Dear friends, we invite you to one of the smallest and perhaps one of the most interesting countries in Latin America — Ecuador. In this journey, we will encounter magnificent colonial architecture, real jungles, and indigenous people of the Amazon, as well as climb to an altitude of 5000 meters, explore active volcanoes, witness enormous waterfalls, experience diverse wildlife, take walks in the most beautiful National Parks, and, of course, visit the world-famous treasure — the Galapagos Islands.
We have also considered your comfort. During this trip, we will be staying in cozy 3-5 star hotels, dining at cafes, and traveling in our own transportation. We promise this will be an unforgettable adventure. The beauty of this country, its unique culture, and centuries-old traditions will not leave you indifferent. Throughout this journey, you will see a country that will forever remain in your heart as a warm memory of a wonderfully spent time in incredible places and with great company!
What you need to know
How much is it?
Cost of participation 4 860 USD
from 11 to 26.03.2024
Four steps to travel!
The first day of the trip
Welcome to Ecuador! At Quito Airport (UIO), you will be met by W-Expeditions staff (we recommend arriving before 19:00), after receiving your luggage in a comfortable minibus, we will go to check into our hotel, which is located in the historical part of the city.
The capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an ancient city that once belonged to the ancient Inca empire. Despite the earthquake of 1917, the city has the best preserved and least altered historical center in Latin America. The architecture and rich interiors are examples of the Quito Art School, which is a combination of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art. The artists of this school worked on stone and wood to give shape to the most important religious events.
After a short rest, we gather in the lobby of the hotel, and then in a friendly company we go to a restaurant with national cuisine, where we will taste the best dishes of this wonderful country, get to know each other and discuss in detail the upcoming adventure. Then, well-fed and satisfied, we will slowly go to explore the Old Town. We will walk along the main Plaza Grande square, admiring the main buildings of the country located here: the Cathedral, the City Hall, the Presidential and Archbishop’s Palace.
Let’s take a look at the Jesuit temple — the best example of colonial art in the city, admire its facades covered with the most intricate carvings, and then climb to its observation decks, from which a stunning view opens. Admiring the evening panoramas, you will understand why Quito was the first city in the world to be included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. We will go to rest early, we are at an altitude of 2800 m above sea level, and we need to gain strength before the upcoming adventures.
Included: group transfer from the airport, tour of Quito, overnight at the hotel
The second day of the trip
We get up early, have a quick breakfast, and then go to the airport. Short formalities, a couple of hours of summer — and the freshness of high-altitude Quito will be replaced by the warm and sunny climate of the Galapagos Islands. After all the customs and phytosanitary formalities, we go by bus to the Itabaka Canal, which separates the two islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz. Here we will transfer to our minibus and go across the island to the city of Puerto Ayora, it’s about 45 minutes.
While traveling around the island, our route will take place among wild landscapes and various species of flora and fauna, we will see finches, which served as the basis for Darwin’s theory of evolution. Let’s watch the famous Galapagos land turtles in their natural habitat. And, perhaps, the very first thing that attracts attention is the change in the landscape: from the red rocky surface in the north to the green world of wildlife in the highlands and south.
Our next target is lava tunnels. At its core, these are channels formed by the uneven cooling of lava flowing from the slopes of the volcano, which extend from the highlands to the shores for considerable distances. Some have already collapsed, but there are preserved ones, daredevils will have the opportunity to walk through them and see and understand with their own eyes how they were formed.
We will check into our hotel, put ourselves in order, and then we will go for a walk along the embankment, at the same time we will look at a cozy restaurant with seafood cuisine, since there are plenty of them here and they are very tasty in each. After a delicious lunch, we will go on an excursion to Charles Darwin Station. It has museums of the history and development of the Galapagos Islands, as well as information on the protection of this natural heritage. Here you can see endemic giant land turtles. There are several species of turtles on the islands, and, thanks to the station, their populations are not threatened with extinction. Then we will go for a walk along the embankment, at the same time we will look at the fish market to take a look at the evening catch and a free show, which is arranged by lovers of eating fish for free — sea lions, pelicans and frigates. The evening is free, those who wish can plunge into the Pacific Ocean, dinner, rest.
Included: breakfast, transfers according to the program, excursions according to the program, overnight at the hotel
The third day of the trip
Today we have an early rise. We have a quick breakfast, rent rooms and at 6:45 we go to the pier, where a boat is waiting for us to take us to Isabela Island. Travel time is approximately 2.5 hours. Upon arrival, our belongings will go to the hotel, and we will go to explore the volcanoes of Sierra Negra and Chico.
