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 - Tip Top II - 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.
Jan Beccaloni is a museum curator specialising in spiders and their relatives and a respected natural historian. She is the Meetings Secretary of the British Arachnological Society, the former Secretary of the Wallace Memorial Fund 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.
Extension into the Amazon
Cost: US $7,243 per person (excluding international flights and transfers)