Ecuador and Galápagos Explorer

Ecuador · About Escorted or Guided Tour

If you’re short on time but still want to experience the awe-inspiring majesty of hot springs and volcanos and the natural wonders of the Galapagos, then this is the adventure for you. Jaunt through the Amazon jungle, soak in soothing hot springs, and observe unparalleled wildlife in the Galapagos. Throw in unique accommodations at a historic hacienda and luxury catamaran, and you’ll have made a month’s worth of memories in two glorious weeks.

What's Included

Recharge: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit, Papallacta. Arrival transfer. Visit the community of San Clemente and enjoy a local lunch. Overnight in an historic hacienda. Explore the Otavalo handicraft market. Relax at Papallacta hot springs. Two nights at an Amazon lodge with jungle walks and canoe excursions. Flights to and from the Galápagos Islands. Certified Galápagos National Park Service guide and all landings, excursions, and transportation. Snorkelling equipment. Visit to a wildlife interpretation centre. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Traverse the Amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide, be surrounded by towering volcanoes, learn about traditional handicrafts and folk art from local artisans, meet the locals on San Cristobal Island, explore the Galápagos National Park aboard the Queen of Galápagos

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

Please note this tour travels to Banos. The Tungurahua volcano in the area around Banos is constantly active. G Adventures have operated countless tours to the Banos area over the years without incident. However, we are obligated to point out that travel to the area is at your own risk, to exercise caution when travelling in the area. Further, we urge you to check your insurance coverage with your insurance provider prior to travel to the Banos area.

1. G Adventures requires your passport number, full name and date of birth at the time of booking. Please make sure you give this information to your travel agent.

2. Once you have confirmed your booking please give us your international flight details and advise us if you have any important issues such as allergies, special diets, etc.

3. The Ecuadorian government currently levies a Galapagos Islands Park entry fee of $100 USD per person. This is payable at the airport upon arrival in the park. It is not included in the cost of the tour, and must be paid in CASH. This fee funds Park maintenance and supervision in Galapagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.

4. The Consejo de Gobierno (local government council) have implemented a system of Transit Control Cards at a fee of $10 USD per person. This card is to be purchased in CASH at a counter in the Quito airport before boarding the flight to the Galapagos. Please retain this card along with your passport as you will be required to present this upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands. Please note that this applies to all tourists entering the Galapagos Islands and is a supplement to the existing entry fee to the National Park and is not controlled by tour operators or travel agencies. It is the first of a number of initiatives to track, control and maintain the sustainable tourism targets set out by the Galapagos National Park and the Ecuadorian government in an attempt to preserve the fragile environment of the archipelago.

5. Please note that the rooming on our Galapagos yachts is done on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we are not able to guarantee the specific cabin you will receive on board. The cabins are comfortable and clean, all with private bathrooms and air conditioning. All cabins are on the upper decks with windows looking out to the ocean. Our friendly and competent crew will ensure the smooth and comfortable journey for the duration of your tour.

6. All travellers are required to pay the tax on domestic flights in Ecuador. Foreign travellers are exempt form this, and proving you are indeed a foreign traveller can be done by providing us with your international ticket number (ITN). Travellers who do not submit international ticket numbers at least 30 days prior to Day 1 of their tour will be required to pay the domestic tax on all included flights.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, also known as a CEO (Chief Experience Officer). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, Avg 10.

Meals Included

14 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Transport

Private van, boat, flight, walking.

Local Flights

Airline luggage restriction for flying to the Amazon Lodge:
Each passenger is allowed luggage up to 20 kilos (44 pounds) for checked luggage, as well as a carry-on item such as a backpack.

All local flights to and from the Galapagos aare included in the cost of your tour. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.

Flights to either of the airports in the Galapagos leave early in the morning on Day 2 and get you into the islands in the early afternoon. Flights back to the mainland depart between 10:00am and 1:30pm arriving in the early evening.

Please note that all flights to and from the Galapagos make a 1 hour refuelling stop in Guayaquil.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Comfort hotels (7 nts), historic hacienda (1 nts), luxury jungle lodge (2 nts), hot springs resort (1 nt), aboard the Queen of Galápagos motorized catamaran in twin-share or double cabins or suite (3 nts).

My Own Room

Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops

About Accommodation

On our Ecuador trip we use various different types of accommodations that are unique to the various environments experienced on this trip. From an historic hacienda in the highlands to a hot springs resort at Papallacta, these are wonderful places to stay.

