Day 1 - Arrival at Quito
Once you arrive in Quito you will be warmly welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Quito, the country´s capital, is an old Andean city, and although it doesn´t maintain much of its Inca origins, it´s still a testimony to the history of Ecuador and the merging of the Spanish and native cultures. Its historic downtown is the largest and best conserved in all of Latin America; and its buildings, being the most prominent the churches, basilica and cathedrals show the influence the Spanish conquest had on native people, while at the same time demonstrate little acts of rebellion that were imprinted in the form of the sun always being present in the highest place. It´s a perfect representation of the modern Quiteños who always find a way to encounter and defy their problems with a bit of salty humor. The cobbled stoned streets invite you to explore the colonial buildings and maybe make a stop to try the local cuisine. Canelazo and some empanadas de Viento will give you the strength and warmth needed to travel across the many stories that the city has to offer just by walking around.
Day 2 - Discovering the downtown (QUITO TO TENA)
This tour starts in the Historic Centre of Quito. During the tour you will visit emblematic places, your guide will use all of his knowledge of the city to take you through colonial streets and other places of interest, such as an authentic local market and find more than 250 stalls where you can buy fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants, herbs, meat, and seafood. At this market, we will try some of the typical Ecuadorian fruits. The visit to the downtown will allow you to relive the history of Quito by walking through its squares or looking at each church. The churches have managed to maintain their charm over time and the beauty of their architecture has allowed the Historic Centre of Quito to be named Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO Today your guide will take you to Tenacity located in a gorgeous setting surrounded by jungle-covered hills and is a great base for trips on the Misahuallí river. It is a popular destination for travellers because you can lie down on the beach, relax and read a book while the Capuchin monkeys play around. The traditional food is really tasty, you can eat Maito, which is fish, beef or chicken cooked in "Bijao" leaf and is served with rice, salad or yucca. So delicious! Try the delicacy Chontacuro, a roasted worm from the Amazon Rain Forest. Late in the afternoon will arrive at Itamandi Eco Lodge that offers sustainable travel and eco-tourism in one of the most interesting places in the world at the Amazon rainforest. Night walk. Excursion of approximately one hour, to listen and feel the sounds of the night together with the animals that inhabit the area.
Day 3 - Immersing to the jungle (TENA)
Please note that the itinerary is subject to changes due to weather conditions and operational decisions. Very early in the morning (depending on the weather) we take a canoe ride for 15 minutes upriver to visit the Saladero de loros and appreciate a unique place where parrots and parakeets meet in order to obtain the minerals that they need. they will help to digest the fruits or seeds that they have consumed. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets will approach the treetops and then descend to the clay wall to eat this mineral rich soil. It is essential to have binoculars to enjoy this magnificent natural act, return to the Lodge to have breakfast, then continue with the adventure and you will have a walk through the primary and secondary forest. This activity lasts about 2 ½ to 3 hours, in the afternoon lunch As the last activity of this day, you will carry out a cultural activity in the afternoon. An Amazonian Kichwa community will welcome us and we will learn about their way of life and the interaction they have with the forest. In this meeting, that part of the Amazon that is not found on maps will be shown: the Amazonian peoples in their daily lives. Part of our visit to the community consists of sharing the famous "chicha", a fermented yucca drink that has become part of their festivals and daily consumption. We are going to participate in the preparation of this drink and try some of the traditional dishes. We will end the visit with a traditional dance performed by the children of the community and we will also have time to buy some handicrafts made by the indigenous people of the area. This small company is very helpful to support the daily life of the indigenous peoples of the area, dinner
Day 4 - Exploring the Middle of the World (TENA TO QUITO)
After breakfast, you will back to Quito but on the way, you will visit the Itiñan Museum, During the afternoon take the way to visit the Equatorial Monument is one of the most interesting attractions of Quito. Be in the middle of the World and enjoy the different experiments in the Intiñan museum. Try to balance an egg on a nail or watch water spin opposite ways, and while some of the exhibits might be staged, the concepts behind gravity and physics are curiously entertaining. In addition to exhibits about the Equator, the Intiñan Museum also offers a look at Ecuador's culture, from the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands to Amazonian tribes. A true experience!
Day 5 - Adventure in the Highland (QUITO TO COTOPAXI)
Today you will be transferred to the Cotopaxi area for visiting the National Park which is located in the central highlands of Ecuador and is famous for its impressive volcano. The volcano is 5897 meters high and on clear days it can be seen from several provinces of Ecuador. The Cotopaxi is an active volcano, the last eruption was in October 2015 (mainly ashes). The majestic snow-covered peak will always be an image that reminds you of Ecuador and its beautiful landscapes. Unfortunately, climate change has greatly affected the volcano, and every year less snow is seen on the top. The park is home to wild horses, llamas, foxes, deer, Andean condors, and bespectacled bears. You can visit also the Limpiopungo lagoon and get to know many medicinal plants with your local naturalistic guide. After this interesting visit, your guide will take you to Hacienda Hato Verde located nearby and where the rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to enjoy.
