The Galapagos Islands & Ecuador

10 days Land & Cruise, Nature & Wildlife
Ecuador puts new meaning behind the saying, “good things come in small packages.” In terms of flora, fauna and opportunities for viewing unique local wildlife, this South American country runs the gamut. Journey to Quito for a taste of Ecuadorean culture and Spanish colonial history. Then, island hop through the Galápagos, where you’ll move from mangrove swamps to lava flows to sunny shorelines, encountering scores of exotic creatures along the way. End in the indigenous city of Otavalo, famous for its colorful market.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 18 - 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets, unpaved trails and sandy paths, with some hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 4 nights in handpicked hotels & 4 nights aboard the M/V Galápagos Legend

  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 4 dinners on board the ship, 2 three-course dinners with beer or wine on land

  • Private deluxe motor coach, a round-trip flight between Quito and the Galapagos Islands

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Select entrance fees

Map of Galapagos and Ecuador

Quito 3 nights Hotel info

Day 1: Flight & late-night arrival in Quito

After your flight, arrive late this evening in Quito and settle into your hotel.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Quito

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Quito before meeting your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

• Enjoy a walking tour of Old Town, passing by the Legislative Palace, Independence Square and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito

• Enter La Compañia, the city’s Baroque church, to view its gold leaf interior

• Step inside the 16th-century Monastery of San Francisco 

• Drive up Cerro Panecillo hill for views of the city and surrounding volcanoes

Day 3: Free day in Quito

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Quito or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Mindo Cloud forest $119pp* Details

Travel to the heart of the Ecuadorian cloud forest, a unique and serene natural setting. Look out for exotic wildlife and flowers as you explore the biodiversity of the region on a series of moderately-paced guided hikes. There are hundreds of bird species in the Mindo Cloud Forest—keep an eye out for hummingbirds on feeders as well as colorful butterflies. You'll also visit the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve to see gardens full of a wide variety of unique orchids, ferns and other plants.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Galapagos Islands 4 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Galápagos Cruise

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, fly to the small island of Baltra to board your cruise. 

• Boat aross the narrow channel separating Baltra from Santa Cruz Island

• Cruise to Black Turtle Cove, where you may see turtles, rays and sharks swimming among the mangroves

Day 5: Santiago Island & Rabida Island

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a wet landing, you’ll enjoy the southeastern portion of Santiago Island before continuing to Rabida Island.

• Spend the morning exploring the extensive lava flows, swimming and snorkeling in Sullivan Bay and spotting flamingos, sea turtles, sea lions and migratory birds

• Transfer to Rabida Island, where the volcanic geology creates red sand beaches

• Take a dinghy ride along the cliffs to snorkel and observe nesting seabirds

Day 6: Isabela Island

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a wet landing, begin your exploration of Isabela Island, the largest in the Galápagos archipelago. 

• Snorkel with the sea turtles that swim just off the shore of Urbina Bay

• See the giant tortoises that live on the slopes of the nearby Alcedo Volcano

• Tour Tagus Cove and see the blue-footed boobies that nest there

• Go on a dinghy ride and enjoy the option of deep sea snorkeling

Day 7: Espinosa Point & Vicente Roca Point

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s dry landing is at Espinosa Point, formed by lava flows over thousands of years. 

• View the area’s marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs and the fearless Galápagos hawk

• Take a dinghy ride to Vicente Roca Point and the Bolivar Channel, where you can snorkel with sea lions, sea turtles and penguins

• View dolphins and whales that are attracted to the Bolivar Channel by the cold waters of the Cromwell Current (seasonal, June to September)

Otavalo 1 night Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Otavalo via Quito

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Disembark the ship to further explore Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos before making your way to Otavalo, a market town in the Andes Mountains.

• Journey to the Santa Cruz highlands, northwest of Puerto Ayora, to visit a giant tortoise nature reserve

• Walk through the humid forest landscape to see these slow-moving reptiles in action

• Return to Baltra and board your flight back to Quito on the mainland

• On the way to Otavalo, stop to see the Quitsato Sundial, a monument located on the equator, where you’ll view a demonstration of equatorial effects

Later, enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers.

Day 9: Otavalo market visit & departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

Visit the Otavalo market to browse the stalls, shop for indigenous crafts and attend a local weaving demonstration. Later, transfer to the airport for a late-night or early-morning flight or continue your adventure in Peru.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 10: Arrival in the U.S.

