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, scrublands, 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 onboard 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 14  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! 

  • Be fascinated by the way of life and rural economy of the beautiful Central Valle, 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 after midnight. 

Day 2. Guayaquil -  relaxing morning, short  afternoon sightseeing 

Day 3. Guayaquil - city sightseeing. 

Day 4. Galapagos Islands - morning flight to the islands to begin the cruise. 

Day 5. Galapagos Islands - Please note, that the cruise itinerary is not listed as the itineraries vary each year. 

Day 6. Galapagos Islands

Day 7. Galapagos Islands

Day 8. Galapagos Islands

Day 9. Galapagos Islands

Day 10. Galapagos Islands

Day 11. Cuenca -  a morning flight back to the Mainland to begin the Land Tour 

Day 12. Cuenca - city sightseeing

Day 13. Alausi - visit the Ingapirca Inca Ruins 

Day 14. Banos - Ride the  Devil's Nose Railway. 

Day 15. Banos - visit Puyo on the edge of the Amazon Jungle

Day 16. Cotopaxi - stay in an historic hacienda, visit a rose farm Market and local markets

Day 17. Otavalo 

Day 18. Otavalo - craft town visits and caldera rim walk. 

Day 19. Quito - Equatorial visits 

Day 20. Quito - city sightseeing

Day 21. Quito city sightseeing continued

Day 22. Flight - depart for New Zealand

Day 23. (cross the dateline)

Day 24. 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$130 entry permit, English speaking naturalist/guide;14-nights in Mainland Ecuador, with breakfasts/transport/accommodation/entries and English Speaking guide. The Grassroots leader will accompany both sections.

Trip Code:  GE 221 

 Projected Date: mid-July 2022 

Duration: 24 days  

Party: 15 + leader 

Price guide:  2020 price was $14,985  -  2022 price to be confirmed.  

Current Status: 2020 trip cancelled due to Covid-19,  2022 departure has places available. Please advise if interested.