Day 6 - Arriving to Galapagos (QUITO (UIO) TO SAN CRISTOBAL (SCY))
After breakfast you will have the transfer service to the airport with assistance, to take your flight to the magical Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival at the airport in San Cristobal, one of the islands in Galapagos, you will be picked up and transferred to the hotel. Here you will meet one of our coordinators for an information session, in which they will explain the rest of your itinerary.
Day 7 - Feel the Magic of the Islands (SAN CRISTOBAL (SCY))
Get ready to discover the San Cristobal Highlands! Your day will start with a 30-minute drive to your first stop: El Junco Crater Lake, the only sweet water lake on the Galapagos Islands. Afterward, you continue driving to Puerto Chino, a beautiful white sanded beach (watch out for horseflies). Here you follow a path where you drive by the typical Opuntia cactuses until you get to the white sandy beach of Puerto Chino. There, you can take a small hike that takes you through a colony of the lazy sea lions that sleep on the beach, and on towards the blue-footed boobies on the rocks. From the top, the view is amazing and you might see some sea turtles in the turquoise water. Then, back to the car so you can head to La Galapaguera, a breeding center fitted with nice-looking wooden walkways and clear indications that make your experience all the better. To get to the station, you walk from the entrance towards the incubation center for around 20 minutes; along the way, you might have to skip over a tortoise, as they walk around loose in this area!
Day 8 - Enjoying the islands (SAN CRISTOBAL (SCY))
Kicker Rock (León Dormido). This is a day tour and both lunch and snorkelling equipment are included. With a small boat you set sail for the lava formation in the middle of the ocean called Kicker Rock (or León Dormido in Spanish as they say it looks like a sleeping sea lion). First you will circle around the rock formation to observe the different bird species that use the rock formation as a resting or nesting place. Afterwards the boat will anchor and you will jump of the boat to snorkel the canal in between the rock formation. Beware that the currents can be strong and that you will be snorkeling in open waters without being able to see the bottom. Here you will be able to spot different shark species (sometimes even hammerheads!), turtles, rays and more. In some seasons you might encounter jellyfish which can sting, however a wetsuit will be provided when this is the case. After the snorkeling you will continue to Manglecito or a similar beach. You will have a box lunch on board. This white coral beach offers the opportunity to walk around and relax and swim in shallow waters before returning to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Day 9 - Heading back to mainland (SAN CRISTÓBAL (SCY) TO GUAYAQUIL (GYE))
You can enjoy the island the last hours after to take the flight to Guayaquil, you will take the transfer to the ariport in San Cristóbal, once you will arrive in Guayaquil city, a transportation will be waiting for you to take you to the hotel. Guayaquil City is the biggest city of Ecuador and is known as ´The Pearl of the Pacific´. It is a city with a great commercial tradition and is becoming more and more popular as a tourism destination. In the afternoon you will explore the city by walking with your bilingual guide and receive background information on the most important sights, you will taste some delicious typical snacks once visiting Las Peñas neighborhood.
Day 10 - Churute Mangroves Ecological Reserve (GUAYAQUIL)
Manglares Churute is a beautiful reserve near Guayaquil and is one of the few surviving mangle areas at the southern coast of Ecuador. It´s a very fragile ecosystem and known as a bird sanctuary; over 264 species are registered in this area. Howler Monkeys can also be spotted in the surrounding areas of the reserve. Itinerary Please note that the itinerary is subject to changes due to weather conditions and operational decisions In private transport you will travel to the Manglares Churute Reserve, which will take about two hours from Guayaquil. Your bilingual guide (Spanish-English) will take you along the Path of the Flower, during which he will give information about the local flora and fauna of the reserve. Afterward, you will take a boat ride through the mangroves; a perfect way to enjoy the different bird species living in this unique ecosystem. After this exciting activity, it is time to spot Howler Monkeys! You will walk for about one hour to hopefully spot the loud howler monkeys that are in the trees located in and around the Manglares Churute reserve. You will then enjoy a box lunch or a lunch at the nearby cacao farm. After lunch, you will get a tour around the farm. During this tour of about 1.5 hours, you will learn all about the cacao process and your local guide can tell you everything about the perfect conditions to grow one of the finest cacaos in the world. You will get to know how the tiny flowers of the cacao plants are being pollinated, how they dry the cacao beans coming from the (tasty!) fruits, and how you need to roast and grind beans in order to make quality chocolate! After this exciting day, it is time to return to Guayaquil on private transport.
Day 11 - Heading Home (GUAYAQUIL (GYE)
It's time to hit the road again as you make your way to your next destination where if you are planning to, you can enjoy exploring the beauty and culture of Ecuador further. Your private transfer will take you to the airport for your onward trip.