Arrive home.

Please note: Due to varying flight schedules, some travelers may depart on the morning of day 10, arriving home later that evening.

Add Peru Starting from $1,799 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Experience Peru in all its diversity. Wander the colonial cities that display the legacy of Spanish conquistadors, explore the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco and visit the lost city of Machu Picchu.

Quito Region 1 night Hotel info

Day 9: Otavalo market visit & transfer to Quito region

  Included meals: Breakfast

After your visit to Otavalo market, transfer to Rincon de Puembo near the Quito airport and enjoy free time to relax before your early morning flight.

Cuzco 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Fly from Quito to Cuzco

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly from Quito to Cuzco and spend free time getting acclimatized to the city’s high elevation.

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Cuzco

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Join a local guide on today’s tour of Cuzco, the ancient Incan capital.

• Admire the old Spanish cathedral, La Merced Church, Plaza de Armas and Convent of Santo Domingo

• Travel to three Incan archaeological sites near Cuzco, including Sacsayhuaman, Cuzco’s most impressive Incan ruins

Machu Picchu 1 night Hotel info

Day 12: Aguas Calientes via the Sacred Valley

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, you’ll transfer to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. First, make a stop in the Sacred Valley to see the sights.

• Peruse the colorful stalls of the wide-open Pisac Market, where you’ll find local fare and traditional crafts on display

• Continue to the ancient Ollantaytambo ruins to explore still-standing Incan homes

• Board a train to Aguas Calientes

Cuzco 1 night Hotel info

Day 13: Return to Cuzco for a sightseeing tour of Machu Picchu

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

On today’s guided tour, you’ll uncover the lost city of Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites on the entire South American continent. 

• Tour the ruins of the ceremonial center, cultivation terraces and guard house

• Visit Funeral Rock, the Main Temple, Temple of the Three Windows, Chamber of Ornaments, the Sacred Plaza, the Intihuatana (Intiwatana) Stone, the Temple of the Sun, the Rock Quarry, the Ritual Fountains and the Condor Temple

• Enjoy a scenic train ride back to Cuzco for the night

Lima 1 night Hotel info

Day 14: Sightseeing tour of Lima

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly back to Lima, where you’ll set out on a guided tour highlighting the capital city’s modern and colonial quarters.

• Visit Miraflores and the Parque del Amor

• Stop in the San Isidro District to visit Huaca Huallamarca temple and its museum

• View Plaza Mayor and the Municipal Palace in Lima’s historic center

• Enter the Cathedral of Lima and the Monastery of San Francisco, where you can descend to the catacombs

Day 15: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free morning in Lima, then relax in a dayroom before boarding your overnight flight home.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 16: Arrival in the U.S.

Arrive home.

How's the weather?

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Temperature Precipitation
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About the cruise ship

  • An expedition ship that offers a luxurious sailing experience, the M/V Galápagos Legend brings a bit of elegance to adventure cruising. Onboard experts, trained at the Darwin Center, help you get an intimate yet environmentally safe look at the islands. Download a detailed summary of the ship’s amenities and available cabins [PDF].

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Ecuador (and Peru on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • Upon arrival in Peru on the tour extension, you will receive an Andean Immigration card that you will need to present when visiting Machu Picchu.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets, unpaved trails and sandy paths, with some hills at high altitudes
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of small boats.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.        

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in and depart from Quito (or Lima on the tour extension). A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • Round-trip flights between Quito and the Galápagos Islands are included in the price of your tour. (The tour extension also includes flights from Quito to Lima, Lima to Cuzco and back to Lima).
  • A four-night Galápagos Islands cruise and other boat rides are also included in the price of your tour.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
  • Contact your airline for detailed information regarding baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
  • On the tour extension in Peru, you will need a small overnight bag (such as your carry-on bag) for your stay in Machu Picchu, as most luggage will need to be stored in Cuzco.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. Comfortable, casual clothing, a lightweight jacket and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are a must for sightseeing.
  • Waterproof shoes or sandals, a swimsuit, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended for daily activities.
  • Binoculars are handy for a closer look at local wildlife and scenery.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).        

