Interact with the world's most unique species, experience the Amazon by houseboat and the Galápagos from intimate eco-lodges.

Ecuador is famous for it's incredible wildlife, especially for other-worldly inhabitants which dwell only on the Galápagos Islands. Yet, what many people often miss is a rare potential for experiencing the Amazon Rainforest at maximum bio-diversity in this epic country. Our luxury wildlife tour covers only the top experiences and stays in off-the-beaten-track lodges in Ecuador, where our guests can have an intimate experience with nature working its wonders.

Your excursion begins in Quito, for a couple of nights to explore the gorgeous cobblestoned town centre - a UNESCO Heritage Site in itself. Following recalibration and adjustments to your new environment you'll set off on a plane journey of just 30 minutes to Coca.

On the borders of the Amazon Rainforest, journey downstream through winding waterways to reach the Anakonda ready to take you on a journey into deeper parts of the rainforest. Each day will bring with it sightings of pink river dolphin, black caiman and ginormous anacondas, fertile forests provide a generous helping for primates to gorge on. Get to know the jungle with a night in the forest, before your transfer to the Galápagos via Quito.

Upon arrival in the Galápagos Islands, head straight for the turquoise waters of the Itabaca Channel. Instantly, you'll be greeted by sightings of blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, dancing sea-lions, and the patrol of the white-tipped reef sharks. Meander through mangroves before heading to our exclusive giant tortoise reserve on Santa Cruz Island, staying in one of the most beautiful Galápagos hotels.

After spending a week on your vessel in the Amazon, experience a Galápagos safari from the comfort of luxury lodges overflowing with bucolic charm.

What's Included:

  • Internal flights
  • Accommodation as stated
  • Private chauffeur airport transfers
  • Meals and drinks mentioned in full itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Professional local naturalist guides with fair salaries
  • Cultural immersion experiences
  • Outdoor activities (SUP, tubing, kayaking)
  • Wildlife activities

Trip Itinerary

Days 1 & 2: Quito

Day 1 - Welcome to Ecuador

Today you'll arrive on your international flight into Ecuador's highland capital city - Quito. Our Wayfairer representative, local to the area, will be ready to transfer you straight into this beautiful city's historic centre.

Hotel Mama Cuchara is located in the decadent heart of the city. Its façade resembles a patrimonial Spanish colonial house, yet inside, guests are welcomed with trendy modern artwork, representing the hybrid mix of Quito's history and culture. This is a boutique and homely Ecuador hotel with five-star excellence. Use this as a stepping stone to explore the plazas and monumental churches just minutes from your door, the perfect kickstart to your heavenly Ecuador holiday.

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Day 2 - A taste of the Equator

Ecuador is home to some of the most exciting wildlife on earth. It is a country of history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and a capital city overlooked by a snow capped volcanic mountain range. Today you'll get to know your surroundings, and what it means to be an Ecuadorian.

The place to begin is right in the centre at the Mitad del Mundo, just 45 minutes north of Quito, you'll be taken by our knowledgeable guides to learn about a place where pre-Inca and Inca civilisations celebrated the yearly equinox. Following your tour, enjoy lunch in verdant gardens and visit the city's impressive UNESCO Heritage Site centre. Enjoy world-class views punctuated by ornate architecture and signs of civilisations both past and present.

Discover the city through your senses, and follow a path less followed through the city through traditional food markets. Our specialist guide will talk you through medicinal herbs, traditional cleansing, fresh juices and the popping colours of local produce. Finish up in the first ever agave experience museum in South America, amble through the botanical gardens, chat with the distillers and taste away before heading back for a dozy evening on the rooftop terrace of one of the best hotels in Quito.

Days 3 - 7: Amazon Rainforest

Day 3 - Begin your Amazon Rainforest Tour

This morning, following breakfast and coffee on the rooftop, our driver will take you to the airport. A short 30-minute flight will take you from Quito to the frontier town of Coca, on the borders of the untamed Amazon Rainforest.

From stepping off the plane and down onto the dock you'll feel the close heat of the tropics and see the reaching banks of the Napo River guide you further into the jungle. Navigate down the river by motorised canoe, to meet the Anakonda Amazon houseboat awaiting your departure. Begin your Amazon cruise and admire the rainforest from the river itself, with all its colourful creatures.

This evening, discover the forest's nocturnal activity and listen to incessant sounds of nature surrounding.

