Quilotoa Lake

The Ultimate 11 Day Galapagos Tour and Beyond - Ecuador

Welcome to a transcendent journey, an 11 day Galapagos tour that promises to redefine your notion of travel. Ecuador, a country of unparalleled biodiversity and cultural richness, unfolds its wonders in a seamless blend of landscapes and experiences.

From the lofty peaks of the Andes to the vibrant life of the Amazon Rainforest and the otherworldly charm of the Galapagos Islands, this expedition is a symphony of nature and adventure.

11 Day Ecuador Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Quito

Your guide will pick you up at the airport to take you to your hotel.

Quito is the second highest capital in the entire world. It is located in the Andean mountains of South America and has one the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Quito was the capital of the Inca Empire. It was settled by the Quitus Tribe in the first millennium. Sebastian de Benalcazar destroyed it in 1534.

UNESCO declared Quito’s colonial old city a World Heritage Site back in 1978. It is one the largest and most well-preserved colonial centres in Latin America. It is also home of some of the best art museums, churches, and galleries in South America.

Overnight in Quito

Day 2: Mindo Experience Day Tour

Start your day with an early breakfast as we embark on a mesmerizing journey from Quito to Mindo, heading northwest on the Nono-Tandayapa-Bellavista Highway. The Mindo Valley is nestled in the cloud forests and is home to many bird species, butterflies, and mammals.

A cable car ride provides a panoramic view of the diverse wildlife, flora, and fauna in this natural wonderland. Visit an orchid garden to see the variety of species at their best. Another must-see is the captivating butterfly garden. It's a paradise with vibrant colors and delicate wings.

Take a break for lunch to recharge your batteries before embarking on an exciting adventure. Mindo offers many adrenaline-filled activities including tubing. hiking, mountain biking. kayaking and trekking.

Join us on an unforgettable day trip. Nature's wonders and exciting adventure await you at every turn. Enjoy the thrills of extreme sports, and the magic of cloud forests with their vibrant biodiversity.

Overnight in Quito

Day 3: Quilotoa Lake Day Tour

After breakfast, you will head out to the unique Quilotoa Volcano, where an amazing experience awaits you.

Quilotoa Volcanic Lake along with the Amazing "Avenue of Volcanoes" and enjoy going through small, colorful Indigenous Towns. The majority of the population in this zone is Indigenous, which means that several ancient customs are still observed nowadays; for example, Zumbahua is a Town that maintains these traditions on a daily basis. One of those traditions was painting, and in Tigua, we will enter one of those workshops to see the paintings.

Quilotoa is a collapsed volcano that has been inactive for thousands of years. A 9-kilometer cauldron was formed in its crater due to the eruption of the volcano. According to studies, the lava managed to reach the Pacific Ocean, and the cauldron is now home to a picturesque Lake that turns greenish-blue when sunlight hits the surface for a gorgeous view.

We will hike along the trail along the rim of the Lake, an easy hike that is rarely crowded, and you are going to love the view of Quilotoa Lake from this point! After enjoying lunch, we will visit Insilivi town to enjoy some local activities and the warmth of the locals.

Overnight in Quito

Meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Papallacta Natural Hot Springs

After a well-deserved rest and a delicious breakfast, you will meet your guide once again. This time, it's time to begin the adventure to the jungle.

You will first visit a natural spring called Papallacta, located between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon River. If you are lucky, you may be able to see the Antisana Mountain while you take a hot bath.

You will then visit Guango Lodge. This small tourist facility is surrounded by 180 hectares of temperate forest and mixed flocks of birds. At 2,700 metres you can enjoy a short hike and take photos of the 15 different species of Hummingbirds that inhabit the area.

After lunch, you will be heading towards Hakuna Matata, a protected area with approximately 150 ha. This area is perfect for a wide range of activities.

The staff will assist you with your luggage when you arrive at Hakuna Matata. The hotel will also provide you with a complimentary welcome drink and dinner at the famous Pangaea Restaurant.

Overnight in the Lodge

Meals: B/L/D

Day 5: Hakuna Matata Essential

After a morning wake-up, you depart the Lodge with your guide.

Enjoy a day of adventures and experiences starting at 5.30am. You drive to the calm, small Arajuno River, a branch of Napo River. This is where you board your Canoe.

The Arajuno River flows through the forest and passes high shores that are abundantly covered in vegetation. You will be amazed at how calm the river is when you watch birds. You will be amazed by the beauty of birds - egrets and red-rumped cique, tangaras and other species.