Health

  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • Please be aware that you will be traveling at altitudes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. These high altitudes can sometimes cause difficulties for travelers who have heart problems or respiratory ailments. If you suffer from any of these conditions, please speak to your healthcare provider regarding any potential health risks.
  • Even healthy travelers may sometimes experience altitude sickness, a temporary condition featuring symptoms of headache, fatigue, nausea and light-headedness. Until your body acclimates to the higher altitudes, we suggest that you stay hydrated and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Take proper care with sun exposure, as the sun can be especially strong in some of the regions on this tour.
  • Seasickness while on board the cruise ship is uncommon, but medication will be available if needed. If you are particularly prone to seasickness you may want to bring your own medication and take it at least 24 hours before the cruise starts.
  • Drink bottled water only. Refrain from ingesting tap water, including when brushing your teeth. Ice on board the cruise ship is made with purified water.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they’re cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.

Cuisine

  • Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, reflecting the availability of ingredients across the country. At higher elevations, meat-based dishes are more popular, while along the coast you’ll find seafood in abundance. Traditionally, meals are served with soup and rice, and many feature starches like potatoes and yucca root. Bananas and plantains are also a major Ecuadorian export, appearing in many recipes. You might try patacones, a fritter made with mashed plantains, which is a popular Ecuadorean side.
  • On the tour extension, Peruvian cuisine reflects both the country’s indigenous cultures as well as European colonial and Pacific Rim influences. Staples include grains such as quinoa, maize and rice, as well as beans, potatoes and meat. Ceviche, traditionally raw sea bass marinated with lime and chilies, is a national dish. Adventurous eaters may want to try cuy, or roasted guinea pig that’s cooked over an open fire. You can also raise a toast with Peru’s famous pisco, the delicious (and sour) white-grape brandy.

Electricity & air conditioning

  • Ecuador operates on 120 volts and uses Types A or B plugs with two flat pins or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively.
  • The cruise ship operates on 110 / 220 volts. Both European and American outlets are available on the vessel. The frequency is 50 Hz.
  • On the tour extension, Peru operates on 220 volts and uses Types A or C plugs with two flat pins or two round pins, respectively.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.  
  • The strength of the air conditioning in some hotels in this region may not be as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. In more remote locations, internet access may be limited and is not guaranteed.
  • Wi-Fi connection is accessible when anchoring in main ports. Satellite phone service is offered while at sea.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • Mainland Ecuador (and Peru on the tour extension) is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the same as Eastern Standard Time (EST). Ecuador and Peru do not observe Daylight Saving Time.
  • The Galápagos Islands are six hours behind GMT, but your cruise ship will operate on Ecuador’s mainland time.
  • From March through November, when it’s noon in New York City, it’s noon in Ecuador and Lima on the tour extension. From April through October, when it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am in Ecuador and 11am in Lima.  

Currency

  • You will use the U.S. dollar in Ecuador (plus the Peruvian sol in Peru on the tour extension).
  • Please note that U.S. bills in denominations higher than $20 may not be accepted in some areas of Ecuador.
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
  • On your cruise ship, you may open an account at reception to pay for on-board expenses with a credit card; Visa, Mastercard, American Express and U.S. dollars are accepted. You can select your payment method upon arrival.  

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver. These tips can only be paid in cash.
  • On your cruise, tipping your waiter, busser and cabin steward at the end of the voyage is customary, if you’re pleased with the service. We recommend the equivalent or $20USD/CAD per traveler per day, to be divided among the crew on the cruise ship.
  • Separate tips are recommended for the naturalist guides. We recommend the equivalent or $8USD/CAD per person per day.
  • All gratuities on board the cruise can be handled by cash or by credit card.

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

Shore excursions

  • While on the ship, you'll have the opportunity to follow expert naturalists to discover the unique beauty of the Galápagos Islands. These knowledgeable guides lead excursions ranging from snorkeling to bird-watching, giving you the chance to get closer to the incredible animals that make the Galápagos their home.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 10/17/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: ON

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Two World Assets

Should have had non-stop flights-- long layovers for nothing. ALL tips should be included in price (which could be increased to cover) -- too much hassle to find change in local currency, figure out how much etc. Machu & Galapagos well worth seeing-- the rest not so much-- spend more time on those sites, especially Galapagos.

