Curated by Olie
Southern Ecuador & the Galapagos
Upon arrival at Guayaquil, you’ll be escorted by car to your accommodation in the city.
In the afternoon enjoy a panoramic tour of Guayaquil. You’ll visit the main sights and attractions, including Centennial Park, the Masonic Temple, Indian Market, Iguana Park, the Cathedral, Malecon 2000, and the Civic Plaza.
Guayaquil – Cuenca
After breakfast you’ll be transported to Cuenca, stopping en route to visit a cacao farm and for lunch at a local restaurant.
After checking into your hotel, you’ll head on a three-hour guided tour of the city. You’ll stroll along the Tomebamba River into the city centre, where you’ll explore the main sights including the New Cathedral, Calderon Park, main plaza, Monastery of El Carmen de la Asuncion, and El Rollo del Vecino monument.
Today you’ll enjoy a full day private tour of Cuenca and its surroundings. You’ll wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, quaint parks and romantic plazas of Ecuador’s third-largest city, learning about its colonial past.
Later, venture into the Gualaceo Valley where you’ll eat lunch at a local hosteria and visit the town of Chordeleg, renowned for its beautiful filigree jewellery.
Cuenca – Ingapirca – Riobamba
Today’s journey takes you from Cuenca to Riobamba. You’ll stop in Azogues to see the Cathedral of San Francisco and visit a Panama hat factory, climb a church tower in Biblian for panoramic views of the Burgay Valley, and visit a small weaving village.
Next, you’ll visit Ecuador’s most famous Inca monument, Ingapirca, where you can explore the ruins of this ancient fortress and its Temple of the Sun, before continuing to Riobamba.
Enjoy a city tour before dinner in your hotel.
Riobamba – Quito
After breakfast you’ll be transported to Quito, stopping en route to visit the Diablo Waterfalls and eat lunch in a local restaurant.
Your drive takes you through the mesmerising Avenue of the Volcanoes, where you can marvel at the snowy peaks and visit picturesque market towns, before arriving in Quito.
Get to know the beautiful area surrounding Quito on a private guided tour. You’ll traverse the Pan-American Highway north to the town of Calderon, known for its unique bread dough figures, and pass through the fertile Guayllabamba Valley.
You’ll stop at Cayambe to see its extinct volcano, drive through the Lake District, and visit the town of Otavalo, renowned for its colourful market and traditional costumes.
Along the way, enjoy lunch at a traditional country estate.
Quito – The Galapagos (Isla Lobos)
It’s an early start today as you’re transported to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos. Upon arrival at San Cristobal Island, you’ll board your yacht, M/Y Grace, and start your journey around these fascinating and unique isles.
Your first stop is Isla Lobos, known as Sea Lion Island, where you can snorkel and swim with this playful colony. You’ll also see Kicker Rock, before a welcome cocktail and dinner.
The Galapagos (Espanola Island)
Today you’ll explore the main attractions on Espanola Island (also known as Hood). You’ll visit Punta Suarez to see marine iguanas, masked and blue-footed boobies, and waved albatross.
Later, stop at Gardner Bay, home to a beautiful, long, white-sand beach and colonies of sea lions.
The Galapagos (Floreana Island)
Today you’ll visit Floreana Island, where you’ll learn about its colourful history involving pirates, whalers and convicts. Visit Post Office Bay, then head to Punta Cormorant, home to unique green and red beaches. Observe wading birds at a salt lagoon, then go snorkelling off Champion Islet.
The Galapagos (Santa Cruz Island)
Today’s excursion is Santa Cruz, the second-largest island in the Galapagos. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station at Puerto Ayora, once home to the now-deceased giant tortoise, Lonesome George.
Later, head into the highlands to visit a tortoise reserve and see the Gemelos craters.
The Galapagos (Santa Cruz Island)
Continue your exploration of Santa Cruz with a visit to Bachas Beach, a major egg-laying site for sea turtles and home to another saline lagoon where marine iguanas coexist with flamingos and other wading birds.
Next, explore Chinese Hat Island and nearby Santiago Island, where you can see Galapagos penguins, and snorkel alongside curious sea lions and penguins.
The Galapagos (Rabida Island & Santiago Island)
This morning you’ll visit Rabida Island, also known as Jervis. Here you can watch sea turtles and blue-footed boobies on the red beach, see pelicans and flamingos graze in the lagoon, and hike a peninsula for panoramic views.
In the afternoon move onto Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island, one of the most important volcanic sites in the Galapagos. Explore the lava flow, before snorkelling in the bay with more playful sea lions.
The Galapagos (Bartolome Island & North Seymour Island)
Start the day on Bartolome Island, where you can trek to the summit for views over Pinnacle Rock and the bay, home to Galapagos penguins and sea lions. Then continue to North Seymour Island, which is teaming with an array of wildlife, including marine and land iguanas, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and more sea lions.
The Galapagos (Santa Cruz Island) – Quito
Your final morning on the M/Y Grace takes you to Black Turtle Cove on northern Santa Cruz Island. You’ll visit a mangrove estuary on a non-motorised dingy to see rays, sea turtles and pelicans amongst the varied wildlife living here.
Then head to the airport for your return flight to Quito, where you’ll enjoy an afternoon stroll around the city and dinner at a typical restaurant.
Today you’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward journey.