The programme Nature and Culture at its Best is set out to explore and live Quito’s Heritage Center like a local, it continues to explore the ‘cocoon in the clouds’ Mashpi private reserve and lodge, located on a high plateau three hours’ drive from Quito, a hub for biodiversity, and finally discover the extraordinary wildlife of the Enchanted Galápagos Islands, on board of the exclusive Yacht La Pinta.
Day 1 – Sunday
Welcome to Quito and Ecuador!. At the airport you will be greeted by a member of our organization, we will escort you all the way to your hotel, giving you a short briefing about Quito and the country in general with valuable information you need to know. Private transportation and guide, handling of two pieces of luggage per person at the airport and the hotel.
Note: Quito airport is located about one and half hours from Quito depending on traffic conditions, please make sure you do not leave anything behind.
Hotel Casa Gangotena for 2 nights
Situated in a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco, the three-story Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel in Quito harbours 31 rooms, a showcase of eye-catching style, contemporary design, antiques, fine furnishings, modern technologies and quintessential comforts.
Beautifully – and eclectically – appointed, the hotel invites its guests to explore and to relax, whether in the dining room, glassed-in patio, garden redolent with the perfume of native flowers, wood-panelled library, or else atop its panoramic third-floor terrace.
Beyond its doors of this Quito Hotel, the world heritage wonders of Quito, as well the vastly-different and diverse worlds of Ecuador itself, await. Sophisticated and eclectic, historic yet contemporary, at Casa Gangotena style, passion and service blend seamlessly and delightfully.
Day 2 – Monday
Live Quito Like a Local
A day dedicated to exploring the lives, beliefs, cuisine and traditions of Old Town Quito, the first city named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978, and a revelation to many people. The tour is all about ‘living Quito like a local’, visiting shops, exploring markets, meeting local herbal healers, wandering the streets, learning skills from artisans, and enjoying a lunch of great Ecuadorian cooking at the sophisticated Casa Gangotena hotel.
Visits include meeting artisans, shopkeepers, hat makers and sweet confectioners. San Francisco Market, one of the oldest in the capital. La Ronda with cobbled street and typical balconies overflowing with geraniums. Here we visit the Manos en La Ronda project and meet artisans in the workshops. We then visit the chocolatier on the ground floor, where we enjoy a snack and have a chance to discover and taste the finest chocolate in the world – which, of course, comes from Ecuador..!
Jesuit church of La Compañía with its stunning gold-leaf interior. Returning back to Plaza San Francisco, we visit the church, choir and pretty patios of the Franciscan order.
In the afternoon, we cross the street to the excellent Casa del Alabado Archaeological Museum. It houses a fantastic collection of pieces dating back some 5,000 years, arrayed beautifully within a restored 17th-century colonial mansion.
Day 3 to 5 – Tuesday to Thursday
Mashpi Lodge, 3 days/2 nights Program, a luxury cocoon in the clouds.
The wonders waiting at Mashpi Lodge will delight the worldliest nature lover. Perched at 900 m (3,116 feet) above sea level and surrounded by lower montane rainforest and cloudforest, the Lodge is surrounded by a profusion of plant species, from ferns and bromeliads to hundreds of orchid species, many newly-discovered. A staggering 500 species of bird – including some 36 endemics – are estimated to inhabit the forest, fluttering through the canopy. Monkeys, peccaries and even puma make their homes inside the Reserve crisscrossed with waterfalls between dramatic, verdant hills.
Trails take you to discover life at every step. Our Life Centre with some local butterflies species, offer a perfect place to contemplate atonished views. From the Observation Tower (26m or 85 ft), enjoy an exciting bird´s-eye view and dramatic panoramas.
Species that can be spotted here include toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots as well as raptors.
Located close to the hotel, the sky bike makes for an original and exciting way to explore the forest canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest, around 200 m (655 feet) apart, crossing a gorge above a river flowing between rocks and trees below. Silent, easy-to-use and fun, it’s an activity for children over 8 years-old accompanied by an adult, providing guests with another chance to observe the natural world close to the lodge and even spot its denizens.
