Ecuador Iconic with Galapagos
10 DAY TRAVEL PACKAGE ECUADOR ICONIC TOUR WITH GALAPAGOS
Quito ● Mashpi ● Galapagos ● Quito
Discover the most iconic places in Ecuador.
- Quito, considered one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America.
- Mashpi, one of the most important ecological reserves in the world.
- Galapagos, The Enchanted Islands; where we find the most interesting species of the world.
QUITO and SURROUNDINGS : The Historic Centre of the city of Quito, is considered one of the most iconic urban settings in the country’s capital. A jewel designated by UNESCO/UN as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
HOTEL CASA GANGOTENA : the award-winning Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel located on iconic San Francisco Plaza in Quito, the first-ever World Heritage Site.
WORKSHOPS AND MARKETS : an exploration of the life, beliefs, gastronomy and ancient traditions of Quito.
CASA DEL ALABADO MUSEUM : some of the most emblematic pieces of pre-Columbian art and the social developments of pre-Hispanic Ecuador.
MASHPI RESERVE – MASHPI LODGE: a 1,200-hectare (3,000-acre) conservation property located within the Metropolitan District of Quito, forms a part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hot spots. EXPERIENCE THE ESSENCE OF LIFE ITSELF – Mashpi Lodge is the place to encounter 500 species of birds, trees and frogs found nowhere else in the world, complete with crashing waterfalls and incredible flora.
A COCOON OF LUXURY IN THE CLOUDS, WHERE CONTEMPORARY DESIGN MOVES IN HARMONY WITH NATURE.
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS : A journey of discovery to some of the most beautiful islands in the Galapagos aboard La Pinta to ensure your Galapagos experience is truly deeply moving and memorable. Yacht La Pinta boasts amongthe largest cabins of any Galapagos vessel. Thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows -located in all cabins- you’ll get mesmerizing views of the Enchanted Isles from the comfort of your own private space.
DepartureQuito or Guayaquil
Departure TimeApproximately 10.30AM
Return TimeApproximately 7:30PM
Dress CodeCasual, comfortable and light and warm
Included4 Star Accomodation5 Star AccommodationAirport TransferAll applicable taxesAll Mentioned ActivitiesAll Mentioned MealsDomestic airfareShared GuideShared Hotel TransfersWaterproof Clothing
Not Includedalcoholic/non alcoholic beveragesBoat rideBottled waterBreakfastCycle rideDaily buffet breakfastDeluxe cruise on Halong bayDeparture taxes/customs/immigration feesFirst Class AccommodationIndicated entrance feesInternational airfaresJeep SafariMonuments Entry FeesPersonal ExpensesPrivate boat tripPrivate GuidePrivate TourPrivate TransportationShared Boat rideTaxesTrain
Day 1 Arrival transfer in Quito Welcome to Quito and Ecuador!. At the airport you will be greeted by a member of our organization, we will escort you all the way to your hotel, giving you a short briefing about Quito and the country in general with valuable information you need to know. Enjoy scenic colonial and artistic Quito, visit museums, monasteries and the golden altars of its many churches. Stand with a foot on each hemisphere on the Middle of the World memorial. The capital of Ecuador has a setting that few cities in the world can match. During the 13th century it was the prosperous center of the Kingdom of Quitus. It later became the northern capital of the Inca Empire. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Colonial architects built formidable temples, monasteries and mansions, creating an urban jewel designated by UNESCO/UN as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Quito's artistic creativity awaits the visitor in cosmopolitan galleries and boutiques filled with contemporary paintings, sculptures and exquisite traditional crafts.
HOTEL CASA GANGOTENA You will be staying at the award-winning Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel located on iconic San Francisco Plaza in Quito, the first-ever World Heritage Site. Your accommodation includes a buffet breakfast and special daily activities. Accommodation: Luxury Rooms (with taxes included) Day 2 - Quito and Surroundings Cultural City Tour EXPECTED SERVICE DURATION: 9 hrs. (12 components) The following description is intended as a detail of the attractions, meals and operations included in your one-day service. DO NOT consider it as an itinerary. Meals and accommodation detailed in this description are subject to availability, and may be modified because of this issue but without any changes in the established rate of the service.