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Day 4 - Pink dolphin conservation

This morning wake to the sounds of flowing water and calls of the rainforest. Today you'll enter Yasuní National Park, one of the world's most biodiverse locations and home to the legendary pink dolphin. After exploring the lower part of the Napo, discover intimate Ecuador on an Amazon birdwatching tour as you continue on your river route.

When you arrive in Yasuní, you'll get involved with pink dolphin conservation programs which are operated by the Martinica community in the Cocaya area. Here you will interact with these beautiful creatures and learn about indigenous Amazonian communities who are doing their utmost to protect their environment.

This afternoon, the Secoyas people who live near Yasuní will show you how to prepare traditional cassava bread and share a delicious feast before the evening's sunset showstopper. If you wish, tonight is yours to spend in the wilderness, so camp out in luxury tents and feel at one with the all-encompassing sounds of nature.

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Day 5 - Kichwa Cooks

Begin your day by paying a visit to a Kichwa family on the banks on the Napo River. Today you'll learn directly from local community members about their lifestyle and their connection to the rainforest surrounding. On the Anakonda, participate in a cooking class with an expert chef, who will prepare with you an Ecuadorian feast.

This afternoon, relax and take in the magnificent Amazon surrounding from the open-air hot tub, and enjoy cocktails on the house from the Bar and Lounge of the houseboat. For those who want a more active affair, embark on an adventurous Amazon tour by kayak before gazing at sublime stars from the observation deck.

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Day 6 - Amazon Rainforest tour from above

This morning, visit an observation tower built against a giant kapok tree. This soaring look-out point is 100 feet tall. There's something immensely powerful about watching over the treetops and listening to the occupants below making themselves known.

This afternoon, you'll visit the Limoncocha Biological Reserve in the primary forest. This protected area is home to almost 500 different bird species, and dozens of different species of monkey. Look out for the iconic hoatzin, known locally as the 'stink-bird', river turtles, black caiman and anaconda. 

The days explorations will extend until evening, and our professional naturalists will give you a flashlight to locate black caiman lurking in the shallows.

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Days 7 - Colourful Claylicks

This morning set out early on motorised canoes to witness a riot of colours on Ecuador's western Amazon. The famous parrot clay licks provide rich minerals for numerous vibrant birds and species. This is the meeting place of hundreds of parrots and parakeets as well as endemic species. This will be your final Amazon wildlife tour before returning to the dock, for a final night in luxurious hotel in Quito.

 

Rest well in our hotel neighbouring the airport, and reflect on your eye opening trip to the Amazon Rainforest.

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Days 8 - 14: Galápagos Islands

Day 8 - Fly to the Galápagos

This morning your driver will pick you up from Quito's country club and escort you to your flight to Baltra in the Galápagos. The journey will take 2 hours, but it's incredibly scenic the whole way.

As soon as you arrive you'll dive straight into adventure. Entering the airport through the VIP lounge, you'll bypass crowds and head straight to our exclusive area to have a cool drink, before transferring to the Itabaca Channel.

 

Swim in turquoise waters equipped with a snorkel, kayak or SUP towards the beautiful red mangrove forests along lava rock cliffs on the waters edge. These seas are frequented by the most iconic animals in the Galápagos: blue-footed boobies, sea lions, brown pelicans, a variety of herons and white-tipped reef sharks. There's no better introduction to your incredible Galápagos tour.

This afternoon, visit the giant tortoise reserve before heading to your luxury tented lodge on these very grounds. Relax and watch the sky's show of glowing stars, enjoy dinner and a well deserved night's rest in your Galápagos safari lodge.

Day 9 - Island Intimacy

Rise with the calls of the birds on this gorgeous island paradise. Today, after breakfast, embark on a motor yacht tour and enjoy a daily excursion with the resident naturalist guide native to these wonderful lands.

Visit North Seymour, South Plaza, Santa Fe or Bartolome Islands and along the way watch rays leap from the water and see the vast Pacific expand endlessly towards the horizon. See islands and their wildlife in the most pristine state and uncover species unseen by so many people, yet unafraid to make themselves known. This is a luxury safari tour like no other.

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Day 10 - Land of Pirates & Legends

This morning, say goodbye to your Santa Cruz lodge and depart for your Floreana Island tour. Only 150 people call Floreana home and this is the least developed and most unabashedly natural of the four inhabited islands. 