In about 40 minutes we will arrive at the checkpoint of the Galapagos National Park, located 25 km from Puerto Villamila, to start our 3-hour hike of 12 km. During the walk we will not have difficult climbs, rather, we will have a constant slope, not very pronounced, so the hike will not be difficult. The crater of the shield volcano Sierra Negra is located at an altitude of 1124 meters and is the second largest in the world, its diameter is more than 9 km and a depth of 100 meters. Sierra Negra erupted in 2018, the last of the Galapagos volcanoes. From here we will continue the hike to the volcano Chico. This volcano last erupted in 1979, leaving numerous lava formations proving the volcanic formation of the islands.
Upon returning, we will check into the hotel, rest a little and go to lunch, and then to the cozy beach located nearby. In this rather wild place, alone with nature, you can sunbathe and swim a lot. Crystal clear water beating on white sand, a calm sea, iguanas roaming on volcanic rocks, sea lions basking in the sun, carefree blue-footed boobies all this involuntarily reminds us of the fabulous islands that we heard about many times in childhood and which we so passionately wanted to visit. We will spend the evening in a cozy restaurant under the sound of the ocean, with a glass of rum, and stories about pirates and sea adventures.
Included: breakfast, transfers according to the program, ferry tickets, excursion to volcanoes, overnight at the hotel
The fourth day of the trip
After breakfast, we will be joined by a naturalist guide from the local national park, together with him we will go by speedboat to the place of our first snorkeling. We do not waste time in vain, we put on masks and follow the guide into the water. We are waiting for a meeting with Galapagos sharks, sea turtles, sea lions and many other representatives of the underwater kingdom.
After lunch, Umedales (Wetlands) is a complex of trails with a total length of 6 kilometers, located in the south of the island of Isabela. It consists entirely of stone arches left after the eruption of the volcano and flooded with water. On these swampy trails you can meet endemic and introduced species of various animals and many varieties of shepherds, finches, stilts and ducks. On the way to the hill of Orchilla, we will meet giant turtles and marine iguanas, and from the observation decks there are impressive landscapes of the bay, volcanoes, nearby islets and rocks.
After walking, you can still swim with a mask in the company of sea turtles, reef sharks, penguins, playful sea lions, giant manta rays and sea rays, although it is better to stay away from the latter. We will return to the hotel later in the evening, put ourselves in order and go to dinner, fortunately, it will not take long to work up a good appetite in the fresh air. After dinner, those who wish can go to the beautiful beach of Playa Puerto to swim a little more in the warm ocean waters.
Included: breakfast, excursion, lunch boxes, overnight at the hotel.
The fifth day of the trip
Today we return to the central island of the Galapagos archipelago — Santa Cruz Island. The ferry crossing will take about 2.5 hours, upon arrival we will bring things to the hotel, take with us bathing accessories, water, lunch boxes and go to explore the island, its beautiful beaches and observe its friendly inhabitants.
A day of relaxation and serenity awaits us. We will take a leisurely stroll along the beautiful avenue of huge prickly pear cacti, through which we will reach one of the most beautiful beaches of the Galapagos, Tortuga Bay. We will bask in the warm sun on the snow-white sand, listen to the rustle of the waves, enjoy the views, important iguanas and funny boobies. We will return to the hotel later in the evening. We will have dinner in the rays of the setting sun, and then, tired and satisfied, we will go to rest.
Included: breakfast, ferry, excursion to the beach, overnight at the hotel
The sixth day of the trip
Traditionally, we get up early, have breakfast, rent rooms, say goodbye to the beautiful Galapagos and go to the airport, today we have to return to the «Mainland».
Upon arrival in Quito, the first thing we do is get our cars, divide into crews and hit the road. We will have a short drive along a very beautiful road to the Kotopakhi National Park and climb 3200 meters. The park was established in 1975 and is located in the provinces of Pichincha, Cotopaxi and Napo, 60 km from Quito. On the territory of the park with an area of more than 33,000 hectares are the volcanoes of Cotopaxi, Ruminyaui, Sincholagua and Lake Limpiopungo. In the daytime, the temperature can reach 18-20 ° C, and in the evening the temperature drops to 3-4 ° C.
