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1 / 69

The Galápagos Islands & Ecuador

10 days Land & Cruise Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
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.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

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, 1 three-course dinner with beer or wine on land

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Select entrance fees

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 

• Visit the Equatorial Monument, where you can stand with one foot on either side of the equator

Day 3: Free day in Quito

Included meals: Breakfast

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

Optional Excursion - Otavalo & Hacienda $95*pp Details

Travel through the colorful Guayllabamba and Cayambe valleys, stopping along the way to sample some of the region’s celebrated fruit and to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes and San Pablo Lake. Then, make your way through the Andes to Otavalo, a traditional market town known for its knitted and leather goods. After perusing the vibrant market and visiting a local musical instrument factory, settle in for a lunch at a historic colonial-era hacienda. Incredible views of lush gardens, winding trails and the property’s roaming llamas make an idyllic backdrop for your meal.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Galápagos 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)

Quito 1 night Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Quito

Included meals: Breakfast

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

Day 9: Free day in Quito & departure

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Quito or add an excursion. Continue your adventure in Peru, or transfer to the airport for a late-night or early-morning flight.

Optional Excursion - Volcanic Landscapes: Cotopaxi National Park $95*pp Details

Take a light hike through Cotopaxi National Park, home to the autonymous snow-covered volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Keep an eye out for the park’s many bird species and abundant plant life as you make your way around the beautiful landscapes of the Andes. In the distance, you can see views of Limpiopungo Lake and various volcanoes. After your hike, enjoy lunch at Hacienda La Cienega. Please note: Layered clothing and comfortable shoes are recommended for this excursion.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

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 & Machu Picchu $1,299 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.

Lima 1 night Hotel info

Day 9: Fly from Quito to Lima

Included meals: Breakfast

After a free day in Quito, board your flight to Lima, where you’ll spend the evening.

Cuzco 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Free day in Cuzco

Included meals: Breakfast

Fly from Lima to Cuzco and spend the afternoon as you please.

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: 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.

Included meals: Breakfast

Arrive home.

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

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Select entrance fees

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 

• Take the Teleferico cable car up the east side of the Pichincha volcano 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 - Volcanic Landscapes: Cotopaxi National Park $95*pp Details

Take a light hike through Cotopaxi National Park, home to the autonymous snow-covered volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Keep an eye out for the park’s many bird species and abundant plant life as you make your way around the beautiful landscapes of the Andes. In the distance, you can see views of Limpiopungo Lake and various volcanoes. After your hike, enjoy lunch at Hacienda La Cienega. Please note: Layered clothing and comfortable shoes are recommended for this excursion.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Galápagos 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

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. Then, relax in your day room before transferring 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 & Machu Picchu $1,299 pp

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.

Lima 1 night Hotel info

Day 9: Fly from Quito to Lima

Included meals: Breakfast

After a free day in Quito, board your flight to Lima, where you’ll spend the evening.

Cuzco 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Free day in Cuzco

Included meals: Breakfast

Fly from Lima to Cuzco and spend the afternoon as you please.

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: 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
  • Lima, Peru
  • Cusco, Peru
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

In order to enter Ecuador (and Peru on the extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

About your Galápagos cruise

Your Galápagos cruise offers the latest in cruise comfort while also providing an intimate and environmentally safe look at the Galápagos Islands. The yacht features an outdoor pool, observation decks, solarium, library, bar and large restaurant. Choose from a wide variety of activities in your free time—everything from snorkeling to stargazing. Please note: Due to the ship’s itinerary, the order of days in Quito before and after the cruise could change.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & packing tips

For your Galápagos cruise, casual dress is appropriate. Waterproof shoes or sandals, a bathing suit, sunscreen and insect repellent are essential for your visit to the Galápagos. On land, you’ll want to dress in light, loose-fitting clothing suitable for exploring the sights and pack a sun hat, sunglasses, sturdy pair of walking shoes and rain gear. If you plan to visit an elegant restaurant, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that it’s preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

Travelers to Ecuador should be comfortable in high-altitude conditions. Elevation throughout the country varies widely. The altitude of Quito is close to 10,000 feet (Cuzco on extension is 11,000 feet). Travelers, especially those with heart or lung conditions, should consult with their personal healthcare providers before undertaking high-altitude travel.

Important health tips

In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:

  • Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • Bring a small first-aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.

Cuisine

Food in Ecuador relies heavily on locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with regional seafood and game. You’re likely to find local dishes featuring potatoes, yucca root, bananas and plantains. Seafood, including bass, trout and catfish, is also prevalent and served grilled, fried or marinated as ceviche. Ecuador’s tropical fruit is delicious—specialties include melons, papayas, passion fruit and tamarinds.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Quito (or Lima on the extension). The tour also includes a flight to and from the Galápagos Islands and the four-night island cruise. The extension includes internal flights from Quito to Cuzco and from Cuzco to Lima. Most destinations on tour are walkable, including Quito, although local buses are available as well.

