Quito Ecuador

Ecuador Andes & Galapagos Journey 9 Days / 8 Nights - Tour

Experience the true essence of Ecuador like never before with our meticulously crafted tour, designed to offer the ultimate Ecuadorian adventure. Embark on your journey in the heart of this diverse nation, arriving in Quito, a city with plenty of heritage and culture. Immerse yourself in an enriching day tour that heightens your senses, exploring the awe-inspiring Cotopaxi National Reserve and the vibrant Otavalo market. These destinations provide a gateway to the rich traditions and customs of the Ecuadorian people.

Venture onward to the captivating Galapagos Islands, where you'll be captivated by their enchanting allure. Explore the most significant islands and partake in a once-in-a-lifetime voyage aboard a first-class catamaran. Allow yourself to be entranced by the breathtaking landscapes, encounter unique wildlife, and watch as your every expectation is surpassed. This journey promises to be an unparalleled exploration of Ecuador's natural and cultural wonders.

9 Day Ecuador Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Quito

Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel.

Quito is the second-highest capital in the world. It's located in an Andean mountain range in South America, and it has one of the most beautiful settings in the world. Quito was a major city in the Inca Empire. It was originally settled by the Quitus tribe in the first millennium. It was destroyed in 1534 by Sebastian de Benalcazar.

UNESCO declared Quito's colonial old town a World Heritage Site in 1978. It is one of the largest and best-preserved colonial centers in Latin America. It is also home to some of the best art galleries, churches, and museums in South America.

Overnight in Quito

Day 2: Cotopaxi Day Tour

After breakfast, you'll visit Cotopaxi Mountain, and its famous Limpiopungo lake. Cotopaxi is Ecuador’s highest volcano, and one of the tallest on the planet. Its name is derived from Quechua, and means "cuello de Luna" or "neck of the Moon". After arriving at the reserve in the morning, you will hike up to Limpiopungo Lake. You can see the traces of ancient volcanic eruptions on the majestic Cotopaxi. This is the same activity which gave birth to Limpiopungo Lake. You may be able to see llamas and other mammals, such as rabbits and deer. You can enjoy the view while eating a Box Lunch.

Horseback riding is another activity you can enjoy. Horseback riding tours offer a unique perspective of the Cotopaxi area, allowing you the opportunity to explore the scenic beauty and learn more about the history and tradition of the region.

The Cotopaxi Volcano is part of the Cotopaxi National Park. This park was established in 1975 to protect the biodiversity and natural wonders of this area. The park is approximately 33,393 hectares (82,560 acres) in size and has a variety ecosystems including forests, grasslands and paramo.

We will return to Quito after visiting Cotopaxi National Park. After arriving in the late afternoon you will have some free time to explore the city.

Overnight in Quito

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: Quito Six Senses Tour

After breakfast, your guide will pick you up.

Your day begins in a sensory-stimulating way with a stroll around the streets and plazas that make up this largest historical center in America. In this city tour, we will explore the daily life, history, and traditions of this fascinating city.

We follow the road with the Seven Crosses. Before you enter Quito Main Square (also known as Independence Square), you can admire the old colonial architecture and church facades. Here is the Government Palace.

We will continue to walk through the historical streets and meet families who make traditional sweets. You will be able to taste them and discover new flavors.

As you move towards the center of Quito, it becomes harder to see historical buildings made of volcanic stone. The sculpted Compania Church and its stunning interior will capture your attention.

We visit "Escuela Quiteña", to learn more. They are the ones who know all about the colonial art found in Quito's churches and museums. These artists have painted and restored the altars in these historic churches. You can learn their secrets and use your creativity to make your own craft.

La Ronda, a historical district in the heart of Quito, is our next stop. This is a street that's linked to art, crafts, food, and fun in Quito. This is the oldest street in Quito.

Then you will visit the San Marcos neighborhood. The architecture dates back to 1580 and is mainly republican. The buildings are pastel-colored, the curtains on the windows are clean, and the banners are hanging from the balconies. The Muñoz-Marino Watercolor Museum has colonial interiors with stone, corridors, and open space. The Neighborhood is home to three museums as well as family-run shops and quirky cafes.

You will also be able to visit an old house that has been converted into a boutique hotel. You can participate in local activities with San Marcos' neighbors and end the tour with a drink at the rooftop terrace, which offers a breathtaking view of Panecillo Hill surrounded by the Old City as the perfect end for a unique day tour.

Overnight in Quito

Meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Otavalo Artisans

You will leave Quito for Otavalo, a town known for its artisan markets. You will stop in Guayllabamba on the way to Otavalo, a town famous for its artisan market. You can also make a quick stop in Cayambe to see how the famous bizcochos are made (a mixture between a cracker and crispy bread).

The textile market in Otavalo is located at "Plaza of Ponchos", one of the most popular markets in South America. You can find all sorts of handicrafts, including tapestries and indigenous back-strap weaving looms as well as Spanish weaving looms. You can bargain and buy from the friendly Otavaleños.

Afterwards you visit Mr. Miguel Andrango Workshop at Agato. Three generations of the family will demonstrate weaving. You will be able observe how raw wool is transformed into thread that can be used on looms. You will not only see the process but also the tools that have been used for hundreds of year to make it. You can also see the plants that are used to create the natural colors. You can buy something in the store after the demonstration.

