Location: Ecuador & the Galapagos Duration: 11 nights Price: From £6,900 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, private transfers, Galapagos cruise and taxes

This luxury holiday to Ecuador and the Galapagos is great for first-time visitors, showcasing the region’s fascinating indigenous culture, beautiful colonial architecture, and diverse wildlife. Beginning in the historic capital, Quito, you’ll head into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, spotting unique wildlife on water and land. You’ll then get the chance to experience vibrant indigenous culture in Otavalo, before stopping over in the riverfront city of Guayaquil. The second part of the itinerary takes the form of a luxury cruise in the central Galapagos Islands, where you’ll meet the unique animals which make this region so iconic. 

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Couples looking to experience the best of Ecuador and the Galapagos in style.

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Combine your trip with a stay at Galapagos Safari Camp, in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

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QUITO – 2 nights

Your Ecuadorian adventure begins in the colonial capital, Quito, which combines a cinematic setting high in the Andes with well-preserved colonial architecture. The old town is easily walkable; start at the Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus, an ornate church which incorporates Moorish and indigenous Ecuadorian architecture. The National Museum, in the futuristic Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, is home to a huge collection of pre-colonial Ecuadorian art. Your home for two nights is Casa El Eden, a heritage property in the heart of Quito’s old town. Housed in a historic mansion dating back to 1925, the hotel fits right in with its UNESCO-listed surroundings. Its architectural features, and the paintings which adorn its walls, come from the acclaimed Quito School, the artistic tradition which shaped the city.

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NAPO – 3 nights

A short flight to Coca followed by a motorized canoe ride down the Napo River will take you to La Selva Jungle Lodge, your next stop. La Selva is a luxurious hotel on the shores of Lake Garzacocha. The surrounding Yasuni National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse places on Earth, home to macaws, toucans, tamarin monkeys, giant otters, and innumerable others; many live nowhere else. You’ll experience the wildlife up close with expertly-led activities, such as visiting the remarkable parrot clay licks, spotting monkeys and medicinal plants on forest walks, and canoe trips around the Mandi Cocha lagoon.

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OTAVALO – 2 nights

Otavalo is particularly famous for its vibrant indigenous culture, with its bustling market dating back hundreds of years. It’s quite an experience – and a great place to pick up some traditional handicrafts or clothing as a souvenir – but the best experiences are to be had in the outlying villages, where Otavaleno culture is at its richest and most authentic. Your hotel, Casa Mojanda, sits on an organic farm on the outskirts of the city, and offers great opportunities to visit traditional villages and meet local people. Half- or full-day tours of Carabuela, Punyaro, Iluman and San Roque will see you visiting the workshops of skilled artisans, whose tapestries, clothing and baskets have made the Otavalenos the most economically successful indigenous people in Ecuador.

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GALAPAGOS – 4 nights

Your Galapagos adventure now begins. You’ll be transferred to the island of San Cristobal, where you’ll board the MV Cormorant for a four-night cruise. The Cormorant is a luxurious catamaran, with its design ensuring a smooth ride for those prone to seasickness. These boats also allow for access to small islets and coves, and dry or wet landings on volcanic lava fields or beaches. The comfortable cabins are generously sized with private balconies, and there’s also a Jacuzzi and sun deck for guests to enjoy. The cruise takes in the Galapagos’ central islands, beginning with a trip to Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz. This is one of the islands’ few swimming beaches, and is also home to flamingoes, hermit crabs and sea turtles. You’ll then journey on to the striking Pinnacle Rock and the lava fields of Sullivan Bay on Santiago, before paying a visit to the land iguanas of South Plaza. Your journey ends of San Cristobal, where you’ll meet various iconic species including blue-footed boobies, sea lions and marine iguanas. Throughout the cruise, your expert naturalist guides will ensure you have a safe, memorable and educational experience, learning all about the incredible wildlife for which the Galapagos are famous.

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