Columbus Travel - Ecuador Tours

Private Tours To The Best Of South America

Ecuador Luxury Tours

Call Us: 1-877-4367512 Or Request A Callback 

Back to PackagesBACK TO ALL PACKAGESEcuador Luxury Tours > Tour Packages > 13-day Ecuador scenic tour I & Galapagos Cruise

15-Day Exploring Ecuador’s Regions

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

ARRIVAL TO QUITO

Your private transfer to your hotel awaits you at the airport upon arrival to Quito. Our representative will assist you with your luggage and hotel check-in.

Meals: Nil.

Day 2

QUITO CITY TOUR AND MIDDLE OF THE WORLD
Your adventure begins with a morning of discovery of the most beautiful cities in Latin America – Quito. Set out after breakfast to see why Ecuador’s capital was named the first ever world cultural heritage site. It’s beautiful and well-preserved colonial district, one of the most spectacular in all of Latin America, is filled with stone streets, tiled roofs, elegant buildings, and magnificent churches that continue to delight visitors with historic charm. The original chessboard design of Colonial Quito was created by the conquistadors as a way to more easily control the city and defend it. Construction began at the main plaza, La Plaza Grande, which to this day is the seat of the city’s and country’s most important powers: the presidential palace of Carondelet, historically the administrative center of the colonial period for the Royal Audience of Quito and still the home to the country’s president, and the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace, which represent the vast power of the Catholic Church at the time of the conquista and even today. Our guides will share their knowledge of the colonial administration and explain it in terms of its historical context for Ecuador’s contemporary politics. No tour of Quito would be complete without our next stop at the awe-inspiring La Compania de Jesus church, a Jesuit temple which many believe to be the most impressive example of Baroque architecture on the Latin American continent. The main entrance stands out from the street with its intricate designs, detailed carvings and massive columns. But step inside and you’ll see what really makes me people fall in love with the skills of centuries-old Ecuadorian architects and builders. Soaring “mudejar-style” ceilings create a stunningly beautiful home for carved figures and gold leaf covering almost every wall reminded worshippers then and now of ancient solar deities and the power and wealth of the new religion on the continent. We leave La Compañía and walk just a few blocks to one of the largest religious complexes of Latin America: The church of San Francisco located on the square of the same name. One of the oldest churches in Latin America, construction began in 1537, but it was not officially inaugurated until 1705. The complex spans 3 ha (7.4 ac) and includes chapels, a monastery, and numerous associated buildings. It is famous not only for its architectural beauty but for its history– especially the legend of clever Cantuña, who cheated the devil in the atrium of the San Francisco church.

We will take a break with lunch right on the main square before heading to the Middle of the World Monument, which commemorates the 18th century Geodesic French Mission that first established the location of the equatorial line that divided the world into northern and southern hemispheres. This discovery gives the complex its name of the “Middle of the World.” Make sure you take a fun picture with each foot in a different hemisphere. Finally, we will stop at the Intiñan Museum to learn about Ecuador’s varied cultures and their traditions. Return to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Meals: Breakfast, and Lunch.

Day 3

QUITO / OTAVALO FULL DAY / HACIENDA ZULETA
You and your private guide will enjoy a full day exploring the beauty of Ecuador’s northern Andean region, with a visit just an hour or so from the city of Quito to the Otavalo market, considered by many to be one of the most charming indigenous markets in Latin America. One of our representatives will pick you up at your hotel in Quito for an easy ride north with fabulous scenery. Enjoy the patchwork quilt effect of mountain farms and on a clear day, you will have an incredible view and photo op of the amazing 5,790 m (19,000 ft) high Cayambe Volcano, the only snow-capped mountain in the world located right on the Equator. The town of Cayambe is a great place to stop and try a well-loved delicacy, a pastry known as “bizcochos,” accompanied by fresh local mozzarella-style cheese and a delicious and warming cup of hot chocolate. We then continue on to the city of Otavalo, whose Plaza de los Ponchos opens every day and offers you the chance to bargain, check out local life, and – of course – take home great gifts to your loved ones, friends and colleagues. Choose from beautiful textiles, colorful beaded or “tagua” (vegetable ivory) or the famous Zuleta embroidered blouses. On Saturdays, this market extends far beyond the Plaza de Ponchos. In fact, it takes over the entire city of Otavalo, with indigenous merchants bringing their wares – and sometimes even their animals! – from all over the Andes to sell them here. In the afternoon, we will continue to Zuleta Hacienda, a magical, historical property with a main building, a private library and even its own chapel set in lovely gardens. Sunset brings wine and farm-made Ecuadorian cheese in front of a delicious fireplace and the chance to learn more about the Zuleta foundation, Ecuador´s history, the farm’s horse breeding business and the local culture of the Ecuadorian highlands.

