Ecuador & Galapagos Islands: See & Do Almost it ALL in 11 Days, 1st Class Traveling
Type of TourAdventure & Sightseeing
Fully Guided?All tours are almost fully guided.
Are Solo Travelers WelcomedYes & There are No Supplemental Fees for the Tours!
Dates & Availability for the Next 12 MonthsAny Date w/ 7-Day Notice (some exceptions are made)
► 6-Day Cruise Around the Galapagos Islands
► Daily Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner on Your Yacht
► Going to Centuries-Old & Indigenous Markets
► Seeing Animals Found Nowhere Else on Earth!
► Donkey-Riding Around a Caldera
► Kayaking Inside a Lake
► Exploring the Colonial Capital That is Quito
► Checking Out Volcanos, a Crater & a Canyon
► Looking Over Postcard-Perfect Bartolomé Island
► Visiting Amazing Snorkeling Sites
► Rich Culture
► And Much, Much More...
Lodging *Some restrictions apply
English-Speaking Tour Guides
All Transportation, Except Flights
All Activities in Itinerary Below
All Entry Fees
Your Own On-Call Concierge
Lunches x 5 Days
Dinners x 5 Nights
What to Expect on This Tour
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Day 1: A Jewel of Colonial Architecture, Quito
Our tour starts in Quito. Upon arrival, do not be surprised if you are breathing heavily. This is due to the city’s high altitude. Most visitors acclimate just fine. If you are not jetlagged and bothered by the altitude, then it is time to sightsee. The large historical center is a jewel of South American and colonial architecture.
Day 2: Centuries-Old Markets & a Volcano, Lake & Crater
From Quito, we make a daytrip. The first stop is a viewpoint overlooking Lake San Pablo and Imbabura Volcano. Next is a guided walking tour in Otavalo. The indigenous locals are famous for weaving textiles, such as handmade blankets and tablecloths. Although Saturday boasts the largest market, there is a very wide range of products available throughout the week. During the market’s peak, almost one third of the town becomes full of stalls selling tagua nut jewelry, musical instruments, fake shrunken heads, traditional costumes, hand-painted platters and trays, purses, clothing, spices, raw foods and spools of wool. Following Otavalo is a fascinating crater lake called Cuicocha. This is our final destination for today. The hike to the viewpoint only takes about 10 minutes and the views are great.
Day 3: Donkey-Riding Around a Caldera, Kayaking in a Lake & Visiting an Indigenous Family’s Home
We are making another daytrip from Quito. Passing by an active stratovolcano called Cotopaxi, our first destination is Quilotoa Lake. Upon arrival, we are taken via a 5-minute walk to reach a viewpoint from where we can see the 3-kilometer (2 mile)-wide caldera. It was formed by the collapse of dacite volcano following a catastrophic eruption about 600 years ago. Next, we hike to the lake. There we go kayaking. We return via a donkey ride. After Quilotoa is the Toachi River Canyon. It is a nice place for taking selfies. Lastly for today is a visit to an indigenous family’s home.
Day 4: Immersing in Culture & South America at its Most Authentic
We have the whole day to explore Quito with a private and English-speaking tour guide. The capital of Ecuador is fascinating not only for its architecture, but for its people as well. This city is still a place where indigenous women wear traditional attire and carry a child on their back, wrapped in a blanket. Quito is nothing short of authentic in both its appearance and its culture.
Day 5: The Gateway to the Galapagos Islands
Today we relocate from Quito to the Galapagos Islands, staying for the evening in Puerto Villamil. Its harbor is frequently filled with sailboats and private yachts. Tomorrow we start our 6-day cruise. We see animals not found anywhere else on Earth! We snorkel. We hike. We create unforgettable memories.
Day 6: Giant Turtles, Flamingos & Volcanoes
This morning we check out Sierra Negra Volcano and Volcano Chico. Sierra Negra is one of the most active of the Galapagos Islands’ volcanoes. We traverse the rim of the caldera along its east side before heading into the fresh lava fields north east of the main crater. We then head to the yacht so we can eat. Following lunch is a visit to the flamingos at the lagoon in Puerto Villamil and a visit to the giant tortoise complex.
