The Best of Ecuador & the Galapagos
Travel between mainland Ecuador and the animal-packed Galapagos archipelago with this luxury tour of Ecuador. Wander around the breathtaking high-altitude capital of Quito, just a hop away from the Equator Line, before embarking on a luxury tour of the Galapagos Islands. These fabled isles are home to a remarkable variety of wildlife, from waddling penguins and dallying giant tortoises to all kinds of endemic seabirds. Snorkel in crystalline waters, trek along paradise beaches and float between the islands by boat – you’re guaranteed to run into a rare creature or two along the way! Let Kuoda show you just how enchanting a personalized Ecuador and Galapagos tour can be.
Dive into Quito’s rich colonial past in the city’s UNESCO-listed historical core.
Hop between hemispheres at the Middle of the Earth Equator marker.
Chat with local artisans and hunt for a bargain at Otavalo, the setting of South America’s oldest, largest and most famous market.
Travel by luxury yacht between the Galapagos Islands – where Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution was born.
Observe dawdling giant tortoises, strutting blue-footed boobies and plenty of other curious creatures.
Go in search of hidden treasures as you snorkel on pristine beaches.
Travel in style with private transportation, including a private luxury boat to tour the Galapagos Islands.
Leisure in your pick of accommodations, ranging from characteristic lodges to luxury hotels.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Arrival in Quito – Welcome to Ecuador
Day 2: Otavalo – Visit to the Otavalo Market
Day 3: Quito – Quito City Tour
Day 4: Quito to the Galapagos Islands – Begin Your Cruise
Day 5: Cruising the Galapagos – Bartolome Island
Day 6: Cruising the Galapagos – Darwin Bay (Tower Island)
Day 7: Cruising the Galapagos – Santa Fe (Barrington Island)
Day 8: Return to Quito – Puerto Baquerizo Moreno / Flight to Quito
DAY 1: Arrival in Quito
Welcome to Ecuador
Meet your Kuoda host upon arrival and head to the chic San Francisco de Quito hotel in the heart of the colonial center. Your guide will talk you through your itinerary and answer any questions you may have regarding our exclusive tours of Ecuador.
DAY 2: Otavalo
Visit to the Otavalo Market
Leave Quito in early morning for a visit to Otavalo Market, which has been running since pre-Inca times. Search the stalls for unique leather goods, textiles, crafts and carvings. After sifting through the offerings, return to your charming hotel in Quito.
DAY 3: Quito
Quito City Tour
Get to know your new surrounds with a private personalized tour of Ecuador’s capital. You’ll be driven through the northern residential section to see the modern part of Quito, before continuing on foot in the UNESCO-listed colonial core, where ornate churches and elegant houses complete with arched doorways and wrought-iron balconies dominate the scene.
The religious influence brought to Ecuador by Spanish missionaries and colonizers is particularly evident in Quito’s historic center, which contains more than 40 churches and chapels as well as 16 convents and monasteries. After strolling around the picturesque streets, your exclusive city tour will take you to two landmark sites: Parque Alameda, which houses the oldest astronomical observatory in South America, and the central plaza, Independence Square, which is home to the Church of San Francisco, the oldest, largest and most impressive religious building in the city.
DAY 4: Quito to the Galapagos Island
Begin Your Cruise
Today you’ll begin your four-day cruise to what is probably the most famous wildlife-watching spot on Earth. Many visitors to this remote archipelago opt for daytrips, but luxury travel in the Galapagos Islands merits a longer stay – and no better way to do it than on a Galapagos luxury cruise.
Upon arrival in the Galapagos, you’ll board your cruiser and enjoy an introductory welcome speech over lunch. Glide along the mangrove-lined islets to Santa Cruz, the second-largest island in the chain. Here you might see birds including boobies, frigates and pelicans, as well as creatures such as marine turtles, marine iguanas, rays and sharks.
After a dry landing, explore this mythical wonderland during a short hike, where you might just find yourself face-to-face with vibrant pink greater flamingos, common stilts and pintail ducks. Trek up Dragon Hill (Cerro Dragon) for views of the bay and the western archipelago. You may even be treated to a land iguana sighting; these huge creatures are known to nest in this area.
DAY 5: Cruising the Galapagos Islands
In the morning, luxury tours of the Galapagos Islands continue. Disembark at Bartolomé Island – one of the youngest islands in the chain – and ascend the steep wooden staircase up to the island’s summit. Your exertion will be rewarded with the fabulous views of the gnarled volcanic island terrain and the turquoise waters surrounding it. Take a panga (fishing boat) ride around the volcanic cone of Pinnacle Rock, before going snorkeling. The curious Galapagos penguins are frequently known to join swimmers in the seas.
