Ecuador Cloudforest & Galapagos Cruise holiday
Combine the canopies of the cloudforest with a Galapagos cruise on board the elegant tall ship, Mary Anne.
Cloudforest & Galapagos
13 days from £5,115 pp
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.
- Quito – 2 nights
- Bellavista – 2 nights
- Quito – 1 night
- Mary Anne – 7 nights
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DAY 1: MONDAY
You’ll be met at Quito airport and driven to your hotel. Patio Andaluz is in the centre of the old town, with a lovely courtyard restaurant, popular Cava Bar and cosy lounge. The day has been left free, so you can chose whether you want to do some local exploring or simply unwind at the hotel after your journey.
DAY 2: TUESDAY
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: WEDNESDAY
This morning you’ll leave Quito for the 2 hour drive to Bellavista Cloudforest Lodge, travelling along a mountain road and enjoying fine views all the way. You’ll be welcomed to the lodge and shown to your room. After lunch you can choose whether to explore on your own following a waymarked trail, or join a guide for an organised hike. Either way this will be your first glimpse of the cloudforest and its wildlife. Full board
DAY 4: THURSDAY
Rising early you’ll join a guide for a dawn walk spotting a variety of birds at one of their busiest times of day. You’ll then enjoy breakfast at the lodge. Suitably refreshed you’ll set out with the guide on a walk to secluded waterfall or follow a self-guided trail of your choice, later returning for lunch. In the afternoon there’ll be more chances to discover the riches of the cloudforest and enjoy the company of your knowledgeable guide. Full board
DAY 5: FRIDAY
You’ll have another chance to sport birds at dawn or watch hummingbirds at the feeders, and a final cloudforest excursion this morning. Bellavista is one of Ecuador’s best birding locations and both the variety and sheer numbers on show cannot fail to impress. Having had lunch you’ll be collected and driven back to your hotel in Quito, to prepare for the next phase of your holiday. Breakfast, lunch
DAY 6: SATURDAY
This morning you’ll be transferred to the airport for the 4 hour flight to Baltra in the Galapagos. A guide from Mary Anne will be waiting to greet you and escort you to the yacht, arriving in time for lunch. Mary Anne will set sail for Black Turtle Cove where you’ll set off in a panga (dinghy) to explore the mangroves, looking for herons, pelicans, rays and turtles. Tonight you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and a chance to get to know your crew. Full board
DAY 7: SUNDAY
This morning you’ll have a wet landing at Darwin Bay on Genovesa where your guide will lead you past a tidal lagoon teeming with marine birds, and on to a viewpoint overlooking the bay. The trail continues giving you the chance to spot red-footed boobies, the smallest of the 3 booby species in the islands. Back in the bay there may be time for swimming. In the afternoon you’ll climb Prince Philip’s Steps up a steep cliff for views of nesting birds. Full board
DAY 8: MONDAY
Bartolome summit looks out over one of the most photographed scenes in the archipelago, the perfect bay and Pinnacle Rock, a large volcanic cone. You’ll want your camera to hand to capture this famous view. You’ll return to Mary Anne for lunch, later visiting Sullivan Bay on Santiago, to walk across a relatively youthful lava flow, just 100 years old. With its strange, almost liquid, patterns, this is another great photo opportunity. Full board
DAY 9: TUESDAY
Today you’ll land on the red sand beach at Rabida, where sea lions often bask on the shore. A trail leads to a saltwater lagoon oft visited by flamingos. There are good chances to see Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers and Galapagos mockingbirds, too. After lunch you’ll step ashore at Cerro Dragon on Santa Cruz, where there is a thriving population of land iguanas, saved by the efforts of the Charles Darwin Research Station after facing extinction by feral dogs. Full board
DAY 10: WEDNESDAY
Bachas Beach consists of 2 beaches. The longer has the remains of 2 American World War 2 barges, after which the beaches are named. The other is backed by a saltwater lagoon and is a good place to watch herons, flamingos, lava gulls and black neck stilts. You might also see a few marine iguanas sunning themselves. Later you’ll be taken out in the panga to look for sea lions and turtles at Punta Carrion, followed by time for snorkelling. Full board
DAY 11: THURSDAY
This morning’s destination is South Plaza, a tiny island with lush vegetation that attracts a range of sea birds and land iguanas, and you’re likely to see sea lions on the beach. In the afternoon the focus will shift to Santa Fe, another small island a little further south, where there are both land and marine iguanas, and walking trails you can follow among the large prickly pear cacti. Full board
DAY 12: FRIDAY
Espanola is the most southerly of the islands. In the morning you’ll land at Punta Suarez for a nature walk revealing now familiar sea lions and marine iguanas. Birds include doves, finches, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, as well as the Espanola mockingbird, the sole carnivorous mockingbird in the archipelago. This afternoon will find you on Gardner Bay, a beautiful arc of white sand, where you can go swimming. Back on board you’ll have a farewell dinner this evening. Full board
DAY 13: SATURDAY
On your final morning in the Galapagos you’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station for a chance to see young giant tortoises from various islands being cared for at the breeding centre. Watching these creatures up close is a wonderful way to conclude your time in these unique islands. Later you’ll be transferred by bus to Baltra airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland. Breakfast
2020 Price from (pp sharing): £5,115 (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.
Patio Andaluz is in attractive colonial building dating back to the 16th century and has been beautifully converted to provide elegant guest accommodation. The architecture features arches, alcoves, balconies and patios and the hotel is filled with antique furniture and has beautiful polished wooden floors. The en-suite guest rooms are tastefully decorated in keeping with the colonial style of the building. After a busy day sightseeing in Quito, return to Patio Andaluz and wind down with a glass of cava in the cosy bar, browse through a book in the library or enjoy some tasty tapas. Later you can have a delicious dinner in the El Rincon de Cantuna restaurant in the main courtyard, which specialises in Ecuadorian and Spanish food and has an extensive wine list.
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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.