Private Journeys

Ecuador’s Andes and Galapagos Islands hop

12 days from £3,040pp

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

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Essentials

Transport

2 flights (3.5hrs and 2hrs). 1 speedboat ride (2hrs). 2 road journeys. One train journeys (10 hours).

Accommodation

You’ll be staying at a colonial style hotel in Quito, modern mid-range hotel in Guayaquil, a simple countryside lodge and rustic hotel  in mainland Ecuador; two small and friendly family-run hotels in the Galápagos Islands.

Meals

Breakfast daily; full board days 3-4, lunch day 5.

Summary Of Nights

12 days, 11 nights: Quito 2, Cotopaxi region 1,  Alausi 1, Guayaquil 1, Galápagos Islands 6 (Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal Islands).

Currency

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.

Budget

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses, but as most meals are included you should only need an extra $20-30 a day for drinks and souvenirs.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in Quito and Guayaquil, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend as the dollar is the local currency especially in the Galápagos. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling or euros, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $US5-10 per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey Grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, fit visitors. If you have a disability, please consult us.

Climate

Lying at over 2,500m on the Equator, the highlands have a permanent spring-like climate. The rainy season in the Andes runs between November and April when there are showers most afternoons, so this departure falls in the height of the dry season when the sun is strong during the day, but at night the temperature drops dramatically (maybe as low as freezing point.). Given the proximity to the equator, altitude is the determining factor with regard to temperature. In the mountains at any time of year you should expect a variation between 15°C and 25°C.

In the Galápagos, from January to April it’s hot and the sun is relentless, with some sudden showers. May to July, and October to December is cloudier; August and September it’s often cloudy and cool, and a stiff breeze makes the waters choppier. 

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Altitude

On the mainland you are staying at high altitude (2,800). 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. 

Clothing And Special Equipment

You should go prepared to encounter all seasons. A light fleece jacket and a waterproof waterproof/breathable shell makes a good combination for highland regions. You will need good walking boots, waterproof trousers, scarf, hat and gloves. In the Galápagos, you will encounter warm weather; summer clothing is appropriate but you may wish to protect your naked skin from the powerful sun.  



Sun screen and sunglasses are also highly recommended.



Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and cards.



Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements such as malaria prophylactics. For admission to the Galápagos a yellow fever certificate is required for anyone over 1 year old coming from an area with risk of yellow fever transmission.  You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 

Cases of Zika virus have been reported in parts of Latin America. If you’re pregnant, or planning to be, you should follow the advice of the  National Travel Health Network and Centre

Country info

When's 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.

What's the official language of Ecuador and Galapagos?

Spanish

What's the official currency in Ecuador and Galapagos?

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

What's the time difference between Ecuador and Galapagos and UK?

GMT -5 hours

What places combine well with Ecuador and Galapgos?

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).

Key Events

Carnival: Many places throughout the country, Feb-Mar variable. Be warned that the boisterous festivities include water fights from which no visitor is immune. 
Semana Santa (Easter): Many places throughout the country, Mar-Apr variable. Religious processions.
Todos los Santos (all souls day, day of the dead): Many places throughout the country, 2 Nov. Flower laying ceremonies in cemeteries, particularly striking in rural areas. 

A Note About Altitude

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

  • Qualified bilingual local guides
  • All land transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, pay your entrance fees locally

Included Excursions

  • Walking city tour in Quito
  • Hike the Pita river canyon
  • Latacunga market
  • Visit to llama museum in Palacio Real
  • Full day trip to South Plaza Island, Galápagos
  • Snorkelling excursion to Kicker Rock, Galápagos

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Entrance fees on included shared excursions
  • Optional excursions

What's included in the price

  • Qualified bilingual local guides
  • All land transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, pay your entrance fees locally

Included Excursions

  • Walking city tour in Quito
  • Hike the Pita river canyon
  • Latacunga market
  • Visit to llama museum in Palacio Real
  • Full day trip to South Plaza Island, Galápagos
  • Snorkelling excursion to Kicker Rock, Galápagos

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Entrance fees on included shared excursions
  • Optional excursions

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.

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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.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    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 Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Jamie Swan
    Jamie Swan - Travel Consultant

    Jamie backpacked across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before joining us; he has a degree in politics and is also a keen sportsman..

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

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

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    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 team.

Meet the team