Day 7: Blue-Footed Boobies, Marine Iguanas & More
Cruising along the archipelago, Moreno Point (a.k.a. Punta Moreno) and Elizabeth Bay are the destinations for today. Moreno Point has a desolate and pristine landscape of very impressive black lava flows, featuring a unique system of lagoons which serve as a magnet for wildlife. Moreno Point is home to doves, penguins, blue-footed boobies, mockingbirds and flightless cormorants. Elizabeth Bay is home to rays, sharks, green sea turtles, penguins, pelicans and sealions. Nearer to the shores and mangroves we see flightless cormorants and marine iguanas.
Day 8: Darwin's Finches, Hawks & Other Birds You Never Even Heard of
Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove are the destinations for today. Giant tortoises and iguanas are the highlights on Urbina Bay. Tagus Cove is home to ground and tree finches, penguins and flightless cormorants. There is an occasional sighting of a woodpecker finch as well. Other potential sightings include hawks, yellow warblers and flycatchers.
Day 9: Lava Formations, Mangroves & an Army of Green Sea Turtles
Fernandina Island’s Espinoza Point (a.k.a. Punta Espinosa) and Isabela Island’s Vicente Roca Point are the destinations for today. Punta Espinosa is one of the most popular visitor sites in all the Galapagos, featuring marine iguanas, lava lizards, penguins, flightless cormorants, sealions and interesting marine life. Punta Espinosa also gives us a chance to get an up-close look at mangrove plants and different lava formations. Vincente Roca Point is renowned for its green turtles, which are very numerous on the bay. Their concentration is so great that sometimes five or six turtles can be spotted in a row, floating on the surface of the sea and cradled by the waves.
Day 10: Multicolored Crabs & the Archipelago's Most Photographed Location
Santiago Island’s Egas Port and Bartolomé Island are the destinations for today. The easy walk along Egas Port’s wide trails and scenic shoreline gives us the chance to see birds, marine iguanas, sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs and fur seals. Bartolomé Island offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the archipelago. It consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green and glistening black volcanic formations. Bartolomé Island has a volcanic cone that is easy to climb. Its outlook provides great views of the other nearby islands.
Day 11: Checking Out North Seymour Island Before Our Tour Ends Today
Although our tour ends today, first we visit North Seymour Island. It is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. It also hosts a large population of frigate birds. What’s more, flocks of pelicans feed offshore. Seasonally, Nazca boobies can also be seen. After visiting North Seymour Island, transportation will be arranged for you to reach the airport on Baltra Island.
Traveling to another country is usually very difficult as there is so much to plan for. However, I booked a trip to the Galapagos Islands with CharlieTheTraveler and they made the entire process so easy! For the entire 11 days, I had no worries and was able to enjoy each and every activity that was planned for us. Both the relaxing and the active daytrips amazed me!
I knew the Galapagos Islands were beautiful, but I had no idea the mainland Ecuador was just as beautiful and also had so much to do! CharlieTheTraveler managed to plan the perfect balance of daytrips that included natural excursions and adrenaline-spiking activities. The trip was long but each day felt like a new adventure with each daytrip.
The trip to the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador amazed me at every turn! The accommodations, including the travel to and from each activity, made for a great trip. The tour guide provided by the company was also ideal. He spent the time on the trip getting to know each of us in the group, which I appreciated. I felt safe and secure while traveling.
Ecuador is a beautiful country and CharlieTheTraveler highlighted that in this trip. I am an avid explorer, so the exploration activities throughout the trip were perfect for me. The kayaking through the caldera was the best for me. I am very pleased with the service provided and I will be booking my next trip through this company very soon.
Even after I returned from this trip, I am still amazed by everything I did! The Galapagos Islands were beautiful and we saw so much flora and fauna. I also appreciated the cultural experience this trip allowed me to have. Quito was such an intriguing city that provided me with an authentic Ecuadorian experience. Our tour guide had great recommendations for exploring and eating for the best daytrip!
The yacht accommodation was very unique and something I had never gotten on any other tour. I knew this required a bit of planning, none of which I had to do on my own. CharlieTheTraveler organized this trip perfectly for someone who liked adventure and also likes to have an authentic cultural experience, which is me! I found everything about the trip perfect and well-executed.
I think the tour guide provided by CharlieTheTraveler really made the trip what it was. He was able to take the carefully planned trip and make it his own while accommodating everyone. It was definitely not a cookie-cutter tour like I have been on with other companies where I am basically escorted around by a robot with the same rehearsed speeches. The tour guide was personable and got to know everyone on the trip while we explored the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador. He also was very familiar with the area, so he was able to speak about the culture without sounding like he was reading from a text book. This was overall the best trip I have been on!
