Absolute Ecuador: National Parks, Cultural Centers and the Galapagos Islands | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998

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Absolute Ecuador: National Parks, Cultural Centers and the Galapagos Islands

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PRIVATE TOUR - 12 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY

FROM £$8810+

Private Tour Highlights

  • Palace, Cathedral, San Francisco Monastery and El Sagrario Church along the way.
  • Straddling the middle of the world during a visit to the equatorial line while in Quito.
  • Strolling through the brightly coloured and bustling markets of Otavalo, home to some of the most vibrant bazaars in South America.
  • Enjoying beautiful views of the Cotopaxi Volcano and enigmatic National Park.
  • Riding the one and only ‘Devil’s Nose’ train, while marvelling at the stunning Andean scenery outside your carriage windows.
  • Visiting the spectacle of Genovesa, or “bird island”, so called due to the many thousands of tropical birds who call it home.
Interested in this tour?   Let us build you a customized quote based on your budget.

Tour Overview

Let Yampu Tours guide you to the Ecuadorian highlands and the Galapagos Islands creating a complete experience of Ecuador’s rich environments. With Absolute Ecuador: National Parks, Cultural Centers and the Galapagos Islands you will spend five days aboard a First Class catamaran visiting the islands and learning about the unique wildlife. You will have the chance to see iguanas, sea lions and tortoises among, the many other species living in this Biosphere Reserve. In the highlands you will visit Quito and travel down the Avenue of the Volcanoes stopping to visit the Cotopaxi Volcano. This program also includes an exciting ride on the Devil’s Nose train, a visit to Cuenca and a visit to the Otavalo handicrafts market, the largest in South America.

Included in the itinerary is a First Class cruise. Due to current Galapagos Islands regulations each cruise can only visit an island every 14 days. This sample 5 day itinerary runs every two weeks. However we are able to offer a variety of other Galapagos cruises. Depending on your dates of travel, we are able to customize your itinerary to match the Galapagos Cruise departures.

Inclusions
Price includes:
Round-trip domestic air from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos; one-way domestic airfare from Cuenca to Quito; 4 nights cabin aboard a First class boat, including all meals; hotel accommodation including breakfast; daily guided tours of the islands, led by naturalist guides; guided excursions with English-speaking guide; and all transfers including assistance and baggage handling. Also included in the rates is the $100 Galapagos Park fee, and $10 Transit Control Card fee.

*Gratuities, and local airport taxes that are payable in the country of destination are not included. Taxes and security fees that can be paid at time of ticketing are already included.

*All cruise itineraries are subject to change.

*By traveling to the Galapagos with Yampu Tours, you will be making the choice to travel responsibly. As members of IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association), Yampu donates $7 for every traveler that travels to the Galapagos with us. We are dedicated to helping preserve the islands while supporting sustainable ecotourism. As an IGTOA member, we are informed, involved, and concerned.

*There will also be an optional Galapagos Conservation contribution of $50 per passenger added to your final proposal. The contribution will go towards:
• Creating benefits and educational opportunities for local people.
• Strengthening responsible tourism management.
• Building strong financial support for conservation among the travel industry and travelers.
• Promoting high professional standards for the tourist industry.
Best Time to Travel
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

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Pricing Details
  3-Star 4-Star 5-Star Luxury
Double £$8769 £$8810 £$9361 £$10099
Single £$13372 £$13466 £$14445 £$16106

Prices shown above are per person. Hotel categories do not adhere strictly to international ratings; Yampu has evaluated the hotels according to destination and availability. Prices include local airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodation including daily breakfast; all transfers with baggage handling, all guided tours in English and all entrance fees.

Trip Type:

All our trips are operated on a private basis unless specified otherwise. This is only a sample itinerary; your Yampu Tour Consultant will personalize this trip for you according to your available dates, interests and type of hotels. This is your trip and we will work on making it perfect!

Tour Itinerary

Day
1

Quito

Upon arrival in Quito, be greeted for airport reception and transferred to the hotel.

Upon arrival in Quito, be greeted for airport reception and transferred to the hotel.

