Exploring Ecuador and the Galapagos
- Duration:14 nights
- Key Facts: Saturday departure
- Group Size: Minimum 4 persons, maximum 20 persons (approximately)
- Suitable for: Children aged 8 years and over (younger children may join the holiday, but may not be able to participate in all the activities)
Flights: Internal return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands and one inter-island flight is included
Transfers: Group airport and activity transfers (private airport transfers may incur a supplement) as well as inter-island ferry transfer are included
Accommodation: 14 nights hotel accommodation: (4 nights Hotel Quito, 1 night Hacienda Manteles, 1 night Hacienda El Porvenir (Tierra del Volcan), 2 nights Cotococha Amazon Lodge, 2 nights Hotel Solymar, 2 nights Iguana crossing, 2 nights Casa Opuntia waterfront hotels in the Galapagos)
Meals: 14 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners
The following activities are included: Quito City tour, zip lining and horse riding through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, Cotopaxi Volcano cycling adventure, mountain bike descent of Tungurahua Volcano and Baños town, white water rafting in the Amazon basin, cloud forest hot springs, Frigate Hill hike and snorkelling at Charles Darwin Bay, sea kayaking, snorkelling and Kicker Rock, Wall of Tears mountain biking, Sierra Negra volcano hike, giant tortoises and Santa Cruz, sea kayaking and Tortuga Bay, Charles Darwin Centre (the order of activities subject to change)
All equipment, tuition and supervision from fully qualified instructors
Services of our representatives or local guides
NB: International flights are not included to or from Ecuador. Please contact us for a quotation
Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America but it has more than its fair share of the continent’s diverse wonders. From the dramatic Andes and the Amazon Rainforest to the wealth of history in its fascinating indigenous cultures and ancient Inca remains, Ecuador is a remarkable land of contrasts with so much to offer adventurous families.
We have included activities to help you explore these natural surroundings in a thrilling way including mountain biking down volcanoes, exploring the lush cloud forest, horseback riding through the Cotopaxi National Park and white water rafting through the Amazon Rainforest. There will also be time to explore the capital of Quito with its colonial buildings and bustling markets.Read more
The itinerary then moves on and into the incomparable Galapagos Islands. The world famous wildlife and award-winning national parks need little introduction but surpass all expectations.
You will spend four nights on the islands in specially designed eco-friendly hotels whilst experiencing a range of activities including snorkelling, mountain biking and hiking amongst the stunning wildlife and marine life in the area.
This adventure to a breathtaking part of the world is sure to create memories your family will cherish forever.
Day 1 Arrival and transfer
Today your thrilling family adventure begins! Upon arrival at Quito Airport, a guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. On the way they will provide you with an introduction to this remarkable city before you enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 Quito City tour
Your first morning is free for you to relax and gives you the chance to acclimatise to the altitude in Quito (at 2850 metres above sea level, it is one of the highest cities in the world!).
After an afternoon meeting with your guide, you will head out on a tour of this vibrant city, exploring the market stalls, eateries and shops, which line its bustling, centuries old streets, getting your first taste of traditional Ecuadorian culture and colonial Spanish architecture.
This evening dinner is included in the hotel restaurant and we recommend getting an early night before turning in to prepare for the start of your adventures tomorrow.
Day 3 Cotopaxi ropes course and horse riding through the Avenue of Volcanoes
Together with you guide you will drive south on the Pan American Highway through the stunning Avenue of Volcanoes. Your first stop is a cloud forest reserve where you can enjoy the Cotopaxi ropes course. You will fly through the trees and overcome challenges as you travel through the course, tackling zip wires, ladders, nets, swinging logs and wobbly bridges in a wonderfully scenic environment.
After lunch at a hacienda you saddle up in Chagra (Andean cowboy) style to head out on a stunning scenic horseback ride up the slopes of the Ruminahui Volcano. As well as appreciating your beautiful views you will learn more about the tradition and customs of the Chagras whose skill on horseback and knowledge of the Ecuadorian outback are legendary.
You will then spend the night at a family owned hacienda.
