Essential Ecuador & GalapagosAboard: Santa Cruz II
A comprehensive and diverse itinerary taking in the best of Ecuador in three distinct regions. From the vibrant World Heritage Old Town of Quito, to the beautiful cloud forest area to observe 100s of species of birds and plants. Then down to the tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin to a Unesco Biosphere Reserve for a completely different wildlife and nature experience. Finally, fly to the Galapagos Islands to join an island nature cruise for close up encounters with unique and rare wildlife.
- Explore Quito’s Historic Old Town
- 3 Nights at the Luxury Cloud Forest Mashpi Lodge
- 3 Nights Amazon Experience at The Award Winning Napo Wildlife Lodge
- 5 Night Galapagos Wildlife Adventure with Local Naturalist Guides
- 5 Nights on board Galapagos cruise with transfers, all meals, daily guided activities.
- Return flights between mainland and Galapagos Islands
- 3 Nights Mashpi Lodge with transfers, all meals, guided activities, loan of equipment.
- 3 Nights Napo Wildlife Lodge, all meals, flights, transfers, guided activities.
- 2 Nights Hilton Colon Hotel, Quito. Deluxe Room B&B
- 1 Night Rincon de Puembo, Near Quito Airport. Standard Room B&B
- 1 Night Wyndham Hotel, Guayaquil, B&B Standard Room
So much to experience
Our popularitinerary Suggestions
All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Quito Airport Afternoon. Quito Hotel Stay 1 Night B&B
Private transfer from Quito Airport to The Hilton Colon Hotel (Deluxe Room B&B) close to the historic centre of Quito Old Town. You will have the rest of the afternoon and evening to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Quito and the cobbled streets of the old town.
Early morning drive high into the Ecuadorean Cloud Forest to stay at the luxury Mashpi Lodge for two nights. This region is amazingly rich in birdlife with 32 species of hummingbird alone seen from the Lodge. Afternoon guided walk to see forest waterfalls and birds such as tanager, toucan and the elusive cock-of-the-rock.
The Cloud Forest
Early morning time on the terrace watching birds feeding in the dawn light with naturalist guides. Climb to the observation tower and take a canopy walk . Lots of forest trails later spotting birds, howler monkeys, insects and amazing flora, all in the company of expert guides.
Copal Waterfall & The Hilton Colon
Activity starts at 6.30am with birdlife encounters after early morning refreshments. Later, walk to Copal Waterfall, a beautiful 2 hour hike featuring moss covered trees, orchids and various bird sightings. After lunch, return to Quito and overnight and breakfast at The Hilton Colon.
The Ecuadorian Amazon and Napo Lodge
Transfer to Quito Airport for flight to Coca, then by road and river to Napo Lodge. Look out for herons and kingfishers on the way. Transfer from riverboat to dugout canoe for further majestic peaceful ride, paddling along narrow creeks. Good sightings of monkeys, parrots, macaws and other large birds
Napo Wildlife Lodge, Amazon
Early morning start to reach probably the best parrot clay licks in Ecuador just over an hour away from the lodge. Weather dependent but usually successful sightings of over 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws. Lunch box served at the parrot clay lick observatory with arrival back at the lodge late afternoon.
Early departure to the superb canopy tower, 36 metres above the forest floor for sightings of tanagers, blue and yellow macaws and spider monkeys in search of fruit. Afternoon walk to observe lizards, colourful manikins and endemic golden mantle tamarind monkeys. Later, explore the creeks by dugout canoe looking for giant otter families.
Early departure, to the Napo river with possible sightings of giant otters, Monk Saki monkeys plus many rare birds. Transfer to the motorised boats and on to the airport for your flight back to Quito and transfer to Hotel Rincon de Puembo, close to the airport, including breakfast.
Board the Santa Cruz
Transfer to airport for your Galapagos flight to Baltra, met and board the Santa Cruz. After briefings, lunch, sail to North Seymour Island for first wildlife sightings of blue- footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and well as sea lions and iguanas.
Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island
Morning panga cruise and snorkelling off Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island. See flightless cormorants, green sea turtles and ocean sun fish. Later, sail to Fernandina with high density of marine iguanas sharing space with sea lions, Sally Light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and flightless cormorants.
