Ecuador: Quito, Cotopaxi & Galapagos

Island hopping

Code: ECWHW

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Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • High Mountains
  • Wildlife

Level

  • Easy
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £3,479.00 - 10 to 11 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

New at HF Holidays

Trip notes will be available to download soon 

A new extended itinerary takes us close to Cotopaxi as well as the unique and unforgettable experience of exploring the Galapagos, giving you the opportunity to explore the islands long after the day visitors have left. Walking is a great way to see some of these Islands, a chance to see an amazing wealth of wildlife at close quarters and at a leisurely pace. 

Holiday highlights

  • Walking in the Galapagos Islands, a true once in a lifetime experience
  • Enjoy the surroundings of the Cotopaxi National Park 
  • Discover the unique wildlife: sealions, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and much more
  • Visit Quito and walk around the historic centre, a World Heritage Site

Price includes:

  • 10 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms 
  • Full Board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure
  • Full holiday programme including internal flights, entrance fees to Galapagos Islands National Park
  • Travel by boat or bus
  • Services of an experienced local guide
  • Tips

Accommodation

 

We stay in comfortable hotels of mainly 3-star standard, all with en-suite facilities and fantastic locations. All of the hotels have swimming pools. 

On the first and last night of the holiday, we stay in the colonial centre of Quito. Our accommodation is in the converted historic hacienda, Patio Andaluz, only two blocks away from the main plaza. Rooms are all en-suite and tastefully decorated in keeping with the building's colonial style.

We spend 2 nights in the Chilcabamba eco-lodge, close to the Cotopaxi National Park. This hotel does not have a swimming pool but it does offer rustic charm and a cozy welcome. The lodge is situated at 11400ft surrounded by higher volcanoes.

Villa Laguna Hotel on the island of Santa Cruz (1 night), is our first hotel on the Galapagos islands. This is a small hotel with comfortable modern rooms, offering us 3-star facilities, and an excellent introduction to the islands.  

Our next island's accommodation is the Red Mangrove Lava Lodge (2 nights) on the island of Floreana. The accommodation is individual air-conditioned cabins with ensuite bathrooms and their own private porches.

On Isabella, the final island of our holiday, we stay at the welcoming Albermarle (3 nights). Situated beside a beautiful white sand beach, the hotel offer ensuite, extremely spacious rooms which are air conditioned. There is an outdoor pool here too. 

The chance to stay on the islands and experience island life is one of the many highlights of this holiday. Once the crowds of the cruise boats leave, we have the islands to ourselves.

Almost all hotels have hairdryers.


 

On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.

Itinerary

Trip notes will be available to download soon 

Leisurely part day walks ranging from 2-7 miles, with little ascent. The walk in Cotopaxi will be at an altitude of up to 12,660ft. Once on the Galapagos Islands, walks are short and taken at a leisurely pace, as we stop to see wildlife and study the ecology of the islands.

Day 1: arrival in Quito (1 night).

Day 2: A guided walk around the colonial centre gives us an excellent introduction to Ecuador. Drive towards Cotopaxi (2 nights) where we stay at the Chilcabamba ecolodge. Our lodge is at an altitude of 11,500 ft (3,500m).

Day 3: walk in the Cotopaxi National Park with wonderful views of this snow-capped volcano.

Day 4: fly to the Galapagos, and the island of Baltra, from where we take a short ferry journey to Santa Cruz (1nt). After lunch visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre for an introduction to his theory of evolution, and the ecology of the islands. We take a short walk to the white sand beaches of Tortuga Bay, where we can snorkel, swim or walk amongst marine iguanas, sharks, and sea turtles.

Day 5: an early morning walk as we head to the highlands and El Chato reserve, a fabulous place for spotting giant tortoises, Darwin's finches, rails, crakes, warblers and other bird species. After lunch we take a 2hr speed boat ride to our next island, Floreana, the least populated of the Galapagos Islands. After checking in at our accommodation we enjoy a short walk to the sealion breeding ground, where there's the opportunity for some snorkelling or swimming nearby. 

Day 6: today we take a trip around the island, learning about its colourful history and some of the island's first inhabitants. We also drive into the highlands for a walk from Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven), where we visit this historic site, explore pirate caves and visit the freshwater spring that provides water for the entire island. Back on the coast we should hopefully see frigatebirds 'dance', and with a bit of luck, the males puffing up their red pouches in an attempt to attract the females.  

Day 7: our morning begins with a walk around Cerro Allieri, for spectacular views of the island and a chance to appreciate its unique vegetation. After lunch, we leave Floreana for our final island, Isabella (3nts). A 2hr boat ride away, Isabella is the largest and most active of the islands in the chain. This afternoon we take a short walk to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre, hopefully spotting flamingos on the way.