Day 4 Cotopaxi volcano cycling adventure
After breakfast you head towards Cotopaxi, one of the world’s highest active volcanoes in the world. Seen as a sacred mountain by local people it was worshipped a ‘sender of rain’ and a home of the Gods. The day will begin with a hike to visit some fascinating pre-Incan ruins and learn more about this spectacular natural wonder. Be sure to keep watch for some of the local wildlife including birds and wild horses.
Next you will set off on mountain bikes to explore and take in the panoramic volcanic views. Later you will stop at the visitors’ centre before continuing on to your second hacienda.
Day 5 Mountain bike descent of Tungurahua Volcano and Baños town
Today you head into the Llanganates National Park to a fantastic viewpoint to gaze at Ecuador’s most active volcano. The park is home to diverse plant life as well as llamas and alpacas. Here you will be reunited with your mountain bike for a thrilling descent of the Tungurahua Volcano.
At the lively town of Baños you will stop for lunch and travel by cable car to the Avenue of the Waterfalls, a spectacular sight to witness. From here you will travel to your Amazonian eco-lodge and enjoy dinner listening to the sounds of the rainforest.
Day 6 White-water rafting in the Amazon Basin
Today you will travel to the Amazon Basin where you will raft down the Jatunyacu River; one of Ecuador’s most renowned river runs. These crystal clear waters provide big waves and lots of fun but there are also quieter stretches where you may catch glimpses of the local communities and wildlife that live on the shore.
On the way back to the lodge you will visit a Kichwa Amazonian Indian community who will introduce you to their traditional way of life in the jungle. This community’s relationship and knowledge of the rainforest is a privilege to behold.
Day 7 Cloud forest hot springs
It is time to head back to Quito, stopping en route to lounge in some natural hot springs on the edge of the cloud forest - extremely relaxing!
After your arrival around lunchtime, the afternoon and evening will be free to enjoy Quito City.
Day 8 The Galapagos Islands – Frigate Hill hike and snorkelling in Charles Darwin Bay
Today your Galapagos Island adventure begins as you take a short flight from Quito over to your first stop – the beautiful island of San Cristobal.
After transferring the short distance to your hotel for lunch, your will head to the fascinating visitor’s centre to learn more about some of the species which reside here and how the archipelago as a whole has evolved.
Next up is a hike up Frigate Hill, following lava trails which offer scenic views over the coastline and potential encounters with the famous frigate birds which live here along with gulls, herons and pelicans.
This afternoon you will have your first snorkelling experience in Charles Darwin Bay which is home to a remarkable array of sea creatures including sunbathing sea lions, turtles, colourful crabs and shoals of tropical fish.
Day 9 Sea kayaking, snorkelling and Kicker Rock
Today’s island adventure will include exploration of some of the most beautiful kayaking routes of the islands.
After a short boat ride you will kayak along a rocky shore, which allows you to get up close to both marine and bird life without disturbing them. It is common to see sea lions, blue footed boobies and frigate birds. After lunch you will spend the afternoon snorkelling in a bay popular with turtles and marine iguanas – just magical!
A short boat trip then takes you to the impressive rock formations at Kicker Rock where you may see spotted eagle rays, golden rays, hammerhead and white tipped sharks.
Day 10 Wall of Tears mountain biking
This morning you will take a light aircraft across to Isabela Island, the Galapagos’ youngest island. Here your mountain bike guide will meet you to explore the inland trails to the Wall of Tears; a link back to the days when the island was a penal colony and prisoners constructed this wall to give themselves a purpose each day and stop themselves going crazy – an impressive construction with a tragic history. The cycling route is varied and passes white sand beaches, lava features and mangroves. You may even bump into a giant tortoise or flamingo as they cross your path!
This afternoon provides another chance to snorkel or to explore your new island surroundings and indigenous animals. On Isabela visitors normally enjoy many sightings of the unique Galapagos penguins and huge numbers of marine iguanas.
Day 11 Sierra Negra Volcano hike
A hike to one of the most spectacular spots on the islands awaits today. The active Sierra Negra Volcano has dramatic landscapes of spectacular lava formations and puffing fumaroles and offers remarkable views of the 30 square mile crater.