Our authentic lodge is located at the very gates of the park, at an altitude of 3400 meters above sea level, overlooking the majestic volcano of the same name. We will check into the hotel, put ourselves in order and go to dinner, and in order to quickly adapt to the highlands, we will brew local tea, its useful properties allow you to relieve symptoms of fatigue and headache. Then we will go to rest, everyone needs a good night’s sleep before the upcoming adventures.
Included: breakfast, transfer, overnight at the hotel
Seventh day of the trip
We can sleep longer today, we deserve it. We will have a leisurely breakfast with a view of the volcano, drink a cup of «magic» tea and … we will drink a second one with pleasure, and then we will go to conquer its peak. We will go up to 4500 by car, and we will walk the rest of the way, then everyone will have to try. The reward for your efforts will be stunning panoramas of the local surroundings and the valley of volcanoes.
We will return to our cozy lodge for lunch. We will celebrate the conquest of the peak, have a rest, and then, if desired, we can take horses and take a ride around the park. The places are so beautiful that I don’t want to leave at all.
In the evening we set off on a further journey, a short transfer — and we are in the city of Latakunga. We will stay at the hotel and go for a walk around the evening city, have dinner in a restaurant, celebrate the conquest of the peak once again and go to rest.
Included: breakfast, entrance tickets to the National Park, ascent to the alpine shelter, overnight at the hotel
The eighth day of the trip
Today you can sleep longer, after yesterday’s ascent of 5000 meters, the body needs a good rest. We will have a leisurely breakfast, take a magic tea in a thermos and go on our way. We have big plans for today!
We get comfortable in the cars and go along the scenic road to the extinct volcano Kilotoa. The point of attraction is the huge lagoon of El Kilotoa with water of a delicate turquoise color. On the way we will look into the specialized Alpaca center. Employees are engaged in the restoration of rare species of animals and plants, as well as optimizing the use of alpacas in this region. To get a closer look at the work of the center and the life of its inhabitants, we will take a walk along a special eco-trail. Along the way, you will meet foxes, hares, guinea pigs, hawks, buzzards and the smallest birds — hummingbirds. After a walk in a local cafe, we will drink a cup of hot chocolate, and then we can arrange alpaca therapy — cuddling with fluffy cute guys, they say that the effect of this is amazing!
Upon arrival to the volcano, the first thing we will go to the observation deck — it offers beautiful views of the lake, the surrounding area and the famous avenue of volcanoes, weather permitting, you can enjoy the formidable beauties of Ilinizas, Antisana, Kotopaxi, Tunguraua, Altar and Chimborazo. If desired, you can go down to the water’s edge or walk around the local Indian community.
After lunch we will go to the cozy town of Banos, nicknamed the city «eternal holiday» because of the endless carnivals and warm atmosphere. We will check into the hotel and immediately go to the observation deck to admire the evening city, views of the Tunguraua volcano and ride a swing, more than a kilometer over the abyss, the sensations are indescribable! Let’s go back to the city, have dinner in a cozy restaurant, have a glass of invigorating / warming and go to rest.
Included: breakfast, entrance tickets to the Alpaca center and park, overnight at the hotel
The ninth day of the journey
Today we will devote the whole day to Banos and its surroundings. The city is located at an altitude of 1826 meters in the picturesque valley of the Pastasa River, framed by steep slopes of mountains and volcanoes, from which numerous waterfalls descend and hot springs beat. We get comfortable in our cars and hit the road along the «Waterfall Road». The road is very picturesque, and almost every turn opens such views that take your breath away, your hands involuntarily reach for the camera to take another series of pictures.
The handsome Agoyan will be the first to appear before us, a short transfer and we will be at the next Cascada Manto de la Novia waterfall (the bride’s Veil), we will stay here for a little longer, those who want to test themselves will be able to ride a zip-line over the cliff next to the thundering waterfall. But this will only be a warm-up before the real wonder of the world, the 90-meter waterfall Pailon Del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron). Hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of water fall into the abyss every second with an incredible roar, forming something unimaginable in energy and beauty. To enhance the experience, we will go behind the waterfall through a special tunnel and understand from our own experience why this waterfall is so called. Slightly stunned by the impressions and noise of the waterfall, we go to the next point of the Cascada El Rocío Machay waterfall, in its waters it will even be possible to swim.
After lunch, we will return to the city, relax, and then go for a walk in the evening city. Along the way, we will choose a cozy restaurant, have dinner and at the same time continue our conversations about the amazing country of Ecuador, its inhabitants and the unusual Inca civilization that once ruled here.
