DAY 1, August 04, 2020 | Quito
Welcome to Ecuador!
Upon arrival in Quito, your private guide and driver will meet you and transfer you to the hotel directly.
Quito, nestled at the foot of Volcán Pichincha, is known for its eternally spring-like climate and the beauty of its well-preserved colonial center. Originally settled by the Quitu tribe in the first millennium, Quito was eventually integrated into the Inca Empire before being destroyed and re-founded in 1534 by Spanish Conquistador Sebastian de Benalcázar. For nearly three centuries, arts and academics flourished under Spanish colonial rule, a fact evident in the historic center’s splendidly restored colonial buildings and churches lining narrow, cobbled streets. In 1809, Quito established the first self-governing junta in the colonies and the liberator Simón Bolívar led the country as part of the Republic of Greater Colombia until 1830, when the Republic of Ecuador announced its independence. Due to the city’s preservation of its blended past, UNESCO declared Quito the first of its World Heritage Sites in 1978. The city is stunningly situated in an Andean valley at 9350 feet, making it the 2nd highest capital city in the world.
Special welcome dinner is at Theatrum restaurant.
DAY 2, August 05, 2020 | Quito-Napo
After an early and delicious breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the Quito international airport to take your domestic flight to Coca.
Napo Cultural Center is located on the south bank of the Napo River, the largest river of the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Yasuni National Park. Start your journey in Coca by boarding a comfortable, motorized canoe. The canoe trip down the river takes about two hours and the delegation will receive a boxed lunch. You will see birds such as herons, kingfishers, and terns flying about lush landscapes. Once you arrive at Napo Cultural Center, you will be warmly welcome with a traditional drink and lunch at the Ecolodge, and then shown your cabin amidst the teeming wilderness in one of the Earth’s most biologically diverse places.
In the afternoon, take a short walk down to the banks of the Napo River to witness a beautiful sunset. Afterwards, return for dinner and rest.
DAY 3, August 06, 2020 | Quito-Napo
After breakfast, board the boat to visit an amazing parrot clay lick. An easy access area brings visitors face to face with approximately 11 species of parrots (including parrotlets and macaws, depending on the season, weather conditions, and general good fortune.
Next visit the Interpretation Center "Kuri Muyu," led by the women of the community. Learn about the Kichwa culture, crafts, traditions, and traditional use of natural resources directly from people in the community. We return for lunch and take a break in the lodge.
After some leisure time, climb up an observation tower to see a variety of fascinating creatures—howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, toucans, parrots, and sloths. Return to the hotel in a motorized canoe for a traditional dinner.
DAY 4, August 07, 2020 | Napo
Breakfast visit around the community projects, talk about the worldview Kichwa Addition to medicinal and walk in the Mama Cuna road, excellent opportunity to see more wildlife, ceiba trees, strangler, bamboo cane, vines and shrubs endemic from Yasuní.
Start your day with a lovely breakfast and then visit the community projects. There, talk with the indigenous Kichwa people about worldviews and medicine, sharing authentic insight between cultures. With newfound knowledge, walk along the Mama Cuna road for an excellent opportunity to see more wildlife and plant life.
We will return for lunch and rest at the lodge.
Once at Añangu stream, you will board a small canoe and head down the river in a spectacular adventure through the forest with opportunities to see nightlife alligators and to listen to the sounds of nature at its purest. Return to hotel in motorized canoes for a traditional dinner. Take care to get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s adventure.
DAY 5, August 08, 2020 | Napo-Otavalo
The delegation will rise at 4:30 am to partake in an ancient Kichwa tradition—preparing and drinking wayusa tea. Wayusa, also called guayusa, is a sweet, caffeinated herb that is revered throughout Amazon communities for its medicinal properties and spiritual importance. As you savor this revered tea, listen to Kichwa songs and chat peacefully as dawn arrives. After breakfast, take a motorized canoe back to the city of Quito, where you will meet your private guide and driver and drive directly to your hotel in Otavalo.
DAY 6, August 09, 2021 | Otavalo-Quito
After breakfast, you will visit the Taita Gundo. Taita Gundo is a family project directed by the prestigious musician Ali Lema; this project was born from the need to rescue the construction, elaboration, and interpretation of musical instruments of the Andes such as pingullos, dulzainas, quenas, quenachos, quenillas, rondadores, pallas, sikuris, zampoñas, and many more.
Located in Peguche, the community most famous for its art and manufacture, Taita Gundo offers all visitors a wide sample of musical instruments and rhythms rooted in Kichwa culture. They maintain a permanent school for the construction and interpretation of wind instruments, and students play regularly at both local and national events.
