From the heights of the volcanoes to the unexplored waters of Galapagos, this tour is a must for the lovers of the great outdoors. Whether you are snorkelling with Sea Lions & Rays, or chillling with the Giant Galapagos Tortoise, this adventure is epic!
Welcome to Ecuador’s capital, Quito! Meet up with your Contiki Team & group before exploring – we’ll start the trip out right with a tour around the city so you can get your bearings. Our expert guide will teach you all about this city & the history of the Inca & Spanish invasion which happened in the 15th Century and you’ll get the opportunity to check out the colonial-era buildings that still stand in Old Town. This UNESCO World Heritage city is Ecuador’s second largest, with a population over 2 million. Although this city has a rich historical past dating back to the Incas, today it’s a popular & modern city that sprawls across this Andean landscape – and you’ll experience some of the best views 200m above the town at the Panciello lookout, which features La Virgen del Panecillo, a majestic sculpture that stands overlooking the city. Later, visit the Equatorial line & wander between the two hemispheres as you visit the Inti Nan Museum. We’ll have dinner with the group so you can get you know your travel buddies. The city has a great nightlife scene & some great local treats to try. Ecuadorian fresh fruit juice and steaming cafe con leche are amongst some of the must-try delights on offer here. If you feel like doing as the locals do, you could sip on a canelazo, made from hot water, sugarcane alcohol, lemon, sugar, and cinnamon – it’s a typical drink of the Andean region.
Good morning, Amazon roamers. Who’s beyond excited for what the next 3 days have in store? The secluded and beautiful Minga Lodge is calling, and we’re so ready for her. Pulling the coach breaks in Los Rios, our ME to WE representative will meet us here. A short ride will take us to the banks of the Napo River, where we’ll then hop onto a motorized canoe for the 20 minute ride to Minga Lodge. Secluded, beautiful and accessible only by boat, welcome to paradise. Hungry tummies will be appeased with local snacks upon arrival, following which your ME to WE rep will get you fully up to speed on what you’ll be doing over the next couple of days, as well as the WE Villages development model. Tonight, we’ll feast on a delicious welcome dinner created from local ingredients, then as the sun sets we’ll join a jungle guide to head out for an Amazonian night walk. The rainforest literally comes alive at night, so keep your eyes peeled for frogs, spiders, tree snakes, owls…and about ten thousand other species that call the Amazon basin home.
Fully rested and raring to go, after breakfast we'll make our way to a nearby WE village to meet local community members, learn about their initiatives, and get stuck in with whichever sustainable development project is currently in progress, such as laying the foundation for a new classroom. Whilst working, you'll swap stories with locals, learning about the problems they face and how the WE Village program has helped secure a better future for them. This afternoon and likely with aching limbs after a hard days work, you'll head to a traditional Shamanic Ceremony, then learn all about indigenous weapons from a local hunter. Never more deserving of a tasty dinner, you can choose to relax amongst the gorgeous grounds and pavilions of Minga Lodge this evening, or head back out into the rainforest for more wildlife spotting.
Waking up early this morning, head out with our jungle expert before breakfast for one final rainforest encounter. The myriad of flora and fauna, previously masked by the night sky, will be the first sight to take your breath away, closely followed by the prospect of spotting toucans, long-tailed Potoos, and countless other species. Nature feels on high, after one final exquisite breakfast, it's back down onto the boats and down the river to continue our Lava Line adventure. Emerging from the Amazon jungle feeling both triumphant and reflective, we'll meet up with the Contiki coach and get back on the road towards Banos. Later on we arrive to Banos, the adventure capital of Ecuador, nestled under the still active Tungurahua volcano. Tonight get local as you learn to salsa at our included lesson.
With a free day, explore your way & Baños goes off! Situated in a valley of waterfalls & hot springs, Baños is a hub for travellers who love great weather, small town vibes & the great outdoors. Go horseback riding, canyoneering or abseiling.
