2023 Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Expedition

Dates September 14 - 25, 2023
Destination Quito, Ecuador; Galapagos Islands; United States
Duration 12 days 13 nights
Price From N/A
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Religious Focus:


Activity Level:

This program was designed to experience the highlights of Ecuador & Galapagos Islands. The program offers diversity; from colonial Quito, to the Otavalo Indian Market and the quaint village of Cotacachi. The navigation from island to island will introduce you the Galapagos islands, called, THE ENCANTADAS! the enchanted islands.

Ecuador is one of the few countries which formed the Gran Colombia, as envisioned by Liberator Simon Bolivar. As I host this unique tour, I will share with you the history of Ecuador and the vision of Simon Bolivar and the theory of evolution as described by Charles Darwin. 

Join our experienced Tour Host Carlos Fida. He is a native of Argentina, where he taught at the Military Academy and the University of Patagonia. He is an expert in Latin American history.  He has lectured to special interest groups while traveling and showing the wonders of South America to thousands of travelers.

He is one of the foremost specialists in travel to Latin America. He was the recipient of several awards by Travel and Leisure Magazine and the South American Travel Association.

*While the physical activity on this tour (walking distances) is not significant, the days are full of touring from breakfast to dinner time with "down-time" only in the evening.

Tour # 9223i14

To Book This Tour, Contact:

Carol Alegre, Tour Manager
Tel: (801) 483-6165

Day 1: Thursday, September 14, 2023

Home Cities - Quito, Ecuador

Departure from your home city to Quito, Ecuador. Once we arrive in the international airport of Quito, we will be greeted by our local English-speaking guide, who will transfer you to the First-Class Swiss Quito Hotel. The transfer drive will take approximately 1 hour and upon arrival at the hotel you will be welcomed by the attentive staff and give you the room keys. Then, our guide will give a short briefing about the next day's activities.

Meals : In-flight
Day 2: Friday, September 15, 2023

Quito - Galapagos - Santa Cruz Island

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to the magical Galapagos Islands. Our flight will take approximately 2.5 hours. Upon arrival at the Baltra airport, our guide will take us to Santa Cruz Island. We will visit one of the private farms and tortoise reserves located in the hills, where giant tortoises wander around freely. You will learn about how these farms help protect the tortoises. In the mountains of Galapagos, it is also possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually on the shell of tortoises). Also, here we can find the endemic, mystic Scalesia tree.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Saturday, September 16, 2023

Seymour Island and Bachas Beach

Morning pick up at the hotel, to visit North Seymour Island, where the turquoise waters contrast beautifully with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a red carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents, which serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. During the short hike you can spot yellow-grey land iguanas sitting beneath the cactus, waiting patiently for prickly-pears to fall on the ground. Along the coastline you can observe sea lion colonies, frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters birds. Afternoon picnic lunch on Bachas beach.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: Sunday, September 17, 2023

Santa Cruz to Floreana Island

The Element Wind Catamaran will take us to Floreana Island, the smallest inhabited island in the archipelago; population a little bit over 100. The accommodation is on small cabins along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

During the evening hour, when the sun sets, the horizon is set afire with the most vivid yellows and red you may have ever seen. It is a true paradise. In 1932, a German family settled the islands, and their descendants still live on the island. During a hike to the highlands of Floreana you will enter a circled space where tortoises live. We will visit an area called Asilo de la Paz, (peace asylum) where the Wittmer family settled in the early 1930’s

Upon arrival at the island, we will visit the school, where 28 to 35 kids attend. I suggest that you buy some school items, such notebooks, pencils, pens, and of course candy and some toys, like matchbox cars for the kids. It is a moving experience to see how happy they are to receive these. We have done this in the past and everybody enjoys the contact with the school kids.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Monday, September 18, 2023

Floreana Island to Isabela Island

After navigating for two and a half hours, we arrive at Isabela Island, the largest in the archipelago. On the way we may be able to see whales or dolphins, which can be seen from June through September.

We will have a few hours at leisure to explore the small town and have a lunch at the Iguana Crossing, our hotel for the next two nights. Lobster is a staple dish in the island, the season starts September 1st and ends in December. The catch is highly regulated in the archipelago. During the afternoon hours we have scheduled a tour to see penguins, blue footed boobies, and marine iguanas. We will go snorkeling here and the clear waters will give us a chance to snorkel with rock sharks and manta rays. 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6: Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Isabela Island

This morning our adventure will take us to see the second largest volcano crater in the world. The Sierra Negra volcano offers a spectacular view of the Isabela Island. The caldera is also the shallowest of all the volcanoes that form Isabela Island. All the islands are extinct volcanoes. Some of them have luscious vegetation that serves as a protection for seals, iguanas and birds. You can stand one foot away from any of the birds of other animals, you will be able to tell that they do not fear the human presence. A visit to the “humedales.” the wetlands, offers a super view of cacti forests and lagoons with flamingos and many other aquatic species. 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7: Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island

We will take a three-hour boat ride on the Element Wind will take us to Santa Cruz Island and to the Ikala Hotel.

