Explore the natural wonders of Ecuador, and gain a deeper understanding of the beautiful, but fragile natural diversity of our planet…

INTRODUCTION

This luxury Ecuador vacation is an excursion to some of the most incredible natural habitats on our planet. This journey begins with a step back in time to colonial Quito and then six-hundred miles of Pacific Ocean to reach the archipelago of the famed Galapagos Islands. Any visit here is life changing. Charles Darwin contemplated the enormity of his learning for over twenty-three years before publishing his seminal work “On the Origin of the Species” in 1859. Your naturalist guides will educate you on the eco-systems at work but each voyage here is deeply personal. You will treasure time alone to contemplate where we all fit into this grand scheme of mother nature. The final visit to Mashpi Lodge in the cloud forest is a befitting epilogue. Three-thousand two-hundred acres of predominantly prime growth cloud forest. Here, resident naturalist guides and scientists lead you on deeply immersive journeys through the Chocó Reserve to the burgeoning habitats of this newly appointed UNESCO site. A perfect luxury Galapagos and Ecuador vacation in tune with mother earth.

QUICK OVERVIEW BY DAY:

  • Day 01 – Arrive Quito
  • Day 02 – Morning City Tour of Colonial Quito
  • Day 03 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise
  • Day 04 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise
  • Day 05 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise
  • Day 06 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise
  • Day 07 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise & Flight to Quito
  • Day 08 – Quito to Mashpi Lodge
  • Day 09 – Mashpi Lodge
  • Day 10 – Mashpi Lodge
  • Day 11 – Mashpi Lodge to Quito
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Day 01 – Arrive Quito

Arrival to Quito Airport, collection by our representative and transfer to your Quito Hotel.

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Day 02 – Morning City Tour of Colonial Quito

We begin with a visit to the colonial heart of Quito founded in 1534 by Diego de Almagro. The city was made a UNESCO world culture site back in 1978 denoting its exemplary preservation of some of the finest buildings in all of the Americas. The finest churches are included on our tour of La Compania, the monastery of San Francisco and we follow with an insight to working life in Quito at La Ronda. To encompass the panorama of the city we will venture up Panecillo Hill aside the famous Virgin of Panecillo, where we will be able to admire the famous Panecillo’s virgin. Followed by lunch in the heart of the old city. In the afternoon we conclude our Quito visit at Republica del Cacao to enjoy and learn the secrets that have driven this brand to represent the ultimate Ecuadorian chocolate experience.

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Day 03 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise

This morning you will fly from Quito across the Pacific some 600 miles to the Galapagos Island of Baltra. On arrival, you will take our guided tour to the beautiful northern highlands for some trekking on Santa Cruz Island en- route to your luxury Galapagos cruise boat. You cruise is a 4-night cruise aboard a luxuriously appointed vessel with fully qualified professional naturalist guides.

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Day 04 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise

This morning on Santiago Island we take time to visit Sullivan Bay named after Darwin’s officer James Sullivan from the HMS Beagle. There are excellent snorkeling opportunities at this location. Once ashore we get to trek some of its fascinating 19th century lava field. After lunch we set course to Bartholomew Island and its Pinnacle Rock. This island, home to an extinct volcano, is one of the most beautiful in all of the Galapagos. The waters around the Pinnacle Rock are home to penguins, marine turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, and other tropical fish. Looking skyward you can expect to see some herons and Galapagos hawks among a host of others.

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Day 05 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise

Today we begin at Prince Phillip's Steps on Genovesa Island. This island is also known as the bird island and is a great location to see red footed boobies, yellow–crowned herons, Nazca boobies and also swallow-tailed gulls along the trail. In the afternoon we visit Darwin Bay, spanning the remnants of a collapsed volcano caldera. It boasts a beautiful coral beach as the starting point of a birdwatcher’s paradise as we venture upward, past tide pools and lava ridges, to a viewing point over the picturesque bay. Rarities here include the sharp-beaked ground finch and the smallest marine iguanas on the archipelago.

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Day 06 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise.

We will disembark on a black sandy beach on Santiago (St. James) Island where you can marvel at the host of species to be discovered. These include seals, sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, marine Iguanas, land and sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks to name but a few. Our visit includes Puerto Egas originally home to a salt extraction industry until a few decades ago. This location is a good snorkeling site to view tropical fish such as the king angelfish. Having taken time for lunch we will encounter Espumilla Beach and Buccaneer Cove. The cove is so named as having been a popular anchorage for past sailors to seek out freshwater supplies and tortoise meat before continuing their voyages back to Europe. The waters straddling the dark red sandy beach offer a rich diversity of marine life including, hammerhead sharks, green sea tortoises, eagle rays and barracudas along with shoreline inhabitants of primarily Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas.

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Day 07 – Luxury Galapagos Cruise & Flight to Quito.

Early in the day we visit the lagoon of Carrion Point with its turquoise waters. At this beautiful spot you can expect to do some snorkeling and view the white-tip reef sharks and marbled ray among a multitude of marine specimens here. Directly after, we disembark and your guide will escort you to the airport and connect you to your onward flight to Quito. Overnight Quito Hotel.

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Day 08 – Quito to Mashpi Lodge

UNESCO has noted the Choco Andino de Pichincha, home of Mashpi Lodge as a Biosphere Reserve in July, 2018. This unique lodge is located on 3,200 acres of high cloud forest, some 100km from Quito and is a haven of wildlife for the privileged 47 guests. It is an essential part of your luxury Ecuador vacation offering the finest local cuisine amidst a stunning backdrop of pristine forest. The lodge offers guided tours by expert naturalist guides that also work at the habitats research station on site. You can even ride a sky bike across the tree canopy as a once in a lifetime experience and at the end of the day enjoy the first-rate spa facilities to unwind in this magical natural oasis.

