Day 1: Arrival to Quito
AM OR PM
Welcome to Quito, located in the Andes mountains. The world's second highest capital.
Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. Quito has one of the finest colonial centers in Latin America.
Transfer to the hotel.
Day 2: Quito: City Tour and Equatorial Monument
Breakfast at the hotel.
We will pick you up to take you to a short ride through the north of the city in order to arrive to the Equatorial Monument, built as a tribute to the French scientists who determined the shape of the earth in the 1700s.
You will visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, where the colorful way of life of the different ethnic groups of Ecuador is on display, and you will continue to a visit to the Intiñan interactive museum, which shows the different theories of the Incas in determining the middle of the world.
MIDDLE DAY: The tour will then continue through to visit the modern section of Quito and continue towards the city's historic district. You will visit San Agustín Convent and its historical Sala Capitular, followed by Independence Square, flanked by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and City Hall.
Here you will have your lunch that will be served at a fine restaurant in downtown Quito.
We will continue the visit with a stroll past El Sagrario Church and marvel at the exquisite stone facade of La Compañía Church. You will visit the San Francisco Church, built over the ruins of an Inca Palace in the 16th century. After this, you can choose between a visit to the home of former philanthropist Maria Augusta Urrutia or the City Museum.
The Urrutia House has its original furniture and paintings from the 19th century, privately restored by the owners. The City Museum is housed in the old San Juan de Dios Hospital, a restored building from the 16th century. Here you will gain insight into what life was like in Quito, from prehistoric times to the 19th century.
The day will conclude with a ride up the road to the Panecillo or the Itchimbia hills for a breathtaking view of Quito.
Transfer to the hotel.
Day 3: Otavalo Indigenus Market
Breakfast at the hotel
Depart to enjoy magnificent sceneries along the way and spectacular views of San Pablo Lake as we approach Otavalo. In Cayambe we will stop at the Equatorial Monument and try some typical biscuits and cheese.
Upon arrival in Otavalo, you will have time to browse through the open-air indigenous market, where colorful handicrafts are on display. Lunch will be at a hacienda in the area.
In the afternoon, we will visit the town of Cotacachi, home to Ecuador's finest leather craftsmen and go on a short walk at Cuicocha Crater Lake.
We will get back to Quito and take you to the hotel.
Day 4: Quito - Santa Cruz
Breakfast at the hotel
Transfer to airport in order to take the flight to Galapagos
Arrival to the Galapagos. Ferry crossing to Santa Cruz Island Transfer to the lodge.
(Ask for private transfers details).
Check in at Our Lodge.
Lunch at Aventura Lodge
After Lunch, snorkel with Sea Lions, Sting Rays and Baby Reef Sharks in the shallow, emerald waters of Tortuga Bay, then witness the nesting site of the famous Marine Iguanas.
(Ask for Le Carte Dinner special price for our tour guests)
Day 5: Santa Cruz - Floreana
Breakfast at the lodge.
Depart to Tortoise Quest Tour.
This tour begins with a trip to the lavish, lush green "Los Gemelos" (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers - a breath taking visual reminder of the power of nature. After that, we visit a 600-acre private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze and sleep.
After visiting the tortoises, we'll take a 5-minute ride to the entrance of a 450 meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. Stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur and mineral colored walls all await you on this uniquely Galapagos experience
Return to Aventura Lodge for Lunch.
Departure for Floreana. Sailing time is 1.5 - 2 hours.
Arriving on the dock, be greeted by amazing ruby red and turquoise colored Floreana marine iguanas.
Visit black Beach to enjoy swimming and snorkeling on the crystalline waters of this rare and beautiful place in earth.
Check in Floreana.
Dinner at a local family restaurant, enjoy interacting with locals and listen to what they have to say about the mysteries of the island and the human history of this place.
Day 6: Floreana - Isabela
Breakfast at the local restaurant.
Departure in open-air bus that will transport you to the highlands of Floreana. Walk up to see the Asilo de la Paz (Peace Asylum) where a natural artisan spring that attracted pirates, whalers and later settlers to Floreana is located. See the Cueva de los Piratas (Pirate's Cave) where pirates carved temporary shelter out of the soft stone.
Cerro Pajas (Bird Hill) truly lives up to its name with a multitude of Floreana Finches. Visit a tortoise reserve where you can watch many of the giant tortoises up close and personal.
Around 11:00 AM Departure for Isabela. Sailing time is 1.5 - 2 hours.
Arriving at Isabela port is a visual feast with stunning green and turquoise waters so clear, you can see sea turtles, sea lions and penguins as though looking through glass.
Check-in at Our Lodge, lunch.