After landing your canoe, you will have to walk a short distance to the salt lick that attracts birds. Binoculars are recommended to observe the birds landing on the trees, and then their journey to the salt lick. There are many parrots and other parakeets. The dusky-headed Parakeet is the most common. You may also be lucky enough to see monkeys living in the wild, but do not worry about their noises which could scare away birds. Your guide will decide what to do in case of rain and may change some parts of the itinerary.

After bird watching, your guide will bring you to the Santa Barbara indigenous village, which has 23 families and 120 residents. The community's head welcomes you, and you learn about different customs and traditions. You can also taste "Chicha", the traditional drink that is produced. It is exciting to share a jungle feast with the community. You will be hungry. There will be a variety of foods including carachama, catfish (both from the catfish family), smallmouth, a salmon-like fish, roasted chontacuro, a regional specialty, yuccas, ripe plantsains, heart of palm, guayusa tea, fruits, and cocoa. All of these items are freshly caught or picked and prepared on-site. Enjoy this once-in a lifetime experience!

If you still don't feel satisfied, the guide will bring you some fruit and sandwiches, even if it is early in the morning. You will be energized by the healthy organic food and learn about the culture and traditions of the community. The children will perform traditional dances and you can test your skills using the blowgun or spear. You can walk to the Ceibo, a giant tree in the jungle, and see its impressive roots. Then you can buy crafts made by the local community. The proceeds from the sales are directed to a common box that is used by the community to purchase canoe parts, feathers, fabric, and other items.

After a brief farewell by the community chief, head to the large, 2,500-hectare Jatun Sacha Reserve. This incredible protected area is a tropical forest where you will discover flora, fauna, and bamboo. You will also see Pambil, which has taken the form of a 2-meter blowgun on this particular day. After a canoe trip of 1 hour 30 minutes, you will return to the car and head to the small town Misahualli. You will enjoy a typical meal before taking a walk on the beach where you are greeted by capuchin monkeys.

Around 15:00, you will be back in the Lodge. You can relax by the swimming pool or in a hammock while enjoying a cocktail. Or, you can continue exploring the area. In the evening, you will be served a three-course dinner in a jungle-themed atmosphere.

Overnight in the Lodge

Meals: B/L/D

Day 6: Baños Waterfalls Tour

After breakfast in Hakuna Matata, continue to Baños. Located in a valley with hot springs and waterfalls, it has become a mecca of international travelers who are looking for a year-round mild climate, a small town atmosphere, and as a base to explore the great Ecuadorian outdoors.

The name Baños, which means bath in English, is derived from its hot springs and thermal spas. From horse riding to waterfalls, there is plenty to do. The active Tungurahua Volcano can be seen from anywhere in Baños.

You will visit the city center and take a quick tour. The city has a pleasant climate in the subtropical zone. We then begin the route to waterfalls including Agoyan (Heavens Door), Weddings Veil, Devils Pan, Machay and many others.

Overnight in the Hotel

Meals: B/L/D

Day 7: Cotopaxi Nature Wonder Day Tour

After Breakfast a transfer will take you to the Cotopaxi National Park.

The Cotopaxi Volcano, the highest active volcano on earth, is a major landmark in Ecuador. The area is home to a variety of endemic fauna and flora, including wild horses, deers and llamas.

The Cotopaxi Volcano forms part of the Cotopaxi National Park. This park was created in 1975 to protect biodiversity and the natural wonders of the area. The park covers approximately 33,393 acres (82,560 hectares) and features a variety of ecosystems including forests, grasslands and paramo (high altitude grassland).

Hiking and trekking: Cotopaxi National Park offers a variety of trails to explore the park's stunning landscapes. You can choose from a variety of hikes, ranging in difficulty from short walks to multiday treks.

Horseback Riding: Immerse yourself in local culture and experience the Andean mountains on horseback. Horseback riding tours provide a unique perspective on the Cotopaxi region, allowing you explore its scenic beauty and learn about the history and traditions of the area.

Wildlife Viewing: The Cotopaxi National Park has a diverse range of flora, fauna and birds. Take a guided or self-guided tour to see wildlife like Andean Condors, wild horses and rabbits.

