Ecuador for the Connoisseur

Ecuador for the Connoisseur Ecuador for the Connoisseur

As you may have guessed from the title, Ecuador for the Connoisseur offers discerning travelers some extraordinary experiences.

From admiring the Neo-classical architecture and faded glory of Quito’s Old Town you soon find yourself high up on an Andean hillside in the midst of the Mindo Cloud Forest, watching exotic birds and gazing at a profusion of vivid orchids.

Then comes the Amazon Basin – unmissable for connoisseurs of wildlife – where you’ll hike through untouched jungle, visit butterfly farms and even fish for piranha. But the climax of your tour has to be a Galapagos cruise that takes you to the islands that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution.

This is a sample itinerary to inspire your holiday – it can be tweaked in every way possible from the places you want to go to and number of days you spend in each, as well as hotels you stay in and activities you do. Get in touch with one of our experts by calling +44+4402073864646 and a consultant will start creating your perfect trip.

Days Location Detail
day 1


Fly out of London in the early morning to …

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Fly out of London in the early morning to Madrid to meet your connecting flight to Quito. Here you’ll be met and taken to your hotel. You’ll find yourself within easy reach of the sights and wonderful period architecture of Quito’s Old Town – your hotel is itself a restored Neo-classical mansion and overlooks the grand Plaza San Francisco.

Stay: One night in a luxury room at Casa Gangotena.

days 2 - 4

Mindo Cloud Forest

Now it’s time to experience the Andes and …

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Now it’s time to experience the Andes and Mindo Cloud Forest. A fascinating, three hour drive through changing countryside takes you 950 metres up into the western slopes of the Andes. Your rainforest experience will include wandering through 2970 acres of an untouched reserve. You’ll hike along forest trails surrounded by a rich variety of plants, birds and wildlife.

You’ll discover sparkling waterfalls and crystal clear rivers to bathe in. You’ll amble through gardens full of orchids and take in the view from above the canopy on an aerial tram. Ecuadorian guides will show you cotinga, cock-of-the-rock and umbrella birds – plus numerous other species – from three different birdwatching hides.

Stay: Three nights in a Yaku suite at Mashpi Lodge.

days 6 - 8

Amazon Basin

Your Amazonian expedition begins with a flight to Coca, …

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Your Amazonian expedition begins with a flight to Coca, lasting just an hour. From Coca you’ll cruise down the Rio Napo in a motorised canoe, before branching off onto a jungle creek in a traditional dugout canoe. Within 20 minutes you’ll arrive at your lodge, surrounded by dense tropical jungle.

This is the Amazon Basin and you’ll hike along its trails both during the day and at night, with expert naturalist guides. You’ll take canoe journeys into the interior, kayak across a stunning lagoon and watch wildlife from a 37 metre high canopy tower.

Expect to see – and hear – many of the 500 different species of local birds – including rarities like the zigzag heron, plus toucans and trogons, jacamars, tanagers, antbirds, hummingbirds and macaws as well as around 20 other types of parrot. Your lodge has its own butterfly breeding farm and you can even go with a local guide to fish for piranha.

Stay: Three nights in a standard, scenic or family suite at La Selva Jungle Lodge.

day 9


After the cloud forest you take a motorised canoe …

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After the cloud forest you take a motorised canoe journey to Coca for your return flight to historic Quito and a city tour of the major places of interest in the Old Town.

Stay: One night in a luxury room at Casa Gangotena.

days 10- 16

Galapagos Cruise

A short flight down to Baltra is the beginning …

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A short flight down to Baltra is the beginning of your Galapagos adventure. You’ll board the Athala II – a luxurious catamaran carrying just 16 passengers in supreme comfort – and then take a panga ride over to the idyllic islet of Sombrero Chino to see Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, Darwin’s finches and interesting geological formations.

The following days are filled with wonderful sights, discoveries and unforgettable experiences. On the large island of Isabela you’ll visit the Tortoise Breeding Centre, wetland lagoons and swamps, and the poignant Wall of Tears penal settlement that was painstakingly built and then deliberately demolished time and again to break the spirit of its prisoners.

You can go snorkelling and kayaking from Floreana, visit the scandalous baroness’s lookout point and post office and watch endless numbers of birds from Cormorant Point. Then you visit the beach of Cerro Brujo and Isla Lobo with its sea lions, blue footed boobies, frigate birds and fur sea lions.

The following day you land on Santa Cruz Island and visit the world famous Charles Darwin Research Centre to see Galapagos tortoises in their natural surroundings. Then it’s on to Espanola Island for swimming from a fine beach before moving on to Punta Suarez with its marine iguanas, Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, swallow tailed gulls, red billed tropic birds and waved albatross. Not to mention a spectacular blowhole and the sea lions and nesting turtles of Gardner Bay.

Stay: Seven nights aboard the Athala II.

days 17 - 18


Your final morning will be spent in a circumnavigation …

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Your final morning will be spent in a circumnavigation of wonderful Daphne Major. Your guides will point out the island’s birdlife and explain the important work of its scientific research centre. Then you’ll be taken to Baltra Airport for your flight to Guayaquil – where you’ll be met and taken to the city’s picturesque waterfront for a spot of lunch, or some last minute sightseeing.

You’ll fly from Guayaquil Airport in the evening, arriving at Madrid in the early hours of the next day to meet your connecting flight home.

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  • It has been wonderful to discover that there remain places like this in the world, where one can find peace amid wild nature. This has been the highlight of our stay in Colombia and we look forward to telling our friends about it.

    ZA, Colombia, 2014