Day 1 - Outbound
Fly from London (Heathrow or Gatwick) to Quito. You will be met on arrival and transferred to the luxury Casa Gangotena Boutique luxury Hotel for a three-night stay.
Day 2 - Quito
Full day city tour of Quito and Middle of the World
Day 3 - Quito
Full day tour of the Cotopaxi National Park
Day 4 – Quito – Mindo Cloud Forrest
Check out of the hotel and transfer by car (3 hours transfer) to the Mashpi Luxury Lodge in the Mindo Cloud Forest region for a four-night stay (including full board).
After settling into our respective rooms, we are introduced to our naturalist guides who will briefly speak about the cloud forest and its conservation, the activities offered during our stay, and helpful tips about what to wear and bring during excursions. This will take place before lunch at our library and will last around 30 minutes. The trail is named after the “Cucharillo” (Magnolia dixonii), which in Spanish means ‘little spoon’, an Ecuadorian endemic tree common at Mashpi but otherwise threatened throughout the country. The trail requires some physical condition due to its steeper portions, but has been made less demanding thanks to recycled plastic cratesthat have been used to form steps and make paths firmer. At the end of the trail find a large waterfall and rocky riverbed with beautiful ponds. The excursion takes about two hours to complete.
Day 5 - Mindo Cloud Forrest
This activity combines early birding inside forest and the Life Center’s butterfly house. Our day begins at 6:30 AM in the hotel lobby, with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and biscuits. We walk to the Life Center while seeking bird flocks crossing the road, hoping to catch sight of the many colorful tanager species that inhabit these forests.
The best way to reach the Life Centre is actually through forest, so we will be hiking what we’ve come to call the “Howler Monkey’s trail”. This path crosses primary forest dominated by many ancient trees, being the “copal” (Dacryodes cupularis) the most emblematic of them. Early in the morning, the trail is buzzing with activity. We usually get to listen to rare birds (and occasionally may even have the opportunity of spotting them), such as the Rufous-fronted Wood-quail (Odontophorus erythrops) or the Rufous-crowned Antpitta (Pittasoma rufopileatum). Our guides are keen on noticing every sound and rustle in the leaves, hoping to reveal colorful birds or elusive howler monkeys, while our naturalist guide explains the habitat’s ecology; both will also be glad to share with us their extensive knowledge on forest plants and their medicinal uses.
Day 6 - Mindo Cloud Forrest
The forest always rewards the “early birds”, as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food. A good place to find birds is actually right at the hotel’s terrace, with a cup of fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate in hand, from where we can enjoy not only the beauty of the forest but also the many species that come to feed on insects and fruits at nearby trees. Our guides will help us spot what’s around, offering a peek inside their telescope for a close-and-personal view of the incredible bird richness Mashpi possesses. This activity begins at 6:30 AM and lasts about an hour. Enjoy breakfast at our hotel restaurant.
We depart approximately at 8:30 AM to the Sky Bike and Observation Tower (a 15-minute walk from the hotel).
Day 7 - Mindo Cloud Forrest
This activity begins at 6:30 AM in the hotel lobby and takes advantage of the many bird species that come to the hotel to feed. After a cup of coffee, we walk down the road seeking mixed-species feeding flocks: these usually feature different insectivorous bird species that move together while foraging. In a single flock, we may see over 20 different species, making these more-or-less common encounters an undeniable treat for bird aficionados. The activity takes one hour; we return to the lodge for breakfast. About at 8:30 AM we leave the hotel and head to Copal Waterfall. This beautiful 2-hour-long hike features a landscape of moss-covered trees, bromelias and orchids at every corner. The trail ends at a spectacular waterfall over 50 m high. We return to the hotel by noon for check out and enjoy our last meal at Mashpi before heading back to Quito at approximately 1:30 PM. You will be met on arrival and transferred to to the luxury Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel for a one-night stay.
Day 8 - Mindo Cloud Forrest - Galápagos
Check out of the hotel and transfer to the port. Fly from Quito to Galapagos. Met on arrival and transfer to embark your luxury Ocean Spray Cruise (*). Briefing on-board about the boat and the island.
PM: Sombrero Chino Island: The landing is on a beautiful crescent-shaped beach, home to sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs.
Day 9 - Galápagos
AM: Isabela - Vicente Roca Point: The remnants of an ancient volcano form two turquoise coves with a bay protected from ocean swells.
PM: Fernandina - Espinosa Point: A narrow stretch of land where hundreds of marine iguanas gather largely on black lava rocks.
Day 10 - Galápagos
AM: Isabela - Tagus Cove: An opportunity to see penguins as well as marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs and sea lions.
PM: Isabela - Urbina Bay: Its waters are a good place to see turtles and rays. Ashore you'll find a short trail leading to a coral reef.
Day 11 - Galápagos
AM: Isabela - Elizabeth Bay: As enter you the bay, hawks can soar overhear and schools of fish can be seen swimming underneath.
PM: Isabela - Moreno Point: Beautiful rocky shores where penguins and shore birds, including blue herons, are usually spotted.
Day 12 - Galápagos
AM: Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Station: An organisation that provides scientific assistance to ensure the proper preservation of the Galápagos.
PM: Santa Cruz - Highlands: The highlands are located in the northern part of the island and can reach elevations up to 1500 mt.
Day 13 - Galápagos
AM: South Plaza Island: South Plaza has one of the largest populations of land iguanas in the Galápagos.
PM: Santa Fe Island: A volcanic uplift that hosts a forest of Opuntia and Palo Santo. Endemic land iguanas are often seen.
Day 14 - Galápagos
AM: Española - Suárez Point: Suárez Point is one of the most outstanding wildlife areas of the archipelago.
PM: Española - Gardner Bay: Gardner Bay has a magnificent beach with turquoise waters. The bay is home of a large colony of sea lions.
Española - Osborn Islet: This small island is a marine visit where you can enjoy fantastic snorkelling and swimming.
Day 15 – Galápagos – Return flight to the UK
AM: San Cristobal - Interpretation Center: A series of interactive exhibits providing information about the history and biodiversity of the Galápagos.
San Cristobal - La Galapaguera: Learn about the giant tortoise breeding program established by the National Park.
Disembark the cruise and transfer to the airport. Fly from Quito back to the UK
Day 16 - Return flight to the UK
Arrive in the UK
(*) Please note that this is a sample cruise itinerary which can be changed depending on which cruise you book for.
International and internal flights in economy class
All airport departure taxes
Tours and transfers included as specified in the itinerary
Daily breakfast and full board in the Galapagos
Ingala transit control card
Excluded In The Price:
Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, tips, porterage, etc.
Drinks are not included in the Galapagos meals
Galapagos national park entrance fee (USD 100) payable locally
Hotel 5* (14 Nights)