Your journey at a glance
Immerse yourself in rare beauty and captivating adventures on this 16-day itinerary that traverses enchanting Ecuador.
Brimming with a vibrant culture deeply rooted in pre-Incan and Spanish traditions, your journey begins in the historic Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lose yourself in the Old Town, an exquisite area brimming with architectural treasures and ancient monuments. Prepare the classic Ecuadorian ceviche, craft your own decadent chocolate truffles and stroll along cobblestone streets and through colourful plazas.
Depart the capital city perched in the Andes and delve into the lush Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve. Home to prolific fauna and flora, delight in a canopy gondola across the lush forest treetops, scenic trails and intriguing night walks in this global biodiversity hotspot. Immerse yourself in the Amazon and encounter an incredible array of wildlife and authentic Quechua tribes on your luxurious cruise.
Discover untamed rainforests and delight in myriad adventures. Your journey culminates in the Galápagos Islands. Made famous by Charles Darwin, this pristine chain of islands is a bucket list destination and won’t disappoint with its volcanic landscapes, pristine beaches and unique wildlife.
PLAN YOUR JOURNEY
This unforgettable journey showcases just a few of our favourite experience combinations in this iconic destination. It is merely an example from which you can use to start dreaming and creating your own adventure with one of our dedicated Travel Specialists.
An idea of what to expect…
Day 1-2: Quito
- Upon arrival in Quito, you will be welcomed by your &Beyond representative and driven to your hotel.
- Situated in a circle of Andean peaks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to excellent museums, churches and art galleries.
- Embark on a fascinating tour of the city starting downtown, and passing through the modern section of Quito, towards the city’s historic district. Take in the atmosphere of the Independence Square, flanked by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace and City Hall. Stroll past the El Sagrario Church and marvel at the exquisite stone facade of La Compañía Church. Visit the San Francisco Church, built over the ruins of an Inca palace in the 16th century.
- Indulge in a wonderful chocolate tasting at the Galeria Ecuador, whilst learning about the cultivation of cacao plants and delight in the opportunity to make your own chocolate truffles.
- After your tantalizing foray into all things chocolate, you will be driven to the Cafe Plaza Grande where you will have another opportunity to delve into Ecuador’s scrumptious food traditions by participating in a cooking class.
- After savouring a delicious lunch, your adventure will continue to the Equatorial Monument, situated “in the middle of the world”. The monument was built as a tribute to French scientists who determined the shape of the earth in the 1700s. Nearby, visit the Ethnographic Museum, which showcases various elements attributed to Ecuador’s different ethnic groups.
Day 3-5: Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve
- This morning after a delicious breakfast you will be met by the Mashpi Guide and driven to the Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve, a haven for wildlife and biodiversity.
- Enjoy a scenic two-hour trail through the forest, and take a refreshing dip in the waterfalls and pools, and cast your eyes to the sky for colourful bird sightings.
- Observe the reserve from above the canopy of the reserve from the Air Tram (canopy gondola). Guides can stop the gondola allowing for a longer observation of the diverse flora and fauna.
- Relax in the Life Centre, a place for learning and discovery and admire the scenery from the comfort of a lazy chair. Learn about over 200 beautiful butterflies found in the region, and stroll through a small orchard brimming with medicinal and ornamental plants and many varieties of shrubs and fruit trees.
- Venture on your own on one of the 11 trails accompanied by a bilingual naturalist guide and a local guide, and discover the biodiversity of the forest.
- Discover the beauty of Mashpi from the observation tower where you can see the wonderful view of the canopy and the complex structure of the tropical forest. Spot kaleidoscopic toucans, woodpeckers, tanagers and parrots as well as birds of prey.
- Be captivated by the forest, transformed at night. Discover a magical world of insects of all sizes, glass frogs, tree frogs, nocturnal birds or mammals, and the glowing bioluminescence of a mushroom.
- Explore the forest canopy up close on a Sky Bike, pedalling a bike along a cable that crosses a ravine on a river flowing between rocks and trees.
Day 6: Quito
- After an early breakfast, enjoy a last excursion in the cloud forest.
- Receive a delicious box lunch, and be driven back to Quito by the Mashpi guide and vehicle.
- Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure and perhaps browse through the popular Otavalo Market – a weekly showcase of some of the region’s finest handicrafts and jewellery.
Day 7-10: Amazon
- After breakfast you will be picked up and driven to the airport for your flight to Quito.
- After a short 30- minute flight from Quito to the Amazon city of Coca, board a motorized canoe on a journey down the river taking in the first sights and sounds of the Amazon.
- Enjoy night time forest walks observing the forest’s nocturnal activity and experience the thrill of the vivid noises and aromas that come from the rich biodiversity.
- Visit the Yasuni National Park and observe the legendary pink dolphin, anacondas, river turtles and various primate species, as well as the colourful Hoatzin, a unique bird known locally as the “Stinky Turkey”.
- Go canoeing in a blackwater lake, home to giant otters and the magnificent, albeit elusive manatee.
- Enjoy a pleasant hike in the Riparian/Gallery Forest, and marvel at the intricate organization of a colony of leaf-cutter ants.
- Visit an authentic Quechua family located on the banks of the Napo River.
- Venture into the river at night on a canoe, seeking out black caimans with the help of flashlights.
Day 11: Quito
- Upon arrival you will be picked up by your private &Beyond guide and driven to the hotel directly.
- Spend the rest of your time at leisure in this historically fascinating city.
Day 12-15: Galápagos Islands
- After breakfast you will be picked up and driven to the airport.
- Visit Dragon Hill located in the north-western part of Santa Cruz Island. Here you will have the opportunity to walk into the island and view the land iguana.
- Observe a flamingos’ lagoon, pintail ducks and other endemic birds including flycatchers and warblers.
- Make a splash with offshore snorkelling
- Explore Kicker Rock, off San Cristobal Island, an impressive geological formation due to erosion and a nesting place of sea birds
- Discover Witch Hill, a tuff cone hill located south-west from San Cristobal
- Enjoy a zodiac ride into amazing rock formations along the island shore. A white sand beach and crystal – clear waters are part of this enchanted location, ideal for snorkelling.
- Be captivated on Lobos Island, where a small population of blue-footed boobies, frigates, marine iguanas, and great frigate birds nesting can be observed.
- Swim and snorkel at Gardner Bay, a pristine white sandy beach and one of the world’s most important breeding sites for the waved albatross.
- Walk on the trails at Suarez Point, past nesting sites of Nazca and blue-footed boobies, whilst Galápagos doves, mockingbirds and finches can be seen foraging nearby. You will also pass a geyser spraying water up into the air, a spectacular feat of nature.
- Snorkel along the shoreline with the highly entertaining sea lions at Sante Fe Island and glimpse swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, and red-billed tropicbirds at South Plaza Island.
Day 16: Departure
- Explore the Darwin Research Centre, and observe giant tortoises
- You will be driven to Baltra Island Airport for your flight to Quito where we wave you a fond farewell, as you embark on your international flight
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