Day
2

Full Day Colonial Quito Tour & The Equator

The tour begins today with a visit to Independence Square where the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral and El Sagrario Church are located. Also visit the Church of La Compania (1605), and enjoy a brief visit to the church and monastery of San Francisco (1535). The oldest Ecuadorian church, the collection of artwork here includes paintings, sculpture and furniture dating back to the 16th century. Leaving the churches, visit the recently restored 24 De Mayo Boulevard, named after the battle which sealed Ecuador´s independence. Also visit La Ronda Street in Old Quito. Lined with colonial houses and inspired by painters, poets, musicians and historians, this visit gives a taste of traditional Quito. The tour will then continue 30-minutes outside of Quito, towards the Middle of the World. Visit the main Monument honoring the correct location of the equator and visit the Ethnographic Museum, located inside the Equator Monument. Or, visit the Inti Nan Museum, a scientific and cultural Museum located in the exact place where the Equator Line crosses. ...read less

Quito_Monastery_of_San_Francisco_Ecuador
Day
3

Otavalo Indian Market, Cayambe and Cotocachi

Today, drive north toward the Province of Lakes, Imbabura. Enjoy an exciting trip by visiting Guayabamba valley, taste its exotic fruits, cross the Equator Line and arrive at Cayambe, the world’s highest point where the Equator Line crosses. In Cayambe, try its famous salt biscuits with leaf cheese. While approaching Otavalo, travelers will have stunning views of the San Pablo Lake with the high peak of Imbabura Volcano behind it. Next is the town of Otavalo, home of the largest indigenous market of its kind in South America. After lunch in one of the local haciendas (included), head for Cotocachi, a town renowned for its handmade leather goods. Upon return to Quito, transfer to the hotel.
Note: one may also spend one night at a hacienda near Quito. Please consult with a Yampu travel consultant.
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Quito_Otavalo_Market_Ecuador
Day
4

Quito - Cotopaxi NP – Banos

This morning, be greeted at the hotel in Quito and transferred privately to the Cotopaxi National Park. Here, admire the beautiful snow-capped volcano and will have an optional hike. Later, head to the Hacienda La Cienega, one of the oldest haciendas dating back to the seventeenth century, for a tasty lunch (included). After lunch, stop at Saquisili Market (if Thursday), or Latacunga Market (if Tuesday or Saturday), please see information on these markets below. Transfer to Banos for an evening of leisure. Lunch included.

This morning, be greeted at the hotel in Quito and transferred privately to the Cotopaxi National Park. Here, admire the beautiful snow-capped volcano and will have an optional hike. Later, head to the Hacienda La Cienega, one of the oldest haciendas dating back to the seventeenth century, for a tasty lunch (included). After lunch, stop at Saquisili Market (if Thursday), or Latacunga Market (if Tuesday or Saturday), please see information on these markets below. Transfer to Banos for an evening of leisure. Lunch included.

Quito_Cotopaxi_Closeup_Ecuador
Day
5

Banos – Riobamba

After breakfast, enjoy a visit to the Banos waterfalls including Manto de la Novia, Pailon del Diablo and Ines Maria. During the visit, enjoy tastes of the local juice of sugar cane and melcochas. In the afternoon, transfer to Riobamba, visiting a local Indian Market en route (if open on that day).

After breakfast, enjoy a visit to the Banos waterfalls including Manto de la Novia, Pailon del Diablo and Ines Maria. During the visit, enjoy tastes of the local juice of sugar cane and melcochas. In the afternoon, transfer to Riobamba, visiting a local Indian Market en route (if open on that day).

Riobamba_La_Balbanera_Church_Ecuador
Day
6

Alausi - Devil's Nose Train

Very early in the morning, after breakfast, we drive to the town of Alausi for a train ride to the famous “Devil’s Nose”. Due to the land topography, this portion is a masterpiece of railway engineering, commonly named “the most difficult railway in the world”. The descent is not an ordinary one, we start the ride at an altitude of 2,346 meters and go down to 1,860 meters in just 30 minutes, in a zigzag-carved railway tracks. Afterward the guide and driver will bring you to Tolte Community to enjoy the following activities.



  • You will be able to descend 330 stairs up to a view point, perfect place to appreciate the zig-zag from Devil’s Nose and take fabulous pictures.

  • You may choose between horse-back riding or biking tour in the surrounding areas of the local community to enjoy the landscape and see in a deeper way the local lifestyle (around 25 to 30 minutes)

  • Enjoy a lunch prepared by the local community (gourmet meals). There will be a Dancing show during lunch time.

  • Passengers will receive a key ring from devil’s nose train ride as souvenir

  • Passengers are able to take pictures with the llama and local people without additional cost.

  • Passengers are able to visit an organic local farm to see the where the community develops agro-tourism and produce the vegetables that will be served at the restaurant during the meals.


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Cuenca_Cajas_National_Park_Ecuador
Day
7

Cuenca

This morning, enjoy a city tour of Cuenca visiting the Calderon Park, the new and old Cathedral, the Park of the Flowers, the City Museum and modern art, the Canari-Incas of all saints’ ruins, Canon of the Tomebamba and Turi River. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport to take the flight to Quito (one may also choose to spend an extra night in Cuenca, please consult with a Yampu travel consultant).

