Andes and Galapagos 12 day package

New! Top Accommodations for Serious Travellers. This package is the result of our last best seller tailor made 2016 tours

Featuring: JW Marriott hotel + Scenic tour of Quito + Casa Gangotena Hotel + Patate + Riobamba + Cotopaxi National Park + Baños & Walterfalls + Cuenca + Wyndham Hotel + Galapagos Islands (Baltra, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, South Plaza, North Seymour, Bartolomé, Santiago) + Guayaquil


Day 1

jwmarriot quito hotel
jwmarriot quito hotel luxury room
Arrival transfer from airport to hotel

Quito Transfers in/out – airport/hotel
Welcome to Quito and Ecuador!. At the airport you will be greeted by a member of our organization, we will escort you all the way to your hotel, giving you a short briefing about Quito and the country in general with valuable information you need to know.

Over Night at JW Marriott – Deluxe room

Room information
Room Features: 38sqm/409sqft-45sqm/484sqft, Air-conditioned, This room is non-smoking, Connecting rooms are not available, Living/sitting area, Windows, soundproof.
Beds and Bedding: Maximum Occupancy: 2, 1 King or 2 Queen, Rollaway beds not permitted, Cribs not permitted, Featherbed, and Duvet, Bath and Bathroom Features. Marble bathroom

Day 2

Half-Day Scenic tour of Quito
A visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture.

Tour information
Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will stroll at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. We will visit the temple of *La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. We will continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. The tour ends at a lookout point with a great view of Quito.
Over-night at Casa Gangotena #1 Hotel in Quito (TripAdvisor ranking)
A visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture.

Luxury Room information
Room Features: Includes: accommodation per night per room, breakfast and afternoon Quiteño coffee. 32″ flat screen TV, Cable TV with over 90 national and international channels, International telephone IDD, Free WiFi, Air conditioning and heating, In-room safety deposit box, All bathrooms have showers and bathtubs, Luxury L’Occitanne bathroom amenities.

Day 3

Spirit of the Andes Day 1/4
Cotopaxi National Park – Hacienda San Agustín de Callo – Patate

A four-day immersion in the Andean World, from Quito, along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, to Cuenca, through the spectacular scenery of the Andes, with visits to centenary Haciendas, fertile fields of vegetables and roses, in close contact with the local culture. This is a journey along the history, the spirituality, the flavours, the customs, traditions and legends of the Andean Region. Great food, great scenery, great experiences

acordion info information
We will departure early from Quito by motorcar on the Pan-American Highway to the south, to visit the Cotopaxi National Park, an ecological sanctuary of 88,920 acres, around the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, which rises 5897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level. The evergreen landscape of the Ecuadorian highlands is one of the main attractions, along valleys and mountains covered by multicolored fields. After an hour and a half, the entrance to the park is reached and then it’s up a dirt road for approximately one hour. Upon arrival to the park there is an introductory briefing about the habitat of the Andean paramo or moorlands, its flora and fauna in the small Interpretation Center.

Travel along valleys and mountains to the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, for an up-close view of the Andean paramo habitat and its unique flora and fauna; a number of high-altitude birds can be observed around Limpiopungo Lagoon, and occasionally, wild horses. On clear days, the perfect snow-capped cone of the Cotopaxi Volcano is quite a sight! At the foot of the volcano not far from the National Park is a charming hacienda, where lunch is served in a room with Inca walls, perfectly preserved through the centuries -a truly archaeological jewel. After lunch, mingle with the llamas of the hacienda and stroll along a rose plantation, many varieties, many colours, ready for exportation. From here, descend towards the town of Patate, to spend the night at a 300-year old hacienda, hidden among the mountains, a magical ambience, where as the afternoon mist descends. This place is full of stories about those who left in search of the treasure of the Incas in the nearby Llanganatis mountains – and never returned. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4

Spirit of the Andes Day 2/4
Baños – Route of the Cascades – Ambato – El Arenal – Riobamba

After breakfast, we take a spectacular route along the gorge of the Pastaza River to the town of Baños (Baths), right at the foot of Tungurahua Volcano, from where the thermal waters that gave it its name emerge. We will drive along the Route of the Cascades to El Pailón del Diablo (the Devil’s Cauldron)

acordion info information
the most adventurous will descend (medium difficulty) to observe the impressive cascade up close, surrounded by subtropical vegetation and orchids. The force and sound of the waters can also be appreciated from a lookout point without descending. Lunch is served at an hacienda / hostel in the surroundings, and in the afternoon a short stroll along Baños -a town with an international pulse, full of people from all over the world as well as many locals who pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Holy Water. From here, the route to Riobamba is up the mountain, to where the clouds can be touched, alongside the massive Chimborazo, the highest mountain of Ecuador, on the high paramo where vicuñas graze and scamper – this is a protected Faunistic Preserve. On the hillsides, where the land is worked beneath the plow, one might think the farmer’s true objective was to paint the hills in fascinating patterns, not just to till the dark, fertile soil. Great photo ops on this route! Arrive to Riobamba for dinner and lodging

Day 5

Spirit of the Andes Day 3/4
Riobamba – Alausí – Devil’s Nose – Alausi – Ingapirca – Cuenca
After an early breakfast we will depart by road, skirting the flanks of the Andes, an astonishing ride, twisting and turning, along bridging ravines and river gorges. We will ride through Indian villages and cultivated fields.

