Ecuador Highlands & Galapagos

17 Days | Be moved by the natural beauty of Ecuador, from the Andes and the Amazon to the Galapagos

4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews submitted.
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EUR 4.135 €
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From the heights of the Andes to the depths of the Amazon Jungle to the amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater. Tour the Galapagos' outstanding natural beauty and interesting history by foot and boat on this active adventure. You’ll also walk through the Amazon Jungle with an Indigenous guide leading the way, hike in Cotopaxi National Park – home to one of the world’s largest active volcanos – and canoe to your river-side eco-lodge accommodation on the edge of the rainforest. You’ll also get a glimpse into everyday life during a homestay with a local family where you’ll connect with them, lending a hand with chores, doing seasonal activities and maybe brushing up on your Espanol. There’s so much to see, do and learn in this South American paradise.

Trip overview

Map of Ecuador Highlands & Galapagos including Ecuador
Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Quito, Ecuador
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
Ecuador
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Original
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
GGSIC
We’re in the process of figuring out how much CO2-e this trip generates. In the meantime, find out more about our climate commitments and carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Stay on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest in eco lodge-style accommodation on the banks of the Arajuno River and enjoy a special evening walk through the jungle under the night sky.
  • Walk in the rainforest with an Indigenous guide by your side to lead the way, point out local birds and teach you about the incredible plant life that thrives here. Then, visit an Amazon animal rescue centre.
  • Marvel at the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano – one of the largest active volcanos in the world – while hiking through Cotopaxi National Park.
  • Live like a local as you’re welcomed into a family home in a sustainable community high in the hills of Ecuador, getting your hands dirty and helping with everyday tasks like reforestation projects, organic gardening or jam making, to name a few.
  • Get your blood pumping as you scale a volcano on Isabela Island, then get up close and personal with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. These nearly extinct creatures are one of the greatest drawcards to the Galapagos.

Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip involves a lot of travel by speedboat between the various Galapagos Islands. The rides can be quite bumpy at times, but the good news is that seasickness can often be managed with medication. Please consult a health professional to assess your suitability for such medication.
  • This trip includes a 17 km hike (approximately 6–7 hours) on rocky terrain. It's recommended you bring comfortable walking shoes that offer good support. This trip also includes jungle hikes, which can be strenuous due to the humidity. A decent level of fitness is required to feel comfortable when exploring the jungle.
  • This trip does include snorkeling on multiple days throughout the itinerary. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this tour.
  • This trip visits Quito which is at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Medical and Health Information’ section of the Essential Trip Information.
  • Temperatures in the Amazon and on the Galapagos Islands can fluctuate. It can get really hot, humid and sticky during the day, and cold at night. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle the heat during the day, and base layers are ideal for keeping warm at night.
  • Insects, especially mosquitoes, abound in the Amazon. Bring tropical strength insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.
  • While accommodation in the Amazon is clean, comfortable and ideally located, it can seem pretty basic. Please remember that this is a very remote part of the world.
  • From June to August the water in the Galapagos can be rougher than usual. Consequently, travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.
  • Proximity to the equator means the sun in the Galapagos is incredibly strong. Ensure you are prepared with sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. We also recommend a rash guard.
  • Many travellers express interest in diving in the Galapagos. We are now able to assist with booking this activity, but only through a provider that meets our internal safety policy. Speak to your agent at the time of booking for more information.
  • The Galapagos is a great place to switch off and take a break from your phone, as internet access can be patchy and wi-fi is not always available or reliable.
  • Hot water can be sporadic in some parts of the Galapagos, so there may be a few cold showers on the trip.

Itinerary

Map of Ecuador Highlands & Galapagos including Ecuador

Inclusions

Meals

16 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Plane, Speed Boat, Private Vehicle, Taxi, Public bus

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nights), Jungle Eco Lodge (2 nights), Homestay (2 nights)

Activities
  • Amazon - Guided rainforest hike and visit to animal rescue centre
  • Pailon del Diablo Waterfall
  • Walking tour of Banos
  • Cotopaxi -National Park walk
  • Quito - Local community experience
  • Otavalo - Market Visit
  • Quito - Historic District Walking Tour
  • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
  • San Cristobal - Excursion to Leon Dormido or Lobos Islands
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
  • Floreana - Snorkeling
  • Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley (2.5 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit (30 Minutes)
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela - Kayaking
  • Isla Isabela - Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
  • Santa Cruz – Organic Farm Tour
  • Santa Cruz – Encebollado Cooking Class
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay walk
  • Isla Santa Cruz - The Galapagos Conservancy visit
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre
Add on activities
  • Quilotoa - Quilotoa Lagoon (Full day) - USD100
  • Quito - Urban Adventures: Legends and Culture Tour - USD50
  • Quito - Papallacta Hot Springs (Full day) - USD70
  • Banos - Swing at the End of the World - USD2
  • Banos - Bellavista Viewpoint - Free
  • Banos - Hot springs - USD5
  • Route of the waterfalls - USD2
  • Quito - Flower Plantation Visit - USD10
  • Cotopaxi - National Park Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Wetsuit (shortsleeve) hire for 5 days - USD60

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1.Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regadless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 5 and 6 (Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

3. All visitors to the Galapagos must have a Transit Control Card. We will use your passport details to complete the application process on your behalf. At the Welcome Meeting in Quito, you will be required to pay your leader US$20 in cash to cover the fee.

4. The Galapagos National Park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$10) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment.
From the 1st of August 2024 the Galapagos Islands National Park fee will be increasing from US$100 to US$200.

5. Strict rules apply in the Galapagos Islands to protect and preserve its unique biodiversity. Intrepid supports these rules, which range from times of the day that a destination can be visited to the distance kept between people and wildlife. In particular, not removing anything from the environment (shells and corals, for example). All rules will be explained in more detail by your leader when you join the trip. Not adhering to these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and Intrepid losing the license to operate in the Galapagos Islands. Failure to adhere to the rules can result in your removal from the trip without a refund.
For more information: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/

6.. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.

7. Ecuador has implemented COVID-19 testing requirements for entry to the country, including special conditions for Galapagos. Please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Scott · Traveled December 2023
This trip was excellent although the home stay and the associated activities were not enjoyable. The accommodation was poor and spent a full day carrying out menial tasks that offered no value or stimulation. The Galápagos Islands were sensational and teeming with wildlife.
Review submitted 13 Jan 2024

Anna · Traveled September 2023
This tour was fantastic. A great way to see various parts of Ecuador as well as the Galapagos. Both guides were very knowledgeable and went above and beyond to make sure we had an excellent trip. Would recommend to friends.
Review submitted 15 Oct 2023
Ecuador Highlands & Galapagos
From
EUR 4.135 €