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Diversity & Endemism: The natural regions of Ecuador 15D/14N - 15 Days

This wildlife tour takes you to a number of the national parks in Ecuador. The itinerary goes to the four regions of Ecuador in 15 days exploring different areas and ecosystems to try to find some of the most amazing animals living in this country. We will visit the Galapagos Islands, the Pacific Coast, the Cloud Forests on the western slopes of the Andes and the Amazon Rainforest. All these regions have many different ecosystems with a great variety of wildlife and endemism, so get your camera and binoculars and get started!

This wildlife tour takes you to a number of the national parks in Ecuador. The itinerary goes to the four regions of Ecuador in 15 days exploring different areas and ecosystems to try to find some of the most amazing animals living in this country. We will visit the Galapagos Islands, the Pacific Coast, the Cloud Forests on the western slopes of the Andes and the Amazon Rainforest. All these regions have many different ecosystems with a great variety of wildlife and endemism, so get your camera and binoculars and get started!

Details:

Day 01: Quito or Guayaquil – Galapagos Islands (L)
Day 02: Galapagos Islands (B,L)
Day 03: Galapagos Islands (B,L)
Day 04: Galapagos Islands (B,L)
Day 05: Galapagos Islands – Machalilla National Park (B,D)
Day 06: Machalilla National Park (B,L)
Day 07: Machalilla National Park – Pacoche (B,L,D)
Day 08: Pacoche – Manta – Quito (B,L)
Day 09: Quito – Northwest Cloud Forest (B,L,D)
Day 10: Northwest Cloud Forest – Quito (B,L)
Day 11: Full day Antisana (B,L)
Day 12: Quito – Amazon Rainforest (B,L,D)
Day 13: Amazon Rainforest (B,L,D)
Day 14: Amazon Rainforest (B,L,D)
Day 15: Amazon Rainforest – Quito (B,L)

Day 1
Quito or Guayaquil – Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands. The living museum of evolution, The Galapagos Islands is the place where Charles Drawing was inspired to write the theory of evolution of the species from natural selection and was declared by UNESCO a World Natural Heritage Site in 1978 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1985.

A great variety of Wildlife can be found on the Islands or in the sea with an incredibly high rate of endemic species. The Islands appeared from lava eruption that came from the ocean floor; more than 2000 craters have continuously changed the terrain of the region. Today, the archipelago includes 13 large islands, 6 minor islands and more than 40 islets.

This first day we will transfer you from the hotel in Quito or Guayaquil to the airport for our tour to the Galapagos Islands. From Quito the flight is around 2 hours but normally it will be a stop in Guayaquil to upload more passengers that will take around 30 to 45 minutes.

You will arrive to Baltra Island where the Naturalist Guide will be waiting for you. After a short bus ride (public airline buses) you will get on a boat that will cross “Itabaca” Channel in order to get to Santa Cruz Island. Your transportation will be waiting for you to start with the itinerary on the Islands. You will visit the upper part of Santa Cruz Island, the “Ranchos”. Here you will get the first encounter with Giant Tortoises living in their natural habitat. Lunch will be served at the Rancho.

After this visit you will be transferred to Puerto Ayora, the capital of the archipelago, to check in at the hotel. Your guide will give you the information about the next day’s activities. Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 2
Galapagos Islands

These days are daily navigations to other Islands in the archipelago. After breakfast you will be pick up by the staff of the yacht you have the tour (On the visit to Bartholomew Island, breakfast is on the yacht). This navigations include a walk on the Island to visit (may be exceptions) and a water activity. Lunch is served on the boat. Return to Santa Cruz.

Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 3
Galapagos Islands

These days are daily navigations to other Islands in the archipelago. After breakfast you will be pick up by the staff of the yacht you have the tour (On the visit to Bartholomew Island, breakfast is on the yacht). This navigations include a walk on the Island to visit (may be exceptions) and a water activity. Lunch is served on the boat. Return to Santa Cruz.

Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 4
Galapagos Islands

These days are daily navigations to other Islands in the archipelago. After breakfast you will be pick up by the staff of the yacht you have the tour (On the visit to Bartholomew Island, breakfast is on the yacht). This navigations include a walk on the Island to visit (may be exceptions) and a water activity. Lunch is served on the boat. Return to Santa Cruz.

Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 5
Galapagos Islands – Machalilla National Park

Today we leave the Galapagos Islands. After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred to Baltra Island and airport for your flight to the continent. Arrival at Guayaquil airport where you will be picked up and transferred to the lodge in the Machalilla National Park area. This ride is about 3 hours long. Arrival at the hotel for check in and dinner.

Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 6
Machalilla National Park

Full day in Machalilla Naional Park.

Today we will visit “Isla de la Plata”. A continental Island located one and a half hours from Puerto Lopez. “Isla de la Plata” is also called the Little Galápagos for the kind of vegetation and fauna living on the Island. It is possible to watch blue footed boobies, frigate birds and sea lions. During the months of late June to early September it is possible to watch Humpbacks Whales. The Whales arrive to the coast of Ecuador for the mating season and it is a great show to watch.

