Galapagos and Rainforest holiday

Offering excellent value for money, this holiday combines the twin highlights of the Amazon and Galapagos.

clay lick parrots
inflatable landing craft full of visitors
Napo Wildlife Centre
yacht deck

Galapagos and Rainforest

Prices from: £4,970pp for 13 nights

Prepare to be blown away! This 2-week holiday is made for nature lovers, with a handful of history and culture thrown in for good measure! Quito is the starting point, Ecuador’s capital and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

With your own guided tour we’ve made sure you won’t miss a thing.

Leaving the city behind you’ll soon be heading along the Napo River deep into the Amazon rainforest where a whole host of adventures await. Walking tours, canoe rides and canopy tours reveal the richness of the flora and fauna. You’ll be dazzled.

Next you’ll leave fly out 1,000kms across the ocean to the remote Galapagos Islands, home to hundreds of endemic species. Over the next week you’ll set foot on several different islands with contrasting scenery and more wildlife than you ever imagine. And none of it the least bit bothered by your presence, so you can get up close and personal!

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Summary

  • Quito – 2 nights
  • Sani Lodge – 3 nights
  • Quito – 1 night
  • Beluga – 7 nights
DAY 1: SATURDAY On arrival in Quito you’ll be met by a local representative who will transfer you to your hotel. You’ll have the rest of the day to unwind after your flight. The hotel is an elegant colonial building a short stroll from the main square. You might want to wander down to the bar for a drink and to meet fellow guests, and sample some tasty cuisine in the courtyard restaurant as you settle into holiday mode.

QuitoDAY 2: SUNDAY Your guide will call for you at the hotel this morning, to take you on a tour of Quito, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. You’ll see both old and new cities, taking in such sites as the Plaza de la Independencia – the imposing man square, the cathedral, and El Panecillo, ‘the bread roll’, a hill that offers the best views of Quito. The afternoon is free, so you go exploring on your own, relax at a café or head back to the hotel for some quiet down time. Breakfast 

DAY 3: MONDAY You’ll be transferred to the airport for the 35-minute flight to Coca, where a guide will be waiting to drive you to the Sani Lodge boat at the dock. The journey to the lodge will take about 3 hours, including a short walk through the forest and a dugout canoe ride. Having settled in to your room you’ll have lunch, followed by a short guided walk in the rainforest. You’ll meet other guests over dinner and later there’ll be a chance to take to a canoe to look for caiman after dark. Full board

toucanDAY 4: TUESDAY After breakfast you’ll head off to the observation tower, reached by a short canoe ride and walk. From 36 metres up you’ll get superb views over the treetops and a sense of the vastness of the jungle. You should see birds such as toucans and macaws, howler and squirrel monkeys and sloths. This afternoon you’ll have a choice of hiking trails, with your guide informing you about the flora and fauna of this special environment. Full board

DAY 5: WEDNESDAY Today you’ll take the lodge’s boat along the Napo River to the clay lick in Yasuni National Park. This is the scene of frantic activity each morning as hundreds of parrots and macaws converge, eager to feast on the mineral-rich clay. It’s a feast for the eyes, too, an array of bright colours. Later you’ll be escorted to the Sani Community Centre to meet members of the local Kichwa tribe and get a rare glimpse into their lifestyle. You’ll return to the lodge for dinner. If you wish you can then take a guided night walk in the forest, when insects, spiders and frogs come into their own. Full board

DAY 6: THURSDAY After you’ve had breakfast you’ll set off on the journey back to Coca airport, pausing to take in the action at the parrot clay lick on the way. The short flight will take you back to the capital where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. The afternoon at leisure, so you’ll have time for a spot of souvenir shopping or people watching from a local cafe. Breakfast

tortoiseDAY 7: FRIDAY You’ll be transferred to the airport for the flight to Baltra in the Galapagos. A guide from Beluga will be waiting to take you to the yacht, where lunch will be served. Your first excursion will be to Cerro Dragon on Santa Cruz. This is the scene of a great conservation success story. The endemic land iguanas were under threat of extinction from a newly introduced population of feral dogs. These were successfully eliminated and the land iguanas are now flourishing once again. Look out for them as you accompany the guide on a walk to the top of the hill, from where you have commanding views of the bay. Tonight you’ll have a welcome dinner on Beluga. Full board

DAY 8: SATURDAY Santa Fe is your first stop today, with its white sandy beach and shallow turquoise waters. As you walk you’ll notice the giant prickly pear cacti, and beneath you are likely to spot land iguanas,  much lighter coloured than those elsewhere, feeding on fallen pads. Galapagos mockingbird, magnificent frigate bird, brown pelican and several species of Darwin’s finch are common sights here. In the afternoon you head for South Plaza, a small island home to a huge range of flora including the tall tree-like Opuntia cactus and sesuvium, a succulent, which covers large areas of the ground. The main wildlife attractions here are sea lions, swallow tailed gulls, red billed tropic birds and Audubon’s shearwaters. Full board

iguanaDAY 9: SUNDAY Today you’ll be exploring San Cristobal, beginning at Cerro Brujo, just off one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos islands. The eroded hills are rich in birdlife, and the clear water is excellent for snorkelling with turtles and rays. Kicker Rock off the coast is a dramatic rock formation which rises vertically out of deep oceans, which are rich in marine life. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit El Junco Lagoon. This is the only freshwater lake in the archipelago, and attracts a great variety of birds, including 7 different species of Darwin finches. Alternatively you may visit Cerro Tijeretas, home to colonies of nesting fraigatebirds. Full board

