Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

What a colorful country! Traditional costumes with distinctive hats, lively markets, and exquisite handicrafts. The parallel rows of snow-capped volcanoes provided striking vistas. Home to the Galapagos Islands and many other hidden gems.
600 miles off the coast of Ecuador lies an isolated chain of islands known as the Galápagos. The wildlife that arrived here evolved in such unique ways that all the reptiles and nearly half the birds and plant life are found nowhere else in the world. This is what inspired Charles Darwin’s “Origin of species.” You’ll find prehistoric land iguanas, colorful birds and the 600-pound tortoise that gives the archipelago its name. Most wonderfully, the wildlife in their isolation has never developed a fear of humans. Come snorkel with sea lions, swim with penguins, or watch the mating dance of the blue-footed boobies.

Quick Summary

Itinerary Detail

Day 1: Quito

Quito
Quito
Quito
Daily Summary

After clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you are met and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Quito

Quito is Ecuador's capital, the country's second largest city and the capital of the province of Pichincha. Nestled in a long narrow valley, Quito is one of South America's most attractive destinations. 9,300 ft high, this city of 2 million was founded in 1534. The site of the city dates back to pre-Columbian times when it was settled by the Quitu people.

Day 2: Highlands & Quito

Village of the Highlands and Quito City Tour
Village of the Highlands and Quito City Tour
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Village of the Highlands and Quito City Tour
  • Accommodation: Casa Gangotena
  • Meals: B, L

Village of the Highlands and Quito City Tour

This morning we head north 2 hours on another scenic drive to the Highlands to explore 3 villages: Otavalo, world famous for its colorful blankets and weavings and its Saturday market, although handicrafts are available any day; Peguche, where we will learn about the native lifestyles and observe farmers working in their fields and weaving in their homes; and lastly Cotacachi, where you can observe the local villagers working on their looms creating beautiful wall hangings. After lunch at Puerto Lago (open menu), we head back to Quito for a city tour.

Colonial Quito at twilight is magical. The Quitenos are bustling about shopping, visiting friends, going to church and hurrying home for dinner. You will admire the richly sculptured façade of Ecuador’s House of Congress which depicts scenes from Ecuadorian history, the Independence Square with the Presidential Palace, and the Cathedral. Visit La Compañía Church with its breathtaking gold-plated altars, considered the finest baroque jewel of America, and the church and monastery of San Francisco, dating to the early 16th century. Afterwards you will be dropped off at your hotel or you can ask the guide to drop you off a local restaurant for dinner. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 3: Avenue of the Volcanoes

Sasquisili Market and Cotopaxi National Park
Sasquisili Market and Cotopaxi National Park
Sasquisili Market and Cotopaxi National Park
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Sasquisili Market and Cotopaxi National Park
  • Accommodation: Casa Gangotena
  • Meals: B, L

Sasquisili Market and Cotopaxi National Park

Today you drive 2 hours south along the fabulous Avenue of the Volcanoes until you reach the Thursday market at Sasquisili. This is the most authentic indigenous market in all of South America. You will see the animal market where locals barter for squealing pigs, snorting llamas and all types of pigeons. The best part is watching a group of men try to shove a slippery recalcitrant pig onto a pick- up truck! Next is the produce market where locals buy their fruits and vegetables. Try a few new delicacies! Lastly is the handicraft market where you can find bargains for local weavings and artisans’s works. This is photographer’s heaven but be respectful of anyone who does not wish to have their picture taken. Ask first.

After a stop for lunch (included) at San Agustin de Callo, you proceed to Cotopaxi National Park for some hiking and hopefully gorgeous views of Cotopaxi Mt, which is often shrouded in clouds. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 4: Galapagos Islands

Galapagos
Galapagos
Galapagos
Galapagos Cruise on board the MV Ocean Spray
Galapagos Cruise on board the MV Ocean Spray
Daily Summary
  • Transfer: Transfer to Quito Airport
  • Domestic Flights: Flight Quito to Baltra
  • Transfer: Transfer to your Galapagos Cruise Ship
  • Accommodation: Ocean Spray
  • Meals: B, D
Flight Quito to Baltra
Scheduled flight Quito to Baltra, Galapagos
NOT INCLUDED IN LAND PRICE

You will be met at your hotel and transferred to Quito airport for your morning flight to Baltra, in the Galapagos. You will be given airport assistance in obtaining your cruise ticket and your airline boarding pass. There will be a touchdown in Guayaquil to board passengers.