We will visit the Darwin Research Center where we can observe tiny tortoises and all the process until they become adults. After lunch at the hotel, we will have free time to enjoy the quaint port town of Puerto Ayora. 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8:Thursday, September 21, 2023

Tortuga Bay and beaches

Our Experience in the Galapagos will take us on along on walk to Tortuga Bay, where we can swim, snorkel or enjoy the beach.  If you prefer you can stay in town. 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Friday, September 22, 2023

Galapagos Island to Quito

Our transfer to the airport will make two stops, one, to visit a master carver, and the last one will be a workshop and a small coffee plantation. The workshop of the Master Carver will show us how he makes all sort of replicas of tortoises, blue footed boobies, iguanas and other endemic species of the Galapagos archipelago.

This is a perfect place to buy souvenirs and gifts for family and friends. It has been one of the most popular stops in the capital islands of the archipelago. Upon arrival in Quito we are escorted to the Swiss hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 10: Saturday, September 23, 2023

Quito to Otavalo Indian Market and the village of Cotacachi

We drive to Otavalo, through the Valley of Sunrise, passing by small villages lost in time where not much has changed from ancient times. Otavalo is one of the biggest and most colorful indigenous markets in all of Latin America. The market of Otavalo is famous around the world for its colorful tapestries, hand-knitted wool sweaters, native paintings, wood carvings, silver jewelry, and much more at bargain prices. The people of the area of Otavalo are known as skilled craftspeople and great musicians.

We continue our journey and visit the village of Cotacachi where you can purchase the best articles in leather and bargain price. This small village is a popular place where many Americans retire. The pristine beauty of the place, the clean air, the peaceful environment, and the location not far from Quito makes this a special place to live. We will then return to Quito.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Sunday, September 24, 2023

Quito to the U.S.A.

Before our departure to the airport, we will have some time to see the highlights this city perched on the Andes Mountains. Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is one of most beautiful colonial cities in South America and was declared by UNESCO as part of the Cultural Heritage of mankind. We will explore the colonial area by walking along the cobblestone streets. Our tour starts in the heart of the city: Independence square, with the presidential palace, the city hall, and the Cathedral. We will walk and visit La Compañía church, dating back to 1605, with its breathtaking gilded altars it is one of the finest examples of baroque art in America. We continue to the San Francisco church built in 1535. Our visit includes the art & crafts gallery of Tianguez. From this point we drive up to the Panecillo hill and enjoy an amazing view of Quito from above. Here we can admire the only winged-Virgin statue in South America. This is a great spot to take pictures above Quito. At the end of the tour we return to the Swiss hotel for a few hours of rest, before our departure home.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 12: Monday, September 25, 2023

Quito to U.S.A

Return to your home city.

Tour # 9223i14

To Book This Tour, Contact:

Carol Alegre, Tour Manager
Tel: (801) 483-6165

Meals : In-flight

Price includes:

  • All transfers from airport to hotels for those arriving/departing on group flights
  • Hotels, taxes and daily breakfast
  • Colonial & Historical city tour in Quito – Middle of the World monument1 Otavalo Indian Market & Cotacachi village
  • Private & Group transportation (Galapagos Islands)
  • Bilingual guides
  • Meals described in the itinerary
  • Private yacht navigation from island to island
  • 4-5 Star hotels
  • Lodge in Floreana island (Basic cabins but spectacular view)
  • Tips to guides and drivers and yacht personnel

Price does not include:

  • International round trip flights to Quito
  • Round-trip Air Ticket to Galapagos ($600.00 pp)
  • Galapagos Islands National Park Fee: $ 100.00 pp
  • Transit Card fee: $ 20.00 pp
  • Single Occupancy: $5,580.00
  • Meals not included on tour
  • Additional nights or sightseeing tours not included
  • Beverages on cruise
  • Items of a personal nature (room service, phone calls, internet, etc.)
  • Medical Coverage and Travel Insurance

Payment information:

  • Deposit due at time of booking $500.00 p/p
  • Final payment due June 9, 2023


Rainforest Optional Pre-Tour: September 11 - 14, 2023

$ 990.00 per person/based on double occupancy/$ 1,224.00 Single Occupancy

  • Meet and greet service by our representatives at airports
  • Private transfer Quito - Yacuma - Quito
  • Accommodations: 1-Night in Quito, 2-Nights in Yacuma Lodge
  • Daily breakfast, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
  • All sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary and entrance fees
  • English-speaking tour guide

Day 1: Monday, September 11, 2023
USA to Quito
Depart today for your overnight flights to Quito, Ecuador.  Upon arrival, our guide will meet us and transfer us to our hotel near the airport for overnight.