The forests of Mashpi boast 22 hummingbird species identified to date, inhabiting different specific altitudes, with around 16 species alone observable by guests. In order to make it easier to see these amazing creatures, a shelter with seating provides the ideal setting, feeders for the birds strung from its roof. The site is located at a natural viewpoint, which, on clear days, provides breathtaking views of the Reserve’s forested hills.
Day 5 – Thursday
Back to Quito and Overnight at Hotel Casa Gangotena.
Day 6 – Friday
Transfer to Quito airport for your Galapagos Flight.
Day 6 to 9 – Fri to Mon
Cruise on board Yacht La Pinta – 4D/3N
Day 6 – Friday
We arrive by plane at San Cristóbal Island and transfer to Yacht La Pinta for cabin assignment, introductory briefing and lunch.
Cerro Colorado Tortoise Centre
After lunch, we land back at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, we visit the breeding centre of the highly-endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species and the endemic San Cristóbal lava lizard.
Day 7 – Saturday
Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island)/ Cerro Brujo (San Cristóbal Island)
We land at the eastern tip of San Cristóbal Island this morning. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline; we can observe frigates, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim from the beach and snorkel by an islet.
Cerro Brujo (San Cristóbal Island)
In the afternoon following lunch on board, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes us to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coraline beach, great for walking, with rewarding birdwatching with good views of seabirds and shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835.
Day 8 – Sunday
Sunday: Punta Suarez/Gardner Bay (Española Island)
Our morning outing at Punta Suárez provides an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April – January), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole”. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Many regard this site as the best in the Islands. Back on board for lunch.
Gardner Bay (Española Island)
In the afternoon, we set down at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkelling in this area, or else there’s time to kayak or ride the glass-bottom boat.
Day 9 – Monday
Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)/ Baltra Airport
Disembarking in the morning, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the ‘rearing in captivity’ programme for the giant tortoises. Here we witness the efforts and results of all the field work done in the name of science. We transfer by bus across Santa Cruz Island and a short ferry ride to Baltra. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
Day 9 – Monday
Transfer from Guayaquil Airport to your hotel
Hotel Hilton Colon Guayaquil:
Hilton Colon Guayaquil combines excellent service and a laid-back resort feel, and is conveniently located only a few minutes from José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport.
Enjoy a spacious guest room with WiFi, a comfortable work area and flat-screen TV.
Relax in the outdoor pool and sip on a cocktail from the swim-up bar.
Day 10 Tuesday
Private transfer from your hotel to Guayaquil Airport for your outbound flight.
- All transfers from/to International flights and Galapagos flights
- American Breakfast and Tea Time at Casa Gangotena
- Lunch in Quito tour
- Transfers from/to Quito
- All meals and drinks
- Guided visits
- Specialized lectures
- Rubber boots and ponchos
- Visit to the archaeological site of Tulipe
- Air ticktes Quito-Galapagos-Guayaquil
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee
- Migration control card
On board Yacht La Pinta:
- All meals & Soft Drinks*
- Bilingual naturalist guides
- Conferences and lectures
- Transportation to / from the airport in Galápagos
- Snorkeling equipment
- Shore excursions
- Wet suit rental
- Luggage handling
- Doctor on board
- Gifts and additional items
- Activities outside the reserve
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Laundry or valet services
- And additional items
Promotion not valid on Easter and Christmas holidays
Regular price: $ 5,924 pp
Package price: $ 5,650 pp
- Promotion only for these specfic dates.
- Accommodation in double/twin estandar room
- Luxury double/twin room at Casa Gangoena
- Wayra twin/double room at Mashpi Lodge
- Hotels subject to availability (or similar standard)
- $ 1000 pp nonrefundable deposit
- It doesn´t apply with other promotions
- Restrictions apply
- Exclusively for direct customers and travel agencies