. All suites on this elite luxury catamaran are spacious, comfortable, and well-appointed; each has panoramic windows affording sweeping ocean views and a private outdoor balcony. It's the perfect place to relax and recharge after a day spent discovering the wonders of the Galápagos.

And while the ship offers a sun lounge on the top deck, relaxation will have to wait. After dropping off your bags, you'll transfer to the Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre. At this site, you can observe giant tortoises native to various islands in the archipelago. Another attraction is the embalmed body of Lonesome George, one of the last tortoises of his subspecies, who died at around 100 years old. But turtles aren't the only residents—also here are colorful land iguanas of Santa Cruz, Isabela, and Seymour Norte islands. After the visit, you'll return to the cruise ship.

Day 3: Day Trip to Isla Española, Nature & Birding Tour

From sea lions to blue-footed boobies, there's plenty of wildlife to admire on Isla Española

Get ready for your first full day of Galápagos adventures! Today, you'll cruise south to Punta Suarez, located on the west side of Isla Española. There, you'll disembark the ship and go on a 1.9-mile (3 km) hike to do some birding. This section of rocky coast is a great place to spot avian icons of the Galápagos, like waved albatrosses and blue-footed and Nazca boobies. You'll also stop by another famous attraction in the area: a spouting blowhole whose water stream rises 75 feet (23 m) out of a coastal lava tube.

In the afternoon, you'll head to the island's east side and Gardner Bay. This is the site of nearly all of the world's 12,000 breeding pairs of waved albatrosses. Besides the birds, Gardner Bay features an ample white sandy beach with myriad sea lions, perfect for both relaxing and wildlife photography. Also, its rocky shores make this an excellent site for diving and snorkeling. At the end of the day, return to your stateroom and have dinner on the ship.

Day 4: Day Trip to Cormorant Point & Post Office Bay

Sea Turtle
Swim with sea turtles off the coast of Cormorant Point

This morning, you'll cruise west from Española to Isla Floreana. Your destination is Cormorant Point, located on the island's north side. This peninsula is fringed with coral beaches home to sea lions and fronted by crystalline waters teeming with tropical fish and manta rays. Here, you'll enjoy a swim and spot other exotic animals, like Galápagos penguins, sea turtles, and even some dolphins.

Some fascinating history is in store later when you visit nearby Post Office Bay. A short walk from the beach here leads to the famous Post Office Barrel. Claimed to have been set up in 1793 by Captain James Colnett, it remains the oldest functioning "post office" in the Pacific. The system was that whalers and fur sealers would leave addressed letters in the barrel to be picked up by homeward-bound colleagues. In the spirit of tradition, visitors today often take letters and hand-deliver them to their home countries. After time at the beach, you'll return to the ship.

Day 5: Visit Mosquera Islet, Fly to Quito

Sea Lion Mama  with Her Cub
A sea lion mama and her cub share a moment in the Galápagos
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For your last morning in the Galápagos, you'll cruise to Mosquera, an islet located north of Baltra. Here, you'll embark on a short hike on a sandy, sparsely vegetated sandbar home to sea lions, lava gulls, shorebirds, and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Lucky visitors might also see a yellow-crowned heron. The visit also includes a guided walk around the islet and time to snorkel offshore. Afterward, you'll say goodbye to the islands as you disembark and head to the airport in Baltra for your flight back to Quito. Upon arrival, you'll return to EB Hotel Eurobuilding.

Day 6: Fly to Yasuni National Park, Transfer to Cruise, Nocturnal Forest Hike

You'll call a luxury river cruiser home for the next four nights (photo courtesy of Anakonda Amazon)

The whirlwind journey through Ecuador continues this morning as you return to the airport for the 35-minute flight to Coca. Located in the northeastern Amazon region, on the Río Napo, this small city is a transport hub for excursions deep into the jungle. That's precisely what you'll do when, upon arrival, you transfer to the dock and board a motorized canoe for a 90-minute journey down the river into Yasuni National Park. This 3,792 square-mile (9,820 sq km) protected area is home to thousands of species of mammals, plants, insects, reptiles, and amphibians.

You'll get to explore the area in-depth when you transfer from the canoe to the Anakonda Amazon. Over the next few days, this luxury cruiser will carry you deep into the Amazon and Yasuni. Throughout the adventure, you'll enjoy first-class accommodations, as each of the Anakonda's suites features welcome amenities like plush beds, air-conditioning, en suite baths with hot water (some with whirlpool tubs), and private balconies. The suites also feature floor-to-ceiling windows—great to marvel at the riverine scenery as it passes you by.

When you step onboard, you'll receive a warm welcome from the ship's staff and the naturalist guides accompanying you on your daily jungle excursions. The first one begins this very day, as once the sun sets, you'll head ashore for a nocturnal nature hike through the rainforest. Expect to see exotic animals like bats, ocelots, sloths, and caimans.

Day 7: Pink Dolphin Encounter & Indigenous Community Visit

Spend a day in the company of locals, like the pink river dolphin

Enjoy a decadent breakfast as the ship cruises to the lower Río Napo. There will be some fine scenery along the way, and you can spot exotic bird species, such as eagles, oropendolas, and woodpeckers. In the afternoon, you'll travel deeper into Yasuni to an area home to the legendary pink river dolphin. Interestingly, these freshwater porpoises are born gray and turn pink as they age.

In this area, you'll stop at a dolphin conservation program run by a local Indigenous community. This is a safe haven where these animals can live and feed in their natural environment without fear of poaching. After meeting and feeding these friendly creatures, you'll visit a riverine community home to the Secoyas Indigenous people. Spend time here with the residents, who will show you how to prepare traditional cassava bread. Afterward, you'll return to the ship.

Day 8: Kichwa Family Cultural Exchange & Amazon Cooking Class

Meet Indigenous locals on a cultural exchange

Another cultural adventure is in store this morning as you transfer from the ship to the home of a local Kichwa family. The Kichwa are the ancestral inhabitants of this region of eastern Ecuador. They're also part of the larger Quechua ethnic group, whose members span several South American countries. You'll receive a warm welcome from your hosts and see their traditional culture firsthand.

Upon returning to the ship, you'll participate in a cooking class with the onboard chef to learn the secrets to preparing delicious Ecuadorian fare. After learning to make traditional items like empanadas, you can participate in a crafting workshop. Or, take a relaxing soak in the open-air hot tub, enjoy cocktails at the bar, and delight in some nighttime stargazing from the observation deck. If you're feeling particularly active, you can explore the area on a kayak tour.

Day 9: Day Trip to Amazon Observation Tower & Nature Photography

Despite its nickname as "stinkbird," the hoatzin is an elegantly beautiful jungle specimen
For your last day on the river, you'll transfer to a tower built around a vast kapok tree. From the tower's observation deck, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the jungle canopy and the surrounding Amazon wilderness. It's a great spot to do some nature photography and spot endemic birds like toucans and macaws. You might even spot the famously strange hoatzin, or, as it's known locally, the "stinkbird." It earned this moniker from the unpleasant odor it emits due to its diet of swamp plants. Feel free to spend the rest of the day relaxing on board the ship, followed by a celebratory farewell dinner.

Day 10: Fly to Quito, Depart 

Savor views of the Cotopaxi volcano as you depart from Quito 
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but it's time to make the journey home. In the morning, you'll transfer back to Puerto Providencia and catch a plane to Quito, arriving in time to make your departing flight out of the country. Safe travels!

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Map of Luxury Cruising in the Galápagos & Ecuadorian Amazon - 10 Days
Map of Luxury Cruising in the Galápagos & Ecuadorian Amazon - 10 Days