• Ecuador & Galapagos Luxury Explorer

  • Ecuador & Galapagos Luxury Explorer

  • Ecuador & Galapagos Luxury Explorer

Explore Quito, the Galapagos, the Andes and the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

Days: 12 | From: $12,150 per person

  • Includes accommodations at first class hotels that reflect the best of local culture
  • Includes excursions and tours with superb private guides
  • Ideal for couples, small private groups, and families

Start in the capital city of Quito before exploring the Galapagos Islands from an eco-luxury tented camp located on Santa Cruz (you can also opt for a Galapagos Island cruise in place of the land-based option). Next, step back in time by visiting a 17th-century working estate in the Ecuadorian Andes. Finish by visiting the famed cloud forest.

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We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

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At a glance

  • Quito
    2 nights: Arrive to this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city, stay in the most luxurious hotel in town, located right in the colonial center
  • Galapagos
    4 nights: Discover the Galapagos Islands in a luxury eco-tented camp
  • Andean Highlands
    2 nights: visit one of the finest and best-known street markets in South America and explore the Andean countryside
  • Cloud Forest
    3 nights: visit the Ecuadorian cloud forest

  • All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.

Customize this trip
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Sample itinerary

Day 1:

Welcome to Quito!

Quito, Ecuador old town and basilica at night with mountains in the background

Arrive to Quito, where your private guide will welcome you to the country and take you to your hotel, located in the heart of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a great part of the city for walking around, with traditional squares and architecture, and a variety of shops and restaurants.

Accommodations: Casa Gangotena, 2 nights

Housed in a restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco, this three-story boutique hotel offers 31 rooms, each a showcase of contemporary design and elegance. The hotel's interiors entice guests with Art Nouveau and contemporary touches combined with original Neo-Classical architecture. Casa Gangotena features a wood-paneled library, restaurant and bar, beautiful interior and exterior courtyards, and a terrace on the third floor with sweeping views of Quito's World Heritage-listed Old Town. The hotel offers high tea each day, with a sampling of freshly-made delicacies. The hotel is a Relais & Châteaux property.

Alternative lodging options: Patio Andaluz, Plaza Grande
Day 2:

Colonial Architecture and One-of-a-Kind Artwork

Set out with your private guide to explore historic Quito, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Visit the highlights of the colonial “Centro Historico,” and go up to a lookout point on the Panecillo for a great view of the entire city. Afterward, head into the new town to visit the remarkable Fundación Guayasamin, which houses the art collection of Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuador’s most famous 20th-century artist.

Seeing both parts of the city gives you a great overview of some of the different neighborhoods in this diverse Andean metropolis.

Accommodations: Casa Gangotena, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3:

Fly to the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Safari Camp_sunset cocktails at the viewpoint platform

Fly about 600 miles out over the Pacific Ocean to arrive at the Galapagos Islands. You will be met at the airport and transferred to luxury tents of Galapagos Safari Camp, perched on a hillside with views of the water in a vast natural sanctuary. En route to the Safari Camp, stop for a locally-sourced lunch at a farm in the Western Hills of the Santa Cruz Highlands and take in the natural beauty of pit craters, lava tunnels, and the Scalesia and Guayabillo forests during your first excursion.

Accommodations: Galapagos Safari Camp, 4 nights

Galapagos Safari Camp is a unique way to experience the Galapagos, either in addition to a cruise or as a destination in itself. It is one of the first eco-luxury tented camps in Latin America and allows guests to enjoy total comfort under canvas while experiencing nature up close. The 135-acre camp is located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island close to the tortoise reserve and offers spectacular views over the Pacific Ocean, as well as the western & northern islands of Isabela, Santiago, Baltra, Rábida, and Daphne.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Alternative lodging options: Pikaia Lodge Galapagos, Ocean Spray, Elite, Natural Paradise
Days 4-6:

Exploring the Islands

Spend the next three days exploring the Galapagos by land and by sea, searching out exotic plants and seven unique subspecies of finches, as well as flamingos and lava sand beaches. Hiking, walking, kayaking, fishing can all be a part of your experience.

The giant Galapagos Tortoise, the marine iguana, the waved albatross, the Galapagos penguin, and flightless cormorants are just a few of the species you can come across. There will also be opportunities to snorkel, where you can see what’s below the surface: giant sea turtles, rays, and sea lions, to name just a few. Each day you will enjoy excellent cuisine and the company of an expert bilingual naturalist guide.