Joining Hotel

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Joining Instructions

The Quito International Airport is approximately one hour outside of the city centre where your joining hotel is located. There are a number of routes the driver may take depending on time of day and traffic, however, the route often seems long and indirect. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by organizing a taxi at the desk within the airport (approximately $30 USD). Private transfers generally cost more as the cars will need to drive from Quito, to the airport, and return. Immediately after the customs and immigration area, as you head to the exits, you will find a taxi stand. We strongly recommend you pay for the car at set rates from the taxi stand and therefore won’t need to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport facilities, where the situation tends to get more chaotic with many drivers vying for few clients. The taxis outside the airport area do not belong to the Taxi Airport Union and may charge higher fares.

There is also a shuttle available with the bus company Aeroservicios. Aeroservicios charges 8 USD to board a bus which will take you from the new airport to the old airport. The buses are new, comfortable, and often include wifi. From the old airport, a taxi to get to your hotel would generally cost $5 USD depending on the distance and location.

If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.

A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time and your transfer times back to the airport the next day. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour if desired.

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610
From within Ecuador: 022 506 610

After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000
From within Ecuador: 0999 506 000

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. We recommend the use of a medium sized soft suitcase, duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry. A good size daypack is also essential.

We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential. If you don’t wish to take all of your luggage with you to Galapagos, please ensure you have an extra bag you can leave behind at hotel storage and pickup on your return.

Please note that Galapagos is a protected National Park so your luggage will be checked before arrival and departure to and from the islands. Don’t bring any food, seeds or other organic material that could affect the delicate ecosystem of the islands.
Porters are not often available, so be prepared to carry your own bags. Please remember that you can leave unnecessary articles in your joining hotel storage room. On arrival day, our customer support will provide you with a special bag of the correct size that you are allowed to bring to the Galapagos.

Please do not bring any alcoholic beverages aboard, as your boat has a bar offering a variety of alcoholic drinks and prices are reasonable.

LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE ON THE BOAT: Please note that the amount of luggage you can bring on the boat is LIMITED due to small cabin size. We recommend travellers use soft sided duffel bags of 40-50 litres in capacity. We will accept luggage types onboard, however if you are a single traveller sharing with another traveller, it´s especially important to keep in mind that cabins are small in size and it´s best to pack light. Luggage storage facilities are available at the start hotel for anything you don´t need while you are exploring the Galapagos.

Please note that the electric outlets on this boat are 110v and will have either 2 flat prongs or two pin-like prongs. If necessary please bring an adaptor with you for your electric devices, ie, battery chargers.

Checklist

Documents:
-Passport (with photocopies)
-Travel insurance (with photocopies)
-Airline tickets (with photocopies)
-Cash
-Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
-G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
-Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Suggested Items:
-Camera and extra memory card/film
-Extra batteries (recommended)
-Electricity Plug Adapter
-Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
-Binoculars
-Cover for backpacks
-Concealable money belt
-Fleece top
-Windproof/waterproof jacket (a must for the Amazon)
-Small towel and swimwear
-6 shirts/t-shirts
-Sun hat
-1 pair of shorts
-2 pairs of long trousers
-1 pair hiking pants/track pants (quick-dry recommended)
-hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
-Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes, and 3 pairs of socks
- Knee-length socks (to be used with rubber boots at the jungle lodge)
-Sport sandals
-Sunblock
-Sunglasses
-Toiletries
-Watch or alarm clock
-Water bottle
-Insect Repellent
-Pocketknife
-First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Optional Items: reading/writing material, Maps, guidebooks

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.

Detailed Trip Notes

Important nots about visiting the Amazon:

Rubber boots are a must: Rubber boots are very good for hiking in the rainforest, they help protect feet from plants and insects close to the ground as well as deep water. The lodge offers use of boots as a courtesy to our guests, available from size 5 to size 12.

How to keep things dry:
We recommend that passengers bring zip-lock plastic bags or dry sacks for your lenses and camera equipment. A waterproof backpack will also help you to protect your camera gear or anything else you wish to keep completely dry. The humidity is high in the rainforest, however, if you follow the advice about packing appropriate belongings it should not be an issue.

Electricity is available in the bar, dining areas, reception areas and rooms (110V) to recharge batteries. We suggest that guests bring a flashlight or headlamp. The plugs for recharging batteries have three holes, two plainprongs and one circle prong just as most American plugs. However, we recommend that you bring a transformer of two plain prongs.

