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Ecuador Highlands & Galapagos

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

4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews submitted.
Explorer
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NZD $5,967
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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 (to name just a few of the epic nature-loving adventures). But it’s not all just about the landscapes here, 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 perhaps, 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 16
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.
  • The Galapagos Islands played a profound role in forming Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Explore the islands on this in-depth adventure, coming face-to-face with some of the most extraordinary wildlife on earth
  • Get your blood pumping as you scale a volcano on Isabela Island, 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
  • This is a land based Galapagos trip, we use locally owned hotels on the islands. On this trip you will have more opportunities to interact with the locals as opposed to staying on a boat.

Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip involves a lot of travel by speed boat between the various Galapagos Islands, the rides can be quite bumpy at times. The good news is that seasickness can often be managed with medication. Consult a health professional before your trip.
  • Wildlife is a big focus on this trip, with activities like bird watching and swimming.
  • This trip includes a 17-km hike (approximately 6–7 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommend bringing 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.
  • The sun in the Galapagos islands is incredibly strong due to its close proximity to the equator, ensure you are well prepared with sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses and a rash guard if desired.
  • 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 can fluctuate. It can get really hot, humid, 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2023 to 31 December 2023.

View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2024 - 31 December 2024

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
  • Walking tour of Banos
  • Quito - Cotopaxi National Park walk
  • Quito - Local community experience
  • Otavalo - Market Visit
  • 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 - Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Kayaking
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay walk
Add on activities
  • Quilotoa - Quilotoa Lagoon (Full day) - USD100
  • Urban Adventures: Quito Legends and Culture Tour - USD79
  • Quito - Papallacta Hot Springs (Full day) - USD70
  • Banos - Swing at the End of the World - USD2
  • Banos - Bellavista Viewpoint - Free
  • Pailon del Diablo Waterfall - USD2
  • Banos - Hot springs - USD5
  • Route of the waterfalls - USD2
  • Quito - Flower Plantation Visit - USD10
  • Cotopaxi - National Park Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Urban Adventures: Quito Market Discovery - USD98
  • Urban Adventures: Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - USD104
  • Wetsuit (shortsleeve) hire for 5 days - USD60
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes) - Free

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 - regardless 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. A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos 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.
4. Strict rules apply in the Galapagos Islands aimed at protecting and preserving its unique biodiversity. Intrepid strongly agrees and supports these rules which range from times of the day that a destination can be visited to the distance kept between people and wildlife and especially not removing anything from the environment ( shells and corals for example) – all these rules will be explained in more detail by your Leader on the ground. Not adhering to these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and can result in Intrepid losing the license to operate in the Galapagos Islands – these rules must be adhered to by all, without exception. Failure to adhere to the rules can result in being removed from the trip without refund.
For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/
5. 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.
6. 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 1 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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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
NZD $5,967