This afternoon you are free to relax - we highly recommend enjoying the roof top hot tub and infinity swimming pool at the hotel.
Day 12 Charles Darwin research station, giant tortoises and Santa Cruz
After breakfast, there will be a speedboat trip to the island of Santa Cruz. Whales and dolphins are commonly seen on this crossing so be sure to keep an eye out for these impressive sea mammals.
Your first stop will be the interesting Charles Darwin Research Centre which highlight more about his visits to the island, which inspired his ground-breaking theory of evolution. The centre also discusses the importance of conservation efforts on the islands.
From here you will head up into the highlands to see the giant tortoise in its natural habitat at the El Chato reserve. You will then explore some of the island’s wonderful lava caves which were historically used by pirates to hide their plundered Incan gold.
Day 13 Sea kayaking and Tortuga Bay
This morning you will use sea kayaks again to explore a very different coastline. You will paddle across turquoise waters and through dramatic lava caves. Below the surface you may see rays and white tipped reef sharks swimming around whilst also looking out for the crabs, iguanas and birds which perch along the cliffs.
This afternoon you will hike to the picturesque Tortuga Bay - one of the most beautiful locations in the Galapagos Islands. Here you and your family can enjoy the idyllic white sandy beaches, bright turquoise water and picture perfect views of the ocean. What a way to end your time on the islands!
Day 14 Return to Quito
Today you will transfer back to the nearby Baltra Island for your final night in Quito. Depending on your flight time additional activities may be possible today such as a visit to the equatorial line situated around 30 kilometres outside of the city.
Day 15 Departure
Today it’s time to leave Ecuador and fly back home or if you would like to extend your stay in South America then please speak to our Travel Experts to discuss your options further.
Included in price
This family-friendly hotel is located approximately 45 minutes from the airport on the northern edge of the city of Quito, enjoying incomparable views across the city and the surrounding valleys.
This hotel is known for its welcoming feel and personal service and offers a wonderful base from which to explore the area.Read more about this accommodation
- The restaurant is one of our favourite things about this hotel - it is located in the top floor of the hotel and offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding dramatic, mountain scenery. The food served here is a mix of international and Ecuadorian gastronomic delights so there will be a variety of dishes for all the family to enjoy
- Families can enjoy the heated outdoor swimming pool with terrace and gym area
- There are a small number of shops available
- Free Wi-Fi throughout
Double or twin rooms
The spacious hotel rooms, the majority with views of the surrounding nature, are all en-suite and typically have either two queen size beds or one king. They are very comfortably furnished and provide a TV, complimentary toiletries and hairdryer.
Located around 12km along the Ruta Ecológica, the rustic Hacienda Manteles has been in the Durán-Calisto family for many generations allowing them to perfect their welcoming accommodation.
This location is truly spectacular and the views are maximised with panoramic windows allowing you to soak in the surroundings.Read more about this accommodation
At one time this hacienda was one of the most productive in the whole country and the family are extremely proud of their heritage in the area. Now a thriving accommodation provider the family continue to promote their culture throughout this very tasteful, traditional and comfortable accommodation.
- Guests can make the most of the surrounding organic gardens which are a lovely place to take a walk after your day’s adventure
- The restaurant serves wholesome and varied meals and guests can purchase snacks and drinks from the bar
- A great breakfast range is available for guests each day to get you nicely fuelled up ahead of your next activity
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout so you can keep friends back home updated on your travels
Double or twin rooms
All of the 16 rooms here offer great views of either the gardens, mountains or the awe-inspiring Tungurahua Volcano. The rooms are en-suite and very comfortable with either twin or double bed.
The traditional furnishings and ochre walls really make this a warm and cosy place to spend the night.
Hacienda El Porvenir (Tierra del Volcan)
This friendly Hacienda accommodation is set in 1000 hectares of private land and provides a fantastic welcome that is sure to make you feel like one of the family.