Overnight (Hotel in Cotopaxi Province)

Meals: B/L/D

Day 8: Galapagos Arrival: Santa Cruz & North Seymour Islands

AM

This day begins with breakfast and a transfer to the airport, where you will take a flight to the Galapagos Islands. Our guide in the Galapagos Islands will pick you up at the airport and take your luggage to the port, where the panga boat (a motorized boat) will take you to the Catamaran Seaman Journey. Settle into your comfortable cabin. After an onboard lunch and briefing

The Galapagos Government requires that a fee of $20 USD be paid for the migration card. Once in Santa Cruz, passengers are required to go through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals will be introduced to the archipelago. this inspection point is where passengers have to pay for the entrance to the Galapagos National Park under the following parameters: Passengers from other countries pay $100, and children under the age of 12 pay $50.

PM

North Seymour Island is a volcanic island that has been raised. It is therefore generally flat, and covered with boulders. The nesting sites are ideal for the magnificent frigate bird population. Blue-footed Boobies perform their courtship dancing in the open areas and swallow-tailed Gulls perch along the cliff edge.

Meals: B/L/D

Day 9: Genovesa Island & Darwin Bay

AM: GENOVESA ISLAND, EL BARRANCO - THE CLIFF

Begin the day tour with a sample of the high level cuisine and enjoy breakfast surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.

El Barranco visitor’s site is located in Darwin Bay near Genovesa Island in the southern part.

The trail is 1.5 km long, made of volcanic rock, and can be completed in 2 hours. This is the youngest part of the island from a geological perspective.

The cliff in the south is made of very fragile lava. Natural erosion has created the perfect nesting place for Storm Petrels in these lava flows. Two species of petrels nest in holes and cavities in the lava. The short-eared Owl is one of its main predators. The red-footed booby nests only on the outer islands of the archipelago, like Genovesa. The masked boobies are also present on this island. During "panga rides", fur sea lions can be spotted as well.

PM: DARWIN BAY

This bay was formed when the crater on this island collapsed under sea level. The wet landing takes place on a beautiful white sandy coral beach. Birdwatchers love this island because it allows them to see the following species: red-footed-boobys, masked-boobies, wandering-tattlers, lava-gulls, Whimbrels, black-crowned and yellow-crowned lava-herons and yellow warblers.

The trail continues to climb up the cliff, where visitors can see Red-Foot nesting in Mangrove trees. Birdwatching includes seeing Galapagos doves and swallow-tailed geese, as well as sharp-beaked and large cactus finches. The view from the cliff edge at the end of the trail is breathtaking.

Meals: B/L/D

Day 10: Plazas Islands - Santa Cruz & Santa Fe Islands

AM: PLAZAS, SANTA CRUZ

This day tour begins with a breakfast on board of our catamaran.

Plazas is located east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms a part of the two islands known collectively as Islas Plazas. Despite its size, the Galapagos is home to some of the most fascinating and unique species. The Plazas Land Iguanas have a smaller size than their relatives on other islands.

There are many hybrid iguanas on the island, which are a result of a cross between a male land iguana with a female marine iguana. They are unique and can be recognized at first glance because of their black or gray color, with the crest of a marine iguana but the face, tail, and body of a land iguana. The presence of tuna is the reason for the large population of iguanas. Swallow-tailed Gulls nesting on the rugged cliffs can be seen with other seabirds like Audubon Shearwaters and red-billed Tropicbirds.

PM: SANTA FE

This island is located in the southeast part of the Galapagos. It was formed by an uplift, not a volcanic origin. Some theories suggest that this island could be the oldest in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is home to a number endemic species, including the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Snake, Galapagos Mockingbird, Rice Rats, and one of two land Iguana species on the islands.

You will come into contact with a sea lion colony after disembarking from the beautiful, clear waters. Many salt bushes and giant Prickly Pear Cactus can be seen along the trail: gigantism, a characteristic of oceanic island, is evident.

If you are lucky while snorkeling, you may share the experience with tropical fish and playful sea lions.

Meals: B/L/D

Day 11: Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center & Farewell

In 2004, the Breeding Center for Young Tortoises, Jacinto Goridillo, was established on Cerro Cristobal, San Cristobal Island, to care for young tortoises. In 2008, a program of assisted reproduction was started on the island after a baby turtle was born in captivity. All of this can be learned at the Jacinto Breeding Center.

You can learn about the breeding process, but you can also engage and experience why the breeding center does what they do.

After the morning excursion, you will be taken to the airport to catch your flight back to the mainland.

