Day 1 - Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings - there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums.
La Compania de Jesus is considered by many the most beautiful in the Americas; it's certainly one of the most ornate. It's claimed that seven tonnes of gold leaf cover the interior whilst the exterior is decorated with statues, busts, sculpted heads and a jungle of carved leaves.
Take a walk down the famous Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This quaint street offers the city's best in one place.
Quito is located above 2800 metres/9200 feet, where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip: some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition(s) with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
On arrival in Quito: while our local representatives and hotel staff are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.geckosadventures.com/sites/default/files/geckos_altitude-sickness.pdf
Day 2 - Isla Isabela
Today begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight (approx 2.5-3 hours) to Baltra Island, Galapagos. Departure time will be between 8.20am and 10.30am depending on flight schedule time.
Your flight will stop once in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers (2.5-3 hrs total). Upon arrival we will need to go through immigration and pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100 in cash (small bills please)
Once in Baltra we transfer to Puerto Ayora and board a speed boat ride to Isabela Island (approx 2.5-3hrs)
Upon arrival to Isabela Island you are required to pay the Isabela Island port fee of USD10
Day 3 - Isla Isabela
Start with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center for a chance to get a close encounter with these placid giants. Afterwards, move onto the Sierra Negra Wetlands where you can observe migratory birds like sandpipers, common stilts, plovers, flamingos, American oystercatchers and many other interesting species. After spending an hour here, take a bus to the Sierra Negra Volcano, the most active volcano on the Galapagos Islands and the largest crater in the world. Go for a challenging 13 kilometre hike up to the crater, which will take around five to six hours in total. Please wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.
Day 4 - Isla Isabela
Enjoy a free day in Isla Isabela. You might like to do some of the optional activities, like an excursion to the small islet of Las Tintoreas. Here you can see the rare Galapagos penguin and journey through Shark Alley, where white tipped sharks rest during the day. This is also a great place to see the freaky-looking marine iguanas who nest here.
Day 5 - Isla Santa Cruz
Start the day with an early-morning speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz, which takes about two and a half hours. After settling into your hotel, head out to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about the Charles Darwin Foundation's success in repopulating the islands with the once endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the island to observe the giant tortoise roaming in its natural habitat.
Day 6 - Isla San Cristobal
This morning you'll have some free time to do any optional activities you couldn't fit into your schedule yesterday. Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal for about three hours. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on a walking tour of San Cristobal. This evening and all of tomorrow is yours to explore the island at your own leisure. Take as much time to relax as you want or squeeze in as many optional activities as you can. See tomorrow's notes or ask your leader for ideas.
Day 7 - Isla San Cristobal
Today is completely free for you to see more of Isla San Cristobal and do any activities you couldn't do yesterday. Perhaps hike to Mann Beach where you can swim with sea lions, or climb up Frigate Bird Hill where you can enjoy incredible views over the islands. There's the option of taking a boat ride to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos, a favoured excursion that involves swimming and snorkelling with the famous Galapagos marine life. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, eagle rays and the odd harmless Galapagos shark among many others.
Day 8 - Quito
Before saying goodbye to the Galapagos Islands, make one last visit to the Interpretation Center. Learn more about the natural history of the islands, human settlement and conservation.
Sadly all good things must come to an end and this is our final excursion. We bid farewell to the Galapagos Islands and all its inhabitants and head to the airport for our flight back to Quito for the last night of our tour. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we are transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay. Hit the tiles in Quito to talk about all those giant tortoise you saw whilst knocking back a couple of Canelazos. Heavenly.
Day 9 - Quito
Our tour ends today after breakfast.There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart our accommodation at any time. If you have not spent time here before, we recommend you stay on a few days as there are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito. Please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest. They can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Meals Included: Breakfast: 8 Lunches: 0 Dinners: 0
Say hello to Quito, its prettyful churches and beautilicious boulevards
Collect your solid gold bragging rights after climbing Isla Isabela's volcano. The views don't get much better than this
Get up close and personal with the stars of the show: the Galapagos giant tortoises
Go snorkelling through underwater realms of freaky fish and sharks that don't actually bite
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money