 

Dear John, Regarding flights, there are actually no non-stop routings available from your place of origin to Quito. In terms of the tips, we appreciate your suggestion to include this amount in your total tour package. We will be sure to share this with our team for consideration in the future. Tipping is a personal and subjective matter, which is why we currently leave it to the individual travelers to decide for themselves. However, we understand the inconvenience it may cause. We appreciate your feedback that visiting Machu Picchu and experiencing the Galapagos stood out as being the highlights for your trip, and we thank you for your feedback to spend more time at these sites. We will be sure to communicate this suggestion to our Product Development team. Thank you for sharing your experience. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | November 07, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 8/22/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: SC

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

More of an adventure than a vacation

This is a tour I would recommend to younger individuals or people that are used to a lot of activity or seniors in better than average shape. The getting off of a boat and getting on a dinky is not the easiest thing I every did. At least 5 people from our group feel into the dinky. The wet water landings is another adventure that is very rough since the sand is very loose and you feel as if you are sinking in quicksand. The walking up 120 steps and then a step hill was trouble for just about everyone in our group and walking on lava rocks I recommend a walking stick that the ship gives out. Its a great place to visit but think twice before you book. i

 

Dear Arthur, We regret that you found some components of this tour challenging, such as getting in and out of the dinghy. As a good portion of this tour operates on the water, it is important to be physically able to get in and out of boats and to walk on sandy, sometimes wet terrain. A walking stick is a great suggestion for anyone who would like assistance navigating the natural landscape. Thank you for providing valuable feedback on the activity level on this tour. We look forward to welcoming you on your next tour in April 2017!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 27, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 8/22/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: AZ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Good trip with areas for improvement

Overall the trip was very good; especially, the Galapagos and visit to the equator. The best benefit is realized if you take advantage of the snorkeling: 2 times per day. Day trip to the rain forest and butterfly museum was probably not worth it. But, not sure how you would spend your time in Quito otherwise. Probably could have eliminated this day from the tour. Some improvement needed on the exit process: the last day we were dropped off at the airport 6 hours before our flight time and the airline would not take our luggage until 3 hours prior to flight time.

 

Hi Richard! We are glad you had a good time on tour. We’re also pleased that you took advantage of the fabulous snorkeling opportunities! We regret that there were a couple aspects of the tour that you feel could be improved, and we will be sure to share them with our Product Development team for evaluation. Regarding your airport transfer, Go Ahead provides airport transfers as a convenience and added benefit to those who book their air travel through us. Whenever possible, our Travel team tries to schedule the group’s flights around the same time so that we are able to consolidate the airport transfer times. That said, it isn’t always possible to schedule everyone’s flights at exactly the same time. It all depends on the airlines and flight destination, which is why some travelers will have more time before their flight than others. Regardless, we recommend getting to the airport at least three hours prior to departure. Again, we’re glad that you overall you enjoyed your tour, and we hope to welcome you on another soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 02, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/13/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fabulous Trip!!

This trip was well worth every penny. Every day, including the days spent on mainland Equador, were action packed with wonderful experiences. I would not change a thing. Our tour director, Rodrigo, was the best. He was warm and friendly (always referring to us as "my friends"), very knowledgeable about so many topics (geography, economy, history, ecology, environment, etc.) and so very efficient and organized. He took care of every detail without a hitch. I would recommend the optional excursion to The Mindo Cloud Forest. Obviously the highlight of the trip was being on The Galapagos Islands. The cruise ship was lovely, great food, wonderful staff - everything to make our trip comfortable and enjoyable. I felt very welcomed and well taken care of....the staff were gracious and went above and beyond to offer us extras - like welcome aboard mimosas and gourmet snacks when we came in from snorkeling. The naturalists from the national park service who conducted all our excursions and gave nature talks were fabulous. I learned so much - hiking the volcanic "prehistoric" terrain, observing so many animal species up close (land & marine iguanas, tortoises, sea lions, many birds, snorkeling with penguins and sea turtles, observing the night sky with full moon and Southern Cross constellation. Then back to the mainland with a wonderful overnight in an historic hacienda, visit to Otavalo, the Equator, etc. GoAhead certainly made the best use of every minute on this trip. This was a trip of a lifetime for me and I feel truly blessed. It is my first experience with GoAhead....and I will be back.

 

Hi Donna! We’re delighted that you feel this tour provides an excellent value! We’re also glad to learn that you wouldn’t change anything about the itinerary. We appreciate your feedback on your Tour Director and the various sights and activities you experienced. We can understand why the Galapagos Islands were the highlight for you, and we’re glad that you felt the crew did a great job and made you feel welcome. We’re especially glad to hear that you came away from this tour feeling more informed about the natural environment, as all of our tours have an educational emphasis. We thank you for traveling with Go Ahead, and we look forward to your next trip!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | October 31, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/30/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: WA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Galapagos and more!

