Ecuador and the Galapagos – our special 25th Anniversary further afield trip

Duration
12 Days
goat guide
price
£4500

DATES Mon 16th June 2025
- Fri 27th June 2025

12 days

We are excited to have found two women guides based in Quito who run their own LGTBQ+ travel company. They have created an exclusive trip for WalkingWomen to show you their Ecuador. The country of four worlds in the middle of the world. A small but wonderful place to walk, connect and revive. You will see the great historical city of Quito, go on a volcano hike , experience the wonders of the rainforest plus have an exclusive trip to the Galapagos. This is for wildlife lovers and those looking for something just that little bit different. This is WalkingWomen’s first trip to Ecuador in our 25 Years and now is the time - we would love you to join us.

SUMMARY

Ecuador and the Galapagos with WalkingWomen

Dates: Monday June 16th  to Friday June 27th  – 11 nights/12 days 2025

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Arrival: Monday June 16th is to Quito and Departure: Friday June 27th could be from Guayaquil or Quito depending where your return flights are from.  Let us know if you would like to extend your trip.

Guide: local guide Johana and team with Ginny from the WalkingWomen UK team.

Walking Grade: 2 Goats and we class this as easy to moderate with basic hiking experience recommended. Due to the altitude we call this a 2 Goat rather than because of the strenuousness of the walks Max. altitude: 2850 m

Average temperature – Andes: Day 8 ºC to 24ºC, Night 5 ºC to 12ºC. 

Average temperature – Amazon: Day 20ºC to 35ºC, Night 18 ºC to 22ºC

Average temperature Galapagos Islands : expect around 25ºC to 28 ºC at sea level. 

Water temperature: During the warm season from January to June, water temperature hovers around 25ºC 

Base: We will stay in different hotels on our adventure to explore the variety of the area.

We pick hotels because they are women run/gay friendly and they offer a local experience. We will give you more information in your Travel Information Packs.

Nearest airport is Quito and there will be an airport transfer to the hotel approx 42 km and 45 minutes. Aim to arrive Monday morning to give time to rest before activities start.

DRIVING DISTANCES and times to travel between our accommodation: 

Quito Airport to hotel and return – 45minutes/42 km.

Hotel in Quito to Cuicocha crater lake: 2 h 30 min / 125 km

Cuicocha crater lake to Otavalo town: 30 min / 20 km 

Otavalo town to Hotel in Quito: 2 h / 105 km 

Guayaquil airport to hotel in Guayaquil and vice versa: 15 min / 6 km 

Price: £4500  person for this unique trip with solo occupancy room 

If you bring a friend/partner and share a room the price is £4000 per person.

Includes:

  • Accommodation in hotels
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Lunch on Day 6
  • Evening Meals 0n 5 nights starting with our Welcome Dinner
  • Excursions and all transfers
  • English-speaking female guide on the mainland
  • WalkingWomen UK support
  • Round trip airfare to Coca
  • Rain poncho and rubber boots
  • Galapagos round trip flight
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee, Transit Control Card
  • Speed boat (San Cristobal-Santa Cruz)

Not included:

  • Services not specified
  • Wetsuits
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • International flights, bank fees, early check-in / late check-out
  • Tips, travel insurance, and other personal expenses

 

DETAILS

One of the most diverse countries in the world, Ecuador is located in South America. Ecuador owes its name to the equator, the imaginary line that crosses the country. Although Ecuador is one of the smaller countries in South America, the country fascinates with its four geographically different regions. The Pacific Coast with miles of sandy beaches and warm weather; the Andean highlands (“la sierra”), a region with majestic Andean mountains and rich culture in every corner; the Amazon region full of mysticism and breathtaking biodiversity; and the evolutionary wonder of the Galapagos Islands, which inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. Like nowhere else you will find these four worlds in one country, very close together. This trip will give you an experience of each of these four worlds.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • First class and customised service throughout 
  • Warm, welcoming hotels providing an authentic local experience.
  • Hike around the picturesque Cuicocha crater lake and stroll through the indigenous market in Otavalo
  • Colonial city Quito
  • Amazon rainforest lodge run by a woman of the Anangu community
  • Discovering the enchanted Galapagos Islands based on the island
  • Nature, white sand beach, snorkelling and up close encounters with endemic wildlife
  • Admiring the monolithic walls of Kicker Rock adorned with sea urchins and seahorses, including vivid orange cup corals leaving a lasting impression.

Join us on this memorable experience in Ecuador – Let’s GOAT!

 

ITINERARY

Itineraries are subject to change without notice due to weather conditions, national park regulations, or unforeseen situations.

DAY 1:Arrival in Quito

Upon your arrival at the airport, we will transfer you in private transportation to your hotel in Quito.

Settle into your accommodation and enjoy a welcome meal together.

DAY 2: Secret Quito City Tour and Cooking Class

Depart from our hotel at 8:30 am with a bilingual female guide to begin a special tour of Quito. This trip will show the city’s rich history, from pre-Columbian periods through the colonial period, then the city’s transition into the capital of a Republic, and finally its modern magnificence, which persuaded UNESCO to name Quito the first “Cultural Heritage Site” in 1978. We will also take a trip back in time to visit the secret places that LGBTQ+ people used to visit before decriminalisation. We will experience a mixture of emotions while visiting the different places that will tell this story.

After this tour, we will go to a local food market in the Historic Center. In this place where women predominate, not only are fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, or food sold, but Andean customs and traditions are also preserved. You can experience a spiritual cleanse with herbs, flowers, colognes, and incense after meeting several valuable women and being captivated by their stories. The tour will continue with the chef explaining everything you need to know about Ecuadorian endemic fruits and vegetables. Then, in a cozy restaurant, we will prepare traditional Ecuadorian dishes. After lunch we will return to the hotel so you can relax and have a Free afternoon.

DAY 3: Flight from Quito to Coca – River Journey to Napo Cultural Center to meet the Indigenous Community and do some hiking and Wildlife Watching 

Depart AM: The journey to the lodge begins with your flight from Quito to the Amazonian town of Coca and then in comfortable motor-operated canoes that travel down the river in about two hours. During this time, refreshments will be provided as you sight birds such as herons, kingfishers, terns and other Amazonian shorebirds as well as witness striking riverbank landscapes.

PM: Upon arriving at the Napo Cultural Center, visitors are warmly welcomed with a refreshing traditional drink and immediately taken to their cabins amidst the teeming wilderness found at one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. Once settled in at the lodge, you’ll have an outstanding chance to meet with the Kichwa Añangu community, whose members will welcome you with a traditional and refreshing ice cold “wayusa. From there, you can go hiking along the Playas Trail to experience Amazon wildlife for the first time in the river islands and shores amidst one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. Kayaking is also available as an optional activity for around 45 minutes to enjoy an overwhelming and colourful sunset in the vastness of Napo River. We will then head back to the lodge, rest a little and be prepared for a well-deserved dinner before turning into the relaxing sounds of the Amazon.

Accommodation: Napo Cultural Center

DAY 4: Parrot Clay Lick – Interpretation Center – Observation Tower Wildlife-Watching – Ancestral Catamaran Experience

AM: Breakfast and early departure on board the motorboat to visit an amazing parrot clay lick. Easily accessible, this site brings visitors face to face with approximately 11 species of parrots (including parrotlets and macaws), depending on the seasons, weather conditions and good luck (though this activity is usually fruitful). We end this morning with a visit to the “Kuri Muyu” Interpretation Center, which is run by the women of the community. Here, you can learn directly from the people of the community about Kichwa culture, crafts, traditions and the traditional use of natural resources. We return for lunch and take a break at the lodge.

PM: This afternoon we will walk for about an hour and then climb up a 35-meter-high observation tower, where from above the forest’s canopy you are likely to see a variety of birds, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, toucans, parrots and sloths. We will return to the hotel by motorised canoe for a traditional dinner that is typical of the area.

