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Ecuador Family Adventure

Ecuador & Galapagos wildlife adventure | View photos »

Climb a volcano, swim with sea lions and take a paddle among the penguins. Ecuador's amazing fauna and compact size make it an incredible destination for wildlife lovers of any age.

12 day trip described, guide price £3,978pp i Fully customisable to you

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Sample itinerary

Arrive in Quito

Fly to Ecuador. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday. On arrival you are collected for the transfer to your hotel in the heart of Quito's old town.

Travel to the misty cloudforest

You are collected for the two hour drive up to the cloudforest. This is high level, cool rainforest which is famously rich in birdlife. Stay in a very sustainably conceived and run lodge in the heart of the Mindo cloudforest area, a lovely base from which to start uncovering the secrets of the forest.

Rivers and trees of the cloudforest

Whilst at the lodge it is up to you how you spend your time, very actively, or more laid back. The atmosphere is restful, and it is a wonderful spot for quiet walks and bird watching. There are much more active pursuits on offer though, including horse riding, mountain biking and river tubing.

Return to Quito via the Middle of the World

This morning you might like to drag yourselves out of bed early to watch and hear the cacophonous mating dance of the Andean Cock of the Rock before you return to Quito. Along the way, stop off at the monument marking the Equator, which gave the country its name.

Fly to Galapagos and meet the locals

Fly out early this morning to the Galapagos Islands, where your guide takes you into the Santa Cruz highlands to meet the most famous inhabitants of the islands: the giant tortoises. Watch them plod through the undergrowth before settling into your hotel on the waterfront of Puerto Ayora.

Cycle to the beach and kayak

Discover Santa Cruz Island from tip to toe with your guide this morning. Head back up to the highlands first of all to take your mountain bikes for the long downhill ride to Garrapatero Beach. Once on the beach, climb into kayaks to seek out sharks, rays and turtles.

See Galapagos penguins off Isabela Island

This morning you transfer by boat from Santa Cruz to Isabela Island, where you can snorkel directly from the beach in front of your hotel. Apart from the ever-present sea lions and pelicans, you will see a colony of the tiny Galapagos penguin, the smallest of the penguin species and the only one to live in equatorial waters.

Walk on Sierra Negra volcano

Today you hike up Sierra Negra, the largest crater of all Galapagos volcanoes, in fact it’s the world’s second largest caldera. Up here you should see lots of bird life, including short-eared owls. The scenery is breathtaking as you look north along the line of volcanoes along Isabela’s spine and across to Wolf where the recently discovered Pink Iguana live.

Snorkel with sharks and cycle past iguanas

Join a boat trip this morning to Los Tuneles, lava formations in the sea that harbour a wealth of marine life, including rays and reef sharks. In the afternoon cycle the Wetlands Trails through the mangroves to find the extensive marine iguana colonies near the Wall of Tears.

Travel east to meet the frigate birds

Take the island hopper flight east to San Cristobal this morning to stay in the sleepy capital of Galapagos. After a walk up to Frigate Bird Hill, enjoy a snorkel with the sea lions in a secluded bay before watching the sun go down over Kicker Rock.

Snorkel Kicker Rock

Sail out to the magnificent formation of Kicker Rock, where some of the best snorkelling in the islands is found, with hammerhead sharks, turtles and manta rays among the highlights. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the beach before your last night in Galapagos.

Travel back home

Early this morning you could have a final stroll on the beach or a swim. Transfer to the airport for your return flight back to mainland Ecuador, to connect with your flights home. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday.

Note: This is just an itinerary idea and we'll therefore tailor everything to you.

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Map of the area

"Absolutely fantastic"

"Absolutely fantastic"

We had an absolutely fantastic time. It was like three very different holidays in one. Hats off to you, your ability to organise is almost beyond fault. Ian E

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About this trip


Climb a volcano, swim with sea lions and take a paddle among the penguins. Ecuador's amazing fauna and compact size make it an incredible destination for wildlife lovers of any age.

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Level of activity

Though the wildlife is still the main star of this trip, you get to see it in a more active manner than on many Ecuador & Galapagos Islands tours. This is not high adrenaline adventure, but it is an active, outdoors alternative to basing yourself on board a boat for a week. Not being as regimented as you would be on board a boat, this land-based trip lets you have your evenings to stroll and explore at your own pace, even enjoying a swim off the beach as and when you like.

As suggested, the itinerary includes you walking, biking and kayaking, along with plenty of time to swim and snorkel. On both the mainland and in the islands, you have opportunities to be yet more active, with optional excursions such as river tubing and horse riding in the cloudforest, and more strenuous hikes and activities in Galapagos.

Level of culture

Your time with our guide in Quito should provide a welcome insight to the city and the country as a whole. Up in the cloudforest, the lodge we use is built entirely of materials sourced from the surroundings. It could hardly be more integrated into its surroundings, both physical and community. The staff, cooks, guides are all dedicated to this precious cloudforest ecosystem.

The Galapagos Islands are primarily about the wildlife, though the human history of the islands and the struggles of conservation create a fascinating context for the wildlife. By staying on the islands, you get a much stronger sense of life on this remote archipelago, which in many ways is thoroughly inhospitable.
San Cristobal is the smallest and most peaceful of the three main inhabited islands, so makes for quite a gentle introduction. Isabela is home to another fairly small population in the rather lovely beachfront village of Puerto Villamil, though development is now very noticeable here. It is quite easy to stroll and get to know people on these two islands, not least because you have a local guide with you during the day on each island you visit. This helps you to get to know the people and places quickly.

Santa Cruz is by far the busiest of the islands you will visit which makes it harder to get under its skin. However, it is also home to the Charles Darwin Centre which is an incredible example of patient long-term conservation of the giant tortoise.


The trip as presented is based on a family of four, sharing two rooms. There is a detailed 'suggested' itinerary for this trip, please get in touch and we can email that to you.

However, we don’t just sell holidays, we make them. To do this properly we want to understand the things you care about and the things you don’t need. We would love to prepare a personalised proposal for you to consider so why not call us on 01273 676 712 and we can get started?

The Galapagos element we discuss with you to select the best accommodation and to make sure it is the best trip for you. We can adjust the levels of activity and guiding to create the best content for your trip. Or you might like to explore the Galapagos by boat. Or add a stay in a traditional Amazon wildlife lodge. There are many ways we can add, or reduce, elements to make your perfect holiday.


Departs any day of the year to suit you from March to January.

Next steps...

Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure

01273 676712

or ask us a question »

The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Request our 5-part Expert Guide to Ecuador & Galapagos

Enter your email address below and over the next 5 days we will send you our free Expert Guide to Ecuador & Galapagos:

  • Day 1 - Seven wildlife encounters we won't forget
  • Day 2 - Why the Galapagos has to be done right
  • Day 3 - Why you shouldn't overlook the mainland
  • Day 4 - Six lodges and hotels we just didn’t want to leave
  • Day 5 - Answers to some commonly asked questions about Ecuador

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Book Subscribe to The Pothole » Galapagos Giant Tortoise on Santa Cruz Island The colonial heart of Quito Natural spring waterfall in Ecuador's cloud forest River tubing in the Andean cloudforest of Mindo Peru's national bird, the Cock of the Rock, is often seen in Manu's cloudforest Galapagos Giant Tortoise on Santa Cruz Island Couple kayaking from the beach of Santa Cruz Penguin on the Mariela Islands off Isabela, Galapagos Looking out over Sierra Negra Volcano Snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands Sunset over Kicker Rock in the Galapagos Islands School of hammerhead in the Galapagos Single seal sits on beach in Galapagos island