Galapagos and Rainforest holiday

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

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
  • Cachalote – 7 nights
DAY 1: THURSDAY 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: FRIDAY 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: SATURDAY 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: SUNDAY 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: MONDAY 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: TUESDAY 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: WEDNESDAY You’ll be transferred to the airport for the flight to Baltra in the Galapagos. A guide from Cachalote will be waiting to take you to the yacht, where lunch will be served. Your first excursion will be to the highlands to visit the giant tortoise reserve, and then on to the Charles Darwin Research Station where you’ll have an introduction to the history and geology of the islands. You may also have time to visit the breeding centre to see tortoises of all ages from hatchling to adult. Tonight you’ll have a welcome dinner on Cachalote. Full board

DAY 8: THURSDAY From a distance and a certain angle you’ll see why Sombrero Chino is so named, resembling the classic Chinese conical hat. There are walking trails you can follow with your guide, pausing to admire weird and wonderful lava formations, and there’ll be time for swimming and snorkelling. After lunch you’ll land on the red sand of Rabida, where sea lions and pelicans share the beach. You may also spot several species of Darwin’s finches. Full board

iguanaDAY 9: FRIDAY Tintoreras is a small island off the coast of Isabela. The waters here are wonderfully clear and you should get good views of white-tipped reef sharks, turtles and sea lions. One of the beaches is surrounded by mangroves and is an important breeding site for marine iguanas. Later, on Isabela, you’ll visit Sierra Negra, an active volcano with a huge crater about 10kms wide. This is a good place for hiking. Later, time permitting, you’ll visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre, to learn about their work with giant tortoises. Full board

DAY 10: SATURDAY Punta Moreno, on the west coast of Isabela, is an area of tidal rock pools, small lagoons and mangroves, where there are good chances of seeing flamingos, blue herons, pintail ducks and brown pelicans. Later in the day you’ll travel to Elizabeth Bay. This is one of the locations that can only be visited by boat, so you’ll ride in the panga as you watch out for rays, turtles, flightless cormorants, sea lions and penguins. Full board 

flycatcherDAY 11: SUNDAY Urbina Bay is at the base of Alcedo volcano, and is known for the impressive wall of coral which was raised to the surface by volcanic activity in 1954. One path leads inland where tortoises can often be seen, and another heads along the beach for views of seabirds. The afternoon’s destination is Tagus Cove which has been used as an anchorage by pirates and whalers for centuries. Many left their mark in the form of graffiti which now make interesting reading. Whales and dolphins can often be seen offshore, and birdlfe includes flycatchers, yellow warblers, finches and hawks. Full board

DAY 12: MONDAY Punta Espinosa is the sole landing site on Fernandina. You’ll be able to walk round the rocky headland for some close up views of marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Sea lions, flightless cormorants and penguins are found here, too.  In the afternoon you’ll be back on Isabela, at Punta Vicente Roca, a promontory with coves to either side. This site is much used by blue-footed and Nazca boobies for nesting, and there are likely to be sea lions by the shore. Full board

flamingoDAY 13: TUESDAY Landing at Puerto Egas there’s a walking trail along the coast to grottoes frequented by fur seals, who love the shade they provide. Inland you can walk to an abandoned salt mine set in small volcanic cone. Nearby there’s a seasonal lagoon where you may spot flamingos. Later you’ll alight at Bartolome. A walk up the hill will reward you with one of the finest views in the archipelago, as you look down over the beach and Pinnacle Rock flanked by the black lava flows and rocks of Santiago Island. Full board

DAY 14: WEDNESDAY Your last port of call of the cruise is North Seymour, a small island with the largest colony of frigatebirds in the entire Galapagos. Other wildlife here includes blue-footed boobies, land iguanas and sea lions. After the visit you’ll be transferred to the airport in Baltra for the flight back to mainland Ecuador. 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 Chachalote, 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 Cachalote itinerary B for the Galapagos cruise. This means that you need to start this holiday in Quito on a Thursday. Cachalote offers an alternative itinerary, A, 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.

Cachalote

Cachalote

Cachalote is a schooner-rigged motor sailing boat with a maximum capacity of 16 passengers, a friendly crew and relaxed atmosphere. Your cosy cabin is air conditioned and has a private bathroom with hot and cold running water, a shower, hand basin and toilet. Communal areas include the salon with a flatscreen TV and DVD player, the dining room and the bar. Outside there are shaded and open deck areas with cushioned seats and loungers, perfect for whiling away the time between shore excursions and soaking up some sun. The boat’s naturalist guide leads all island activities and will give briefings and presentations on board to help you make the most of your time in this special environment.

walking across lava flow rock

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We know and love the Galapagos Islands, and would be delighted to help you plan your perfect Galapagos holiday. Call 01473 890499 and speak to one of our Galapagos travel specialists today.

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