Galápagos & Ecuador Experience

Ecuador&Galapagos-Seal-AdobeStock_54637272.jpeg
Duration: 12 nights
Type: Worldwide walking holidays
Walking Grade: 2
from £4,565pp with flights

Named after the Equator, Ecuador thrills with steamy Amazon jungle, Andean foothills, and one of the most celebrated wildlife-watching destinations in the world - the Galápagos Islands. You’ll visit the UNESCO-listed Ecuadorian capital, Quito, hike through the waterfall splashed jungles of the Mindo Cloud Forest and drive down the Pan-American Highway to marvel at the snow-capped peak of Cotopaxi volcano. And on the Galápagos, you’ll encounter incredible wildlife, including giant tortoise, great frigate birds, marine iguana, Galápagos penguin, and more.

What you’ll love

  • Visiting the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands
  • Exploring the lava tunnels of Santa Cruz
  • Swimming with turtles in Tortuga Bay
  • Hiking through Cayambe Coca Eco Reserve
  • Spotting exotic birds in Mindo Cloud Forest
  • Taking part in community projects

What’s included

  • Full programme of guided walks led by local HF Holidays Leaders
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Half-board (breakfast and evening meal plus 3 lunches)
  • All sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Air-conditioned transport 
  • Internal flights
  • Return flights from the UK including hold baggage and airport transfers

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Welcome to Quito - the best-preserved historical city of the Americas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and cultural capital of South America. And to top it off, it’s located on the equator in the foothills of the Pichincha volcano.

Depending on when you arrive, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito. Then in the evening, there’ll be a welcome briefing at the hotel lobby to go through everything and help with anything you need.

Sheraton Hotel - Quito

Located in the bustling retail district of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, this modern hotel sits in easy reach of the area’s top attractions. Quito’s UNESCO-listed old quarter is just a 12-minute taxi ride, or you can stick around to take advantage of the Sheraton’s fully equipped gym and fitness centre. Spacious rooms are smartly decorated, and all come with TV and free Wi-Fi, and a selection have standout views over the city. The hotel has two excellent restaurants serving local dishes and international cuisine, plus a bakery that provides fresh bread and cakes.


We’ll fly to the island of Baltra, part of the Galápagos Islands, and transfer to Santa Cruz, a nearby island, by crossing the narrow Itabaca channel by ferry.

We’ll head into the highlands, home to the iconic giant Galápagos tortoises, where we’ll have lunch at a private ranch before going in search of these famous residents. Along the way, you’ll spot lava tubes, too. The evening’s yours to enjoy at your leisure.

Hotel Fiesta - Puerto Ayora

The 3-star Hotel Fiesta puts you in a prime position for exploring the Galápagos Islands. Situated on the western side of Santa Cruz, this hotel is well placed for wildlife-watching boat trips around Academy Bay and up-close encounters with giant tortoise. Relaxing is easy here, too. There’s a small pool surrounded by sun loungers, and a huge hot tub ideal for a post-adventure soak. Bright, fresh-faced rooms come with air-conditioning, TV, and Wi-Fi, and most look out onto the hotel’s manicured gardens.


Today’s all about wildlife encounters as we firstly head for a boat ride to Academy Bay. You’ll swim and snorkel with the exotic fish and sea lions that frolic in the waters and search out blue-footed boobies. Afterwards, we’ll climb to a nearby viewpoint to see white-tipped reef sharks before walking along Playa de los Perros to spot the iguanas basking in the sun.

We’ll spend the afternoon at Tortuga Bay, a perfectly preserved beach where you’re surrounded by turtles, crabs, and iguanas.

Hotel Fiesta - Puerto Ayora

The 3-star Hotel Fiesta puts you in a prime position for exploring the Galápagos Islands. Situated on the western side of Santa Cruz, this hotel is well placed for wildlife-watching boat trips around Academy Bay and up-close encounters with giant tortoise. Relaxing is easy here, too. There’s a small pool surrounded by sun loungers, and a huge hot tub ideal for a post-adventure soak. Bright, fresh-faced rooms come with air-conditioning, TV, and Wi-Fi, and most look out onto the hotel’s manicured gardens.