Meals: Breakfast, and Dinner.

Day 4

HACIENDA ZULETA / QUITO
There’s nothing like a delicious breakfast when you’re out in the country, and this one will have you ready for all of the exciting activities available at the Hacienda. Horseback ride to the onsite Andean Condor reserve and learn about the foundation’s rescue efforts, including seeing rescued Andean condors in our aviary, and then pay a visit to the nearby trout farm. Or learn the traditional embroidery techniques in a class offered by the Zuleta women’s cooperative. If you appreciate great craft but are not much for do-it-yourself projects, you can buy or order any of the countless handmade, colorful embroidery articles for yourself or friends back home. We will enjoy lunch at the Hacienda before a scenic afternoon drive back to Quito with your guide and driver.

Meals: Breakfast, and Lunch.

Day 5 QUITO / COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK / QUITO

The fifth day of our journey is dedicated to the impressive, 5,897 m (19,347 ft) high, cone-shaped Cotopaxi Volcano. Its instantly-recognizable, snow-capped summit dominates views to the south of Quito and offers one of the most beautiful landscapes of the entire Avenue of the Volcanoes that runs north-south along the spine of the Andes mountains of Ecuador. After breakfast, we will drive south to the Cotopaxi National Park, where we will have the opportunity to see a typical Andean ecosystem: the paramo. The scrub brush and other plants that are common in this ecosystem have a key feature, namely that they retain water in their roots, storing mountain run-off and serving as a key life-supporting structure for the planet. This fascinating ecosystem is also blessed with numerous, unusual animals, such as the white tail deer, the spectacled bear, the Andean Condor, and many more. After a great experience learning about this special place and its unique flora and fauna, you will have worked up an appetite for delicious Andean food served at a local Hacienda before heading back to the city of Quito for a good night’s rest.

Meals: Breakfast, and Lunch.
Day 6

QUITO / AMAZON RAINFOREST AT LA SELVA JUNGLE LODGE
Join your private transfer from your hotel to the Quito International Airport, where a La Selva representative will meet you in the National departure area to connect you with your Coca flight. They will assist you with the check-in process and give you a short briefing about the journey. The 30-minute commercial flight to Puerto Francisco de Orellana "El Coca" is the first step in a fascinating journey to the lodge. Upon arrival, a representative will await you for transfer by private transportation to the city's main dock on the Napo River, where you will board a motorized canoe for a trip downriver that in and of itself is a fabulous experience of life in the tropical rainforest of the Amazon. The motorized canoe ride ends at La Selva's main dock, where you will hand over your checked baggage to La Selva staff and keep your carry-on items and camera gear with you as you start the final leg of the trip to the lodge on a paddle canoe. The manager will be on hand to greet you with a refreshing juice, snacks and a short briefing with general information about your stay at La Selva as well as sharing in your excitement at your first up-close encounter with the rainforest. Your briefing continues with your naturalist guides who will give you basic information about the Amazon region as well as background on how La Selva operates.