This morning, enjoy a city tour of Cuenca visiting the Calderon Park, the new and old Cathedral, the Park of the Flowers, the City Museum and modern art, the Canari-Incas of all saints’ ruins, Canon of the Tomebamba and Turi River. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport to take the flight to Quito (one may also choose to spend an extra night in Cuenca, please consult with a Yampu travel consultant).

Cuenca_Cathedral_Ecuador
Day
8

Quito – Baltra – Santa Cruz Island

Transfer to the airport for the morning flight from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos. Upon arrival, be greeted at the airport and transferred to the Galapagos cruise.
This afternoon, visit Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. Play de las Bachas is located on the northern coastline of Santa Cruz. Here one will be able to see the brightly colored flamingo lagoon, encounter marine iguanas, various sea birds, and sea turtles. This is a good location to swim and snorkel.

Transfer to the airport for the morning flight from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos. Upon arrival, be greeted at the airport and transferred to the Galapagos cruise.
This afternoon, visit Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. Play de las Bachas is located on the northern coastline of Santa Cruz. Here one will be able to see the brightly colored flamingo lagoon, encounter marine iguanas, various sea birds, and sea turtles. This is a good location to swim and snorkel.

Galapagos-reptile-Ecuador
Day
9

Genovesa Island

This morning, visit Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island. Genovesa is a collapsed volcano that ships are able to sail into through its large breached caldera and anchor at the foot of the steep crater walls. Genovesa is commonly referred to as ‘bird island’ because it is home to thousands of great frigate birds, red-footed boobies, noddy terns, lava gulls, tropic birds, doves, storm petrels, and Darwin’s finches.
This afternoon, visit Prince Philip’s Steps on Genovesa Island. El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip’s Steps, has a trail through a Palo Santo forest to an open area full of nesting birds that include masked boobies, frigates, and red-footed boobies. At the end of this trail are thousands of band-rumbed storm petrels nesting in the crevices at the cliff’s edge. One will also be able to see the short-eared owls as they hunt the storm petrels during the daylight hours.
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Galapagos_Flying_Frigate_Ecuador
Day
10

Plazas Island – Santa Fe Island

This morning, visit Plazas Island. Plaza Sur was originally formed by uplifted lava and the terrain includes an impressive cactus forest. On land one can see land iguanas, sea lions and several species of tropical birds.
This afternoon, visit Santa Fe Island, home to a cactus forest and a colony of land iguanas that are native to the island. Here one can also see the Galapagos mockingbird, magnificent frigate, brown pelican, and several species of Darwin’s finches.

This morning, visit Plazas Island. Plaza Sur was originally formed by uplifted lava and the terrain includes an impressive cactus forest. On land one can see land iguanas, sea lions and several species of tropical birds.
This afternoon, visit Santa Fe Island, home to a cactus forest and a colony of land iguanas that are native to the island. Here one can also see the Galapagos mockingbird, magnificent frigate, brown pelican, and several species of Darwin’s finches.

Darwin_Center_Bird_Ecuador
Day
11

San Cristobal Island – Isla Lobos

This morning, visit Punta Pitt. This unusual volcanic formation is located in the northeast of San Cristobal Island. Here one is likely to see tiny lava lizards scurrying around the rocks as well as all three species of the Galapagos booby; Nazca, masked, and blue or red-footed boobies.
This afternoon, visit Kicker Rock and Isla Lobos. Isla Lobos is a tiny rock island to see a colony of sea lions and a colony of blue-footed boobies. Kicker Rock is a magnificent rock that jets out 500 feet high from the middle of the ocean and is shaped similar to a sleeping lion. The rock is split with towering vertical walls on either side that forms a narrow channel through which small vessels can investigate. There is no landing site here but the view from the boat will make a lasting impression.
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Galapagos_Baby_Boobie_Ecuador
Day
12

San Cristobal – Quito – Home

This morning, visit El Junco Lagoon in San Cristobal. This site is reached by road and is about a half hour drive from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The road goes through the small farming settlement of El Progreso. The lake itself is the caldera (collapsed cone) of an extinct volcano and is about 300 meters wide. The name El Junco is Spanish for sedge, which is present along the banks of the lake.
This afternoon, be transferred to the San Cristobal airport for the flight back to Quito and connect with the international flight home.
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Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

Baños, Ecuador

Riobamba, Chimborazo, Ecuador

Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Places You'll See

  • Quito-Ecuador-Hillside

    Quito

    The magnificent city of Quito is bursting with cultural, historical, and artistic character. Along with its scenic parks such as Parque La Carolina, visit its enchanting museums like the Museo del Banco Central. Take a trip to the Mitad del Mundo, or the “Middle of the World”, where the first measurements to prove the earth was round, were taken.