Included: breakfast, entrance tickets to the waterfalls, overnight at the hotel
Tenth day of the trip
Today we have an early rise, have a quick and hearty breakfast, stock up in thermoses with magic tea, take warm clothes and go to the Chimborazo volcano, the highest in Ecuador and one of the highest in South America.
By car we will climb to a height of 4800. First of all, we will go to a cafe to have a cup of tea and at the same time acclimatize to the highlands. After a little rest, we go on foot to the next shelter at an altitude of 5000 meters, along the way we pass the monument to Simon Bolivar. We go slowly, save our strength and save our breath.
The volcano has the highest height of 6310 meters — the summit of Whymper. To conquer it requires preliminary training and special equipment. Our task is to climb up to the Edward Whymper shelter 5000 meters, from where the assault on the summit usually begins. We will arrange a rest here, since there are all conditions for this: warmth, hot tea, chocolate and food. After the rest, the most persistent will be able to overcome another section and climb to a height of 5100 meters to Laguna Condor Cocha. After climbing, we return to our hotel. The evening is free.
Included: breakfast, entrance tickets to the park, toll roads, overnight at the hotel
The eleventh day of the journey
Today we can take our time, have a leisurely breakfast, then pack our things and go on our way to the real Amazon. Let’s go along the «Waterfall Road» already known to us. Along the way, we will make stops in beautiful places to make another photo session for social networks.
On the way we will make a stop for lunch, those who wish will be able to taste local delicacies — live or fried larvae of the weevil beetle, yum-yum, yummy! 🙂 Although, it will be possible to eat traditional dishes. Then a short transfer and you and I will arrive at our destination in the valley of the Napo River and at the same time the Missouaji Nature Reserve. We will check into our chic lodge located in the middle of the jungle, clean ourselves up after the road and go to the ceremony of making real chocolate (with tasting) made from cocoa fruits growing along the banks of the river. Let’s try to cook this wonderful product, and then compare our results with the results of local craftsmen. In the evening, relax in hammocks, while cicadas sing, let’s talk about the Ayahuasca ceremony, shamans and shamanism in South America.
Included: breakfast, chocolate making ceremony, overnight at the hotel
The twelfth day of the journey
After breakfast, we go to the river port, where a motor boat and a local guide will be waiting for us. Today we are going to the most worthless jungle, where there are many, many wild monkeys, and not only monkeys. We will have a great opportunity to observe birds, river turtles, monkeys and other animals
While we are swimming, it will be possible to catch piranhas and other fish with a fishing rod. Upon arrival at the Indian community, we will get acquainted with the locals and their way of life and local culture, then in the company of hunters we will go into the jungle to explore the local flora and fauna. For the Indians, local plants, especially trees, are of great importance, because for many centuries they have been and remain the main suppliers of useful and necessary materials, poisons and medicines. We will find out what the curare vine, balsa and ayawaska are, and why they are important to the Indians, and we will also find palm worms, lemon ants and we will be able to taste this local delicacy.
Indians traditionally hunted monkeys, birds and wild pigs by bakers, but hunting predators or birds of prey is taboo. Hunting and fishing provide the basis of the diet and have, among other things, cultural significance. Of no small importance in the life of the Indians is the shaman’s ritual and the production of curare poison (which paralyzes the respiratory muscles) before hunting or fishing begins. For hunting, blowpipes with a length of 3-4 meters are most often used, this is not considered murder, but, in fact, a kind of «harvesting» from trees. After returning to the community, we will have lunch, and then we will arrange a mock archery competition. The evening is free today, if desired, we will continue our conversations about shamans and shamanism.
Included: breakfast, excursion to the jungle and Indians, overnight at the hotel
The thirteenth day of the journey
Immediately after breakfast we leave our cozy lodge and head north. For today we have a variety of water procedures in our plans. First of all, we will stop at the Umandi cave complex, the tunnels and caves of which stretch for several kilometers, there are even their own underground waterfalls and lakes. According to local legends, a long time ago, these caves were used by shamans to communicate with spirits and obtain sacred knowledge, and they also served as a refuge for the leader of Umandi after the defeat in 1578 by the Spaniards. Inside the caves are very beautiful, various stalactites and stalagmites grow on the ceiling and floor, and swimming in lagoons and waterfalls will give a charge of cheerfulness and good mood for the whole day.