And then you’re off to explore with your guide. The first stop is the Matapalo Trail, named for the Strangler figs (Ficus sp) common in this area. The short walk will also take you past mahogany trees that are over 400 years old as well as other fascinating local flora and fauna that your guide will point out and explain. The time of day lends to activity from both diurnal and nocturnal animals as well as sufficient light to see them with the help of your guides. After this walk, a multi-course dinner will be served at table.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Day 7

LA SELVA JUNGLE LODGE
Our morning walk takes us 20 minutes into the forest to the observation tower, where you will climb 36.5 m (120 ft) above the forest floor, placing you that much closer to the incredible activity of the canopy. With the help of your Naturalist and Native guides, you will have an up close view of the colorful birds of the Amazon and maybe even certain primates. You can return to the Lodge the same way you came or via the Tucaneta Trail, where your native guide will take advantage to share with you the secrets of the rainforest and its medicinal plants, many of which are still in use today. At the same time, your naturalist guide will teach you about the fascinating ecology and natural history of the Amazon. You can also choose to hike about 1 hour to the beautiful Mandi Cocha lagoon and its Igapo Forest, an area where the trees are temporarily flooded by black water and various bird and even giant otters make their home. In the afternoon you will set out for the Charapa trail, which you will cover in a great loop from the lodge to the edge of the lagoon. Because different mammals, monkeys and birds come closer to the lagoon at this time looking for food, it’s a great place to observe them and to take in a beautiful Amazonian sunset from a canoe floating on the lagoon. You return to the canoes at night when your guides take you around the lagoon with a spotlight looking for nighttime wildlife. Take advantage when the spotlight is shut off to do some Amazonian star gazing!
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Day 8

LA SELVA JUNGLE LODGE

Today is a big day for bird lovers! Return to the Napo River and board a motorized canoe for a ride to the clay licks, where hundreds of parrots and parakeets gather to eat the mineral rich soil, thus supplementing their diet with crucial elements. Make sure to bring binoculars to really appreciate this incredible spectacle! From the clay licks, journey into another way of looking at the world, as you join an Amazonian Kichua woman at her community center where you will share their life for a few hours. This is a marvelous opportunity to learn more about the Amazon people: a cultural activity that you won’t want to miss! Garzacocha Lagoon awaits in the afternoon. One of the most beautiful lagoons in the Ecuadorian Amazon, it offers a special space for monkey and bird viewing. Sometimes, squirrel monkeys and capuchin monkeys join each other to look for food. Howler monkeys make themselves clearly heard in the afternoon and the world’s smallest monkey, the Pigmy Marmoset, might even make an appearance. And bird lovers have plenty to look at themselves: Hoatzin, toucans or macaws are often seen flying overhead. Of course, nighttime offers other viewing and listening opportunities. Our night walk gives you a chance to discover a whole new side to the creatures and sounds of the Amazon. Don’t forget your flashlight! Back at the lodge, our manager will brief you on the next day’s departure proceeding.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Day 9

RETURN TO QUITO
We’ll get an early start to day today with a wake-up call, breakfast and departure from the lodge. Lodge staff will help you with your checked luggage and you will again board the motorized canoe to ride upstream back to Coca. Our representatives will accompany you to the airport in order to help with your boarding passes and checked luggage. Upon arrival in Quito, your private transfer will take you from the airport to the hotel, where one of our representatives will meet you in order to expedite your hotel check-in and help with your luggage. This is a good night to explore one of Quito’s numerous delicious culinary options on your own before turning in early in preparation for the next day’s excitement. Your guide will provide your pick-up time for the next day.
Meals: Breakfast.

Day 10

QUITO / GALAPAGOS ISLANDS AT THE M/C ENDEMIC CRUISE ITINERARY C
At the schedule pick-up time, one of our representatives will meet you at your hotel lobby to accompany you to the airport by private transfer in order to connect with your Galapagos flight. Our representative will assist you with the check-in process and then give you a short briefing about the journey.