Electricity

Ecuador uses 110 volts, the same as in the U.S.

Time zones

Ecuador falls on a similar time zone to Eastern Standard Time, except it does not observe daylight saving time. Ecuador has the same time as New York from October to April, and is one hour behind New York from April to October.

Currency

The U.S. dollar (USD) is the currency you’ll use in Ecuador. On land, you’ll find that ATMS are widely available. During your cruise, any onboard charges can be billed to your credit card. Please note that U.S. bank notes with denominations higher than $20 may not be accepted in some areas of Ecuador. If you’re joining the tour extension to Peru, you’ll also use the Peruvian sol. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Peru, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Please Note: If you will be exchanging U.S. dollar bills in Peru, we advise that they be in new condition, as most vendors will not accept bills if they are wrinkled or dirty.

Tipping

On your cruise, tipping your waiter, busser and cabin steward is customary if you’re pleased with the service. Gratuities are generally given at the end of the voyage. We recommend $15 per traveler per day, to be divided among your waiter, busser and cabin steward. Separate tips are recommended for the naturalist guides. We recommend $8 per person per day. All cruise tipping can be handled by cash or by credit card. At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director.

How's the weather?

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Lima, Peru
  • Cusco, Peru
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

In order to enter Ecuador (and Peru on the extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

About your Galápagos cruise

Your Galápagos cruise offers the latest in cruise comfort while also providing an intimate and environmentally safe look at the Galápagos Islands. The yacht features an outdoor pool, observation decks, solarium, library, bar and large restaurant. Choose from a wide variety of activities in your free time—everything from snorkeling to stargazing. Please note: Due to the ship’s itinerary, the order of days in Quito before and after the cruise could change.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & packing tips

For your Galápagos cruise, casual dress is appropriate. Waterproof shoes or sandals, a bathing suit, sunscreen and insect repellent are essential for your visit to the Galápagos. On land, you’ll want to dress in light, loose-fitting clothing suitable for exploring the sights and pack a sun hat, sunglasses, sturdy pair of walking shoes and rain gear. If you plan to visit an elegant restaurant, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that it’s preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

Travelers to Ecuador should be comfortable in high-altitude conditions. Elevation throughout the country varies widely. The altitude of Quito is close to 10,000 feet (Cuzco on extension is 11,000 feet). Travelers, especially those with heart or lung conditions, should consult with their personal healthcare providers before undertaking high-altitude travel.

Important health tips

In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:

  • Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • Bring a small first-aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.

Cuisine

Food in Ecuador relies heavily on locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with regional seafood and game. You’re likely to find local dishes featuring potatoes, yucca root, bananas and plantains. Seafood, including bass, trout and catfish, is also prevalent and served grilled, fried or marinated as ceviche. Ecuador’s tropical fruit is delicious—specialties include melons, papayas, passion fruit and tamarinds.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Quito (or Lima on the extension). The tour also includes a flight to and from the Galápagos Islands and the four-night island cruise. The extension includes internal flights from Quito to Cuzco and from Cuzco to Lima. Most destinations on tour are walkable, including Quito, although local buses are available as well.

Electricity

Ecuador uses 110 volts, the same as in the U.S.

Time zones

Ecuador falls on a similar time zone to Eastern Standard Time, except it does not observe daylight saving time. Ecuador has the same time as New York from October to April, and is one hour behind New York from April to October.

Currency

The U.S. dollar (USD) is the currency you’ll use in Ecuador. On land, you’ll find that ATMS are widely available. During your cruise, any onboard charges can be billed to your credit card. Please note that U.S. bank notes with denominations higher than $20 may not be accepted in some areas of Ecuador. If you’re joining the tour extension to Peru, you’ll also use the Peruvian sol. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Peru, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Please Note: If you will be exchanging U.S. dollar bills in Peru, we advise that they be in new condition, as most vendors will not accept bills if they are wrinkled or dirty.

Tipping

On your cruise, tipping your waiter, busser and cabin steward is customary if you’re pleased with the service. Gratuities are generally given at the end of the voyage. We recommend $15 per traveler per day, to be divided among your waiter, busser and cabin steward. Separate tips are recommended for the naturalist guides. We recommend $8 per person per day. All cruise tipping can be handled by cash or by credit card. At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director.

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.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/6/2014

Number of Past Tours: 18

From: AL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Wonderful

Loved the tour

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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.

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5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/15/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Trip of a lifetime!

I know, all trips are trips of a lifetime. This one was exceptional. I am practically speechless about the Galapagos. Ecuador is the country of my heart, and tour director JuanCarlos was spectacular. Peru, not so much. Machu Picchu was crowded and touristy, and Lima was too "haves vs havenots." However, I wouldn't give back the experience to save my life.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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.

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4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 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.

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