2 flights (2hrs each); 3 scenic road/rail journeys; short journeys by motor yacht in the Galápagos.
Mid-range hotels, a traditional hacienda and small family hotel in the Galápagos.
• Quito: Hotel Casa Gardenia
• Riobamba: Hacienda Abraspungo
• Cuenca: Hotel Victoria
• Guayaquil: Unipark
• Puerto Ayora: Hotel Mainao
Breakfast daily; lunch days 4, 7, 8 and 9. Full board on day 3.
• Quito: city tour
• Cotopaxi: National Park and Limpiopungo lake
• Alausi: Devils Nose and Ingapirca ruins
• Cuenca: city tour
• Cuenca: Las Cajas National Park
• Galápagos Islands: Full day Santa Cruz itinerary
• Galápagos Islands: Full day Plazas itinerary
• Galápagos Islands: Full day Bartolome and James Islands itinerary
Summary of nights
10 days, 9 nights: Quito 2, Riobamba 1, Cuenca 2, Guayaquil 1, Galápagos 3 (Santa Cruz).
Included in the journey price
• Local tour leaders. One for mainland and one for Galápagos.
• All land transport and Galápagos flights
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified
• International departure tax
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities
• Galápagos entrance fees ($100pp + $20 for transit card)
• Meals other than specified
There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with a same-sex member of the group who is usually also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to be sure of having their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.
The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.
A daily budget of $25-$35 should cover extra expenses for meals, a few drinks and the odd souvenir.
How to take it
Cash machines are easily available in Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil 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, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.
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 (or local equivalent) per person for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
There are some early mornings and some fairly long days of travel. All walks are optional, as is swimming, snorkelling and kayaking 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.
There are only two seasons, wet and dry. The dry season in the Andean highlands lasts from June to September and on the coast from May to December. Although February to April is traditionally the green (wet) season, there is a chance of showers throughout the year. Due to altitude Quito and the highlands can be chilly in the evenings.
Guayaquil is especially hot and humid from January through to April.
The Galápagos Islands are on the Equator, but the tropical heat is tempered by ocean breezes. You may require a light sweater for the evening and between November and March there is a chance of rain. In August and September you may experience garúa (mist), but the rest of the year skies should be clear and sunny, though we would suggest that you take a waterproof just in case.
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.
Clothing and special equipment
For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well on the Galápagos Islands and in the jungle. Long-sleeved shirts will protect you from insects.
Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block, hat and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for ocean swimming (Galápagos). You can hire snorkelling equipment but may prefer to bring your own. Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for embarking and disembarking on wet landings. Bring a light waterproof jacket in case of rain.
Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and memory 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 and Galápagos.
Reduce plastic waste
Journey Latin America has partnered with Water-To-Go to offer JLA Group Tour passengers the opportunity to purchase 75cl filtered water bottles for a 50% discount. The bottle can be refilled at any water outlet and has a filter that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, allowing the water to be safe to drink. Please call your contact at JLA to add it your booking and it will be delivered to your address. More information about this initiative can be found on our website here
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.
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. Clients with a different nationality should enquire or check with the Ecuadorian Consulate.
Esta - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online. This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally. Passports must also be digital e-passports with embedded chip. Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.