- Explore Quito on a bicycle tour
- Spend the night at a rainforest lodge
- Spot monkeys and other animals in the wild
- Snorkel at Kicker Rock in the Galápagos Islands
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito & Tour Mitad del Mundo||Quito|
|Day 2||Enjoy a Bike Tour & Cooking Class||Quito|
|Day 3||Soak in Papallacta Hot Springs, Transfer to Cosanga||Cosanga|
|Day 4||Travel to Rainforest Lodge & Night Walk||Cuyabeno|
|Day 5||Hike in the Jungle & See a Parrot Clay Lick||Cuyabeno|
|Day 6||Canoe on the Río Cuyabeno & Cultural Activities||Cuyabeno|
|Day 7||Visit Observation Tower, Transfer to Quito||Quito|
|Day 8||Fly to Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center, Frigate Hill & Snorkeling||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 9||Snorkel at Kicker Rock||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 10||Boat to Isla Santa Cruz, Charles Darwin Research Station||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 11||Go on an Excursion to an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 12||Transfer to Isla Baltra & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Quito & Tour Mitad del Mundo
Welcome to Quito! You'll arrive at the airport and then head to your hotel in the city center. Standing at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m), this is the world's second-highest capital, and it welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas between mountain peaks. After taking some time to get settled in, get your bearings and stretch your legs with a stroll around the city's UNESCO-listed historic center. Start on La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in the city, see the Monastery of San Francisco (circa 1535), the oldest church in Ecuador, or head to El Panecillo for spectacular views over Quito.
In the afternoon, you'll visit the equatorial monument at Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World). It's located just 16 miles (26 km) north of the capital city in the spot where French scientists determined the position of the central line many years ago. You'll have the chance to stand on the line of the equator and strike a pose with one foot in each hemisphere! Visit the adjacent museum, featuring a planetarium, cocoa and chocolate exhibits, and a small-scale model of Quito.
Day 2: Enjoy a Bike Tour & Cooking Class
Today you'll explore the northern neighborhoods of Quito on two wheels. Follow your local guide on a four-hour bike tour through La Floresta, Carolina Park, and Iñaquito to see urban art and architecture. This is a great way to get to know Ecuador's capital from a different vantage point. After working up an appetite, you'll head to a cooking class inside a colonial house in Quito's historic center. Learn to prepare various traditional Ecuadorian dishes alongside your knowledgeable hosts, then sit down and enjoy a memorable meal.
Day 3: Soak in Papallacta Hot Springs, Transfer to CosangaIt is time to leave Quito and head into the Ecuadorian Amazon. On the way, make a stop at the hot springs at Papallacta. Enjoy a couple of hours in the thermal springs: relax in the pools, enjoy the beautiful Andean scenery of the surroundings, or treat yourself to a massage. Afterward, continue the journey to a beautiful lodge nestled in the green forests near Cosanga, an ideal place for bird-watching and relaxation in nature.
Day 4: Travel to Rainforest Lodge & Night WalkYour Amazon adventure starts in the morning with a transfer to a village on the shores of the Río Aguarico. Here you'll board a motorized canoe and make your way downstream. After approximately 2.5 hours of navigation, arrive at the mouth of the Río Cuyabeno, a tributary of the Aguarico. Stop for a delicious picnic lunch in the Secoya Indigenous territory.
Day 5: Hike in the Jungle & See a Parrot Clay LickEarly in the morning, head to the Saladero (Salt Lick), a natural phenomenon where parrots of different species show up in large numbers to get minerals from the cliff walls. Enjoy the wonder of this natural spectacle as colorful flocks descend in great numbers, then return to the lodge for breakfast.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Canoe on the Río Cuyabeno & Cultural ActivitiesToday you'll explore more of the Río Cuyabeno by canoe. During the excursion, you'll have excellent chances of spotting wildlife, including parrots and macaws, herons, egrets, toucans, and many other species of birds. With a little luck, you might also see some of the 10 species of monkeys that call the reserve home.
Day 7: Visit Observation Tower, Transfer to Quito
Early in the morning, get back out on the river for a trip to a local observation, the highest in the Cuyabeno Reserve. Built around a vast ceibo tree, this ecotourism destination was created by the local Kichwa people, and offers a bird's-eye view of the rainforest canopy, as well as sweeping views over the surrounding landscapes.
After breakfast, it's time to say goodbye to your rainforest paradise. A boat trip will take you back to the Río Aguarico, stopping en route for a delicious picnic lunch with a local Secoya family. Upon arrival at the dock in Tierras Orientales, a driver will be waiting to take you to Coca, then on to Quito, where you'll spend the night.
Day 8: Fly to Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center, Frigate Hill & SnorkelingIt's time for a new adventure today as you fly to the Galápagos Islands. Your driver will take you to the airport in Quito, where you'll catch a flight to the island of San Cristóbal, the easternmost island in the archipelago and one of the oldest, formed over two million years ago by volcanic activity. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and get settled into your accommodations.
Day 9: Snorkel at Kicker RockPack your swimsuit and your sunscreen for today's adventurous excursion. A 50-minute boat ride will transport you to one of the most iconic places in the Galápagos, the famous Kicker Rock (also known as León Dormido, or "Sleeping Lion"). While snorkeling around this spectacular rock formation, you'll encounter sea lions, rays, turtles, and an array of fish. If you're lucky, you might even spot hammerhead sharks! When you've had your fill of marine life and underwater wonders, take a break and enjoy a hearty lunch prepared onboard.
Day 10: Boat to Isla Santa Cruz, Charles Darwin Research StationIt's time for a change of scene as you take the public speedboat from San Cristóbal to the island of Santa Cruz today. Located in the center of the archipelago, this is the second-largest island in the Galápagos and home to its largest town, Puerto Ayora. Upon arrival, you'll meet your guide and set off on a hike into the island's highlands, where you can observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat and explore the impressive lava tunnels that dot the area. Make another stop at the so-called "Twin Craters," home to various rare and resplendent bird species.
After enjoying a healthy meal on a farm in the highlands, your guide will bring you back to Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Foundation and its research station, home to many giant tortoises and iguanas. Witness conservationists' inspiring efforts and learn how they are helping to repopulate the island with different species of endangered tortoises.
Day 11: Go on an Excursion to an Uninhabited IslandOnly four of the many islands that compose the Galápagos archipelago have permanent settlements. The rest of the islands are left in their natural condition, serving as habitats for many endemic species. Today you will visit one of these untamed islands. Aboard a modern yacht, you'll travel to one of the following islands: Bartolomé, Seymour Norte, Plazas Sur, or Santa Fé.
Each island has a different landscape and its own unique flora and fauna. On Santa Fé, you'll find the endemic Santa Fé iguana, while colonies of sea lions, frigatebirds, and blue-footed boobies are common on Seymour Norte. After an al fresco lunch on the yacht, spend the rest of the afternoon snorkeling at a nearby bay or beach, then return to civilization in Puerto Ayora, where you can savor your final night on the islands however you choose.