Luxury Cloudforest & Galapagos Holiday
A fantastic 12 days enjoying historic Quito, amazing wildlife in the cloudforest and the Galapagos Islands.
Luxury Cloudforest & Galapagos Holiday
Prices from: £8,160 pp for 11 nights The capital of Ecuador is a great place to start your trip! Set against a backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery, you will enjoy 2 days exploring this beautiful city, designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1978. The historic centre is filled with colonial charm and boasts an abundance of churches, monasteries and ornate mansions. Your trip continues into the heart of the Ecuadorian cloudforest. Relax and enjoy your time at Mashpi Lodge, located in the reserve of the same name, home to a huge and diverse amount of flora and fauna. Daily nature walks and canoe rides ensure you make the most of your time here. After returning to Quito you will fly to the Galapagos Islands and join your cruise aboard La Pinta, a comfortable motor yacht accommodating up to 48 passengers. These stunning islands offer spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife: giant tortoises, fur seals, sea lions, marine iguanas, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and much more.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Galapagos Islands. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.
- Quito – 2 nights
- Mashpi Lodge – 1 nights
- Quito – 1 night
- La Pinta – 7 nights
DAY 1: SUNDAY
You’ll be met at the airport in Quito by a local rep who will drive you to your hotel, Casa Gangotena, and give you some background information about the city and its history. The rest of the day is yours to do as you please. You may just want to relax after your journey, enjoying a drink on the rooftop terrace and surveying views of the Plaza San Francisco below as you look forward to the holiday ahead.
DAY 2: MONDAY
This morning you’ll have a guided tour of the old and new towns. Quito is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and has many fine buildings including churches and monasteries. Your guide will advise you about local history and culture, giving you a good understanding of the city. You’ll have the afternoon to do as you wish, as you look forward to the rest of your exciting holiday. Breakfast
DAY 3: TUESDAY
Having had an early breakfast you’ll be collected at 8am for the 3 hour drive to Mashpi Lodge. The journey takes you through different Andean landscapes, stopping en-route at Puluahua Crater for some first class views, and the archaeological ruins at Tulipe. After a warm welcome to Mashpi Lodge you’ll be taken to the hummingbird station to see how many of the 19 species recorded here you can spot. Lunch follows, then a chance to follow a walking trail in the cloudforest, leading to a photogenic waterfall. Later you’ll have the chance to experience the forest after dark, when it hums and buzzes with life and you can see dancing fireflies. Full board
DAY 4: WEDNESDAY
Rising early you’ll be greeted with a hot drink on the terrace, an ideal spot for dawn bird watching. After breakfast you’ll walk the short distance to the observation tower. It’s 162 steps to the top, but the views are well worth the effort. Your next adventure is the sky bike. Suspended high above the forest canopy you’ll glide silently over a gorge and river for 20 minutes or so. Lunch awaits back at the lodge, then you’ll be off on the howler monkey trail, looking out for birds as well as monkeys, and learning about the forest flora and fauna, and especially butterflies at the Life Centre. Full board
DAY 5: THURSDAY
You’ll enjoy an early morning bird walk, followed by a hearty breakfast. Later you’ll be led on a trail to the 50 metre high Copal Waterfall, a lovely 2 hour hike giving you time to appreciate the varied vegetation. After lunch at the lodge you’ll be driven back to Quito, for a third night at the lovely Casa Gangotena. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 6: FRIDAY
You’ll be transferred to Quito airport for the morning flight to Baltra in the Galapagos. Here a guide will be waiting to take you to the harbour where you’ll board La Pinta. After a welcome from the captain you’ll sit down to lunch. This afternoon you’ll have your first Galapagos excursion, walking along the coast of North Seymour, enjoying your first glimpses of sea lions and land iguanas. This evening there will be a welcome cocktail party before dinner. Full board
DAY 7: SATURDAY
You’ll have a panga (dinghy) ride at Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela this morning, with time to learn about the island’s geology. Ocean conditions permitting you’ll enjoy some snorkelling. After lunch you’ll set foot on Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island. Bird life is rife and includes hawks, flightless cormorants and penguins. Full board
DAY 8: SUNDAY
You’ll be back at Isabel a today, landing at Urbina Bay, a great spot to see large land iguanas and, if you’re lucky, Galapagos tortoises. In the afternoon you’ll explore Tagus Cove, a site much prized by pirates and whalers in years gone by for its safe anchorage. There should be time for some kayaking or snorkelling before you set out walking uphill to reach Darwin crater lake, a good place for bird watching. Full board
DAY 9: MONDAY
