Latin America & Galapagos Islands Tour
This tour takes you from the Caribbean island of Cuba via the must see sights of Colombia and the mountains of Ecuador, finishing in the Galapagos Islands. From Che Guevara to Narcos and the Amazon Rainforest, this trip is tied together by the vibrant and colourful Latin lifestyle. This tour can also be done for some countries and not the others, such as Cuba & Colombia for example. This is detailed below with group pricing.
SEE THE REAL CUBA IN 5 CITIES
Your tour begins in Old Havana, one of the best-preserved colonial cities in all of the Americas. What you will see around you is a Cuban city that was once incredibly rich, as is still evident in its now faded art deco and internationally influenced design – none of which has lost its appeal. Many buildings are now being restored and a stroll around Havana when you arrive for the first day of your tour is a sensory overload. As the tour group will arrive into Havana at different times today, we recommend you sample some Moros y Cristianos (Rice & Beans) or a Cuban espresso with the locals, if you find yourself at a loose end.
Cuban food sometimes gets a bad rap, and perhaps deservedly so if you remain inside the confines of a tourist resort in and around Havana without the insider knowledge of our guides and our commitment to show you only the best and most authentic, on all of our Cuba tours. So across the five cities you will visit in Cuba, expect handpicked local places that are off the tourist trail not just in terms of food, but nightlife too – with Trinidad being a particular highlight.
Cuba is, of course, the birthplace of the Mojito and you haven’t really tried one unless it’s been made with the world’s best rum made with locally grown mint and raw cane sugar, while cooling off in the Caribbean sunshine with pastel colours bouncing off the walls Che Guevara, his life and his influence on Cuba is a major theme of this trip. With our own A/C tour bus for the duration of the tour, it means lots of flexibility and opportunities to get off the beaten track. For example, as part of our trip around the Bay of Pigs, close to the UNESCO city of Cienfuegos and where a US-backed land invasion was attempted, there are a few beautiful swimming spots along the route that we can check out including a sinkhole that resembles a tropical fish tank!
Visiting Santa Clara, you will see the giant statue of Che Guevara, sitting atop the mausoleum where he is buried. You will see a lot of unique places on our Cuba tour, that are again, off the well-worn tourist trail. If you are looking for a Cuban resort stay – our tours won’t be that interesting for you. But, if you feel more comfortable seeing a secret bunker where the Soviet Union stored their nuclear weapons that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis followed by a freshly prepared lunch on a farm in Vinales with a tour group of like-minded travellers, this is most definitely up your street.
DISCOVER COLOMBIA LIKE NO-ONE ELSE
Next up is Colombia! From its ancient Andean archaeological ruins to more recent and still vibrant colonial towns, between snow tipped mountain peaks, vast jungle and incredible beaches along its coast, our tour of Colombia encapsulates much of what makes this one of the best places to visit in South America.
To get started, the Colombia tour takes in much of the best things to do in and around Bogotá, a colourful and historic city that hovers between upmarket, hip districts and barrios of the less well off. Throughout the tour we will hear about the chequered past of Colombia in regard to the conflict between government and FARC forces, with a peace agreement finally being reached in 2016.
During the tour, you will learn much about the countries difficult history in conflict between government forces and marxist rebels as well as real insight into the explosion in narco trafficking activity during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
NEXT EXPLORE ECUADOR
You will have the opportunity to explore Ecuador extensively, where we adventure deep into the Amazon by boat and experience close encounters with the incredibly unique wildlife as well as meeting and learning from the indigenous locals that will show us a trick or two on how to survive in the wilderness.
You will visit the peak of Pichincha Volcano with an altitude of 4000 meters, discover the UNESCO world heritage listed back streets of Quito on foot and climb to the top of the Virgin of El Panecillo Statue for breathtaking views of the capital below. We will even take up the opportunity to enjoy the nightlife like a local and cruise around Quito by evening in our very own Chivas with our personal DJ.
LIFETIME GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
To complete this tour, we will visit the Galapagos Islands. This is an Inspirational place and may just change how you perceive the world from here on. The Galapagos will be your once in a lifetime chance to explore the diverse marine life these islands behold and snorkel amongst turtles and friendly sea lions in the most pristine beautiful transparent waters Latin America has to offer.
Monday 31st October – Havana, Cuba (Group 1)
- Group arrive at own leisure and transfer from Jose Martí International Airport to the Vedado part of Havana.
