17 days Tour

Ecuador Wildlife Discovery

Itinerary

Day 1: Quito

If you love the smell of history in the morning, Quito's Old City has over 40 churches and chapels, 16 convents and monasteries and 12 museums. Get cracking.

  • If arriving early, perhaps spend time getting acquainted with Quito
  • Evening pre-departure meeting at approx 6pm (details will be at the hotel Reception)
  • If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Day 2: Baltra - Bachas beach

Meals included: 3

Meet Sally Lightfoot. She's a crab. She likes strong currents, eating fish and aggressively attacking her friends.

  • Fly from Quito to Baltra, in the Galapagos Islands- Please note the pick-up time will usually be as early as 4am as Quito airport is a one hour drive and we must allow for delays and check-in times (Your Tour leader will confirm this time with you at the pre-departure meeting on day one.
  • Board the M.Y Pelikano and set sail for Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos
  • Visit Las Bachas beach - a major egg-laying site for sea turtles
  • Spot marine iguanas ashore and pink flamingos are commonly seen in the lagoon.
  • Sight remnants of a floating pier - a testimony to U.S. presence in the Galapagos during World War II

Day 3-4: Genovesa - Isla Santiago - Cerro Dragon

Meals included: 3

Watch your step. There are marine iguanas and sea lions all over the joint.

  • Sail overnight to reach Genovesa, the archipelagos northeast outpost
    Spot dolphins in the surrounding waters
  • View all three kinds of boobies on the island, including the rare red-footed booby; and numerous other species
  • Walk Prince Philip’s Steps and arrive in the heart of the seabird rookeries, with birds overhead and nesting among the cliffs
  •  Look out for storm petrels; Genovesa is the only place in the world where they can be seen on the wing during daytime
  • See large breeding colonies of seabirds and frigates at Darwin Bay
  • Go snorkelling and perhaps encounter manta rays, sharks, turtles, moray eels and many different fish

Day 5: Puerto Ayora - Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Station

Meals included: 3

Tortoises arrived in the Galapagos 1 million years ago. They've barely moved since.

  • Visit the town of Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Perhaps have a close-up encounter with a giant tortoise
  •  See loads of newborn and young giant turtles, thanks to the research station's breeding program
  • Take a bus to Santa Cruz highlands, visit the largest lava tunnels in the Galapagos and perhaps spot a wild Galapagos tortoise.

Day 6-7: Isabela - Fernandina - Punta Espinoza - Bahia Urbina

Meals included: 3

Marine iguanas sneeze. All the time. And when males bob their heads it means they either want to fight or mate. Confusing. 

Day 6

  • Visit Isabela, the archipelagos' largest island- Please note there's a US$20 fee paid upon arrival.
  • View the blue lagoons and rocky terrain at Punta Moreno,
  • Enjoy the backdrop of 3 active volcanoes, flamingos and lava formations
  • Stop by Elizabeth Bay and perhaps spot rays, turtles, sea lions, penguins and Sally Lightfoot Crabs

Day 7

  • Travel to Fernandina Island, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands
  • Walk on lava and see lava cactus, marine iguanas and flightless cormorants at Punta Espinosa
  • Spot the colourful land iguanas and giant tortoises at Bahia Urbina back on Isabela

Day 8: Isla Santiago - Playa Espumilla and Buccaneer Cove

Meals included: 3

The Galapagos fur seal is nature's beach babe, spending all day basking on the sand and asking passers-by to rub reef oil on their backs (OK, we made that last bit up).

  • Spend the day visiting sites on Santiago Island
  • Stop by the black sand beach of Puerto Egas and see hundreds of marine iguanas, fur seals and sea lions
  • Visit the beautiful Espumilla Beach, an important nesting site for sea turtles
  • Spot flamingos, pintail ducks and stilts in the mangroves
  • Get acquainted with the old sea dog's haunt of Caleta Bucanero (Buccaneer Cove), a place of local legends and stories, where pirates used to careen their ships

Day 9: Daphne – Baltra – Quito

Meals included: 1

During mating rituals, male blue-footed boobies strut around kicking their feet in the air as thousands of female boobies roll their eyes.

  • Visit Daphne Island and spot masked boobies, finches and perhaps even the frigate birds
  • Cruise back to Baltra and bid farewell to the Galapagos before a return flight to Quito

Day 10-13: Colonial Quito - Otavalo - Amazon Jungle

Meals included: 3

You can't leave without buying a rug or straw hat from the Otavalo market. Then it's time for weird animals, forest trails and huge rivers.

Day 10

  • Set off on a walking tour around the Centro Historico
  • Visit the Church of the Society of Jesus (La Compania de Jesus) 
  • Take in the views from El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf)
  • Drive north of the city and visit La Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world), built on what was claimed in 1736 to be the line of the equator
  • Watch experiments take place at Museo Solar Inti Nan, where the equator supposedly runs through since re-measurements were made
  • Perhaps enjoy an optional meal out in the evening

Day 11

  • Visit Otavalo and one of the best handicraft markets in the Andes
  • Pass through the surrounding villages and see local indigenous communities making beautiful handicrafts
  • Perhaps have time to visit a crater-lake known as Cuicocha before returning to Quito

Days 12-13

  • Travel by road over the mountains and down to the Amazon basin
  • Arrive at the volcanic baths at Papallacta and enjoy the hot thermal pools nestled amidst the mountain scenery
  • Journey on through jungle to reach the jungle lodge on the banks of the Napo River for a two-night stop
  • Explore the jungle with a local site guide who shares their extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna

Day 14-17: Banos - Cotopaxi Volcano - Quito

Meals included: 1

Get your adrenaline fix in Banos - bungee or white-water rafting maybe? Climb to the lookout on Cotopaxi Volcano before we head back to Quito.

Days 14-15

  • Drive steeply into the Andes, with the scenery of towering mountains and deep gorges all around
  • Take a short trek to El Pailon del Diablo - one of Ecuador's most beautiful waterfalls
  • Arrive in Banos, one of the loveliest settings in the Andes
  • Explore the town during free time or venture off into the surrounding countryside
  • Perhaps take up some mountain biking, white-water rafting or horseback riding

Day 16

  • Stop by Cotopaxi Volcano before returning to Quito
  • Perhaps venture up to the Cotopaxi refuge, from where there is an easy climb to the snow line and the glacier
  • Enjoy one last optional meal with new found friends

Day 17

  • The trip ends today after breakfast

At A Glance

Home of the Boobies

Trip Length

17 days

Trip Code

GSEW

Activities

Cruising, Wildlife

What to know

On arrival in the islands you must pay US$110 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park (this includes the US$10 transit fee) . There is also a fee of US$20 that must be paid when arriving at Isabela Island.

You will have a naturalist guide for the Galapagos cruise but there is no Geckos tour guide. Your Geckos guide will join you on Day 9 of your trip for the land section of your adventure.

Maximum Passengers

16 people

Countries Visited

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Start City

Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

End City

Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador