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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

From the heights of the Andes to the depths of the Amazon Jungle to the amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater. Tour the Galapagos' outstanding natural beauty and interesting history by foot and boat on this active adventure. You'll also walk through the Amazon Jungle with an Indigenous guide leading the way, hike in Cotopaxi National Park - home to one of the world's largest active volcanos - and canoe to your river-side eco-lodge accommodation on the edge of the rainforest. You'll also get a glimpse into everyday life during a homestay with a local family where you'll connect with them, lending a hand with chores, doing seasonal activities and maybe brushing up on your Espanol. There's so much to see, do and learn in this South American paradise.

  1. Day 1
    Quito
    Bienvenido! Welcome to Ecuador. Your South American adventure begins in the country’s capital of Quito – high in the Andes. You can expect to be greeted by the relaxed atmosphere that Ecuador does so well. You’ll notice a mix of modern and traditional houses dotted halfway up the surrounding mountain peaks that frame the city and an Old Town with ancient architectural jewels just waiting to be explored. Our trip officially kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm this evening, where you’ll meet your group leader and travel pals. If you arrive with time to spare, we recommend taking a wander through the cobblestone streets, checking out the eclectic market stalls or perhaps joining an Intrepid Urban Adventure tour through the city’s historic centre. Discover more here: Quito Legends and Culture Tour (urbanadventures.com)
  2. Day 2
    Tena - Amazon
    After breakfast this morning, you’ll wave goodbye to the country’s capital as we switch up the pace and make our way from the Andes to the Amazon on a local bus bound for Tena. Your lodge-style accommodation in Tena, on the banks of the Arajuno River, is only accessible by canoe so you can expect a little bit of adventure for the last leg of today’s trip – welcome to the jungle. You'll spend the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps exploring the eco-lodge, built with all-natural materials, and soaking up the atmosphere of this magical place surrounded by rainforest. In the evening, you’ll enjoy dinner at the eco-lodge, listening to the singing sounds of jungle insects and the flicker of the fireplace. Then, wander the area under the twinkling night sky on a special night walk with your locally-based leader guiding the way.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Tena- Amazon
    Fuel up on breakfast this morning – we have a big day of adventures ahead. First up, you’ll get the chance to hike into the rainforest with an indigenous guide leading the way. Listen carefully as they point out local bird species and teach you about the incredible plant life that thrives here. You’ll be surrounded by one of the most magnificent landscapes on Earth, teeming with wildlife, so make sure you take a moment to breathe it all in. After lunch, you’ll visit an animal rescue centre to learn more about the local wildlife (and how we can help to protect them).
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Banos
    Take the opportunity to mingle with the locals and, perhaps brush up on your Spanish, on a public bus to Banos today. Surrounded by towering verdant mountains, home to hot springs and etched with waterways that lead to thundering waterfalls – we think you’re going to like it here. On arrival, stretch your legs with a leader-led walking tour of the city to find your bearings and get the inside scoop on the best places to grab a bite to eat. Then, in the afternoon opt to visit Pailon del Diablo, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the area. The 80-meter-high falls have a mighty strength that whips up a spray of water – showering anyone in its path. Expect stairs - a lot of them - but expect to forget all about them when you reach the view of Pailon del Diablo.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Cotopaxi National Park- Yunguilla Community Stay
    Rise bright and early this morning as we hit the road for Cotopaxi National Park. This national park is home to three volcanos, including one of the largest active volcanos in the world – the park’s namesake, Cotopaxi. We’ll take to the winding trails that meander through the park for a hike through the area that sits below the dominating, snow-capped volcano. Keep your eyes peeled for foxes, white-tailed deer and Brazilian rabbits that call this area home. After some time to explore, you'll head to Yunguilla village, where members of the community will be waiting to welcome you to their home and show you a glimpse into their lives. This evening, enjoy a traditional homemade dinner and a chance to get to know your host family.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Yunguilla Community Stay
    Today, you’ll be immersed in the local way of life as you spend the full day alongside your host family. There will be different jobs to participate in and experiences to enjoy depending on the time of season you travel. You may be invited to get your hands dirty with reforestation projects or organic gardening, you might learn to make jam or cheese or even get a little creative and work on traditional handicrafts. Whatever you get up to, the best part of today is simply spending time with the local family, getting to know their way of life, learning about their culture and even learning a new Spanish phrase, or three. This is your chance to feel like a local for a day and dive into the customs and cultures of this sustainable community high in the hills of Ecuador.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Otavalo-Quito
    You’ll say adios to your newfound family and friends after breakfast this morning and make your way to Otavalo Market – this is one of the biggest markets in all of South America for handicrafts. Do you know what that means? It’s one of the best places for you to haggle for souvenirs. You can expect to find hats, tapestries, ceramics, textiles and so much more. And if shopping isn’t your thing – don't worry, simply watch as the bustling markets beat with the drum of locals busily selling their goods. After working up an appetite at the manic market stalls, you’ll grab a bite to eat (own expense) before making tracks back to Quito for the evening. This evening, perhaps rally your travel companions together for one final dinner before your trip comes to an end tomorrow. Ask your group leaders for recommendations on the best street eats or bars in the city.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  8. Day 8
    Quito
    The second half of your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm, where you'll meet your new group travelling to the Galapagos Islands.After the welcome meeting, join your local leader for a tour of Quito's historic center. Catch the Matro to the Parque de la Alameda and visit sites such as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a famous neo-Gothic church known for the details of its façade that represent Galápagos tortoises, Andean condors, and Amazon alligators. You’ll also visit La Compania de Jesus, considered by many to be the most beautiful church in the Americas. It's claimed that seven tons of gold leaf cover the interior whilst the exterior is decorated with statues, busts, sculpted heads, and a jungle of carved leaves. The tour will finish at San Francisco Square, where you’ll have the option to return to the hotel, or why not get to know your new travelling companions and dine in Quito’s Old Town – your leader will have plenty of recommendations!