- An official taxi from the airport is CUC$25. Alternatively, we can arrange meet-and-greet pickup in an old 1950s American car for $50, or arrive in real style in a classic convertible for $95.
- On arrival at the casa, your guide will show you to your homestay (all have A/C and hot shower), where you will be free to relax or meet up with other group members to drink some cool beers.
- The group assembles at around 8:00pm for our introduction into the contemporary night scene of modern Havana.
- We head for dinner at Cafe Laurent, one of the oldest, and we feel best private restaurants, with a range of options to fit all budgets
- We finish the night in classic Cuban style by grabbing a carton (or two) of rum, and going to people watch on the Malecón – Havana’s famous seawall, known as the “sofa of the city”
- Overnight in Vedado
Tuesday 1st November – Havana – Cienfuegos
- Breakfast at hotel and depart for the historic city of Cienfuegos, a UNESCO world heritage – 5 hour drive via Bay of Pigs
- On the way to Cienfuegos we travel along the flat central plain of Cuba where there are lots of citrus plantations. We turn off the main highway and shortly after the scenery changes to a densely vegetated swamp where the natural fauna includes boa snakes and crocodiles. We have the opportunity to visit a crocodile farm here at Boca de Guamá.
- Once reaching the Caribbean coast we travel along the picturesque Bay of Pigs past the site where the landing of counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961.
- Today we visit the museum here that recounts the events of this conflict which resulted in the first defeat of a US-backed takeover in Latin America. There are some beautiful places to stop for a swim along the way including a sinkhole which resembles a huge natural tropical fish tank, so make sure to pack your swimwear. SCUBA diving and snorkeling are optional activities here. Cubans are known to be very proud people, and the citizens of Cienfuegos call their town La Perla del Sur (the pearl of the south). Founded by the French, Cienfuegos’ appeal lies partly in the European flavour of its colonial hub, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades, and there is an ambiance to inspire Cuba’s most celebrated Son singer to write the words “Cienfuegos is the city I like best”.
- After checking-in with your host family, you will have a short time to walk around the city and take in the atmosphere. You may go with your guide or explore on your own.
- Dinner at a local paladar private restaurant
- Explore the nightlife of Cienfuegos
- Overnight in Cienfuegos
Wednesday 3rd November – Cienfuegos/Trinidad
- Breakfast and begin a walking tour around Cienfuegos with the first stop being the historic Teatro Tomás Terry.
- Depart for Trinidad stopping en route at Palacio de Valle – the outlandish house of an eccentric millionaire. (1.5 hours drive)
- Lunch on arrival in Trinidad
- We head off on our walking tour of Trinidad.
- La Villa de la Santisima Trinidad was founded by Velazsquez in 1514 and the defender of indigenous rights in the Americas, Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, attended the settlement’s first mass. The future conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortes, recruited sailors here for his future expedition into that land. It is a charming, small town with the green mountains in the background, and the turquoise waters and pure white sand beaches of the Caribbean Sea just a short distance away. The town was fairly inactive until the 1800s, when French refugees fleeing a slave revolt in Haiti landed here en masse and brought with them sugar cane cultivation. The new residents settled and farmed in the Valle de Los Ingenios, just northeast of the town. Vast wealth flowed into the local economy from sugar cane cultivation and the area produced one third of the country’s sugar at one point. The sugar boom was terminated by the two wars of independence, but the wealth generated by the industry remains visible in the town’s once grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grillwork and cobble-stoned streets. The town and area also saw a lot of action during and following the triumph of the Revolution, as gangs of counter revolutionaries hid out and struck from the safety of the mountains.
- Visit to The Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra los Bandidos which tells the struggles of the town’s history. The best part is the view from the tower!
- Dinner in a local top private restaurant.
- The nightlife in Trinidad is probably the most accessible and intense in all of Cuba, with numerous live music venues and many dance performances every day of the week, all amongst the enchanting setting of old colonial buildings and cobblestone streets.
- It’s optional but we very strongly recommend a visit to the unique and (in)famous Disco Ayala, a nightclub in an underground cavern!
- Overnight in homestay
Thursday 3rd November – Trinidad
- Breakfast and a day of choosing your own adventure.
