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ACTIVE ECUADOR & GALAPAGOS DISCOVERY

ACTIVE ECUADOR & GALAPAGOS DISCOVERY

$4350 per person

Live a dream-like experience with this comprehensive tour, discovering the diversity of Ecuador mainland and the Galapagos Islands from an active traveler perspective. Hike in the majestic Andes surrounded by active volcanoes, bike in the cloud forest to discover hidden farms and waterfalls, feel the adrenaline rush while rafting in the Amazon and finally relax your muscles in volcanic hot springs, before you jump on a plane and reach the wildlife paradise of Galapagos. As you hike, bike, kayak and snorkel, you will explore the volcanoes, highlands, wetlands and seas of three of the most beautiful islands of the archipelago, encountering giant tortoises, iguanas, flamingos, sea lions and a wide variety of sea life.

Unique Experiences:

  • Stop at a hummingbirds sanctuary in the heart of the cloud forest and look for a hummingbird with the beak two times larger then its body (sword-billed hummingbird)
  • Snorkel with sea turtles, sea lions and hummer head sharks at Kicker Rock, the best site in the Galpagos Islands.

 

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  • Departure
    Quito / Ecuador
  • Included
    Activities
    Domestic flights
    Land Transportation
    Meals detailed in the itinerary
  • Not Included
    Fees and entrances to parks and museums
    Airport tranfer in & out
    International flight
1
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN QUITO CITY

Welcome to Quito! The biggest, best-preserved colonial city of America was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area.Adventure Journeys can help you to organize a day trip. In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel for a welcome briefing and there will be plenty of time to discuss details and answer any questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an informational and acclimation day.

Accommodation: Swissôtel Quito or similar.

Meals included: none.

2
DAY 2: TREKKING INTO THE COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK

Cotopaxi snow-capped volcano is our main goal today. After breakfast, we will drive through the Andes enjoying magnificent views of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Once we reach the Cotopaxi National Park, we will have our first acclimation hike around Limpiopungo Lake at 13000ft (3800 mt) above sea level and see wild horses, wild bulls and some bird species. From here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Cotopaxi volcano, one of the world's highest volcanoes.

In the afternoon we will get a transfer to the town of Baños, which is located at the entrance of the Amazon. Here we can enjoy the best night life by drinking cocktails and dancing Salsa.
Accommodation: Casa de Luis or similar

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

3
DAY 3: BIKING IN THE LLANGANATES NATIONAL PARK

This morning, we mountain bike from the Llanganates National Park down to the Pastaza River Canyon, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the cloud forest. The road brings us through some Andean farms and a beautiful canyon with many waterfalls. While descending into the jungle, we will have a breathtaking view of Baños, very well known for its spectacular location right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, active since 1999, which is the main attraction of this region. At the end of our biking experience we will hike down for 20 minutes to see ¨Pailon Del Diablo¨, the second largest waterfall in Ecuador.

In the afternoon, we will continue our journey to the Amazon rainforest to visit a small village called Misahualli, or ¨monkey town¨, an amazing place where monkeys have adapted to live together with people, and we finally head to an eco-lodge to spend the night.
Accommodation: Itamandi Eco-lodge or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast.

4
DAY 4: JATUNYACU RIVER RAFTING AND VOLCANIC HOT SPRINGS

We greet the day by preparing our gear to paddle the wild waves of the Jatunyacu River, located one hour away from the entrance of the Llanganates National Park. The beauty of this river will inspire you and reveal the magic of the Amazon rainforest. After a very important safety briefing from our rafting guides, we will start our class III rafting expedition down the Jatunyacu River, well known for its clean water and awesome rapids. We will have a lot of fun playing some games and also exploring one of the canyons. The end of the journey offers us a stop for a picnic, prepared by our guides. We conclude our day with a drive back up to the Andes, stopping to visit the paradise of hummingbirds in Guango Reserve and finally continuing up to the volcanic hot springs resort, where we will spend the night.

