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Ecuador Nature & Wildlife: Experience the Amazon, the Galapagos, and the Cloud Forest

Days: 14 | From: $X,XXX/person

Start in Quito and visit the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest. Head to the Amazon and explore from a top-quality jungle lodge, taking fascinating excursions into the rain forest to see the area's diverse animal and plant life. Finish by seeing the diversity of wildlife found in the Galapagos Islands

  • Includes accommodations at first class hotels that reflect the best of local culture
  • Includes excursions and tours with superb private guides
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(800) 342-1796

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

We consistently receive 5 star reviews from our discerning clients.

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At a glance

  • Quito
    2 nights: Arrive to this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city
  • Amazon Jungle
    3 nights: stay in a premier ecotourism lodge
  • Quito
    1 night: pre-cloud forest night in Quito
  • Cloud Forest
    2 nights: stay in the Ecuadorian cloud forest
  • Quito
    1 night: pre-Galapagos night in Quito
  • Galapagos
    5 nights: Discover the Galapagos Islands

  • 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!

Ecuador_Quito_White church and city view

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: Patio Andaluz, 2 nights

Housed within a 16th-century colonial home arranged around a central courtyard, Patio Andaluz enjoys a prime location just off the Independence Plaza in historic Quito. The hotel is within walking distance of the iconic Plaza San Francisco, the La Compañia Church with its impressive gold leaf interior, and the Theater Sucre. As is common in traditional Ecuadorian architecture, the hotel's rooms and their windows face toward the covered inner courtyards rather than out to the streets (which reduces light, but also noise). The hotel restaurant, El Rincón de Cantuña, serves Ecuadorian and Spanish cuisine along with a variety of South American wines.

Upgrades available: Casa Gangotena, Plaza Grande
Day 2:

Colonial Architecture and One-of-a-Kind Artwork

Ecuador_Quito_Banco Central and church

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: Patio Andaluz, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 3:

Fly Over the Andes to the Amazon Jungle

Fly from Quito over the towering Andes and land in the jungle town of Coca, in the Amazon basin. Travel upriver in a motorized canoe, then take a short hike into the jungle before boarding a dugout canoe to paddle across a jungle lake. Your lodge is the only lodge in the Yasuní National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and sits at the edge of Añangu Lake, a tranquil lagoon filled with piranha and surrounded by the sounds of howler monkeys and birdsong.

Accommodations: Napo Wildlife Center

Located in Ecuador's Amazon Basin, the Napo Wildlife Center is the only lodge in the Yasuní National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The lodge complex sits on the shore of Añangu Lake, within the ancestral territory of the Añangu Quichua Community. Each of the 16 individual cabañas are screened against insects, and each offers a private terrace with lake and rainforest views, private bathroom, electricity, and ceiling fan. The central structure of the complex, where meals are served, also offers several comfortable social areas, including a bar and reading lounge. Excursions are co-lead by experienced bilingual Ecuadorian guides and Añangu native guides, and include hiking, night walks, birding, canoeing, and climbing the two observation towers to look out over the jungle.

Access
Reaching the remote Napo Wildlife Center is an adventure. From the Quito airport, fly over the spectacular Andes Mountains to the jungle city of Coca. You will be transferred to the dock, where a motorized canoe waits to take you approximately 2 hours down the Napo River. Upon arrival at the Napo Wildlife Center landing dock, you will walk into the jungle toward the beautiful Añangu Lake for another 2 hour ride, this time in a dugout paddle canoe (motorized transport is not allowed within the Añangu Reserve) to reach the lodge.

*Includes: Dinner

Alternative lodging options: La Selva Ecolodge, Sacha Jungle Lodge, Kapawi Ecolodge
Days 4-5:

Explore the Amazon Jungle in Search of Unique Plant and Animal Life

Explore the Amazon Jungle and learn about the life it supports.

