Ecuador highlands tour & Galapagos cruise
Includes: • Tour leader • Internal flights • Transfers in Latin America on tour dates • Transport and accommodation • Meals and excursions as per tour profile
Description of Ecuador highlands tour & Galapagos cruise
With all the fuss surrounding the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s mainland is so often ignored. If you are traveling all this way to see the Galapagos, it is more than worth spending a week exploring the incredible Andean landscapes and rich, Quichua culture before jetting west for an island cruise. This Ecuador highlands tour and Galapagos cruise combines both seamlessly, as part of a guided, small group tour. Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest countries, surrounded by veritable giants, but its biodiversity is astonishing, and makes a delightful snow-capped contrast to the Galapagos’s dark volcanoes.
Your journey begins in the UNESCO-rated capital of Quito, brimming with beautifully preserved colonial architecture and the bustle of Quichua life. Travel up to the equator, just a few kilometres to the north, to stand with one foot on each hemisphere. You’ll then travel south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, passing giants such as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, before embarking on the exhilarating Devil’s Nose train ride along a series of sharp switchbacks as you descend into a lush valley. A private bus takes you further south still, to Cuenca – another UNESCO World Heritage Site, where 16th century colonial architecture combines with 15th century Inca stonework, and the odd llama strolls around town.
Your next stop is the sprawling port city of Guayaquil, from where your flight to the Galapagos will depart. The next week is spent aboard a comfortable motor yacht as you cruise around this incredible archipelago, disembarking usually twice a day to get up close to the landscapes and wildlife. Encounter giant tortoises, trek around volcanoes, snorkel with sea lions and meet the most northerly penguins in the world during what is sure to be one of the most memorable weeks of your life.
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3 Reviews of Ecuador highlands tour & Galapagos cruise
Reviewed on 06 Jan 2020 by John WhiteIt was all memorable especially the Galapagos islands Read full review
Reviewed on 29 Jan 2020 by Susan DickOur Galapagos experience excellent. The trip of highlands of Ecuador was not well organised and a fairly mundane itinerary-but local guide tried to make it better. Read full review
Reviewed on 13 Jan 2019 by Peter CollinsThe tour of the Galápagos Islands was the most memorable part of this vacation... Superb. Read full review
PlanetIt is feared that tourism in the Galápagos Islands is putting the wildlife in danger. Park authorities have introduced strict measures limiting the number of visitors and ships and it is important to work with responsible companies who adhere to such measures, and go even further to ensure operations do not endanger this unique environment where species are unafraid of man. Our Galapagos operator has taken various measures to ensure the impact of visitors to the islands is kept to an absolute minimum – this includes using bio-degradable cleaning products, having a sewage plant on board the larger boats, water processing plants on board, strict briefings to guests about how to behave on the islands etc. Group sizes are kept small for excursions and the guides are well qualified naturalists, whose primary concern is for the sustainability of the islands.
Our yacht in the Galápagos is the Seaman Journey, a boat that has a history of strictly upholding the Galapagos Park rules which are designed to protect the natural resources and animals within the park. These include the prohibition of taking any flora from the islands, touching the animals and staying within carefully planned viewing areas and designated pathways. Before you set off on the cruise, the specialist guides will cover these aspects in detail and throughout the trip the passengers are sensitively reminded of these. The team on board also provides and recycles plastic bottles so that nothing need be disposed or left on the islands.
The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) carries out scientific research and complementary actions with collaboration from local, national and international partners to conserve the Galápagos. Their focal point is the Charles Darwin Research Centre (CDRC) at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. We will visit this center as part of the tour and learn from the carefully laid out resources. It is possible to view and support the conservation and breeding of the unique species of Galápagos Tortoise, as well as learning in depth about Foundation’s work in conserving the island’s fragile natural resources.
PeopleWe believe it is important to include the Ecuadorian mainland on this itinerary. Too often visitors to the Galápagos bypass this beautiful country, thereby not bringing benefits of tourism to the mainland. By visiting small towns and markets such as Otavalo, Riobamba and Cuenca, our clients can directly buy handicrafts from the producers and money spent filters down through the local economy through our choice of hotels and local restaurants our tour leaders chose to take clients to.
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From £6800 - £7900 22 days excluding flights
Private in-depth tour of Ecuador and The Galapagos