  • Banos-Waterfall-Ecuador

    Banos

    On the foothills of the Tungurahua Volcano, lies the city of Banos. One of the final cities before reaching the depths of the Amazon, Banos offers many exciting activities to take in. Enjoy the picturesque waterfalls, such as the famous Cascada de La Virgin, or take on nature with jungle tours, rafting, bungee jumping and so much more at the capital of adventure!

  • Riobamba-Mission-Ecuador

    Riobamba

    One of the stops along the Pan-American-Highway is the scenic Riobamba. One cannot miss the views of the surrounding mountain ranges including Ecuador’s highest mountain, Chimborazo. Visit the local art museums and its neoclassical basilica, Parque La Libertad, to absorb the areas culture and history.

  • Cuenca-Cathedral-Ecuador

    Cuenca

    Well known for its stunning and historical architecture, Cuenca is a City that holds a great amount of history. Visit the historic center of the city that has been named a UNESCO Heritage Site with its historical structures. Take a tour of The Ruins of the former Inca Empire, Ingapirca, and learn of these ancient people.

  • Blue-Footed-Booby-and-Seal

    Galapagos

    Become enchanted by the unique and seemingly intrepid wildlife native to the Galapagos Islands. Dive in with the underwater life, or stay above water enjoying the other several water sports. For a dryer experience, relax on the sandy beaches soaking up the sun. Spend time with Giant Tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Center.

Hotel Options

3 Star Properties

Quito : Stuble Suites

Quito : Vieja Cuba Boutique

Quito : NU House

Banos : Volcano Hotel

Banos : La Posada del Arte

Banos : Hacienda Leito (Patate)

Cuenca : El Dorado

Cuenca : Hotel Victoria

4 Star Properties

Quito : La Casona de la Ronda

Quito : Casa Aliso

Banos : Sangay Spa Hotel

Riobamba : Hacienda Abraspungo

Riobamba : San Pedro de Riobamba

Riobamba : Mansion Santa Isabella

Cuenca : San Juan Hotel

5 Star Properties

Quito : Swissotel

Quito : Le Parc Hotel

Quito : JW Marriott in Quito

Banos : Samari Spa & Resort

Banos : Luna Runtun

Cuenca : Santa Lucia

Luxury Properties

Quito : Plaza Grande

Quito : Casa Gangotena

Cuenca : Mansion Alcazar

Testimonials

Jon L

Traveled December, 2014

Everything was great!

Everything was great! Just exactly as you advertised, and we had an awesome time. We will definitely keep Yampu in mind for any future trips we might be making.

Traveled To


Jenny and Penny from Australia

Traveled March, 2010

Getting to Machu Picchu was a highlight & completed the lifetime package

I am home again after the most fantastic trip. Of course my feet have not touched the ground yet, so much to do & mail a meter high. My heartfelt thanks to you especially, but also all the crew both on the ground & manning the desks.We were never let down once. Always a smiling face in the foyer or standing at the airport gate. I don’t know how you pulled it all off especially with our last manic changes. It was hard work at times I will not deny it. The last 2 weeks were tight & we were both very tired, but getting to Machu Picchu was a highlight & completed the lifetime package. We stood there in awe. I will get Jenny to send you a photo to prove it, she is better at photos than me.I am so glad I booked those 5 nights in BA at the end & enjoyed the Tango show, shopping & galleries, high tea at a posh hotel. I will not hesitate to recommend both you & Yampu. I hope we cross paths one day or certainly when I return to that magical part of the world I will contact you.

Traveled To



Caswell & Teresa

Traveled December, 2014

I don’t know where to start but just let me say this was the BEST TRIP we have EVER taken.

I don’t know where to start but just let me say this was the BEST TRIP we have EVER taken. You thought of everything. I must admit I know you said everything would be taken care of but I thought yea, RIGHT, no way. Boy was I wrong, gosh you didn’t miss a thing. All the tour guides, the tours, the hotels were just outstanding. The tour guides took us to airports got our tickets to board flights geeze we were treated like royals. Machu Picchu was outstanding; we did the hike. I have to say I was a little apprehensive about it at first, but once we got started realized we would have no problem. We made it all the way to the top. The hotel there was just wonderful, the weather was nice also NO RAIN!! Galapagos!!! WOW it was JUST AWESOME!!! OMG the snorkeling was incredible. We got to go twice a day and honey we sure did not miss one trip. The hikes were great, we could not believe how close you can get to all the animals. I Really don’t have the vocabulary to express to you just how amazing this whole trip was. All the tours were outstanding loved having the private tours. All the guides were very knowledgeable, and I know this is true cause Caswell knows his history. I am recommending this trip to all my friends. Again thank you so much for preparing the trip of a life time.We were married 30 years January 2 and this was our gift to each other. Thank You,

Traveled To


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