Excursions vary depending on the weather and the time of year, but usually include visiting local oxbow lakes, taking night walks, and learning to scout for elusive animal and bird life in the vastness of the jungle. This is one of the most biodiverse places on the entire planet, and the sheer variety of plant and animal species is truly awesome. If you are doing a 5 day program, you would add one more day to explore additional sites in the area.

Accommodations: Napo Wildlife Center

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6:

Travel to Quito

Quito

Fly back to Quito and overnight.

Accommodations: Patio Andaluz

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 7:

Travel to the Cloud Forest

Mashpi Lodge_wildlife

Transfer to the Ecuadorian cloud forest and stay 2 nights at the Mashpi Lodge.

Accommodations: Mashpi Lodge, 2 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

Day 8:

Cloud Forest

Explore the cloud forest through a series of guided excursions as provided by the Mashpi Lodge.

Accommodations: Mashpi Lodge, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9:

Transfer to Quito

Overnight near the airport before heading to the Galapagos Islands.

Accommodations: La Casona de la Ronda

Set in a restored colonial mansion from 1738, La Casona de la Ronda is located on the famous Avenida Morales, better known as La Ronda. The hotel sits in the heart of Quito’s historic center, and offers nice views of the famous Panecillo Hill. The hotel offers a restaurant and bar, terrace and gardens, and easy access to the area's distinct churches, monasteries, plazas and museums.

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 10:

Fly to the Galapagos Islands

Fly from Quito about 600 miles out over the Pacific Ocean to arrive at the Galapagos Islands. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your vessel.

Visiting the Galapagos Islands is a unique experience: a combination of sheer natural beauty, amazing wildlife, beautiful vessels, and fascinating natural history.

Accommodations: Anahi, 4 nights

The Anahi is a first class power catamaran with high comfort standards, and as a catamaran it offers slightly more stability than a single-hulled vessel. The ship accommodates 16 passengers in 8 cabins, all with private facilities and climate controls. The yacht offers cozy common areas, a library, movie room, dining room and lounge, as well as a bar, lounge area, and Jacuzzi on the upper sundeck. All excursions are led by a bilingual naturalist guide, and include hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Upgrades and alternatives: Passion, The Grace, Ocean Spray, Petrel
Days 11-13:

Cruising and Exploring the Islands

Sea lions coming out of water at sunset; boat in background

The exact itinerary varies from vessel to vessel, but you will spend these days exploring the islands in depth. Your boat will travel between several different islands so that you can experience a wide variety of the unique wildlife and environments that the Galapagos offers.

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 daily 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: Anahi, 5 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14:

Return to Quito / Depart for Home or Your Next Destination

Enjoy a final morning in the islands before flying back to Quito, where you can connect with your international flight home or continue your trip in mainland Ecuador.

If you have a long layover before your flight, we can set up a visit to nearby hot springs or transfer you to a hotel to relax and have dinner before transferring back to the airport.

*Includes: Breakfast

More Photos From This Trip

Amazon Wildlife - MonkeyAmazon Wildlife - Blue MacawAmazon Wildlife - Caiman

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • 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.

  • Visit some of the highlights of mainland Ecuador, including local markets, volcanoes, the cloud forest, and historic haciendas, such as Hacienda Zuleta or Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, built on top of an Incan palace.

  • 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

  • Very well planned and coordinated. Everything went smoothly. Great tour guide. Beautiful places. Overall, an amazing trip!
    Samuel Greengard
  • We especially enjoyed the Galapagos. The cruise was excellent. The islands varied a great deal and the mixture of activities - hiking, snorkeling, learning about nature, and relaxing - worked well. It was nice to see several other parts of Ecuador as well.
    Mark Zitter
  • Everything was planned so well and we were able to really relax and enjoy. The recommendation especially to the Napo Wildlife Center was a great one!
    Kari Simonian

Call us to start planning your journey today:

1-(800)-342-1796

Inquire About This Trip

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South America is the only place we do trips, and no one knows our destinations better. Our smart and engaging specialists are all current or former U.S. expatriates with years of experience in the region.

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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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