WORKSHOPS AND MARKETS
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: THE SAN ROQUE COMMUNITY TOUR
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: CHEZ TIFF CHOCHOLATE TASTING (INCLUDES TRUFFLE)/ La Ronda Street
CHURCHES AND MUSEUMS
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: CASA DEL ALABADO MUSEUM
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: LA COMPAÑIA DE JESUS CHURCH
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH AND CONVENT
HISTORY, CULTURE AND ARCHITECTURE
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: INDEPENDENCE SQUARE (MAIN SQUARE)
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: SAN FRANCISCO PLAZA
- CAFE PLAZA GRANDE-Lunch
- QUITO AND SURROUNDINGS: THE PANECILLO (SCENIC LOOKOUT)
NOTE: Please contact us for detailed program.
Day 3 – MASHPI RESERVE at MASHPI LODGE Mashpi Reserve, a 1,200-hectare (3,000-acre) conservation property located within the Metropolitan District of Quito, forms a part of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hot spots. The sudden shift in altitude from 2,800 masl to 1,000 masl (9,200 to 3,300 feet above sea level) will allow us to discover the spectacular natural diversity of the Andean landscape as we travel through the dry valley of Pomasqui towards the cordillera’s western flank, into lush, misty cloud forest, and enter the magical world of Mashpi. In the afternoon after a short rest, head out on our first adventure exploring one of the trails of the Reserve, chosen by the guides depending on daily conditions. This walk will serve as an introduction to the ecological succession processes and the importance of forest conservation for the Chocó region. All of our trails offer great scenic beauty and each includes a unique attraction, such as a forest of “iron palm” (Iriartea deltoidea), special bird-watching opportunities, or other unexpected surprises.
DAY 4 – MASHPI RESERVE at MASHPI LODGE The forest always rewards the “early birds”, as the dawn light lures a variety of fascinating species in their search for food. A good place to find birds is actually right at the hotel’s terrace, with a cup of fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate in hand, from where we can enjoy not only the beauty of the forest but also the many species that come to feed on insects and fruits at nearby trees. Our guides will help us spot what’s around, offering a peek inside their telescope for a close-and-personal view of the incredible bird richness Mashpi possesses. This activity begins at 6:30 a.m. and lasts about an hour. Then, enjoy breakfast at our hotel restaurant. Our guests have the opportunity to live between 6 and 8 rain forest experiences on our most popular 2N/3D stay, as well as time to enjoy our new wellness offerings. Your guides will recommend the best daily program for you and your group depending on your interests, your level of physical fitness and daily weather and trail conditions.
Choose from our many trails and activities.
Two of the Lodge’s main trails are the Howler Monkey and Magnolia (named after an oak) trails. Both link up with the Tower #5 of the Dragonfly canopy gondola system. Due to Mashpi’s mountainous topography, trails are rarely flat. The Howler Monkey (mainly primary forest) and Magnolia (mainly secondary), although short – 2 km and 700 m, respectively – are steep. The trails’ steepness is an advantage since the hillsides enable more light to penetrate the forest, thereby increasing the diversity of plants and animals that one can observe at each stratum. Both trails have been specially adapted to make walking easier, using embedded recycled plastic crates to create steps and firm paths.
The Copal Waterfall trail offers a beautiful 2-hour-long hike featuring a landscape of moss-covered trees, bromeliads and orchids at every corner. The trail ends at a spectacular waterfall over 50 m high. Water is key to life in Mashpi, and there’s nothing like a refreshing dip at the end of a walk. Several rivers cross the Mashpi Reserve close to the hotel, many forming beautiful small waterfalls, cascades and pools. The water temperature is between 18 and 20°C (64 and 68 °F).
Life Centre Close to the lodge, the Life Centre is conceived as a place for learning and discovery, but also as a space for guests to disconnect, contemplate the views, sit in comfortable chairs, read a book, and enjoy a fresh cane juice. Close to the Centre, we have established an area for growing medicinal plants (ideal for a reviving herbal infusion) and beyond, many varieties of bushes and fruit trees, including banana and plantain, manioc, cacao, tobacco, coffee, bread fruit, and heart of palm.
Observation Tower There are few easier or better ways to appreciate the beauty of the Mashpi Reserve’s forest and hills than climbing the Observation Tower. Here, guests are able to enjoy an exciting bird’s-eye view and the dramatic panoramas that surround the lodge from the observation tower. This is a metallic structure, with a staircase that climbs to about eight-stories high (26 m or 85 ft), ideal for wildlife observation, particularly at dawn or dusk.