Spend the morning learning about conservation at the Charles Darwin Research Station and seeing the famous Lonesome George. Then in the afternoon we’ll take a boat to the island of San Cristóbal where the rest of the evening’s yours to enjoy as you wish.

Hotel Blue Marlin - San Cristobal

What’s most pleasing about this small and friendly hotel is its standout location. You’ll be in strolling distance of San Cristobal’s biggest town, Puerto Baquerio Moreno, and its charming port. Back at base, a handful of rooms with simple but homely touches create a comfortable stay and centre around a small pool. As for facilities, there’s a pint-sized bar area and a buffet where breakfast is served.


A quick boat ride takes us to nearby Isla Lobos to see the wildlife that inhabits the island and surrounding waters including manta rays, sea lions, frigatebirds, and even sharks. Enjoy strolling along the white beaches of San Cristóbal before we return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Then we’ll head to Cerro Tijeretas to hike to the beautiful Playa Baquerizo beach, passing a hilltop viewpoint, the horseshoe-shaped Punta Carola beach, and Muelle Tijeretas on the way. We’ll round off the day with a sunset cocktail at Playa Mann.

Hotel Blue Marlin - San Cristobal

What’s most pleasing about this small and friendly hotel is its standout location. You’ll be in strolling distance of San Cristobal’s biggest town, Puerto Baquerio Moreno, and its charming port. Back at base, a handful of rooms with simple but homely touches create a comfortable stay and centre around a small pool. As for facilities, there’s a pint-sized bar area and a buffet where breakfast is served.


After breakfast – and one last photo of the sea lions - we’ll fly back to Quito and transfer to our hotel.

Sheraton Hotel - Quito

Located in the bustling retail district of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, this modern hotel sits in easy reach of the area’s top attractions. Quito’s UNESCO-listed old quarter is just a 12-minute taxi ride, or you can stick around to take advantage of the Sheraton’s fully equipped gym and fitness centre. Spacious rooms are smartly decorated, and all come with TV and free Wi-Fi, and a selection have standout views over the city. The hotel has two excellent restaurants serving local dishes and international cuisine, plus a bakery that provides fresh bread and cakes.


Distance: 5 miles (around two hours on flat terrain).

We’ll drive south on the Pan-American Highway to the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. This snow-capped volcano is surrounded by the Cotopaxi National Park, home to abundant plant life and Inca ruins. We’ll drive across the páramo to Limpiopungo Lake for short walk to birdwatch and admire the almost symmetrical cone of the Cotopaxi volcano.

Sheraton Hotel - Quito

Located in the bustling retail district of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, this modern hotel sits in easy reach of the area’s top attractions. Quito’s UNESCO-listed old quarter is just a 12-minute taxi ride, or you can stick around to take advantage of the Sheraton’s fully equipped gym and fitness centre. Spacious rooms are smartly decorated, and all come with TV and free Wi-Fi, and a selection have standout views over the city. The hotel has two excellent restaurants serving local dishes and international cuisine, plus a bakery that provides fresh bread and cakes.


We’ll head north of Quito to visit the middle of the world - a mandatory stop once you’re in Ecuador – where you’re able to stand on both sides of the hemispheres at the same time. On our way, we’ll stop for a view of the Pululahua crater, the third largest inhabited volcanic crater in the world. Then we’ll reach Mindo, which is nestled in the cloud forest - a true birdwatcher’s paradise.

In the afternoon we’ll visit a chocolate distributor to understand how they process cocoa, from harvesting the seed to the final product.

El Septimo Paraiso

A handful of jungle lodges hidden in the middle of the Mindo Cloud Forest, El Septimo Paraiso is a real away-from-it-all experience. Wake up to the sounds of wildlife in the trees with a stay in one of 23 comfortable cabins – all of which overlook the tropical scenery. Made from 100% ecological materials, rooms are decked out in dark-wood, bamboo furniture, and individual touches. Outside you’ll find two pools surrounded by shade-giving trees, a safari-style bar, and an excellent restaurant serving both Ecuadorian and international cuisine.


Explore the pristine cloud rainforest of Mindo, crossing by cable car and hiking along waterfalls surrounded toucans, hummingbirds, and other colourful birds.

