This itinerary is designed to offer extraordinary experiences in a country which not only offers an astonishingly diverse range of scenery and cityscapes, but which is also the world’s foremost destination for wildlife viewing. Seeing it in style means that in addition to privileged access to a magnificent cloud forest reserve, you will have chance to see the Galapagos Islands in the most life-enhancing way imaginable.


  • Explore the cloud forest from above the tree canopy.
  • Sail the Galapagos archipelago aboard the beautiful MV La Pinta.
  • Visit the world-famous market at Otavalo.
per person

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Destination Expert Charlie Lockwood


Latin America Specialist


  1. Arrive
  2. Day 1 Arrive: Quito

    Arrival into Quito, where you will stay at Casa Gangotena. Overlooking the Plaza San Francisco, this elegant mansion is an impressive boutique hotel with a history that stretches back to the time of the Incas.

    Overnight: Casa Gangotena

  3. Day 2 Quito

    Ecuador’s capital city sits in the foothills of the Andes. Built on the site of an ancient Incan city, Quito has one the best-preserved colonial centres in South America and is a UNESCO World Heritage City. You will also have the chance to try some of the country’s most delicious chocolate (Spanish explorers loved the cacao from Ecuador so much they called it the ‘Food of the Gods’).

    Overnight: Casa Gangotena

  4. Day 3 Chocó Reserve, Mashpi Lodge

    Travel out to the heart of the cloud forest where you will stay at Mashpi Lodge, a strikingly contemporary lodge set on a plateau in a mountain forest only accessible to guests.

    Overnight: Mashpi Lodge

  5. Day 4 Chocó Reserve, Mashpi Lodge

    Today’s highlights will combine bird-watching with a visit to the Butterfly Life Centre. In the evening, you will have the opportunity to join a night walk through the forest: turn off your head torches to observe fireflies and native frogs and experience the fleeting passage of bats.

    Overnight: Mashpi Lodge

  6. Day 5 Chocó Reserve, Mashpi Lodge

    An unforgettable day during which you will encounter the forest from above the treeline via a 30m observation tower. Mashpi’s ‘sky bike’ also allows you to pedal along a cable between the trees, crossing a ravine and a river.

    Overnight: Mashpi Lodge

  7. Day 6 Chocó Reserve to Quito

    After an early start to view the forest’s early birds, with an optional two-hour hike to the beautiful Copal waterfall, you will enjoy a gourmet lunch before heading back to Quito and your hotel on a majestic plaza.

    Overnight: Casa Gangotena

  8. Day 7 Quito to Otavalo

    Following the spine of the Andes north, arrive in the colourful town of Otavalo. Here, the local Quichua indigenous culture is not only palpable, but in the ascendency. The town´s weekly market dates from pre-Incan times and is famous throughout Ecuador for its brightly coloured textiles, still made locally. You’ll be staying at Hacienda Zuleta, a working ranch which was once the home of a former Ecuadorian president.

    Overnight: Hacienda Zuleta

  9. Day 8 Otavalo

    Today is at leisure to explore the Hacienda and the surrounding areas. Optional activities include walking, riding, bird-watching and mountain-biking. If you are lucky, you may spot the Andean condor, a national symbol of Ecuador and the subject of much local folklore.

    Overnight: Hacienda Zuleta

  10. Day 9 Otavalo to Quito

    Drive south to Quito on the Pan-American Highway which crosses the Equator. Explore Quito at your own pace this afternoon. Don’t miss dining at the Casa Gangotena’s in house restaurant - the ‘locro de papa’ (a hearty traditional Ecuadorian soup) is highly recommended.

    Overnight: Casa Gangotena

  11. Day 10 Quito to the Galápagos Islands

    Catch an early flight to the Galapagos Islands where you will meet your fellow passengers and expedition crew and transfer to your vessel, the MV La Pinta. The MV La Pinta is a sophisticated expedition vessel, combining comfort with the adventure. During your trip you will have access to a wide variety of aquatic activities, including snorkelling, kayaking and trips on a glass-bottom boat.

    Overnight: MV La Pinta

  12. Day 11 - 13 Galápagos Islands

    Spend the next three full days exploring the Galápagos Islands, the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. You’ll be stopping off to visit remote and ancient lava fields to see prehistoric reptiles such as the Galapagos tortoise and land and marine iguanas. Forget any TV documentaries you might have seen: this trip brings natural science to life in the most life-enhancing, unforgettable way imaginable.

    Overnight: MV La Pinta

  13. Day 14 Galapagos to Guayaquil

    Catch a flight back to the mainland. Spend one night in the port city of Guayaquil at the Hotel del Parque, where you can visit the hotel’s own chapel, recently reconstructed to retain the original Gothic, Renaissance and Mediterranean features.

    Overnight: Hotel del Parque

  14. Day 15 Depart Guayaquil

    Today you will bid farewell to this spectacular Andean country, as you board your flight home.

  15. Depart


  • Transfers and tours in Quito, Otavalo and Guayaquil by English speaking private guide with vehicle.
  • Shared tours and transfers operated by Mashpi Lodge and in the Galapagos.
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary.
  • Daily breakfast in hotels on the mainland and all meals on board the ship and at Mashpi Lodge.
  • Flights to and from the Galápagos.
  • Ingala card and Galapagos entrance fee.


  • International flights.
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, gratuities (discretionary).
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Travel insurance or visa fees.

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