Afterwards, you will continue with your visit to the next project, Kawsaymi. This project is run by the Fuerez-Anrango family, who are dedicated to presenting incredible gastronomical experiences. The name “Kawsaymi” is Kichwa for “our living culture,” and it summarizes the family’s focus on promoting traditional Andean cuisine while also preserving and presenting their customs to visitors.
Without a doubt, the gastronomy workshop is an original and unforgettable activity. It combines a variety of native flavors, which flourish in the Kawsaymi kitchen with the richness of natural products and various preparation methods. The family offers a diverse array of culinary products—with techniques for beginners to advanced chefs. After a joyful and interactive class, enjoy the dishes you’ve created.
After a delicious meal, you will be dropped off at the hotel in Quito.
DAY 7, August 10, 2020 | Quito-Galapagos
Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands. You will be met and transferred to M/V Galapagos Legend, where you will check into your cabin and then receive an introductory briefing and safety drill.
On Bartolomé Island, discover a fascinating landscape that resembles the moon, formed by different volcanic parasitic cones. Climb to the summit and bask in its impressive views of the surrounding islands, including Pinnacle Rock. The delegation will encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies. Spend time at the beach for a great opportunity to go snorkeling and see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles, and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. Crystal clear water is the perfect spot to appreciate the incredible marine life.
DAY 8, August 11, 2020 | Galapagos
There are two Plaza Islets (north and south) located east of Santa Cruz Island. On the northern part of the islet, begin your journey along an impressive cactus forest where about 300 colorful yellow and red land iguanas live. A peculiar thing to see in South Plaza is the hybrid iguana, which takes to the water as easily as the land. When reaching the highest point, you can spot tropical birds. During the dry season (June – January), the usually greenish and yellowish vegetation changes into a bright red landscape.
Off Baltra Island and not far from Santa Cruz, you will discover North Seymour, a land formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions. Take an approximately two-hour walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent and great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls for an in-depth encounter with sea bird breeding cycles. You will also encounter land iguanas, sea lions, and on a lucky day you might even come across the endemic Galapagos Snake.
DAY 9, August 12, 2020 | Galapagos
Today your journey takes you to Pitt Point, San Cristóbal Island. Start with a wet landing followed by a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain. The trail follows a long beach and climbs to the top of a volcanic tuff with several magnificent viewpoints. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. It is also excellent for dinghy rides and snorkeling, where a good range of sea birds can be observed.
Travel next to Cerro Brujo, an eroding tuff cone that at several locations is composed of lava formations and a beautiful white sandy beach, which is great for snorkeling and sunbathing. There is a lagoon visit where migratory bird species can be seen, such as the Blacknecked Stilts, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, and Whitecheeked Pintails. Cerro Brujo offers beautiful views of Kicker Rock, the southern part of San Cristobal, and the adjacent coast.
DAY 10, August 13, 2020 | Galapagos - Quito
Arrive in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. Enjoy a beautiful landscape on the way to the Reserve. You will also have the opportunity to visit the village’s port, have a drink, and shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs.
After your visit, depart for the airport for your return flight to Quito.
DAY 11, August 14, 2020 | Quito
After breakfast, drive north to the equator at the Intiñan Museum, which displays examples of pre-Columbian life in Ecuador and offers demonstrations on the unique geography, astrology, and natural sciences of the region around the equator.
Lunch will be served at a typical Ecuadorean restaurant.
After lunch, we return to the city center for a tour of colonial Quito. This afternoon's sightseeing demonstrates why Ecuador's capital earned its honour as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at San Francisco Church and its museum of religious art, La Compañía and the seven tons of gold gilding its glittering walls, and the bustling Independence Plaza, flanked by the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral of Quito. Rich in artistic treasures, fine woodcarvings, and flowering balconies, this historic center is the lifeblood of Quito.
At the tour’s end, you will attend the performance by the children’s choir “Los Niños Cantores del Pueblo.” In Ecuador, there are many children who have started working at an early age because their families that have fallen into poverty. Los Niños Cantores del Pueblo (Chanting Children of the People) is a life-changing alternative that allows children to fight for a brighter future through song. This children’s choir project started back in 2008, and since then it has become key in eliminating child labor. These children have participated in music events, such as “66 Europees Musiekfestival Voor de Jeugd Neerpelt Bélgica”, where they won 2nd place thanks to their moving performance!
DAY 12, August 15, 2020 | Departure
After checking out of your hotel, you meet your guide and transfer to Quito International Airport in time for your flight home.