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: Dragon Hill

Our representative will receive you at the airport and assist you for your transfer from Baltra Airport to the M/C Endemic. Relax a few minutes and get your bearings on this incredible yacht before sitting down to a delicious meal prepared by the excellent culinary staff. In the afternoon, we will visit Dragon Hill on the north-western part of Santa Cruz island. This visitor site allows us to stretch our legs, walking on the island amidst a magnificent population of land iguanas. You will also have the opportunity to see a flamingo lagoon, pintail ducks, and other endemic birds including flycatchers and warblers. An amazing view awaits us on the top of the hill. Cool off after the short trek with offshore snorkeling before returning to the yacht for a welcome cocktail and briefing.  
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Day 11

GALAPAGOS
SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND: Kicker Rock - Witch Hill – Lobos Island

Our first morning visit is to Kicker Rock, an erosion-sculpted geological formation that serves as the nesting place for numerous species of sea birds, sea lions, fish, turtles, sharks, and rays. It’s an excellent spot for snorkeling and for photography. Later you continue on to
Witch Hill (Cerro Brujo), a tuff cone hill located south west of San Cristobal and famous for both the amazing rock formations, which you will see on a zodiac ride along the island’s shore, and one of Galapagos’ most-loved beaches, filled with white sand and surrounded by crystal-clear waters. This is a great place for snorkeling.
In the afternoon, the yacht will stop at Lobos Island, where you will observe a small population of blue-footed boobies, frigates, marine iguanas, and nesting great frigate birds. You will also have another chance to enjoy Galapagos’ amazing snorkeling, joined here by curious sea lions in this calm bay.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Day 12

GALAPAGOS
ESPAÑOLA ISLAND: Gardner Bay/ Osborn & Gardner islets – Suarez Point

Today you will explore Española Island, the southernmost island in the Galapagos archipelago, home to fascinating endemic wildlife such as the Hood-Mockingbird and both masked and blue-footed boobies. Our first stop in the morning after breakfast, is Gardner Bay, an excellent beach for swimming thanks to its relatively calm waters. Snorkelers will delight in finding lots of fish and sometimes turtles and sharks, as well as playful sea lions, near the small islets that dot the waters. Depending on conditions and guest preferences, your guide will then take you either to Gardner Islet, where you can explore the area on a zodiac or snorkel, or to Osborn islet, another great snorkeling site.
After lunch, you are in for a treat! Suarez Point’s cliffs and sandy and pebbled beaches are home to some of the most outstanding wildlife areas of the archipelago. Bring your camera for some fabulous photo opportunities!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Day 13

GALAPAGOS

SANTA FE ISLAND – SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: Fausto Llerena Breeding Center

After a good night’s rest, you will set out after breakfast for Santa Fe island for a great shore excursion, truly a Galapagos Islands favorite. Choose between two trails: one takes you to see the tallest Opuntia cactus in the archipelago while the other makes its way into the highlands to see the unique, endemic Santa Fe land iguanas. After an entertaining long walk, cool off with a swim in calm waters or snorkel with the cavorting sea lions. 

In the afternoon, your journey continues at the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, better known around the world as the Charles Darwin Research Station. It offers an information center, a museum, and a library but most visitors prefer to spend the majority of their visit at the fascinating tortoise breeding station, where tortoises of different subspecies are prepared for reintroduction to their natural habitats. For years, this was the home of Lonesome George, the last of his species, who sadly passed away in 2012.


Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Day 14

RETURN TO QUITO
SOUTH PLAZA ISLAND– BALTRA AIRPORT
For the last morning of your Galapagos adventure, you travel to South Plaza island with its unique Sesuvium plants and Opuntia cactuses, whose scattered shade makes it possible for you to enjoy some of the most interesting wildlife observation in Galapagos. Land iguanas sit waiting for a prickly pear to fall, accompanied on the shores by marine iguanas and numerous nesting birds including swallow-tailed gulls.
Bid a fond “see you again soon” to the islands as you transfer to Baltra airport for your return flight to continental Ecuador. Here’s hoping it’s not a final farewell to this amazing place! Our representatives will assist you at the airport.
A private transfer will take you from the airport to the hotel upon reaching Quito. Again, our representative will be on hand to assist you with your luggage and hotel check-in.
Meals: Breakfast

**** The operator reserves the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather, National Park regulations or notifications and unforeseeable circumstances.

Day 15

DEPARTURE / TRANSFER OUT

Depending on the schedule of your international flight, you may have time for breakfast before our guide transfers you from your hotel to the Quito International Airport for your flight home.
Meals: Breakfast

From: $3,112 Per person based on double accommodation.Inquire About This Tour