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Galapagos & Andes Walking & Hiking Tour

Overview
Lodging
Reviews
Dates & Prices
Route Rating
Make It Private
Trip Highlights
  • Explore highland villages, where Otavaleño Indians continue centuries-old traditions
  • Connect with one of Ecuador's foremost master weavers during a tour of his studio
  • Visit award-winning Condor Huasi, a rehabilitation center for Andean condors
  • Get set for a life-altering experience as you view Galápagos wildlife up close with an expert local guide
  • Swim and snorkel with sea lions and, yes, even with white-tipped reef sharks!

Call 800-462-2848, Every day 6am-6pm,PST

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Darwin's Enchanted Islands & the Ecuadorian Highlands

Rare is the traveler who returns home untouched by the magic of Ecuador. The glorious scenery, rich traditions and welcoming people of the highlands - it's not just the thin Andes air that leaves you breathless. Witness blue-footed boobies perform a dance of seduction, while five hundred-pound tortoises lumber across the volcanic Galápagos landscape. Curious penguins swim figure eights among snorkelers, as marine iguanas enjoy a casual seaweed lunch. The unusual and wonderful wildlife that intrigued Charles Darwin when he visited the islands in 1835 is still here. To experience this land firsthand is to feel a sense of joy and wonder in one of the world's last great wild places.

Straight Talk We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception. Read the Straight Talk

Straight Talk

We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Travel Time

Please note we may have an earlier morning than you are used to on Backroads trips due to our flight between the Ecuadorian mainland and the Galápagos Islands. Once in the Galapogos, the main form of travel is by boat, so prepared if you typically don't have sea legs.

Straight Talk
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Travel Time

Please note we may have an earlier morning than you are used to on Backroads trips due to our flight between the Ecuadorian mainland and the Galápagos Islands. Once in the Galapogos, the main form of travel is by boat, so prepared if you typically don't have sea legs.

Itinerary

Day 1 Trace the orchid-lined caldera rim surrounding deep-blue Laguna de Cuicocha Otavalo's market is a colorful bustling whirl - revel in it! Musicians serenade you with handcrafted instruments Tour the studio of one of Ecuador's foremost master weavers Soak it all in and savor every moment of your time in the Andes.

Days 2-3 Hike through quinoa fields and cloud forests as condors ride the thermals high above you Fernando Polanco, grandson of an Ecuadorian president, welcomes us at Hacienda Zuleta, a 4,000-acre working farm set amid volcano vistas and pre-Inca ruins Feast on fresh cheeses, vegetables and trout prepared using Polanco family recipes Walk or horseback ride on trails flanking Imbabura Volcano in the spectacular Zuleta Valley Visit a project managed by Hacienda Zuleta that reintroduces captive Andean condors into the wild and educates local children about the importance of preservation.

Days 4-8 Boat and fly between the Galápagos Islands  Hike in the company of expert local guides as fascinating wildlife behaviors occur right before your eyes  Watch giant frigate birds with six-foot wingspans soar like Triassic Period pterosaurs View marine iguanas basking on warm rocks, unfazed by the Sally Lightfoot crabs that scurry across them  Marvel at fluorescent fish, sea lions and lava lizards  Keep your eyes peeled for the brilliant plumage of the rare vermilion flycatcher  Jump in a kayak and paddle around the islet-dotted bays around Puerto Villamil to get a closer look at penguins, seabirds and maybe even surfacing sea turtles.

Premiere Inns*

Accommodations may vary based on departure date. Any difference from what is listed below can be found by clicking on your desired date on the Dates & Prices tab.

La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa
La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa

Cotacachi (1 night) Peacocks stroll freely in the lush gardens of this stately inn, which combines Ecuadorian and European styles. (pool, spa, tennis)

Hacienda Zuleta
Hacienda Zuleta

Zuleta (2 nights) Luxuriate at this 4,000-acre working farm and living museum open only to select groups of travelers. Our host is Fernando Polanco, the great-grandson and grandson of former Ecuadorian presidents.

Iguana Crossing
Iguana Crossing
* Casual Inn

Isabela Island (2 nights) Set on a pristine beach near a habitat for flamingos and marine iguanas. (pool)

Galápagos Safari Camp
Galápagos Safari Camp

Santa Cruz Island (2 nights) Beautifully appointed luxury safari tents offering unparalleled immersion in the natural environment. (pool)

Guest Reviews About This Trip

Beginning with a cultural adventure in the highlands and culminating in an extraordinary wildlife viewing experience in the Galápagos, you'll discover the best of two worlds in one fantastic trip. In the Andes, enjoy hiking, market excursions and visits with local artisans. Then delve into the Galápagos Islands, coming face-to-face with some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet while walking with local naturalists, swimming and snorkeling. I hope you'll join us for this unforgettable introduction to two distinct faces of Ecuador.
Michelle Muench- Regional Manager, Latin America

Trip Dates & Prices

Please click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

2015 CLASSIC DATES
January 2015
March 2015
April 2015
September 2015
November 2015
December 2015

Don't see your ideal travel date? Call us at 800-462-2848 for Private Trip date availability.

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This Trip Is Rated Level 1-4

Routes For All Abilities
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.

Daily Route Options
Day EASYGOING ACTIVE AVID
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain
1 2 100 3 1000
2 5* 1300 7 1300
3 4 800 6 800 9 2000
Optional Horseback Riding at Hacienda Zuleta
4 4 200 7 200
5 5* 400 11 700
Concha de Perla Snorkeling (2 Hours)
6 4* 600 6 800
Las Tintoreras Boat Ride, Walk & Wildlife Viewing (3 Hours)
7 4 200
Puerto Ayora Bay Tour (3 Hours)
8 Return to Quito & Conclusion of the Trip
 
note:

The terrain on this trip includes cobblestone paths, dirt roads, unpaved trails, grassy paths, beach walks.

* Includes a shuttle

Private Trips Options & Pricing

Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.

You can pick any open date for your group of 8 or more except for trips departing during the last two weeks of December, where a 16 guest minimum is required. Call us for date availability.

Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)

2015

8 - 9 guests from $6,398 pp dbl. occ. 12 or more guests from $5,598 pp dbl. occ.
10 - 11 guests from $5,898 pp dbl. occ.
Internal flights from $790.

For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.

For 35 years, Backroads has been perfecting the art of active travel. We are the Ecuador tour experts. See our award-winning Latin America walking tours and hiking tours, Latin America biking tours and Latin America multisport tours.

Walking & Hiking

Premiere Inns*
Route Rating

arrow Level 1-4

Meet/Depart

Cotacachi, Ecuador/Quito, Ecuador

Detailed Itinerary

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Trip Notes

All meals included

Recommended Reads

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* See lodging tab for complete details.