Day 1 - Quito
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. 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 contact our 24 hour emergency number which is located on these trip notes.
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.
At the meeting you will be offered a duffle bag to use for the duration of your time in the Galapagos, please see the packing section in the trip notes for more information.
Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America, sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha. With Colonial style buildings, a cosy Old Town and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, you may like to take a stroll this evening and see some sights. We will however be back in Quito at the end of the trip, giving you a chance to further experience the city, depending on when you are flying out ofcourse!
Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
Optional Activities in Quito:
Quito is an incredible city with loads to see and do. This trip doesn’t include much time in Quito, so a few extra days to explore it is recommended. Great activities are available through our local office – just email [email protected] before departing or, once you’re in Quito, give our office a call +593 9 94014877 and they will happily assist you.
Urban Adventures: If you are interested in any of the Urban Adventures listed you will need to contact Urban Adventures directly. Contact information for Quito can be found here: http://www.urbanadventures.com/contact-us
City Tour & The Equator Line, an in-depth half-day city tour, including a trip to the equator line to see how it feels to be in the middle of the world, literally. If you’re short on time You can choose to do just the city tour or Equator line (we’ve listed separate prices below)
Otavalo Market, a full day tour of the biggest Indian market in South America in the northern town of Otavalo, full of local handicrafts to take home for your friends, and the Cotacachi leather market.
Cotopaxi Volcano, for something more active, head out to the 5,897 metre high Cotopaxi Volcano – drop by the National Park museum, then hike for around 2 hours and visit the picturesque Limpiopungo Lagoon.
Quilotoa Lagoon, if you’re into lagoons, maybe take a full day trip to the stunning Quilotoa Lagoon. Early in the morning, drive 3 hours south through the local communities and Andes views of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Then hike (2 hours return) to the beautiful Quilotoa volcano crater lagoon, before returning to Quito. Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.
Cloud Forest, maybe get in touch with the region’s incredible nature with a shared services trip to the Cloud Forest – take a guided hike through a reserve on the edge of the Choco Bio-region, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, and get acquainted with the exuberant vegetation, bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment.
Papallacta-Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.
Please note, the prices listed below include entrance fees, however these are paid separately by you during the tour. Some tours require a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
(Please note prices listed are subject to change)
Day 2 - Isla Isabela, Galapagos
Today we have a long travel day ahead and it begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight of about three hours to Baltra Island, Galapagos. Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll need to purchase a Transit Control Card before checking in to your Galapagos flight. This card costs about USD 20 and grants you access to the islands. Departure time will be between 8.20 am and 10.30 am depending on flight schedule time. Your flight will stop once in Guayaquil for a about 45 minutes to pick up more passengers.
When the flight lands in Balra, you’ll go through immigration and need to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 in cash (small bills please). We then transfer from Baltra to Puerto Ayora and board a speed boat ride to Isabela Island, which takes about two and a half hours. Once we arrive at Isabela Island, you’ll need to pay an additional port fee of USD 5. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Isabela Island. The rest of your evening is free.
Please note, there are no ATM's on Isabela Island so it's important you bring along enough cash for the next few days.
Please note that this trip is a combination trip, therefore there may be some passengers joing the trip in the Galapagos.
Day 3 - Isla Isabela, Galapagos
Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Here you can see tortoises in different stages of development as well learn about the preservation program of this unique species.
Soon after take a bus to the highest part of Isabela Island where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The challenging 17-kilometre hike takes between five and six hours, but at the top you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views. Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support for the rocky climb.
During the rainy season it can get quite muddy. There is an option to hire gumboots locally, should you wish to do so. During the hike it can get quite hot, there isn't much shade along the way so be sure to come prepared with your hat and sunscreen etc.
Day 4 - Isla Isabela, Galapagos
Enjoy a free day on Isabela Island. You may like to visit Las Tintoreras one of the highlights of the Galapagos and where you are likely to see the rare Galapagos penguin and "shark alley" where white tipped sharks hang out. You can also see marine iguanas here, as this is a popular nesting site. There’s also the chance to go snorkelling, relax on the beach or visit the Wall of Tears which was built by the prisoners once kept here.
Day 5 - Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
Wake up early for a morning speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz, which takes about two and a half hours. After settling into the hotel, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Learn about the repopulation of the islands once-endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat.
Return back to town where you'll have some free time.
Day 6 - Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
In the morning, you’ll have some more free time to make the most of Isla Santa Cruz.. You’ll have some free time to pursue optional activities of your choosing, such as snorkelling with rented equipment or taking at dip in the pure waters of Tortuga Bay.
Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal, which takes about 2.5 hours. In the afternoon, go on a casual orientation walk of San Cristobal.
Day 7 - Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
Today is a free day to experience the best of San Cristobal Island. Perhaps go for a hike to Frigate Bird Hill for panoramic views of the Pacific Islands and some bird watching. You may find it hard to leave Mann Beach, with its luscious setting and the opportunities to swim with adorable sea lions. Perhaps the most popular optional activity is an excursion to Kicker Rock. Go snorkelling and see swarms of Galapagos colourful marine life. Sea turtles, eagle rays and harmless sharks all live in these waters.
Day 8 - Quito
Our last excursion today is a guided visit to the Interpretation Center, which houses exhibitions on natural history, human history and conservation. Learn more about the conservation movement and the process of sustainable tourism on the Galapagos Island. After the visit, say goodbye to these enchanting islands. The flight back to Quito leaves at midday, we get back to Quito in the late afternoon. A representative from Intrepid will take you from the airport to your hotel, then you’ll be free to explore more of Quito. You may like to get out and enjoy the nightlife of this vibrant Latin city.
Day 9 - Quito
There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
As there's little time spent in Quito, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of your time in here. Ecuador has some of the most beautiful churches in the Americas, including the lavish La Compania de Jesus which is decorated with seven tonnes of gold and the pale art filled La Merced. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, including tours of the town, markets and culinary delights (see urbanadventures.com).
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money