Day 2: Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Quito - Yacuma Lodge 

A.M. After enjoying a relaxed breakfast time, starts our drive to the east towards the cloud forest of the Papallacta area where  we will visit Therma’s  de Papallacta Spa Hotel and where we can enjoy the hot water springs of this eautiful area. Then we will drive towards Yacuma Ecolodge,  located in the upper basin of the great Amazonas River. The road crosses different climate zones starting with the highlands and down to the cloud forest and the rainforest. We will arrive to the city of Tena where we will have the opportunity to take our lunch (on your own) and from there, we continue driving for about 1.5 hours to the indigenous community of Santa Rosa where we board the dug-out canoe to navigate for about 30 minutes on the Napo River and then on the Chontayacu river until we arrive to Yacuma Natural Reserve.

P.M. Depending on the time of the year and the amount of water running through the rivers, the boat ride can turn into a fun activity, as collectively, we all must push the canoe through sand banks and upriver to get to the lodge. The Yacuma Forest Reserve totals 300 hectares of Primary rainforest, and this natural heaven will be your home for the next few days, as you explore and connect with nature. At the lodge, you will be welcomed with a glass of the traditional beverage called “Guayusa”, a tasty beverage which is an ideal drink for the morning to have a very productive day in the jungle. After a short welcome talk, you will be taken into your comfortable traditional style bungalows. Solar panels provide hot water in the showers, as well as ambient lighting for the night. After a rest, we will have a short navigation to the “hidden Lagoon”, where we will do a silent navigation for bird watching: King Fishers (Martin Pescador), Great Egrets (garzas de río), Great Blue Herons (garzas reales), and perhaps one of the most strange  and interesting birds of the amazon, the Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoatzin), that have a blue face and a punk- hairdo. The smell is quite pungent, giving it the nickname of the stinky bird. We will go back to the lodge, for dinner and then enjoy a good rest. Included: Breakfast, Dinner.

Day 3: Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Yacuma Lodge

A.M. After a hearty breakfast we begin a hike deep in the primary jungle of the Yacuma forest reserve. The hike will take 2 hours walk in which the native guide will show us various species of birds and if we are lucky, we will observe monkeys, capybaras, etc. We will also get to see many species of plants used for medicinal purposes and their usage in shamanic healing rituals, as well as food and shelter within the deep primary rainforest. Exploring the primary rainforest is a very gratifying and fulfilling experience for all travelers. 

P.M. We will return to the lodge for a delicious, locally produced lunch, and after resting for a short period, we will visit the home of one of the members of the Kichwa Chontayacu community, where we can appreciate their simple and calm lifestyle. During the walk travelers can learn interact and observe the various crops that grow within the jungle of secondary forests of The Napo Basin. Crops such as Coffee, Bananas, cacao, cassava, papaya, pineapple, and oranges are some other agricultural products that provide sustenance for the inhabitants of the jungle. Visitors can also observe and buy the locally produced handicraft such as small pots, necklaces, bracelets, and many more beautiful crafts. The traditional Chicha drink will also be explained and passed around for everyone to try. If time permits, we will do some fun water-based activities such as gold panning or fishing piranhas. Conversely, we can head back to camp and have a nice bonfire with music and enjoyment after dinner. Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 4: Thursday, September 14, 2023
Yacuma Lodge - Quito

In the morning and for those interested in bird watching, an early start is offered to catch the different species of birdlife rising for the day. At about 6:00 a.m. we will walk for about 30 minutes to a viewpoint to observe the jungle come alive. This place is known as a “Collpa”, is a vertical cliff where dozens of parrots of different species gather there to lick the clay of the wall. After enjoying this spectacle, we will return to the lodge to enjoy a hearty breakfast, prepare our luggage and after saying goodbye to our friends we will board the canoe to navigate back to Santa Rosa village where we meet our bus which will transport us back to Quito where we will overnight.


Tour # 9223i14

To Book This Tour, Contact:

Carol Alegre, Tour Manager
Tel: (801) 483-6165