Ecuador & Galapagos

Long isolated, its species are so rare that virtually all the reptiles and half the plants and birds are found nowhere else on Earth. Curious mockingbirds peck at your shoe laces, prehistoric land iguanas nibble on cactus while marine iguanas bask on the rocks.

See huge 600 pound tortoises, flocks of pelicans, blue-footed boobies, albatross and frigate birds…the variety is infinite. Snorkel with sea lions, swim with the penguins and be close to birds that just won’t fly away, you are in their world.

The Galapagos - The Enchanted Isles

In an uncommon mix of warm and cold waters a rich marine life thrives with dolphins, fur seals, sea lions and whales frolicking in the crystal clear waters. Each island is so different. There are moon-like landscapes and mist covered volcanic peaks, scrub lands, forests, green, white and red sand beaches and forests of prickly pear cactus that grow taller than a man.

This surreal setting is as mysterious as the creatures that inhabit it. No wonder the Galapagos Islands are called the Enchanted Isles……“everything they say about them is true”, they are just AMAZING!

  • The Cruise - a 7 night / 8 day cruise on board a fully serviced 16 berth motor yacht, with 8 twin cabins, each with private facilities and all meals provided. Cruise from island to island and at least twice a day, go ashore for several hours to study the unique fauna and flora that each island offers. An English speaking naturalist trained at the Darwin Scientific Station accompanies the group, adding greatly to our understanding of this remarkable environment. Our nature experiences are not limited to the land as we have many opportunities to swim and snorkel with the sea lions, penguins, turtles and fish of every size, shape and hue. A Galapagos cruise, is a truly remarkable experience. Think of it as a marine safari!

Main Land Ecuador - An Undiscovered Jewel

One of the most diverse, yet least visited regions in South America, Mainland Ecuador is a delight! An undiscovered jewel.

  • Spend 13 nights of the trip on the Mainland, visiting the tropical coast, the Andean Highlands, the beautiful Central Valley of the Volcanoes and the edge of the lush Amazon Basin.

  • Travel north along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, see Mt Cotopaxi,  one of the world’s highest active volcanoes.

  • Visit Banos, a spa town on the edge of the Amazon Basin. Try on fine Panama hats in colonial Cuenca and ride the spectacular Devil’s Nose Railway, an adventure in itself!

  • Visit colonial Quito, the architecture of the old city is stunning, well deserving of its UNESCO Heritage status. Stand in two hemispheres at the Equatorial Line which traverses the country.

  • Shop for weavings in the wonderful craft markets of Otavalo, for fashionable leather wear in Cotacachi and remarkable wood carvings in San Antonio de Ibarra, you are sure to be tempted! 

  • At the livestock and produce markets of the Central Valle, be fascinated by a way of life and a rural economy that is so different from our own.

  • Together, the contrasting worlds of Mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, make for a most fascinating travel experience.

Draft Itinerary Outline (subject to change) 

Day 1. Auckland to Guayaquil – flight departs late afternoon and arrives early evening. 

Day 2. Guayaquil - city sightseeing. 

Day 3. Galapagos Islands - fly to the islands to begin  the cruise. 

Day 4. Galapagos Islands - Please note, that the cruise itinerary is not  listed as the itineraries vary each year. 

Day 5. Galapagos Islands

Day 6. Galapagos Islands

Day 7. Galapagos Islands

Day 8. Galapagos Islands

Day 9. Galapagos Islands

Day 10. Cuenca - fly back to the Mainland to begin the Land Tour 

Day 11. Cuenca - sightseeing

Day 12. Banos - Devil's Nose Railway. 

Day 13. Banos - visit Puyo on the edge of the Amazon Jungle 

Day 14. Cotopaxi - stay in an historic hacienda 

Day 15. Cotopaxi - visit a rose farm, Latacunga Saturday Market, horse riding (opt)

Day 16. Otavalo 

Day 17. Otavalo - craft town visits and caldera rim walk. 

Day 18. Quito - Equatorial visits 

Day 19. Quito - city sightseeing

Day 20. Quito city sightseeing cont., Folkloric Show. 

Day 21. Flight - depart for New Zealand

Day 22. (cross the date line)

Day 23. Arrive Auckland, very early morning.

Trip Data

Price will include flights Auckland return (flight related taxes not included). A 7night/8day Galapagos cruise (all meals), internal flights between the mainland and the Galapagos, US$110 entry permit, English speaking naturalist/guide;13-nights on Mainland Ecuador, with breakfasts/transport/accommodation/entries and English Speaking guide. The Grassroots leader will accompany both sections.

Next Trip181

Trip Code:  GE 201 

 Date: July 2020 - exact date dependent on cruise dates

Duration: 23 days 

Party: 15 + leader 

Price Guide: 2018 price was  $13,550  -  2020 price subject to current flight, price and currency exchange rates, to be advised

Current Status: Preliminary Registration, $100 refundable