| Guided cultural
and holiday packages
Touring: Ecuador and Galapagos
COMPLETE ECUADOR - 21 OCTOBER - 4 NOVEMBER, 2017
Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America
BUT has the greatest bio-diversity of any country on the
This exciting 15 day tour has more highlights than
Ive had hot dinners! Forward Travel and I have
again created what we think is a very exciting tour.
||7 nights on the
||4 nights in beautiful
||a visit to the Equator
||a visit to the Cloud Forest, an ecological
||4 day train trip from
Quito to Guayaquil including descending the breathtaking
Zig Zag Railway
||the Avenida de los Volcanes
||all breakfasts - 28 meals
TOUR ITINERARY - starts in QUITO
Day 1. 21 Oct QUITO
Welcome to Quito. Our guide will meet us at the airport
and take us our hotel in the vibrant New Town.
Day 2. 22 Oct QUITO AND EQUATOR (B,D)
This morning well be guided through all the delights
of the Worlds first UNESCO World Heritage City,
starting in its oldest Street, La Ronda. Here well
be introduced to the gastronomic and artisanal traditions
of Ecuador, before we explore the historic centre and
some of its impressive churches. The 17C La Compañia
de Jesus (XVII Century) is one of the most beautiful
baroque churches in South America, and the Church of
San Francisco still has some original features from
Well then drive 30km north to where the world
is divided into two. Well stand on the actual
Equator and have some unique equatorial fun trying the
various activities. Try to balance the egg on a nail,
and keep your balance as you walk the line.
Youll also see water going round the drain in
different directions, just metres apart.
This evening well walk the few blocks to Achiote
for an authentic Ecuadorian welcome dinner.
Day 3. 23 Oct - CLOUD FOREST (B)
Well head north west to Mindo, an ecological paradise
where the humidity rising up from the coast forms a
mist that is known as the Ecuador Cloudforest. Its
an ecological paradise where hiking through the forest
lets us enjoy the diverse flora and fauna, with an exceptional
variety of birds. Well also visit an Orchid garden
and chocolate factory before we drive back to Quito.
Day 4. 2 4 Oct. ALL ABOARD TREN CRUCERO (B,L,D) NORTHERN
VILLAGES AND VOLCANOES
We depart Quito early in the morning for a one-and-a-half
drive north. In Otavalo, home of a millinery market,
a carefully restored steam engine awaits us.
At a slow pace we will discover the many wonders hidden
in this part of the country: musicians, painters, weavers
and the skillful woodcarvers who keep the renowned Quito
School style alive. After a tasting of traditional Andean
cuisine and a visit to very special export-class rose
plantation we return to Quito.
Day 5. 25 Oct - AVENUE OF THE VOLCANOES (B,L,D)
We board our train at Quito Chimbacalle station and
begin our journey south along the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
If the weather permits, we can spot up to twenty volcanoes
from the train, most extinct or dormant for centuries.
Here, the Andes range splits into two arms that run
parallel down south. The fertile valley trapped between
these stone walls hosts a treasure trove of biodiversity.
From the comfort of our panoramic cars we watch the
change of vegetation and landscape as we slowly climb
the Andean highlands to Urbina, the highest point on
our journey at 3,575m. In the skirts of mount Chimborazo
we meet the last ice-merchant and learn the story of
his ancestral trade.
Day 6. 26 Oct - MARKETS AND DEVILS NOSE (B,L,D)
We depart Riobamba towards Colta, where the Spanish
conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador.
We cross colourful quinoa fields painted in purples,
yellows and reds, alternating with endemic species of
flora and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains
of ancient cultures.
We visit Guamote market, one of the last indigenous
markets in the Andes, before continuing south to the
mythical Devils Nose pass. A vertiginous descent
of 450m zig zag takes us from the Andean highlands down
towards the coastal plains.
We continue our descent along the narrow Chanchán
river gorge and crossing an impressive cloud forest
Day 7. 27 Oct - LOWLANDS AND GUAYAQUIL (B,L,D)
The landscape changes as the train leaves the tropical
forest. Rice, sugar cane, pineapple and banana plantations
pass before our eyes.
We have lunch at a traditional hacienda, where we can
learn about the growing and harvesting of the best cocoa
bean in the world. Later, the steam engine wends its
way across the fields towards the shores of the Pacific
Ocean and the end of our trip in a hotel in Guayaquil
Day 8. 28 Oct GALAPAGOS HIGHLANDS (B,D)
Transfer to the airport and fly to The Galapagos. Arriving
to Baltra we will take a shuttle across Santa Cruz to
the highlands. The road climbs through the agricultural
zone and into the mist-covered forests. Well call
in to one of the ranches, where we are able to wander
the grounds in search of tortoises. After lunch well
continue to Puerto Ayora for the rest of the afternoon
Day 9. 29 Oct PUERTO AYORA TORTUGA
This morning well take a walk 1hr to Tortuga Bay.