The afternoon’s yours to enjoy some optional outdoor activities like whitewater rafting, tubing, or ziplining over the forest canopy. Then we’ll make our way to the butterfly nursery to watch them emerge and land on your hand.

El Septimo Paraiso

A handful of jungle lodges hidden in the middle of the Mindo Cloud Forest, El Septimo Paraiso is a real away-from-it-all experience. Wake up to the sounds of wildlife in the trees with a stay in one of 23 comfortable cabins – all of which overlook the tropical scenery. Made from 100% ecological materials, rooms are decked out in dark-wood, bamboo furniture, and individual touches. Outside you’ll find two pools surrounded by shade-giving trees, a safari-style bar, and an excellent restaurant serving both Ecuadorian and international cuisine.


We’ll drive back up into the highlands, heading north to the town of Otavalo. We’ll visit Pijal, a small village in the heart of the Andes, to visit one of the sustainable projects called Sacha WarmiKuna (women from the mountain). You’ll prepare ‘Aji’ (a local spicy salsa) together, have lunch, and learn more about the weaving process of their textiles.

In the afternoon, you’ll get to explore the handicraft market, full of textiles, alpaca throws and rugs, knitted clothing, paintings, ceramics, jewellery, and tapestries.

Later we’ll arrive at the historical hacienda of Cusin where we’ll stay overnight.

Hacienda Cusin

Furnished with 17th century antiques, wall tapestries, and colourful tiles, this lavish 400-year-old Spanish estate ranks among the finest haciendas in Ecuador. Characterful rooms come with the feel of an authentic Spanish casa while hearty Ecuadorian cuisine is served in the candlelit dining room. Alongside five acres of beautifully landscaped gardens to explore and a host of activities on offer, the hotel also makes a great base from which to visit Otavalo’s famous craft market.


Distance: 12.10km (around four to five hours).

Our first stop today will be the Cuicocha crater lake in the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve. We’ll trek around this active volcano before taking a boat to the centre of the crater where you’ll witness the forces at play beneath the surface.

Termas Papallacta

You might find it tough to leave Termas Papallacta – even with a whole host of Ecuadorian adventures on your doorstep. This mountain spa hotel boasts an enviable location on the edge of the renowned Cayambe Coca Eco Reserve. Comfortable lodge-style rooms are kitted out in wooden furnishings and after a full day of exploring, you can enjoy a hot spring soak and hydrotherapy massage surrounded by knockout views of the Andean mountains.


Distance: 11.8km (around five to six hours)

One hour from Quito, we’ll be in amongst the Andean páramo surrounded by lagoons, waterfalls, and the most incredible views. We’ll hike in the Cayambe Coca National Park to soak up every detail. Then at the end of the day, we’ll check in to our hotel for a relaxing final night.

Wyndham Hotel, Quito Airport - Quito

This sleek and contemporary hotel offers a comfortable stay and a convenient location just steps from the terminal building.


As our holiday comes to an end, we’ll transfer you to the airport in time for your flight back.


Sheraton Hotel - Quito

Located in the bustling retail district of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, this modern hotel sits in easy reach of the area’s top attractions. Quito’s UNESCO-listed old quarter is just a 12-minute taxi ride, or you can stick around to take advantage of the Sheraton’s fully equipped gym and fitness centre. Spacious rooms are smartly decorated, and all come with TV and free Wi-Fi, and a selection have standout views over the city. The hotel has two excellent restaurants serving local dishes and international cuisine, plus a bakery that provides fresh bread and cakes.

Hotel Fiesta - Puerto Ayora

The 3-star Hotel Fiesta puts you in a prime position for exploring the Galápagos Islands. Situated on the western side of Santa Cruz, this hotel is well placed for wildlife-watching boat trips around Academy Bay and up-close encounters with giant tortoise. Relaxing is easy here, too. There’s a small pool surrounded by sun loungers, and a huge hot tub ideal for a post-adventure soak. Bright, fresh-faced rooms come with air-conditioning, TV, and Wi-Fi, and most look out onto the hotel’s manicured gardens.

