This week-long trip to Ecuador highlights two of the country's most coveted regions: Ecuador’s Galápagos and the Andean Highlands.
Ecuador’s biodiversity is largely what makes it so special, and is all the more impressive considering the country’s small size. After some time exploring historic Quito, a safari in the Galápagos Islands offers a look into unspoiled nature, protected marine reserves, and a plethora of unique and endemic wildlife. Onward to the cultural Andean Highlands where you'll spend your time in the picturesque Ecuadorian rural town of Angochagua within the magnificent Protected Zuleta Forest Reserve and surrounded by the Andes Mountain Range. There, you'll bathe in freshwater springs that spurt along the canyons, hike along craggy peaks, and watch the majestic endangered Andean Condors in flight.
7 Days/ 6 Nights
DAY 1: Puembo
DAYS 2-4: Santa Cruz Island
A private transfer will take you from your hotel to the Airport for your flight to Baltra. The Galápagos Safari adventure begins after you meet your bi-lingual naturalist guide at the airport or dock. With baggage in tow, the journey begins; traveling by private transport from the arid zone through the transitional zone, into the lush highlands of Santa Cruz, during this time you will be staying at Galápagos Safari Camp.
DAYS 5 & 6: Angochagua
This morning, enjoy the serenity that Galápagos Safari Camp has to offer. Relax, walk, or enjoy the sunrise from the observatory before departure to your next destination.
You’ll be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Quito (flight priced separately). Upon arrival in Quito, a private transfer will take you roughly 2.5 hours, through the Andes, to Hacienda Zuleta.
DAY 7: End of Itinerary
Your guide picks you up for this full-day tour from Hacienda Zuleta, and then takes you 30 minutes south through the countryside, en route to the green hills of South America’s largest outdoor indigenous market. You’ll be transferred back to Quito for dinner and your departure flight home.
- Puembo is a tranquil, pretty farming town located east of Quito, in the district of the same name, set ten minutes from the international airport. It functions as one of the best bases for hiking the magnificent inactive volcanoes in the area, such as Ilalo and Coturco. Ilalo, a striking triangular-shaped peak, is decorated with numerous wonderful hot springs, and there are several excellent spas to enjoy. Coturco is a large landmark volcano that can be seen from miles away, swathed in the beautiful dense pine forest, and offers both challenging hikes and a road to the summit for spectacular views. History and architecture enthusiasts visiting Puembo should make sure to see the Old Chapel, and head to Quito for fascinating heritage buildings and museums. Puembo is also known for its rich traditions and holds a wonderful celebration over Holy Week.
- The island of Santa Cruz is home to Puerto Ayora, the largest and most developed town in the Galápagos. While many visitors use this island as merely a springboard for the more remote surrounding islands, those who dig a little deeper will discover that this island has plenty to offer. With numerous visitor sites, easily accessible beaches and remote highlands in the interior, Santa Cruz makes an excellent base for adventurous activities. The most popular attraction is undoubtedly the Charles Darwin Station which offers an impressive turtle breeding area and interesting information about the conservation of the unique biosphere of the Galápagos. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim or snorkel at one of the island’s magnificent beaches where you will find white sand and turquoise waters as well as an abundance of fascinating wildlife including: pelicans, blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas.
- The picturesque Ecuadorian rural town of Angochagua sits in the eastern foothills of the mighty Cerro Imbabura, within the magnificent Protected Zuleta Forest Reserve and surrounded by the Andes Mountain Range. This is a nature lover’s ultimate destination. Nearby, there are thick woodlands, extreme mountains, dormant volcanoes and an abundance of unique flora and fauna. Bathe in freshwater springs that spurt along the canyons, hike along craggy peaks, and watch the majestic endangered Andean Condors in flight. Highlights include the Condor Rehabilitation and Interpretation Center, an impressive 11th-century archaeological site, and the chance to learn more about local culture by meeting the neighboring Indian communities.
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