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Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands


Experience culture and volcanic scenery

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2019 Tour code: EQJ19


Day 3 - To Otavalo

Today, we head towards Otavalo, where we board the Tren Crucero to Quito. Enjoy a nostalgic journey through the exquisite Andean landscape of Ecuador in beautifully restored carriages, pulled by a steam engine. Along the way, we stop off to visit skilled woodcavers, who still practice their art in the traditional Escuela Quiteña, or 'School of Quito' style, which has been used here for over 450 years, as well as weavers, musicians, and healers. We stay in Quito overnight.

  • Tren Crucero
Tren Crucero
Day 4 - The Chimborazo Ice Merchant

This morning, we head to Latacunga to reboard the train and continue onwards, stopping at Cunchibamba, to visit the nationally renowned flower plantation here, home of the famous Ecuadorian Rose. The train then continues on to Ambato, where we stop for lunch.

Later, our journey continues through Volcanic ashfields, travelling upwards of 3,000m above sea level. After lunch in Ambato we move on to the town of Urbina, where we visit the last ice-merchant, Baltasar Ushca, who for over half a century has harvested the glacial ice of the active Chimborazo volcano. This afternoon we reach Riobamba, where we overnight.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Excursions
Chimborazo Volcano
Day 5 - Across the Devil’s Nose

This morning we visit the Church of La Balbanera, the oldest Spanish-built church in Ecuador. We then continue on the Tren Crucero to the town of Guamote. Every Thursday the town hosts an incredibly lively, colourful market, which we have time to explore. This afternoon we travel along the route of the incredible 'Nariz del Diablo', or Devil's Nose. Completed in 1902, the railway line is a truly staggering feat of engineering which traverses the wild mountainous terrain via its famous switchback. We continue by train to Bucay, where we stay overnight.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Excursions
  • Devils Nose Train
Nariz del Diablo
Day 6 - To Guayaquil

We continue onwards by rail to Naranjito, passing alongside verdant tropical rainforests. Upon arrival in Naranjito, we visit a local cocoa plantation to learn about the world-famous plant and the process of turning it into chocolate, there's also a chance to taste some of the plantation's produce. Later, we continue to Guayaquil, Ecuador's most populous city, via Yaguachi and Duran.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Excursions
Days 7-8 - Exploring Guayaquil

We begin today with a tour of Guayaquil, starting at the Centennial Plaza, built to celebrate the independence of the city. We go on to visit the Moorish Clock Tower and Bolívar Park, which is also known as the 'park of the iguanas'. This afternoon, and Day 8, are at leisure to keep exploring the city at your own pace.

The Malecon, Guayaquil
Day 9 - To Baltra and a Galapagos Cruise

This morning, we leave Guayaquil and fly to Baltra Island. We transfer to our ship, the Santa Cruz II. We begin our cruise of the incredible Galapagos Islands in Las Bachas, where we can see many different and colourful birds, including the fabulous pink flamingo. There is also the chance to go swimming or snorkelling here, before reboarding the boat to enjoy a welcome cocktail on board.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Excursions
Turtle Bay
Day 10 - Buccaneer Cove and Puerto Egas

Buccaneer Cove is our first expedition this morning, where we are told about the history of the area. Here, we may see the 'Elephant Rock', a beautiful rock formation that looks like an elephant dipping its trunk into the water. There is a further opportunity for swimming or a ride in a glass bottomed boat, before we enjoy lunch on board.

This afternoon, we journey to Puerto Egas on Santiago Island, where we swim and snorkel with marine turtles. We then take a walk on the Island to witness the incredible array of birds that live amongst the rippling black lava flows.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Darwin Finches and Bartolome Island

We land on Rabida Island this morning and take a boat ride along the shore, taking in the almost martian red sands of the beaches, and looking out for seals, yellow warblers, and the Darwin finch, named for naturalist Charles Darwin, whose exploration of the Galapagos Islands helped inspire his revolutionary book, 'On the Origin of Species'. Our afternoon excursion is to Bartolome Island, where we see the Pinnacle Rock. There is also an optional hike up to the summit of the island, for views over the archipelago.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Excursions
Charles Darwin Centre
Day 12 - Darwin Bay

This morning, we begin at Prince Phillip's Steps on Genovesa Island. Here, there is an optional climb up to the plateau to see birds like Nazca Boobies and Storm Petrels. Another choice is to take a boat trip or kayak along the cliff s. After lunch, we depart for Genovesa Island and Darwin Bay, which features a lovely beach, and hundreds of different species of birds. Here is the perfect area for one last swim , snorkel, or glass boat expedition in the stunning turquoise waters of the Galapagos Islands.

Nazca Boobies
Days 13-14 - The Journey Home

This morning we enjoy a final excursion into the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, where we visit a Tortoise Reserve, home to some of the Galapagos Island's most famous inhabitants, the Galapagos Tortoise, natures incredible giants with a lifespan that can go well over 100 years. That afternoon we transfer to Baltra for our flight to Guayaquil. Here we join our flight to London, via Amsterdam, arriving on Day 14.

  • Scheduled flights
  • In-flight Meal
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Return to the UK