Accommodation: Termas Papallacta

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

5
DAY 5: EXPLORING CAYAMBE-COCA ECO-RESERVE

In the morning, we will put rubber boots on to explore the magic of the thick cloud forest, enjoying a 3 hour hike during which you will have plenty of opportunities to see an incredible diversity of birdlife, including toucans, hummingbirds, jays, hawks, parrots, quetzals, cook of the rock, etc. Flowers are abounding in this region, so have the cameras ready for photos of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, etc.

After the hike, we will soak in the volcanic hot springs at the Papallacta Spa Resort, enjoying the view of the majestic Andean mountains. Later on, we will transfer back to Quito. In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you for a welcome briefing and there will be plenty of time to discuss details and answer any questions you may have regarding your Galapagos adventure.
Accommodation: Swissôtel Quito or similar.
6
DAY 6: TRAVEL DAY TO GALAPAGOS ISLANDS (SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND)

Today we get ready to explore the most amazing archipelago in the Pacific coast and the place where Charles Darwin based its theory of the evolution of species. We board a morning flight from Quito to the island of San Cristóbal. Once arrived, we will have a transfer to the hotel in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and a short briefing about the next days, before the adventure begins.

In the afternoon we head to "La Loberia", which is home beach for large Galapagos sea lions. We can spot them launching over rocks or just lazy dozing in the sand. We also get to see yellow warbler birds, frigate birds, and several species of Darwin finches along the beach. Inbetween the rocks we can find marine iguanas, which you can only see in Galapagos. We also have the time to go for a refreshing swim, explore the waters with our snorkel equipment and enjoy the beach.
Accommodation: Blue Marlin Hotel or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast.

7
DAY 7: SNORKEL AT KICKER ROCK AND VISIT TO ISLA DE LOS LOBOS (SEA LIONS ISLAND)

In the morning, we will take a speed boat to Kicker Rock, also known as the Sleeping Lion (Leon Dormido) because of its resemblance. This site is located off the coast of San Cristobal. The remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, two vertical rocks rising 500 feet above the ocean, form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. This Galapagos Islands natural monument has become a favorite sight due to the many tropicbirds, frigate birds and boobies that fill the sky in this area. Beneath the sea, the crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful tropical fish, such as rainbow fish, and sharks, like hammerhead-, reef- and white tip sharks. After lunch, we will visit Sea Lions Island (Isla de Los Lobos). This appropriately named island is ripe with noisy, frolicking, jolly sea lions who will welcome us to their home with open fins. This island also offers great snorkeling opportunities as well as the chance to see blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

Accommodation: Blue Marlin Hotel or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

8
DAY 8: EXPLORING ISABELA ON TWO WHEELS

In the morning, we will take a short flight to Isabela Island, the largest island in the archipelago and the place where the most volcanic activity in the Galapagos is reported. The island is formed by six shield volcanoes, Alcedo, Cerra Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf, five of them still active, and therefore the island is one of the most volcanically active places on earth.

In the afternoon, we head out on our mountain bikes to explore the beautiful coastline on an exclusive trail, taking us through an incredible ecosystem with a wide variety of wildlife. We start with a visit to the Wall of Tears, a massive wall built with lava rocks. This site dates back to the '50s, when Isabela was used as a penal colony and prisoners were forced to build the wall to keep them from going mad, because of the isolation they experienced.

As we continue our ride along the coast, we explore pristine, white sand beaches, mangrove forests and lagoons. This area is filled with birdlife, including American oyster catchers, herons, flamingos, finches and many shore birds, as well as the ubiquitous sea lions and marine iguanas.

After dinner we can enjoy a breath-taking sunset on the beach of Puerto Villamil.
Accommodation: Cormorant Beach House or similar

Meals included: Breakfast.

9
DAY 9: HIKING TO SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO AND KAYAKING IN TINTORERAS

After driving up from Puerto Villamil to the trailhead, we will prepare our backpacks and hike into a young forest ecosystem, a world of recent geological history. Our destination is the rim of Sierra Negra Crater, an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005. Upon arrival, we take breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive, lava-filled crater, over six miles across at its widest point. If we feel energetic enough, we can continue our hike to Volcan Chico, a secondary crater that has a wild landscape of puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations, great examples of the dramatic geological events that have forged the Galapagos Islands over millennia.