Our further path will pass through the Antisana Nature Reserve and the Sumaco-Napo-Galeras National Park. The places are very beautiful, weather permitting, we can see how the Amazon rainforests stretch to the horizon. In addition to the beauty, you can see an incredible number of different species of birds here. Imagine, only hummingbirds are more than 12 species. We will definitely stop at one of the hummingbird spots to take mind-blowing photos of the smallest birds in the world.
We will have lunch in a town with beautiful views — Baesa and go on our way. A short transfer — and we will arrive in Papayakta, this place is known for the fact that at an altitude of 3300 meters there are thermal springs with clean water, which, thanks to its mineral composition, has excellent healing and relaxing properties. We will check into our luxury hotel and spend the whole evening relaxing in the warm waters and contemplating the beautiful surrounding views.
Included: breakfast, cave entrance tickets, hummingbird spots, overnight at the hotel
The fourteenth day of the journey
Today we can sleep longer, the early birds will have time to soak in the thermal waters, and then we will all go to breakfast together. After breakfast, we check out of the hotel, stock up on tea, get comfortable in the cars and go car-tracking in the Antisama Park, we will admire the views, lagoons, wild animals and a beautiful volcano with a snow-white peak of Antisama.
Antisama Park covers an area of more than 120,000 hectares and is located next to Kayambe-Coca, Sumaco-Napo Galeras Parks and the Colonso Biological Reserve. Its diverse ecosystem includes the glaciers of the Antisana volcano, the vast paramos and the mountain forests of the eastern Andes mountain range. The park is home to 418 species of birds, 73 species of mammals and 61 species of amphibians and reptiles. In the park you can meet spectacled bears, white-tailed and dwarf deer, mountain tapirs, cougars, wolves, Andean condors, Andean gulls and numerous lizards.
After reaching the beautiful lagoon de La Mica, we will go on a short trekking. After admiring the views and photo-hunting, we set off on our further journey. Later in the evening we will arrive in Quito, check into our hotel, put ourselves in order and go for a walk around the evening city. Let’s look into a cozy restaurant to have a fun dinner with delicious dishes from the local cuisine.
Included: breakfast, entrance tickets to the national Park, toll roads, overnight at the hotel
The fifteenth day of the journey
Today, the whole day will be devoted to getting to know Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and its surroundings. Immediately after breakfast, the first thing we do is go to one of the highest cable cars in the world. The ascent lasts 20 minutes and reaches a height of 4053. At the very top there is an observation deck, in clear weather we will be able to see almost the entire city, as well as the volcanoes of Cotopaxi, Antisana, Kayambe and others.
After the viewing room we will go to the wonderful museum of pre-Columbian art Casa del Alabado. His collection includes about 5,000 unique archaeological objects made of ceramics, stone, shells, metal, textiles and wood, dating from 7000 BC to the arrival of the Spaniards around 1530 AD. Let’s talk about the pre-Inca culture, a unique and distinctive cultural phenomenon that was magnificently manifested in South America. We will have lunch at the national seberichia, and for dessert we will try the original ice cream from kuya!
After lunch we will go to the «Middle of the world» (equator line). First, we will visit the official monument erected in memory of the geodetic expedition of 1736, and then we will visit the real equator, whose coordinates were calculated in the 20th century thanks to the GPS positioning system. Then we will visit another wonderful museum, where you can stand with one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere. Let’s look at funny experiments and try to guess the secret of the rotation of water in different directions.
We have specially planned a free evening so that everyone has the opportunity to visit places where it will be especially interesting for him: to walk along the old streets, drink coffee in a cozy cafe, buy souvenirs for relatives and friends, etc. Having walked enough, we will gather in a friendly company in one of the cozy restaurants, we will celebrate the end of our journey, eat baked kuya and wash down everything with strong drinks!
Included: breakfast, excursion to the observation deck; Casa del Alabado Museum and Equator Museum, overnight at the hotel
The sixteenth day of the journey
It’s sad to say, but today is the last day of our adventure. Early morning group transfer to the airport.
That’s it, it’s time to say goodbye. Hugs with w-expeditions employees, mutual tears of sadness, joy and promises of speedy meetings!
Included: breakfast, airport transfer
Included: breakfast, airport transfer
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what else needs to be considered
The majority of expenses for organizing the trip, such as transportation tickets, accommodation, excursions, services of local guides, etc., are handled by us well in advance of the journey. The prepayment or payment made by you is non-refundable in the event of your cancellation. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to refund it.
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