Location: Ecuador & Galapagos Duration: 12 nights Price: From £7,500 per person in low season based on two adults and two children under 12 travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, most meals, private transfers, experiences as stated and taxes

This family adventure holiday to Ecuador makes for some unforgettable wildlife experiences, from the biodiversity of the cloud forest to the curious creatures of the Galapagos.

Beginning in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital home to Spanish architecture and volcano cable cars, you’ll then head to the cloud forest for guided nature walks and rides on carriages through the forest canopy to spot toucans, monkeys and glass frogs, as well as hundreds of bird species.

You’ll then fly to the Galapagos Islands, one of the most extraordinary natural environments on earth, where creatures such as giant tortoises and marine iguanas thrive in stark, volcanic landscapes.

Your journey ends with a taste of traditional ranch life at a beautiful hacienda in the Ecuadorian Andes; here, you can horse ride, hike and mountain bike around a historic cattle farm. 

This itinerary is great for families seeking a gentler wildlife experience: the Galapagos leg is hotel-based, meaning you can enjoy a wide range of activities at your own pace and avoid sea-sickness.

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Families seeking a gentler wildlife adventure which doesn’t compromise on comfort.

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Add a few days in Florida, for some beach relaxation.

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QUITO- 2 nights

Your family holiday begins in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, a city with an eye-catching setting high in the Andes. Your stay in Quito should begin with a walking tour of the city’s UNESCO-listed old town, famous for its abundance of well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. Highlights include the gold leaf-covered church Compana de Jesus and the art collections of the 17th-century Monastery of San Diego. Older kids will also love the Intinan Museum, particularly for its creepy collections of shrunken heads. Your stay should also include a trip on the TelerefiQo, a cable car up the Pichincha volcano which affords amazing views over the city – that’s if you can tear the kids away from the Vulquano Amusement Park at the departure point. Your hotel is the beautiful Casa Gangotena, a restored classical mansion right in the heart of things in the old town.

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MINDO – 2 nights

A private road transfer will take you to your next stop, Mashpi Lodge, in the heart of the Mindo cloud forest. A beautiful modern eco-lodge surrounded by natural beauty and one of the most diverse forest environments on Earth, Mashpi also has the added benefit of being malaria-free, making for a safer wildlife adventure. On skywalks and open cable car rides through the forest canopy, Mashpi’s expert guides will point out some of the 400 bird species which make their home here, including cuckoos, toucans and parrots. Guided hikes will take you past tumbling waterfalls and families of capuchin monkeys, and on night walks, you’ll spot the glass frogs, luminous fox fire fungus, and creepy crawlies which come to life in the forest when the sun goes down. New species are constantly being discovered in Mindo; most recently the Mashpi torenteer, a colourful tree frog.

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QUITO – 1 night

Next, you’ll be transferred back to Quito for one night, where you’ll stay once again at the Casa Gangotena. This is a great opportunity to tick off some of Quito’s attractions that you missed the first time round. On the historic street La Ronda, you can try some of the finest chocolate in the world, and kids can learn to carve a traditional Ecuadorian wooden spinning top at the Zabalartes workshop – the perfect souvenir. You could also check out the Mitad del Mundo – the ‘middle of the world’ – which marks the spot of the equator, from which Ecuador gets its name.

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GALAPAGOS – 4 nights

Flying from Quito to the Galapagos Islands, you’ll embark on a land-based wildlife adventure, staying in the ultimate style at Finch Bay on Santa Cruz – the Galapagos’ finest hotel. This is a great way for families to experience the Galapagos at their own pace, without committing to a cruise itinerary. Finch Bay provides the perfect luxury base for you to be as lazy or as active as you choose; the beach is right on your doorstep, while there’s a range of more adventurous activities to choose from. The hotel’s very own yacht takes guests to nearby islands for water and land-based activities which will see you experiencing the Galapagos’ famous wildlife up close. These include walks on North Seymour to meet sea lions, marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies; visits to Bartolome, home to the Galapagos penguin and nesting sea turtles; and snorkelling and diving trips where you can spot manta rays, giant sea turtles and many others.

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IMBABURA – 3 nights

Flying back to the Ecuadorian mainland, you’ll finish up your family adventure with a stay in the Ecuadorian Andes at possibly the country’s finest hacienda hotel, Zuleta. On this working cattle farm, dating from the 16th century, you’ll have ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Horse riding is the hacienda’s speciality, with guided rides past mountains, lakes and waterfalls a fantastic and traditional way to get to know the environment; if you fancy a gentler excursion, opt for a ride around the hacienda in a horse-drawn carriage. The hacienda also has several marked nature trails and hiking trails for you to explore at your own pace, with mountain bikes also available to rent. Zuleta is committed to conservation of the environment, and has a neighbouring reserve where you can visit majestic Andean condors. After three nights exploring the countryside in the Andes, your family adventure reaches its end, and you’ll be transferred to Quito for your flight home.

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