Ecuador and Galapagos Multisport Quest - 10 days
Be part of this adventure ride that includes rafting, biking, kayaking and trekking. Certified naturalist and adventure guides will lead your journey with high quality adventure gear.
DAY 1: QUITO – CUICOCHA LAKE TREK – OTAVALO MARKET
Early morning we depart Quito and head north to the Lake province of Imbabura. After a two-hour drive we reach Cuicocha, a crater lake and a nature reserve located on the slopes of the Cotacachi Volcano. Cuicocha Lake is surrounded by rim walls and its name translates to Lake of the Guinea Pigs due to the shape of its two center islets. This combines paramo and Andean forest covered by species such as Pumamaqui, Quishuar, chilca, bromarea, fushia, lupins, calcelaria, and colorful flowers of the Andes. This hike known as the Orchid Trail runs around the crater rim with stunning views to the lake and the Cotacachi, Mojanda and Imbabura volcanoes. We watch for rodents, mammals, marsupials and birdlife such as guans, hummingbirds, tanagers, wild turkeys, ducks, buzzard eagle and the great Andean Condor. A healthy, refreshing picnic lunch awaits us along the trail. In the afternoon we visit the town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather market. We also visit the Otavalo Indian Market, one of Ecuador´s most important indigenous bazaars brimming with handmade arts, clothes, tapestries, jewelry, ceramics and wood carvings. This colorful market now runs every day of the week and is considered one of the most important ethnic markets in South America. (L, D)
DAY 2: PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS TREK – RAIN FOREST
We drive early morning through the Inter-Andean valleys for a great 2 hour hike in the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve, located across the Atlantic – Pacific continental divide. The reserve is composed of endemic highland paramo with cloud forest patches. The large amount of water retained in this sponge-like environment is the source of the largest water system in the world. When return to a rewarding hot spring soak at Termas de Papallacta, where we can relax in any of the 9 different thermal pools, ranging in temperature from 97ºF to 104ºF (36ºC to 40ºC). Cloud Forest Mountains and an occasional snowcapped volcano surround these pools, with their mineral rich waters from underground geothermal springs. After lunch we travel to the Amazonian town of Tena where we enjoy a peaceful evening listening to the sounds of the rainforest (B, L, D)
DAY 3: JUNGLE RAFTING ON THE JATUNYACU RIVER
After breakfast we head to Llanganates National Park, which extends from the high Andes to the Amazon basin. This area is considered a Biosphere Zone by the United Nations. The water collected in this area forms the Jatunyacu River, considered one of Ecuador´s best one-day river runs. We begin with a short walk through rainforest scenery and reach incredibly beautiful natural swimming holes and waterslides. After a safety brief, we take a trip down the crystal clear Jatunyacu River and glimpse into indigenous communities living along the shores in small bamboo and wood houses. Jatunyacu is famed for its big waves, fun holes, and high water volume (Class III – III+). (B, L, D)
DAY 4: BAÑOS & WATERFALL EXPLORATION
In the morning, we drive to the edge of Llanganates National Park, gaining altitude until we reach one of the best views of Tungurahua, Ecuador´s most active volcano. This is an especially scenic route, where high rock walls give way to deep cloud forest canyons. We reach the colorful town of Baños, known for its hot springs and rugged landscape where we have lunch. Afterwards, we take a cable car across amazing gorges to explore the trail of waterfalls, as this is the only way to reach them. We´ll see the most scenic ones: Pailon del Diablo (Devil´s Cauldron) and Manto de la Novia (Bride´s Veil). (B, L, D)
DAY 5: MOUNTAIN BIKE & HIKE AT COTOPAXI VOLCANO
After breakfast, we drive to the base of the Cotopaxi Volcano, where we start our adventure journey. We hike to pre-Incan ruins while crossing highland plateaus populated with typical highland wildlife and vegetation – all with stunning volcanic scenery as a backdrop. We grab our mountain bikes and go downhill on a side trail of the majestic Cotopaxi. We pass by Limpiopungo Glacier Lake, a crystal-clear lake that often paints mirror-like reflections of the snowcapped Cotopaxi in its azure waters only to be interrupted by ripples from Andean waterfowl. We make a quick stop at the park´s Interpretation Center to learn about Cotopaxi´s wildlife and natural history. We head back to Quito where you may explore the landmarks and night life of this incredible colonial city. (B, L)
DAY 6: FLY TO GALAPAGOS – HIKE AND SNORKEL SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND
After breakfast we fly to Galapagos. Once in San Cristobal Island, we brief you over lunch at a sea side restaurant. Our journey begins at the Interpretation Center learning about Galapagos´ unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics.
We hike to Frigate Hill along lava rock trails. On the way, your naturalist guide explains all about the Galapagos cotton, palo santo, acacia, and cacti. You also spot blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches among the vegetation and sea cliffs. In addition to unique species, the hike provides marvelous views of the rugged coastline and the coastal town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
We stop for a refreshing snorkel or swim at beautiful Carola Beach. Here, you find sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas, as well as surfers riding some world-class waves. After dinner with a gorgeous sunset as our background, we recommend you take a stroll down the boardwalk to view the immense colony of endemic Galapagos sea lions. (L)
DAY 7: SEA KAYAK & SNORKEL THE COAST, ISLA LOBOS, AND KICKER ROCK
We go to sea in our kayaks and explore coastal bays and coves full of wildlife. We find blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles everywhere. We reach Playa Ochoa and head away from the coast to nearby Isla Lobos where we snorkel with marine iguanas, sea lions, and countless reef fish. Paddling out towards the open sea we reach Kicker Rock, two breathtaking rock massifs that jut out from the ocean. Above the waters, thousands of sea birds cling to its walls and below millions of fish call the rock home. Between the rock walls, you find some of the best snorkeling in the islands with spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and color if you are lucky, look out for hammerhead sharks! (B, L)
DAY 8: MOUNTAIN BIKE THE COASTLINE AND EXPLORE TINTORERAS IN ISABELA ISLAND
After breakfast, we take a short plane ride to Isabela Island. This is the largest island in Galapagos formed by 6 shield volcanoes in real time. Without a doubt, Isabela is one of the most volcanically active spots on the planet.
We take our bikes and visit El Muro de las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears). Isabela was once a penal colony and prisoners constructed a massive wall of lava rocks for no other purpose than to keep busy. We continue biking along white sand beaches, mangroves, brackish lagoons, and a lava tube. The area is filled with giant tortoises and birdlife. We also have a chance to spot flamingos!
After lunch, we explore Tintoreras, a set of small islets filled with hidden coves and beaches where we find the endemic Galapagos penguin as well as reef sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions. In the late afternoon feel free to take a leisure stroll down the seemingly endless beach or join the bustle on the sand streets of this idyllic beach town. (B, L, D)
DAY 9: VOLCANO HIKING IN ISABELA´S HIGHLANDS
We drive up to the highlands to the end of the road, grab our daypacks and hike into a world of recent geological history, enjoying the incredible views of the surrounding volcanoes and sea. When we arrive at the rim of Volcan Sierra Negra, you´ll be awestruck! This is the second largest active caldera on the planet. We walk along the rim of this enormous 30 square mile crater, and if feeling energetic, continue our hike into the caldera of Volcan Chico, an otherworldly landscape with endless hues of oranges, reds, blacks, and yellows. Here, we explore puffing fumaroles and spectacular lava formations. After a day on what seems like another planet, we return to paradise on earth. Enjoy the evening as you please, relaxing in the hotel or cruising the town. (B, L, D)
DAY 10: FLIGHT TO BALTRA & RETURN TO QUITO
An early morning flight takes us from Isabela Island to Baltra Island, where we board our flight back to the continent. (B)
This ultimate wildlife and adventure tour explores the very best of the Andes, Amazon, and Galapagos! Discover astonishing diversity of flora and fauna, landscapes and Andean towns. Experience the thrill of nature cycling down the highest active volcano on the planet, raft the warm waters of a lush jungle river, sea kayak and snorkel with sea turtles, sea lions, and Galapagos sharks.
Fixed Departures 2017: May 16-25, June 7-16, July 20-29, Aug. 18-27, Sept. 17-26, Sept. 28-Oct. 7, Oct. 30 - Nov. 8, Nov. 26-Dec. 5, December 17 – 26, December 25 – Jan 03
Fixed Departure Rates: $3187 per person double. $712 single supplement
Note: Special rates per person based on double occupancy. Air tickets and park entrance fees not included. Restrictions may apply.
Included: Accommodations in tourist superior (comfort) hotels; meals as described; all adventure and protective equipment (including front-suspended deore mountain bikes, expedition kayaks, rafting equipment, gloves, helmets, water bottles, and dry bags); professional English-speaking guide; professional Galapagos naturalist guide; land, sea, and inter-island air transportation.
Not Included: Airfare to/from Galapagos; INGALA Transit Card, Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee; other National Park entrance fees; hotel & restaurant beverages, tips, gratuities and personal expenses.