acordion info information
Here is where most of the cereals in Ecuador are grown, among them, the quinua, considered the perfect grain for its nutritional value. After 2 hours, the trip arrives at the small town of Alausí, the beating heart of the rehabilitation of the Ecuadorian Railway Company in the last years. Great effort has been made to restore the 100-year old train to its old glory and romance. Stations have been renewed, railways and sleepers replaced, engines and classic coaches renovate, and, most important, the project involves the local communities along the route in the rail operation. The highlight is the thrilling 800-metre (2630-foot) descent on the zigzag cuttings on the rock of the Devil’s Nose. At the bottom one finds the newly renovated Station of Sibambe. Here there is time to visit the local museum “Condor Puñuna” built and run by the Nizag community, see the display of local handcrafts, fruit and medicinal plants and try the local coffee. The train whistle calls guests back on board for the return to the Station of Alausí, where a light snack is served to regain strength. Continue exploring the Andean world by motorcoach to the south, visiting the Inca Fortress of Ingapirca en-route. Lunch in the area. Arrival to Cuenca at dusk for dinner and accommodations.

Day 6

Spirit of the Andes Day 4/4
Cuenca (B/L/-)
Cuenca a World Cultural Heritage Site. Cuenca is Ecuador’s third largest city; yet it still retains its pleasant provincial air. Its red tiled roofs, cobblestone streets, flowery plazas and museums make it very special.

acordion info information
This comprehensive visit includes the Plaza of San Sebastian, a colorful artisans market, where handicrafts are sold. Then, visit the Museum of Modern Art, featuring an excellent collection of contemporary fine art. Next is a visit to the flower market at the small plaza in front of the carved stone entrance to the church of El Carmen de la Asunción.
From here, a stroll to the main square, surrounded by the imposing blue-domed Cathedral, the Court of Justice, the Municipal Palace, the Governor’s Palace and the Church of El Sagrario. Then, a drive along the Tomebamba river to admire the city’s overhanging houses. Lunch is at one of the excellent restaurants in Cuenca, and in the afternoon, drive for a short visit to a ceramics handcraft shop. Then, observe the whole process of making the famous Panama Hats of high-quality toquilla straw. The Spirit of the Andes adventure ends at the airport – to take to flight to Quito or Guayaquil. Air ticket is extra.

Day 6

Ticket Cuenca-Guayaquil (one way)
Overnigth at Wyndham hotel in Guayaquil – Deluxe room

Deluxe room information
2 Deluxe Double Beds with pillow top, 43 inches flat screen satellite TV, air conditioning, work desk with comfort chair,
coffee maker, auto-off iron and ironing board, iPhone/iPod clock radio, bathrobe, hair dryer, digital safe.

Day 7

Shared transfer from hotel to airport
Galapagos Islands itinerary 5days onboard Yacht Isabela II

Itinerary overview information
Central Galapagos Islands
Baltra, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, South Plaza, North Seymour, Bartolomé, Santiago.

Highlight Sites
Pinnacle Rock,Charles Darwin Research Station.

Icon Species
Galápagos sea lion, Galápagos fur sea lion, Giant tortoises, Santa Fe land iguana, Galápagos land iguana, Hybrid iguana, Marine iguanas, Blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, Galápagos doves, Galápagos mockingbirds, Darwin finches, Greater flamingos, Galápagos hawks, Brown pelicans, Greater frigates, Magnificent frigates, Galápagos penguins, Swallow-tailed gulls, Lava gulls, Lava (striated) herons.

Galapagos Islands itinerary Day 1/5
Baltra Airport, Puerto Ayora & Charles Darwin Station

Day 1 Galapagos Islands information
(Santa Cruz Island): We arrive at Baltra Airport and then we take you to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.

Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station: After driving down from the highlands, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise. The campus houses the islands’ headquarters of scientific investigation and conservation. Late afternoon we stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking. Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.

Day 8

Galapagos Islands itinerary Day 2/5
Santa Fe Island/South Plaza Island and South Plaza.

Day 2 Galapagos Islands information
Santa Fe Island/South Plaza Island: A stunning anchorage provides our jumping-off point for our visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Snorkelling and swimming from the beach, kayaking or a ride in our glass-bottom boat.

South Plaza: The turquoise waters of the channel here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by yellow-gray land iguanas.

Day 9

Galapagos Islands itinerary Day 3/5
North Seymour Island / Las Bachas & Las Bachas

Day 3 Galapagos Islands information
North Seymour Island / Las Bachas: The morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. There are opportunities for snorkelling, coastal exploration or glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.

Las Bachas: After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. We can swim and/or snorkel from the beach.

Day 10

Galapagos Islands itinerary Day 4/5
Bartolomé Island/Sullivan Bay (James Island) & Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)

Day 4 Galapagos Islands information
Bartolomé Island/Sullivan Bay (James Island): This morning, a Galápagos icon awaits for us: Bartolomé Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, we take the dinghies for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock.

Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island): After lunch, we get on board the inflatable dinghies to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach great for swimming, and with a trail over a lava field that flowed here less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos.

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