This morning you’ll alight on the red sand of Rabida, where a walk along the beach should reveal marine iguanas, mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches and yellow warblers. The snorkelling here is excellent, and for those who prefer to keep dry, a ride in the glass-bottom boat will give a glimpse into the underwater world. This afternoon you’ll have walk by Cerro Dragon on Santa Cruz. There’s a lagoon here that is frequented by flamingos, and you’ll reach a viewpoint where you can look out over the bay and nearby islands. Full board
DAY 10: TUESDAY
At the Charles Darwin Research Station you’ll have the chance to learn about the vital conservation work being carried out on the islands, and the opportunity to observe giant tortoises. Lunch will be served by the pool at the lovely Finch Bay Hotel. Having rested you’ll set out by vehicle to the highlands of Santa Cruz. If you are very lucky you may see the dazzling vermillion flycatcher here, and for much of the year there are chances to observe giant tortoises in the wild. Full board
DAY 11: WEDNESDAY
Today you’ll explore Floreana. At Post Office Bay you can see the ancient barrel that served as an unofficial postal point for over 2 centuries, and, if you like, you can leave our own postcard and see if there are any you can take home to deliver. A panga ride through the narrow water channels lets you see the island from a different angle. In the afternoon you can snorkel or ride the glass-bottom boat to an extinct cone known as Champion Islet. At Punta Cormorant you’ll see the striking olivine-crystal beach and its contrasting white sand counterpart. Full board
DAY 12: THURSDAY
After breakfast you’ll disembark La Pinta, bidding farewell to the crew, before you travel to the airport in Baltra and your flight back to the mainland. Breakfast
2019 Price from (pp sharing): £8,160 (ex. international flights)
Includes: Transfers, private ground transport on mainland as shown, 11 nights twin share accommodation (3 in hotels, 2 in a cloudforest lodge and 6 on La Pinta cruise ship), guided tour of Quito, activities as described at Mashpi Lodge, shore excursions with a naturalist guide as offered by La Pinta, snorkelling gear, wet suits, soft drinks on the cruise, meals as specified, return flights to the Galapagos Islands from the Ecuadorian mainland.
Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas (not currently required by British passport holders), travel insurance, Galapagos National Park tax currently US$100 payable locally in US$, tips, meals not shown as included, drinks, personal expenses
Getting there: This holiday starts and ends in Quito. Return flight prices from the UK start from around £675. We normally book these for you.
Departure dates: This is a private tailor made trip, but part of the time you will be on a cruise vessel which departs on a certain day of the week. This specific itinerary using La Pinta itinerary ‘A’ needs to start in Quito on a Sunday. La Pinta offers an alternative itinerary, ‘B’, that can also be used with this holiday. Please see the yacht page for more information. NOTE: This holiday can be used in conjunction with any of the cruise vessels we offer. If you use a different yacht, the holiday may begin on a different day of the week, and the price will vary according to the vessel used. Please click here for the full collection of Galapagos yachts.
Casa Gangotena is an imposing 3-storey mansion in Plaza San Francisco. Guest rooms are spacious and benefit from high ceilings, stylish décor and impressive mod cons including air conditioning, TV and Wi-Fi. You’ll have a generously sized modern As a guest you’ll have the run of the house and its many elegant social areas. Meals are taken in the ground floor restaurant, where you’ll have a choice of traditional Ecuadorian dishes and international favourites. Menus are based on seasonal produce and change daily. Chocolate lovers will be in seventh heaven with the hotel’s own range of locally-made chocolate bars and the chance to take part in tasting sessions.
This modern lodge is set on a high plateau in a remote location with superb views of the mountains and cloudforest. En-suite guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, which you can open to hear bird song and the calls of frogs. The decor is deliberately minimalistic so as not to detract from the view, but you’ll have all you need. Meals are prepared using fresh, local ingredients, including herbs and spices from the rainforest. All meals are served in the 2 storey dining room, which also houses the bar. If you want a break from exploring the forest, you can take time out to relax on the large shaded terrace. A second, smaller terrace is the venue for yoga sessions, which you’re welcome to attend. Indoors there are comfy seating areas where you can socialise with other guests.
La Pinta is a luxury yacht accommodating up to 48 passengers in large cabins with floor to ceiling windows, individually controlled air conditioning and heating and en-suite shower rooms. You will have plenty of storage space plus a table and chairs. The main social areas of the yacht have panoramic windows. The bar offers a wide range of drinks and many meals are served al fresco. You’ll find various reference books about the islands in the library. There is ample deck space with both sunny and shaded areas plus a hot tub on the top deck and an observation deck towards the bow.
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We know and love the Galapagos Islands, and would delighted to help you plan your perfect Galapagos holiday. Call 01473 599082 and speak to one of our Galapagos travel specialists today.