- Option 1: take a trip to the beautiful Valle de los Ingenios in the morning by classic train if it’s operating for $10
- Option 2: include a visit to the beach (Playa Ancón) and relax in the sun
- Both of the above options can include a salsa dancing lesson for $25 or horse riding in the afternoon for $20
- Dinner, drinks and overnight at our homestay
Friday 4th November – Trinidad – Santa Clara
- Breakfast and our journey to the city of Santa Clara, which was a key city in the triumph of the Revolution.
- Depending on road conditions we can take a number of different routes around or through the Sierra del Escambray making a few stops along the way.
- Upon entering Santa Clara there is a huge statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, beneath which is the mausoleum where he is buried. We visit the museum here that is dedicated to his life.
- Take a walking tour of Santa Clara where we come across significant sites such as the armored train derailed by Che and his troops, in the final battle of the Cuban revolution.
- Dinner and optional evening of local music.
- Overnight in Santa Clara
Saturday 5th November – Santa Clara – Havana
- We head back to Havana in the morning, stopping at the open air October Crisis museum overlooking Havana bay, featuring Soviet nuclear missiles (thankfully now inert!) of the period in 1962 when the world came closer than ever to the brink of nuclear war.
- Lunch in city
- Visiting San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress where Che had his office.
- Visit to the Havana Club Museum of Rum! Of course free samples are available.
- Meet up for dinner and evening out at the iconic Hemingway Bar amongst other places
- Overnight in homestay
Sunday 6th November – Havana
- Breakfast at homestay and begin our city tour of Old Havana, encompassing the Plaza de las Armas, complete with a statue of Manuel de Cespedes, one of the leaders of the independence movement. We pass the spot where the city of Havana was founded almost 500 years ago. We explore the open air exhibit of the Museo de la Revolución to see the yacht Granma and learn about its importance in Cuban history.
- Afternoon free time or rest for those weary. Our guide is able to make recommendations to you particular interests.
- Dinner at our favourite secret private restaurant
- Optional but very strongly recommended visit to Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC – Cuban Art Factory, $2). This is one of the coolest art and night venues in the world right now.
- Drinks, Havana style, on the Malecón
- Overnight in homestay
Monday 7th November – Havana – Viñales
- Breakfast at homestay and we aim to depart at 11:00am, depending on Cuban bureaucracy!
- Our first stop is Lenin Hill, which is where the first ever statue of Lenin was erected following his death, this is very derelict and not at all touristy!
- Lunch at a Cuban style street restaurant
- Trip highlight: Explore the incredibly secret bunker where the Soviet Union stored the nuclear weapons that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis. This site is of extreme historical significance and was only recently discovered. This is not on the tourist trail!
- Visit the former Soviet embassy, a huge example of socialist architecture, as well as some other Soviet-era tower blocks for some great fusion photos of Havana’s rich history
- Begin our 2-3 hour scenic drive to Viñales. On arrival, we check into our casa before heading out for dinner and drinks in this formerly sleepy town that whilst still relaxing now has a bustling nightlife.
- Overnight in Viñales
Tuesday 8th November – Viñales
- Breakfast and head out to the prehistoric wall for some amusing photos before we visit a tobacco farm for a chance to see the process of cigar making, as well as have a try of the produce. Another great reason to come to this farm is for the stunning views of the surrounding rolling hills.
- Lunch at the farm accompanied by great views
- Viñales is famous for its stunning caves, with a number being big tourist attractions. We avoid them like the plague, so we will grab our local guide and head to a cave that is (currently) relatively unknown. It takes an hour’s hike, and then heading through the cave network with torches before we hit the swimming part of the adventure. Truly stunning, so don’t forget the go-pro!
- We head back to the casa for a shower before heading out to a great vantage point to enjoy our last sunset with a cocktail as a group
- We finish our last night in Viñales with an authentic home cooked Cuban meal at our casa.
- Drinks and conversation in the rocking chairs on the patio to end our last evening in Cuba
- Overnight in Viñales
Wednesday 9th November – Viñales – Havana – Bogota, Colombia (Group 2 & 3)
- Breakfast and begin our journey back to Havana – 3 hour drive
- Board our flight to Colombia, where we will land in the capital, Bogota. (Flights not included in the price of the tour)
- Arrive into Bogota and check into our hotel situated in the La Candelaria historical district of Bogota.
- Group 2 & 3 members: meet your tour guide and group at hotel lobby to go over pre-tour information
- The evening is dedicated to getting acquainted with Bogota’s nightlife!