After lunch aboard the cruiser, you will travel to Puerto Egas, a mecca for all kinds of land and shore birds. Stroll along the pitch black volcanic shore and you may encounter a colony of sea lions sunning themselves or even marine iguanas grazing on green algae beds.
DAY 6: Cruising the Galapagos Islands
Darwin Bay (Tower Island)
Following breakfast on board, come ashore for a stroll along a small white coralline sand beach. Here you’ll find all kinds of birds, including great frigates, red-footed and Nazca boobies, and a variety of finches. Most of the Galapagos birds are unfazed by human presence allowing for up-close observation. You may also wish to snorkel along the cliffs and look for hammerhead sharks.
Head back to the boat for lunch on-board followed by a whale- and dolphin-spotting session.
Later in the day, take a walk around North Seymour Island. Glimpse frigates strutting about and blue-footed boobies diving for fish and look out for sea lions and marine iguanas simply hanging about.
DAY 7: Cruising the Galapagos Islands
Santa Fe (Barrington Island)
In early morning, disembark at Santa Fe (Barrington) Island, one of the oldest in the archipelago – some rocks here date back almost four million years. Follow a trail that leads to large dragon-like Sante Fe land iguanas, which are endemic to this island.
Come afternoon, sail over to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Learn about the conservation work and research done by the scientists stationed here. Stop by the tortoise breeding center to see the gentle giants and marvel at the impressive prickly pear cactus forest.
Next, you’ll be driven up to the lush highlands to a giant daisy tree forest and the twin pit craters of “Los Gemelos.” If you’re lucky, this is where you’ll see the endangered giant tortoises ambling around in their wild natural habitat.
DAY 8: Return to Quito
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno / Flight to Quito
Visit Baquerizo Moreno Island in the morning. This small port is the provincial capital of the Galapagos, but don’t expect hustle and bustle – this laid-back capital operates on island time. Here, trace the natural history of the islands through the enlightening exhibits of the Cristobal Interpretation Center. After, get a feel for the colorful little town as you stroll around its cafes and souvenir shops.
In the afternoon, return to the mainland and check in for your return flight at Quito airport.
Like the sound of this Galapagos Island private tour? Get in touch with Kuoda and we’ll start devising your very own customized Ecuador private travel experience.
There are many cruise options for exploring the Galapagos Islands and each has their own itinerary taking in different islands and wildlife.
Visit indigenous communities and learn about local ways of life from the people who know it best: the locals themselves!
Find your way around the South American kitchen during cooking classes with acclaimed local chefs.
Learn about time-honored Andean weaving techniques and admire the impeccable leather crafts of the region.
Ride horses, hike, fish or go paragliding around the dramatic mountain terrain of the Avenue of Volcanoes.
Make the most of Ecuador’s striking scenery with deluxe, gourmet picnics where glassware, proper table settings, a professional waiter and delicious local dishes come as standard.
Explore the flora-and-fauna-packed surrounds of the majestic Cuicocha lagoon, one of Ecuador’s most emblematic destinations.
Personalized itinerary planning: Work with a Kuoda Travel Designer to create the trip of your dreams.
Kuoda hosts take the hassle out of traveling. They’ll be there to assist you – whether with luggage, check in, transport or translating – at every destination during your private luxury tour of Ecuador.
Got a question or query? Kuoda operate a 24-hour, seven day a week customer service operation and can provide updates and assistance whenever you need it.
With Kuoda, you’ll never be bundled in with big groups; each visit, activity, tour and experience will be completely private and conducted by your very own expert, English-speaking guide.
Our private luxury tours of Ecuador are fully flexible, which means we can modify them to suit your travel mood. So if you want to cut an activity or add on a new one, just say the word!
All necessary adventure and trekking equipment will be provided so all you need bring is yourself.
Receive a customized Kuoda Travel kit upon arrival.
Our staff handpicks the best hotels in Ecuador & the Galapagos to ensure you get ultimate comfort and character during your stay.
Talk with your Kuoda Travel expert to help find the right hotel for you during your personalized Ecuador & Galapagos luxury tour.
An exemplary way for any adventure seeking traveler to experience the best of the Andes! This sample The Best of Ecuador & the Galapagos itinerary is just the way for you to get inspired.
Please know you can change or modify these tours however you deem necessary as all Kuoda itineraries are crafted just for you, to suit your individual interests and schedules. Interest in getting this trip completely customized?
The price will be based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.