Ecuador's Rainforests & Islands

Ecuador is a playground of different landscapes and cultures. Start your adventure with a multi-day program living and interacting with the Sani Tribe of Ecuador's Amazon rain forest, learning the indigenous lifestyle of these fascinating people while staying in their locally managed ecolodge. Next, head to Quito for a quick break before ending your trip with five days in the Galapagos where you will get up close with nature like you've never imagined!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Quito Arrival

Quito Arrival
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: Hotel Patio Andaluz

Welcome to Ecuador! On arrival at the Quito airport you will be met by your private driver and transferred to your hotel. Check in and enjoy the rest of the evening as you like. (This service is on a private basis)

Quito

Ecuador is all about history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and lush tropical forests, spectacular snow capped volcanoes and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is one of the most well preserved Spanish colonial cities in all of South America and is an essential part of every Ecuador trip. This distinction was recognized in 1978 when Quito became designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Since then, visitors to the city have been delighted by its stunning old cathedrals, colonial plazas, and countless other highlights.

Day 2: Quito - Coca - Amazon

Quito - Coca - Amazon
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Amazon Arrival & Activities
  • Transportation (Air): Domestic Flight
  • Accommodation: Sani Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D
Domestic Flight
Quito - Coca
Flight #: Local Airline
Departs: TBA
Arrives: TBA

Amazon Arrival & Activities

Your journey today begins with a short 40 minute flight from Quito to Coca. Upon arrival in Coca, you will be greeted by a staff member and transferred to the banks of the Napo River. There, your bilingual guide will give you a safety precautions briefing, before taking off on a 2.5 hour boat trip on the largest Ecuadorian affluent of the Amazon, the Napo River! As you cruise the waters, you will get your first real taste of the Amazon as you admire the passing ancestral communities and fascinating flora and fauna. Observe the birds flying overhead, herons, egrets, vultures and mire, while enjoying delicious packed lunch. Your motorized canoe ride will be followed by a 15 minute walk through flooded forest and 20 minute canoe paddle across the beautiful Challuacocha Lake. Once you have arrived at the lodge, you will be greeted with refreshing cold drinks and snacks, before you are welcome to get settled in your cabin.

After getting settled in, you may want to take off on a short hike on the nearby trails. This will allow you to get acquainted with the sights, smells and sounds of the Amazon jungle. As you enter the forest, sunlight is immediately filtered and you are faced with a million shades of green. A symphony of insect song fills the air, and our senses are instantly heightened. You might see one of the forest’s 13 species of primate, birds, frogs, or extraordinary flora. The walk is one of discovery, and immediately tunes us in to the richness of Amazon ecosystem. After plenty of time to explore, you will return to the lodge, where a delicious dinner will be prepared for you. A bilingual guide will present a briefing tonight about Amazonia, while you enjoy Ecuadorian beers, spirits and cocktails. You may want to head out onto the lagoon later this evening too, in search of the nocturnal wildlife, paddling silently through the black waters! (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 3: Amazon

Amazon
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Observation Tower & Rainforest Walk
  • Accommodation: Sani Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Observation Tower & Rainforest Walk

After breakfast at the lodge, you set out for a full day of adventure in the rainforest. You will take a long hike to learn about the plants, animals and people of the Amazon. You will discover medicinal uses for the rainforest’s many plant species, search for impossibly small species of frog and startlingly large insect species, keep your eyes open for primates high in the forest canopy, and learn about the Sani culture. You will also hone your blow gun skills to understand survival hunting techniques.

After a full morning, you will enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest in a special spot chosen by your guide. Following lunch, you will make your way to the lagoon system where you will set out on kayaks for an afternoon of paddling. A stop at Sani Lodge’s Observation Tower is a highlight. You will wind your way up a 36 meter (108 ft) high staircase to the wooden observatory perched at the top of the forest canopy in majestic kapok (aka ‘God’s Hand) tree. The exhilaration of standing above the entire forest is quickly overtaken by the excitement of spotting some of the 565 registered species of birds. With some luck, there is also a chance to spot howler or squirrel monkeys or even sloths resting high in the canopy. The wildlife viewing from above is an entirely different perspective, and gives a chance to discover some of the Amazon’s biodiversity that can be difficult if not impossible to see from the ground. After getting your fill of wildlife watching from the tower, you walk back to your kayaks for a (1 hour) recreational paddle back to the lodge. You will enjoy another delicious chef-prepared dinner before retiring for the night. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 4: Amazon

