Got your camera? Your sense of adventure? Get set to treat your family to nonstop thrills. Hike amid volcano-studded highlands to traditional villages. Here local crafts, folkloric music and ancient ruins are yours to discover. Journey to the marine sanctuary of the Galápagos. We sail from island to island, explore pristine beaches, and snorkel and kayak in the famous waters. Ever see a frigate bird strut his stuff? Or a seaweed-eating iguana? Alongside an expert naturalist, we observe, inquire and react as fascinating wildlife behaviors occur right before our eyes in Darwin's natural laboratory.
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 TimePlease note that there is a substantial amount of travel time on this trip, and we may have earlier mornings than you are used to on Backroads trips—including as early as 4 a.m.—due to our flights between the Ecuadorian mainland and the Galápagos Islands.Once in the Galápagos, the main form of travel is by boat. In summer months the waters can be a bit rougher, so be prepared for wet, windy conditions and bring seasickness medication if you think you’ll need it.
Day 1 Bike through highland villages, where Otavaleño Indians continue age-old traditions Pedal to Otavalo, then the younger set takes part in a scavenger hunt in the colorful outdoor market Enjoy the spirited serenading of musicians playing handcrafted instruments Visit the studio of Señor Miguel Andrango, one of Ecuador's foremost master weavers.
Days 2-3 Hike in the Andes with spectacular views of snowcapped mountains Walk through eucalyptus forest and the fertile valleys between Cayambe and Imbabura Volcanoes Learn about daily life here from locals in the community of Angla Fernando Polanco, grandson of an Ecuadorian president, welcomes us into Hacienda Zuleta, a 4,000-acre working farm set amid volcano vistas and pre-Inca ruins Hike to archaeological sites and along winding roads through the lush pastureland of the Zuleta Valley Ever milked a cow? Now's your chance!
Days 4-8 Incredible up-close wildlife viewing in the Galápagos Islands, an isolated sanctuary for a stunning array of unique plants and animals Accompanied by an expert local guide, marvel at blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, white-tipped reef sharks, fluorescent fish, sea lions, lava lizards and possibly penguins Boat and fly from island to island, stopping along the way to snorkel, kayak, hike, bike, and swim Explore Isabela Island's Sierra Negra volcano, the second largest caldera in the world Spot marine iguanas basking in the sun, unfazed by the Sally Lightfoot crabs that scurry around Come late afternoon, kick back at our comfortable island lodges or venture out to hike, play at the beach or discover unique port towns.
- Hike in the Andes with spectacular views of snowcapped mountains
- Bike through small highland villages, where Otavaleño Indians continue centuries-old traditions
- A scavenger hunt for kids in a bustling local market
- Incredible up-close wildlife viewing in the Galápagos with a expert local guide
- Snorkel and kayak with tropical fish, sea lions and white-tipped reef sharks
Hacienda Cusín (1 night): Located in the Ecuadorian sierra, this restored Andean estate traces its history to 1602, when the land was purchased from the King of Spain.
Hacienda 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.
Finch Bay Eco Hotel (2 nights): A beautiful waterfront lodge near the heart of Puerto Ayora.
Iguana Crossing (2 nights): Set on a pristine beach near a habitat for flamingos and marine iguanas. (pool)
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.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|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|
|Kids||Scavenger Hunt at Otavalo Market (1 Hour)|
|Other||Optional Hiking, Horseback Riding or Visit to Hacienda Zuleta`s Embroidery Shop|
|Kids||Cow Milking (1 Hour)|
|Kayaking||& Snorkeling with Wildlife Viewing (3 Hours)|
|Other||Las Tintoreras Boating, Snorkeling and Wildlife Viewing (3 Hours)|
|Other||Campo Duro Ranch Tour (1 Hour)|
|Other||La Concha de Perla Snorkeling Excursion (1 Hour)|
|8||Other||Conclusion of the Trip|
On this trip, we'll be using titanium mountain bikes that are just right for the non-technical dirt road riding as well as the paved riding. (approximately 25% dirt and 75% paved).
* Includes a shuttle
2015 Dates & Pricing*
- 3/15-22 Price: $5698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 3/22-29 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 6/14-21 Price: $5698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 6/21-28 Price: $5598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 6/28-7/5 Price: $5298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 7/5-12 Price: $5598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 7/19-26 Price: $5298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 8/2-9 Price: $5298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 8/16-23 Price: $5298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 12/20-27 Price: $5498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 12/21-28 Price: $5498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 12/22-29 Price: $5498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 12/23-30 Price: $5498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 12/24-31 Price: $5498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 12/25-1/1 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
- 12/26-1/2 Price: $5898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1100 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $790
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Recommended Kids Ages
- Recommended minimum age for the trip: 9 years
- Minimum age restriction to ride own bike: 9 years
- Minimum age restriction to kayak and snorkel: 6 years
- No Burleys or Piccolos available on this trip
General Info on Minimum Ages:We strongly encourage families to join our Family Trips, designed with kid- and adult-friendly features. Please note that we have a minimum age requirement of 1 year for all Inn trips and 2 years for all Camping trips. Other than that, we do not restrict trips to a minimum age except in the rare case of a hotel age restriction. We do, however, recommend minimum ages based on the following criteria:
- 12+ amount of cultural appreciation, difficulty of activities, routes
- 9+ difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions, routes
- 6+ several longer dinners; routes are difficult for pulling a Burley and therefore not appropriate for younger children; difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions
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)
|8 - 9 guests from $6,098 pp dbl. occ.||12 or more guests from $5,298 pp dbl. occ.|
|10 - 11 guests from $5,598 pp dbl. occ.|
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Youth savings do not apply to Private Trips.
Guest Trip Reviews
Ecuador was an unexpected gem. What a beautiful country with wonderful people! We just loved the hiking and mountain biking.- Bellaire, TX
I loved the part of the trip in the Highlands of Ecuador... Our leaders were enthusiastic, helpful, flexible and kind, and the food was excellent. The scenery and contact with the local people was superb, and I loved the hiking and biking!- Cherry Hill, NJ
Backroads planned an amazing and rich trip, and executed it with polish and good humor. We were extremely impressed and will travel with Backroads on all our future organized travel. Guides were wonderful with guests, kids, dietary and medical restrictions, and at keeping everything moving smoothly. By the end of the trip, we felt our family had grown to include the leaders and other guests.- Berkeley, CA