It doesn't take a PhD to know that whatever comes to the Galápagos is forever changed. But the Andean highland arts and culture, mountainous landscapes and pre-Inca history have a similar effect. And as you rub shoulders with indigenous Otavaleños, commune with condors, hike along the rim of a volcanic crater, snorkel the famous waters, encounter blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises, and watch the sun drop into the Pacific from your beachside lodge, you'll realize that Ecuador and its islands have done it again. You're forever changed.
Days 1-2 Bike and hike in the Andes with spectacular views of snowcapped mountains Visit the studio of master weaver Miguel Andrango 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.
Day 3 Condor Huasi, a center reintroducing endangered condors into the wild Hike to archaelogical sites and along winding roads through the lush pastureland of the Zuleta Valley for new perspectives and breathtaking views.
Days 4-8 Incredible up-close wildlife viewing in the Galápagos Islands, an isolated sanctuary for a stunning array of unique plants and animals Naturalist at your side, marvel at blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, white-tipped reef sharks, fluorescent fish, sea lions and lava lizards Boat from island to island, stopping to snorkel, kayak, hike and swim Explore the rim of Sierra Negra volcano's expansive caldera - at nearly six miles across, it's the second largest in the world Ever seen expert sunbathers? Marine iguanas bask on warm rocks, unfazed by the Sally Lightfoot crabs that scurry around Late afternoon, kick back at our lodges or stroll in laid-back port towns.
- Hike in the Andes with spectacular views of snowcapped mountains
- Bike through small highland villages, where Otavaleño Indians continue centuries-old traditions
- Condor Huasi, a center that reintroduces Andean condors into the wild
- Incredible up-close wildlife viewing in the Galápagos with a naturalist 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): Once home to a former president of Ecuador, "This beautiful late-17th-century hacienda is much more than a place to stay; it's a full cultural-immersion experience," according to Condé Nast Traveler.
Aventura Lodge (2 nights): A beautiful waterfront lodge nestled into the mangrove forest.
Isabela Lodge (2 nights): Take in stunning sea views from the large deck or rooftop terrace of this lodge, separated from the ocean by a white-sand beach and palm trees.
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|
|Other||Optional hiking, horseback riding or visit to Hacienda Zuleta`s embroidery shop|
|4||Other||Tortuga Bay Walk (2 hours)|
|Kayaking||Itabaca Channel kayaking & snorkeling with wildlife viewing (3 hours)|
|Other||El Chato Ranch tortoise walk (1.5 hours)|
|6||Other||Los Tuneles boating, hiking, snorkeling and wildlife viewing (4 hours)|
|Other||Las Tintoreras boating, hiking and snorkeling and wildlife viewing (3 hours)|
|Other||Campo Duro Ranch tour (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 55% dirt and 45% paved).
* Includes a shuttle
2014 Dates & Pricing*
- 3/19-26 Price: $5448 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $630
- 4/13-20 Price: $5348 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $630
- 8/17-24 Price: $5248 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $950
- 9/14-21 Price: $4998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $630
- 9/28-10/5 Price: $4998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $630
- 12/20-27 Price: $5198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $630
- 12/30-1/6 Price: $5498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1200 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $630
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
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
- 8 - 9 guests $5,898 pp dbl. occ.
- 10 - 11 guests $5,598 pp dbl. occ.
- 12 or more guests $4,998 pp dbl. occ.
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Guest Trip Reviews
This trip seemed more like two weeks than eight days; there was so much activity and diversity packed into such a short time. Even with the activity we had enough downtime to relax each day. It was two very different vacations packed into one.- Salt Lake City, UT
This trip will be memorable as a wonderfully interesting trip to Ecuador, its history, cultures, terrain and the truly lovely people.- Waban, MA
I always feel energized by the trips I take with Backroads. We really made the most of each day and I feel like this trip was an adventure of a lifetime!- Arlington, VA
What a great trip! So much to do and see! As many activities every day as you wanted. The trip leaders were so supportive and accommodating!- Fishers, IN
Fabulous! I took a Backroads Trip over ten years ago to the Loire Valley and have been wanting to take another for years. My husband NEVER participated in organized tours but after our experience in Ecuador he asked if Backroads has a trip to Botswana or Alaska! I am delighted that Backroads has maintained its standard of excellence as it has grown over the years.- San Geronimo, CA
I had an AMAZING time on this trip, as I know the other guests did. All in all, the dynamic of the group and our leaders was wonderful. I couldn't help but rave about the trip to colleagues and friends, and even referred a couple of people to Backroads as a result! Trips, groups and leaders like this are what I think Backroads is about and what will inspire me to continue traveling the globe with you.- Chicago, IL
I had high expectations and they were exceeded in every respect. The Backroads staff were terrific, the accommodations were excellent and we went to interesting and beautiful places I am sure I would not have visited without Backroads' intimate knowledge of the region. Generally I have not traveled with tour companies or outfitters, but I am a convert. Backroads provided a memorable, authentic and rich experience that would be hard, probably impossible, to create on your own. Excellent!- Larkspur, CA