Ecuador: Galapagos Island Hopping & Andean Volcanos

This itinerary takes you from Quito, Ecuador’s capital, off the beaten path to the unforgettable Galapagos islands, where you can snorkel with sea lions and hike impressive volcanoes in the highlands. 


Starting from $4,430 per person based on four travelers

Overview

  • Discover colonial Quito.
  • Spot white tipped reef sharks.
  • Bike on Isabela Island.
  • Kayak, SUP and snorkel as you spot iconic wildlife.
  • Take in the inspiring scenery of the Pasochoa crater, the Antisana, Sincholagua, Quilindaña, Cotopaxi & Rumiñahui volcano peaks.
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Country information

ECUADOR

  • Best time to travel

    Highlands: Year round, but May – November is drier and warmer. Galapagos: December- May is the warmest weather in the Galapagos and the water is pleasantly warm. Great for diving and snorkeling as the waters are calmer. June- Novemebr is drier but chillier due to Humboldt currents.

  • Day 1

    Arrival in Quito

    Your private guide and driver will take you to your hotel for check in as you prepare for the incredible journey ahead.

    Selected hotels

    • Casona de la Ronda

      Located in the heart of colonial Quito, this 18th century refurbished home is perfect for travelers looking for an authentic experience in the old town. Known for its food, crafts, and nightlife, La Ronda is the oldest street in Quito. La Ronda spawned many pioneers in music, painting, and poetry in the 1930s.

  • Day 2

    Visit colonial Quito with your guide

    Enjoy lunch at a local spot and taste Ecuador’s essential dishes in the colonial part of Ecuador’s capital. In the afternoon you’ll wander on your own and explore more of the colonial town. Then, enjoy a gourmet restaurant that gives each dish a unique flavor by using produce from every region in the country.

  • Day 3

    Heading to Galapagos

    After arriving at Baltra Island, you’ll go straight to the Itabaca Channel to kayak, snorkel, and SUP. Here you’ll see some of the iconic Galapagos creatures, such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, herons, and white-tipped reef sharks. There is no better way to encounter this magical place than by diving into the water just as you arrive!

    Next, you’re off to Santa Cruz highlands, where you’ll see 150-year-old tortoises. Get settled in your tented camp, where the sounds of nature will lull you to sleep.

    Selected hotels

    • Galapagos Magic

      This unique property surprises and delights its guests with gorgeous views in a scenic, natural setting. Magic is a place to relax, walk the beautiful mountainside, and gaze upon nature unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The sunsets here are unforgettable!

  • Day 4

    Spotting white-tipped reef sharks

    After breakfast,  head back to the Itabaca Channel to continue on to South Plaza Island.

    As you snorkel in Punta Carrion, you can see white tipped sharks and a variety of tropical fish.  From here, you’ll explore South Plazas Island, where you’ll meet a colony of sea lions, hike through hundreds of scarlet vesuvium succulents, and spot yellow iguanas all over. Finish your exploration with a magnificent lunch aboard the yacht.

  • Day 5

    Biking on Isabela Island

    Head by speedboat to the nearby cluster of small islands called Tintoreras, a microcosm of the entire Galapagos. As you snorkel through the bay, don’t be surprised if some of the penguins or sea lions jump in to play alongside you in the water!

    In the afternoon, you’ll bike the Wetlands Trail where you'll see marine iguana colonies and a variety of types of mangrove trees.  Your bike tour culminates in a visit to the Wall of Tears, built in the late 1940s by World War II prisoners held at the U.S. base on the islands.

    Selected hotels

    • Isamar

      Separated from the ocean only by a broad, white sand, palm-lined beach, this oceanfront lodge has a beautiful wooden deck by the sea and a relaxing rooftop terrace with sea vistas for miles. The terrace also has incredible sunset views.

