Spend two weeks touring round Ecuador’s main sights and cities with private guides accompanying you to point out the historical points of interest. Having done this, head to the Galapagos Islands to board your luxury yacht, The Grace. Spend your days exploring the fascinating flora and fauna of these stunning islands, snorkel with sea lions and watch pink flamingoes in their natural habitat.
Whilst appreciating the natural beauty of this part of the world, learn about Darwin’s landing here in 1835, hear tales of pirates and whalers and take part in ancient traditions which are still very much in force on these remote islands.
Day 1: Arrival in Guayaquil and Half Day Tour
Transfer from the airport to your hotel. Having settled in you will start your half day panoramic tour of the city (3 hours). Visit key attractions such as the Centennial Park and the Masonic temple. Then head down Chile Street and visit its fascinating Indian market. From here, head to Seminario Park, known as ‘Iguana’s Park’ situated in front of the Cathedral Church.
Stop at the South Market in Malecon 2000 where you will visit the Integration Plaza and artisans market. Continue on through the Malecon Simon Bolivar to the Civic Plaza. You shall see the Moorish Tower, City hall and Rotonda Monument.
Stay: Casa Gangotena
Day 2: From Guayaquil to Cuenca
After breakfast you will be driven from Guayaquil to Cuenca. En route, visit a cacao farm and have lunch at a local restaurant. Having arrived in the beautiful town of Cuenca, enjoy a private half day city tour which will take 3 hours. Start at the Tomebamba River which winds its way through the city centre and walk along the main plaza, Calderon Park, and enter the stunning new Cathedral.
Visit the Monastery of El Carmen and La Inmaculada Concepcion, El Rollo del Vecino monument and the San Jose de la Merced Church. Stay the next couple of nights at a luxury boutique hotel in Cuenca and enjoy dinner there tonight.
Day 3: Day tour in Cuenca
Today enjoy a full day private tour of Cuenca and its surroundings. Considered Ecuador’s most beautiful city, Cuenca is rich in history and filled with elegant reminders of its colonial past. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets, quaint little parks and romantic plazas marking the city’s historical connection with Spain.
Today Cuenca is Ecuador’s third largest city, surrounded by small villages whose citizens create intricately detailed jewellery, beautiful ceramics and masterfully designed hand-woven shawls.
Leave Cuenca to appreciate the beauty of the Gualaceo Valley. Arrive in the town of Chordeleg, whose citizens are renowned makers of filigree jewellery. Visit goldsmiths, weaving factory and folkloric shops around town before enjoying a relaxing lunch at a nearby hosteria.
Day 4: From Cuenca to Riobamba
This morning you will be driven north with a private guide following the famous Inca road above velvety green valleys to Ingapirca, Ecuador’s major Inca monument. Believed to have been a religious and administrative complex as well as a fortress, the ruins are masterfully carved and you can make out courtyards, storehouses and a Temple of the Sun.
Stop in Azogues for a panoramic view of the Church of San Francisco and a visit to the Panama hat factory. In Biblian, climb to the top of one of the regions famous churches and catch a beautiful view of the Burgay Valley below. Stop in the small town of Caflar, famous for its variety of unusual weaving looms.
On arrival in Riobamba enjoy a city tour. Stay the night in a boutique hotel and enjoy dinner there tonight.
Day 5: From Riobamba to Quito
Enjoy a private drive after breakfast to Quito. En route, visit the diablo waterfalls and enjoy the sights and sounds of this doorway into the jungle. Have lunch at a local restaurant.
You will drive down the ‘Avenue of the Volcanes’ along which lie snowy peaks and many colourful and fascinating India markets at the centre of small picturesque towns that lie along the way. You will be taken to a plaza filled with bright and varied fruits, flowers, ponchos, livestock and native handicrafts, and will be mesmerized by the spectacular beauty of the dual mountain ranges that make up the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
Spend the next couple of nights in the Plaza Grande boutique hotel.
