Ecuador and Galapagos wildlife holiday
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 1:||Arrive in Quito and relax in your comfortable modern near the airport this evening, in preparation for your flight to the Amazon early tomorrow.|
|Day 2:||Scenic flight over a sea of trees into the Amazon Basin. Meet your guides for the trip up theriver by fast boat, then canoe, to your remote lodge. Opportunity for your first unforgettable night walk this evening.|
|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.|
|Day 4:||There are more forest trails to explore today - you could visit the canopy tower for amazing views over the forest, and perhaps head out onto the lake in search of Giant River otters, caiman and birds as dusk turns to night.|
|Day 6:||Visit a nearby clay-lick to watch the parrots and macaws congregate, the air filled with colourful feathers and squawking. Later, spend time with the local Añangu community, learning about their way of life, how they live from the jungle, and the food they eat.|
|Day 7:||Hike through primary forest, spotting capuchin monkeys, sloth and maybe even tapir, before watching the sun go down over the Amazon rainforest on your last night.|
|Day 8:||Travel to the cloudforest in the highlands. Return by river to catch your flight back to Quito then drive up to the damp mists of the cloudforest. Stay in a private cabin alongside the clear waters of a river, secluded in the heart of this incredible ecosystem.|
|Day 9:||Rise early to observe the cloudforest as it comes to life. Hummingbirds and toucans are regular visitors to the gardens around the lodge, and cock of the rocks and quetzals are also possible to spot. Other activities include mountain biking and 'tubing', where you float down the river in an inner tube.|
|Day 10:||Take a final early morning walk in the forest to a Cock of the Rock lek this morning. Return to Quito this evening and relax in your characterful city centre hotel, and enjoy some of the city's sophisticated dining.|
|Day 11:||Spend this morning in the company of your expert local guide, who can take you on and off the beaten track in this charming city on a tour flexible to your interests. Perhaps head up in the cable car this afternoon to enjoy the views over Quito and the surprising birdlife.|
|Day 12:||You are taken back to the airport this morning for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Travel into the highlands of Santa Cruz to see Galapagos tortoises up close then board your yacht for an 8-day live-aboard cruise.|
|Day 13:||Explore Fernandina, the youngest island. Take a zodiac ride through mangrove swamps to look for pelicans, sea lions and sea birds, and later visit a rocky outcrop frequented by marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies.|
|Day 14:||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.|
|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. When the waters are calm you should spot seahorses, sea turtles, stingrays, puffer fish and sunfish.|
|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.|
|Day 15:||Start at the remarkable red sand beach at 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.|
|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.|
|Day 17:||Visit Bachas beach this morning, formed from decomposed coral and a great spot for sea turtles and blue-footed boobies, then visit a brackish lagoon frequented by flamingos. Head to the airport for your flight back to the mainland later, to connect to your flight home or continue your adventure.|
PlanetWe 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.
PeopleThe 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.