Accommodations: Galapagos Safari Camp, 4 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7:

Fly to Quito / Travel into the Andes

Hacienda Zuleta_rainbow

Enjoy a final morning in the islands before flying out from the Galapagos back to Quito, where you will be met at the airport and take a scenic private transfer north along the Pan American Highway. Stop en route at “El Guachala,” a monument to the equator, and the town of Cayambe, known for its locally made “biscochos” (biscuits) and fresh cheese. Enjoy a typical lunch at one of the haciendas near Otavalo before arriving to Hacienda Zuleta in the afternoon, where you can relax or explore the area on your own or with your guide.

Accommodations: Hacienda Zuleta, 2 nights

Situated on 4,000 acres in an Andean valley and owned by the family of two former Ecuadorian presidents, Hacienda Zuleta invites guests to experience life in a restored 17th-century country estate. This working hacienda features a dairy and trout farm, a flock of sheep, a cheese factory, an embroidery shop creating exceptionally high quality textiles, and a stable of beautiful horses that you can take out around the property and into the mountains. Active in conservation and preservation, the hacienda has its own Andean condor rescue project as well as several pre-Colombian burial mounds often being worked on by visiting archeologists. Each of its nine guest rooms has a fireplace and its own unique personality. Meals feature organic vegetables, which are grown on the hacienda premises.

*Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Alternative lodging options: Hacienda Cusin
Day 8:

Otavalo Market and Artisan Villages

Arrive early to the Otavalo market, one of the finest and most well-known street markets in South America. The Otavalenos wear distinctive blue ponchos and white pants and have long braided hair, and the women often wear gold-colored beads around their necks. At the central plaza and along side streets, you will find weavings, sweaters, belts, blankets and rugs. After visiting the market, set out with your guide to discover the neighboring towns such as Cotacachi, Peguche, and San Antonio de Ibarra, each dedicated to its own handicraft.

Accommodations: Hacienda Zuleta, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9:

Transfer to the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

Continue your journey into the clouds, at the Mashpi Lodge, a luxury oasis, located in the middle of a bioreserve home to hundreds of species of birds, trees, amphibians, orchids, and even large mammals.

Accommodations: Mashpi Lodge, 3 nights

Situated high in the Andes on a plateau in Ecuador’s Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve, Mashpi Lodge offers up-close views of the lush rainforest that surrounds it. The lodge is sophisticated and modern, built with the latest sustainability techniques and designed to blend beautifully with its surroundings. Each of the 22 rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the jungle, as does the 2-story dining room, which features gourmet Ecuadorian-fusion cuisine.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Alternative lodging options: El Monte Lodge
Days 10-11:

Explore the Cloud Forest

Mashpi Lodge Wildlife

Venture deep into the bioreserve and learn more about the diverse ecosystem of this 6,000+ acre protected area.

Your exact excursion options will depend on the weather and the time of year, but usually include early morning or nocturnal hikes through the jungle with a highly trained bilingual guide who will help you find the creatures hidden among the dense vegetation. Other activities include an open-air canopy gondola, treetop biking, hiking to pristine waterfalls and nature trails highlighting hummingbirds, capuchin monkeys and the unique flora of the area.

Accommodations: Mashpi Lodge, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12:

Fly Home

After waking up one last morning to the sounds of the cloud forest, return to Quito for your international flight home.

*Includes: Breakfast

More Photos From This Trip

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • Add a few nights in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a 30 minute flight from Quito. Our top choice is the Napo Wildlife Center, one of the top lodges anywhere in the Amazon.

  • Add extra days in Quito: Quito is worth exploring on your own, and we can arrange a variety of activities, including city tours, culinary excursions, visits to ruins and historical sites, and active options such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

  • Include some downtime for rest and relaxation! Some free time to unwind or have a massage will allow you to feel refreshed and ready for the remainder of your trip. Many of our properties include excellent spas or wellness centers. We can help arrange these services or include properties that offer health & wellness amenities.

  • Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip.

Reviews From This Trip

5 stars

  • We loved the excursions to the smaller islands, which allowed for very close encounters with the wildlife. The food at the Safari Camp was always excellent!
    Matthew Wood
  • Mashpi Lodge is a really special place and was a perfect complement to the Galapagos.
    Julie Kay
  • Great itinerary, both in Ecuador and Galapagos!
    Harry Bosen

Call us to start planning your journey today:

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Why Travel with Vaya?

We're TRUE specialists

We’ve not only traveled there, we’ve lived there. Our smart and engaging specialists are all current or former expatriates with years of experience in the region.

Uplifting service

From the first phone call to after you get back, we're here for you every step of the way. We listen, create, customize and advocate for you, and design experiences that go beyond the expected.

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Our discerning sensibility and good taste go beyond just choices in hotels and top guides; we have a walk the walk commitment to the environment and are genuine leaders in conservation efforts.