Your day-by-day itinerary

Old Town in Quito

Days 1-3

¡Hola Quito!

One of the highest capital cities in the world, and almost on the equator, Quito’s location surrounded by mountains is something to behold. The city itself has lots of Latin charm too, with plenty of colonial buildings and impressive cathedrals, as well a youthful edge which you’ll see in the street art and bars. You’ll be picked up from the airport by our local partner, spend a couple of nights in the trendy Mariscal district, and explore the UNESCO-listed Old Town and markets with a local guide. Welcome to Ecuador!

Andean Traditions of Otavalo

Days 3-5

Andean Traditions of Otavalo

Next, you’ll visit the northern highlands of Ecuador, and the colourful town of Otavalo. Most famous for its market where you’ll see the very best of Andean craftsmanship, the area also gives a glimpse into everyday life in the mountains, and the surrounding volcanoes provide a spectacular backdrop. You’ll take a tour around the surrounding indigenous villages during your stay, and will also have plenty of time to explore and enjoy the town independently.

woman with equator sign

You’ll be picked up by a private driver who’ll take you from Otavalo to Mindo. The usual drive time is around 3.5 hours, but you’ll break up the journey with a stop at Mitad del Mundo – a monument and surrounding park which marks the Equator. Admittedly it’s a little touristy, but how often do you get the chance to stand with one foot in each hemisphere? Your driver will wait for you whilst you head into the park to explore and get that classic Equator photo, and there’s also an interesting museum and a place where they’ll demonstrate the different effects of gravity only metres apart.

The entrance fee of around £8 will need to be paid locally.
waterfall in ecuador mindo

Days 5-7

Cloud Forests of Mindo

Mindo is in the heart of the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest – a tranquil, almost mystical, area full of lush green vegetation, waterfalls and hiking trails, as well as a huge variety of butterflies and birds. You’ll be staying in a cosy, rustic bungalow surrounded by tropical gardens. During your stay we’ll arrange a visit to a spectacular butterfly house. There are also plenty of more adventurous activities on offer here like ziplining, along with hours of rural trails to explore.

volcano in cotopaxi

Days 7-8

High times at the Cotopaxi Volcano

You’ll spend the evening in a peaceful hacienda set on a farm in the beautiful Cotopaxi National Park, surrounded by cattle, horses and alpacas grazing on the grassy plains. You first afternoon is free to relax and get used to the altitude, or perhaps take a walk through the countryside, before you head to the volcano cone the following morning. Your driver will wait whilst you take on the 300m scramble up the volcanic ash, to a viewpoint not far from the top where you’ll get a spectacular panorama of the National Park and surrounding volcanoes.

sea lions on the beach at sunset, galapagos

Days 8-13

Galapagos at a glance with Intrepid Travel

After a night in Quito where you’ll meet the rest of your group, you’ll fly to the Galapagos Islands to join your small group sailing trip aboard Le Grande Daphne, operated by our partners at Intrepid. This mini-Galapagos adventure packs a lot into just a few days on the water. You’ll stay 3 nights aboard the Daphne and stop off at 5 unique southern islands, encountering incredible wildlife both above and below the water along the way. It’s an ideal way to see the Galapagos Islands if you’re in a little bit of a hurry.

Want to know more? You can find a detailed description on our Galapagos at a Glance trip page.

Man in glat cap in front of red puzzle piece

Speak to our travel specialist, Rob

"At first I was nervous about heading to the Galapagos as I had built it up so high in my estimations and thought it might not deliver. I shouldn’t have worried, the wildlife encounters were like no other I have experienced - on land and underwater."

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