Today we’re off to discover Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city & its economic hub. This cosmopolitan city is one of Ecuador’s new hotspots, a walk down to the Malecón (Cities riverfront) is a must. For a bit of a historic enlightenment why not venture to Las Peñas, one of the most emblematic neighborhoods of Guayaquil, its narrow streets and interesting past makes it a great visit. Tonight we set sail on an evening cruise down the Guayas River in a Captain Morgan replica pirate boat, relax as see spectacular views of the city, Las Peñas, colourful Cerro Santa Ana, and the Malecón 2000. You’ll have the opportunity to buy drinks and nibbles while you enjoy the skyline by night
Well good morning paradise. The ocean is calling, and who are we to resist her? Our wildlife kayaking adventure will see us taking to the seas with beady eyes on the lookout for green sea turtles.
This morning we’ll grab some kayaks & get out on the water around Las Tintoreras where we’ll set out in search for the Galapagos Penguin – the only penguin found north of the Equator! On return, spot colourful fish as you snorkel the underground lava tubes. This area is often frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom, so make sure you are on the lookout for these incredible creatures as you snorkel through the clear blue water.
This morning we’ll head to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the island’s natural history on a guided tour, before we take off Santa Cruz Island. Before heading to Santa Cruz Island, you can choose to chill or get active, it's up to you! If you feel like getting out and about, this afternoon’s optional activity is a guided trip to the gorgeous Tortuga Bay. After a half an hour stroll along a path you'll arrive at a stretch of white sandy beach where marine iguanas sunbathe. You also have an opportunity to kayak in the bay in search of sharks, rays, turtles, and great blue herons. This pristine beach is absolute heaven! Not ready to wield a paddle? No worries – this is the perfect opportunity to sun bathe, body surf, surf, or look for marine iguanas, lava gulls and the famous blue- footed boobies. If you aren’t feeling up for the walk, take to the streets and go local or head to town to shop for souvenirs or relax.
This morning we’ll pay a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, once home to one of the island’s most famous residents, the world-famous Lonesome George – who was 100 years old when he died. Here you’ll observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas brought back from the brink of extinction and learn about this centre and research facility. Later we're back on the boat as we head to our next island, San Cristobal. - keep an eye out for bathing sea lions that the island is known for! This island is made up of four volcanoes – all extinct – and later, we’ll head up into the highlands for a scenic downhill bike ride. Starting at a panoramic viewpoint called La Soledad, we’ll bike through the tiny town of El Progreso and five different and varied vegetation zones until we reach a beach La Loberia beach. From there you can check out some of the other locals - we’ll be able to watch cute sea lions sun bathing, playing and vying for our attention. Tonight, it’s all about relaxing over drinks at one of our favourite local spots while watching the sunset.
Today we take to the water to get our last glimpse of the famous and equally incredible underwater world of Galapagos. First we’ll cruise along the coast in our boat where our Local Guide will point out the species of shore birds like the Great Frigatebird and other native species. We begin our stay in search of wildlife and then we are off to Kicker Rock (or Leon Dormido as it’s known by the locals) the remains of a tuff cone - Kicker Rock rising a massive over 143m out of the ocean (that's about 50 floors in building terms). We’ll check out the underwater landscape as we head along the edge and through a channel of this drastic compact ash formation. Your Local Guide will keep you in the know as we look out for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, chocolate chip starfish, and, with any luck, a Galapagos Shark or two. Don’t worry, they won’t be as interested in you as you are in them, so it's perfectly safe. Later we’ll head to Puerto Grande, a beautiful beach which is our final stop for the day. After lunch on board, spend your time swimming in the turquoise water or snapping photos of Kicker Rock in the distance. We’ll head back to town late afternoon where we'll be treated to one of the best BBQ’s in the Galapagos at one of the local’s favorite spots to celebrate a great Galapagos trip.
The trip is about to come to an end, but its not over yet. Make the most of the time you have left & soak up those last rays and have a few photos with the crew. Next up is Guayaquil, where it’s time to say ‘adios’ to your team & travel buddies.
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Trip Name: Ecuador & Galapagos Island Hopper with ME to WE
Duration: 12 Days
From Price: $4,879
Supplier Tour ID: QUGUMW/199259
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