In the afternoon, we return to Puerto Villamil and we go kayaking in Tintoreras to watch sea lions, penguins, turtles and marine iguanas.
Accommodation: Cormorant Beach House or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

10
DAY 10: LAVA TUNNELS EXPLORATION

Today, we explore the amazing formations of lava created by the last eruptions of the Volcanic Island along the seashore. This magical place is been used by the staff of BBC /National Geographic for their documentaries. It is a labyrinth of lava arches inside the breakers with crystal clear water full of huge sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, fish, white tipped reef sharks and more. Turtles navigate their own highway from the mangroves to the open sea through "Los Tuneles". Over here, we will have the best snorkeling opportunity with all these beautiful animals, including the curious Galapagos penguin playing around.

Before or after the trip, you can enjoy some optional activities such as snorkeling at "Concha de Perla" or just relax on the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela Island. We recommend you to take some time to visit the giant tortoise breeding centre.
Accommodation: Cormorant Beach House or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

11
DAY 11: SANTA CRUZ, CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION AND HIGHLANDS

In the morning we will embark on a fast boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. Once we arrive, we will check in at the hotel. We will have time to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about many of the endemic species we met during our adventure, as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts on the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon, we will head to the 'El Chato' Reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoise. Hiking through El Chato's beautiful scenery with those lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers and finches on our hike. We can also observe frigatebirds which gather to wash the salt off their feathers at a fresh water lake.

We return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town.
Accommodation: La Casa de Judy or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast.

12
DAY 12: FREE DAY IN SANTA CRUZ

Today, you can experience the Galapagos at your pace! As an option, you can go on a self-guided exploration walk through a dry forest to Tortuga Bay (about 3 ½ miles long), a beautiful white sand beach and nesting side to thousands of marine turtles. This beautiful place invites for swimming or snorkeling. Alternatively, you can join any of the optional activities (at an extra cost), such as a trip to Floreana Island, Bartolome Island or a scuba-diving day trip, just to mention a few.

Accommodation: La Casa de Judy or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast.

13
DAY 13: TRANSFER TO BALTRA AIRPORT - FLIGHT BACK TO QUITO

After our final breakfast on the Galapagos Island and the last photos taken of sea lions, we will have a transfer to Baltra's airport in time to catch the flight back to the mainland.

Accommodation: Swissôtel Quito or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast.

14
DAY 14: DEPARTURE

Today our trip will end and you will have your International departures. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!

Meals included: Breakfast.

WRITE A REVIEW

Accomodation
Destination
Value For Money
Overall
Transport
Meals

What's Included?

  • Transportation: Airfare Quito - Galapagos - Quito round trip, airport transfers (national flights), one way flight San Cristobal-Isabela, sea transportation Santa Cruz - Isabela islands, private and comfortable land and sea transportation.
  • Accommodation based in double occupancy:  5* hotel in Quito, 3+ star hotel in Baños, eco-jungle lodge in Tena, 5-stars Spa Resort Papallacta, 3+ star hotels in Galapagos.
  • Meals:  12 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches .
  • Activities: In Ecuador mainland: biking the slopes of Llanganates National Park and Road of Waterfalls in Baños, hiking to Pailon del Diablo waterfall, Jatunyacu river rafting in the Amazon tropics, hiking in the cloud forest with toucans, hummingbirds, parrots, etc, volcanic hot springs. In Galapagos: Snorkeling at Kicker Rock and Isla de los Lobos, trekking to the top of Sierra Negra active volcano in Isabela Island, snorkeling in Lava Tunnels, kayaking in Tintoreras, biking to the Wall of Tears, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, hiking in Santa Cruz highlands.
  • Gear: In Ecuador mainland: Hiking sticks, cross-country bikes (disc brakes and front suspension), helmets, gloves, rafts, paddles, life vest. In Galapagos: snorkeling mask and fins, life vest, mountain bikes, helmets, kayaks and paddles. 
  • Trip Leader: Certified AJ expert English-speaking adventure Trip Leader and naturalist local guides.

What is not included?

