Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands - Jon Baines Tours

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

26 Apr - 8 May 2021
  • Cultural Tours

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 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.

Need more information?

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

  • 26 April (Mon) Quito: Arrive into Quito and transfer to the Hilton Colon Hotel for your welcome dinner
  • 27 April (Tue) Quito: Tour of colonial Quito. Visit Independence Plaza flanked by the Cathedral and Archbishop’s Palace, La Compania Church and San Francisco Monastery, followed by an afternoon walking tour of Quito's old quarter and dinner at a modern Ecuadorian restaurant.
  • 28 April (Wed) Quito / Mindo: Drive to the “Centre of the World.” Continue to the rim of the giant, extinct Pululahua Volcano to enjoy spectacular views as you lunch by the crater. Continue onto Mindo and the Sachatamia Lodge. This evening's talk is on "The beautiful world of butterflies"
  • 29 April (Thurs) Mindo: Early morning bird watching including the humming bird feeders followed by a visit to the Mariposario Mindo Butterfly Farm. In the afternoon travel by cable car across the Rio Nambillo with the cloud forest valley below. Take a nature walk to the Mindo waterfalls. The evening's talk is "An introduction to spiders and their relatives" before heading out under cover of darkness to view spiders and other nocturnal creatures.
  • 30 April (Fri) Mindo: Early morning bird watching including the humming bird feeders before driving to Paramao High Andean forest to observe the Polylepis trees, some of the oddest and rarest trees on the planet. After lunch continue to Papallacta and check into the Termas de Papallacta thermal resort in the Andes
  • 1 May (Sat) Mindo / Papallacta: Visit the Antisana National Park in the Andes to see condors and spectacular views of the surrounding snow-capped volcanoes. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the thermal springs. In the evening visit Guyango Lodge for dinner and a nocturnal nature walk.
  • 2 May (Sun) Papallacta: Visit the weekly traditional Sangolqui market. Return to the resort and option to enjoy the thermal springs. This evening's talk is “Darwin and Wallace - the Pioneers of Evolutionary Biology”
  • 3 May (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 which may include nesting waved albatross and mating frigate birds. In the afternoon cruise to Kicker Rock, a nesting site for many sea birds. Optional snorkelling. Cruise to Lobos Island and Panga Ride, swimming and snorkelling. The island is the habitat of seals, frigates, finches, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the small endemic Galapagos snake. Options for swimming and snorkelling. This evening's talk is "Evolution in Practice"
  • 4 May (Tues) Santa Fe and South Plaza Islands: Cruise into a beautiful bay with turquoise water protected by a natural barrier of rocks and see colonies of seals, land iguanas and hawks flying over. It is also the habitat of crabs, nocturnal herons, marine iguanas, cucuves and land doves. The bay is an excellent place to swim and snorkel with marine tortoises, rays, sea lions and tropical fish. Cruise to the small South Plazas (two islets). Take part in a walk, viewing land iguana, sea birds and sea lions
  • 5 May (Thurs) North Seymour / Mosquera Islet: Explore North Seymour and observe mating frigate birds and the mating dance of the blue footed boobies alongside land iguanas. After lunch visit Mosquera Islet, home to the the largest sea lions colony and several species of birds.
  • 6 May (Fri) Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay and Barranco (Prince Philip Steps): Land on a coral beach and take part in short walks, swimming and snorkelling. Near to the beach visit a small mangrove forest and if lucky, observe a colony of frigate birds, marine iguanas, red-foot boobies and masked boobies, the great terrestrial finch, seagull, herons, cactus finch. After a walk, there is the option of swimming in the bay. Land at Barranco and hike to view tropical birds, petrels, common frigate, red-foot boobies, mask boobies, dove, and finches.
  • 7 May (Sat) Galapagos / Quito: This morning we cruise to Punta Carrión in north east Santa Cruz, and to see various sea birds nesting on the rock cliffs. Transfer to airport for flight back to Ecuador, transfer to The Hilton Colon Hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner
  • 8 May (Mon) Quito: This morning is at leisure before transferring back to the airport for your flights home.

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