Hotel Blue Marlin - San Cristobal

What’s most pleasing about this small and friendly hotel is its standout location. You’ll be in strolling distance of San Cristobal’s biggest town, Puerto Baquerio Moreno, and its charming port. Back at base, a handful of rooms with simple but homely touches create a comfortable stay and centre around a small pool. As for facilities, there’s a pint-sized bar area and a buffet where breakfast is served.

El Septimo Paraiso

A handful of jungle lodges hidden in the middle of the Mindo Cloud Forest, El Septimo Paraiso is a real away-from-it-all experience. Wake up to the sounds of wildlife in the trees with a stay in one of 23 comfortable cabins – all of which overlook the tropical scenery. Made from 100% ecological materials, rooms are decked out in dark-wood, bamboo furniture, and individual touches. Outside you’ll find two pools surrounded by shade-giving trees, a safari-style bar, and an excellent restaurant serving both Ecuadorian and international cuisine.

Hacienda Cusin

Furnished with 17th century antiques, wall tapestries, and colourful tiles, this lavish 400-year-old Spanish estate ranks among the finest haciendas in Ecuador. Characterful rooms come with the feel of an authentic Spanish casa while hearty Ecuadorian cuisine is served in the candlelit dining room. Alongside five acres of beautifully landscaped gardens to explore and a host of activities on offer, the hotel also makes a great base from which to visit Otavalo’s famous craft market.

Termas Papallacta

You might find it tough to leave Termas Papallacta – even with a whole host of Ecuadorian adventures on your doorstep. This mountain spa hotel boasts an enviable location on the edge of the renowned Cayambe Coca Eco Reserve. Comfortable lodge-style rooms are kitted out in wooden furnishings and after a full day of exploring, you can enjoy a hot spring soak and hydrotherapy massage surrounded by knockout views of the Andean mountains.

Wyndham Hotel, Quito Airport - Quito

This sleek and contemporary hotel offers a comfortable stay and a convenient location just steps from the terminal building.

Essential information

It's best to be prepared for all weather conditions. To make it easier, here is a list of items you should consider packing.   

Essentials  

  • Walking boots 
  • Waterproof jacket 
  • Waterproof trousers 
  • Insulated jacket/top 
  • Walking clothing  
  • Walking socks (plus spares)  
  • Sunhat 
  • Gloves/mitts and warm hat
  • Water bottle (minimum 2 litre capacity)  
  • Headtorch 
  • High-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF 30)  
  • Sunglasses with a dark lens 
  • Rucksack (15-30 litres)  
  • Mobile phone 
  • Personal first aid kit (containing your medication, blister plasters, etc.) 
  • Passport 
  • Visa (if applicable) 
  • Copy of your travel insurance policy 
  • UK Global Health Insurance Card (formerly known as EHIC

Recommended

  • Collapsible walking poles 
  • Swimwear and travel towel
  • Snacks
  • Dry bags
  • Rubbish bags
  • Insect repellent

Optional extras

  • Camera 
  • Sit mat
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box
  • Gaiters 
  • GPS device 

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised prices listed below show the lowest economy flight price option for that departure. On holidays where we offer local UK airports, details will appear in the “Important Information” section below and available alternative flight options will be offered when you book. Seating upgrades may be available on request and at an additional charge, please call 020 3974 8865 for a quote.

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

06 Apr - 19 Apr 2024

12 nights

Itinerary
Flight from London Heathrow Airport

Single from

£5,394

Double from

£4,869 pp

from

£4,869 pp

from

£5,394

Trip Notes Book Now

19 Oct - 01 Nov 2024

12 nights

Itinerary
Flight from London Heathrow Airport

Single from

£5,090

Double from

£4,565 pp

from

£4,565 pp

from

£5,090

Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

06 Apr - 19 Apr 2024

12 nights

Itinerary

Single from

£3,894

Double from

£3,369 pp

from

£3,369 pp

from

£3,894

Trip Notes Book Now

19 Oct - 01 Nov 2024

12 nights

Itinerary

Single from

£3,894

Double from

£3,369 pp

from

£3,369 pp

from

£3,894

Trip Notes Book Now

Important information

  • With flight holidays: Price includes return flights to Quito, hold baggage and airport transfers
Duration:
12 nights
Type:
Worldwide walking holidays
Walking Grade:
2

12 nights from £4,565pp
with flights

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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