My husband and I recently returned from this tour and we loved it! It was my husband's idea to add this tour at the end of the Grand Tour of South America and we are so glad that we did. The Galapagos Islands were the high point for him and I marveled at the natural wonders too. Beginning the trip with two days in Quito was great because it allowed everyone in the small group (16) to acclimate and get to know each other a bit. The days and nights on the ship were comfortable and filled with new, fantastic experiences. The zodiac rides and island exploring that made up our days were led by a knowledgeable and highly competent guide - Alejandro - and we learned so much from him! The snorkeling was great - clear water and many fish and other sea life - even though we didn't attempt the deep water type. The meals were appetizing and filling and we loved the served dinners. All the ship's staff were friendly and eager to please. When we returned to the mainland, we went to Otavalo, an indigenous area north of Quito. The hacienda that we stayed in could have been a destination in itself, with lovely gardens, spacious rooms with lots of historical significance and many nearby activities. The market was delightful and we all bought many souvenirs. Rodrigo was a wonderful guide and tried to hard to please us and accommodate our every request. I definitely recommend this trip to anyone wishing to visit the Galapagos!

 

Hi Beth! What a great idea to add this tour after your tour of South America! The Galapagos Islands are certainly a magical place, and we’re so glad you were able to experience it. It sounds like you enjoyed many unique activities and saw lots of endemic wildlife. It’s great to know that you enjoyed the food and that the ship’s staff provided good service. We’re happy your Tour Director enhanced your experience on tour and was able to accommodate your requests. Thank you for recommending this tour, and thank you for your wonderful review.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 25, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 2/22/2016

Number of Past Tours: 22

From: NH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Opporunity for Wildlife Sightings

On our first day we explored Quito's historic district. I selected the option for the Mindo Cloud Forest.. Highly recommend this option.....Then our four night cruise. Small 100 passenger ship. Very comfortable. We had two daily excursions to the different islands. Beautiful birds, seals, iguanas, penguins, lizards, crabs, large turtles..... At the end of our cruise, we traveled north of Quito to Otavalo. All along the way, we had incredible scenery. Our lodging was on a lovely hacienda. Ecuadorian musicians entertained us. Delicious food. But, the most important part of our trip was our outstanding Tour Director, Eduardo. He was kind, patient, interesting, well organized and so very helpful. I hope that others are fortunate to have Eduardo as their TD.

 

Hi Kathy! Thank you for your wonderful review. We're so glad you had a fantastic time on tour! It sounds like you were able to soak up the beautiful natural scenery and spot lots of unique wildlife. We're happy you decided to include the Mindo Cloud Forest optional, and we're pleased you would recommend it. It also thrills us to hear that your Tour Director was the most important part of your trip! We will definitely communicate your feedback to his supervisor. Again, thank you for sharing your experience and we look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 25, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 1/11/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Eduardo....The Most Awesome Tour Director

We had a wonderful time on our trip! It was one of those trips of a life time! We had Eduardo as our Tour Guide. He was Amazing and each of us in our group had our own experiences where he went Above and Beyond to either fix something, show us something or make sure that our trip was above and beyond our expectations. I could have spent more time in the Galapagos Islands...but all and all it was a wonderful trip. The snorkeling and hiking was great. Our hotels and meals were All very exceptional as well. The Galapagos Legend (ship) was very nice and the food was incredible. We continued on to do the Machu Picchu Extension which was quite an experience, too.

1 / 5
 

Hi Gloria! We’re thrilled you felt this was a “trip of a lifetime.” We think so, too! It sounds like your Tour Director had a very positive impact on your experience by going above and beyond for your group. Our Tour Directors are very passionate and caring people, and we are fortunate to work with them. We’re glad you found your expedition ship to be nice and provide delicious meals. We’re also happy you were able to do the Machu Picchu extension. Machu Picchu is surely not to be missed. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | February 18, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 1/11/2016

Number of Past Tours: 9

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great experience !!!

Our recent trip to Equador and Galápagos was beyond great. Our tour guide Eduardo was extremely knowledgable about the culture, history, and geography of his country, and very happy to share his knowledge. He had the itinerary at a very comfortable pace so we could take everything in without a feeling of being rushed. All the accommodations were first class. On the Galápagos leg he arranged to have the best for his group, wait staff on the ship, island naturalist, and bus drivers. All the individuals worked very hard to make sure we were well informed and taken care of in every way. My only negative comment would be that 5 days is only scratching the surface of the islands. I would highly recommend this trip.