Day 8: time to stretch our legs, with a visit to Sierra Negra, the largest crater of all the Galapagos volcanoes, and a truly amazing sight. We picnic on top of the volcano for spectacular views over Isabella, and the neighbouring islands of Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz.

Day 9: we explore the Tintoreras Islands, known as Galapagos in miniature. Here we've the chance to snorkel in the clear, turquoise waters accompanied by turtles, rays, penguins, and sea lions. After lunch we walk from the white sandy beach of our hotel, towards the Wetlands Trail, where we wind our way through the mangroves and marine iguana colonies, to the Wall of Tears. These are the most extensive wetlands in the archipelago and have been recognised as a globally important site.

Day 10: we say goodbye to the Galapagos with a short flight back to Baltra and on to Quito (1nt) for a farewell dinner.

Day 11: time to explore Quito a little further, before our return flight home.

Day 12: arrive in the UK. 

 


Extend your stay - Andes ecolodge extension

2016

Day 10: upon reaching Quito you will be transferred to our accommodation in the Andes (2 nights). Casa Mojanda provides a relaxing finale to your holiday and the staff here provide the perfect introduction to the warm and welcoming Andean culture. The accommodation looks out over snow-capped volcanoes and the Casa’s lovingly kept gardens. If we’ve time this afternoon, we’ll take a guided walk to explore the area. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided).

Day 11: we walk down to Otavalo town to visit its famous craft markets before our guide takes us on a fascinating tour of the nearby villages, introducing us to the local artisans and their methods of making the colourful textiles and crafts that you see displayed in the town.

This afternoon there are options to visit the bird of prey rescue centre, to see the magnificent Andean condor. If you would prefer something more energetic, kayak on the tranquil lake of San Pablo. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

Day 12: an early bird watching hike before we make our way back to Quito and our return flight home. (Breakfast and lunch included).

Day 13: Arrive in the UK


 

2017 - Andes Lodge to Lodge trek

Day 10: upon reaching Quito you will be transferred to our accommodation in the Andes (1 night). Casa Mojanda provides a relaxing finale to your holiday and the staff here provide the perfect introduction to the warm and welcoming Andean culture. The accommodation looks out over snow-capped volcanoes and the Casa’s lovingly kept gardens. It is at an altitude of 2943m above sea level. If we’ve time this afternoon, we’ll take a guided walk to the Taxospamba waterfall (Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided).

Casa Mojanda is an eco-lodge and focuses on using locally sourced food wherever possible. Many of the vegetables that you will eat have been harvested from the organic gardens on the farm. The accommodation complex is made up of a central lodge, and comfortable cabins situated around the farm. Each cabin is ensuite, with a log fire. 

Day 11: we walk down to Otavalo town to visit its food market. We will explore the market and learn about the different crops which are produced in the surrounding farmlands which we will be exploring today and tomorrow. We'll then visit the famous craft markets before our guide takes us on a fascinating tour of the nearby villages, introducing us to the local artisans and their methods of making the colourful textiles and crafts that you see displayed in the town.

This afternoon we'll explore a more rural area as we hike above these communities learning about small-scale agriculture, an important part of life in the valley. Meet people that continue to farm their land and learn about the products you saw earlier in the market, especially grain crops, like quinoa. The scenery is gorgeous and from this vantage point in the foothills of Imbabura, you can see all the places we hiked through in the morning. If it's a clear day you can even see Cotacachi Volcano.  

At the end of the trail, our supporting vehicle will be waiting for us for a quick transfer to the lodge, Sacha Ji.

Sacha Ji is a wellness and spa retreat built in a 100% sustainable fashion and offering the upmost in comfort. Sacha Ji’s unique combination of scenic magnificence, personalized service, beautiful accommodations, delicious, fresh and healthy Ecuadorian gastronomy, along with an array of wellness, natural and cultural activities and experiences allow for much more than your usual tour or even special vacation. We highly recommend the Jacuzzi that overlooks the valley!

Sacha Ji is at an altitude of 3938 m above sea level. 

(Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

Day 12: an optional Yoga session (payable locally) an early breakfast and the morning is spent trekking through the communities of Zuleta. This agricultural area is famed for its traditional embroidery, dairy products, alpaca farming and highland crops such as wheat, maize, potatoes, lentils and quinoa. “Zuletenos” and “Zuletenas” are known to keep their culture and traditions - keep an eye out for the way the locals dress here and how different it is from the traditional Otavalo clothing.