Departure to Las Tintoreras and Bay Tour.
Walk through a jagged 'AA' lava field, passing abundant colonies of marine iguanas, to see a small canal full of resting white-tipped reef sharks. The black, treacherous lava field, the emerald green sea, the forest green mangrove and the cloud capped volcanoes of Isla Isabela is the sort of afternoon backdrop you will not soon forget.
Once you return to the dock, you can snorkel this warm, shallow bay surrounded by mangrove, for an opportunity to see white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, penguins and more and relax.
Dinner at the lodge.
Day 7: Isabela - Santa Cruz
Breakfast at the lodge
After breakfast ride through town enjoying the simplicity of this traditional island and search for the Flamingo spots. Visit the Galapagos National Park Isabela Breeding Station where you will be able to know the different species of Galapagos tortoises, the growing process from the newborns up to the centenary individuals found on this statiosn.
Hike along a beautiful boardwalk for about 45 minutes enjoying part of the Isabela wetlands, with high opportunities to see flamingos and other stunning birds.
Before returning to the lodge, visit the well known Playa del Amor (Love Beach) and enjoy the magical feeling of this organic sand beach surrounded by mangroves.
Check in at Our Lodge and Lunch.
Depart 3:00 PM for guided tour of the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station.
After the Darwin Station, there will be some free time to shop for souvenirs or browse the shops along Charles Darwin Avenue.
Dinner at the Lodge.
Day 8: Santa Cruz - Guayaquil - Cuenca
After Breakfast depart for airport 3 hours before flight.
Transport and guide from the hotel all the way to your airport gate.
Connecting flight from Guayaquil to Cuenca.
Arrival to Cuenca, transfer to Hotel Santa Lucia or San Juan.
Santa Lucia is a unique hotel that it is actually one of Cuenca Ecuador's most historic antique buildings. Not only that but it is also located in the Old Town district of Cuenca which is a living museum itself. Newly renovated with all modern conveniences, the Santa Lucia hotel is a gem in Cuenca's antique building collection.
At 7h30 pm depart to one of the most important viewing-points of the City, where you will be able to enjoy an exquisite dinner full of traditional flavors and a special folkloric show that will let you taste the Andean Culture!
After dinner, transfer to the hotel.
Day 9: Cuenca - Ingapirca
After breakfast we will take an hour and a half driver along the Pan-American Highway enjoying amazing countryside Andean landscapes, we reach the most important and well-preserved Inca complex in the country, Ingapirca, which was originally a worshipping temple for the sun. Here we do an easy walk around the ruins and visit the site museum.
Additionally, depending on the day of the week, we also visit picturesque Cañari Indian markets observing their traditional colorful customs, local handicrafts, beautiful churches and/or other places of interest found on the way
Lunch is included in a local restaurant.
Back to Cuenca.
Overnight at Santa Lucia Hotel
Day 10: Cuenca City Tour & Country Farm
Breakfast at the hotel.
After breakfast a visit to the old town will take us through magnificent churches, beautiful old buildings with wrought iron balconies and carved wooden doors.
Cuenca, with its colonial style and pleasant atmosphere, offers a memorable experience to its visitors. We will also ride along the Tomebamba River, while admiring the ancient houses perched on the river bank above. We will drive through some modern neighborhoods and enjoy a wonderful view of the city from the panoramic point of Turi.
Lunch at the Hotel.
The journey begins the drive to the farm with an expert guide, enjoying beautiful landscapes and start learning about the flora and fauna in the unsurpassed grasslands and forests of the area.
Once we arrive and after checking in we will begin our horse ride adventure, which will take us into a deep exploration of a primary forest where various kinds of exotic vegetation and fauna,as well as beautiful landscapes can be found. Surprises await you around every corner of this unique expedition.
Dinner and Overnight at La Casa Hacienda
Day 11: Country Farm, back to Quito
Early wake up to go for: Milking. This is a fascinating activity in which you will be able to draw with your own hands the milk for breakfast.
Outdoors exploration, a real encounter with nature. Hike downhill to a magical place the Waterfall, crystalline water invites everybody to a fresh bath. We continue the hike following the creek that forms from the cascading waters until we find the river bed Shucay.
Here is the perfect place to enjoy a flood of adrenaline. The zip line is a safe experience for everybody. Even if you've never done it before, you will not let this opportunity go by to feel restrained by a harness and enjoy the experience in depth. Simply, unforgettable!
Riding horses we will get back to the house farm.
Lunch at La Casa Hacienda
Back to Cuenca, transfer to the airport to flight back to Quito.
Transfer from the Quito airport to Five Star Hotel
Day 12: End of Services
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport to catch your flight back home.
End of Services.