Dragonfly Of course, if we really want to see the amazing canopy life, we need to get a birds’ eye view. Luckily, this is now possible, thanks to the Dragonfly canopy ride. Glide through the tree tops at a relaxed pace and view the dense forest, interrupted by cascading waterfalls, from an air-born perspective. In 40 minutes, the Dragonfly takes us on a route covering 2 km (1.25 mi) and gives us the opportunity to appreciate the true immensity of the Reserve, contrasting delightfully with the discoveries of minute life forms that we achieve on walks through the dense forest below. Enjoy the Dragonfly on its own or combine it with other hikes and activities to make the most of your journey.
Sky Bike Located close to the hotel, the Sky Bike provides another original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest, around 200 m (655 feet) apart, crossing a gorge above a river flowing between rocks and trees below. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it’s an activity for children over 8 years-old accompanied by an adult, providing guests with another chance to observe the natural world close to the lodge and even spot its denizens. To enjoy the ride, one must be at least 1 m tall (3.2 ft) (children must be accompanied by an adult). The bike ride takes no more than 20 minutes.
Hummingbird Viewpoint The forests of Mashpi boast 32 hummingbird species identified to date, inhabiting different specific altitudes, with around 19 species alone observable by guests. In order to make it easier to see these amazing creatures, a shelter with seating provides the ideal setting, with feeders for the birds strung from its roof. The site is located at a natural viewpoint, which, on clear days, provides breathtaking views of the Reserve’s forested hills.
Night walks The Mashpi forest is transformed at night, with far more activity visible than during the day. Optional night walks will head out from the hotel after dinner to discover its nocturnal creatures and their behaviour. The species range from moths as big as your hand to miniature glass and tree frogs, croaking toads, birds, owls, rodents and mammals, and even fox fire, an Avatar-like luminous fungus. It’s a magical world, often astounding at the micro level, and seldom explored, ready to be discovered in expert company.
Wellness Centre The peaceful surroundings of the Reserve call out for a spiritual moment in which we unite body, mind and spirit. Keep up your practice at the yoga deck or just lie back and enjoy a massage, time in the outdoor hot tub (see which birds you can spot while you soak), or any of our spa treatments. Night briefings Each evening, at 7:30 p.m., our Naturalist Guides or resident biologist share the wonders of the Mashpi with our guests. Learn about ongoing research projects, conservation initiatives, natural history of the region and much, much more.
DAY 5 – MASHPI RESERVE at MASHPI LODGE There is time for a short hike today or one of our other activities. Check with your guide for the best option. We return to the hotel for check out at 11:00 a.m.Our transfer leaves Mashpi Lodge at 11:30 a.m. We will be given a complimentary box lunch to enjoy during our drive back to Quito for Overnight at Hotel Casa Gangotena.
Day 6 – Galapagos (Monday) Departure transfer for flight to the Galapagos Islands. Assistance at the airport.
Day 6-10 Galapagos Islands
Santa Cruz Island - Eden Islet - Bartolome Island - Darwin Bay - Baltra Island Description
We’re delighted to have you on board for this journey of discovery to some of the most beautiful islands in the Galapagos. Our itinerary together begins on Santa Cruz Island, the most populous of the archipelago, where we meet giant tortoises in the wild and then venture to the shores of Eden Islet. From there, we hop over to the lovely crescent bay of Chinese Hat. On Wednesday, one of the iconic sites of the archipelago awaits: Bartolome Island, with its wooden walkway up to a panoramic viewpoint, golden sandy beach and great snorkelling opportunities. Close-by, Sullivan Bay gives us a great introduction to the volcanic origins of the islands. We end with an exciting visit to the sunken caldera of Genovesa, far up in the northeast of the archipelago, a privileged place to visit amid thousands of marine birds. The entire crew aboard La Pinta will do our utmost to ensure your Galapagos experience is truly deeply moving and memorable.
Day 10 – Friday Baltra Island Our journey ends at Baltra Island, where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Baltra's flat substrate (due to its uplifted origin) is the reason why the island was chosen back in the 1940s as the location to building an airport. Connect with your international flight departing in the late evening.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter. It's also subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the Galapagos National Park policies and regulations. On the last day there is no assistance in Quito’s or Guayaquil’s airports for your international flight.
- Dry landing: guests step from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
- Wet landing: as the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into around 8 inches (20 cm) of water and wade ashore.