The weather in La Selva Amazon Ecolodge:
Year-round temperature average is 82°F (28°C), however nights can be cooler. Since Ecuador is located right on the equator, the country does not experience extreme weather changes, and the weather is surprisingly comfortable all year around. Please be prepared for rain.

La Selva Highlights
You will have different activities like: treking, hiking, fishing, swimming, paddle canoes, birdwatching, butterfly watching, photography or simply relax.

Observation Tower:
New at La Selva is our completed Observation Tower, rising to 35 meters, the tower offers incredible views of the rain forest canopy. Experience amazing opportunities for bird watching and photography, among many species of monkeys, birds, flowers, and insects of which your naturalist guide will more than happy to point out and share interesting facts.

Bird Watching
With perhaps the highest species list in the neo-tropics, LA SELVA uses native birding experts for those guests with this singular passion. The Natives speak minimal English, but know the names of all the birds, and, more importantly, how to find them. Please specify in advance if you are a birder and would like to take advantage of this service.

Tree Tower
Not far from the lodge you can observe many birds flying by at eyelevel, wildlife of all kinds, and, yes, a bird’s-eye view of it all, from the top platform of our 135 ft. observation tree tower.

The Butterfly Farm
The interest in our butterfly farm is overwhelming. Now entering its 15th year of operation, our guests have enjoyed this attraction even more than we expected. Only 5 minutes from the lodge, a guide will take you there at least once during your stay; however, many people go back a second and third time on their own.

LA SELVA’s Butterfly farm was designed to present an ecologically sound, sustainable alternative way to help preserve the rainforest. It is another step in our ongoing effort to find viable ways (besides ecotourism) to help save this beautiful rainforest.

Kayaking and Swimming
Guests may take out our kayaks to explore the lake on their own anytime they wish. The kayaks hold one or two people and paddlers must be signed in and out at the bar. Kayak instructions will be available from the staff.

Besides voyages of discovery, La Selva will arrange kayak races and other prize-winning activities with the kayaks. It is child’s play and free drinks for the winners but enjoy that silliness and exhilaration.

Unless the lodge is very crowded, guests may have kayaks without time limit, however if there is a great demand a two-hour per excursion time will be in effect. A guest must return for another two hours if desired.

No fishing is allowed from the kayaks, but this activity can be done from the dock.

Swimming, another great recreational activity is highly encouraged. The Lonely Planet guide has called Lake Garzacocha one of the most beautiful lakes in the Amazon, so take a swim with your sunscreen (well applied please) to our balsa wood raft and enjoy the tranquility. If there is truly no demand for the kayaks you can paddle your way to the raft and bring a book a long to read in the middle of a lake in the middle of the Amazon.

The Biology Field Station
In 1992 LA SELVA created, built and continues to fund The Neo-tropical Field Biology Institute. Researchers from around the world come to our lodge to carry out scientific investigation.

Guests often brush shoulders with researchers in the bar and elsewhere for enlightening conversation.

Expeditions
Please find below a partial list of activities. Trained Naturalist guides and Native assistants will accompany you during all your adventure.

El Salado
This is a two-hour excursion often combined with a picnic lunch and trips across the Napo River. Visit a site where, with a little luck, parrots and parakeets, by the thousands can be seen.

Walk by a Native’s House
Cross Garzacocha Lake. Two and a half to three hour walk on a purposely underdeveloped trail which has some physical challenge. Half of the walk takes place in primary forest and the other half passes the huts of our indigenous neighbors along the Napo River.

High Forest Trail
The duration can vary between three to five hours. Cross the Napo River and arrive at a challenging mountainous trail which offers yet another ecosystem. It is a chance to see birds and wildlife nowhere else seen. Try the lemon ants!

Mandicocha Trail
An easy trail close to the hotel which is usually filled with wildlife no matter what hour of the day you do it. The excursion can last as long as you want.

Pilche Trail
Cross Garzacocha Lake then one hour or more of walking. See an enormous colony of leafcutter ants and whatever wildlife may come your way.

Night Excursions
Canoe or walking trips after dark to view nocturnal animals such as caiman, monkeys, insects and owls.

Pedro’s Trail
Two versions are available. Cross Garzacocha lake, walk through the virgin forest and arrive at the tower: four hours. Short version: Pass Butterfly farm and join the trail in the middle: two hours.

Chawamango’s Trail
Head east at Mandicocha trailhead and walk along the lake. Arrive at Napo River. Return by elevated walkway and cross Garzacocha by canoe: three hours.

Little Chawamango
Short trip by foot around the edge of Lake Garzacocha. Return by canoe to the lodge.