- Overnight in Bogota
Thursday November 10th – Bogota
- Take the famous cable car – (or, optionally for the super fit, hike) to the top of Monserrate, the 3152 metre high peak overlooking Bogota. Sample local freshly cooked street food including the local delicacy – seasoned cow intestines.
- Alternatively, we offer an optional (extra charge) trip to a shooting range, where you can fire an AK47 amongst other weapons.
- Ceviche, or raw fish cooked in lime juice is a very South American, and Colombian thing, so we head to a restaurant to try this delicacy. For non-fish lovers there will be other options.
- Beer and explosives go together like peas and carrots, so we finish our first night in Bogotá by playing the local traditional sport of tejo, which is literally throwing iron balls at explosives while drinking beer. Great stuff!
- Overnight in Bogota
Friday November 11th – Bogota
- Breakfast at the hotel and being our walking tour of La Candelaria. This is where Símon Bolívar – El Libertador, the original Latin American revolutionary – was almost caught, and where various figures of Colombian history met their fate.
- Head to the Military Museum where we even learn about the not commonly known role of Colombia in the Korean War!
- Walk around the Parque Simon Bolivar and see what the locals get up to outside of work
- Bogota is famous in Colombia and beyond for its fabulous street food, so we take a staggered street food lunch trying almost everything they have on offer, including Mick Jagger’s favourite “oblea”.
- Stop by the Congress and Supreme Court, which was seized by the M19 Marxist guerrillas, allegedly on the orders of Pablo Escobar.
- We visit the Colón Theatre, which played an important part in the peace process between the government and FARC and get a detailed explanation from our local guide about what achievements and failures have followed the peace process.
- Colombia’s capital has now shaken off its image of danger, and is a vibrant place for a night out, so we head to one of the many bars for dinner and drinks.
- Overnight in Bogotá.
Saturday November 12th – Bogota – Sierra Nevada National Park
- We get up early for the under two hours 9:00am flight from Bogota to Cartagena
- On arrival, we transfer directly to the Sierra Nevada national park, which is home to many of the indigenous peoples of Colombia as well as its most diverse biosphere.
- Lunch in Sierra Nevada
- Hiking time! We head out for a hike around the national park, where we can spend some time on a deserted beach, as well as see how the indigenous Wiwa people live.
- Following a full day of hiking and relaxing on the beach, we head to our eco-resort, surrounded by fresh fruit trees, and a swimming pool for us to relax in.
- At night we not only camp out in the reserve but also do the whole BBQ and rum thing
- Overnight at eco-resort
Sunday November 13th – Sierra Nevada National Park
- We begin with a relaxed start to the day with breakfast at the resort and time to enjoy the pool before we leave for the next part of the trip.
- Begin our scenic drive from Tayrona to Santa Marta city, which takes about an hour, with us stopping for some great views of the bay.
- Visit the gold museum, to learn about how gold has been mined from indigenous times to present.
- For lunch, we head to one of our favourite restaurants in Colombia, Radio Burger, for a full lunch!
- Our last stop before leaving Santa Marta is the Quinta de San Pedro, which was where Simón Bolívar, the liberator of the Americas, died and was originally buried. We also visit the surrounding gardens for a quick look at the huge (but friendly) cat-sized lizards that live there!
- Board our air-conditioned luxury bus for a 4 hour drive from Santa Marta to Cartagena. The journey itself is a fascinating look into contemporary Colombian life, with us passing through the numerous barrios, before hitting the rich parts of the city.
- On arrival in Cartagena we transfer to our hotel situated near the old city
- Cartagena is street food heaven, particularly if you like meat, so we head for street food dinner and drinks in the city.
- Overnight in Cartagena.
Monday November 14th – Cartagena
- Breakfast at hotel
- Cartagena is an old colonial city, so we spend the day touring around this historical city.
- Explore the old colonial walled city, as well as its 500-year-old coral stone forts from the Spanish era.
- Visit the female prison, where it may be possible to go inside, meet the prisoners, and speak to them about their lives in this semi-open facility.
- Lunch at Interno, a restaurant located inside the women’s prison, which is staffed by inmates as a way of integrating the inmates back into society.
- Climb La Popa Hill for a great view of the area and visit the 17th century Santa Cruz monastery.
- Check out the Spanish Inquisition Palace, where people were tortured and executed for crimes against Catholicism.
