Action-Packed Galapagos and Ecuador Adventure
Island hop around the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands on private adventures before ending with some relaxation in Ecuador's traditional Otavalo area
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- All luxury accommodation throughout
- All private ground transfers and internal
- All tours specified in the itinerary description
- Full support from your Travel Designer and Concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
Explore the unique wildlife kingdom of the Galapagos on an energetic adventure-driven jaunt around the islands. Speed-boating between luxury lodges and staying on both dramatic Isabela and central Santa Cruz islands, this trip gives you the chance to see a more ‘local’ side to the Galapagos, with far more flexibility with how you spend your time and a wider range of activities on offer.
Besides a cultural and historic insight, you’ll also get up close to the relaxed animals on exciting activities, from kayaking among sea lions to snorkelling with turtles and cycling by iguanas. You’ll go exploring through the highlands and beautiful beaches, hiking up volcanic craters and meeting the giant tortoise – all alongside expert guides.
Then, wind down with two days in Ecuador’s Otavalo area. Staying in an authentic historic hacienda, enjoy this scenic Andean region and its rich cultural traditions before you fly back home.
Example Trip Itinerary
Meet and greet at Guayaquil airport
Private transfer from Guayaquil airport to your hotel
Accommodation in Guayaquil
- 294 rooms
- Outdoor pool
- Health Club and Spa
- Six restaurants
- Three bars
- Complimentary airport shuttle
Located close to the airport, the Hilton Colon is an excellent option for Guayaquil. It’s the best hotel in the city with the level of service and finish that one comes to expect from this brand. Recent refurbishment means that the interiors are elegant and contemporary. Features include a large outdoor pool area, an excellent spa and a choice of different restaurants. There is also an adjoining complex with shops and banks.
- 11 rooms
- Roof terrace
- Complimentary WiFi
Guayaquil’s only boutique hotel, the Mansion del Rio is a refurbished early 20th-century villa of just eleven rooms still preserving the feel of a private residence. Original features and antique furnishings adorn the inside of the hotel with classically styled rooms that that look over the Guayas River. A roof terrace also makes the most of these views and the hotel’s position (especially if your room isn’t on the river side). Set into the hillside of the city’s Las Penas neighbourhood, you are moments from the Malecon and a ten minute drive from the airport. Maria, the owner, is very hands on and always ready to relay the interesting history of the house to recommending good places to eat in town. A hotel that is also monument to Guayaquil’s past and heritage, Mansion del Rio is a pleasing alternative to the city’s good business hotels.
- 44 rooms and suites
Originally built as a grand charity centre in the heart of Guayaquil in 1891, it avoided demolition after being bought and reconstructed, piece by piece, in its current location within Parque Historico on the banks of the Daule River, and restored into an elegant boutique hotel. There are 44 guest rooms classically furnished with period local pieces, in subdued hues to contrast with the tropical park outside. Overlooking the waterfront, the Hotel del Parque’s restaurant serves sophisticated modern takes on Ecuadorian cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood and local ingredients.
The largest city in Ecuador and located on the Pacific coast, Guayaquil is the country's economic hub and with good flight connections, is more often than not simply a necessary stopover to or from the Galapagos. With a good selection of fine restaurants and cultural establishments, we can help you make the most of your short time here should you want to venture out.
Private transfer from Guayaquil hotel to the airport
Flight from Guayaquil to the Galapagos
Arriving in from your flight, you'll be met by your bilingual naturalist guide and helped with your bags.
Speedboat transfer to Isabela Island
Accommodation in Isabela Island
- 14 Rooms
- Bar & lounge
- Rooftop Jacuzzi
Iguana Crossing is the perfect place for those who want to experience the fascinating Galapagos Islands from the comfort of a luxury boutique hotel, or to end their cruise with a few days on land. Based on Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, on a beach of ice-white sand with six shield volcanoes forming the backdrop, Iguana Crossing sits adjacent to the wetlands from which the marine iguanas migrate to the sea, affording the hotel its name. There are fourteen comfortable rooms across two floors; all rooms have ocean or volcano views and many of the water-view rooms have balconies from which to imbibe the incredible scenery. After a busy day exploring the area or a week of cruising, you can chill out in the rooftop Jacuzzi or soak up some sun on the terrace by the pool. Sip a zesty caipirinha in the airy bar and order some ocean-fresh ceviche in the restaurant; as much food as possible is sourced locally. Aside from providing a healthy dose of relaxation, Iguana Cruise is also ideally positioned for day-trips around the unique Galapagos terrain, from a romantic sunset champagne picnic on the beach, to horseback riding up Isabela’s Sierra Negra volcano.
- 16 safari style tents
- En suite bathrooms
- Modern main building
Nestled amidst the forested highlands of Isabella Island and overlooking the sea, Scalesia Galapagos Lodge envelops guests in wilderness of the archipelago’s most pristine main island. 16 large safari-style tents sit on hardwood decks and leaving a minimal footprint on the 16 hectare (40 acre) forest reserve. The tents are scattered around the main building, a strikingly modern piece of architecture that is the social hub of the lodge. There are a vast array of activities on Isabela, from snorkelling and scuba diving excursions, hiking up active volcanoes (the island is the youngest in the Galapagos and the most volcanically active), kayaking, surfing, biking and bird watching. The lodge can also arrange island hopping tours combining Isabela with nearby Santa Cruz, Floreana and San Cristobal.