DAY 10: MONDAY You land at Gardner Bay on Espanola, a lovely stretch of white sand where sea lions often line the shore. Another big draw is the presence of Espanola mockingbirds, which are likely to approach people quite closely. There should be time for some snorkelling and the chance to observe shoals of fish, turtles and reef sharks. After lunch you visit Punta Suarez, where between May and December the waved albatross can be seen performing its mating dance. You can also hope to see marine iguanas, 2 species of boobies, Darwin’s finches and Galapagos hawks as you follow the 2 kilometres of nature trails. Full board 

flycatcherDAY 11: TUESDAY Today you’re back on Santa Cruz. Puerto Ayora is the main and largest town in the Galapagos Islands. This is where most islanders live, and the site of the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here you’l find information about the geology, history and conservation projects being undertaken on the islands. There is a chance to visit the Tortoise Raising Centre where giant tortoises are prepared for a return to their natural habitat. You then tour the Highlands with its gigantic lava tubes, magma chambers and a giant tortoise reserve. Full board

DAY 12: WEDNESDAY Santiago is your focus today. There are fur seal grottoes here, natural pools surrounded by black lava, where both sea lions and fur seals can be found playing in the water or basking on the rocks. There are also some interesting geological features, such as lava tubes and eroded tuff cliffs. You may see vermilion flycatcher, Galapagos hawk and Galapagos dove. Sullivan Bay is famous for its exotic lava formations, while the small island of Sombrero Chino just off the coast and named for its resemblance to a Chinese Hat, offers the opportunity to snorkel with penguins and white tipped reef sharks. Full board

flamingoDAY 13: THURSDAY Landing at Darwin Bay on Genovesa, there’s no shortage of wildlife to see. Look out for large colonies of red-footed boobies, as well as both common and great frigatebirds, Nazca booby and swallow-tailed gulls. After lunch you step ashore at Prince Phillip’s Steps, named in honour of the visit of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. This landing site is particularly well worth the effort with dense lava fields and abundant wildlife including the elusive short eared owl. There are two kilometres of trails on offer with plenty to see en route. Full board

DAY 14: FRIDAY Black Turtle Bay on Santa Cruz is your last stop. This is not a landing site, and the bay, a turtle breeding site, needs protecting so be the panga travels at a gentle place, if possible with the engines turned off, drifting along in near silence. This is often rewarded with the sight of turtles coming up for air or schools of rays swimming in unison. Afterwards you will be transferred back to the airport in time for your mid-morning flight back to the mainland. Breakfast

 

 

 

Price from (pp sharing): £4,970 (ex. international flights)

Includes: Transfers, ground transport, 13 night twin-share accommodation (3 in hotels, 3 in rainforest lodge and 7 on Cachalote, meals as shown, half-day guided tour of Quito, guides in the Ecuadorian Amazon, guide on the cruise, excursions as offered by Beluga, Quito-Coca-Quito flights, return flights to Baltra (Galapagos) from the Ecuadorian mainland.

Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas (not currently required by British passport holders), travel insurance, meals not shown as included, drinks, Galapagos National Park tax currently US$100 payable locally in US$, tips, items of a personal nature.

Getting there: This tour starts and ends in Quito. Flight prices from the UK start from around £675. We normally book these for you.

Departure dates: We have based this itinerary on the Beluga itinerary A for the Galapagos cruise. This means that you need to start this holiday in Quito on a Saturday. Beluga offers an alternative itinerary, B, which could be used in place of the one above. See the yacht page for details.

NOTE: If you want to use a different cruise vessel this can be arranged too, which may alter the start day and will affect the overall price. Please click here to see our full range of yachts.   Please click here for the full collection of Galapagos yachts.

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz

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.

Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge is run by the indigenous Sani Isla people and is dedicated to environmental conservation and community development. It is in a prime location in the Amazon amidst a network of streams and lagoons which is home to a wide range of wildlife. You’ll be staying in a cosy cabin built from wood and thatch, with an en-suite bathroom and a private deck or balcony. You can enjoy the company of fellow guests or leaf through a book in the open air lounge, which has fine views of the lagoon. Meals are served in the dining room and are timed to fit around the various activities on offer. You can choose between local and international dishes, so there is something to suit everyone. The bar is open till 11pm each day and is a great place to socialise and reflect on the day’s events and look forward to those to come.

Beluga

Beluga

The Beluga is an elegant, comfortable motor yacht recently fully refurbished. She accommodates a maximum of 16 guests in 8 double cabins. All have a private bathroom with hot water shower. The yacht is fully air-conditioned. Beluga has lots of inside and outside space and different deck areas for relaxing, including a sundeck and a shaded seating area on the upper deck. There is a pleasant lounge, with large panoramic windows and a separate dining room. The food is excellent, and the yacht crew offer a great service..

walking across lava flow rock

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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.