- Following a hot day of touring the old city we head to one of the bars on the wall to witness the beautiful sunset of Cartagena.
- Dinner in the old city before we head for drinks at the legendary KGB bar, which is full of the kind of old Soviet stuff we just love!
- Overnight in Cartagena.
Tuesday November 15th – Cartagena – Medellin – El Peñol
- Breakfast at hotel and board a 10:00am flight to Medellin, Colombia’s second city and home to the infamous drug-lord Pablo Escobar.
- We head for a traditional and hearty Medellín lunch consisting of rice, soup, plantains, salad and the meat of your choice.
- Trip highlight: We take the 90-minute drive through the ranches of Medellín to the La Manuela estate, and former home of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar for some serious Narco-tourism. To get to the estate we need to take a boat, which offers some great photo opportunities, before we spend a few hours exploring the lavish estate that was largely destroyed during the Medellín-Cali drug cartel wars.
- La Manuela is now owned by Escobar’s former butler, who has embraced tourism in a big way, and part of the estate is now set up for paintball! So, we offer this! (Optional, extra cost). For those not inclined there is a bar.
- After Ayers Rock in Australia, El Peñol has the second largest rock in the world (there used to be a nightclub at the top), which we shall climb!
- At night, we head to our ranch hotel in the countryside to enjoy dinner, and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Overnight in El Peñol.
Wednesday November 16th – El Peñol – Medellin
- Breakfast at the ranch before we head off for the next Pablo Escobar part of the tour.
- Begin our three hour journey to the notorious Hacienda Napoles ranch, where Pablo Escobar created his own zoo, complete with the infamous hippos that have been a menace to the local farmers. The site is now government-owned and boasts, aside from the wildlife, the Pablo Escobar museum, as well as his former private aircraft runway.
- Lunch at the park.
- Aside from the animal park, and museums there is also a huge water park, so we take a rest from museums and city tours with a few hours at the water park.
- We now embark on the 3.5 hour drive back to the cloud city of Medellín, where if we are lucky we will get to stop and witness one of their famous sunsets.
- Dinner at a roadside restaurant serving traditional Medellín fare.
- On arrival in Medellín we check into our hotel in the hipster district of El Poblado, which is full of great bars and restaurants.
- Overnight in Medellín.
Thursday November 17th – Medellin
- Breakfast at hotel
- Trip highlight: Begin our legendary Pablo Escobar tour, which was set up by his trusted lieutenant “Popeye”, who fans of the Narcos TV series might remember. The tour is led by one of his former drug mules, who is very open to answering questions about his time working for the notorious drug lord.
- Our first stop is the “Monaco” building where Pablo Escobar formerly lived, and which was blown up by the Cali cartel.
- We now head to the notorious La Catedral prison, that Pablo Escobar built and paid for himself in 1991, to serve his agreed 5-year sentence in luxury. The site is now an old peoples’ home run by monks, but there are still signs of what it used to be such as the watchtower, and his personal helipad, which offer some of the most amazing views of Medellin.
- We finish the Pablo Escobar tour by visiting his grave and final resting place, where our local guide, and former henchman of Pablo will regale us with stories about his time working for the cartel.
- Lunch in Medellín.
- After lunch, we head for a city tour of Medellín, with our first stop being riding the legendary cable-metro, which again offers great views of the city, particularly the poorer parts of it.
- Our next stop is Cerro Nutibara, which offers great ice-cream as well as views across the bustling city.
- We finish our day tour in the old town, where we will get a chance to try some coca tea, before heading back to our hotel.
- We head for dinner and drinks in the trendy area around our hotel for our last night in Medellín, and Colombia.
- Overnight in Medellín.
Friday November 18th – Medellin – Bogota – Quito, Ecuador (End of Group 1)
- Breakfast at hotel and board our morning flight to Bogota
- Group 1 members: tour includes in Bogota – we are able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for ongoing transportation
- Group 2 & 3 members: continue with our connecting flight to Ecuador (flight not included in the price of the tour)
- Dinner and overnight in Quito
Saturday 19th November – Quito – El Coca – Yasuni National Park – Amazon
- Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Quito Airport to board our 1 hour flight to El Coca that will put us right on the doorstep of Ecuadorian’s remote Amazonian rainforest.