Ruth’s Trail
Across the Mandicocha lake, it goes on and on and on. Good place to look for Jaguars.

For Serious Photography
A long lens, at least a zoom capable of 200 mm is recommended and an assortment of film as low as ASA 25 for out on the streams in full sun and around the lodge, to ASA 400 – pushing it if you like, for in the forest. Be sure to carry your film separately.

Digital camera users need only beware (as SLR users) that moisture can fog their lenses rapidly. Silica gel in the camera carrying case should do the job and remember to put your camera back in the case when not using it. Bring plastic zip-lock bags for protecting your gear.

G Adventures Deluxe Motorized Catamaran

Enjoy your cruise on the Queen; it offers a clean and casual setting with all the necessary comforts. It is staffed by experienced crew members, including a certified naturalist guide. Your comfort is ensured by our helpful, cheerful staff who will attend to your every need. Additional vessel features include outside decks and a spacious dining room and bar. Comfortable Cabins are all on the upper decks with all lower berths, WC, shower, hot water and air-conditioning with windows looking out to the ocean. There is one elegant and spacious suite available (double bed) with minibar and separate seating area for those looking for that extra level of comfort. All meals are provided and are served aboard the vessel. You may purchase alcoholic beverages, water and soft drinks on the boat.

PLEASE NOTE:
At times, when the g8 is being serviced, we will use another boat of equivalent standard and size.

LIFE ON BOARD
The daily schedule consists of a shore excursion immediately following breakfast, lunch aboard and perhaps a siesta before the afternoon shore excursion. In the evening after dinner, your naturalist guide will brief you on the islands to be visited the following day. You are ferried from the yacht to shore via small boats called pangas. Landings are either “dry” or “wet”, where you may have to wade ashore in shallow water. Your naturalist guide will accompany you during all excursions.

CLIMATE
Located on the Equator, the Galapagos climate is tempered by the Humboldt Current, so you do not experience extreme heat found elsewhere at this latitude. The warmest weather is December to June, when temperatures range from 22-33°C (72-90 °F), and the water temperature is in the mid 20s (mid 70°F). From July to November, temperatures are cooler and range from 18-24°C (60s -75°F), when average water temperature rarely reach 21°C (70°F).

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available some may not accept all international credit or debit cards. You may need to try at more than one machine if the first does not accept your card. You should also check with your bank before leaving to ensure that your card works internationally. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. Please bring USD banknotes in denominations smaller than 100, as they can be hard to exchange in Ecuador. 100 dollar bills of certain series (e.g. CB B2) can be especially hard to cash! CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than $100 USD (or equivalent). As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Tipping

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your Discovery Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Onboard Galapagos , tipping is customary. At the end of the cruise, an envelope will be provided to travellers should they wish to tip the crew onboard. Whatever amount is given is split up between all crew members evenly. Should you wish to tip your CEO, you should do this separately. The recommended amount is 10-12 USD per day for the crew and 3-5 USD per day for your CEO. This is only a suggestion and we understand tipping is a personal choice.

Optional Activities

Quito:
Quito City Tour
This tour of Quito is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, and historical architecture of Quito. Learn about colonial art, culture, legends, and traditions.
Quito was designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage Site. The trip takes about 3.5 hours including the visit to the lookout point of El Panecillo where you will find one of the best views of Quito.
Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the churches and Panecillo are not included in the price and are approx $ 9 USD p/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD

City Tour + Equator Line
(Combination of City tour and Middle of the World Tour)
After the scenic city tour of Quito (described above) we go to the Equator line museum . Here we visit the Inti Ñan local museum where you can see different experiments to prove that you are at the Centre of the Earth. On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line.

This trip takes about 5 hours in total and includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
- Entrances fees for City Tour : $ 6 USD (Churches)
- Equator line fees : $ 6 USD (Museums)
- Price for 1 person : $ 60 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $45 USD

The Middle of the world
Driving 25 Kms. (16 miles) north of Quito, marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º. Here you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. We will visit the Inti ñan site museum (pathway of the sun) which show the diversity of Ecuador’s native groups .

On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line.