Floreana is an incredibly peaceful island, and during your stay you'll hike and learn about the fascinating local history. Of course, the intriguing Galápagos wildlife lives here in abundance, so look out for giant tortoises, frigate birds, sea lions, Darwin's finches, petrels and marine iguanas among dozens of other species.

The open air chiva bus will take you to one of the most beautiful hotels in the Galápagos, overlooking stunning and secluded bays. Claudio Cruz runs this lodge - a descendant of one of the island's original inhabitants. Listen to his fantastical stories whilst he shares his deep knowledge of the island. 

This afternoon, set out to paddle pristine waters across the bay to explore La Loberia, a sea-lion breeding ground. Once there, enjoy more snorkelling in the Galápagos, amist sea turtles, rays and an abundance of tropical fish. Tonight after a warm shower, watch the spectacular sunset and head to the village for dinner to indulge in unique Galápagos cuisine.

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Day 11 - Frigate Parade

This morning you'll set off to explore the island and learn about some remarkable Galápagos wildlife as well as the interesting history. Experience the highlands by jeep and uncover the colourful history of the Wittmers, the 'Baroness', and the pirates. Hear about the 'Enigma of Floreana' - a riddle from the 1930s that has never been solved.

Drive through the highlands on your way to Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven) to begin a hike across historic sites, pirate caves towards a refreshing dip in a freshwater spring. As you traverse the hillside, expect to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the vegetation, or even obstructing your path.

On the way back to the coast, stop at Claudio's farm, La Primavera to watch the extraordinary behaviour of the frigate birds who dance as they wash their salty wings in fresh waters surrounding the farm. See males perform their mating ritual and inflate scarlet red pouches across their chests.

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Day 12 - Tortoises and Tintoreras Sharks

This morning you'll set off early to Isla Isabela, the largest island in the Galápagos. This adventure familiarises you with more of the beautiful animals of the Galápagos. You begin with a tour of the local giant tortoise-breeding centre, where you'll get involved with one of the important conservation projects in the Galápagos. The island's giant tortoise population is currently recovering thanks to initiatives like this.

This afternoon, continue the journey out towards the Tintoreras. Here you'll see the vastest concentration of wildlife in the Galápagos. This is a small group of islands near the village of Puerto Vilamil. They're named after the abundance of white-tipped reef sharks that swim in the surrounding waters. Jump in and interact with the playful penguins and sea lions shooting through the cold water currents.

At sunset, bike the wetlands trail. Thousands of marine iguana colonies and a number of different types of mangrove trees are dotted along this network of trails, beaches and historic sites. Isabela Island's volcanic backbone is lined with so much potential for Ecuador wildlife viewing and enriching activities.

Day 13 - Volcanoes at Isabela

Isabela Island is one of the archipelago's youngest and most volcanically active islands. Today you'll wake to blissful sounds of your natural surroundings, before having the whole day to explore the highlands properly.

Begin by hiking up to the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano, then onward to the rim of Volan Chico. You'll be joined on your walk by Galapagos Hawks, finches, flycatchers and the elusive short-eared owl. As you head towards Volcán Chico, you'll feel as though you're walking on another planet. Look twice as with each glance the landscape reveals scurrying lizards ducking under the rocks. 

Following this epic landscape, relax in the shade of the jaboncillo tree. Enjoy a picnic whilst taking in the spectacular views over the island. Watch over those which you have already visited on your Galápagos Islands tour before descending back to the beaches of Puerto Villamil.

Day 14 - Hasta Luego Ecuador

Sadly, after a romantic evening watching the stars, today marks the date of your departure.

Your Ecuador safari has covered some of the most prolific wildlife viewing in the world, and hasn't missed out on any cultural activities along the way. Ecuador is a place of incredible daily opportunities that you'll want to re-live. So for you, it's just hasta luego - until next time!

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Interested in this trip?

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your perfect vacations

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Why Wayfairer

At Wayfairer we are incredibly selective about the lodges and tour providers we choose to partner with. On each journey to Ecuador, our guests will be engaging with positive, eco and sustainable tourism which ensures that their experience will be culturally enriching and beneficial for the country that they are visiting and its inhabitants. Our partners know this destination well and are doing their utmost to protect and repair the incredibly important ecosystem here. It is integral to our work as luxury travel specialists that we support and cherish this.

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