Luxury Ecuador Explorer
Travelling to remote destinations doesn’t have to mean roughing it: on this 13-day journey through Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands you’ll stay in sumptuous accommodation, including boutique hotels, characterful eco-lodges and indulgent tented camps. Travelling from the capital, Quito, you’ll explore the Andean cloud forest from the comforts of a renowned luxury lodge, ride the rails on board Tren Crucero – a luxury train service that runs between the mountains and the coast – and then fly to the Galapagos Islands to spend four days uncovering the secrets of Darwin’s ‘living laboratory’.
- Stay in characterful haciendas and boutique hotels throughout
- Explore the UNESCO-listed capital of Quito
- Stay in the heart of the Andean cloud forest in an eco-lodge
- Travel on board the luxurious Tren Crucero from the Andes to the coast
- Discover the Galapagos Islands on a comprehensive land-based safari
Day 1 – Arrive in Ecuador
Fly to Ecuador and land in the capital city, Quito. On arrival you will be driven to your hotel in the city where you will spend the next two nights, the Casa Gangotena. Located on the site of a former Inca temple, this chic boutique hotel is set right in the centre of Quito. During your stay you’ll enjoy the elegant Twenties-style interiors and famously inventive food – traditional Ecuadorian, with a twist.
Day 2 – Explore Quito
Begin your exploration of Quito with a half-day city tour. Explore the UNESCO-listed city centre with the help of an expert guide, including the cultural heart of Calle de la Ronda, the fascinating Museo de la Ciudad (found in Quito’s oldest building), the Plaza Grande and its many 16th- and 17th-century churches, including the ornate Compania de Jesus Jesuit. The city sits at an altitude of 2,850 metres, so exploring is more leisurely to help you acclimatise to the altitude.
Day 3 – Travel to the Andean cloud forest
After your stay in Quito you’ll be driven into the cloud forest (approximately two hours’ drive). Here you’ll spend two nights at Mashpi Lodge, recently featured on the BBC documentary Amazing Hotels. Despite being located at the heart of the forest, this eco-lodge spares no luxury and offers a supremely comfortable way to explore. Rooms overlook the rainforest, and there’s a Jacuzzi and natural waterfalls in lieu of a swimming pool.
Day 4 – Discover the cloud forest ecosystem
Take advantage of the hotel’s wide range of activities on offer during your time at Mashpi Lodge, from spotting hummingbirds to guided trekking, yoga classes to participating in conservation projects. Take the two-kilometre-long Sky Tram through the cloud forest for privileged views of the canopy.
Days 5 – Begin your journey on Tren Crucero
You’ll be driven back to Quito for the next leg of your journey towards the coast on board Tren Crucero. During the day you will travel on board the luxury train, enjoying the glorious scenery from the colonial-style surroundings of the train and experiencing Ecuadorian life on well-crafted excursions, dining on board or in the country. Staying in Gold Class you’ll benefit from overnight accommodation in specially selected luxury hotels and haciendas, further adding to your authentic experience. On your first day your journey will take you to the Andean town of Otavalo, famous for its colourful markets, returning to Quito for the night.
Days 6-7 – Travel on board Tren Crucero
The next two days see you exploring Ecuador from the train, beginning with a pass through the Avenue of Volcanoes where, weather permitting, you may spot up to 20 volcanoes from the train. Explore the Spanish settlements of Colta, crossing quinoa fields and early settlements. Navigate the mythical Devil’s Nose – a vertiginous 450-metre zig-zag crossing from the mountains to the coastal plains. Cross through cloud forest, rice paddies, sugar cane and banana plantations to your final stop.
Day 8 – Arrive in Guayaquil
Your journey on board Tren Crucero ends in the coastal city of Guayaquil after a 504-kilometre journey. You’ll spend a night in the Pacific Coast-city.
Day 9 – Fly to the Galapagos Islands
You will be driven to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. On arrival on the island of Baltra you will take the five-minute ferry journey to Santa Cruz Island and your home for the next four nights, Galapagos Safari Camp. The 55-hectare camp is set in the highlands of Santa Cruz, in an area rich in birdlife. With just nine luxury tents you’ll have a privileged vantage point from which to explore the islands.
Days 10-12 – Learn about Darwin’s ‘living laboratory’
During your time at Galapagos Safari Camp you can enjoy the tranquil infinity pools, creative dining and unparalleled location. Spot birds such as finches, warblers, egrets and doves, or keep your eye out for the famous giant tortoises that frequent the area.
Day 13 – Return flight via Guayaquil
For more information please contact us directly for a tailor-made travel quote.