  • My Own Room supplement.
  • International flights.
  • Airport transfer (international flights).
  • Travel insurance (mandatory).

  • Meals not described in the itinerary - estimated budget USD $360 USD.

  • INGALA transit card: USD $20 per person, cash only (subject to change).

  • Galapagos National Park fee: USD $100 per person, cash only (subject to change).

  • USD $10 pier-use fee at Puerto Villamil (subject to change).

  • Wetsuit for rent: USD $10.

  • Tips.

IMPORTANT DETAILS

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER: It is our intention to adhere to the itinerary described; however, due to our travel style, on occasions it may be necessary or desirable to make small changes. Weather conditions and unpredictable local circumstances may lead us to make alterations to the route and/or travel times. Hotels and flight schedules might change according to availability. Any mention to specific wildlife in the itinerary or trip details is not a guarantee that it will be seen during the trip.

FLIGHT TIME

2:45 hours each way from Quito to Galapagos. Regular size aircraft. About 140 passengers. 45 minutes from San Cristobal to Isabela. Small size aircraft. 9 passengers.

DRIVING TIME

45 minutes Airport transfers in Quito.

45 minutes Airport transfers in Galapagos.

45 minutes each way to Sierra Negra.

PROVINCE: Pichincha Tungurahua, Pastaza, Napo and Galapagos.

SEASON: All year.

TERRITORY: Quito City, Andes highlands, Amazon rainforest and Galapagos Islands National Park.

ALTITUDE: From sea level (most activities) to 1 200m (3,937 ft -Sierra Negra Volcano).

AVG. TEMP. : Day 15-34ºC / 59-93ºF - Night 12-17ºC / 53-62ºF

KAYAKING TIME: 2 hours.

SNORKELING TIME:  1 – 2 hours a day

BIKING TIME: 3 hours total.

HIKING TIME

Quilotoa crater lake: 1 hour downhill from 13,000 ft. to 12,000 and 1 h 20 min uphill same way back.
Sierra Negra: 5 hours total.
El Chato Tortoises Reserve: 1 hour total.

WEATHER TEMPERATURES: December to May: 80ºF to 90ºF / 25ºC to 30ºC. June to September: 60ºF to 70ºF / 15ºC to 20ºC. October to December: 70ºF to 80ºF/ 15ºC to 25ºC

WATER: The waters of the Galapagos Islands are a unique mixture of warm and cold water, ranging between 65ºF and 85ºF

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Moderate to Challenge. This program is located in The Galapagos Islands, includes multisport activities, long hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano, snorkeling almost every day, sea kayaking to view wild life, and biking mostly on flat roads.

GEAR: Adventure and protective equipment, snorkeling mask, fins, life jackets, mountain bikes, helmets, kayaks and paddle.

ACCOMODATION: All prices are based on double-occupancy. If you are travelling solo, you will be matched with another participant of your same sex. If you prefer to have a single room, please contact AJ prior to your departure to arrange your accommodation at an extra cost.

MEALS: Travelling with Adventure Journeys you will have the possibility to experience and taste local food and snacks. Your guide will help you identify typical food and suggest the best places to enjoy it. Some meals are not included in order to give you some flexibility about where, what and with whom to eat. You have the option to share these meals with the group, however there is no obligation to do this. If you have any allergies or food restrictions, please inform EPL prior to your departure.

YOUR TRIP LEADERS AND GUIDES: All AJ guides and trip leaders are highly experienced, licensed to operate in Ecuador and certified as Wilderness Adventure First Aid responders. We always carry a complete first aid kit in our trips. In some location and for some activities, local guides join the trip leaders to provide an added service. In the Galapagos Islands, minimum 4 participants for the AJ trip leader service are required.

SUSTAINABLE ECO AND CULTURAL TOURISM: Clients receive interpretation and education about the ecology and conservation of the Andes, Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands, and learn about the factors that threaten it. We aim to promote long-term conservation of both local people cultural identity and the environment. We transport out and recycle all non-organic garbage and we prefer to work with local suppliers. Your visit will encourage the local communities to support responsible eco-tourism as a sustainable alternative for their living.