Galapagos

Famous for their incredibly fearless and unique wildlife, the Galapagos Islands offers an unforgettable nature experience. You can swim with sea lions, float eye-to-eye with a penguin, stand next to a blue-footed booby feeding its young, watch a giant tortoise lumbering through a cactus forest, and try to dodge the iguanas scurrying over the lava. The wildlife is truly phenomenal and the scenery, which is barren and volcanic, is hauntingly beautiful.

Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, a guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called ‘pangas,’ will transport you to your ship and the crew will welcome you aboard.,

Galapagos Cruise on board the MV Ocean Spray

The classic Catamaran Ocean Spray offers the exceptional performance and comfort in the Galapagos cruising. The elegant design includes an ample shaded sundeck with Jacuzzi and sun chairs to give guests the opportunity to relax while they are on board. The spacious cabins each with a private balcony, her speed, comfort, top guides and itinerary will make Ocean Spray perfect for your luxury Galapagos cruise. Kayaks and paddle boards are also available for use.

https://www.oceanspraygalapagoscruise.com/itineraries/itinerary-7n-a/


Days 5 - 10: Galapagos Islands

Cruising the Galapagos Islands
Cruising the Galapagos Islands
Cruising the Galapagos Islands
Daily Summary

Cruising the Galapagos Islands

Join your expert guides as you explore the exotic beauty of the Galapagos Islands filled with one-of-a-kind experiences. Astounding wildlife such as Galapagos turtles, native iguanas, sea lions, Darwin’s finches and blue-footed boobies will leave you with wide-eyed excitement. Snorkeling excursions and hiking lava rock trails will challenge and thrill you. Views of breeching whales and ocean-side cliffs will make an imprint in your memory. The exact details of your specific itinerary can be found at the link above.

Day 11: Depart

Depart
Daily Summary
  • Transfer: Transfer Galapagos Cruise to Airport
  • Meals: B

After your cruise you are transferred back to the airport for your flight back to the mainland and onward connection back home.

Accommodation

Casa Gangotena
Casa Gangotena
Casa Gangotena
Casa Gangotena

Casa Gangotena

Since opening in late 2011, Casa Gangotena has consistently been ranked as Quito's top hotel and one of the finest in all of South America. The elegant property is located in a restored mansion dating from 1926, in the heart of Quito's UNESCO World Heritage colonial center. From the hotel's meticulously preserved terrace, you can admire a wondrous view of Plaza de San Francisco. The convenient location is just a short walk from Quito's top architectural attractions, such as the gilt Jesuit church of La Compañía de Jesús, the Museum of the City, the Plaza Santo Domingo, the Presidential Palace, cultural centers and the bustle of Quito's Old Town and historic quarters.

Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray

The new Mega-Catamaran Ocean Spray is a superb option for those seeking comfort and excellent service while enjoying a genuine experience of the Galapagos Islands. The elegant design includes a huge sundeck, Jacuzzi and spacious cabins each with private balcony. The luxury vessel, accommodates just 16 passengers, meaning the experience is intimate and personalized. In terms of communal facilities, offers its guests a jacuzzi, spacious sundeck and kayaks for use. With speed, comfort and top guides will make Ocean Spray the perfect choice for your Galapagos cruise.

Why Maxim Tours?

Why Maxim Tours?

Uncommon Safaris for Discerning Adventurers

Experience Matters

Since 1993 Maxim Tours’ passion for exotic destinations has made us a highly sought after Boutique Tour Operator for discerning travelers. After three decades we continue to exceed our clients' expectations. Our approach over these many years is simple; offer the very best service and travel experience at the most competitive prices while balancing the importance of sustainable tourism with a high quality travel product.

Premier Guides 

Maxim Tours' guides have a reputation for being the best in the business. Experts in their fields, friendly and interesting,  a good guide will bring the most out of every excursion while creating lifelong memories.  

24/7 Support

At no time during your adventure will you be alone. Our local partners are available 24/7 in the event you need any assistance while traveling. We will monitor your progress and take care of any unexpected developments so that your trip continues unhindered.

Responsible Tourism

Responsible and sustainable tourism should be more than just a phrase - it has to be an ongoing and tangible commitment to balancing tourism with the upliftment of local communities and preservation of the natural environment. Maxim Tours actively supports camps and lodges whose business models reflect this commitment.