Morning walk from Tagus Cove on Isabela to the rim of a crater and Darwin Lake and on to a dramatic view point. Panga cruise and snorkelling. Later, to Urbina Bay to see colourful land iguanas and maybe giant tortoises. Snorkel or swim with flightless cormorants.
Charles Darwin Research Station
A day spent on Santa Cruz. In Puerto Ayora, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and walk through cactus forest to Tortuga Bay for finches and marine iguanas. Kayaking and swimming. Excursion to the verdant highlands for visit to a giant tortoise reserve. Mountain biking option.
Floreana. Visit Post Office Bay with its historic barrel post box – continue the tradition and leave or pick up mail yourself for posting! Afternoon to Champion Islet for underwater exploration on pangas and glass bottom boat. Then to Cormorant Point to see greater flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers and many more.
Wyndham Hotel, Guayaquil
Breakfast & morning goodbye with a group transfer to Baltra for your flight to Guayaquil. Private transfer to Wyndham Hotel, Guayaquil. Afternoon free for local exploration.
Transfer to Guayaquil Airport for your international Flight Home.
After breakfast, little time to relax before your private transfer to Guayaquil Airport for onward or return travel.
A view from Above
A brand new (late 2015) luxury small ship, purpose-built for touring the Galapagos Islands. 50 cabins and suite ranging from triple to exclusive Darwin Suites on the Panorama Deck. Communal areas include viewing platforms, indoor & outdoor dining areas, two hot tubs, gym, library and two bars
Mashpi Lodge is one of the most unique wildlife environments in the world. This luxury cloud and rain forest hideaway is located on a high plateau only three hours drive from Quito. Mashpi boasts over 400 species of bird recorded to date but perhaps over 500 in total with with over 32 hummingbird plus other bird species like indigo flowerpiercer, black solitaire chocó vireo, banded ground-cuckoo, yellow-green bush tanager, moss-backed tanager, black-tipped cotinga and many other rare chocó-endemic residents. Mashpi is also known for its fine dining in its panoramic and dramatic two storey setting.
Here, Mashpi's chefs draw from the diversity of Ecuadorian cuisine and ingredients, making the most of its location between the coast and the Andes to offer the best of both worlds. Daily activities include exploring the canopy with the Mashpi aerial bicycle, hiking to hidden waterfalls with specialist guides; observe howler monkeys unusual frogs, early morning and night time nature walks.
Napo Wildlife Lodge
The Napo Amazon Wildlife Lodge is the ultimate eco lodge and located on the south bank of the Napo River in the Yasuni National Park. The lodge has 16 luxury cabins decorated in rustic style. Wildlife opportunities are endless with various species of mammal, 100's species of birds and reptiles. A 36m high canopy tower opened to guests in 2004 and superb way to experience life above the forest floor. Expert local naturalist guides are on hand to ensure you maximise your visit.
Hilton Colon Hotel, Quito
Well located base for your stay in Quito and situated between the historical and modern neighbourhood in the city centre close to restaurants and bars. A combination of beautiful views of the Andes from each room, and modern facilities such as outdoor pool, sauna, steam bath, massage service, gym, Jacuzzi & beauty salon make this one of the finest choices available.
Wyndham Hotel, Guayaquil
Spacious, modern quality hotel located in a central position and just walking distance to many of the neighbourhoods popular sights like the riverside main square and Las Penas area of the city. Vibrant restaurants and lively bars close by.
Rincon de Puembo Hotel, Quito
Rincon de Puembo is good tourist class hotel and only 10 minutes away by taxi or transfer from Quito Airport. As there are no Quito Airport hotels as such this is a close second as it avoids you the longer transfer in to Quito city centre, ideal if you are passing through Quito.
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Ecuador, Galapagos adventure for you.
Mike has more than fifteen years hands-on experience in the industry, travelling to some of the most incredible wild places on the planet. His far-reaching knowledge and invaluable skills will ensure that your wildlife travel adventure is a dream come true.
As Senior Travel Expert, Simon has an absolute wealth of experience in adventure travel in some of the most fascinating places in the world. With in-depth knowledge and fantastic organizational skills, Simon’s first-hand experience and genuine passion drive him to work to create your perfect itinerary.
Having amassed a host of extraordinary adventures in destinations all over the world, Amy’s experience, skills and enthusiasm for helping clients plan their ideal itinerary will help make your holiday unforgettable, action packed and life-changing.