After the visit of the island we have lunch and have the chance to go snorkeling.

We will be arriving to the hotel in the mid-afternoon and you will have some time off.

Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 7
Machalilla National Park – Pacoche

This day we will visit the community of Agua Blanca in the National Park and will learn about one of the first settlements on the Ecuadorian coast. We will continue toward Pacoche reserve. A protected area located around one hour from Agua Blanca community. In Pacoche we will enjoy the humid forest of the coast and will have the chance to observe the Black Howler Monkeys living in the area. Check in at the Lodge and depending at the time of arrival we will enjoy a walk in the surroundings.

Accommodation and meals are included.

Day 8
Pacoche – Manta - Quito

We will wake up in the morning to enjoy the beauty of this reserve. After breakfast we will take a walk in the area, on one of the trails to learn about the flora and fauna of the region.

With some luck we will be able to watch and hear some troops of Howler Monkeys. These are considered one of the loudest animals on the planet, competing for the title with African Lions.

Lunch will be served at the lodge and we will depart to Manta city and the airport for our flight back to Quito.

Arrival at Quito in the evening. Our transportation will be waiting at the airport to take us to the hotel for the check in.

Accommodation and meals are included.

Day 9
Quito – Northwest Cloud Forest

We start our tour picking you up in the early morning from your hotel in Quito. We will visit the highlands out of Quito, a reserve called Yanacocha. Here we can enjoy one of the last remnants of Andean forest in Ecuador, an ecosystem in danger of extinction. During the walks we will be able to find a great diversity of birds, including various species of hummingbirds and sometimes some mammals. After Yanacocha we will continue towards Bellavista lodge for lunch and check in. This lodge is located in a very important area of conservation called “Choco” and it is commonly known as Cloud Forest. The “Choco” region is an area considered a Hotspot for flora and fauna, especially birds, because of its biodiversity and endemism. It is considered an EBA: Endemic Bird Area of the World and an IBA: Important Bird Area. With amazing evergreen forest of the Andean slopes, it is one of the last remnants of Choco forest in the world.

Dinner will be served at the restaurant in the Lodge. At night it will possible to check on the mammal feeders to look for one of the newest species of mammal described in Ecuador and in the world called Olinguito.

Accommodation and meals are included.

Day 10
Northwest Cloud Forest – Quito

This day we will visit “Paz de las Aves” reserve. We will have an early wake up to have the chance to see one of the most amazing wildlife shows in the Cloudforest: The Andean Cock of the Rock Lek. This is an area of display where the Andean Cock of the Rock males congregate to dance, sing and perform in front of the females in order to attract them for mating. After this show, we will walk around the trails of this reserve spotting more wildlife. The person responsible for the reserve, Angel, has trained Antpittas to answer to his call so it is possible to have some close views of some of the most difficult birds to observe in nature. We will have a late breakfast in this reserve while enjoying the view of the Cloudforest.

We will continue to Mindo town for the butterfly garden, the biggest in the area. The purpose of this farm is environmental education and conservation of the different species belonging to the “Choco” region.

We will have lunch in the town and go back to Quito.

Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own

Day 11
Full day Antisana Reserve

We go looking for the majestic Andean Condor in one of the most beautiful reserves of Ecuador. This bird is the symbol of Ecuador and one of the species in danger of extinction in the country with no more than 103 resident individuals. The Antisana Ecological Reserve is a protected area occupying part of the Andes and part of the eastern cloud forest. This time we focus only in the Andes with the high mountains, steep cliffs and the extensive Andean grasslands (Paramo). We will be at 4000 meters above sea level (over 12000 ft)

The Andean Condor has made this reserve its home because of the many places found for nesting.

We start today’s adventure after the pick up at your hotel. We will drive out of the eastern part of Quito to the protected area and the mountain landscapes. Before arriving to the reserve we will have our first stop to try to find the Andean Condor perched on the very steep cliffs of this region. From this point on, we will be looking for Condors and other different birds and wildlife occurring in the protected area until we arrive to “La Mica” Lake. Here we will take a short hike enjoying the landscapes and the explanations about this amazing ecosystem from your naturalist guide. We leave the Reserve to have lunch and return to Quito.

Accommodation and Lunch are included. Dinner is on your own

Day 12
Quito – Amazon Rainforest

Today you will travel to the amazon region. The flight to Coca city is in the morning so your guide will transfer you from the hotel to the airport to assist you with the check in. After a 30 min flight you will land at Coca city where someone from the lodge you will visit will be waiting for you. After a short ride on a private bus we get to the next part of the journey, a motorized boat ride. The ride will take approximately two to two and half hours on the river. After this ride you will have or a short walk and canoe ride. This time crossing a creak and a lake on a paddle canoe that will take you to the Lodge. This journey itself is already part of the adventure in the amazon region.

At the lodge you will receive a briefing from the administration about the lodge and the activities that you will be doing during your stay at the Amazon region. You will also meet the naturalist guide that will be with you for the following days.

