11 Day Best of Ecuador & Galapagos

A truly unique lifetime adventure blending the spectacular geography of Ecuador’s mainland of active volcanoes, immense canyons, vast tropical rain forests and powerful waterfalls, with the enchanted Galapagos Islands, where the magic diversity of fearless animals flourishing in a volcanic ecosystem create an awe-inspiring atmosphere. This is a perfect combination that includes a wide variety of outdoor activities, while discovering the highlights of Ecuador in the same journey.

~ Cotopaxi Volcano Trek
~ Cloud Forest Biking
~ Amazon White Water Rafting
~ Amazon Tropical Rain Forest Canyoning
~ Cloud Forest Hiking
~ Papallacta Hot Springs
~ Sierra Negra Volcano
~ Snorkeling with Sea Turtles, Rays, Penguins, and Sea Lions
~ Kayak Wildlife Experience
~ Tintoreras and Lava Tunnels
~ Charles Darwin Research Station
~ Encounter with Wild Giant Tortoises

11 Day Best of Ecuador & Galapagos Itinerary


DAY 1: Quito
Your first day begins in Quito, the biggest and best preserved colonial city of America. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, Quito is imbued with rich history and culture – home to an ancient Inca Empire just waiting to be explored. Depending on your arrival, you will spend the day exploring the history of this cultural capital. In the evening, our trip leader will greet you at the hotel for a tour briefing. Today offers a great opportunity to soak in information, while allowing your body to acclimatize.

Overnight Casa Gangotena (Dinner)

DAY 2: Trekking in Cotopaxi National Park
After breakfast, we leave Quito driving southwards along the gorgeous Avenue of Volcanoes, getting the chance to see the colorful Andean fields. On our way, we will reach 12,000 feet. (3657 meters). After arriving at the Cotopaxi National Park, we will go hiking around Limpiopungo lagoon of the foot hills of the Rumiñahui volcano. From here, we have the best views of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. If the weather conditions permit, we will attempt to trek to the basecamp at 16000 ft. (4876 m). In the afternoon we continue our drive towards the Llanganates National Park tional Park, known as the sacred mountain, until we reach the town of Baños, located at the entrance of the Amazon. Here we can enjoy the best night life by drinking cocktails and dancing salsa. Trekking Activity Level – Moderate, this adventure is at high elevation, make sure you drink a lot of water or coca tea (in case of altitude sickness). The trail is on dirt surrounded by bushes and grass.

Overnight Samari Spa Resort (Breakfast and Lunch)

DAY 3: Mountain Biking in the Llanganates National Park
This morning brings an invigorating mountain bike ride from Llanganates National Park to Pastaza River Canyon. The cloud forest is stunning, dotted with breathtaking waterfalls, Andean farmlands, and a beautiful canyon. The bike ride descends into the lush jungle offering great views of Baños, nestled in the foothills of Tungurahua volcano which has been active since 1999. A short hike (20 minutes) provides magnificent views of “Pailon Del Diablo,” the second largest waterfall in Ecuador. In the afternoon, we visit Misahualli also known as “monkey town,” a small village where monkey and human have learned to live in harmony.

Overnight Samari Spa Resort (Breakfast)

DAY 4: Highway of the Waterfalls and Canyoning in the Amazon
From Baños we drive the “Highway of the waterfalls,” and hike through the cloud forest to reach Bride´s Veil waterfall, where we will board a cable car to cross the Pastaza River, then hike to Pailon del Diablo waterfall, the second highest in Ecuador. Later we delve deeper into the jungle on a 3-hour hike climbing along several waterfalls. The evening will be spent a jungle lodge.

Overnight Hamadryade Lodge (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

DAY 5: Jatunyacu River Rafting and Volcanic Hot Springs
After an hour drive to the Jatunyacu River, rafting guides will conduct a safety briefing as you prepare to embark on this class III whitewater rafting expedition. The gorgeous scenery is sure to inspire, revealing the magic of the Amazon rainforest. After the rafting adventure you head to the paradise of hummingbirds in Guango Reserve then continue to the volcanic Hot Springs resort.

Overnight Papallacta Spa Resort (Breakfast and Lunch)

DAY 6: Travel Day to Galapagos
From Quito, you will board a flight to Baltra Island. Once here, we travel to Puerto Ayora, the largest town in Galapagos. We’ll discover the spectacular Pacific coast archipelago with its gleaming waters and brilliant topography, which coincidentally is also one of the locations that laid the foundation for Charles Darwin’s origin of species theory. You will then take a speedboat to Isabela, the biggest island within the archipelago and the area where lively volcanic activity takes place. The island is fringed with six volcanoes, five of which are still active, making it one of the most volcanically active regions on earth. When crossing islands, be prepared for the enthralling display of whales and dolphins around you (July to October).

Overnight Iguana Crossing Hotel (Breakfast)

DAY 7: Hike to Sierra Negra and Snorkel in Tintoreras
The day begins with a drive from Puerto Villamil to the trailhead. Where we will prepare our backpacks for a hike to a fledgling forestry ecosystem, built on modern geological history. We will reach the rim of the still-active Sierra Negra Crater volcano. On arrival, immerse in panoramic vistas and discover different nuances of the lava-filled crater, extending over six miles across at its widest points. If you’re up to continue hiking, we continue to the mesmerizing Volcan Chico for the opportunity to indulge deeper in puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations. Discover the geological marvels as you hike through events that have sculpted the spellbinding beauty of Galapagos Islands over centuries. In the afternoon we will visit the Tintoreras Islet, a short distance from Puerto Villamil and home to impressive wildlife. The gorgeous turquoise waters are made even more exquisite thanks to the presence of Galapagos Penguins, reef sharks, sea lions and turtles. You can also visit a mangrove-fringed beach where marine iguanas successfully reproduce.

Overnight Iguana Crossing Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 8: Lava Tunnels Snorkeling & Free Time
We discover the remarkable lava formations shaped by the last Volcanic Island eruptions along the seashore. This mystical brilliance is a labyrinth of lava arches set amongst crystal-clear water filled with sea lions, eagle rays, reef sharks, sea turtles and much more. You’ll have the opportunity to snorkel with these gorgeous creatures, while you relish the excitement of the curious Galapagos penguins playing around you. Some optional activities like kayaking in Tintoreras, snorkeling at Concha de Perla, surf lessons and biking are also available. Alternatively, you can unwind on one of the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela Island. The giant tortoise breeding center is worth visiting thanks to the unique splendor it offers.

Overnight Iguana Crossing Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 9: Santa Cruz, Charles Darwin Research Station
The morning begins with a speedboat ride from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. Don’t forget your photo-ready cameras to capture the jumping whales and dolphins around you (July to October). On arrival, you will check in at the hotel, with time to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to explore more of the endemic species you met on your adventure. In the afternoon a visit to El Chato in the Santa Cruz highlands, is home of the famous Galapagos tortoise. Your hike is brought to life with the enchanting scenery and paradise-like topography as you indulge in nature at its best. You’ll also see other wildlife like egrets, flycatchers and pintail ducks along the way. Savor the opportunity to observe frigate birds gathering to wash salt off their feathers at the fresh water lake. Spend the evening back in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos’ most populous and lively town.

Overnight Hotel Finch Bay (Breakfast)

DAY 10: Travel Day back to Quito
After your last breakfast on the Galapagos Island, you’ll be transferred to the Baltra airport to catch your flight back to the mainland.

Overnight Hotel Finch Bay (Breakfast)

DAY 11: Depart
After breakfast you are transferred to Quito Airport for departures. (Breakfast)


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