Meals: B

11 Day Ecuador Itinerary Highlights

  • Arrive in Quito and be guided to an Andean hotel. UNESCO Heritage Site, colonial charm, vibrant culture
  • Cloud forest wildlife, cable car, gardens, thrilling sports
  • Quilotoa Volcano, Indigenous Culture, Hiking Rim
  • Jungle adventure, hummingbirds, Papallacta springs, Hakuna Matata's activities.
  • Arajuno River canoeing, Santa Barbara village, Jatun Sacha Reserve exploration.
  • Baños hot springs, waterfalls, city center, Tungurahua Volcano.
  • Cotopaxi National Park, diverse ecosystems, horseback riding, Andean Condors.
  • Flight to Santa Cruz, Catamaran Seaman Journey, North Seymour's wildlife.
  • Genovesa's El Barranco, Darwin Bay's diverse bird species.
  • Plazas Island's unique species, Santa Fe Island's endemics and sea lions.
  • San Cristobal's Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center, tortoise care, reproduction programs.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast Served Daily
  • 10 Dinners
  • 11 Lunches
Quilotoa Lake
Quito Ecuador
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Cotopaxi Volcano
The Ultimate 11 Day Galapagos Tour and Beyond
11 Days
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Hotels you may stay at during this tour  

Hotels in Quito

Ecuador is a country full of beautiful landscapes and a rich culture. It's ranked as one of the top destinations in South America. You can choose from a wide range of hotels in Quito that cater to different budgets and preferences.

Luxury: The Illa Experience Hotel is a 5-star hotel in Quito that offers the best luxury experience. Immerse yourself into luxury and refinement in our 5-star accommodations. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the city, world-class facilities, and impeccable service to make your stay in Quito unforgettable.

First Class: Patio Andaluz, a 4-star Hotel.

Tourist Superior: The Ikala Hotel, a 3-star hotel.

Lodge in the Amazon (Archidona) 

Tourist Superior: The Hakuna Matata lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon has evolved into a paradise due to dedicated care and passion. Its rustic design, eco-conscious approach, and top-notch standards offer a comfortable jungle experience. It's mosquito-free with a mild climate.

Luxury: Hakuna Matata new luxury bungalows with balconies and private hot tub.

Hotels in Baños 

First class: The Samari Spa is a 4-star hotel located on a 4-hectare ranch.

Tourist Superior: The Sangay Spa is a 3-star Hotel in Baños.

Hotels in Cotopaxi

Luxury: Hacienda San Agustin del Callo, a 5-star hotel, holds a rich past as a former Inca fortress and an Augustinian monastery.

First Class: Constructed with indigenous materials, Chilcabamba exudes coziness, genuine charm, and an unassuming allure.

Tourist Superior: Perched at the foot of Cotopaxi volcano, Hacienda los Mortinos Hotel, a 3-star award-winning establishment.

Yachts or Cruise ships offered in this tour 

First Class: The Seaman Journey is a First Class Catamaran. This unique catamaran offers superior comfort, size, style, and stability. Another highlight of the catamaran is the cuisine. The first-class cuisine will delight you and certainly fulfill all your expectations of Ecuadorian dishes prepared with vanguard methods. The crew is also a remarkable advantage; our crew will help you and guide you through any requirements you may have.
Luxury Class: The Cormorant II or Sirius Catamaran are luxury catamarans for 16 guests. Private balconies in each cabin and other high end amenities.

Frecuently Asked Questions

What makes the 11 day Galapagos tour distinct from shorter itineraries?

The 11-day expedition offers a comprehensive exploration, combining the Andean Highlands, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Galapagos Islands for an immersive and diverse experience.

How is the journey from the Andes to the Amazon seamlessly integrated into the itinerary?

The transition is thoughtfully curated, involving scenic drives, flights, and an Amazon lodge stay, ensuring a smooth and captivating journey from the highlands to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. You finalize the trip a short Galapagos cruise.

What wildlife encounters can be expected in the Amazon Rainforest?

The Amazon leg includes jungle walks and river cruises, providing opportunities to spot diverse wildlife, including exotic birds, monkeys, and fascinating plant and insect species.

How are cultural interactions woven into the itinerary?

Visits to indigenous communities in the Amazon and interactions with local artisans in the Andean Highlands offer an authentic cultural immersion, fostering a deeper connection with Ecuador's rich heritage.

What sets the Galapagos Islands experience apart in this 11 day tour?

The Galapagos segment is crafted for exploration, combining guided island visits, snorkeling adventures, and encounters with unique wildlife, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of this iconic archipelago.
Book your 11-day Ecuador tour now and create memories to last a lifetime!