Ecuador highlands tour & Galapagos cruise

One of our most popular and pampered 16 day trips that combines the heights of Ecuador’s mountains, high seas and high life around the Galapagos. A small group tour.
Quito Otavalo Avenue of the Volcanoes Alausi Devil's Nose train journey Cuenca Las Cajas National Park Guayaquil Santa Cruz Isabela Island James Island Rabida Island Bartolome Island
£7634 excluding flights
Convert currency:
16 days
Ecuador, Galapagos Islands
More info
Price is per person, based on 2 people sharing.
Includes: • Tour leader • Internal flights • Transfers in Latin America on tour dates • Transport and accommodation • Meals and excursions as per tour profile
Make enquiry

Description of Ecuador highlands tour & Galapagos cruise

With all the fuss surrounding the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s mainland is so often ignored. If you are travelling all this way to see the Galapagos, it is more than worth spending a week exploring the incredible Andean landscapes and rich, Quichua culture before jetting west for an island cruise. This Ecuador highlands tour and Galapagos cruise combines both seamlessly, as part of a guided, small group tour. Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest countries, surrounded by veritable giants, but its biodiversity is astonishing, and makes a delightful snow-capped contrast to the Galapagos’s dark volcanoes.

Your journey begins in the UNESCO-rated capital of Quito, brimming with beautifully preserved colonial architecture and the bustle of Quichua life. Travel up to the equator, just a few kilometres to the north, to stand with one foot on each hemisphere. You’ll then travel south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, passing giants such as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, before embarking on the exhilarating Devil’s Nose train ride along a series of sharp switchbacks as you descend into a lush valley. A private bus takes you further south still, to Cuenca – another UNESCO World Heritage Site, where 16th century colonial architecture combines with 15th century Inca stonework, and the odd llama strolls around town.

Your next stop is the sprawling port city of Guayaquil, from where your flight to the Galapagos will depart. The next week is spent aboard a comfortable motor yacht as you cruise around this incredible archipelago, disembarking usually twice a day to get up close to the landscapes and wildlife. Encounter giant tortoises, trek around volcanoes, snorkel with sea lions and meet the most northerly penguins in the world during what is sure to be one of the most memorable weeks of your life.

Price information

£7634 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Price is per person, based on 2 people sharing.
Includes: • Tour leader • Internal flights • Transfers in Latin America on tour dates • Transport and accommodation • Meals and excursions as per tour profile
Make enquiry

Check dates, prices & availability

Travel guides

Galapagos wildlife
The behaviour of wildlife on Galápagos does vary, so you may want to take this into consideration – whether you want to play with penguins, swim with ...
Crammed into an area the size of the UK, Ecuador's habitats range from the steamy Amazon jungle and high Andean páramo, to bird filled cloud forest an...

Holiday information

Our top tip:
Such a mammoth trip you can forget sending postcards. Just invest in one serious travel journal.
Trip type:
Small group tour.
Considerably high single supplement for own room.
Good standard hotels, and 7 nights in ensuite cabins.
Internal flights, other transport, accommodation, all breakfasts, full board days 9-15, guided tours.


3 Reviews of Ecuador highlands tour & Galapagos cruise

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 06 Jan 2020 by

It was all memorable especially the Galapagos islands Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Jan 2020 by

Our Galapagos experience excellent. The trip of highlands of Ecuador was not well organised and a fairly mundane itinerary-but local guide tried to make it better. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Jan 2019 by

The tour of the Galápagos Islands was the most memorable part of this holiday... Superb. Read full review

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


It is feared that tourism in the Galápagos Islands is putting the wildlife in danger. Park authorities have introduced strict measures limiting the number of visitors and ships and it is important to work with responsible companies who adhere to such measures, and go even further to ensure operations do not endanger this unique environment where species are unafraid of man. Our Galapagos operator has taken various measures to ensure the impact of visitors to the islands is kept to an absolute minimum – this includes using bio-degradable cleaning products, having a sewage plant on board the larger boats, water processing plants on board, strict briefings to guests about how to behave on the islands etc. Group sizes are kept small for excursions and the guides are well qualified naturalists, whose primary concern is for the sustainability of the islands.

Our yacht in the Galápagos is the Seaman Journey, a boat that has a history of strictly upholding the Galapagos Park rules which are designed to protect the natural resources and animals within the park. These include the prohibition of taking any flora from the islands, touching the animals and staying within carefully planned viewing areas and designated pathways. Before you set off on the cruise, the specialist guides will cover these aspects in detail and throughout the trip the passengers are sensitively reminded of these. The team on board also provides and recycles plastic bottles so that nothing need be disposed or left on the islands.

The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) carries out scientific research and complementary actions with collaboration from local, national and international partners to conserve the Galápagos. Their focal point is the Charles Darwin Research Centre (CDRC) at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. We will visit this centre as part of the tour and learn from the carefully laid out resources. It is possible to view and support the conservation and breeding of the unique species of Galápagos Tortoise, as well as learning in depth about Foundation’s work in conserving the island’s fragile natural resources.


We believe it is important to include the Ecuadorian mainland on this itinerary. Too often visitors to the Galápagos bypass this beautiful country, thereby not bringing benefits of tourism to the mainland. By visiting small towns and markets such as Otavalo, Riobamba and Cuenca, our clients can directly buy handicrafts from the producers and money spent filters down through the local economy through our choice of hotels and local restaurants our tour leaders chose to take clients to.

Popular similar holidays

Galapagos adventure holiday

Galapagos adventure holiday

From £4745 10 days excluding flights

An active Galapagos Islands adventure holiday

Ecuador & Galapagos tailor made tour

Ecuador & Galapagos tailor made tour

From £6800 - £7900 22 days excluding flights

Private in-depth tour of Ecuador and The Galapagos

Galapagos cruises

Galapagos cruises

From £2797 8 days excluding flights

Cruise the Galapagos Islands on sailing boats and yachts