- Upon our arrival we will board our boat that will take us into the heart of Yasuni National Park – famous for being one of the world’s most biologically rich regions
- Stop along the way for a local lunch
- We will then be greeted by our local guide who will lead us along a gentle hiking path to have unique opportunities to see the local wildlife in their natural habitats – optional kayaking is available to take you further off track for a more in-depth experience
- Check into our Amazonian lodge to freshen up.
- Receive a warm welcome by the locals and greeted with a true Amazonian feast for dinner
- Drinks & overnight at our lodge
Sunday 20th November – Amazon
- Breakfast at our lodge and being the day by seeing the colourful side of the Amazon by checking out the Clay Licks, Parrots and Parakeets – fantastic opportunity for photos
- Stop by the local cultural center with facts about the importance of the Amazon.
- Climb to the top of a 40m canopy tower that will give us an incredible view across the treetops
- Jump aboard an indigenous catamaran ride – experience the traditional way of how the locals have been using the river for transport for centuries
- Dinner and overnight back at the lodge
Monday 21st November – Amazon
- We will embark on a canoe tour that will give you a closer encounter with the river and wildlife that surrounds it – expect to see some of the 20 different species of monkeys, over sixteen hundred different species of birds, sloths and countless marine life.
- Lunch back on land
- We will embark on one of the most extensive hiking trails available and visit a local indigenous family – here we will learn how they’ve turned this wilderness into their home and the benefits of it
- Dinner and overnight at lodge
Tuesday 22nd November – El Coca – Quito
- In the morning we will take part in a “Dream interpretation” session by drinking Wayusa – drank like tea. This native plant is infused with naturally occurring caffeine and it can give stimulative effects.
- We will say goodbye to our local guide and jump back on another boat to make our way back to El Cola
- Board our flight back to Quito city
- Dinner and drinks in Zona Rosa AKA Gringolandia – Quito’s notorious famous nightlife district
- Overnight in Quito
Wednesday 23rd November – Quito
- Start the day off by walking off our breakfast and heading up to the very top of Panecillo Hill – the epicentre of Quito – for a perfect view of the bustling city below
- For those seeking more of a breathtaking view you will have the chance to head further up the Virgin of El Panecillo Statue – this monumental sculpture is one of the biggest in South America, even bigger than Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
- Lunch downtown at a local eatery – Quito’s cuisine benefits from a unique mix involving a variety of dishes inspired by both Coastal and Andean style
- Begin our walking tour to learn more of the historical side of the city – Quito was the first city in the world to be listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Return to hostel to freshen up
- For those who really want to soak up the party atmosphere we will jump on one of Quito’s famous Chivas – a brightly-lit decked out party truck with our very own DJ complete with drinks on tap that will take us around the city in style
- Overnight in hotel
Thursday 24th November – Quito – Telefériqo – Mitad del Mundo
- Breakfast and being making our way to the top of Pichincha Volcano by catching the TelefériQo cable car reaching 4000m (13000 ft)
- Provided the weather holds up, which is usually fine in the morning, we will have a view of another 6 volcanoes surrounding Quito, with the city laid out below us. Incredible opportunity for photos
- Time to indulge ourselves with a local specialty, being that of the empanadas! – deep-fried parcels of sweet bread, filled with a little cheese and sprinkled with sugar. What better way to wash it down with a cup of Canelazo – a local specialty beverage made with raw sugar, cinnamon and a dash (or three) of aguardiente – fire water!
- You have the option of riding on horseback even higher up the volcano, or alternatively have a ride on the rollercoaster in the amusement park back at the bottom of the volcano (extra charge)
- We will drive 45 minutes to the famous Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) monument just outside Quito – Mitad del Mundo was built straddling the equator. You can try out various science experiments here, one of them being if the myth is true about water going down the plughole in opposite directions on opposite sides of the equator
- Lunch at Mitad del Mundo
- Return to our hotel to freshen up
- We will hit up a local joint that does an incredible Churrasco dish – a local version of a Brazilian dish which involves noodles mixed with chicken or beef.
- Drinks in town followed by a good sleep at the hotel
Friday 25th November – Quito – Cuenca
- Breakfast and make our way to the airport and jump aboard a 45 minute flight to Ecuador’s third largest city of Cuenca – situated in a valley at about 2500m with a population of 450,000 people.
- Visit to a hat factory to see the part-artisanal, part-industrial process of making Panama hats – it’s a common misconception that Panama hats are made in Panama, but in fact they are made right here in Cuenca! Hats are available to buy, hats at factory prices – around $25, though the very finest hats cost $800 or more!
