• Luxury Ecuador & Galapagos

Visit Colonial Quito, the Galapagos Islands & Hacienda Zuleta

Days: 10 | From: $11,050/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 on a luxury cruise. Finish by stepping back in time by visiting a 17th-century working estate in the Ecuadorian Andes.

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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
  • Galapagos
    5 nights: Discover the Galapagos Islands on a luxury catamaran
  • Otavalo
    2 nights: visit one of the finest and best-known street markets in South America and explore the Andean countryside

  • 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 at sunset

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

Fly from Cuenca to Quito and then 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: Endemic, 5 nights

One of the newest luxury offerings in the Galapagos, this catamaran offers spacious cabins that provide maximum comfort and elegance. Onboard amenities include an al fresco dining area, sky lounge, bar, and Jacuzzi. Excursion options include hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding - all excursions are led by a top-quality bilingual naturalist guide.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Upgrades and alternatives: Elite, Ocean Spray, Passion, Origin/Theory/Evolve, Galapagos Safari Camp
Days 4-7:

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: Endemic, 5 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8:

Fly to Quito / Travel into the Andes

Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador

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, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9:

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 10:

Depart for Home or Your Next Destination

Have a leisurely morning at Zuleta before your transfer back to Quito for your international flight home or to your next destination.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

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

  • This trip was the best vacation my family has ever taken. We felt completely safe and comfortable travelling in another country. The things we saw and experienced were amazing and we learned a lot from our tour guides!
    Michele Buchholz
  • We were well cared for. Each person we met was kind and generous of their time, knowledge and willingness to help out with anything that would improve the nature of our trip.
    Robin Buchalter
  • The Galapagos was incredible. Everyday we experienced something new from intimate wildlife encounters to dramatic coastlines and erupting volcanoes.
    Jenny Ramaswamy

Call us to start planning your journey today:

1 (510) 548-8487

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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.

Thoughtful travel

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.