Trip Inspiration

11-Days in Ecuador’s Diverse Beauty

Highlands, Rainforest and Islands

Get to know the beautiful country of Ecuador! Experience the country’s unique biodiversity, ranging from the flora and fauna of the Amazon, to the abundant wildlife of the Galápagos Islands. We are proud to offer this itinerary in conjunction with our partners, La Selva EcoLodge, Haugan Cruises, and the Red Mangrove EcoLuxury Hotel. Like Travel Beyond, these operators are committed to offering unique experiences and promoting a positive relationship with natural and social environments.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • 2 nights at Casa Gangotena in Quito
  • 3 nights at La Selva EcoLodge in the Amazon Rainforest
  • 1 night at Quito Polo Club
  • 3 nights aboard the M/C Petrel in the Galápagos Islands
  • 1 night at the Red Mangrove EcoLuxury Hotel in the Galápagos

Activities

  • Amazonian animal viewing
  • Cultural visits and demonstrations
  • Abundant wildlife interactions in the Galápagos
  • Water activities such as canoeing, swimming, snorkeling
  • Hiking and nature walks
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Ecuador and The Galápagos Islands might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Quito, Ecuador

Welcome to Quito, Ecuador and the start of your exploration of one of the most fascinating countries in South America. On arrival, you will be met for your private transfer to Casa Gangotena, where you will stay for two nights.

Casa Gangotena Meals: N/A

Days 2

Quito

Today after breakfast, you will be met for your private tour of colonial Quito. Listen as your guide provides a brief review of Quito’s storied history, before continuing to the city’s colonial center. Visit Compañia Church, famous for its colonial architecture and its gold adornment, and San Francisco Church, where you will see a display of the Quiteña Art School. Make your way to the highest part of the Pululahua Volcano Crater and enjoy an Ecuadorian lunch at the famous El Crater restaurant.

After lunch, continue to the “Middle of the World,” marked by a 100-foot-tall monument indicating one of the points where the equator goes through the country. Stand with one foot in each hemisphere, then visit the Intiñan museum, where you have an opportunity to participate in interesting and interactive exhibits.

Upon completion of your tour, you will be returned to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Casa Gangotena Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 3

Quito to the Amazonian Rainforest

This morning after breakfast, you will be met for your private transfer to the Quito Airport for your commercial flight to Puerto Francisco de Orellana “El Coca.” Here, you transfer to the city’s main dock at the Napo River.

The next two hours will be spent on a motorized canoe, heading down river on what will be the beginning of an unforgettable experience in the Amazon Rainforest. Arrive at La Selva EcoLodge’s main dock and begin the final leg of the trip to the lodge, which will be completed in a paddle canoe.

The lodge manager will be waiting to greet you with a refreshing juice, snacks and a short briefing with general information about your stay at the lodge. Your naturalist guides will provide an overview of the tropical rainforest, the Amazon, and how La Selva operates – allowing you to begin your activities with background knowledge of the amazing place you will call home for the next three nights!

Tonight you begin your first Amazon activity, a trek on the Matapolo Trail. Observe the famous strangler fig, just one of many remarkable trees that you can find on this short walk. Mahogany trees over 400 years old can be seen and your guides will share their knowledge of the flora and fauna of the area. Enjoy the approaching evening and the transition from diurnal and nocturnal animals are beginning their daily transitional activities. Return to the lodge for refreshments, dinner and to rest before your second day of jungle exploration.

La Selva Amazon EcoLodge Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4-5

Amazonian Rainforest

Enjoy two full days of activities with your guides and fellow guests. All meals will be served at the lodge or in conjunction with your activities.

Each day, you will be able to participate in a variety of activities. The activities listed below are just a sample of the types of pursuits available, and these may be altered based on weather, time of year, or at La Selva’s discretion:

La Selva’s amazing observation tower allows you to climb 120-feet above the forest. Your naturalist and local guides will help you spot the colorful birds of the Amazon and maybe even native primates.

A walk to the beautiful lagoon of Mandi Cocha brings you to an Igapo Forest, meaning that the forest is temporarily flooded by black water. Different species of birds and even giant otters can be seen here.

Venture out on a motorized canoe to the parrot clay licks, one of the most fascinating displays of the wild world. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets gather here to eat the mineral rich soil, an important part of their diet.

Visit a local community center, where Amazonian Kichua women will share their life and culture.

Garzacocha Lagoon is one of the most beautiful spots in the Ecuadorian Amazon. There are many chances to see monkeys and birds, and sometimes families of squirrel monkeys join capuchins looking for food. The tremendous calls of howler monkeys can be heard in the afternoon, and the smallest monkey in the world, the pygmy marmoset, can be seen here too.

During your free time in between activities you can use our kayaks, swim in the lagoon, have a massage or just relax in your room and have a nap!