- After lunch, for a truly local experience we will catch the newly-inaugurated streetcar to the local hot mineral springs baths to restore your wellbeing after being on a few boats and flights from earlier in the trip
- Dinner at a local restaurant
- Overnight in Cuenca
Saturday 26th November – Cuencao
- Breakfast and morning walking tour of the historic centre of this UNESCO World Heritage city
- Climb up to the roof of the ‘New’ Cathedral with its very distinctive domes for a view down to the main city square
- After lunch we will visit the Pumapungo park, where you can see real live (well, dead actually) human shrunken heads – a ritual that involved using a severed human head that was used for trophy, ritual, or trade purposes.
- Dinner, drinks and overnight at Cuenca
Saturday 27th November – Cuenca – Guayaquil
- Breakfast and board a bus to Guayaquil – the largest and most populous city of Ecuador. This four-hour trip through the Cajas National Park will take us high up into the mountains with spectacular views of the cloud forests before dropping down to the Pacific coast.
- Check into our guest house located in the heart of the historical quarter of Guayaquil
- Head down to Malecón (sea wall) park to board a boat as we believe one of the best ways to see Guayaquil is along its waterfront
- Guayaquil is nowadays the economic and industrial capital of the country, and for centuries everyone wanted a piece of it, so the conquistadores built a look-out on top of a handy hill to watch out for invading pirates and Brits. There’s 650 steps to the top, but to make things easier there is a bar roughly every 10 steps, so our challenge is to make the journey to the very top!
- Dinner and overnight in our guest house
Sunday 28th November – Guayaquil – Galapagos Island (End of Group 2)
- Group 3 members: Board our two hour flight to Baltra – the gateway to the Galapagos Islands. On our way we will pick up our Galapagos National Park permits
- Group 2 members: tour includes – we are able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for ongoing transportation
- Once arriving we will then transport across Santa Cruz Island to our hotel
- Begin our boat tour of Academy Bay – visit “La Lobería”, named because of the colony of sea lions that are located here. You can snorkel and play with these friendly animals, observe goldfish and countless sea turtles.
- We will then make our way to the Canal of Love, where you can see whitefin sharks and marine iguanas in the “Playa de los Perros”.
- Overnight in Galapagos guest house
Monday 29th November – Santa Fe
- Breakfast and begin the day off by a Santa Fe boat tour – Santa Fe is a small island of 24 square km located in the central part of the archipelago, southeast of Santa Cruz.
- Walk along the beach of Santa Fe – here we will have an up close glimpse of the sea life and playful sea lions
- Explore the picturesque turquoise lagoon – perfect for snorkeling with its calm waters and numerous sea lions!
- Lunch onboard our boat
- Head back to our guest house on Galapagos
- Dinner, drinks and overnight
Tuesday 30th November – Isabela Island – Poza de Flamingos
- Breakfast and make our way to a Giant Turtle Breeding Centre located on a bay with beautiful shallow, calm and transparent water allowing you to observe the fascinating marine fauna of Galapagos. Swimming with the sea lions and penguins is highly encouraged!
- Lunch on the beach
- We will move to Tintoreras for more frolicking and absorbing all of what the nature of Galapagos has to offer
- Dinner and drinks on our last night in this island paradise
- Overnight in the Galapagos Islands
Wednesday 1st December – Galapagos – Guayaquil
- An early morning breakfast and begin our one hour walk (roughly 5km) to Turtle Bay. The route is perfect for bird watching; it’s easy to spot several species of finches when you walk the path.
- One hour transfer back to Baltra and board our two hour flight back to Guayaquil
- Group tour concludes – we are able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for ongoing transportation
Price inclusive of:
- Twin-share accommodation
- Transportation to complete the itinerary.
- Breakfasts: for each day of the tour, except the arrival day.
- All lunches (excluding arrival and departure day)
- Local English-speaking guide throughout.
- Bilingual tour leader
- All entrance fees as per itinerary
Price exclusive of:
- International flight tickets
- Visa Fee if applicable (we can provide full visa support)
- Single supplement
- Dinners, drinks and personal spending
- Extra activities not included on the itinerary or listed as an option
Interested In This Trip?
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Contact us where we will be able to guide you through the itinerary to help you decide if this tour is right for you.