Lunch will be prepared in a local’s home that kindly accepted to share his home and life with us and give us a cooking class before we make our way back to Quito and our return flight home. (Breakfast and lunch included).

Day 13: Arrive UK

 

General Information

Passport
A full passport is required.

Visas
Visas are not required by British passport holders. Other nationalities please check with the visa section of their nearest Ecuadorian consulate.

Visitors are issued with a tourist card on arrival. Keep this safe as you will need to present it on your departure.

Health advice
Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and health: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk www.traveldoctor.co.uk

Vaccines: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus & Diphtheria vaccinations are recommended. Malaria, Rabies and Yellow Fever prevention may be recommended too. On occasions, dengue fever vaccine may also be recommended.

Travelling in Ecuador does not carry major health risks, provided simple precautions are followed.

You may feel the effects of altitude on arrival in Quito. The sun can be very strong at altitude, even through cloud cover, and it is recommended that you wear plenty of sun screen or keep covered up. Altitude will not be an issue on the islands.

If arriving into Ecuador from a country with endemic yellow fever you will be asked for a yellow fever certificate. Please consult your GP for up to date details.

The Ecuadorian government has announced all travellers to the Galapagos who plan to undertake any activities like hiking, walking, snorkelling must now provide the following mandatory information before travelling to the islands - Blood type (if you don't know this already, you will have to pay for this - current price approx £60), Pre-existing medical conditions/allergies, Emergency contact information, Medical insurance information, Advance Passenger Information. We will be asking for this information prior to departure.

Climate
Ecuador’s varied topography results in a variety of climate zones that are encountered on this holiday. Around Quito and the surrounding Andean peaks and valleys temperatures are pleasant and spring-like year round, with temperatures dropping in the mountains at night. The Galapagos Islands experience hot days and nights, due to the proximity of the Equator, although showers and cloudy periods can sometimes occur.

Money
The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. Bills of $20 or more are harder to change so please make sure you bring some cash in smaller denominations for any extras such as drinks and souvenirs. You should ensure that you have access to emergency funds, a credit card being the most convenient.

ATMs are available at most banks in urban areas. On the Galápagos Islands, currently only Mastercard is accepted. Cash withdrawals from ATMs should be done in Quito (Visa is most widely accepted). Traveller’s cheques are not advised.

Tipping
Tips are included on this holiday.

General 

There is plenty of choice at mealtimes, plenty of water to fill up your water bottles. You cannot use tap water for drinking water but you can clean your teeth with the tap water. Fruit and salads are ok to eat.

 

For flights information please see Dates and Prices tab 

Leaders

Roberto Mino

Roberto is our local guide based in Ecuador. He is 31 years old and lives in Quito. This is the second year that he has been guiding the HF Holidays' guests through his home country, including the Galapagos Islands. He is a National guide and a Naturalist guide from the “Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve” and his degree is in Ecotourism, allowing him to work in different regions of the country. He loves to share his knowledge with our guests, and wants to make your visit to Ecuador an enjoyable experience.

When he’s not guiding, Roberto likes to go mountain biking; he also has a huge interest in wildlife and birds, of which there are plenty on the Galapagos Islands. 

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
13 Sep 2016, 7:20 p.m.

Service rating:

+

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Service review:

The Ecuador trip was excellent but we do believe that HF should indicate in your literature that it is very rigorous. The people on the trip in their 60s did very well but we who are in our 80s and 90s struggled despite the fact that we trained hard for it.

Product review:

Extremely well organized, outstanding leaders, interesting and suitable accommodations.
18 May 2016, 4:32 p.m.

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Service review:

Always excellent

Product review:

Amazing trip
7 Dec 2015, 4:37 p.m.

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+

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Service review:

Generally speaking I have been happy with H.F. holidays in England. However, the long flight to Ecuador was spoilt for me because HF had failed to tell the airline that I have a wheat intolerance, which meant they didn't cater for me and I became very hungry.

Product review:

This holiday was extremely interesting, local guides accommodation very good.
3 Dec 2015, 8:22 p.m.

Service rating:

+

Product rating:

+

Service review:

The booking service was by phone was not as efficient as other companies I have used.

Product review:

I was charged for the full 9 day holiday but did not have the final day in Quito which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I paid for the extension days 9 and 10 and the experience was below my expectation. The two walks were rather similar with not a lot of interest and I expected the condors to be flying.
21 Oct 2015, 6:31 p.m.

Service rating:

--

Product rating:

++

Service review:

A good service.

Product review:

Very exciting and unique holiday. All the travelling was worth it to see the incredible landscapes and wildlife of Galapagos.
Thank you for your feedback.

I was delighted to read that you enjoyed your holiday experience with us.

I do hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you on another HF holiday in the future.