Amazon
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Yasuni National Park Exploration & Sani Community Visit
  • Accommodation: Sani Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Yasuni National Park Exploration & Sani Community Visit

After an early breakfast, you will depart for a visit to Yasuni National Park. This 9,620 sq km park is Ecuador’s largest mainland park and is a Unesco designated international biosphere reserve. The park was untouched by the last ice age, resulting in a thriving and diverse pool of species, and it is one of the last true wildernesses in Ecuador. You will walk in the park, observing its flora and fauna and make your way to a viewing blind near one of the park’s famous clay licks. There you might be lucky to see parrots and parakeets. They visit most mornings to eat clay that aids their digestion of unripe seeds and fruits. You might see mealy Amazon, yellow-crowned, orange-winged and blue-headed parrots among others.

After your morning in Yasuni, you will visit the local Sani community. Here, you will learn about and support their women’s project, the community turtle breeding work, and also participate in a cooking class, which will become your traditional lunch. Spending time with the Sani women in the kitchen allows for a special glimpse into their culture and customs, and also insight into our many commonalities. You enjoy a very special, very local lunch in the community. Your cultural exchange and exploration continues after lunch, when we will hike back to the lodge on a “camino vecinal” (minor road/community path) accompanied by our guide and a member of the local community. On your hike, you will get first-hand insight into local life while the Napo River flows by our side towards the Atlantic Ocean. You will learn about the local’s architecture, see their farming activities, their lifestyle, discover plants in the rainforest that are used for medicine, and more.

You will return to the lodge in the late afternoon for a well-deserved dinner. Optional night walk in the rain forest to see myriad insect, spider and frog species come to life in their nocturnal habitat. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 5: Amazon - Coca - Quito

Amazon - Coca - Quito
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Reality Tour & Amazon Departure
  • Transportation (Air): Domestic Flight
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: Hotel Patio Andaluz
  • Meals: B
Domestic Flight
Coca - Quito
Flight #: TBD
Departs: TBD
Arrives: TBD

Reality Tour & Amazon Departure

Following breakfast this morning, you will head back to Coca to catch your flight back to Quito.

You will be transferred to the Napo River where your boat journey awaits. As you travel up the Napo River, you will learn about some of the challenges that local communities and ecotourism ventures face with the intense pressure that extractive industries place on the Amazon. You will then be returned to the airport in Coca, with plenty of time to board your onward flight back to Quito. (This service is on a group basis.)

On arrival, you will be picked up at the airport in Quito and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis)

Day 6: Quito

Quito
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: Hotel Patio Andaluz
  • Meals: B

Today you have a free day to explore Quito at your own pace!

Day 7: Quito- Santa Cruz

Quito- Santa Cruz
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Transportation (Air): Domestic Flight
  • Tour: Baltra & Santa Cruz Island Adventure
  • Accommodation: Galapagos Magic Tented Camp
  • Meals: B, L, D
Domestic Flight
Quito - Baltra
Flight #: TBD
Departs: TBD
Arrives: TBD

Today, at the appropriate time, you will be met by your driver and transferred to the airport for your flight to Baltra. (This service is on a private basis)

Baltra & Santa Cruz Island Adventure

Welcome to the Galapagos! Dive into your adventure as soon as you arrive! You will enter the airport through a special VIP lounge where you will have a chance to change clothes, put on some sunscreen, and get a cool drink before you are transferred to the Itabaca Channel. You will have a chance to kayak, snorkel, and stand up paddleboard. As well as encountering some of the most famous Galapagos wildlife such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, brown pelicans, a variety of herons, and white-tipped reef sharks.

There’s no better introduction to the Galapagos than to get on the water as soon as possible! You will glide through beautiful red mangrove forests and along lava rock cliffs on the water so clear you can see the marine life. The kayaks come in doubles or singles and life jackets are provided. A support boat will escort you throughout the water activities to ensure safety and to provide water, snacks, and towels between activities.

From the Itabaca Channel, you will head up to the Santa Cruz highlands to a private reserve that borders the National Park. you might be able to see the famous Giant Tortoises roaming in the wild!

Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Kayak: 1.5-2 hours depending on fauna activity and skills of kayakers
Means of Transportation: boat, kayak, stand up paddleboard, and private transportation

Day 8: Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Neighboring Island Visit
  • Accommodation: Galapagos Magic Tented Camp
  • Meals: B, L, D

Neighboring Island Visit

Embark our motor yacht and enjoy of a daily excursion with a welcoming crew members and knowledgeable naturalist guide as you experience the remote islands in comfort and style. Our daily excursions will take you to experience the Galapagos Islands in a safe and comfortable manner. We can visit North Seymour, South Plazas, Santa Fe, or Bartolome Island.

Along the way, we might see leaping rays or other sea life, while enjoying the vastness of the Pacific. The yacht tour lets you see the Islands and their wildlife in their most pristine state. Island visited may vary according to National Park regulations (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 9: Santa Cruz - Floreana

Santa Cruz - Floreana
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Floreana Island Arrival
  • Accommodation: Floreana Lava Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Floreana Island Arrival

After a final breakfast at Magic Galapagos, we say goodbye and depart for Floreana Island. We will leave early for our two hour speedboat crossing.

The peaceful Floreana Island is home to the Galapagos’ smallest population, only 150 people, and is the least developed and most natural of the four inhabited islands. Once a pirates’ lair, Floreana was the first inhabited island in the Galapagos and descendants of the original population still live there, together with the mysterious tales and legends that surround their ancestors.

On Floreana, you will be hiking, learning about the fascinating history of the local people, and observing some of the Galapagos' incredible wildlife (giant tortoises, frigate birds, Darwin's finches, sea lions, and petrels). Upon arrival on Floreana, we will take an open-air ‘chiva bus’ to Floreana Lava Lodge, which overlooks one of the Galapagos’ most beautiful and secluded bays. The lodge is operated by Claudio Cruz, a descendant of one of the Island’s original inhabitants. We are lucky to be hosted by Claudio, as he is able to share his deep knowledge of the Island and its history with us, as well as to meet several of his family members during our stay, giving us special insight into life on Floreana.

Once we are settled in, we can walk or paddle (kayak or stand up paddleboard) to nearby Black Beach for some snorkeling. After time in the water to whet our appetites, we will walk to a restaurant in the nearby village for lunch. The restaurant is part of a community tourism initiative that Tropic helped to develop and has been working with since 2012.

In the afternoon, we set out once again to paddle the pristine waters (kayak or SUP) across the bay to explore La Loberia, a sea lion breeding ground. Once there, we can enjoy more snorkeling and swimming in the calm, bright water with sea turtles, sea lions, stunning rays, and an abundance of tropical fish.

Later we will return to the lodge (30 minute walk or kayak/SUP) for a warm shower. We will watch the spectacular sunset and then head to the village for dinner where we will celebrate another incredible day in the Galapagos. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 10: Floreana

Floreana
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Exploring the Floreana Highlands
  • Accommodation: Floreana Lava Lodge
  • Meals: B, L, D

Exploring the Floreana Highlands

After breakfast this morning, you will head out to explore the Floreana highlands on an open-air bus (chiva). This is an unbeatable, historic, and comfortable way to see the island and the many beautiful views it has to offer.

On the way, your Naturalist Guide will point out the wildlife and to give you an idea of the colorful history of some of Floreana's first inhabitants. For example, the Wittmers (whose descendants still live on the Island), the ‘Baroness’, and the pirates that once visited here too. You will also learn about the "Enigma of Floreana", involving the mysterious deaths of several of the Island's inhabitants, a riddle that has never been solved. After driving into the highlands, you will reach Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven), where your hike begins. You will walk up to this historic site, explore pirate caves, and visit the freshwater spring that provides water for the entire Island. Along the way, you can expect to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the vegetation or even on the trail. You will leave Asilo de Paz, walking down through a rural area, where the local people grow and produce for their own consumption. This is a fascinating example of how these island people survived in this remote place. Over the years, they were able to develop an understanding of the local environment and now work towards preserving their unique agricultural knowledge.