Later we head up to Pululahua crater view point , which is one of the two inhabited volcanic caldera in the world. Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the Museums are not included in the price and are approx $9 USD p/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD

Otavalo Market
The Otavalo market is considered one the biggest and best native markets in South America. Here you can find an extremely wide variety of handicrafts made in Ecuador. We head north along the Pan-American highway for 2.5 hours. On the way we visit the village of Calderon to see the bread figures and Cayambe to taste the typical ‘biscochos’ (local biscuits). After you have explored the Otavalo market, we go to the leather market at Cotacachi or Peguche the weaving town . The busiest Market Day is Saturday with the most vendors, but the market is open daily.
This trip takes about 8 hours and can depart everyday at 08h00 am (trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD

Mindo Cloud Forest – Full Day
Drive northwest for about 2 hours, enjoy the dramatic change of vegetation as we go down the andes to the cloudforest. Mindo is a tiny town set amidst some of the most beautiful and peaceful countryside in the entire country. It is a centre for both nature and adventure activities.
Go walking through the cloud forest and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the different waterfalls, take time to ride up the cable car with amazing views.
Time for lunch in a local restaurant (not included) and visit a butterfly farm where you will be able to see an array of colorful humming birds for which Mindo is renowned.
In the afternoon there is also the option of an organic chocolate tour which includes a demonstration of the chocolate-making process and of course tasting too!
This trip takes about 9 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )

Allow : $10 USD for lunch and $ 20 USD for entrance fees.
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD

Cotopaxi Volcano
A spectacular 2-hour drive in private transport takes us to Cotopaxi Volcano National Park , the highest active volcano in the world (5897 m) . We visit a museum in the park and hike around a lagoon at the bottom of the volcano to learn about the flora and fauna found at this altitude. We then continue by car up the volcano to the parking lot, at over 4500m. Then we walk approximately 1.5hrs to the refuge at 4800m, and after a short break, continue to the glacier (if the weather holds out). We head back to the Pan-American highway to have lunch somewhere near Latacunga, or buy a box lunch on the way to have more time in the park. Return to Quito in the afternoon.

This trip takes about 8 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes guide/driver in english and private transportation )
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
- Does not include Cotopaxi Park Entrance fee $40 USD per group ( Park fee cost can be split between travellers)

PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS

Two hours drive to the east are the Termas de Papallacta. They are located on the Cinnamon trail, (65km from Quito) which is the same route that Francisco de Orellana took in 1542 when he crossed the Andean mountain range in search of spices and gold, and discovered the Amazon River.

Things to do:

a) Hot springs pools with different temperatures and sizes with views of the Antisana volcano 5750m.
b) Trekking up the river
 on marked path
c) Horseback rides
 – extra cost
d) Relax in the new spa recently inaugurated (spa services not Included in entrance fee cost.)

Important Note:
- Lunch not included however restaurant available onsite offering typical Ecuadorian meals with some international options.
- Return to Quito in the afternoon.

- This tour provides transport service only. Your driver will drop you off at the Hot Springs and wait for you when you are ready to leave.

- Full day tour
Tour Price: $100 USD – 1 Person
$50 USD per person for 2+ travellers
$7 USD Entrance fee per person

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes, as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. Discovery Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude, in Quito and the highlands. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your Adventure, please consult your physician.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

Please take care when wandering about the city on your own, as pick pockets and purse-snatchers are common, particularly in the Old Town. Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, traveller’s cheques and cash you don’t need in the hotel’s safety deposit box. Most Quiteños are honest and genuinely helpful and friendly, but be safe and enjoy the city!

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.

G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.

Dollar-a-Day Program
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.

Minimum Age

You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.

International Flights

Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.

Max Pax

16

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) on Mainland Ecuador, local guides, Galápagos National Park Service guide while in the islands

PRODUCT_LINE: SEAL07GA, ID: 23216

Itinerary

Day 1: Quito

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Transport:
Private Vehicle

Day 2: Quito/Otavalo (1B, 1L)

Spend a night in the Otavalo area and visit its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables.

One of the most obvious signs of the Otavaleños’ cultural integrity is their traditional dress. This is not just worn for the tourists at the Saturday market, but is worn throughout their daily life.

Otavalo is justly famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday animal market. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products were transported from the eastern lowlands and traded for highland goods. Today’s market has two different functions: the local market for buying and selling animals, food, and other essentials, and the crafts market for the tourists and other interested people.

Included Activities:
San Clemente Community Visit
Otavalo Handicrafts Market Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.50-4.00 hours)

Day 3: Otavalo/Papallacta (1B)

Continue to the Papallacta Hot Springs Resort for onsite hot springs, optional spa treatments, and hiking excursions. There is plenty of time to soak, relax, and enjoy the mountain views.