Built from locally-sourced materials, the hacienda has been designed to be in keeping with traditional architecture and colour palette throughout. The thatched roof and the unique furniture create a cosy atmosphere and the log fires (in addition to the heating) add to the feel.Read more about this accommodation
Families can enjoy stunning views over the Rumiñahui volcano from the accommodation’s privileged position (at an altitude of over 3600 metres).
- The restaurant here specialises in traditional Andean recipes with a touch of international cuisine. It uses locally-sourced produce where possible in the menus and meals are served in a relaxed, family-style atmosphere
- The products used are fresh and locally-grown and all the bread, jams and dairy goods served at breakfast are produced on the farm
- There are also numerous lounge areas with fireplaces to enjoy in the evening and a bar will also be open to purchase drinks
- Internet access is available at the hacienda
- There is a neighbouring playground and garden for children to enjoy
There are only 22 rooms here and they offer various styles of accommodation. Our families will stay in the traditional hacienda rooms which are fully heated and beautifully furnished in a rustic and comfortable style.
The rooms are en-suite and have two queen size beds.
Cotococha Amazon Lodge
Located in the upper Amazon basin overlooking the majestic Napo River, this delightful lodge has bungalows scattered across four hectares of jungle environment, allowing families to experience the unique and dramatic beauty of the rainforest.
The lodge is as eco-friendly as possible, working closely with the Rainforest Alliance. To encourage this staff will give you guidelines to follow in order to minimise your impact on this wonderful environment during your stay.Read more about this accommodation
- The semi-open air restaurant serves a variety of delicious dishes, combining favourite Ecuadorian dishes with international fare
- Families can make the most of the terrace area with hammocks and reclining chairs (perfect for lying back and listening to the sounds of the rainforest)
- The lodge does not have electricity but in the evening many oil lamps light the pathways around the bungalows and each accommodation has their own oil lamp. This adds to the magical atmosphere in this area at night. If necessary, electrical devices can be charged at reception
The lodge has 22 spacious bungalows which have been built in keeping with traditional architecture.
All have a private bathroom with hot water and eco friendly products for guests to use, as well as two queen size beds.
Each bungalow also has its own veranda for you to relax in the evenings.
Named after the local prickly pear cactus, Casa Opuntia is a small cosy hotel located right at the end of the boardwalk on San Cristobal Island. Its location, only a few metres from Playa de Oro beach, offers one of the best locations on the island in our opinion.
The hotel has strong environmental practices, with a focus on recycling and using sustainable resources to help to maintain its unique and beautiful local environment.Read more about this accommodation
- The open-air terrace area at the front of the hotel is where you will enjoy your meals, looking out across the waterfront. These are a mix of traditional and locally-sourced seafood dishes (such as the hotel’s famed ceviche) and some international flavours. Fresh produce and delicious tropical fruits feature throughout
- The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool with terrace and enjoys close proximity to the beach (very popular with the local sea lion colony in the late afternoon and evening) ensuring a relaxing hideaway with lots of opportunities to photograph the local wildlife
- We also highly recommend taking a walk along the boardwalk to pick up some souvenirs, and enjoy a refreshing cold drink
- Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas
- The hotel has an honour system for the bar (including alcoholic drinks) so we would recommend bringing some cash if you would like to indulge in a cold drink around the hotel swimming pool
The hotel only has 13 bright and modern rooms in total. All rooms are en-suite and offer air-conditioning and an in-room safe for valuables. They are very bright and the decor is in keeping with their beachside location.
The rooms at the hotel vary in size and can accommodate between two and four people in double, triple and family rooms (subject to availability).
This boutique-style hotel boasts a beautiful location opposite one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos Islands, which, as you would expect from the name, is home to native marine iguanas. These animals can regularly be seen crossing the road to take a quick dip in the lagoon behind the hotel before wandering back into the sea when the tide changes.Read more about this accommodation
The hotel has a strong environmental focus and has a strict policy throughout. During construction of the hotel local materials were used wherever possible and all were sustainably sourced.
