Location: Ecuador & the Galapagos Duration: 12 nights Price: From £7,600 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, Galapagos cruise, private transfers and taxes

A wildlife adventure is a fantastic holiday option for active families, and there are few better places for it than Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.. The Napo Wildlife Centre is one of the finest of its kind in Ecuador, and you’ll have the chance to spot tapirs, macaws, monkeys and more on walks, treks and canoe rides led by expert guides. You’ll then enjoy some mountain air on the volcanic slopes of Cotopaxi, staying in a centuries-old hacienda, before an overnight in Ecuador’s largest city en route to the Galapagos Islands. Cruising on the luxury yacht, La Pinta, you’ll enjoy the wildlife experience of a lifetime on land and sea, spotting giant tortoises in the Santa Cruz highlands, snorkelling with sea turtles, and climbing on Genovesa to meet colonies of tropicbirds.

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Active families looking for an experiential holiday in Ecuador and the Galapagos.

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Pair La Pinta with Finch Bay for a Galapagos by sea and land experience.

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Cruise
Family-friendly
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Wildlife & Nature

QUITO – 2 nights

Your Ecuadorian family adventure begins in the capital, Quito. If you’re travelling with older kids, begin your stay with a walking tour through Quito’s famous old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is home to some marvellous Spanish colonial architecture, much of it religious in nature, such as the gilded Compania de Jesus and the huge Monastery of San Francisco. If the kids start to complain, the chocolatiers on La Ronda offer a great pick-me-up in the form of some of the best chocolate in the world. Younger kids will love El Ejido, a huge leafy park with numerous playgrounds, bikes and trikes for rent, and street artists brightening up the footpaths. Those of all ages will love the TeleferiQo, a gondola which soars to nearly 4,000 metres up the Pichincha volcano, affording panoramic views over Quito. Your home for two nights here is Casa Gangotena, a beautiful boutique in a classical mansion right in the centre of the old town.

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AMAZON – 3 nights

Your wildlife adventure begins in earnest as you fly from Quito to Coca and board a private boat to Napo Wildlife Centre – a beautiful way to experience the Napo River. One of the finest wildlife lodges in Ecuador, Napo is a stylish and luxurious eco-lodge which is committed to natural and cultural conservation. Owned 100% by the indigenous Kichwa Anangu community, all the hotel’s profits go to benefit local people. The real star of the show here, though, is the wildlife. The surrounding Yasuni National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse places on Earth, home to tapirs, macaws, toucans, tamarin monkeys, giant otters, and many other species, some of which live nowhere else. You’ll experience the wildlife up close with expertly led activities, such as visiting the remarkable parrot clay licks, skywalks in the forest canopy, and canoe trips down the Napo River.

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COTOPAXI – 2 nights

From the Amazon to the Andes, the next stop on your journey, after a flight back to Quito followed by a private road transfer, is the famous volcano Cotopaxi. The national park surrounding the volcano is a great destination for active families, who will enjoy horseback riding and mountain biking on its slopes, trips to nearby volcanic hot springs, and a trek (or bus trip) to the beautiful crater lake of Quilotoa. Your home for the next two nights is Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, a beautiful heritage property and former convent dating from the 1400s. Right on the border of Cotopaxi National Park, the hotel is perfectly placed for outdoor adventures. The hotel can arrange outdoor activities and excursions to the likes of Cotopaxi, Quilotoa and the active volcano Tunguraha, as well as to local villages and traditional markets.

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GUAYAQUIL – 1 night

Transferring back to Quito, you’ll fly to Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, for an overnight stop. While Guayaquil does not have Quito’s wealth of historical and cultural riches, there is plenty to do here for families. Outdoor playgrounds and restaurants line the Malecon 2000, a waterfront boardwalk and icon of the city’s regeneration. Younger kids in particular will also love a ride on Captain Morgan’s Pirate Ship, a 17th-century replica which departs on regular boat tours of the Guayas River. The Parque Historico, meanwhile, is dedicated to preserving the city’s past, with beautiful colonial architecture and a nature reserve, where huge numbers of iguanas can be spotted hanging (and sometimes falling!) from the trees. You’ll spend the night at Hotel del Parque, a beautifully restored heritage property within the Parque Historico.

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SANTA CRUZ – 4 nights

The final leg of your journey sees you touch down in the Galapagos Islands, for a four-night cruise through one of the most remarkable places in the natural world. Boarding the luxury yacht, La Pinta, you’ll embark on a tour of the northern Galapagos Islands, taking in beautiful volcanic scenery and unique wildlife with activities on land and sea. On the first stop, Santa Cruz, you’ll trek inland to the highlands, where you’ll meet the iconic Galapagos giant tortoise. At the aptly-named Eden Islet, you’ll spot frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies and get the chance to snorkel with reef sharks, and see Galapagos penguins at Sombrero Chino. At Bartolome Island, you’ll spot for a photo opportunity at the stunning volcanic formation of Pinnacle Rock, and enjoy a glass-bottomed boat ride to observe sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, and many others. On the final day of your cruise you’ll visit Genovesa, where the steep climb up Prince Philip’s Steps will take you to colonies of Nazca boobies, frigate birds, and red-billed tropicbirds. Along the way, you’ll live in comfort on the luxurious La Pinta, whose expert guides will make sure your trip is safe, enjoyable and informative. The activities of the Pirates Aboard programme are also great for younger kids.

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