Day 6: Visiting Quito
After breakfast you will travel along the breath-taking Pan-American Highway north of Quito. Not far past the equator lies the small village of Calderon, known for its unique bread dough figures. Beyond Calderon, pass through the deep valley of Guayllabamba which is full of fruit trees and flowers. Stop by Cayambe, popular for its dairy industry and catch sight or its now extinct volcano which is a magnificent 5790 metres high.
Pass through Imbabura and its lake district, visiting Otavalo, the town famous for its open market and its locals wearing colourful and distinctive costumes. Lunch will be at a typical country estate.
Day 7: From Quito to the Galapagos
After an early rise, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos. You will arrive on the island of San Cristobal and be taken to your yacht The Grace on the waterfront. You will cruise to Kicker Rock – a spectacular formation that rises 152 meters out of the Pacific, followed by a visit to Sea Lion Island which certainly lives up to its name. Go snorkeling here and swim with the lively creatures. Have dinner on board The Grace before setting sail for the oldest island in the Galapagos.
Day 8: From Hood to Gardner Bay
This morning cruise to Hood – the southernmost island of the archipelago – and explore the flora and fauna at Punta Suarez including albatross, marine iguana and sea lions. Head to Gardner Bay and its magnificent long white sandy beach.
Day 9 - 10: Exploring the Galapagos
Head to Floreana Island with its colourful history; think pirates, whalers, convicts and a small band of somewhat peculiar colonists. Visit the Asylum of Peace which is primarily of historical interest for guests, and look out for the Polistes Versicolor wasp.
Snorkel around Punta Cormorant with the sea turtles and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the torpedo-like Galapagos penguins.
Examine the Galapagos dragons – bright yellow land iguanas that inhabit the north-eastern shore of Santa Cruz Island. Their large spines make them look even more like their legendary cousins. From here head to Puerto Ayora, located on the southern coast of this large, round volcanic island. This is the seaside economic centre focused on fishing and tourism. Wander round the restaurants, souvenir shops and internet cafes.
Day 11 - 13: Exploring the Galapagos
Visit the beaches at Las Bachas, the prime egg-laying site for sea turtles and examine the pink flamingoes inland. Snorkel round these waters and visit the Tiny Sombrero China Island. Depending on the tide, visit Black Turtle Cove.
The next day head to Rabida (Jervis) Island as well as Santiago (James) Island. With deep red sandy beaches and towering cliffs, Jervis is a stunning island home to many brown pelicans. From here, head to Bartolome Island which is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the oceans’ edge and is the best known landmark in the Galapagos.
Day 14 From the Galapagos to Quito
Visit the small island of Mosquera which consists of a long, narrow stretch of white sand, rocks and tide pools. Stroll down the beach and see one of the largest populations of sea lions in the Galapagos. Head south along Baltra’s western shore to the island’s port where you will get a bus to the airport.
Arrive in Quito and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon stroll around Quito visiting the Congress building, the Alameda Park and the colonial section. Have lunch at a typical restaurant before heading to your hotel for the night, the Plaza Grande.
Day 15: Departure
After breakfast, head to the airport for your flight home.
|Day 1:||Arrival in Guayaquil and Half Day Tour||Casa Gangotena|
|Day 2:||From Guayaquil to Cuenca|
|Day 3:||Day tour in Cuenca|
|Day 4:||From Cuenca to Riobamba|
|Day 5:||From Riobamba to Quito|
|Day 6:||Visiting Quito|
|Day 7:||From Quito to the Galapagos|
|Day 8:||From Hood to Gardner Bay|
|Day 9 - 10:||Exploring the Galapagos|
|Day 11 - 13:||Exploring the Galapagos|
|Day 14||From the Galapagos to Quito|
- Accommodation with daily breakfast
- 24 hour emergency contact
- International flights
- Personal expenses
- Visa if applicable
- Tips and gratuities
- Travel insurance (please note that travel insurance is mandatory for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)
From USD 10,000 per person, based on two persons travelling
Notes on our prices
- This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
- Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
- Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
- This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant.