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Group - Classic

Albatross: Ecuador’s highlands and Galapagos

16 days from £7,255pp

(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands / Galapagos Islands

Land iguana

Essentials

About Our Group Tours

To find out more about how our group tours including group sizes, solo travellers and why to choose us. Please click here.

Tour Leader

On this tour, you’ll be accompanied throughout mainland Ecuador by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour leaves Guayaquil for the Galápagos, they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go. Once you land in the Galápagos Islands you will be in the capable hands of the crew and naturalist guides onboard the cruise.

Summary Of Nights

16 days, 15 nights: Quito 2; Chilcabamba; Riobamba 1; Cuenca 3; Guayaquil 1; Galápagos cruise 7 (6 for departures from March 2025 onwards).

Accommodation

We use the following mid-range and upper mid-range hotels/haciendas on this tour. You will cruise the Galápagos Islands on a 16 person motor yacht.

• Quito: La Casona de la Ronda
• Chilcabamba: Chilcabamba Lodge
• Riobamba: Abraspungo
• Cuenca: Hotel Santa Lucia
• Guayaquil: Hotel Wyndham
• Galápagos Islands: MC Galápagos Seaman Journey

Upgrade your cabin:

On board the Galapagos Seaman journey all cabins have panoramic windows, but you may wish to upgrade for an extra fee to a cabin located on a higher deck which may offer more light and air.

On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.

Transport

2 flights (longest 3hrs); All land transport is operated privately for the group; 7 night Galápagos Islands cruise.

Meals

Breakfast daily, full board days 9-15.

Optional Excursions

On this tour the price includes excursions in all the places you visit as per the itinerary. There will however likely be some free time when you may choose to take part in an optional excursion. These are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America, however we are more than happy to advise you of what is on offer in advance of your holiday so you can best plan the excursions that suit you.

Travelling Alone

There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room/cabin subject to availability. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room/cabin there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge. If you do not wish to pay the single supplement for the cruise we do offer a single room in mainland Ecuador and share on the cruise option.

Trip Suitability

There are some early mornings and some fairly long days of travel. All walks are optional, as is swimming and snorkelling in and around the Galápagos Islands and you can discuss with your guide which are suitable for you. This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors.  The sea can be choppy around the Galápagos islands.

Altitude

Several days are spent at high altitude (over 2,500m). A small minority of visitors may suffer temporarily from altitude sickness. Symptoms vary; most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. If you don’t recover in a day or two speak to our representatives; in very rare instances it is necessary to descend to lower altitudes. Most people are unaffected and if you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of suffering any symptoms.

Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.

Climate

Given the proximity to the equator the climate is pretty steady and this tour can operate all year. Altitude is the determining factor with regard to temperature (cooler with height) with the wetter season on the mainland being from November to April. The warmest period in the Galapagos Islands falls between January and April but the archipelago can be visited throughout the year and the animals are non-migratory. A comprehensive overview of the weather in all the regions you are visiting can be found in our Destination pages. Our Travel Experts can answer your questions on climate and further details will be sent with your confirmation documents.

Clothing, Equipment and Luggage

A daypack is essential for carrying rainwear, snacks, books/tablet and a water bottle. For day-to-day wear you should take loose-fitting, breathable clothes. Comfortable shoes are important and sandals are useful. A sun hat, sun block and sunglasses are necessary, and you should take warmer layers for the cooler evenings, as well as swimwear and insect repellent. Binoculars are useful for wildlife spotting in the Galápagos.

Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for embarking and disembarking on wet landings. 

The flights to and from the Galápagos Islands allow a checked luggage allowance of 23kg.

Money

Please see the Country Info tab on this holiday for our latest currency information and advice about how to take your spending money. Tipping in Latin America is almost always done using cash. It is customary to tip tour leaders, local guides, drivers, boat crews and other service providers such as restaurant staff and porters. Full tipping guidelines are sent with your confirmation documents as is advice on local costs.

Health, Entry Requirements and Insurance

For health information on travelling to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands including recommended vaccinations, please see https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

All Latin American countries have specific entry regulations related to Covid 19. Please also check our Travel Hub for further information.

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Other nationalities should enquire with us or check with the consulates.

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on the Travel insurance website.

Our full briefing dossier contains more information on vaccinations, visas and insurance and will be provided with your final travel documents or can be requested from your travel consultant at any time.

Country info

When is the best time to visit Ecuador and Galapagos?

The country is an all-year-round destination. The highlands, at about 2,800m but astride the Equator, have a permanent spring-like climate. Most days have a sunny morning but there may be rain in the afternoon. The coast is very hot (30°C) and humid from Jan-Apr. It’s a bit cooler and drier from May-Dec. The jungle is hot and humid all year.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What is the official language of Ecuador and Galapagos?

The official language in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is Spanish.

What is the official currency in Ecuador and Galapagos?

The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card.

What is the time difference between Ecuador and Galapagos and UK?

The time difference between the UK and Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is GMT-5 hours.

What places combine well with Ecuador and Galapagos?

The Galápagos Islands, (1.5 - 3 hours by air from Guayaquil of Quito); a tour in Colombia to the north, with daily flights from Bogotá to Quito taking just 1.5 hours; the Inca archaeological sites of Peru (daily flights Lima to Quito take 2 hours 20mins).

What are the festivals and cultural events in Ecuador?

There are carnivals throughout the country, usually around February-March. Be warned that the boisterous festivities include water fights from which no visitor is safe.

Semana Santa (Easter) takes place throughout the country usually between March-April. There will be religious processions throughout this period.

Todos los Santos (all souls day, day of the dead) is also celebrated throughout the country on the 2nd November. Flower laying ceremonies in will take place in cemeteries. These are particularly striking in rural areas.

How do I adapt to the altitude in Ecuador?

Ecuador’s high Andean spine is bookended by the Pacific coast and Amazon Rainforest, with Quito at 2,850m. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. You may initially notice a headache, dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP before booking.  We also recommend you check your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude.  If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude-related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Rest assured we will plan your itinerary carefully, taking into account any time spent at altitude.  If you have any questions or concerns about altitude please speak to your travel expert.

Further advice on travel to altitude is available on www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

What's included in the price

  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • Services of Journey Latin America tour leader (for the mainland sector)
  • All land and internal air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees
  • Use of snorkel and flippers in the Galápagos

Included Excursions

  • Quito: guided city tour
  • Avenue of the Volcanoes: Cotopaxi and Limpiopungo
  • Avenue of the Volcanoes: guided tour of Ingapirca Inca site
  • Cuenca: visit to Las Cajas National Park
  • Galápagos Islands: 8 day cruise with guided land excursions and optional snorkeling everyday

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Galápagos National Park entrance fee
  • Wetsuits are $10 a day

What's included in the price

  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • Services of Journey Latin America tour leader (for the mainland sector)
  • All land and internal air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees
  • Use of snorkel and flippers in the Galápagos

Included Excursions

  • Quito: guided city tour
  • Avenue of the Volcanoes: Cotopaxi and Limpiopungo
  • Avenue of the Volcanoes: guided tour of Ingapirca Inca site
  • Cuenca: visit to Las Cajas National Park
  • Galápagos Islands: 8 day cruise with guided land excursions and optional snorkeling everyday

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Galápagos National Park entrance fee
  • Wetsuits are $10 a day

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

Papagaio

Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration
Bartolome, Galápagos

Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Sallly
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Ben
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Heloise
    Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert

    Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Charlotte
    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

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