Once back on the coast, you will be able to watch the extraordinary behavior of the frigate birds, who ‘dance’ as they wash their salty wings in the fresh water. With a little bit of luck, you may be able to see males puffing up the red pouches on their chests in an attempt to attract the females. From La Primavera, you will continue by Chiva, down towards Las Palmas, where the Island’s first permanent inhabitant, the eccentric Dr Ritter, lived and is buried. Arriving in 1926, this German physician's story is one of the many strange episodes that is still talked about on the island. On the way, you can marvel at the views of the Floreana shoreline. On arrival, take a seat for a special and delicious BBQ experience. In the afternoon, back at the lodge, you will have the opportunity for more marine exploration. Have fun snorkeling, kayaking, and stand up paddling, their newest water activity. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 11: Floreana Departure

Floreana Departure
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Floreana Island Departure
  • Transportation (Air): Domestic Flight
  • Meals: B
Domestic Flight
Baltra - Guayaquil/Quito
Flight #: TBD
Departs: TBD
Arrives: TBD

*This flight can be adjusted to your international departure

Floreana Island Departure

Sadly, your time in the Galapagos must come to an end. After breakfast this morning, you will board a speed boat for your return to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. From there, you will transfer to the Baltra Airport for your departure flight.

We hope you had an amazing time discovering Ecuador and wish you a safe journey home! (This service is on a private basis.)

Accommodation

Hotel Patio Andaluz

Hotel Patio Andaluz

Situated in the heart of Quito's historic center, you will find the Hotel Patio Andaluz Quito, surrounded by churches, museums and national monuments. The property is a marvelous old building full of colonial history and charming ambiance. It lies within easy walking distance from the city's main square, known as the Independence Plaza, as well as several of Quito's famous highlights and attractions. With only 11 suites and 21 standard rooms at the hotel, it is an intimate and elegant property with a capacity for just 63 guests. There is also a delicious restaurant, cava bar, library, internet access, and plenty of nooks in which to relax and take a siesta on site as well.

Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge is the only jungle lodge in Ecuador that is 100% owned and operated by the indigenous Kichwa community of Sani Isla. On the banks of a stunning lagoon, and surrounded by pristine rainforest, packed with monkeys, manatees, sloths, and over 550 types of birds, this superb jungle lodge is a perfect base to explore the Amazon jungle by day and enjoy some real comfort by night. Sani Lodge emphasize quality rather than quantity, and thereby offering you a more intimate experience with the amazon rainforest. Sani Lodge is attended by its owners all the time, so profits stays in the community and it helps to improve in healthcare and education! This will guarantee that all the visitors have a real cultural experience with much more wildlife all while helping the local community.

Hotel Patio Andaluz

Hotel Patio Andaluz

Situated in the heart of Quito's historic center, you will find the Hotel Patio Andaluz Quito, surrounded by churches, museums and national monuments. The property is a marvelous old building full of colonial history and charming ambiance. It lies within easy walking distance from the city's main square, known as the Independence Plaza, as well as several of Quito's famous highlights and attractions. With only 11 suites and 21 standard rooms at the hotel, it is an intimate and elegant property with a capacity for just 63 guests. There is also a delicious restaurant, cava bar, library, internet access, and plenty of nooks in which to relax and take a siesta on site as well.

Galapagos Magic Tented Camp

Galapagos Magic Tented Camp

The Galapagos Magic Tented Camp is a tortoise camp, perched in the highlands of Santa Cruz and surrounded by a Scalesia forest and volcanic caves. This is the native habitat for wild tortoises, where you will be able to enjoy an intimate encounter with nature. The areas around the campsite are home to several dozen giant tortoises, seen roaming around property from June through February. During the months of March, April and May the giant tortoises generally move to lower elevations, though a handful sometimes remain, so keep your eyes out!

Floreana Lava Lodge

Floreana Lava Lodge

Formerly the Red Mangrove Lodge, and located in Puerto Velasco Ibarra, the Lava Lodge is built entirely of pine wood from the mainland man made forests. This lodge is situated in front of the ocean, on a unique black lava surface. Ten independent small cabins are each equipped with one twin size bed and a bunk bed, which can host up to three people each. Each cabin has its own bathroom, front porch, reading and shaded area, to offer you privacy and enjoyment of the outdoors, as you observe the scenic sea views.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 14,766 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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