 

Hi Peter! Thank you for your fantastic review! We’re so glad you felt taken care of and that you would recommend this trip. It’s also great to hear you found your accommodations to be ‘first class’ and your Tour Director to be so knowledgeable. We work hard to design itineraries with paces that suit our travelers, and we are glad to learn that you were comfortable with how this tour was planned. Go Ahead has a worldwide network of professionals whose job it is to provide the best possible experience for our travelers. We are happy to learn that you enjoyed our partners who operated the cruise ship. We completely agree that five days is only scratching the surface of the islands, so we have happily introduced an entirely new and exciting itinerary that is a few days longer, has a different land component, and touches on different islands. Please feel free to contact our expert team of Tour Consultants with any questions at 1(800) 590 1170. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, and we hope to welcome you on another tour soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 26, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 8/10/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing adventurous trip!

Once again, Go Ahead had everything in place for this trip & I had a fabulous time. Our tour director was Fabricio & he was great! Getting into Quito & looking for a stranger holding the Go Ahead sign & then 10 days later we are saying goodby to a friend who we had a great adventure with. He was fun to travel with and gave us so much information about the areas we were visiting. The day trip to Otavalo was very scenic & we all found items to bring home from the market place. I can't say enough good things about our time on the MV Galapagos Legend. All the trips to the individual islands were amazing. While I did all the trips it was nice that the crew let people know if it might be more difficult for walking etc as there were some that were a bit tougher & some passengers elected to stay on board. One thing that I didn't realize ahead of time was how many opportunities for snorkeling there would be. I went 4 times and kayaking once too. The ship was great. Lots of comfy seats for sitting out on the deck. The food was good with plenty of options. & snacks every time you came back from a boat ride. The only downside was how loud the engines were. It took a couple of nights to get used to it. Our naturalist was Alejandro & there was no question he could not answer. Those guides are so patient with all the repetitive (& sometimes stupid) questions that are asked of them. Our last full day we were supposed to go to Cotopaxi, but since it had erupted a few days prior we had to come up with a plan B. So we went to Mindo instead. Most of us went to the butterfly farm there but 2 people opted for some river tubing that was offered. Then we went to a local bean to bar chocolate "factory" for a tour & sampling. Lunch at another beautiful hacienda where there were lots of humming birds. Just one note to travelers.....don't be expecting to sleep in on this trip......lots of early wake up calls. But so worth it. If they offered this to different islands in the Galapagos I would go again! Worth every penny!

1 / 6

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/29/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

From Creationism to Natural Selection

This tour will amaze and please all who are interested in religion and science! From touring the catholic churches in Quito to swimming with sea turtles in The Galapagos, Go Ahead has out done themselves! I have gained a great amount of respect for the efforts made by the Ecuadorian people to preserve the Galapagos Islands. Our itinerary was superb. Our tour guides were very sympathetic and caring to and for our needs. I think everyone should make this trip a high priority. Lastly, this is my second tour with Go Ahead and it amazes me that all of my fellow travelers have been experienced world travelers too.

1 / 1

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/15/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Absolutely Gorgeous

The scenery in both Quito and Galapagos is absolutely stunning. In Quito, Cotopaxi, and the Andes are amazing, and in Galapagos we saw erupting volcanoes, solid lava flows, beautiful islands, and turquoise waters. In Quito, the culture is extraordinary. It's also a great place to practice Spanish. In the market Otavalo, you can get something priced 25 dollars for only 12! In Galapagos, there is no place where you don't see wildlife. When we first got off the bus, I immediately spotted pelicans, a blue-footed booby, a sea lion, a marine iguana, and multiple crabs. While relaxing on the boat, I saw sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions swimming right next to us! The sky was also filled with frigate birds, who perched on the top of the boat. The Giant Tortoise Reserve has tortoises that are bigger than I am! Our tour guide even wore a shell!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/15/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A wonderful experience

