- Sail between the isles of the Galápagos Archipelago by yacht, disembarking for close encounters with sea lions, blue-footed boobies, Galápagos penguins, and much more.
- Ride an aerial bike through the treetops of the Chocó rain forest, and let bioluminescent flora guide you on a jungle night walk.
- Take a private tour of Quito’s well-preserved colonial old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Venture to the Galápagos highlands to visit the Giant Tortoise Reserve with a naturalist, and stop by the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about its tortoise breeding program.
Blanketed by lush tropical forests and home to one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries, Ecuador is a small country that packs a big punch when it comes to biodiversity. Visit the Galápagos to encounter the archipelago’s iconic wildlife while kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and more. Fly back to the mainland and discover colonial Quito with a private guide. Cap off your expedition by discovering the Chocó rain forest’s breathtaking array of flora and fauna on guided nature walks through some of the country’s most pristine jungle.
Arrive at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito, where a driver awaits your arrival at the airport. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Fly to Isla Baltra in the Galápagos, and meet a naturalist at the airport for your first wildlife excursion. Take the ferry to Isla Santa Cruz and travel into the highlands to the Giant Tortoise Reserve, home to the world’s largest living tortoise species. Observe these prehistoric-looking creatures close up as they forage through grassy fields and forests, and enjoy lunch at a nearby ranch. Then transfer to your hotel tucked into one of Santa Cruz’s secluded bays.
Enjoy two full days to sail between the isles of the Galápagos aboard the lodge’s yacht, disembarking to explore volcanic landscapes and offshore waters alongside expert naturalists. Our itinerary is determined by the Galápagos National Park service to minimize the impact on each island, which allows for intimate wildlife viewing with few other travelers nearby. You might hike across North Seymour Island, spotting blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds, or stroll the sandy beaches of South Plaza to encounter Sally Lightfoot crabs and land iguanas. Swim and snorkel with sea lions in secluded coves off Santa Fe, and spot Galápagos hawks and Nazca boobies flying overhead. On Bartolomé Island, visit the towering obelisk of Pinnacle Rock and walk with Galápagos penguins along volcanic coastal cliffs.
Spend a day exploring the otherworldly landscapes and wildlife-rich waters of Santa Cruz Island with a private naturalist. Hike through cactus groves to swim in the dramatic, water-filled crevices known as Las Grietas; and snorkel with colorful fish and sea turtles in turquoise lagoons. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to watch its tortoise-rearing program in action, or kayak offshore to spot sea lions frolicking in the surf.
Return to the airport on Isla Baltra and fly to Quito. Transfer to your hotel, a refurbished historic mansion overlooking the Plaza San Francisco in the heart of the colonial center.
Spend the day on a private tour of Quito’s colonial old town, which earned the city distinction as the first UNESCO-designated world capital. Discover grand colonial buildings and plazas as you explore the labyrinth of enchanting cobbled streets. Step through the doors of Quito’s most beautiful churches: the Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesús, known for its dazzling gilded nave, and the Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco, Quito's oldest church.
Travel to the archaeological site of Tulipe*, once home to the Yumbos, a pre-Inca civilization. Your home for the remainder of your trip is set in a cloud forest reserve. Settle into your glass-walled room, and enjoy a lunch of gourmet Ecuadorian fare. This evening, take a guided night walk through the surrounding jungle, treading amid bioluminescent fungi and keeping your eyes and ears open for the forest’s nocturnal residents, including frogs, owls, and kinkajous.
*Please note that the visit to Tulipe is available based on your chosen start date as the site is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more details, please contact our travel specialists.
Over the next two days, choose from a wide array of activities offered at the lodge. Rise early to witness the early morning activity in the cloud forest. Enjoy a steaming cup of coffee on the hotel terrace as you watch birds and other species flit among nearby trees. Take a guided walk to the Life Centre, the lodge’s research station and home to myriad butterfly species. Look for howler monkeys and a variety of brightly colored birds along the way, and enjoy a picnic breakfast on the center’s deck overlooking a garden of medicinal plants. Join a resident biologist for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Life Centre and a nature walk that highlights ongoing research projects. Survey the canopy from the observation tower and ride an aerial bicycle through the treetops.
Bring your binoculars for a bird-watching walk, where your guide will help you spot some of the more than 400 species that make their home in the forest. Or hike past moss-covered trees, orchids, and coiling vines to the 150-feet-high Copal Waterfall. After lunch at the hotel, visit the Equatorial Monument, which straddles the divide between the hemispheres at the “Middle of the World,” and visit the monument’s ethnological exhibition. Later, transfer to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito and catch an evening flight home.