This walk goes through a dry zone with many land birds
to be seen along the way. The first beach is beautiful
and expansive but another 20 minutes will take us to
Playa Mansa ideal for swimming and home
to many marine iguanas.
Take time to explore the town this afternoon. Judy,
on last years tour, rated the fish markets a fantastic
place to visit.
Day 10. 30 oct - FLOREANA SNORKELLING (B/L)
This morning well take our speed boat to Floreana
Island, a 2.5hr journey. This Island was the first island
inhabited and descendants of the original inhabitants
still live here. Well be face to face with history
and legends to give us an understanding of the human
development in the Galapagos Islands. This afternoon
well walk for 30 minutes to la Loberia, a sea
Lion breeding space. Here in the bright turquoise waters,
we can swim with sea lions, marine turtles, manta rays
and a variety of colourful coral fishes. Later well
relax in the lodge, share stories with the locals and
hopefully meet some members of the original families.
Day 11. 31 oct HIGHLANDS PIRATES ISABELA
This morning well take a Chiva- traditional
old fashioned bus to the highlands, learning some of
the islands colourful history. Well hear about
the Wittmers, the Baroness, the Pirates that visited,
and the Enigma of Floreana, involving the
mysterious deaths of several of the Island´s inhabitants,
a riddle that has never been solved. Dave will tell
you about them too as he has long been fascinated with
Well explore pirate caves, visit fresh water springs
that supply the islanders, and see Giant tortoises.
Well take our speed boat the 2.5hrs to Isabela.
Time for a leisurely lunch and relax for the rest of
the day in the pristine beaches of the biggest and one
of the newest Islands.
The afternoon well pick up a bike and ride to
the Wall of tears, a 6km ride, each way.
Half way to the Wall, the trail passes a white sand
beach where the surrounding lagoons are home to all
four species of mangroves found in the Galapagos. The
trail continues through the dry zone until reaching
the Wall. A penal colony existed on Isabela from 1944
to 1959. The Wall of Tears was built by the prisoners
to keep them busy. It stand 5-6 m high, 3 m wide and
is approximately 100 m long. It is a testament to a
period of cruelty and torture. We return for accommodation
in a selected hotel.
Day 12. 01 NOV - VOLCANOES (B,L)
We travel to the base of the Sierra Negra Volcano, and
walk about 2 hours to reach the crater of the volcano.
There we will have a wonderful view into the crater
and with a little bit of luck will be able to see the
sparrow hawk of the Galapagos. We will get to know the
geology of the Sierra Negra Volcano. Most of the part
of this island was formed by lava. We will have a box
lunch and visit el Chico Volcano.
The afternoon visit is to the Tintoreras Islets, located
a short distance from Puerto Villamil. They are home
to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline
waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos
penguins, marine turtles and sea lions. One of its beaches,
surrounded by mangroves is one of the few sites where
marine iguanas can reproduce successfully. Reaching
the Isle of Tintoreras, we will get to know a lot of
these species. Most of the part of this island is formed
Return to the hotel.
Day 13. 02 NOV - FLAMINGO LAGOON - TUNELES (B,L)
Our guide will take us to visit the Flamingos
Lagoon. This is a 2km trail where we will explore the
vegetation and geology of this young Island. Arriving
at the Flamingo lagoon we hope to see Flamingos feeding
in this lake.
This afternoon we will visit a unique place in the islands,
Los Tuneles. We take a 45 minute boat trip
to this treasure hidden from most Galapagos visitors.
The Tunnels were formed millions of years ago when liquid
lava rivers ran across the island reaching the coast.
The cold water froze their superficial layer isolating
the interior while liquid lava kept flowing into the
sea. When the eruption finished, a hollow structure
was formed and its wall later broke allowing water to
come inside and creating a tunnel. Our guide will join
us along hundreds of tunnels while we snorkel and discover
the marine life such as sharks, lobsters, penguins,
sea lions, boobies, marine turtles among other endemic
species from Galapagos. A snack will be served on board
our boat. If lucky enough, we will have the chance to
witness giant manta rays feeding in open waters. Afternoon
return to Isabela for our final night.
Day 14. 03 NOV fly back to Guayaquil (B)
This morning as a final treat well fly back to
Santa Cruz to connect with our flight to Guayaquil where
well be met and taken back to the Wyndham Hotel
for our final night in Ecuador.
Day 15. 04 Nov Onward travel.
Transfer to the airport for our onward journey.
END OF ARRANGEMENTS
Ecuador and Galapagos
Dates and costs
21 October - 4 November, 2017
Cost per person AUD$8,870 twin share
Single supplement AUD$1523