Explore the world on two feet - or two wheels! Our active trips range from classic treks & trips where walking forms an integral part of the itinerary to cycling tours offering a totally new perspective on a destination. All our active trips are fully supported.
For those of you who dream of experiencing a location in depth and comfort but are mindful of budget. Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for an fun, informative experience. All accommodation is based on twin share. If you are a solo traveller you will share with another solo traveller of the same sex. Single supplements are available on some trips. If you are interested in booking a single supplement please contact us to check availability.
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador.
Our adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings - there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums.
Join your tour leader us on a walking tour of the historic centre of Quito. We catch a local bus to Parque de la Alamada and (amongst others) visit sites such as La Compania de Jesus, considered by many the most beautiful in the Americas. It's claimed that seven tonnes of gold leaf cover the interior whilst the exterior is decorated with statues, busts, sculpted heads and a jungle of carved leaves. During this tour we also visit the famous Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This quaint street offers the city's best in one place.
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)
Transfer to the airport for our flight to San Cristobal Island, Galapagos (approx 3.5 hrs). Departure time will be between 8.20am and 10.30am depending on flight schedule time.
The Galapagos National Institute has introduced a Transit Control Card. This card has a cost of US$20 and it must be purchased by every person travelling to the Galapagos Islands. You will need to purchase this card upon arrival to the domestic airport on day 2, prior to checking in to your Galapagos flight.
Our flight will stop once in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers (approx 3.5 hours total). Upon arrival we will need to go through immigration and pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100 in cash (small bills please).
Upon arrival we head out together to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve the unique Galapagos wildlife. Next, make our way to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center, southwest of Isla San Cristobal. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. From here you can also see Kicker Rock, an eroded volcanic formation protruding from the sea which has become an emblem of the island.
Soon after, travel to Las Loberias where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim with sea lions, and maybe even some sea turtles. Continue back to town for a 'Welcome to Galapagos' dinner of the islands fresh seafood and local produce.
Our second day in Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride to either Leon Dormido or Isla Lobos (approximately 45 minutes), and along the way observing the famous Galapagos marine life. On the way, you might also be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies, and you might go snorkelling with playful young sea lions. On arrival at the islet go snorkelling, keeping an eye out for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark.
Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)
Early in the morning we take off to Floreana Island by boat (approx 2.5 hrs), We have a pre-lunch snorkel before going ashore to a black sand beach at the home of the Witmer’s, one of the islands first settlers. With a population of less than 150 people, Puerto Velasco Ibarra is a sleepy little town but not without its secrecies. You can read up on how life came to be on Floreana and how some lives mysteriously ended. We wave goodbye to Floreana as we continue on to Isabela Island, the largest island in the archipelago.
Upon arrival to Isabela Island you are required to pay the Isabela Island port fee of USD5.
The second day at Isla Isabela we start with a leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon where we might see Flamingos. This mangrove-lined path leads us to Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where we’ll see giant tortoises in all stages of development. The center has almost a thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own! After an informative visit, we’ll board small pangas for Tintoreras or Shark Alley. We’ll hop off for a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas. Next we’ll test the waters for a snorkel in a calm inlet that’s home to a variety of colorful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is often frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom. We’ll return to town late afternoon in search of our own sandy resting spot to toast in our first Isabela sunset, arguably the most beautiful of all the islands.
The last day in Isla Isabela we head up for a hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos and the second largest crater in the world. Here you can experience a birds eye view of this magical landscape. We make our way back to town late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.
Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isabela so please take your plastic rubbish with you.
Accommodation: Hotel (3 nts)
Start the day with a kayak excursion in a protected bay in search of the Galapagos penguin – the only penguin found close the equator. Along the way, keep an eye out for Eagle Rays, Sea Turtles and Blue Footed Boobies.
After lunch we are on the move again. This time to Santa Cruz Island, the tourist capital of Galapagos.
After arrival to our hotel we have a short walking tour of Puerto Ayora to pay a visit to the local fishermen market.
Your second day on Isla Santa Cruz begins with a visit to the higher part of the islands to observe the giant tortoise roaming in its natural habitat. In the afternoon, take a walk to Tortuga Bay, a gorgeous beach accessible only by foot. Choose to go swimming, sunbaking or bodysurfing - or do all three. Finally, make your way back to town for one last dinner on these enchanted islands.
Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)
Before leaving Isla Santa Cruz today, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre and museum are essential stops for anyone interested in the archipelago's natural and human history. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. You can even get close to giant tortoises which are being raised for the repopulation program. Afterwards, say goodbye to the Galapagos and take a flight back to Quito.
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)
This morning your adventure comes to an end in Quito. As there are no activities planned for the final day, you can depart the accommodation at any time. Because there is little time spent in Quito on this trip, we recommend staying a few extra days to see more of Ecuador. If you choose to stay on, we’d be happy to assist you with booking accommodation.
Ecuador has some of the most beautiful churches in the Americas, including the lavish La Compania de Jesus, which is decorated with seven tonnes of gold. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing one of our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, which can include the Old Town, markets and the city's culinary delights (see urbanadventures.com).
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
For those of you who dream of experiencing a location in depth and comfort but are mindful of budget. Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for an fun, informative experience.
Explore the world on two feet - or two wheels! Our active trips range from classic treks & trips where walking forms an integral part of the itinerary to cycling tours offering a totally new perspective on a destination.
Some of our active adventure tours include the classic treks such as the Inca Trail, Kilimanjaro or Everest Base Camp as well as shorter one day or overnight hikes. Our cycling tours allow you to access hidden corners of a destination, discover remote villages and meet the locals – either en route or even by cycling alongside them. All our active trips are fully supported – with either porters and mules or by a support vehicle.
This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.
A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.
The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.
Please click here for more information.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later.
Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.
As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.
For further information about responsible travel please click here.
The Galapagos park fee (USD$100) is payable upon arrival to the islands.
The Galapagos National Institute has introduced a Transit Control Card. This card has a cost of USD$10 and it must be purchased by every person travelling to the Galapagos Islands. You will need to purchase this card upon arrival to the domestic airport on day 2, prior to checking in to your Galapagos flight.
When booking, please ensure that your details are correct, and double check them on your documents prior to departure. If your passport does not match your booking details, you may be refused entrance to Galapagos National Park. Please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.
At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
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