The Galapagos Islands are known for the wildlife, so it is no wonder the activities that highlighted the wildlife were the best for me. I will never forget the giant tortoises and birds that I saw in the country. It also spoke volumes for the culture that these animals were well-cared for. I am happy CharlieTheTraveler included so many explorations of the country in this trip that allowed me to see as much as I did.
I was teetering on the fence about going abroad, but what helped me make the decision to do so was how well-prepared CharlieTheTraveler seemed to be. They had all positive reviews about the accommodations they make, services they provide, and the tour guides they hire for the trips. The trip to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador was fantastic!
The 6-day cruise planned by the tour company was excellent! CharlieTheTraveler made all the accommodations for this and made sure it was first class. The cruise allowed me to enjoy all of the beauty of the country and see amazing sights. I also appreciated everything was included in the cruise, so I never had to worry about meals or hotels. It was a great idea to include this in the tour!
Although I enjoyed every part of this trip, I especially liked the cultural experiences we were exposed to. CharlieTheTraveler included many different types of exploration activities that gave me an authentic experience. The native markets interested me, as the history and culture is rich. I learned so much about this South American country by exploring these markets. Our tour guide also helped by explaining certain goods and pointed out merchants making the items they were selling.
I’ve always been interested in natural landscapes, so the trip to the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador included everything I loved. I appreciated that CharlieTheTraveler highlighted the natural landscapes with the hiking around the volcano. This was a fantastic sight and made for picture-perfect memories. I don’t think any trip I take will compare to this one!
For everything that was included in this trip, I could not believe how low the price was. The trip was longer than most tour trips, but that was because of the 6-day cruise, which included all amenities. The tour guide provided by CharlieTheTraveler was a perfect fit for the trip. He made sure we all felt comfortable and safe the entire time. I loved the balance of cultural, natural, and historical activities included in this trip to Ecuador. I cannot wait to book my next trip!
I don’t have words for how great it was booking through CharlieTheTraveler. My trip to Ecuador was easy and did not cause the usual stress that traveling can cause. They had everything prepared for me and made sure I knew what to pack, what to bring, and what was expected during the trip. I felt immersed in the culture of Quito while exploring the city, so this was a great addition to the trip!
I wanted a trip with variety in the activities. I got that with this trip to the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador by CharlieTheTraveler. Although all of the activities piqued my interest, I found the snorkeling off the islands so much fun! I think this was the best way to experience the wildlife, as there were so many sea creatures to observe. I will never forget this trip!
My sister recently returned from a CharlieTheTraveler tour and said I needed to book a trip through them for a great time. I chose the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador because it included a 6-day cruise in addition to all of the other activities. I found the accommodations safe and comfortable. I also liked that the company limited the amount of people on the trip as the group was intimate. The tour guide initiated us getting close and getting to know each other. It was a great trip and I made some amazing friends along the way!
I don’t think I could have planned a better trip to Ecuador. The island excursions were ideal, as I did so much more than I have ever done before. The snorkeling and kayaking were my favorite activities, as they were unique. The views I saw were impeccable. This was a great trip with great activities planned by CharlieTheTraveler!
I have never taken a vacation with a tour group, so I had no idea what to expect. I chose CharlieTheTraveler as a friend of mine had recently returned from a tour through them and loved it. From the moment I hit “book”, I was assisted with every part of the preparation. I also felt at ease when I met the tour guide and he stayed with us throughout the 11-day trip.
I could not believe how organized this trip was! CharlieTheTraveler thought of everything in the planning and it made for such a smooth and easy booking. I was walked through every process and I was prepared thoroughly for the trip so I never scrambled or felt stressed. I never thought about how much stress I usually undergo when planning a trip until I didn’t have any! It made all the difference, as I was able to enjoy my time in the Galapagos islands and mainland Ecuador!
The trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands was the perfect balance of adventurous activities and cultural experiences for me. I loved all of the numerous activities packed into this trip and appreciated that CharlieTheTraveler organized the trip so well so it never felt like I was being rushed from site to site like I have felt with some other tour companies. This was the perfect getaway for me!
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does This Tour Cost?