Dinner is followed by a unique activity on the Napo River: an ancestral catamaran ride where you will learn indigenous legends and take part in traditional chants while delicious snacks are grilled over a fire.

Accommodation: Napo Cultural Center

DAY 5: Kichwa Community Encounter – Canoe Ride along Añangu River – Traditional Amazonian Dinner – Nocturnal Safari

Enjoy the sunrise at breakfast, visit the local Kitwa community to learn about their sustainable community projects and their indigenous worldview. From there, we will walk along the Mama-Kuna road, which is an excellent opportunity to see more wildlife, and ceiba trees, as well as bamboo cane, vines and shrubs endemic to Yasuní.

In the afternoon after a delicious local lunch, paddle down the Añangu River, a blackwater ecosystem, where you can spot monkeys jumping from tree to tree, caiman and sometimes even giant river otters trying to catch fish.

After a traditional Amazonian dinner, prepare your flashlight for a night safari around the lodge to see different kinds of insects, reptiles and even nocturnal mammals, like monkeys.

Accommodation: Napo Cultural Center

DAY 6:Traditional Kichwa Ceremony – Flight from Coca to Quito – Otavalo Area

AM: This rainforest experience comes to a memorable close with a “wayusa” ritual. During this spiritual experience, you can get up at around 4:30 am to share in drinking the sacred “wayusa” infusion. This ritual, which is commonly performed by Kichwa families, has been a way for them to pass down their ancient knowledge to the new generations. During your early morning experience, you can also share in traditional chants and have the chance to “interpret dreams” with the wisest “mamakuna” in the community – a mystical experience indeed.

Afterwards, we will head back to the lodge for breakfast before taking a motorized canoe back to the town of Coca and then flying back to Quito. Upon your arrival you will drive to the Otavalo area.

DAY 7: Cuicocha Crater Lake – Otavalo Market – Quito

This morning, we will drive to Cuicocha, a crater lake collected in a secondary caldera of the extinct Cotacachi Volcano. Cuicocha translates as “Lake of the Guinea Pigs,” named for the shape of its two central islets. The lake and surrounding slopes are protected as a nature reserve. At around 3,000 meters, Cuicocha’s ecosystem is a combination of paramo and Andean forests. We will find many unique plant species in this rare combination of two ecosystems. Our path circumvents the crater rim, revealing stunning views of the lake and the volcanoes Cotacachi, Mojanda, and Imbabura. We keep our eyes open for native wildlife, and if we are lucky, we might even catch a glimpse of the rare Andean Condor. Afterward, we will explore the indigenous market in Otavalo, famous around the world for its quality weaving. We´ll also find an impressive variety of Ecuadorian handicrafts. Transfer back to Quito.

Hike: approx. 4.5 hour / Length: 14 km / Ascent 575 m / Descent 620 m / Highest Point: 3512m

DAY 8: The Galapagos – Flight from Quito to San Cristobal Island – Transfer in – Interpretation Center – Frigatebird Hill and Carola Beach

You will take a flight to San Cristobal Island. It is the fifth largest and easternmost island of the Galapagos. It is composed of various fused volcanoes, all extinct. In San Cristobal, the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of the Galapagos province. Upon arrival you head to the hotel for check-in. Then, after a short briefing, you will visit the Interpretation Centre. It is an excellent place to learn about Natural History in the Galapagos and to learn about the history of San Cristobal. The Museum of Natural History displays information on the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonisation, among other points of interest. Human history is also showcased, chronologically narrated by the most significant events relating to the discovery and colonisation of the islands.

Frigatebird Hill: It is also called Tijeretas because this is the name commonly known for the frigate birds. It involves a high-intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigatebird nesting colony.