- There is an infinity pool on the terrace area and a rooftop Jacuzzi and bar area at your disposal. These are wonderful places to relax in after a day’s exploration
- The restaurant serves a delicious range of cuisines including some excellent regional dishes such as sancocho (an authentic Ecuadorian soup) and dishes regularly feature locally-grown, organic vegetables and freshly caught seafood. The restaurant also boasts a carved lava stone grill
- Downstairs there is a games room for the children and the beautiful lounge area is a wonderful place to watch the sunset over the beach
The hotel offers both volcano and ocean-view rooms – either is a very special option – with twin beds or a king size bed.
The rooms have been designed with large windows to help maximise your enjoyment of your surroundings. All rooms are spacious and modern and have air-conditioning, hairdryer, safe, TV and telephone.
This wonderful family-run harbour-front hotel is known not only for its perfect coastal location but also for the warm welcome that visitors receive.
The hotel was founded on strong environmental beliefs and is designed to be an unobtrusive, modern and comfortable base surrounded by idyllic island scenery. The owners have worked in these islands as guides for decades and have a deep-routed passion and exceptional level of understanding when it comes to the natural world.Read more about this accommodation
- The restaurant enjoys beautiful views of the harbour which is illuminated in the evening. The food served here focuses on the delicious seafood that is available on the island although there are alternatives available
- The swimming pool and hot tub also share this wonderful view and are a real favourite with families. The pool area is also popular with some of the local wildlife and it is possible to find pelicans and sea lions lazing by the pool too!
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout
- We would highly recommend walking a little further along the harbour during the afternoon to see the fishermen bringing their catch to shore. They are always met by plenty of curious, enthusiastic (and hungry!) local animals and it really gives you a sense of the local culture.
The comfortable and modern rooms all have en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning as well as complimentary bottled water, a hairdryer, telephone and in-room safe. They are bright and well furnished and the majority also offer a sea view.
Dates & Prices
Tour dates and prices
Price per person based on 2 adults sharing with 1 child
The recommended minimum age for this holiday is 8 years old, however, children aged 11 and under will not be able to drive their own dog sled and will travel as passengers. Those aged 12 and over may, with their parents’ permission and at the guide’s discretion, be able to drive their own team of huskies.
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Order of activities
The order of activities is always subject to change and you will be provided with your final itinerary upon arrival at your destination
Medical History and advice
If you or any member of your party is pregnant or has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements as a result of any medical condition or disability (including any which affect the booking process), please tell us before you confirm your booking so that we can assist you in considering the suitability of the arrangements and/or making the booking. In any event, you must give us full details in writing at the time of booking and whenever any change in the condition or disability occurs. You must also promptly advise us if you become pregnant or any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed.
See our booking conditions for further information.
Experience and fitness
We offer a vast choice of holidays which range from 'relaxed' to 'active' so there really is something for everyone and our holidays can be filtered by how active they are. Regardless of the chosen holiday, all activities will include tuition from a beginner's lever and no prior experience is assumed.
If you are unsure about the physical demands of a particular holiday please contact us and our expert team will be happy to help.
See our booking conditions for further information.
Group sizes and minimum numbers
Most of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate. Minimum numbers are detailed on each holiday page and are always approximate. Group sizes for tailor made holidays will vary for each of the activities. For private departures you may also be joined by other guests during the activities unless you have discussed specific private activities with us.
If your selected date has not yet reached minimum numbers you will be informed at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date has not reached the required minimum numbers nine weeks before your scheduled departure date we will contact you and discuss the various options available to you. We will always do all we can to operate a holiday and in some cases we may be able to operate the holiday by combining your itinerary with that of other guests for some activities (this may mean that the maximum group size is increased but this will be discussed in full with you).
If we are unable to operate the holiday then you will be offered the chance to transfer to an alternative holiday or date (subject to availability). If the alternative is more expensive you will be asked to pay the difference, if it is cheaper then you will be reimbursed. You will also be offered the option to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid.
See our booking conditions for further information.
Guides and safety
It is absolutely essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided.
If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.
Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.
See our booking conditions for further information.
Booking activities locally
In almost all of our destinations you can book and pay for additional activities locally. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss that occurs through any activities that are booked in your destination (see our terms and conditions for further details).
Please always ensure that your safety is your primary concern when arranging any such activity.