Natural and cultural history dance across Ecuador, where endemic Galapagos wildlife mixes with the enchantment of haciendas and heritage cities. Combining the iconic treasures, this best of Ecuador and Galapagos Islands tour wraps Quito and Imbabura around a luxury Galapagos cruise aboard a beautiful yacht. Blue-footed birds, golden churches, inquisitive seals, presidential haciendas, and orange iguanas standing on lava flows will all be on display during these 12 days that blend the unforgettable...
Quito – Aristocratic Welcome to Ecuador
Quito's streets wind down from the shadows of distant volcanoes, their facades doused in remarkable history. The historic central neighborhood became the world's first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, and almost every building has a story to tell. After you are greeted at the airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel, a 16th-century conqueror's mansion that's been converted into the city's finest hotel. Elegant and decadent, the interior matches the history of the neoclassic exterior. It's a step back in time that will immerse you in the heart and style of the World Heritage site. Then step outside and you'll be in Plaza de la Independencia, the center of the city from a time way before the Spanish or even the Incas arrived.
Quito – Touring the World's First UNESCO World Heritage Site
Galapagos – Giant Tortoises as the Galapagos Cruise Begins
Galapagos – Snorkeling with Seals and Exploring the Islands
Galapagos – Endemic and Iconic Birds on North Seymour
Galapagos – Volcanic Memoirs and Stunning Snorkeling
Galapagos to Quito – Spa Indulgence on Your Return to the Mainland
Imbabura – Boutique Towns and the Market of Otavalo
Imbabura – A Train Journey and Horse Ride through History
Day 10 - 11
Zuleta – Presidential History at Ecuador's Finest Hacienda
Quito – Departure
- Explore the Galapagos Islands on a luxury cruise ship
- Snorkel with seals, marvel at unique nesting sights, and wander across mysterious volcanic lava flows
- Tour the iconic Central Galapagos and discover unusual endemic species that epitomize the theory of evolution
- Take a walking tour through the enchanting streets of Quito, the world's first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Tour the quaint villages and towns of Imbabura, including the vivid streets of Otavalo on market day
- Horse ride through remote valleys and take a train journey through Chota, a combination of activities that reflect the history of the Highlands
- Complete the trip with two nights in Hacienda Zuleta, a lavish guesthouse that's been in the family of a former Ecuadorian president for over a century
The Galapagos Islands blur the distinction between fiction and natural history. Even after five days, they will not seem real. This series of volcanic islands is home to a distinct collection of unusual endemic wildlife. Cast adrift in the Pacific and separated from the world, they've evolved into a remarkable sight for all natural history lovers. Blue-footed boobies nest beside marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, and sea lion harems are discovered on snorkeling adventures and ten subspecies of giant tortoise plod across lawns of green. Magnificent frigates inflate their red chests to attract a mate as your eyes are distracted by a migratory whale. On this best of Ecuador and Galapagos Islands tour, you'll discover the eclectic treasures of the area and enjoy the Central Galapagos Islands on a five-day luxury cruise aboard a fantastic yacht. Consider perusing our other Galapagos cruise tours to truly customize this experience.
However, Ecuador's history isn't just a natural one. Quito was named as the world's first ever UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978 and makes for an intriguing journey back in time. Spend the first couple of days lost in its antiquity where you will discover more places that border on the fictional. From a church completely covered in gold to a 16th-century conqueror mansion that will be your hotel, the streets will be carved with centuries of conquest and excess.
Each Galapagos Island will be as unique as the wildlife that graces it. Visiting the Central Galapagos provides an idyllic and eclectic overview of the islands' endemic appeal. There will be multiple opportunities to discover the marine world, through a choice of snorkeling and glass-bottom boat rides. In the water, you can expect penguins, white-tip reef sharks, turtles, playful seals, and a remarkable kaleidoscope of tropical fish. You'll come head-to-head with giant tortoises and a strange group of endemic iguanas, as well as walking across lava flows that symbolize the islands' history. A visit to North Seymour Island and various other nesting sights will also ensure that iconic birdlife is experienced at remarkable proximity. Blue-footed boobies, red-chested frigates, Galapagos hawks, flamingos and swallowtail gulls are all featured here. This wildlife is everywhere and you will have to watch where you walk to ensure you don't step on it. Galapagos sea lion harems bask in the sand, iguanas are camouflaged, and you'll be just a couple of meters from endemic bird nests.
Then, back onboard, you learn more from the three naturalist guides. Life on this luxury boat will include three sumptuous meals a day, a jacuzzi, wide sundeck, comfortable lounge bar, and spacious cabins.
Back on land, Imbabura will be equally enchanting, a valley of boutique towns and haciendas that showcase the rural vibrancy of history. Following your Galapagos cruise, your stay here will offer a gentle and luxurious step into history. This includes accommodation at Hacienda Zuleta, a weekend home of two Ecuadorian presidents that's been converted into arguably the country's most opulent experience.
To learn more about Ecuador and Galapagos tours, read some of Zicasso's Galapagos tour reviews.
$11,695 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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