In Ecuador and the Galapagos little is like anything you've seen before. Welcome to a natural world with no parallel, a place where birds have red feet and adjacent islands have their own endemic species. Spend four days marveling at the idiosyncratic world of Ecuador's volcanoes and forests. Then a 7-day Galapagos tour on a luxury cruise, immerses you in the surreal and sublime, taking you to locations that epitomize evolution and diversity. This is the natural world at its most unique and resplendent.
Mindo – Hummingbirds Welcome You to Ecuador
Wings flap at impossible speeds in the Western Andean forests of Ecuador. Dozens of endemic hummingbirds flutter from flower to flower, their distinct tails and shocks of color contrasting with the indigenous trees. It's easy to become transfixed, many hours passing in the company of these charming characters. You'll be greeted at Quito Airport and transferred to your luxury hotel, a two-hour journey from Highlands to sub-tropical green. Toucans and quetzals also grace the surrounding trees as you're quickly immersed in the life of Ecuador's primary forest. Mindo is a haven for birdwatching, and a series of trails provide an opportunity to admire some of the country's most important endemic bird species. Enjoy dinner with a view over dozens of hummingbirds before a serene first night in Ecuador.
Mindo – Orchid Gardens, Butterflies, and Mating Dances
Quito – Exploring the Ancient City of Quito
Quito – Hiking the Slopes of Pichincha Volcano
San Cristobal – Giant Tortoises and Lava Lizards
Genovesa – Exploring the Unusual Bird Island
Santiago Island – Snorkeling with Sea Lions and Surreal Volcanic Landscapes
Fernandina – Flightless Cormorants and Incredible Snorkeling
Isabela Island – Penguins, Sharks and a Spectacular Marine World
Santa Cruz Island – Endemic Delights that Epitomize Evolution
Quito – Departure
- Spend seven days touring the Galapagos Islands, cruising the central and northern islands aboard a classic yacht
- Explore the islands' most iconic birdwatching locations, including the red-footed boobies of Genovesa and the penguins of Isabela
- Marvel at a marine world that includes turtles, reef sharks, rays, and hundreds of playful sea lions
- Discover the tales behind the theory of evolution by coming face to face with giant tortoises, red-chested frigates, unusual iguanas, and Darwin's finches
- Start the trip in the forests of Mindo, where butterflies and hummingbirds provide continual company
- Walk through the ancient city of Quito, a World Heritage site full of sublime churches and squares
- Hike along the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano and savor glorious snow-dappled panoramas of the Andean Mountains
Venture to Ecuador and the Galapagos and endemic wildlife twirls from every angle. Dozens of hummingbird and butterfly species flutter through indigenous forests, red-footed birds nest in their thousands, and unusual characters jump from volcanic cliffs to an abundant ocean. On different Galapagos Islands, you'll find iguanas and tortoises that have evolved to be biologically distinct. Beneath the surface, there's an encyclopedia of marine life that swims past snorkelers or glass-bottomed boats. Hundreds of unusual orchids flower in remote gardens and frigates inflate their red paunches with proud abandon. Enter this world and almost all the wildlife is utterly unique.
At the heart of this journey is a seven-day Northern Galapagos tour on an elegant yacht with a large sundeck overlooking migrating birds and whales. You visit the most important underwater and birdwatching sites in the archipelago while also encountering endemic reptiles that differ island by island. From red-footed booby nesting sights to turtle cleaning stations, the itinerary showcases the rare and dramatic wildlife that gives Galapagos its fame. You'll visit two distinct sites every day, from lawns mowed by giant tortoises to lava flows inhabited by flightless cormorants. A choice of fully-guided land and water activities allows you to explore from multiple angles; hike, climb, kayak, snorkel, swim and ride glass-bottomed boats to see the best of the area. Consider reading what other travelers had to say about their Galapagos Islands tour companies and agents that made the experience an educational and life-changing adventure.
Before seven days of luxury cruising, you visit two more of Ecuador's remarkable natural sights. In the tropical forests of Mindo, there are a hundred shades contrasting with the surrounding green. Hummingbirds and butterflies are abound, making for an idyllic and tranquil opening to the country's wildlife. A simmering volcanic undercurrent gives Ecuador and the Galapagos its distinct genetic starting point and on day four you hike along the slopes of Pichincha Volcano, gazing up at the snow line and across to a series of volcanic cones. Day three showcases another endemic side to the country as you take a walking tour through the World Heritage site of Quito, home to eclectic churches and stone-carved streets.
The natural wonder of Ecuador and the Galapagos is not one that is glimpsed or snatched at from a distance. On this itinerary, you're fully immersed in an idiosyncratic world. Watch where you step as iguanas cover the trail, stand within a wingspan of colorful birds, and admire marine life from a snorkel's length. Everything is within touching distance. But don't go touching, such unusual wildlife has only evolved because it's metamorphosed without outside influence. Over these 11 days, you have the unique opportunity to get completely lost in this surreal world.
$8,245 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.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
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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