Tailor-Made Holiday

Ecuador Haciendas, Cloud Forest and Galapagos

Quito, cloud forest, Otavalo and the Galapagos Islands

11 days

from £5,045pp (excluding flights)

Ecuador is a small country but with a diverse mix of landscapes and high end accommodation. This suggested holiday offers a mix of colonial cities, wildlife of the cloud forest and mountainous landscapes of the Andes. The Galapagos Islands, are the perfect place to finish a special holiday. 

  • Stoll the cobbled streets of Quito, a wonderful introduction to South America
  • Explore the wildlife of the cloud forest, staying in a contemporary lodge
  • Reside in a local hacienda, a beautiful area to experience the relaxed pace of life in the Andes.  
  • Experience the wonders of the Galapagos Islands, staying in a high-end tented camp.

Quito

Begin your Ecuador holiday in the beautiful UNESCO city of Quito, a stunning location on the edge of a volcano. By day wander the cobbled streets admiring the colonial churches and buildings, in the evening watch the sunset from the hotel roof terrace before eating at one of the many fabulous restaurants.

Cloud Forest

Head down to the cloud forest, an area of thick forest shrouded in mist. Explore the wonderful vegetation, home to many ferns, bromeliads and hundreds of orchids as well as monkey and hummingbirds. Stay at the stylish Mashpi Lodge, a cocoon with floor to ceiling windows with the forest just meters away.

Hacienda stay in the Andes

In the northern Andes, stay in a lovingly restored, family owned hacienda, close to the market town of Otavalo. A wonderful place to try some of the home-style traditional food of the northern Andes, an area of traditional villages and colourful markets. Be as active or relaxed as you want, this hacienda has it all.

Tented camp in the Galapagos Islands

End your holiday in the Galapagos archipelago, staying at the beautiful Galapagos Safari Camp in the highlands of Santa Cruz. Explore the island and all the fearless wildlife with a guide or relax in the pool looking out over the rest of the island. A perfect spot for a private dinner is at the viewpoint, the highest spot on the farm, a great place to watch the sunset.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 5045 £ 950
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Full board meals at Mashpi Lodge and Hacienda Zuleta
  • Half board meals at Galapagos Safari Camp
  • Accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis in Quito
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Galapagos National Park fees
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Madrid

Fly Madrid to Quito


With Pichincha Volcano one side, Machangara Gorge on the other and the equator passing directly through, few can rival Quito's setting. Few also can match the splendour of its old town, with its colonial churches, mansions and plazas.

Quito was named as the first World Cultural Heritage Site in the world by UNESCO in 1978. This historical city sits at 2,850 metres and has the largest and best preserved historic centre and colonial quarters in Latin America.


You will be staying at Casa Gangotena, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Day at leisure in Quito
Wander the cobbled streets of this historic city, visiting Independence Square and its ornate churches. Visit the artisan markets, and spend time in some fascinating museums that include Casa del Alabado, the Guayasamin Museum, and the Intinan Museum. Catch the cable car up Pichincha Volcano at 4,100-metres for stunning views of Quito and the surrounding area, and travel further afield to see the equatorial monument and visit the vibrant market town of Otavalo. Visit the cloud forest and see a myriad of different flora and fauna, have lunch in a traditional hacienda, or journey through the Avenue of the Volcanoes.


You will be staying at Casa Gangotena, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Arrive and Explore Mashpi Lodge
Travel from Quito by private transfer to Mashpi Lodge with visits en route. Arrive to the lodge in time for lunch.

In the afternoon begin the activities at Mashpi. Services and activities at Mashpi Lodge are on a shared basis, maximum of 12, with Mashpi guides, both a naturalist and local guide.

Just an hour and a half north of Quito stands a moss and vine draped, mist shrouded, primeval cloud forest. It is a birders' paradise, without counting the seemingly endless species of hummingbirds, the list of bird species seen here would rival any single location in the world.

Spilling over with lush vegetation, you can find epiphytes, lichens bryophytes, mosses and lichens clinging to the trunks and branches of the trees as growing space is squeezed in. Amongst this web of flora from the forest floor to the canopy, including thousands of varieties of orchid, there is a rich variety of insects, reptiles, mammals and many birds.


You will be staying at Mashpi Lodge, Full board

Day 4

Guided Activities in the Cloud Forest
Activities available at Mashpi:

The "Canopy Gondola" glides through and above the forest canopy on an exploration of the Reserve's ecosystem.
Hike along one of the many different trails at day or night, a great option for birdwatching.
Visit the Life Centre - a place for learning and discovery. A large wooden deck with fruit feeders attracts all sorts of wildlife from birds to rodents and other mammals. This is a great place to relax in hammocks and take in the views.

Climb to the 30 metre observation tower to get close to nature at the top of the canopy.
The hummingbird viewpoint is a fascinating place to watch these hovering creatures.
Sky Bike - this makes for an original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy. Pedal a special bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest. An activity for children over 8 years-old accompanied by an adult.


You will be staying at Mashpi Lodge, Full board

Day 5

Travel from the Cloud Forest to Otavalo area


Drive from Mashpi Lodge to Hacienda Zuleta, a journey of about three and half hours.