Aboard a small boat, head to a unique place where lava flow has been impacted for many years by the oceans waves. This has formed the unique tubes, arches and bridges of Los Tuneles. This site is one of the best snorkelling spots on the island, a marine paradise for white tipped reef sharks, green sea turtles, sea lions, manta rays and parrot fish.
This morning you will drive up to the highlands where you will hike into a world of recent geological history which is the second largest active caldera on the planet. On the hike up admire the incredible views of the surrounding volcanoes and sea and then walk along the rim of this enormous thirty square mile crater.
Head out to los Humedales, to walk through all four species of mangroves that exist in the Galapagos, dotted with solitary beaches, lava tunnels, natural pools and estuaries where you can see flamingos and other birds. You will also visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center and see some of the lumbering reptiles out on the trails. Finally see El Muro de las Lagrimas - the Wall of Tears - a wall was built from huge blocks of lava by prisoners as a punishment when Isabela was a penal colony from 1945 to 1959.
Private speedboat transfer to Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
Accommodation in Santa Cruz Island
- Central Lodge with open-plan lounge and bar, cosy fireplaces and dining room.
- Infinity Pool
- Nine luxury tents erected on individual wooden platforms (27m²) under canvas shells. En suite bathrooms, large balcony, hammock and chairs
- Family suite: private, three-bedroom suite close to the main lodge
A truly unique way to enjoy the wonderful nature of the Galapagos islands. Set in 55-hectare grounds in a remote corner of Santa Cruz island, the GSC camp has just nine large and very well appointed safari style tents. Each is appointed with private bathroom with a hot water shower. The tents are spaced well and have a large double bed and private balcony from which to enjoy the views. The new family suite has three bedrooms suite (master and two twins), and its location next to the main lodge makes it an ideal option for families who favour more private and cohesive lodging. All the tents surround the main and very elegant contemporary lodge complete with restored antiques and furnishings installed by its well-travelled owners. There is a large main communal area where meals are served and a lounge to relax in. The hotel also boasts an infinity pool from which to admire the landscape. A variety of activities to explore the island and surrounds are possible from the camp. Breakfast and dinner are included in the rates.
During this tour of the Highlands of the Galapagos you will discover the numerous vegetation zones and microclimates of this area. The first stop will be a visit to crater pits where you can walk along the rims. You will also have the chance to see eerie and mysterious lava tunnels. As you drive along the misty Scalesia and Guayabillo forests look out for the wild birds that inhabit this area, as well as the wild tortoises which roam the land. You will be able to see these Galapagos Tortoises up close in their natural habitat on your final stop at the Tortoise Reserve.
Paddling around the waters of the Marine Reserve is a great way both to spot unique endemic wildlife. Birds rest on the cliffs that form the edges of the islands and sea lions and their pups lie meters away on the beaches.
Drive to an off-the-beaten-path area before switching to mountain bikes for a long down-hill glide on freshly paved roads to Garrapatero Beach. During the ride down pass little farms and ocean views and at the beach enjoy the atmosphere with hardly any other tourists around.
Take a boat out from Santa Cruz across to North Seymour Island. A low lying island that is an extraordinary place for breeding birds, and is home to one of the largest populations of nesting blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds, as well as a growing population of the Galapagos land iguanas while sea lions ride the crashing waves all the way into shore.
Flight from the Galapagos Islands to Quito (via Guayaquil)
Transfer from Quito towards Otavalo, visiting one of the most important rose farms in the Cayambe area, and the Otavalo Indian Market, famous throughout the Andes for its handcrafts, textiles and tapestries. Lunch will be served at Hacienda La Compañia, one of the oldest haciendas in the area and still a private residence.
Accommodation in Otavalo area
- 17 rooms
Our favourite hacienda accommodation in Ecuador. This 17th century property was formerly the residence of a much-loved president and remains in his family to this day. The illustrious history of the property shines through in every room, many decorated with antiques dating back to the original owners. The libraries and communal areas are replete with photographs, paintings and exotic furniture, many made as gifts from abroad to the former president. Far from being a museum piece the hacienda is still very active with more than 2,000 hectares of pastureland; mainly used for cattle and horses (the stables have around 100 horses) as well as a trout farm. The estate produces its own cheese onsite and there is also an interesting program for the rehabiliation of Condors. The surrounding countryside and nearby village are beautifully picturesque and relaxing. There are fifteen well-appointed rooms and service is helpful and friendly. A great deal of care is taken to ensure that you make the most of the wonderful surrounds and there are a number of activities possible including horse-riding, mountain biking, hiking, birdwatching and visits to the local community with its own weaving workshops. The hotel is located some distance from the Otavalo Market itself (just over an hour) so it makes most sense to make the visit to the market on the journey to (or from) Quito.
During your time in the beautiful countryside of the Otavalo region, simply enjoy the relaxed, bucolic pace of life here and we can arrange a number of our privately guided tours for you to enjoy some traditional Ecuadorian culture.
Accompanied by your own private guide, explore the beautiful Hacienda Zuleta and the surrounding area. Make the day your own with a choice of activities, from two-hour horse rides, to hikes, cultural tours to Otavalo, and visits to a condor conservation projects, Zuleta’s cheese factory and organic hardens. Other activities, such as extended horse rides, cooking lessons and mountain biking can also be added to the day at an extra cost.
Private transfer from your hotel in the Otavalo to Guayaquil airport
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Action-Packed Galapagos and Ecuador Adventure
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.