This evening you will start with one of the night activities offered at the lodge. It can be an evening walk or an evening canoe ride.

The Amazon Rainforest and the Yasuni biosphere Reserve is the largest protected area in Ecuador and is considered the most bio diverse place in the whole world with more than 1 million hectares in the Amazon Rainforest. So diverse that in 1 ha (2.5 acres) it is possible to find more species of trees than in the whole North American Continent. With an amazing flora and fauna this NP is one of the highlights of the tour. Three nights we will spend in the Amazon region.

Accommodation and meals are included.

Day 13
Amazon Rainforest

Breakfast is served early in the morning because there is so much to see and do. There are a number of activities that you might do, including a visit to the parrot clay lick, a trip to a local community, canoe rides, forest walks or an excursion to the canopy tower to watch monkeys and birds. The activities you will do will depend on the lodge operations and weather conditions. A delicious lunch is served in the dining room at 13:00. After lunch, guests have a variety of activities that can enjoy at the lodge like yoga sessions, kayaking on the Lake, fishing for piranhas, enjoy of the Spa treatments or just take a nap or read a book during your free time of the day. Afternoon activities tend to be more low-key than morning ones. You might go for a canoe ride around the lagoon, take a short trail to watch some of the wildlife and talk about the Ecology of this Forest. A well deserve dinner awaits for you at the dining room as afternoon turns into evening.

Day 14
Amazon Rainforest

Breakfast is served early in the morning because there is so much to see and do. There are a number of activities that you might do, including a visit to the parrot clay lick, a trip to a local community, canoe rides, forest walks or an excursion to the canopy tower to watch monkeys and birds. The activities you will do will depend on the lodge operations and weather conditions. A delicious lunch is served in the dining room at 13:00. After lunch, guests have a variety of activities that can enjoy at the lodge like yoga sessions, kayaking on the Lake, fishing for piranhas, enjoy of the Spa treatments or just take a nap or read a book during your free time of the day. Afternoon activities tend to be more low-key than morning ones. You might go for a canoe ride around the lagoon, take a short trail to watch some of the wildlife and talk about the Ecology of this Forest. A well deserve dinner awaits for you at the dining room as afternoon turns into evening.

Day 15
Amazon Rainforest – Quito

Although you must depart the lodge early in order to get to Coca in time for your flight, breakfast will be served before you leave. You’ll go out the way you came: a canoe ride, followed by a short walk, and then a two-hour, two and half hour ride on the motorized canoe to Coca. Once you reach Coca, you will be taken to the airport, checked in and directed to the waiting room for your return flight to Quito. At Quito airport your guide will be waiting for you to take you back to the hotel in Quito and finish the tour.

Accommodation is included. Lunch and dinner are on your own.

The Trip Cost Include

  • Certified bilingual guide,
  • Private transportation for the land tours,
  • Accommodation as mentioned,
  • Local guide in Machalilla National Park and the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve,
  • Meals as mentioned,
  • Air tickets Quito - Galapagos - Guayaquil / Manta - Quito / Quito - Coca - Quito
  • Entrance fees to private reserves: Agua Blanca Community, Milpe, Alambi, Paz de las aves, Butterfly farm, Yanacocha

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Other meals not mentioned
  • Drinks and alcoholic drinks
  • Tips, gratuities and personal expenses

Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult are activities on this trip?

All the activities are from easy to moderate. However this may change according to weather conditions.

What is the highest and lowest altitude reached on this trip?

The highest point will be Antisana Reserve, located at approximately at 3.900 meters high (12.500 feet high). The lowest point will at sea level in Galapagos and the Pacific Coast

How are the guides?

Our guides are Certified Naturalist Guides with extensive experience on the destinations. They have knowledge on flora, fauna and ecology. They speak great English and some of them have knowledge and experience in photography

What kind of outfit do I need for this trip?

On this trip we will be changing to different altitudes. For Antisana and Yanacocha we recommend to wear layers. Temperature ranges during the day between 12 and 21 degrees Celsius (50 – 70 Fahrenheit). During the rainy season (October through May) the Andes are cloudy and humid and it is recommended to bring rain gear. Wear comfortable hiking or walking shoes (if they are water proof will be much better). In the Amazon the altitude is much lower so weather is warm/hot and humid. Light weighed clothes will be good for this part of the trip.
In The Galapagos Island, weather is warm/hot. Light weighed clothes like shorts and t-shirts will be good for this part of the trip. Bring shoes that could get wet in case that you need to have a wet landing on any of the navigation. And don´t forget swimming suit

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Diversity & Endemism: The natural regions of Ecuador 15D/14N
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Trip Facts

  • Galapagos Islands, Amazon Rainforest, Pacific coast, Cloud Forest, Andes
  • 2 to 15
  • approx. from sea level to 4400 m (14.080 ft)
  • Private transportation, except Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos
  • Breakfast & Lunch and some dinners
  • Tourist Superior Hotels First class Lodges
  • Flight Quito - Galapagos - Guayaquil / Manta - Quito / Quito - Coca - Quito

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