Financing (monthly payments) is offered to most of our customers. Ask us for details. Our luxury-oriented and itinerary-packed “Galapagos Islands & Mainland Ecuador in 11 Days” tour is available for $3,608 USD per person (based on 2 persons). This price includes all transportation, except flights. It also includes English-speaking tour guides, food, all activities and all entry fees except for the Galapagos ‘migration fee’ ($20 USD) and park entry fee ($100 USD). Those two fees need to be paid directly to the airport security in Quito and the Galapagos, respectively. Also included are 5 nights of lodging on a yacht. If you would like typically 4-star lodging included for the remaining 5 nights on the mainland, then the combined (transportation, tour guides, food, activities, entry fees and lodging) total would be $3,883 USD per person. This price is based on 2 per room and is offered to those booking at least 6 weeks in advance. To better understand your specific circumstances and wishes, and for us to accurately quote you, please tell us:
1. Specifically in the capital Quito, Would you like to keep the 4-star lodging we typically offer or do you prefer upgrading to a 5-star hotel?
2. How many persons in your party-including yourself-would be joining this tour?
3. Do you prefer this tour to be private/exclusive to you or would you like to share it with other travelers?
4. Would you be sharing the room with others in your group (e.g. a spouse, relative or friend) or do you want the room exclusive to you?
5. Do you know on which date you would like to start this tour?
6. On a side note, would you like to directly purchase the round-trip domestic flights between the mainland and the Galapagos Islands (Quito-Guayaquil-Seymour Airport-Guayaquil) or would you like us to arrange this for you? Us booking you economy class flights with at least a 30-day notice costs $550 USD.
7. Lastly, for the Galapagos Islands portion of this trip, you can upgrade from a yacht to a cruise ship. The upgrade doesn’t change the duration of your trip or the amount of destinations you visit. There are only two significant differences between the yachts and the cruise ships. While the cruise ships are more luxurious, the yachts visit more famous landmarks. The cost of upgrading from a yacht to a cruise ship varies depending on when you wish to visit the Galapagos Islands and how much in advance you book. Are you interested in upgrading to a cruise ship?
What’s Excluded in the Price?
Any airfare, alcohol, travel insurance, any government-imposed visa fees and anything not mentioned in the itinerary
Note that we would be happy to assist you in finding international airfare upon request.
At What Specific Hotels Would We Be Staying?
Swissôtel is the name of the hotel in Quito where we commonly have our customers stay. For customers who need to sleep in Guayaquil the night before flying out of the country, we commonly have them stay at Wyndham Guayaquil. Note this is subject to availability.
Is This a Private or Group Tour?
Although virtually all activities on this multi-day tour are shared with other travelers, we can at least make the land tours (exploring the city of Quito and the 2-day trips from there) completely private, per your request. The Galapagos cruise is always shared. The sightseeing tour of Quito is always private. The 2-day trips from Quito are sometimes private and other times, shared. It depends on several factors.
Am I Sharing the Room with Someone?
Your room is exclusive to you and whomever is in your party. Strangers (meaning customers who book on the same start date but do not know each other) do not share rooms on this tour. On a side note, please let us know if you and the other person(s) in your booking want separate rooms.
What is the Age Range & Nationality of the People Who Book This Tour?
Although we get customers of all ages and from several countries, our statistics show most people who book are 30 to 65 years old and from USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Are Kids Allowed on This Tour & Are They Charged the Same as Adults?
We welcome your kids specifically and only when the tour is exclusive to you and your group-meaning other customers are not joining you. We define kids as anyone under 18 years old. In order to make the tour exclusive to you and your group, your booking would need to be for 4 persons or more for any of our tours except Iceland. For our Iceland tour, your booking would need to be for 8 persons or more. Regarding the cost of bringing a non-adult, we do deduct from the total based on the amount of activities you request we remove from the tour. Note that reducing the total price of the tour by removing activities is something offered for non-adults only. Adults can opt out of activities but the total price does not change.
How Strong Do I Need to Be For This Trip?
We do not expect you to be an Olympic champion. We know some of the tour members are more fit than others…and we are well prepared for this. However, we do hope you take into consideration this is a very active tour, just like every other tour we offer.
Are Disabled People Allowed on This Tour?
Please let us know about any disability you have. Some disabilities would not affect you taking this tour. Others would prevent you from joining altogether. Although we want all of our customers to have fun, your safety is our first priority.
Do I Get Any Free Time to Myself?