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Day 09 – Mashpi Lodge

Highlights today include the Butterfly Life Center visit and a walk along the Howler Monkey Trail where for sure we will encounter some rare specimens of the forest. You will be given a full insight by your expert guide to the ecology of the cloud forest and the proliferation of medicinal plants which the forest has in store. Later in the afternoon you will take the Cucharillos route with its magical pools and waterfalls and to crown the day a night walk in the cloud forest. On the night walk you can encounter owls, cusumbo and even see bioluminescent fungi en route. You will certainly enjoy your delicious dinner at the lodge following this memorable and adventurous day of exploration in a very special place.

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Day 10 – Mashpi Lodge

Today you can try the air bike and cycle for two-hundred meters across the tree canopy or take a lookout from the thirty-meter-high observation tower. This is a good place to observe some of the thirty-two different species of hummingbird along with tanagers, toucans and squirrels. There is also a selection of trails to enjoy such as the Oxibelis Path or San Vincente which lead to a beautiful secluded waterfall. Be sure to have your camera at the ready as the wildlife showcase waits for nobody!

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Day 11 – Mashpi Lodge to Quito

More time in the morning to enjoy the hinterland trails and following on from that you will take your transfer back to Quito and connection to your onward flight home. What will this journey have done for you? You will now possess a deeper understanding of the beautiful, but fragile, natural diversity of our planet. Such learning for yourself and what you impart on the next generation, is the key to creating a symbiotic world of both equilibrium and harmony.

TOUR INFORMATION

Our trips are tailor-made to suit your requirements. Contact a luxury Ecuador Vacations expert for a comprehensive itinerary and pricing:

  • US$ 750+ per person per day (based on 5-star hotels)**
  • US$ 700 – 750 per person per day (based on 4-star hotels)**
  • US$ 600 – 700 per person per day (based on 3-star hotels)**

**NOTE: The price of the trip varies greatly depending on the level of cruise and hotels that are included in your trip. Talk to a travel expert about the a cruise and hotels that best meets your budget expectations.

Included in the Price:

  • Guided excursions as described in itinerary.
  • Hotel nights + breakfasts.
  • Airport collections and drop-offs with check-in and baggage assistance.
  • 24 Hour emergency contact number and assistance (in-country).

Not Included in the Price:

  • International flights.
  • Domestic flight package. Flights needed Quito – Galapagos – Quito/Guayaquil. Approximate cost US$ 460 – 600. We can purchase these flights on your behalf.
  • INGALA Transit Control Card – US$ 20 pp (subject to change at any time).
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee: US$ 100 pp (adult) / US$ 50 pp (child) (subject to change at any time).
  • Tips or gratuities.
  • Other meals not stated in the itinerary.
  • Travel insurance.

Summary
You can travel to the Galapagos anytime of the year. There isn’t really a good or bad time to travel, simply different times. When you travel could depend on the wildlife that you want to see, breading patterns or when the water is warmer for snorkeling. There are many considerations! December – February offers a warmer climate, and sea temperatures also start to increase meaning that you’ll probably not need a wet suit for snorkeling come February. Over Christmas and New Year hotel and cruise prices are usually higher availability is often challenging (often booked up 12-16 months in advance). March – April: These are the warmest months of the year and an increasingly popular time to travel. During these months you’ll want air-conditioning in your hotel/cruise to offset the scorching sun. May – July: Temperatures in the Galapagos start to cool off, so a great time for exploring the islands. This is a popular period to travel, so booking with lots of anticipation is important during this period. Towards the end of these months, nighttime temperatures can get a little nippy, so you’ll need to be prepared with a light jacket or jumper. August – November: These are the coolest months in the Galapagos. This period is known as the “garua” period as the islands and seas are encapsulated in a light mist. If hiking in the highlands you may require a light water-proof jacket. August and September are known for having choppier seas. These months are good for snorkeling as the water is clearer, but due to the lower sea temperatures a wetsuit is usually required. This would be considered low season in the Galapagos.

For the Mashpi Lodge, you can travel anytime of the year. From December through until April, this is considered the wet season, so you’ll need to be prepared with water-proof clothing. Remember can rain any time of the year, but from May through until November the chances of torrential rain for long periods of time is less.

Booking With Anticipation
We highly recommend that you plan this type of vacation with as much anticipation as possible. It is not uncommon over holiday periods and during high-season (April – July) that hotels and cruises are booked up 12- 16 months in advance.

Departure Dates:
Dates are flexible and customized to meet your needs. Let us know which dates work best for you and we will tailor the itinerary accordingly.

Suitability:
This Galapagos & Mashpi Lodge vacation package is suitable for people looking for an active trip that includes light-adventure. It is suitable for all ages but consider carefully taking young children or babies to the Galapagos and the Amazon. We recommend a minimum age of 8 years for children.

Difficulty:
Easy – Moderate: This Galapagos & Mashpi Lodge travel package is suitable for most people. It is recommended to have a good level of fitness and mobility as excursions can include moderately-challenging hikes of 1-2 hours. Some Galapagos island excursions require wet landings, meaning that you’ll be taken close to the shore in a zodiac boat, and you’ll disembark in shallow water.

Destinations Visited:

  • Quito
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Choco Andino de Pichincha
  • Mashpi Lodge

Vacation Package Type:

  • Sightseeing
  • Hiking
  • Light-adventure
  • Wildlife
  • Jungle
  • Luxury

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU

Tell us about your travel plans, and let us hand-craft the perfect trip for you

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