Let's start pre-trip. My roommate had to cancel about two weeks before the trip. I felt that Go Ahead went out of their way to work with me to change to a "single" status room (I still don't understand the logic behind that since the trip was paid for and my friend was getting reimbursed through insurance). Bottom line, they got everything taken care of in a timely, polite, manner. There were a group of five of us that went. At different points, we tried to get information on the baggage weights for the flight to Baltra and the ship. We got conflicting responses - 30 pounds versus 44 pounds. That's a big difference when you are trying to figure out how to pack. I suggest having this information in print and sent as part of the tour package. As for the trip itself, it was incredible. I loved Fabricio (guide in Ecaudor) and Edwin (guide in Peru). I felt they were both very knowledgable, tried to give us information about their countries, were available and capable of handling anything. Having guides like this made the trip go from "good" to "fabulous". I liked our accomodations and transportation. I loved the meals that were provided and felt that an effort was made to introduce us to native dishes. The ship was great and I felt like everything was so well-organized. The naturalist (Valerio) was superb. It is great to see all of the animals, but I also wanted to be educated and I feel that I got that. Peru and Macchu Pichu were also great experiences. The mountains were beautiful and the people were wonderful. Edwin did a good job of reading the group and offered us extra excursions the really added to the trip. A special thanks to all who were on this tour, because you were considerate, on time and fun. We were never waiting for people and I loved the respect that was shown for the flora and fauna in the Galapagos. If you are considering this trip, I will warn you, there were a lot of very early mornings, a lot of altitude changes, a lot of travel, a lot of walking/hiking, and a lot of swimming in the islands. If you have concerns about your physical abilities, you may want to ask a few quesitons before you sign up for the trip. My travel group was lucky in that everyone handled all of this well and there were no serious health problems. However, this might not be for everyone.

1 / 1

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/15/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fabulous Fabricio

This tour covered two locations-Ecuador and the Galapagus Islands. While in Ecuador, Fabricio not only provided insightful information on the locations on the tour agenda but also was constantly providing information about the country and the wonderful people who live there. He also managed to always be available to help with suggestions for dining and shopping and any other needs for our "free time". Fabricio is conscientious and sincere and witty and fun. He created a magical trip filled with wonderful memories. While in the Islands, Fabricio's Tour Director capacity was replaced with a Naturalist. Although no longer guiding, he was always available to help with the various questions or issues that popped up. He truly became a friend during the cruise.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/15/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great wildlife

The Galapagos Islands portion of this tour was fantastic - the snorkling was second to none! We saw penguins, turtles, sea lions, rays in multitude. The guides were funny and fact filled and the boat was top notch. The crew and food were terrific. The land animals were enormous and plentiful and we had a very educational trip. I wore a patch and no one got sea sick. The quinto portion was alright too-although it is a stretch to say we visited a musical instrument factory on our Otavalo trip. I was expecting more of a luthier. Our Go ahead guide was alright -he seemed to know all about the history of Quinto and Equador. Hotel was very nice.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 5/18/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Not enough information

While we generally enjoyed the tour, detailed information/itinerary about the Galapagos portion of the tour was not provided until we arrived in Ecuador, Including the 4 am departure for the Galapagos , the heavy emphasis on water sports and deep sea snorkeling when my husband doesn't swim, and the real lack of alternatives on the ship (other than relatively basic lectures). Had we known all this ahead of time we might not have gone. The Galapagos boat was a it long in the tooth which we expected, but the beds were uncomfortable, rooms frigid, and the food was pretty bad. The final tour was a waste of time. Our naturalist, who was good during our previous tours, decided he was done working, after getting his tips, and left us to tromp around the muddy turtle preserve by ourselves while he stayed behind for a smoke. None of the other naturalists allowed us to join their groups. Really made us angry. Eduardo our tour director was great, more of an educator, which was a refreshing change of pace. Side trip to Octavalo was great and lunch at the hacienda was superb, best of the trip. Quito hotel was fine. overall if more information provided ahead of time such as flight details, and Galapagos itinerary we might have made a different decision on booking the tour

 

Thank you for taking the time to provide valuable feedback about your tour, The Galapagos Islands & Ecuador. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time with your Tour Director Eduardo! Here at Go Ahead Tours we pride ourselves on working with Tour Directors who will provide unique and memorable tour experiences for our travelers. We have contacted our Operations Team with your feedback about the naturalists that were part of your tour. Our Operations Team will be following up with your naturalists to ensure that they are meeting the high quality standards that we have set at Go Ahead Tours. We are glad to hear that overall you enjoyed the Ecuador portion of your tour and especially the optional excursion to Otavalo. We do hope that you will give us the opportunity to welcome you back on tour with us again. If you have any questions or wish to discuss anything further, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-597-0350. Thank you!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 05, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/20/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best tour ever

a real life experience, great tour directors, respectful travel companions

 

Hi Judith! Thank you for your review. We hope to welcome you on tour again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 04, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 3/23/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MD

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A wonderful, educational tour Ecuador Galapogoes islands.