Of course. Once each day’s tour is over, you have the rest of the evening to yourself. Because our tours tend to be very active, our customers typically want to simply relax once the sun sets.
What Happens If I Arrive Late?
Notify us as soon as possible and we will do our very best to arrange a meeting point. Please note that we do not refund for any days or activities that you miss.
Can I Opt-Out of Certain Activities?
Generally speaking, you can opt out as long as we are given adequate notice. Please note that opting out of certain activities does not reduce the price of this tour.
What Happens If I Get Injured on This Trip & Cannot Continue?
We would do our best to keep you safe and make you as comfortable as possible, as well as make special arrangements to address your situation. Partial refunds are not offered if you cannot continue with the tour. However, most travel insurances reimburse you for such situations. This is one of many reasons why we require our customers to purchase travel insurance before taking this tour.
What Happens If I Cancel This Trip?
To confirm your tour, full payment is needed at the time of your purchase. However, refunds are offered. You will receive a full refund if canceling at least 91 days in advance from the departure date. Cancelling between 90-60 days prior to departure entitles you to a 50 percent refund. Cancelling between 59-31 days prior to departure entitles you to a 25 percent refund. Canceling 30 days or less prior to departure is not eligible for a refund. Cancellation requests need to be made by email and become effective on the date received by CharlieTheTraveler.
What Happens If You, CharlieTheTraveler, Cancel This Trip?
In the unlikely event CharlieTheTraveler needs to cancel this trip, such as because of very poor weather conditions, we will give you a full refund for the tour within 14 business days of the cancellation. Note: We are not a participant in the California Travel Consumer Restitution Fund, nor is this transaction covered by the Restitution Fund.
How Do You Help Prepare Us For This Trip?
You should receive an email from us within 24 hours of purchasing this tour as well as a week before departure. The first email gives details about what to bring, how to prepare yourself, etc. The second email is more like a timetable combined with important contact information.
Is CharlieTheTraveler Licensed & Which State in America Issued it?
The owner of the travel license is the same owner of CharlieTheTraveler. Charlie is a California born and bred resident. The company is headquartered in Greater Los Angeles. The registration number is CST 2136740-70. Please note that travel agents registered as a seller of travel in California does not constitute approval by the State. Also please note that California law requires sellers of travel to have a trust account or bond. CharlieTheTraveler has a trust account.
Are the Tour Guides Licensed & Will They Be With Me the Entire Time?
Our tour guides/drivers are licensed, speak English and know how to bring excitement to your day. What we deliver is the complete opposite of the cookie-cutting tours the big corporations offer, leaving you in complete boredom. Although our tour guides/drivers are attentive, accommodating and engaged, they also know when to give you your private space and free time. It's a perfect balance.
Are We Required to Have Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is required for all of our customers, for their protection and safety. CharlieTheTraveler does not sell travel insurance. We cannot endorse any specific company. Please check out different companies online and go with the one which offers the most comprehensive coverage.
In Which Language(s) is This Tour Offered?
All of our tours are offered in English. If you prefer another language, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Can We Customize This Tour?
Although we are open to customizing this tour to fit your liking, as a general rule, we discourage the practice. We do our best to keep the cost of the tour low. The more we customize it, the quicker the price goes up. As our tour is currently advertised, you absolutely will not find another one out there as packed with activities and attractions. What’s more, you will not find another tour out there that offers it all "FIRST CLASS," yet for a relatively low price. We have thousands of travelers taking this specific tour every year, and that's because no competitor can beat us on quality, price & substance.
Do We Need to Get Our Own Transportation to and From the Airport?
Absolutely not. We make the arrangements for you.
Can We Book Instantly?
We do not offer the option for you to book instantly because we first need you to tell us via email or phone call the answers to these questions below. Once we have this information, we can send you the link so you can book immediately.
1. Would you be sharing the room with others in your group (e.g. a spouse, relative or friend) or do you want the room exclusive to you?
2. Do you prefer a budget-sensitive 3-star hotel, a better quality but pricier 4-star hotel or a luxurious 5-star hotel?
3. How many persons in your party-including yourself-would be joining this tour?
4. Do you know on which date you would like to start the tour?
Is Someone Available for Us 24-7 While on This Tour?
Yes! You have your own concierge for this tour who is at your disposal. You could reach this person when you need anything.
Where Can I Read About All of Your Terms & Conditions?
Please visit CharlieTheTraveler.com/Tours-Terms-and-Conditions
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