Nightly activities include canoe rides, where you will look for nighttime wildlife and enjoy Amazonian stargazing. Enjoy a quiet nocturnal walk while you listen to the creatures and sounds of the jungle at night.

La Selva Amazon EcoLodge Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 6

 

Amazonian Rainforest to Quito

Today you will say goodbye to the Amazon, as you board a motorized canoe ride and head back upstream to Coca. Here you will transfer to the airport for your commercial flight to Quito. Upon arrival, you will be met for your private transfer to the Quito Polo Club where you will stay for one night.

Nestled in the green mountains of the Ecuadorian highlands, the Quito Polo Club is an Andean dream, located in the small neighborhood of La Palma in Puembo, you will feel welcomed by its privileged climate and lovely natural environment. This is truly a place to call home during your exploration of the Quito area.

Quito Polo Club Meals: Breakfast

Day 7

Quito to the Galápagos Islands

This morning, you will be met for your private transfer to the Quito Airport for your commercial flight to San Cristóbal, in the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival, you will transfer to the M/C Petrel for an informational briefing and lunch.

 

Next, you will visit the Interpretation Center and La Galapaguera. At the Interpretation Center, visitors enjoy a series of interactive exhibits about the history and biodiversity of the islands. The center’s conservation efforts represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment through means of population and tourist control. Learn about the Giant Tortoise breeding program established by the National Park at La Galapaguera. En route, you may see land birds like warblers, finches and mockingbirds, and on the trails, giant tortoises.

M/C Petrel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 8

Galápagos Islands

You will spend today at various spots on Española Island. You first visit will be to Gardner Bay, with its magnificent beach, turquoise water, and a large resident colony of sea lions. This is the breeding site of nearly all the world’s 12,000 pairs of waved albatross. Its rocky shores make this site a great place for snorkeling. You will also land at Osborn Islet, where you can walk across a lovely white sand beach amongst a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to swim with sea lion pups. You will enjoy fantastic snorkeling and swimming here.

After lunch on board, you will continue to Suarez Point, a great area for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and Nazca boobies. A beautiful site on the ocean front, the large waved albatross use the cliff as a launching pad. The most famous attraction here is the magnificent blowhole, spurting water high into the air. Bring your camera! This site presents wonderful photograph opportunities.

Return to the M/C Petrel for your nightly briefing and dinner.

M/C Petrel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 9

Galápagos Islands

Today you visit Floreana Island, beginning with Cormorant Point, home to a large flamingo lagoon. Other birds, such as common stilts and white-cheeked pintails, can also be seen here. You will also visit Devil’s Crown, arguably the best snorkeling site in the islands. This volcanic crater has been eroded by waves, leaving the northern and southern sides poking out of the water – and the coral reef in the middle is perfect for attracting marine life. Snorkelers enjoy the variety of marine life and exciting currents that rush through the crown, creating an exhilarating experience.

After lunch onboard, you will continue to iconic Post Office Bay. In the 18th century, whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel here for use as an unofficial mailbox. Today’s travelers can continue the tradition by leaving self-addressed postcards in the barrel and sorting through the left mail to deliver upon return home.

Return to the M/C Petrel for the evening’s dinner.

M/C Petrel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 10

Galápagos Islands

Today you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. The station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans. The babies are cared for until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.

After lunch, you will disembark the M/C Petrel and be met for your transfer to the Red Mangrove EcoLuxury hotel in Puerto Ayora. Situated on the oceanfront the hotel blends in naturally with a surrounding mangrove forest while offering pleasant views of Academy Bay. The hotel’s very own private deck and restaurant area have incredible panoramic scenes of the Galapagos Islands. Don’t be surprised to see that the hotel hosts many Galápagos natives who frequent the hotel and deck area, including friendly sea lions, marine iguanas, pelicans! This is certainly the perfect place to enjoy one more day in the islands and rest your “sea legs” before your departing flight tomorrow.

Red Mangrove EcoLuxury Hotel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 11

Depart Ecuador

Today you will be met for your private transfer to the Baltra Airport for your commercial flight back to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, you will make your way to your connecting flight home.

Overnight Flight Meals: Breakfast

Learn More

About our Ecuadorian Partners

Travel Beyond is proud to offer this unique itinerary in collaboration with La Selva Amazon EcoLodge, Haugan Cruises, and Red Mangrove EcoLuxury Hotel. These partners offer unique experiences and focus on promoting a proper relationship with the natural and social environment. They work closely with local Ecuador communities and offer opportunities to those who live there.

Discover more about travel in Ecuador, and the unique services provided by La Selva Amazon EcoLodge, Haugan Cruises, and Red Mangrove EcoLuxury Hotel by contacting Travel Beyond. We are ready to help you plan your own special Ecuadorian adventure!