The tour was extremely smooth, from the booking to having my questions answered promptly to the flights, meeting our tour director Rodrigo and fellow travelers and returning home. Thank you, Go Ahead tours. We left Baltimore,MD , had a wait in Atlanta, Ga and flew into Quito, Ecuador arriving late in the evening where we where met by our Tour Director, Rodrigo and fellow travelers. We boarded a comfortable bus for our hour plus ride to our hotel in Quito. Our rooms were already assigned to us and we received the schedule for breakfast time and a tour of the old city of Quito the next day. The breakfast was buffet style and delicious. we boarded the bus and did a wonderful tour of the city. Rodrigo is a native of the area and told us of the history of Ecuador and the buildings and areas we visited. We also visited an area that the equator crossed, everything was amazing and i had one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere. Amazing. Next we had the bus ride back to the Quito airport for a 600 mile flight to the Galapagos islands. We boarded "zenith boats" to our home for the next 5 days. The ship was the LEGEND, a 300 foot long vessel that was very comfortable and smooth sailing. Our cabin was very adequate for the 2 of us, Everything on the ship was clean and comfortable. The crew and the staff were very helpful and attentive to our needs. The food was excellent. 3 meals a day. the ships "passengers' were divided into groups (such as albatross , boobies, dolphins etc) to make it smother to board the zeniths when we went did our daily visits to the islands and their marvelous wild life.Each group had its own naturalist to lead the group. The naturalists really knew what that were talking about. We were up close to the hugh Turtles, sea turtles, pelicans, blue footed boobies, sea lions, penguins thousands of iguanas, lizards, colorful crabs and meany other birds. We learned much as we walked across the lava fields. Valero was our (I was in the boobies group) very knowledgeable. The water was choppy, but ship was smooth. A footnote: Before the trip i checked weather.com for Quito and the Galapagos weather. For the time we would be there, every day was predicted to have 80 to 100% rain and most showed thundershowers. The fact is 1 night it rained in the Galapagos and the last day we were in Quito There was a brief downpour. Do It.

1 / 2

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Tour

Very much enjoyed the unusual animals. Wish we had opted for a longer visit to the islands. There is so much to see and every island is different.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 2/23/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: ON

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Galapagos - A Dream Come True

Overall this tour was fantastic. The Galapagos was unbelievable. The Cruise ship and local guides were excellent. Our concerns lay with the tour director and the bus. The tour director did not demonstrate the same level of knowledge, experience or understanding of travelling as did the other tour directors that we have had with GoAhead. For example: he encouraged the group to drink the water (did not provide bottled water on the bus) and to eat the local fruits and vegetables. However, the most disappointing aspect of the tour was the bus. It was not air conditioned, it did not have tinted windows and it did not have curtains on the windows! It was hot, hot, hot! Moreover, the bus was badly in need of new shocks or a suspension overhaul. It definitely was not a "deluxe" motor coach! I got so bus sick (as it also always smelled of diesel) that we had to cancel the last excursion (to the volcanoes)! But...the blue footed boobies and snorkelling with sea turtles and penguins made up for these two deficiencies.

 

Cynthia, Thank you for sharing your review and for discussing your feedback with us further this week. We are thrilled to hear you had a good time on tour! We have already shared your feedback regarding the bus with our Operations Department, and they are addressing these concerns with the agent in Ecuador. We apologize for this unpleasant experience. Also, Go Ahead Tours always recommends that our customers in Peru & Ecuador refrain from drinking tap water (except while on board the Galapagos cruise). While most locals find the water perfectly harmless to drink, for the safety of our customers we always recommend drinking bottled water when possible. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We will be sure that our tour directors are explaining this information in a clear and consistent manor in the future. Thank you for traveling with Go Ahead, and we hope to see you back on tour soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 19, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 11/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Turtles, Sea Lions, Boobies. Oh my

Galapagos super-exceded my expectations. Being from the islands itself, Ramone shared his expertice of the flora nad fauna, Antonio, the best panga driver, kept us safe and secure. Nature at its best. I swam/snorkled with sea lions, turtles, penguins and different kinds of fish. Thank you Rodrigo for your expert "directing". You made the trip special.

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