Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

27 May - 8 Jun 2019 (ONE CABIN NOW AVAILABLE - LATE CANCELLATION)
  • Cultural Tours
+ Optional extension: Extension into the Amazon. Tour strictly limited to 15 people.

About the tour

Ecuador is a compact country with enormous cultural and natural diversity. Its bio-diversity includes the extraordinary Galapagos Islands and its cultural legacy encompasses the descendants of Spanish conquistadores and many distinct indigenous communities, markedly different in dress and lifestyle. This beauty of this tour is that it encapsulates this great variety without the need to cover long distances, including four nights on a private charter yacht in the Galapagos, all at an ideal time of year in the company of naturalist tour leader, Jan Beccaloni. Jan will also give specialist talks ranging from butterflies, spiders, to Darwin and Wallace, giving context to your visits along the way. There is an optional excursion into the Amazon after the tour.

Travel from stunning colonial Quito, the second highest capital city in the world after La Paz in Bolivia, into the enchanting cloud forests of Mindo with its jewelled hummingbirds and unique eco system for two nights. Continue into the Andean highlands to the thermal hot springs of Papallacta and see condors soaring over magnificent snowcapped mountain scenery. Visit a traditional Andean market and continue to the jewel in Ecuador's bio-crown - the Galapagos Islands. Sail on an exclusive private charter yacht for four nights, visiting a wide range of islands, each offering a unique experience. The remote island group is a land of cool lava landscapes, cactus forests, lush green highlands, turquoise coves and perfect white sand beaches, and is the only place in the world where it is possible to swim with penguins and tropical parrot fish at the same time.

Fly back to Quito after the cruise, where there is the option to take an extension into the unspoiled Amazon forest to stay at a luxury eco lodge.

This once in a lifetime tour has been carefully designed to visit Ecuador at the best time of year, on a superb private charter yacht in the Galapagos and in the company of an experienced tour leader, who is also an expert natural historian. This tour is strictly limited to fifteen people.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Jan Beccaloni

Jan Beccaloni

Jan Beccaloni is a museum curator specialising in spiders and their relatives and a natural historian, Secretary of the Wallace Memorial Fund, the Meetings Secretary of the British Arachnological Society and the author of the acclaimed book “Arachnids’. Jan is an experienced and popular tour leader who enjoys travelling and has conducted scientific fieldwork in the UK, Brunei, Madagascar and Costa Rica.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • 27 May (Mon) Quito: Arrive Quito and transfer to the Hilton Colon Hotel. Welcome dinner in the evening
  • 28 May (Tues) Quito: Tour of colonial Quito. Visit Independence Plaza flanked by the Cathedral and Archbishop’s Palace, La Compania Church and San Francisco Monastery. Walking tour of the old quarter of Quito. Dinner at Urku – a modern Ecuadorian restaurant
  • 29 May (Wed) Quito / Mindo: Drive to the “Centre of World.” Continue to the rim of the giant, extinct Pululahua Volcano had have lunch by the crater. Continue onto Mindo and the Sachatamia Lodge. Take a nature walk in Mindo. Talk: “The Beautiful World of Butterflies” (Jan Beccaloni)
  • 30 May (Thurs) Mindo: Early morning birdwatching including the hummingbird feeders. Visit the Mariposario Mindo Butterfly Farm. Travel by cable car across the Rio Nambillo with the cloud forest valley below. Take a nature walk to the Mindo waterfalls. Talk: “An introduction to Spiders and their relatives” (Jan Beccaloni). Night walk to see spiders and other nocturnal creatures
  • 31 May (Fri) Mindo / Papallacta: Early morning birdwatching including the hummingbird feeders. Drive to Paramao High Andean forest to observe the rare and unusual Polylepis trees.Continue to Papallacta and check into the Termas de Papallacta thermal resort in the Andes
  • 1 June (Sat) Papallacta: Visit the Antisana National Park in the Andes to see condors and spectacular views of the surrounding snow-capped volcanoes. Walk in the park. Afternoon at leisure in Papallacta to enjoy the hot springs. Visit the Guyango Lodge for Dinner followed by a nocturnal nature walk
  • 2 June (Sun) Papallacta: Visit the weekly traditional Sangolqui market. Return to the resort and option to enjoy the thermal springs. Talk: “Darwin and Wallace - the Pioneers of Evolutionary Biology” (Jan Beccaloni)
  • 3 June (Mon) Papallacta / San Cristobal Island, Galapagos: Transfer to airport to fly to San Cristobal Island, the Galapagos and board the Tip Top II private yacht. Visit the highlands and look out for the nesting Waved Albatross. Cruise to Kicker Rock, a nesting site for many sea birds. Cruise onto Cero Brujo to walk on a white sand beach, and observe sea lions, brown pelicans marine iguanas and blue footed boobies. Options for swimming, snorkelling or kayaking. Evening talk” Evolution in Practice” (Jan Beccaloni)
  • 4 June (Tues) Floreana Island: Visit the historic site of Post Office Bay and the ruins of the house of Baroness Eloisa von Wagner. Visit the Devil's Crown - a submerged volcano and the best site for snorkelling in the Galapagos. Continue to Point Cormorant and see the Flamingo Lagoon. Onto La Picona beach to see marine turtles.
  • 5 June (Wed) Espanola Island: Land at Punta Suarez and see marine birds including the Waved Albatross. Wet landing at Gardener Bay and walk along the beach to see sea lions. Take a panga ride around Osborn Inlet and the islets of Gardner.
  • 6 June (Thurs) Santa Cruz Island: Drive into the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to visit the forests and see the Giant Tortoises in the wild. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
  • 7 June (Fri) Galapagos / Quito: Visit Black Turtle Cove to observe white tipped sharks, marine turtles, spotted eagle rays and yellow cow-nosed rays. Fly to Quito in the afternoon and transfer to the Hilton Colon Hotel. Farewell dinner
  • 8 June (Sat) Quito: At leisure (or take extension).Transfer to the airport

Extension into the Amazon

  • 8 June (Sat) Quito /Sacha Lodge, Amazon: Transfer to the airport for flight to Coca. Arrive in the afternoon and transfer by river to Sacha Lodge. Noctural guided tour
  • 9 June (Sun) Sacha Lodge, Amazon: Take dugout canoes along creeks and lakes, looking for wildlife including the tiny pygmy marmoset, the ocelot and puma. Trekking through pristine Terra Firme forest with 150-foot kapok trees, the crest owl and howler monkeys. Optional night walk
  • 10 June (Mon) Sacha Lodge, Amazon: Board the motorised canoe along the Napo River to visit the Providencia Community of Yasuní. See the 'parrot disco' on the clay lick along the way back. Walk along the treetop Canopy Walk to spot dozens of animals and birds. Optional night canoe trip for caiman spotting
  • 11 June (Tues) Sacha Lodge / Quito: Transfer back to Coca. Fly to Quito and transfer to the Hotel Hilton Colon
  • 12 June (Wed) Quito: Transfer to the airport

Tour cost

Cost of tour excluding international flights and transfers: US $7,243 pp sharing

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