Included Activities:
Papallacta Hot Springs Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)

Day 4: Papallacta/Baños (1B)

Baños is one of the most popular spots in the country. Many Ecuadorian families vacation here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Baños means ‘baths’ and this is precisely what the town is famous for. Some are thermal springs from the base of Tungurahua Volcano, which means ‘little hell’ in Quichua. Other baths have melt water running into them from Tungurahua’s glaciated flanks. Locals swear that the baths are good for your health; it’s definitely worth rising early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains from a hot spring vantage point.

Included Activities:
Papallacta Hot Springs Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)

Day 5: Baños (1B)

The town is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits. Activities include horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rafting on the River Patate.

Day 6: Baños/Yasuni National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Transfer to the port to board a motorized canoe to go to La Selva’s main dock. Continue on a short 15-min jungle walk leading to a creek. Enjoy a paddle by canoe across “Garzacocha” (the heron´s lagoon) in order to reach the lodge area. Upon arrival at the lodge, enjoy a welcome drink and get an introductory briefing. Take part in a short activity to be introduced to the rainforest.

Additional Notes:
All activities in the Amazon depend on weather and natural conditions. Not interested in hiking or canoeing? Feel free to relax at the lodge.

Included Activities:
La Selva Lodge Excursions

Transport:
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)
Motorized canoe (1.50-2.00 hours)

Day 7: Yasuni National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

See the canopy of the rainforest from a tower, 43m (141 ft) in height, and choose from dozens of walks of varying lengths and difficulties; several routes can only be accessed by canoe. Choose from a variety of activities: wake up early for some bird watching or stay up late and go out on a boat to view caimans by flashlight. Learn about the environment and wildlife from the naturalist guide, who accompanies the group to ensure you get the most out of the excursions. The opportunities for birding, botany, hiking, herpetology, canoeing, photography, entomology, fishing, relaxing, and swimming at La Selva Lodge are boundless.

Included Activities:
La Selva Lodge Excursions

Day 8: Yasuni National Park/Quito (1B)

Travel by boat back to Coca and catch a flight to Quito.

Transport:
Motorized canoe (2.50 hour(s))
Plane (0.75-1.00 hours)

Day 9: Quito (1B)

Explore the city of Quito. Ask the CEO for suggestions on what exciting activities to take part in.

Day 10: Quito/Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (1B)

Early morning, fly to San Cristóbal. Meet the CEO and transfer to the hotel for a first night’s stay in the Galápagos Islands. Following lunch, begin exploring San Cristóbal visiting Laguna El Junco, the only freshwater lake in the islands. After, visit the Interpretation Centre to learn about the history of the islands, explore the paths near the centre for beautiful views.

Additional Notes:
Flights from Quito to San Cristobal depart between 8:10am and 10:10am depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into the Galápagos between 10:40am and 12:40pm with a refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane). You will generally arrive onto the boat in time for lunch before the afternoon activity.

The National Park charges a visitor fee of USD100, payable on arrival, which funds park maintenance and supervision in the Galápagos, as well as ecological study, conservation and infrastructure development in Ecuador’s other National Parks. Entry fees and the funds they generate for the National Park System are among measures taken by the Ecuadorian government to protect its natural heritage.

Included Activities:
Laguna El Junco Visit
Interpretation Center Visit

Transport:
Plane

Day 11: San Cristóbal Island (1B, 1L, 1D)

Before transferring to the boat, visit Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado to see giant tortoises.

Included Activities:
Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado Visit

Transport:
Archipell I

Day 12: South Plaza/North Seymour (1B, 1L, 1D)

Morning landing at South Plaza, home to the largest population of land iguanas, for wildlife spotting opportunities and a walk through the cactus forest. In the afternoon, visit North Seymour for guided walks to observe birds and wildlife, including vast sea lion colonies.

Included Activities:
South Plaza Island Visit
Seymour Island Visit

Transport:
Queen of Galápagos

Day 13: Chinese Hat/Bachas Beach (1B, 1L, 1D)

In the morning, the boat arrives to a small little island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat, named for its unique shape. Visit Bachas Beach in the afternoon, located on the northeastern tip of Santa Cruz Island.

Included Activities:
Chinese Hat Visit
Bachas Beach Landing

Transport:
Queen of Galápagos

Day 14: Puerto Ayora/Quito (1B)

Visit the Charles Darwin Foundation to see the giant Galápagos tortoises before the flight back to Quito.

Included Activities:
Charles Darwin Research Station Visit

Transport:
Plane (2.00 hour(s))

Day 15: Quito (1B)

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

Interested in Ecuador and Galápagos Explorer?

G Adventures

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Sandra Aaron

Sandra Aaron

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