Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 15
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip



This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2015 - 31 December 2015

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America, sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha. With Colonial style buildings, a cosy Old Town and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, you may like to take a stroll this evening and see some sights. We will however be back in Quito at the end of the trip, giving you a chance to further experience the city. Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
Today begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight of about three hours to Baltra Island, Galapagos. Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll need to purchase a Transit Control Card before checking in to your Galapagos flight. This card costs about USD 20 and grants you access to the islands. Departure time will be between 8.20 am and 10.30 am depending on flight schedule time. Your flight will stop once in Guayaquil for a few hours to pick up more passengers. When the flight lands in Balra, you’ll go through immigration and need to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 in cash (small bills please). We then transfer from Baltra to Puerto Ayora and board a speed boat ride to Isabela Island, which takes about two and a half hours. Once we arrive at Isabela Island, you’ll need to pay an additional port fee of USD 5. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Isabela Island. The rest of your evening is free.
Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Next is a visit to the Sierra Negra Wetlands where you can observe exotic migratory birds like sandpiper, common stilt, plovers, flamingos and American oystercatcher. After about an hour here, take a bus to the highest part of Isabela Island where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The trail is long and rocky, so be prepared to spend five to six hours hiking today. If there’s time, you may also like to do some kayaking or swimming in the area.
Enjoy a free day on Isabela Island. You may like to visit Las Tintoreras where you can see the rare Galapagos penguin and "shark alley" where white tipped sharks hang out. You can also see marine iguanas here, as this is a popular nesting site. There’s also the chance to go snorkelling, walking through forests and lagoons to the tortoise breeding site, or visit the Wall of Tears which was built by the prisoners once kept here.
Wake up early for a morning speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz, which takes about two and a half hours. After settling into the hotel, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where there’s a visitor’s centre and museum. Learn about the repopulation of the islands once-endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat. You’ll have some free time to pursue optional activities of your choosing, such as snorkelling with rented equipment or taking at dip in the pure waters of Tortuga Bay.
In the morning, you’ll have some more free time to make the most of Isla Santa Cruz. Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal, which takes about three hours. In the afternoon, go on a guided walking tour of San Cristobal. The rest of the day is yours to explore the island as you wish. Why not relax on the many clear beaches, swim with sea lions or explore the various hiking trails? There’s so much to do here, with plenty of opportunities awaiting you tomorrow.
Today is a free day to experience the best of San Cristobal Island. Perhaps go for a hike to Frigate Bird Hill for panoramic views of the Pacific Islands and some bird watching. You may find it hard to leave Mann Beach, with its luscious setting and the opportunities to swim with adorable sea lions. Perhaps the most popular optional activity is an excursion to Kicker Rock. Go snorkelling and see swarms of Galapagos colourful marine life. Sea turtles, eagle rays and harmless sharks all live in these waters.
Our last excursion today is to the Interpretation Center, which houses exhibitions on natural history, human history and conservation. Learn more about the conservation movement and the process of sustainable tourism on the Galapagos Island. After the visit, say goodbye to these enchanting islands. The flight back to Quito leaves at midday and takes about three hours. A representative from Intrepid will take you from the airport to your hotel, then you’ll be free to explore more of Quito. You may like to get out and enjoy the nightlife of this vibrant Latin city.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities. As there's little time spent in Quito, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of your time in here. Ecuador has some of the most beautiful churches in the Americas, including the lavish La Compania de Jesus which is decorated with seven tonnes of gold and the pale art filled La Merced. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, including tours of the town, markets and culinary delights (see
View trip notes to read full itinerary


2 breakfasts
Speed boat
Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights)
Included activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre
  • Santa Cruz Highlands


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For information about altitude sickness click here

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Our Galapagos Venture trips score an average of 4.64 out of 5 based on 47 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos Venture , October 2015

Galapagos Venture , October 2015