Luxury Ecuador + The Galapagos Islands Itinerary

A Menu of Rainforests, Volcanoes + the Galapagos Islands

Though smaller than its neighbours, Ecuador offers an immense range of temptations for visitors. 

For most, nature is the draw, and it’s difficult to deny staying aboard a yacht while sailing through the Galapagos Islands is one of the most magical wildlife experiences on the planet. Though less well-known for its rainforest, the country has several of the best lodges in the remote Amazon Basin jungle.

In addition, Ecuador’s Northern and Southern Sierras are very authentic parts of the Andes and its towns, markets and people make the mountains a powerful experience. For those who ride, there’s the chance to enjoy incredible Andean terrain with overnight stays in historic haciendas, hosted by the owner’s family. Starting in Quito, the world’s first world heritage city, this trip takes guests to “The Avenue of the Volcanoes” and the crater lake of Quilotoa, as well as Cotopaxi’s indigenous markets and National Park. 

Cloud Forest is one of the most bio-diverse habitats in the world, with over 35,000 species of fauna, where during your stay you can visit a butterfly farm, take a night walk to see the nocturnal wildlife or ride open cable-cars (and cable-bikes!) up through the forest canopy.  Then it’s eight incredible days of sailing around the Galapagos islands, emerging fresh from your private cabin each day to birdwatch, snorkel, kayak, paddleboard and walk in Darwin’s footsteps as your guides point out the abounding and incredible wildlife amongst the islands. Finally, you’ll have some time back on dry land in Guayaquil, where you can enjoy the welcome comfort and activities of the magical Hacienda La Danesa. 

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KEY FACTS
PEAK TIME

April-December

PRICE

From GBP £15,750 USD $19,159 pp excl. flights

IDEAL LENGTH

17 days

FLIGHT TIME

15 hours 40 mins from London
6 hours 40 mins from NYC

CURRENCY

US Dollar

LANGUAGE

Spanish

Where you'll go

Quito

Cotopaxi

Cloud Forests

The Galapagos

Guayaquil

When to go

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Best time to visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit

CELEBRATE THIS

Ecuador has declared 97% of the Galapagos territory a national park and protected area. The islands are also a UNESCO world heritage site and an important Biosphere Reserve.

The itinerary

Cotopaxi National Park

Weather permitting, you’ll be able to see the snowcapped summits of the Cotopaxi and Antisana volcanoes before learning about the spectacular volcano’s major eruptions, as well as the local flora and fauna. Then visit Lake Limpiopungo on foot, or continue on a two-hour hike around the Cotopaxi area to enjoy spectacular views of the volcano and the Andean peaks.

Quito Hands on Experience

Start with a walk through the ‘Plaza de la Independencia’ viewing the Government Palace, the Cathedral, and some of the most important 16th/17th century churches. Then, it’s off to a traditional food market for a taste of Ecuadorian food and Quito market life, followed by a chocolate tasting session, a visit to the “Intiñan Museum” and simultaneously putting a foot in each hemisphere and, finally, aiming to stay on your feet after a big day with a visit to ‘Casa Agave’!

Cotopaxi's Indigenous Markets & Rose Farm

Local markets are a big part of Ecuadorian traditional culture, where communities come to buy from vendors they often know personally – and an eye-opening contrast to the way we shop in supermarkets. Then it’s on to a world-class rose farm that produces exquisite breeds of the flowers for discerning customers all over the world. You’ll learn about the process of producing these high-quality roses and the spectacular and intense range of colours they’ve cultivated.

Mashpi Lodge Excursions and Activities

A range of guided excursions and activities are on offer during your stay at Mashpi, during which you will discover the magic of the forest. Options include hiking, birdwatching, and rides on the Dragon Fly and Sky bike, taking you up through the forest canopy. There are also visits to the butterfly farm and night walks to see the nocturnal wildlife.

7 nights in the Galapagos aboard MV Origin/ Theory/ Evolve (Ecoventura)

After being shown to your cabin and treated to a delicious lunch, you’ll be fitted with wetsuit and snorkelling gear. The yacht circumnavigates the islands for the next eight days, stopping for snorkelling, kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, birdwatching, whale and wildlife-spotting, swimming with sea-lions… To put it bluntly, along with incredible dining, magic sunsets and Zodiac rides to sea-caves, this will be one of the most memorable weeks of your life.

Activities at Hacienda La Danesa

Inspired by their love of nature, and appreciation of food and comfort, Niels Olsen Pons and his wife Sonia have transformed this 500-hectare dairy farm, into a magical destination where guests can go horseback riding through the scenic countryside, mountain biking, hiking, or birdwatching in the nearby cloud forests, learn about sustainable farming practices and cacao production, or (we highly recommend!) take part in the chocolate-making process.

The itinerary

Accommodation

Where to stay

Nothing but the best. On this suggested Ecuador + Galapagos itinerary these are our handpicked, tried-and-tested choices.

Casa Gangotena, Quito

In the heart of Quito, this historic boutique hotel epitomizes elegance, culture, and luxury.

The meticulously restored mansion overlooks Plaza San Francisco, with many rooms offering views over the city's historic centre and the volcanic peaks of the Andes. The restaurant serves gourmet Ecuadorian and international cuisine, while the terrace, with its panoramic views, is the perfect spot for a cocktail after a day exploring Quito's colonial landmarks, museums, and markets.

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Chilcabamba Mountain Lodge, Cotopaxi

Located in the breathtaking Andes of Ecuador and surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes, this lodge is a fabulous choice for nature enthusiasts.

Perfect for those looking to connect with nature and immerse themselves in the beauty of this region. Warm accommodations are complemented by eco-friendly practices and farm-to-table dining, while activities comprise hiking trails, waterfall visits and indigenous cultural experiences.

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Mashpi Lodge, Cloud Forest

Mashpi Lodge is a sanctuary of natural wonder deep in the heart of the Ecuadorian cloud forest.

With a contemporary design that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding environment, the lodge is ideally positioned to offer immersive nature experiences such as guided excursions through lush trails, canopy gondola rides and visits to a local butterfly farm. Luxurious accommodations, exquisite cuisine and an on-site research centre complete the picture, amplified by a commitment to sustainability and conservation further that enhances ecotourism experience.

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El Crater, Quito

Nestled in the picturesque outskirts of Quito and 5 minutes from the Equator and the “middle of the world” museum, this boutique hotel looks onto a volcanic crater filled with ecological wonders.

The on-site restaurant serves a blend of Ecuadorian and international cuisine, allowing you to savour delightful dishes while gazing at the ever-changing landscapes of the crater, and the hotel offers guided tours, birdwatching, hiking, and horseback riding, all within the stunning the Pululahua crater.

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Hacienda La Danesa, Guayaquil

This exquisite, family-owned Ecuadorian estate invites guests to experience a gorgeous fusion of luxury and rural charm.

It offers comfortable accommodations within lush surroundings, where visitors can enjoy activities such horse riding, cocoa plantation tours and blissful riverside picnics. The hacienda's farm-to-table cuisine and dairy products add a delectable touch to each stay, amplified by a focus on sustainability for an enchanting escape that captures the heart of Ecuador's countryside.

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