Thank you again for taking the time to leave feedback.

Kind regards
Toni

Toni McNulty
Customer Relations Manager
HF Holidays
21 Oct 2015, 12:30 p.m.

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+

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Service review:

Have always enjoyed HF holidays

Product review:

This was a well organised and enjoyable holiday led by excellent guides. It was hard work but worth the effort to see the wonderful wildlife.
I felt the itinerary was rather rushed at times.
16 Oct 2015, 10:03 p.m.

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Service review:

We have had two HF holidays, both very well run with friendly, well informed guides.

Product review:

Arrangements were very smooth and the two guides worked well as a team.
16 Oct 2015, 1:57 p.m.

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Service review:

We have now used HF Holidays eight times, both in the U.K. and abroad, and on every occasion we have been impressed by the organisation of the holidays and the excellence of the guides, whether volunteer or paid.

Product review:

This was indeed a "holiday of a lifetime". Most memorable and often quite breathtaking. It was gruelling and tiring but well worth the effort.
3 Dec 2014, 11:02 p.m.

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+

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Service review:

This is our third HF holiday and we have always been delighted with the walking and food and people. This time was the same with the exception if the Otavalo extension which I have detailed the reasons below. It left us feeling disappointed and ripped off because it was advertised as a 2 night extension but was really only one extra night as last night of Galapogos trip we only realised we were missing when we got back to the airport in Quito from Galapogos. All we did in Otavalo was sit on a bus, eat and go to shops. On the last day after some negotiation with the guide she reluctantly allowed us 2 hours to walk instead of going to more shops. This was the most beautiful lake that we would have had the time to walk around with a boxed lunch. Don't think we would have had these problems if HF guide there and just wondering if this is a new policy for all destinations?

Product review:

Galapogos section excellent and exceeded expectations. Otavalo extension very disappointing for 3 reasons (1) missed last night with group in Quito after wonderful time in Galapogos; (2) no options for walking in nature were offered to us by guide and we were upset by this as beautiful area; (3) although accomodation and meals good we thought 400 plus GBP was a bit excessive for one extra nights holiday which involved sitting on a bus for more than 3 hours each way to be taken into shops by guide and then to eat and then back on the bus. This extension was advertised as 2 extra nights but since the first night was swopped with the last night of the Galapogos trip it should state this clearly in the brochure and that it is one extra night as we were not offered a refund fir missing out on last night in Quito.
24 Oct 2014, 1:07 p.m.

Service rating:

+

Product rating:

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Service review:

People are interested in what they are doing; therefore positive atmosphere.

Product review:

Almost excellent, but as neither the itinerary in brochure or the one given out in Ecuador was adhered to I cannot give the top mark. A memorable experience nonetheless.

Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
3 May 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 3 May 2017, 7:25 a.m.
  • Arrive: 3 May 2017, 5 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Quito Mariscal Sucre

Flight - Return

IBERIA INTL AIRLINE

  • Depart: 13 May 2017, 8:40 p.m.
  • Arrive: 14 May 2017, 5:20 p.m.
  • Depart from: Quito Mariscal Sucre
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
10 £4,289.00 Book Now
3 May 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping 10 £3,479.00 Book Now
3 May 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping with Extention 11 £4,048.00 Book Now
30 Aug 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping 10 £3,479.00 Book Now
30 Aug 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping with Extention 11 £4,048.00 Book Now
4 Oct 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 4 Oct 2017, 7:25 a.m.
  • Arrive: 4 Oct 2017, 5 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Quito Mariscal Sucre

Flight - Return

IBERIA INTL AIRLINE

  • Depart: 14 Oct 2017, 8:40 p.m.
  • Arrive: 15 Oct 2017, 5:20 p.m.
  • Depart from: Quito Mariscal Sucre
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
10 £4,289.00 Book Now
4 Oct 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping 10 £3,479.00 Book Now
4 Oct 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping with Extention 11 £4,048.00 Book Now
15 Nov 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 15 Nov 2017, 7:25 a.m.
  • Arrive: 15 Nov 2017, 5 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Quito Mariscal Sucre

Flight - Return

IBERIA INTL AIRLINE

  • Depart: 25 Nov 2017, 8:40 p.m.
  • Arrive: 26 Nov 2017, 5:20 p.m.
  • Depart from: Quito Mariscal Sucre
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
10 £4,289.00 Book Now
15 Nov 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping 10 £3,479.00 Book Now
15 Nov 2017 ECWHW - Ecuador Galapagos Island Hopping with Extention 11 £4,048.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Single room: £550 (2016), £590 (2017)
  • Andes extension from £419
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person