  • Day 6

    Exploring volcanoes

    Volcanic eruptions created all of the islands in the Galapagos. You’ll get to see this geological process first-hand as you explore Isabela, one of the youngest and most volcanically-active islands of the archipelago. You’ll hike to the crater of the massive Sierra Negra volcano, then onward to the rim of the Volcano Chico.

    This is a fascinating hike that ends with a pleasant lunch with lovely views of the island.

  • Day 7

    From the islands to the highlands

    On day 7, you'll fly back into Quito as your next adventure awaits! Upon your arrival in Quito, you'll head south towards Cotopaxi and stop at a beautiful horse-back riding hacienda in the small town of Aloag. Relax here before tomorrow’s adventure.

    Selected hotels

    • Hacienda La Alegria

      This small farm features excellent horseback rides and beautiful lush scenery. An excellent place to relax before your next adventure.

  • Day 8

    Hiking the Pasochoa Peak

    At 4,200 meters, hiking the Pasochoa Peak will challenge you and get your motor running. Your hike to the peak will take about 3 hours over grassland trails. From here you'll get a spectacular view of the mountains surrounding Quito, the inspiring scenery of the Pasochoa crater, and the impressive surrounding mountain crests: Antisana, Sincholagua, Quilindaña, Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Corazón and the twin Iliniza peaks.

    The descent is a downhill walk of about 3 hours through grasslands and low chaparro forests, ending at the Lodge, set 3,200 meters above sea level.

    Selected hotels

    • Chilcabamba Lodge

      Built from local materials, Chilcabamba is cozy, unpretentious, and charming. The main lodge is welcoming, with cozy nooks to relax, books to curl up with, and stunning views of Cotopaxi on a clear day. At night, you can sit by the campfire and gaze at the stars. Nuna, their restaurant, has a jaw-dropping 12-course dropping dinner.

  • Day 9

    Cotopaxi, the Pedregal Trail

    On day 9 you'll head to Cotopaxi National Park, one of the most beautiful protected areas of Ecuador. On a clear day, you might see Cotopaxi’s peak from parts of Quito, but its majestic quality is only clearly visible from within the borders of the park. When the weather cooperates, views of its snow-capped, nearly symmetrical summit cone inspire awe.

    The rushing waters of the Pita River will guide you throughout much of your adventure. You’ll enter the Cotopaxi National Park and head towards an archeological site called Pucara de Salitre.  You'll spend time at the edge of the Pita River and the park’s natural springs. Admire the view of the Cotopaxi Volcano, or perhaps the reflection of Rumiñahui Mount in its waters. In the afternoon you'll start your descent and hike to your next lodge.

    Selected hotels

    • Tambopaxi

      Set at the foot of Cotopaxi Volcano, Tambopaxi offers amazing views of the snow-capped peak in Cotopaxi National Park. This ecological hotel was built at the beginning of the new millennium as a refuge for climbers to become acclimatized to the altitude before attempting to summit the volcano. The construction uses all local materials and traditional techniques to minimize impact on the environment.

  • Day 10

    Cotopaxi Glaciers

    From the lodge you'll head out with your guide to the parking area of the Cotopaxi mountain refuge. You’ll walk for an hour to the mountaineers’  lodge from which you’ll hike for two hours to the edge of the glacier.  The northern side of the mountain offers a spectacular panorama.

    From here you can see all the ground you’ve covered since the first day of your adventure: Quito, its valleys, the distant mountains in the north, and the road from Pasochoa through the Pita canyon, to el Pedregal, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and the magnificent Limpiopungo valley.

    After your descent, you’ll head back to Quito to stay at the beautiful Casa Aliso, in the bohemian neighborhood of La Floresta. 

  • Day 11

    ¡Adiós, Ecuador!

    Today you will fly back home from Quito. 

    Not ready for the adventure to end? Find more inspiring ways to combine this trip, here.

    Contact us to customize this journey!

    *Your journey will be customized based on your travel time, interests and budget.


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Send us an email hello@jsbjourneys.com, or call us at (415) 230-0261



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