Galapagos Land Expedition and Cloud Forest

Ecuador boasts history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and lush tropical forests and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth. Your journey will explore the Galapagos islands and the enchanting Cloud Forest. Highlights include: giant tortoise breeding center, Volcán Chico, hiking above the Clouds, first class bird watching, Cock-of-the-Rock Lek, and whitewater tubing down the Mindo River. This custom itinerary effectively condenses the best of Ecuador into a 8 day trip you'll never forget!

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Quito

Arrival at Quito, the Capital of Ecuador. Our travel leaders will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. A brief get-together, orientation talk and discussion will follow over beverages and light snacks.

Overnight: Anahi Boutique Hotel

Day 2 - Quito - Isabella

Leaving Quito in the morning we arrive on the island of Baltra and transfer for a short flight to Isabela, passing over the spectacular Galapagos marine scenery. Once at our destination we will pay a visit to the breeding center where the Islands’ giant tortoise population is presently recovering. Expert guides will explain the process of breeding and then releasing into the wild these giant slow moving creatures whose Spanish name (meaning saddle) gave the Islands their present title.

Overnight: Isabella Hotel

Day 3 - Volcan Chico

We start the day by visiting el Cura and then move on to El Mango with their stunning views of the southern part of Isabela. The walk then takes us up to the spectacular crater of the Sierra Negra, the second largest in the world and then on to Volcán Chico (little volcano) at the eastern rim of the crater.

At Volcán Chico you can see in miniature the process that formed the Galapagos. Two recent eruptions have laid bare the geology of the islands: massive lava flows, small cones and miniature tunnels can all be easily viewed and explored. Here you will be able to picnic on the top of the volcano and enjoy truly spectacular views over the central and northern parts of Isabela, as well as Fernandina, Pinzón and Santa Cruz Islands.

Overnight: Isabella Hotel

Day 4 - Tintoreras

Today we will visit will take a short tour of the small islands of Tintoreras, a Galapagos in miniature. Here we can see white tipped sharks at rest, plus sea lions, turtles, rays and penguins. You will also have the chance to snorkel in the bay.

In the afternoon we walk the Wetlands Trail through the mangroves (all four types can be seen here) and marine iguana colonies while enjoying the network of trails, beaches and historic sites. At the end of the trail is the Wall of Tears, built in the late 1940’s by Second World War prisoners held at the US base on the island

Overnight: Isabella Hotel

Day 5 - Isabella - Quito

Today we say goodbye to Isabela and fly over the spectacular island scenery once more to Baltra where we board our return flight to Quito.

Overnight: Anahi Boutique Hotel

Day 6 - Quito - Cloud Forest

After breakfast we will leave Quito for the Cloud Forest. The Lodge is located just outside the town of Mindo - recognized as a world class bird watching site by BirdLife International. Besides world-class birding, here you will enjoy hiking in lush cloud forests replete with orchids and bromeliads, river tubing, the spectacular butterflies of the ´Mariposarium´, as well as hikes to a primary forest reserve. In the afternoon our local guide will take you on a 2-hour exploration beside the Rio Mindo and through the nearby forest, where she will help you to find exotic birds and explain about medicinal plants and their local uses. A tasty well prepared dinner will be followed by a short briefing on the next day’s activities.

Overnight: Cloud Forest Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner included)

Day 7 - Cock of the Rock Lek

Today we will make an early start to visit our ´cock of the rock´ lek, a place where these marvellous birds congregate to feed. After a healthy breakfast we will go on a nature walk along the heights of the Cordillera San Lorenzo. Your guide will talk about the birds and animals about that you will see along the way and if the weather permits help you catch a glimpse of spectacular birds such as the Golden-Headed Quetzal, Choco Toucan, Crimson Rumped Toucanet… among others. Back at the lodge after a well prepared lunch and a chance to relax in the peaceful surroundings, you will be able to explore one of our trails or enjoy whitewater tubing on the Mindo River.

Overnight: Cloud Forest Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner included)

Day 8 - Cloud Forest - Quito

On this last morning you have the option of early nature walk before breakfast. After breakfast you can participate in a short walk on one of our trails or enjoy white-water tubing on the Mindo River or simply relax at the lodge main house and enjoy the surroundings, read a book or look around the house and get to know the lodge and its owners a little better. After lunch we will visit ´Tony’s House´, a well known place see more than 24 species of hummingbirds. The owner, Tony, an expert on the birds and their songs, has placed a lot of hummingbird feeders around his house, as well as in the forest, to attract the amazing variety of brilliantly coloured birds you will see here. More than 19 varieties can regularly be seen including some very rare examples.
In the evening we return to Quito.

Overnight: Anahi Boutique Hotel (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Accommodation Information

Cloud Forest Lodge

This is not simply a place to stay. The Lodge and its owners are dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural beauty of Mindo, one of the most biologically diverse and endangered Cloud Forests in the world. What makes our Cloud Forest Lodge so special is its small size and personal touches. The lodge has 3 cabañas and a total capacity of 6 to 10 people, and first started receiving guests in 1998. It sits on 110 acres of land... the lodge and its garden and cabañas take up about 2.5 acres. The rest of the land is yours to use for nature walks, bird watching or just enjoying the surrounding forest.

Anahi Boutique Hotel

Anahi Boutique Hotel in Quito is a charming and stylish boutique hotel, guided by the prestige value of traditional hospitality service, catering to the most discerning travelers. It is modern and stylish yet distinctively Ecuadorian at the same time.

Isabella Hotel

Accommodation is in a range of special locally owned hotels that we choose depending on availability. All are comfortable, pretty, clean, en suite, beachfront in the village of Puerto Villamil

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