Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands Family Adventure
As family holidays go, a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos is up there with the best. Where else can you explore colonial and Inca ruins in one of the world’s highest capital cities, hike through the Amazon Rainforest in search of colourful birds, swim with sea lions and penguins, or explore pirate coves and tortoise habitats – all on one trip? On this 16-day adventure through Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands you’ll get to see fascinating animals that became the foundation of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, stay inside a remote national park within the Amazon Rainforest and cruise on board a catamaran to a number of the Galapagos Islands.
- Stay in one of the highest capital cities in the world
- Explore the Amazon jungle while staying at a remote ecolodge
- Cruise around the Galapagos Islands on a first-class small yacht
- Blow bubbles in a sea lion’s face – don’t worry, he’ll blow them back!
- Swim with penguins, sharks and turtles
Day 1 – Arrive in Ecuador
Fly overnight to Ecuador and land in the capital city, Quito. On arrival you’ll be met at the airport and driven to your hotel, Hotel Patio Andaluz, where you’ll spend the next two nights.
Days 2-3 – Explore Quito
Quito sits high in the Andean foothills, built on the foundations of a fascinating ancient Inca city. Staying in the heart of its well-preserved colonial centre you’re well-placed for exploring its ornate churches and Moorish-influenced buildings. You’ll have two days to explore the city as a family, strolling along its cobblestone streets and nipping into chocolate tasting rooms, colourful markets and attractive plazas. Your stay begins with a half-day private city tour which will help you get your bearings, with the rest of your time there free to spend as you please. Your historic boutique hotel is located just a three-minute walk from Plaza de la Independencia, so you’ll have no trouble getting around the city.
Day 4 – Fly to Coca
You’ll be driven to the airport for your short internal flight to Coca in the Amazon. Here you’ll spend three nights at Napo Wildlife Centre Ecolodge, located deep in the Amazon Rainforest on a tributary of the Napo River. The small lodge has just 10 spacious cabanas, each offering beautiful views of the Amazon.
Days 5-6 – Stay at Napo Wildlife Centre Ecolodge
Napo Wildlife Centre Lodge is the only accommodation set within the totally unspoilt Yasuni National Park, so you’re perfectly placed for spotting the monkeys, toucans, kingfishers and other wildlife that call the area home. Kids will love getting stuck in to exploring the jungle (as will you), with expert naturalist guides to accompany you on nature walks and visits to the local community, where you can try regional food and drink and meet the Kichwa Anangu people. During your stay you could pay a visit to the nearby parrot clay lick, take in the views of the rainforest from a 15-metre viewing tower, take a canoe ride through the Anangu Lakes and Napo River or just relax and listen to the sounds of the rainforest.
Day 7 – Fly to Quito
Fly back to Quito and spend a night in a comfortable hotel near the airport.
Day 8 – Fly to Galapagos Islands
Today you will board your flight to the Galapagos Islands, located some 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Here you’ll board the yacht upon which you’ll travel around the islands for the next week, the M/C Anahi. Launched in 2006, the catamaran is outfitted to a high standard, with cosy private cabins and lots of space in which to relax such as a library, TV room, dining room and lounge. On the upper decks there’s a bar for the grownups and a Jacuzzi for six people, as well as an ample sundeck.
Days 9-14 – Galapagos Islands cruise
During your cruise around the Galapagos Islands you’ll get to meet a wide variety of endemic wildlife. Your cruise begins in the Santa Cruz Islands, where you’ll tour the highlands with a guide. You’ll then spend three days visiting Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos Islands; here you’ll visit the Sierra Negra Volcano, a giant tortoise breeding centre, the lava pools of Punta Moreno, the penguin colonies of Elizabeth Bay and the iguanas of Urbina Bay. After exploring the pirate hideaway of Tagus Cove, you’ll sail to Fernandina Island to spot sea lions, whales, dolphins and an impressive array of birdlife – this is an excellent place to snorkel, as well as your next stop at Punta Vicente Roca where you may get to swim with the unaggressive bullhead shark. The unspoilt island of Santiago then awaits, with its virgin wildlife habitats once explored by Charles Darwin. Bird-watchers will enjoy the next stop at Rabida Island, where you could view some of the rarest avian species on the archipelago, including nine varieties of finch. Next you’ll visit tiny Sombrero Chino and Bartolome, famous for their distinctive volcanic rock formations, sea lions and penguins. You’ll also get to visit Seymour Island, where the magnificent frigate birds and blue-footed boobies nest. Kids will love the chance to snorkel with inquisitive sea lions and swim with turtles and Galapagos penguins – the perfect family holiday!
Day 15 – Fly to Guayaquil
Board your flight back to the mainland and the coastal city of Guayaquil, a lively coastal city with a vibrant, carnival atmosphere. You’ll spend the night here before your flight tomorrow.