Lunch is served at Hacienda Pinsaqui - a historic hacienda. After lunch you will continue to Hacienda Zuleta. This is a working farm from the colonial era that belonged to Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, former president of Ecuador. Outside magazine named it one of the "Top Ten Finds in the World" and National Geographic Traveler named it one of the "Best Ecuadorian Hotels".

Overnight in Zuleta

Meals: B/L/D

Day 5: Zuleta Ladies and Andean Hacienda Life

After a farm to table breakfast, you will meet Zuleta’s ladies. The women of this community are known for their fine embroidery, in bright colors, that matches their traditional skirts with knee-high pleats.

Several sources claim that embroidery was introduced to the area in the late nineteenth century. It is only with the Zuleta Embroidery Workshop that embroidery has been recognized as a profession in the community.

After lunch, you may experience one of these options:

Condor Huasi

Nationally and internationally recognized, we have been working tirelessly for 20 years to conserve and increase the numbers of the critically endangered Andean condor and to protect the rest of this ecologically rich area.

Cheese Factory

Join us on a tour of our Cheese Museum where you can learn about how we make 14 types of fresh, semi-aged, and aged cheese. Each variety is handmade with local milk by local people with the unique Zuleta spirit!


Impressive rampart pyramids and mounds dot the landscape, hinting at a long vanished past. Explore one of the two best preserved Caranqui mound sites in Ecuador, where chieftains ruled over the valleys long before the Inca conquest.

Overnight in Hacienda Zuleta

Meals: B/L/D

Day 6: Galapagos Arrival: Santa Cruz & North Seymour Islands


This day tour begins with a flight to the Galapagos Islands from the mainland (Departure From Zuleta to the Airport). Our guide will pick you up at the airport in The Galapagos Islands 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.


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 7: Genovesa Island - Darwin Bay

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. 


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 8: Plazas, Santa Cruz and Santa Fe Islands

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 cacti fruit 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.


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 9: Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center and Farewell

AM: SAN CRISTOBAL, Jacinto Gordillo

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

9 Day Ecuador Itinerary Highlights

  • Quito exploration: Andean beauty, historic Inca city, UNESCO colonial center
  • Cotopaxi visit: hike, Limpiopungo Lake, horseback riding.
  • Quito's sensory walk: traditions, architecture, art, panoramic views
  • Otavalo's artisan markets, weaving traditions, and diverse handicrafts
  • Explore traditions, embroidery, Condor Huasi, the Cheese Factory, and heritage in Zuleta.
  • Galapagos Journey, Catamaran Seaman Journey, North Seymour Exploration
  • El Barranco's cliffs, nesting birds, Darwin Bay's beauty, and species
  • Plazas Island's unique species, Santa Fe's uplifted beauty, snorkeling
  • San Cristobal's Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center, tortoise care and reproduction

Meals Included

  • Breakfast Served Daily
  • 8 Dinners
  • 9 Lunches
Quito Ecuador
Cotopaxi Volcano
Red-footed Booby

More information about the Galapagos Islands you visit in this 9 day itinerary:

Ecuador Andes & Galapagos Journey 9 Days / 8 Nights
9 Days

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Hotels in Quito that you may stay at 

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. Our 4-star hotel is the perfect choice for those who want a mix of comfort and elegance. Enjoy the charm of Quito while enjoying top-notch service.

Tourist Superior: The Ikala Hotel, a 3-star hotel, proves that you don't have to compromise on quality when traveling on a tight budget. Our hand-picked 3 star hotels offer cozy rooms with essential conveniences and are conveniently located near Quito's most captivating attractions.

Join us for an unforgettable journey in Ecuador and let our hotels serve as the perfect base.

Hotel in Otavalo

Luxury: Hacienda Zuleta is a 5-star 17th-century hotel and working farm owned by former Ecuadorian President Galo Plaza Lasso and now managed by his family heirs. Created with his natural warmth, hospitality, and community ties, Hacienda Zuleta has unique, beautiful antique rooms. Here you can enjoy delicious home-grown Andean cuisine and a variety of activities to experience.

Program Ships

First Class: The Seaman Journey is a First Class Catamaran. This unique catamaran offers superior comfort, size, style, and stability. Another highlight of our boat 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.

Frecuently Asked Questions

What are the must-see attractions within Cotopaxi National Park?

Cotopaxi National Park offers remarkable natural beauty. Don't miss the iconic Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador's second-highest peak. Explore Limpiopungo Lake, a stunning glacial lake surrounded by Andean landscapes. Also, visit the Cotopaxi Visitor Center to learn about the park's ecosystems and history.


Is it necessary to book guided tours to explore Cotopaxi National Park?

While exploring independently is possible, guided tours offer advantages. Local guides provide insights into the park's history, ecology, and safety measures. They enhance your experience by pointing out hidden gems, ensuring navigation in the vast landscape, and providing valuable information about the region.


What is the altitude of Quito and how can I prepare for it?

Quito is situated at high altitude, around 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level. To prepare, stay hydrated, avoid excessive alcohol, and allow time to acclimate upon arrival. If you're concerned about altitude sickness, consult a healthcare professional before your trip.


Is there more to see and do in Otavalo beyond the market?

Absolutely, Otavalo offers more than just the market. You can visit the Peguche Waterfall, known for its natural beauty and surrounding trails. The Cotacachi town nearby is famous for its leather goods, and the Cuicocha Crater Lake is another scenic attraction.
Book your 9-day Ecuador tour now and create memories to last a lifetime!