Home of the Boobies

Frigatebird spotting
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonial Quito
Sullivan Bay's black lava field
The tortoises of Charles Darwin Research Station
Puerto Ayora
Cotopaxi - the highest active snow-capped volcano in the world
Indian market town of Otavalo
The Amazon Basin
Andean town of Banos
  • Named as one of Lonely Planet's Top 10 Countries 2013, Ecuador is apparently the place to be. Well aren't you a trendsetter?

    (Was Ecuador Wildlife Discovery)


    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

    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
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

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

    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
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

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

    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.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

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

    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
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Isla Santiago - Playa Espumilla and Buccaneer Cove

    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
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Daphne – Baltra – Quito

    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

    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
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 14-17 - Banos - Cotopaxi Volcano - Quito

    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
  • What's Included

    • - An English speaking naturalist guide on board the Galapagos vessel - Shore excursions during your voyage - Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands - Jungle excursions during your Amazon stay - Quito city tour including One museum, Compania Church & Panecillo - Short hike to 'El Pailon del Diablo" (waterfall) - Entry to Cotopaxi National Park - Entry to Cuicocha Lake in Otavalo

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, entrance fees, Galapagos transit card, US$110 Galapagos National Park fee, US$20 Isabela Island fee, other meals, optional tours or activities during free time, snorkel hire, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature. Wetsuit hire of US$5 per day

    Safety Information

    Active Volcanoes
    This tour passes through volcanic areas.  In the instance a volcano becomes potentially dangerous and authorities declare nearby towns unsafe for travel, the itinerary will be re-routed. Where possible, Geckos will provide advance notice of such changes. At short notice, when this is not possible, your tour leader will provide up to date information on behalf of Geckos.

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Home of the Boobies

    Greta - Australia, 6 Apr, 2013
    Overall Rating

    The Galapagos Island component of the tour was fantastic! The boat (MY Pelikano) and its crew, and the guide Carlos were fabulous. The Andes component of the tour was also excellent as was the guide Daniela. Couldn't have asked for a better experience, or better travelling companions on both parts of the tour.

17 days
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- 16
Boat, Bus, Canoe, On foot, Plane, Private vehicle
7 nights Cruise boat, 7 nights Hotel, 2 nights Amazon jungle lodge
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

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.

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