Natural Selection – Amazon & Galapagos Tour
This Ecuador tour is for nature-lovers with an insatiable appetite for discovery. In the stark volcanic landscapes of the incredible Galapagos Islands, through inland cloud forests, and verdant Amazon Rainforest, an array of fascinating creatures, large and small, make their home. On this tour you’ll spend eight days delving into the secrets of the Galapagos from the comfort of a first-class yacht, as well as soaking in hot-springs and disappearing deep into the Amazon Rainforest to a remote and beautiful nature reserve where you’ll stay in a world-class ecolodge.
- Explore the cobbled streets of Quito’s UNESCO protected colonial centre
- Discover fascinating and unique bird and animal species on the Galapagos Islands
- Stay on a first class yacht and cruise the volcanic islands of the Galapagos archipelago
- Go on a journey to the centre of the world at Mitad del Mundo, the Equator monument
- Soak in the beautiful natural hot-springs of Papallacta’s cloud forests
- Journey deep into the Amazon Rainforest and stay in a community owned and managed ecolodge
- Canoe and hike through the jungle and discover its vibrant wildlife and communities
This is a private tour (small-group during Galapagos cruise) and you will be accompanied by an English-speaking local guide during all excursions, and throughout your time in the Amazon. The price displayed is per person based on two people sharing. All tours can be tailor-made to suit your interests and requirements.
This price is valid for the high season (May 1st to June 15th, September, October and the first week of December). If you are travelling during the low season (rest of the year), the price is between 10 and 15% cheaper. We work with several other cruises, all of them with good environmental credentials, and with different trip lengths (from 5 to 15 days) and different comfort levels, so please go ahead and send us an enquiry and we will find the best option for you. The itinerary below is just an example, we will find the perfect dates, itinerary and level of comfort for you. Also ask about the last minute deals for Galapagos cruises and island hopping.
If you are a lover of chocolate, don’t miss out on the 6 day Cocoa Tasting tour! And for those wanting to undertake the challenge of a lifetime, we also offer climbing tours to both Cayambe and Chimborazo volcanoes. For more information on the 3 and 4 day volcano tours, visit the destinations page, and you can also read about Guardian travel writer, Kevin Rushby’s, attempt at reaching both summits.
Ecuador is a diminutive, but diverse country, with a wealth of natural habitats to discover. On this trip you’ll explore two in particular that couldn’t be more different - the arid volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos Islands where the hot sun beats down all year-round; and the lush and humid expanse of the tropical Amazon Rainforest.
The Galapagos Islands are famous for being instrumental in the development of Darwin’s theories of evolution, including natural selection. At about 1000km from the mainland, these remote volcanic islands remained cut off from the rest of the world and the animals there were left to evolve without any influence from incoming species. Numerous unique mammals, reptiles and birds have developed in this harsh environment making it a living laboratory for the evolution of species. The delicate ecological balance of the Galapagos Islands reveals both the beauty and cruelty of the natural world like no other place on the planet. These islands are Ecuador’s most visited destination, and with good reason.
During your visit the Islands you will stay on one of the top yachts in the Galapagos. This fleet operate in both an ecologically and socially responsible manner and strict rules are in place to protect this precious place. On an eight day cruise you’ll visit incredible parts of the Archipelago seeing birds and animals such as blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, penguins, giant turtles, iguanas and fur seals.
After this amazing journey you’ll head back to Quito to relax for a few days and explore some urban wonders. Quito’s labyrinth of cobbled streets and colourful plazas was named the very first UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1978 and its well-preserved colonial buildings are a delight to explore. The city has a dramatic setting amidst the mountains and volcanoes of the cool Andean Highlands, and is a focal point for art, culture and tradition. In the streets you’ll see artisans practicing trades and crafts of old, keeping alive the spirit of their ancestors. You’ll also visit the nearby equator monument and spend a full-day soaking in the beautiful thermal hot-springs in the cloud forest of Papallacta.
From the highlands you’ll travel to Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest. With over 500 species of birds and as many as 400 species of plants in a single hectare, this really is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world. You’ll spend four days in this pristine environment, at the edge of the Yasuni National Park, in a one-of-a-kind ecolodge dedicated to ecotourism, conservation, and community projects. The lodge is owned and operated by members of a local community, and through their extensive knowledge of Amazon wildlife and habitats, you’ll get to know the secrets of the animals and plants that live here.
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- Trip duration: 15 days
- Countries visited: Ecuador
Relaxed: Accommodation in 3 to 4 star hotels. For longer journeys internal transport is by plane rather than overland wherever possible.
Note: this is a guideline; please refer to the tour detailed description for what is and is not included.
- Level of difficulty: Low
- Accommodation: 3 nights in a hotel in Quito, 7 nights on a first class yacht in the Galapagos, 3 nights in a first class ecolodge in the Amazon rainforest, 1 night at the Papallacta hot springs resort
- Transport: Internal flights, private car, yacht cruise
- Meals included: 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners
Percentage of cost going to local communities:
At least 25%
- Bilingual guide: Available in English, French or Spanish
- Extra services:
- Additional information: You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by a local guide who will take you to your hotel and will be able to answer any questions, make any additional arrangements and generally ensure everything goes smoothly. No minimum number of passengers is required and you will not be travelling with a group of people you do not know. Prices quoted are per person and based on at least 2 people travelling. You should expect a cheaper price for a bigger group. Your passport details are required at the time of booking. For detailed information on visa requirements and health formalities, visit the FCO Travel Advice website (for UK citizens) and US Travel Advice website (for US citizens). You will need a Yellow Fever vaccination for travel to the Amazon. Information on money changing in each destination, as well as what it is customary to tip for various services, will be provided. This Ecuador tour, like most of the adventures through Latin America, has a low level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like. What to bring: Travel insurance, passport, binoculars, alarm clock, walking shoes, water bottle, daypack, sun protection, insect repellent, sun glasses and hat, swimwear, flip-flops, torch with extra batteries (headlamp), wind and waterproof jacket, a thermal shirt for layering, fleece, gloves, light synthetic/fast drying shirts and pants (for the Amazon), plastic ziplock bags, plastic bags for your luggage in case of rain.
- Best time to travel: All year round
- Extra budget recommended: Around £300 /$350 pp to cover meals and all other expenses not included in the itinerary.
- What is included: Welcome reception at the airport. Transfers (some may be shared) and internal flights. Overland transport. Accommodation. Entrance fees to sites of interest, museums and national parks mentioned in the itinerary (Note: NOT INCLUDING the Galapagos islands - $110 USD). Guided activities and excursions with English speaking guides (some private, some as part of a small group). Meals as stated in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Contributions to the social projects visited. Donation to help in preserving the Amazon rainforest through agro-forestry and education.
- What is not included: Flights from your country of origin. Travel insurance. Alcoholic drinks. Additional meals or snacks. Travel within and around each town. Visa fees (if any). Tips. Souvenirs. Galapagos entrance fee and migration document ($110 USD).
Natural Selection – Amazon & Galapagos Tour
£ 4,485 GBP
This Ecuador tour is for nature-lovers with an insatiable appetite for discovery. In the stark volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos Islands, through inland cloud forests, and verdant Amazon Rainforest, an array of fascinating creatures make their home. On this tour you’ll spend eight days delving into the secrets of the Galapagos from the comfort of a first class yacht, as well as soaking in hot-springs and disappearing deep into the Amazon to a remote and beautiful nature reserve where you’ll stay in a world-class ecolodge.