    Meals:   Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos
    You'll join up with your fellow travellers today and your local naturalist guide, head to La Loberia where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim among sea lions, looking out for sea turtles too. Return to town for a free evening. Perhaps head out with the group and enjoy some of the fresh seafood available.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  10. Day 10
    Isla San Cristobal
    Today begins with a boat ride to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). On the way, you might be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. There can also swim among playful young sea lions! At Leon Dormido, you can snorkel and look for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark. Currents can be quite strong here, so it's important that you're a confident swimmer. If you have any concerns, just talk to your leader. Eat lunch on the boat then head to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the Enchanted Islands and the conservation projects which seek to preserve them. Continue to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas) It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. Return to town in the late afternoon or early evening and enjoy some free time to watch the sunset.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  11. Day 11
    Isla Floreana/ Isla Isabela
    Take an early morning boat ride towards Isla Floreana. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as dolphins and whales. When you arrive, go snorkelling in the clear blue waters and then break for lunch. After, you'll venture to a black-sand beach which belongs to the Witmers (decedents of some of the first settlers on the Galapagos). The town of Puerto Velasco Ibarra has about 150 residents and an intriguing history involving deaths, disappearances and murders. Later in the afternoon, wave goodbye to Floreana and continue to Isla Isabela. From Isabela Port it's a short transfer to the hotel where you'll spend the night.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  12. Day 12
    Isla Isabela
    This morning, you’ll hop on a small Zodiac boat and cruise to Las Tintoreras (Shark Alley), looking out for blue-footed boobies and the famous Galapagos penguin. Take a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site, then snorkel in a calm inlet with colourful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is also frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom. Return to Isla Isabela and visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center, where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. After learning about the thousand turtles that are preparing for life here, you’ll head to a brackish lagoon to observe flamingos. Later today, take a kayak around the island before finding your sandy resting spot and soaking in your first Isabela sunset – arguably the most beautiful of all the islands!
    Meals:   Breakfast
  13. Day 13
    Isla Isabela
    Start your last day on Isla Isabela by heading towards the Sierra Negra Volcano – one of the Galapagos’ most active volcanoes and the world's second-largest crater! Weather permitting, you’ll take a challenging hike of around 17 km up the rocky mountain. After, make your way back to town for some free time to curl up with a book, soak your tired muscles or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  14. Day 14
    Isla Isabela / Isla Santa Cruz
    Jump aboard a private speedboat this morning and head to Isla Santa Cruz. When you arrive, leave your bags at the hotel and head to the Santa Cruz Highlands. Your first stop is a local farm, where giant tortoises roam the grounds. Here, you’ll have a cooking class with an expert chef who will teach you how to make the famed encebollado – a local soup considered one of the best in the world! This hearty dish uses slow-cooked albacore tuna and a savoury broth made of onions, cilantro and spices. The dish is traditionally served with yuca (a starchy root vegetable) and garnished with lime and green onions. Enjoy the fruits (or soups) of your labour for lunch, then spend some time wandering the grounds with the slow-paced residents. After lunch, you’ll visit an organic sugar cane farm run by a local family for a trapiche tour (a sugar cane mill used in artisanal sugar production). See how the family harvests and processes sugar cane as well as cacao and how it really is a community effort.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  15. Day 15
    Isla Santa Cruz
    Take a morning walk in Tortuga Bay after breakfast. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. After returning to town for lunch, you’ll pass through a local fish market on the way to The Galapagos Conservancy. Here, they help protect the Galapagos' unique biodiversity. Learn how The Intrepid Foundation supports the Galapagos Conservancy Women in Sustainable Entrepreneurship (WISE) program, which provides critical capital for sustainability initiatives and builds the entrepreneurial capacity of Galapagos women. After, head to the Charles Darwin Research Station – an international non-profit organization that’s dedicated to the scientific research and conservation of the archipelago’s environment and biodiversity.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  16. Day 16
    Quito
    We say goodbye to the Galapagos today and take a flight back to Quito (Please note the flight will make a stop in Guayaquil)You'll arrive back to Quito later afternoon. Perhaps head out for a final group dinner.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  17. Day 17
    Quito
    This morning your adventure comes to an end in Quito. As there are no activities planned for the final day, you can depart the accommodation at any time. Because there is little time spent in Quito on this trip, we recommend staying a few extra days to see more of Ecuador. If you choose to stay on, we’d be happy to assist you with booking accommodation.Ecuador has some of the most beautiful churches in the Americas, including the lavish La Companie de Jesus, which is decorated with seven Tonnes of gold. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing one of our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, which can include the Old Town, markets and the city's culinary delights (see urbanadventures.com).
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Amazon - Guided rainforest hike and visit to animal rescue centre
  • Pailon del Diablo Waterfall
  • Walking tour of Banos
  • Cotopaxi -National Park walk
  • Quito - Local community experience
  • Otavalo - Market Visit
  • Quito - Historic District Walking Tour
  • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
  • San Cristobal - Excursion to Leon Dormido or Lobos Islands
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
  • Floreana - Snorkeling
  • Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley (2.5 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit (30 Minutes)
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela - Kayaking
  • Isla Isabela - Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
  • Santa Cruz – Organic Farm Tour
  • Santa Cruz – Encebollado Cooking Class
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay walk
  • Isla Santa Cruz - The Galapagos Conservancy visit
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre

Meals
16 Breakfast(s) Included
7 Lunch(es) Included
4 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Hotel (12 nights), Jungle Eco Lodge (2 nights), Homestay (2 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.7

Ratings based off 212 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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