Hike: approx. 2 hours / Length: 3.5 km

DAY 9: Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido)

Today we will board a comfortable boat to Kicker Rock, also known as León Dormido. Once you arrive, you will set out on an amazing and unique snorkelling experience! You may see Galapagos and white-tipped reef sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles, hundreds of fish, and sea stars.

DAY 10: Speed boat to Santa Cruz Island – Visit Giant Tortoises and Lava Tunnels – Tortuga Bay Beach

After a two-hour boat ride to Santa Cruz Island, you will arrive at Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement on the archipelago. You will take a 30-minute transfer from Puerto Ayora to the highlands of Santa Cruz. Here, private farms conserve pristine, native, and endemic vegetation for the habitat of the giant Galapagos Tortoise. As you walk the trail, winding through this landscape, you will get plenty of chances to marvel at the Galapagos Tortoise in its entire splendour—just don’t forget your camera! These majestic giant tortoises of Santa Cruz are often found partly submerged in mud ponds to combat skin parasites or to regulate their body temperature on warm and sunny days. In the late afternoon, we will go to Tortuga Bay Beach. At the end of a walk of approximately 40 minutes we will arrive at this beach, one of the most beautiful in Galapagos, with white sand and green mangroves. In “mansa beach” we can swim and snorkel.

DAY 11: Tour to Bartolome, North Seymour, or South Plaza (subject to availability) A Galapagos Experience 

Bartolome

Named in honour of Sir Bartholomew Sulivan of the British navy. Bartolome island has an area of 1.3 squares km and a maximum altitude of 115 meters.

Bartolome Island offer some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes in the Archipelago. On the day trip to Bartolome island you will hike to the top on an extinct volcano by a wooden path for almost 395 steps. During the hike you will see many different amazing formations from the last eruption such as small lava tunnels, spatter cones, and scoria cones. You will feel like you are walking on the Moon! Endemic vegetation is found, Lava Cactus, Tiquilia plants, and you may see some Darwin Finches as well. Once you get to the top of  Bartolome Island you will be fascinated by the beautiful panoramic view of Pinnacle Rock which is made from volcanic ash or tuff cone.

North Seymour

North Seymour is a small island in the Galapagos archipelago and is the home of many different species of animals. Here is the best place to see the frigatebirds with red balloons, the very romantic blue footed boobies dance, land and marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions and fur seals, and other seabirds such as swallow-tailed gulls, shearwater, and tropic birds. The walk takes around 2 hours in this magical place.

After the walk on the North Seymour island we go back to the boat for lunch, and then we sail to Bachas Beach which is a nesting area for sea turtles. There is small lagoon here where flamingos can be seen occasionally. On this day snorkelling is also included, you may see some sea turtles, rays, white tip reef sharks, and some beautiful fish.

South Plaza

South Plaza is situated on the east coast of Santa Cruz Island, it is formed from uplifted marine lava and is one of the smallest island on the archipelago but this is one of the most concentrated wildlife sites in the islands. We disembark at a small dock, frequently occupied by sea lions, continue by a small forest of prickly pear cacti with their yellow flowers where there could be lots of land iguanas waiting for the fruits and flowers to fall to the ground. We finally arrive at the cliff, where you can often see a shoal of the endemic yellow-tailed mullet.

The cliff is an excellent place to view swallow-tailed gulls, tropic birds, frigate birds and pelicans. At the eastern end of the island bull sea lions congregate there to rest after losing their territory and want to recover their energy and try to be the master of the beach again!

After this wonderful walk we go back to the boat for lunch and then sail to Punta Carrion for snorkelling where we may see sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, sea lions and lots of fish, arriving back in Puerto Ayora around 16:30.

DAY 12: Flight from Baltra Island to Guayaquil or Quito depending where you have flights from.

It is time to say goodbye to the Galapagos!

CALL 01784 664063 – EMAIL CONTACTUS@WALKINGWOMEN.COM

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Ecuador and the Galapagos – our special 25th Anniversary further afield trip
DATES Mon 16th June 2025
- Fri 27th June 2025






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