Back in 1953, Metropolitan Touring embarked on a mission to share the wonders of Ecuador and the Galapagos with the world. Over 65 years later, we’ve amassed thousands of unforgettable stories from our guests, galvanizing just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve achieved in all that time.
A multitude of different factors marks the Metropolitan Touring difference, but if we had to narrow it down to just three of those, we’d say they’re: the warm and friendly Spirit we bring to the table when it comes to satisfying the desires and interests of our guests; the Passion we share for the destinations we take them to; and the Vision we have for the future of our planet and its unique sites. By coming along with us, you don’t take part in just any tour – you embark on an outstanding trip in the company of seasoned, professional travel experts.
Adventure by Disney
Globus Family of Brands
Stanford Alumni Association
Journey Latin America
Kuoni Travel UK LTD
Windrose Intercontinental Travel
Adventure World AU
South America Tourism Office
South America Travel Centre
Gentian Trails CIA. LTDA.
Pure Ecuador CIA. LTDA.
El Corte Inglés Tourmundial
South American Tours de Uruguay S.A.
Hallelujah World Travel
With an outstanding reputation comes an array of prestigious accolades, acknowledgements and memberships. Here’s a look at some of the groups we’re associated with:
Both consumers and the travel industry have recognized us throughout the years for our efforts. Below you’ll find a list of the awards and recognitions that we’ve received.
Larger cruise ships are not only better for the Galapago’s delicate environment, but also give visitors a better experience. The National Park rules limit the number of tourists at any one site, not the number of boats. If you choose a small boat, there are likely to be several other small boats there with you, whereas on our largest ship Santa Cruz II we almost always have sites to ourselves. Read More…
The Galápagos Islands, offer wildlife and landscapes found nowhere else on Earth. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, also has its own yacht. The “Sea Lion” boasts its own chef and a capacity for 20 passengers and two guides. Sea Lion itineraries encompass all five of the islands that day-trip boats are allowed to visit. Read More…
In South America, Metropolitan Touring, a major operator in the Galapagos Islands, reported strong growth among North American visitors, growing up to 11 percent from June through the start of September versus the year prior.
When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Architect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloud forest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff… Read More…
The 48-passenger La Pinta is big enough for a hot tub, a small gym and sun loungers, yet small enough to know that you’re getting an exclusive service from the 27-strong crew and four Ecuadorian naturalist guides. The ship has a small lecture room, tandem kayaks, snorkelling gear and three pangas. Like most expedition cruising, our trip was all about the activities. Read More…
And there, sitting in the middle of Baltra harbour was our floating home – the 63-metre cruiser La Pinta, complete with her own on-board doctor and gym. We would sail around the archipelago before landing on Santa Cruz Island and spending three nights at the eco-cool Finch Bay Hotel, near its bustling capital Puerto Ayora where I hopped to organise some diving. Read More…
A fount of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locations on Earth. Read More…
Humble Ecuador is roughly the size of Nevada but boasts more eco-diversity than destinations twice its size: Deserts, snow-capped peaks, tropical beaches, and rainforest are all within a few hours by car. Casa Gangotena, named for the family that built its Beaux-Arts mansion on Plaza San Francisco, the boutique hotel combines luxury and sense of place. Read More…
Casa Gangotena, a newly restored historic mansion that fuses neoclassical architecture and contemporary design, overlooking the Plaza San Francisco. I love this place, particularly the breakfast where I munch on granadillas (a kind of passion fruit) and uvillas (a fruit similar to gooseberries). The view from the rooftop bar is also splendid. Read More…
The Santa Cruz II, which carries just 90 passengers, made its maiden voyage in the Galapagos at the end of 2015. Fitted with the latest sustainable sailing technologies, this is an expedition ship – although it has elegantly furnished cabins, hot tubs, a panorama deck, and spacious communal areas. But after hiking around the islands… Read More…
From the moment you enter the Casa Gangotena lobby, with its plush sofas and chartreuse chairs, and are served a glass of agua de frescos, an infusion drink of herbs and flower petals, the hotel’s heritage hits you. In both iterations of the mansion, plenty of intrigue no doubt passed among Gangotena guests within the courtyard and garden. Read More…
Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it. Read More…
This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital. Read More…
Quito has some of the continent’s best examples of colonial art and architecture. Book a room at Casa Gangotena, a restored historic mansion with a prime setting that overlooks Plaza San Francisco.
Metropolitan Touring was founded on March 15, 1953, by a group of young and visionary entrepreneurs led by Eduardo Proaño. Their goal? To make Ecuador a bona fide tourism destination. Day and night, Metropolitan Touring worked with the Ecuadorian government to create the necessary regulations and policies that would help foster tourism. Soon enough, Metropolitan Touring became the pioneer of tours in Ecuador and Galapagos. It became one of the very first tour operators to handle itineraries that opened up new areas of the country to foreign visitors.
By the early 21st Century, Metropolitan Touring had grown considerably. It was now owned by Roque Sevilla (former Mayor of Quito) and directed by Paulina Burbano de Lara. The company had offices in Colombia and Peru and had expanded its fleet of Galapagos cruises to a total of 3 luxurious Expedition Vessels. Not to mention, the company was now the proud owner and operator of 3 prestigious hotels in Ecuador – two of which are officially a part of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World!
When it comes to sustainability, Metropolitan Touring sets the bar. Each one of our tours has been designed with the state and well-being of our planet in mind. Often, tourism operations can cause significant damage to a fragile environment if they aren’t handled in a sustainable manner. Transportation tends to be the most significant contributor to an unmanageable carbon footprint. Fortunately, we have implemented highly sustainable tech into our operations. Furthermore, any remaining impact is offset by the 1,300 hectares (3,200 acres) of tropical forest that we own and help preserve at our Mashpi Reserve.
We also sponsor trips for students, help out Naturalist Guides that are still in training, and offer empowering workshops for numerous different communities. Our commitment efforts have not gone unnoticed and have even been recognized with multiple awards, including Honorable Mentions in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s World Savers Award, “Best Ground Operator” in the UK’s Latin American Travel Association, a finalist nomination in the World Travel & Tourism Council ‘Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’, and “South America’s Leading Green Hotel” for the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and Mashpi Lodge.
You can find out more by clicking here and reading our blog about Sustainability at Metropolitan Touring!
Our Mission: To share the wonders of South America with the world’s explorers through memorable experiences in unique cultures and natural environments
Our Vision: To become the gold standard of excellence in the travel industry in South America.
What is Metrojourneys?
Metrojourneys is the digital face of Metropolitan Touring, consisting of a dynamic team that is equally committed to making your Galapagos adventure a genuinely unforgettable experience. This subdivision of the company remains just as experienced, professional, and seasoned.