Ecuador and Galapagos wildlife holiday

“The dream three in one offer. A 17 day tailor made itinerary that takes you up into the cloud forests, down the Amazon and around the Galapagos. ”

Highlights

Amazon Rainforest lodge | Bird watching canoe trips | Forest night walks | Canopy tower visit | Cloud forest eco-lodge | Guided bird watching walks | Toucans, hummingbirds & cock of the rocks | 8-day small boat Galapagos cruise | Guide land visits | Snorkelling & swimming | Giant tortoises | Huge array of bird species | Other Galapagos itineraries available |

Description of Ecuador and Galapagos wildlife holiday

Amazon Jungle – Galapagos Islands – Andean Cloudforest – Diverse Habitats - Fearless Wildlife – Charming Lodges - Indigenous Culture - choice of cruise vessel - tailored to suit you.

This trip puts you right at the heart of three of Ecuador's precious ecosystems. Stay further up the river than the other Amazon lodges, sleep next to a river in the heart of the cloudforest in a sustainable lodge and explore the Galapagos more extensively on a week long live-aboard cruise.

Wildlife encounters range from caiman, river otters and capybaras in the jungle to toucans, hummingbirds and cock of the rocks in Mindo and the boobies, iguanas and penguins of the Galapagos. Not a bad way to spend three weeks.

There are ample opportunities to walk, kayak, swim and even go river tubing. Alternatively, you can just watch nature at its most glorious. This holiday obviously suits wildlife enthusiasts, but anyone looking for a deeper connection with nature will find it in Ecuador.

We work directly with a handful of lodges and boats who we trust to introduce you the Ecuador that has always moved us and to give you an incredible week in the Galapagos. You'll be in good hands throughout your trip.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Quito and relax in your comfortable modern near the airport this evening.
Day 2:Scenic flight over a sea of trees into the Amazon Basin. Meet your guides for the trip up the Napo River by fast boat, then canoe, to your remote lodge. Opportunity for first unforgettable night walk this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 3:Your time in the Amazon is flexible, depending on your interests, energy levels and the weather. A good start would be rising early to go birdwatching in the surrounding waterways and then seeking out monkeys and rare flora on a forest trail. (B,L,D)
Day 4:There are more forest trails to explore today and you could visit the canopy tower for amazing views over the forest. Perhaps head out onto the lake in search of Giant River otters, caiman and birds as dusk turns to night. (B,L,D)
Day 5:Today you might have the opportunity to spend time with the local Kichwa community, learning about their way of life, how they live from the jungle, and the food they eat. (B,L,D)
Day 6:Travel to the cloudforest in the highlands. Return by river to catch your flight back to Quito then drive up to the cloudforest. Stay in a private cabin alongside the clear waters of a river, secluded in the heart of the ecosystem. (B,L,D)
Day 7:Rise early to observe the cloudforest as it comes to life. Hummingbirds and toucans are regular visitors to the gardens around the lodge. Cock of the rocks and quetzals are also possible. Other activities include mountain biking and 'tubing', where you float down river in an inner tube. (B,L,D)
Day 8:Take a final early morning walk in the forest to look for birds and other wildlife this morning. Return to Quito this evening and relax in your characterful city centre hotel in the laid-back neighbourhood of San Marcos. (B,L,D)
Day 9:Spend the day in the company of your expert local guide, who can take you on and off the beaten track in this charming city. The tour is flexible to your interests. (B)
Day 10:Fly to the Galapagos. Travel into the highlands of Santa Cruz to see Galapagos tortoises up close then board your yacht for an 8-day live-aboard cruise (B,L,D)
Day 11:Explore Fernandina, the youngest island. Take a zodiac ride through mangrove swamps to look for pelicans, sea lions and sea birds. Later visit a rocky outcrop frequented by marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies. (B,L,D)
Day 12:You'll visit a large iguana colony this morning at Urbina Bay before swimming or snorkelling in the company of rays and sea turtles. Visit the site of some 19th century pirate graffiti and enjoy sweeping views over a salt water crater lake. (B,L,D)
Day 13:Walk on Fernandina's lava fields, where iguanas sun themselves on the rock. Head out on panga rides to the dramatic coastline of Punta Vicente. If the seas are calm, the snorkelling is great. (B,L,D)
Day 14:Today is dedicated to Santiago, where fur seals relax on the beach and sea turtles nest. Look out for endemic birds among the large Palo Santo trees. Later visit the volcanic black beach of Puerto Egas, once home to a salt mine. (B,L,D)
Day 15:Start at the remarkable red sand beach Rábida, following a trail past giant cacti. Spot flamingos, pelicans, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and sea lions. Explore the lava tunnels of Chinese Hat before snorkeling with penguins. (B,L,D)
Day 16:Visit Bartolomé, a volcanic rocky outcrop with one of the most photogenic vistas across the archipelago. Wander around the lava fields of Santiago, where you'll find fur seals basking. Snorkelling is sometimes done in the company of white-tipped sharks. (B,L,D)
Day 17:Time to say goodbye to the Galapagos. Visit Baches beaches this morning, formed from decomposed coral. Visit a brackish lagoon frequented by flamingos. Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the mainland, connecting with your return international flight. (B)

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailormade at a time to suit you and adapted to your requirements as necessary.
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Holiday type

Tailor made holiday

This trip can be tailormade to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. It is a more luxurious trip that will suit those who enjoy immersing themselves in new cultures and environments before relaxing in comfort in some of the best and most characterful local accommodation! Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips.

Responsible tourism

Ecuador and Galapagos wildlife holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

We have carefully designed this holiday to represent the full diversity of Ecuador. In the cloudforest the lodge is completely hand built with local materials. Much of the food is grown organically on site & the lodge generally operates on strict sustainable principles.

We work with a selection of boats in the Galapagos, carefully chosen for their sustainable credentials. In all cases we pay for you to become a benefactor of the Galapagos Conservation Trust for a full year. The GCT issues guidelines as to the sorts of tourist visits that have least impact on the sites - those guidelines are that small boats, owned and operated locally, are the best bet for the preservation of the Galapagos.

Most of our boats are SmartVoyager certified. Boats are only able to gain this accreditation by meeting a set of strict conservation standards for protecting the environment & wildlife. We only use naturalist guides trained and licensed by the Galapagos Natural Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Community

The lodge we work with in the Amazon owned and run by the local community. You meet members of the local community in their village during your stay. Tourism is enabling them to decrease their dependency on oil extraction and instead forge a new and sustainable livelihood.

We recommend our favourite first class yachts in the Galapagos. In general, the boat owners and most of the crew on our boats come from the islands, which makes the enterprise sustainable and of economic benefit to the local community.

1 Reviews of Ecuador and Galapagos wildlife holiday

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 18 May 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Zip-Lining in the Cloud Forest but the Galapagos was amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Definitely take a torch, wet weather clothing and a sense of humour.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, definitely.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Brilliant but the cloud forest was a bit disappointing as we had continual rain and saw very few animals or birds. This also occurred in the Amazon. We were told by the operator that rain was minimal with short bursts. Obviously a joke.

Read the operator's response here:

Overall I am very pleased that our clients had such a good time on their trip. I would like to put up a quick response to point 4. In April/May 2008 the weather in Ecuador was exceptionally wet with rainfall around three times the expected average. We do try very hard to make sure that clients travel with realistic expectations of the conditions they will encounter. In this particular instance mother nature got in the way. On the plus side, this group had unbroken good weather in the Galapagos.

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