A beautiful area, home to a number of volcanoes and mountains and an uncountable number of lakes, the Imbabura region is a great place for fishing and adventure sports. Located in Ecuador's northern highlands, the province enjoys a pleasantly dry climate. Its production of handicrafts has made its indigenous population, principally those from Otavalo, famous worldwide. The capital city of the region is Ibarra, known as the "white city" referring to the white-washed buildings.


You will be staying at Hacienda Zuleta, Full board

Day 6

Hacienda Zuleta Activities
Choose from a choice of onsite activities and excursions. Follow over 60kms of designated trails around the hacienda grounds (from 30 mins to six hours), horseback riding (extra charge), visit the Condor Rehabilitation Centre, visit the community embroidery workshops, saddle factories and museum, enjoy the extensive gardens, paramo garden and pond, visit the 14th century Caranqui archeological pyramids, the organic garden or the dairy and cheese factory.


You will be staying at Hacienda Zuleta, Full board

Day 7

Explore the Otavalo Market
Travel today to the fascinating Otavalo food and craft market. Here find woollen goods such as ponchos, blankets and scarves. Embroidered and leatherwork are also found which come from the nearby villages. This is definitely not a market just for tourists as Ecuadorians come in their thousands to buy and sell livestock and vegetables.

Otavalo and its surrounding villages are home to the Otavalo Indians, famous for their textiles and handicrafts. Otavalo's central 'Poncho Plaza' hosts a celebrated indigenous market everyday, the main and busiest day is Saturday, allowing visitors to barter for goods or take iconic photographs. The region itself is a stunning area of volcanoes and valleys and well worth an exploration on foot or by horse.

Drive from Otavalo to Quito


A journey of about two hours.


You will be staying at Casa Gangotena, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Fly Quito to Galapagos Islands


Arrive at Galapagos Safari Camp
A naturalist guide will be waiting at Baltra Airport, travel together to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Take a locally-sourced lunch at a farm in the western hills, then take in the pit craters, lava tunnels and learn more about the Scalesia and Guayabillo forests. At the Tortoise Reserve share some time in the giant tortoises’ natural habitat, surrounded by the abundant bird life of the area. End this day at Galapagos Safari Camp with a sunset cocktail followed by dinner.

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos with the majority of the population living mainly in Puerto Ayora. This lively town has a selection of hotels, restaurants, gift shops and is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Aside from humans, the island is home to giant tortoise, sea lions, flamingos, marine iguana, lava heron, boobies and land iguanas. By heading up to the highlands which is surrounded by Scalesia trees, cacti and ferns you will have the opportunity to see the giant tortoise thriving in this lush green scenery. Further north, towards Las Bachas you will find white sandy beaches and if you take a closer look, you’ll see marine iguana and turtle trails on the beach. You may also see the iconic blue footed boobies that tend to stand on the rock edge keeping a look out. Travelling west you will come to Cerro Dragon - one of the only spots in the Galapagos where you will be able to see land iguanas.


You will be staying at Galapagos Safari Camp, Half board

Day 9

Boat trip to South Plaza Island
Travel with the small group to Itabaca Channel for a one hour boat trip to South Plaza Island. The dry landing is on a dock often overrun with sea lions and their young, so the guide has to shoo them away before you can disembark. South Plaza is home to a large Opuntia cactus forest, and land iguanas usually lounge among the vegetation. A variety of Darwin finches live on this island, while offshore spot red-billed tropicbirds, shearwaters, swallow-tailed gulls, and brown noddy terns. Out to sea maybe spot dolphins, manta rays, or even orca. The island boasts one of the largest sea lion colonies in the central region of the archipelago, and watch for migratory waders such as sanderlings, knots, plovers, and kelp gulls. There is the opportunity for snorkeling during the day.


You will be staying at Galapagos Safari Camp, Half board

Day 10

Boat trip to Bartolome Island
Drive with the group to the Itabaca Channel for the two and half hour boat trip to Bartolome Island. This island is one of the smallest in the archipelago, with two very different visitor sites. The first landing is wet, followed by a ten minute walk across a sand dune to the southern beach, where black tip reef sharks and rays are often seen in the shallow water. Between January and March, marine turtles come ashore to nest in the sand.

The second site is a dry landing for a trek up to the island’s summit, from which there are spectacular views. In the distance it is possible to see most of the central islands, the peaks of Isabela to the west, and on a clear day Marchena and Pinta to the north. Here there is the opportunity to snorkel with penguins and tropical fish.


You will be staying at Galapagos Safari Camp, Half board

Day 11

Depart Galapagos Safari Camp
On the last day take in the sunrise from the viewpoint before the airport transfer.

Fly Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil

Fly Guayaquil to Madrid overnight

Day 12

Fly Madrid to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge is a contemporary lodge set in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, designed to immerse in the beautiful surroundings, this really is a luxury retreat in the clouds....

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Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta

Dating from the late 16th century, Hacienda Zuleta is a colonial working farm belonging to the family of Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador....

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Casa Gangotena

Casa Gangotena

Casa Gangotena is located in the old town of Quito overlooking Plaza San Francisco, a historic square dating back to Inca times - and later the setting for grand and beautiful mansions....

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Galapagos Safari Camp

Galapagos Safari Camp

The eco-luxury Galapagos Safari Camp is set on a ridge in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, overlooking the National Park, Pacific Ocean and some of the western and northern islands....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Ecuador

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

"James listened and managed our expectations and therefore made sure we were prepared for all eventualities when going on our holiday to Brazil"

"James was brilliant and all the advice was spot on."

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Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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