• Ecuador
  • 12 Days

Ecuador Highlands and Islands Adventure

  • Multi Destination Journey
  • Active Adventure
  • 12 days; 11 nights
  • 2 to 10 travelers
  • Begins & ends in Quito
Discover the natural beauty of the volcanoes while visiting two of the most spectacular volcanic places of the planet: the Cotopaxi Volcano and the Galapagos Islands. This is the perfect opportunity to experience nature at its best and to have a unique cultural insight into the Chagra or Andean Cowboy lifestyle, while enjoying the best soft adventure activities this areas has to offer. This is a program designed for the entire family, couples or groups.

At a Glance

Creature comforts

comfortable


Physical activity

light


Ground support

fully guided

Terrain

  • Mountains
  • Ocean

Practicalities

  • For ages 5+
  • Proficient english

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Diving
  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking
  • Digital detox

Your Local Expert

Tierra del Volcan Ecuador

Tierra del Volcán has been organizing trips for more than 20 years already. Our philosophy is based on offering a friendly, safe, passionate, professional and efficient service to our clients. This service leads to a harmonious growth of our organization, and the well-being and satisfaction or our guests, patrons, and employees. We support sustainable development, caring for the protection and management of the environment. This development also includes social and educational projects in the surrounding communities. At Tierra del Volcán we uphold a philosophy of the utmost standards, where the protection of nature is present in every one of our products and services. We are a creative and enthusiastic group committed to Ecuador, the world, and the beauty of nature, who wish to share our knowledge and experience of this natural place with our travelers. We hope you will join us in embracing the natural adventures that await you.read more

The Journey

Day 1

We will pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel.

Day 2

Visit Quito

Today we will visit the best that Quito has to offer for family bonding. We start our visit to El Teleférico, a cable car system that will take us to 4.200 m (13779.53 feet) and have great views of the city and the Avenue of the volcanoes. Then we will visit the colonial part of the city of Quito that is the first city to be declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage and visit its marvelous cathedrals, historic streets and hidden architectural beauties.read more

Day 3

We leave Quito early in the morning and head South to Machachi, a highland town located at the Heart of the Avenue of Volcanoes. This is a one hour drive from Quito. On market days in Machachi, farmers from the nearby communities and rural areas will gather at a city square (or «plaza» in Spanish), to trade their products and services. This experience reveals the diversity of Andean lifestyles and highlights the importance of tradition in the lives of local families and individuals. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the people who live here, to discover new fruits and vegetables, to enjoy colorful images and to share some smiles. We continue our trip to Hacienda El Porvenir for a tasty, wholesome lunch. In the afternoon we will learn how to milk a cow by hand and later on, we will have our Cooking in the Clouds lesson focused on traditional cooking methods. Dinner and overnight stay at Hacienda El Porvenir.read more

Day 4

Horseback riding Rumiñahui Volcano

In the morning we have a delicious, nutritious farm breakfast, followed by a brief riding lesson from our guides before we set out on our horses. Wearing the typical dress of the chagra (Ecuadorian cowboys), we ride out across the slopes of the dormant volcano, Rumiñahui. A respected chagra from the area will come with us and share some of his deep knowledge of the country life. The ride lasts for approximately two hours. Back in the farmhouse, a tasty local lunch will be ready upon our arrival. In the afternoon we can learn local cowboy skills from our chagra guide; including horse handling and care instructions. Feel free to feed the horses whenever you want! Weather permitting, we can hike to the sky deck to watch stars and constellations, if the night is cloudy we can hike to the campsite and light a wood fire to listen some local stories and make smores! Dinner and overnight stay at Hacienda El Porvenir.read more

Day 5

Today we offer two options for families so that they can get what is best for their interests and skills. These activities have to be chosen in advance for logistic reasons. B,L * Option A – Mountain Biking: After a wholesome hacienda breakfast, we provide each guest with a mountain bike (29ers for adults and good quality mountain bikes for kids). The Hacienda has several biking circuits that you can enjoy in the morning. If you wish to explore the trails in the highlands at your own pace, you may do so as well. This bike trip can last approximately two and a half hours, through patches of native forests, farmland and highland trails. Return to the farmhouse for a delicious lunch. During the afternoon, you can defeat your fear of heights (or tickle your adrenaline rush), in the Cotopaxi High Rope Course, a circuit designed for both kids and adults. This is a perfect activity for bonding and strengthening family ties. The activity lasts for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes The activity is designed for adults and children ages six and up * Option B – Native Forest Hike: After a wholesome hacienda breakfast, we drive to Santa Rita Ecological Reserve, a private conservation area in the Cotopaxi Area with fantastic remains of native forest, petrified lava streams, glacial rivers, and waterfalls. We will hike through native forest trails, learning about the ecology of the area. A two-hour loop will finish on the campsite where we can catch some rainbow trout in the stream as locals do. We enjoy a picnic on the campsite and if we catch some trout, we can cook it and have it for lunch! Or we can also catch and release, just for the experience! During the afternoon, we return to Hacienda El Porvenir to enjoy the Cotopaxi High Rope Course, a circuit designed for both kids and adults. This is a perfect activity for bonding and strengthening family ties. B, L The activity lasts for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutesread more

Day 6

Cotopaxi National Park Visit

Have you ever thought about how it is possible to have glaciers on the Equatorial line? Have you ever wondered what it feels like to climb an active volcano? Would you like to discover why ancient explorers pointed out Cotopaxi as one of the most beautiful mountains in the World? This is your opportunity to immerse yourself on a fantastic day trip of exploration to the iconic Cotopaxi National Park. Home of the biggest flying bird in the world: the Andean Condor, home of herds of wild- truly wild- horses, a place where migratory birds stop by to get some rest on their way south. The location is the perfect place to learn about Andean Geology. On our visit we reach the parking spot below the Cotopaxi Refuge, where we begin our short hike up to the climbing hut (Refugio José Ribas) at 4,800m (15,744 ft). It is hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of the Volcano on this short hike. Once back in the vehicle, we continue our way driving down to the Limpiopungo Lake, where a wholesome box lunch will be served. We will ride through a vast territory with ancient Inca military fortresses, plains full of volcanic rocks from past eruptions, where we will learn how to recognize the oldest stones. Great chances of learning and connecting with nature during this final day of our Highland Family Adventure. At the end of the afternoon we return to Quito.read more

Day 7

Travel to Santa Cruz Island and Tortuga Bay Beach

Early in the morning we will depart from the airport in Quito to Baltra Island, where the airport is located. We cross by boat the Itabaca canal to Santa Cruz Island. Once on the Island we will have head to our hotel and get lunch in the city. In the afternoon we will go to Tortuga bay or las grietas a lava crevasses formation filled with water. At night we will walk around Puerto Ayora city to enjoy its many restaurants and bars.read more

Day 8

Today we head to garrapatero Beach. We start by a half and hour car ride through the farmland of Santa Cruz Island. Then we hike for 15 minutes to get to one of the most beautiful beaches that Santa Cruz has to offer and sometimes you can see Flamingos in the area. Here we can swim snorkel and kayak. Then we will enjoy a delicious lunch. In the afternoon we head back to Puerto Ayora.

Day 9

Early in the morning we will take a speedboat from Santa Cruz to Isabela Island, considered to be one of the most beautiful islands of the archipelago. Transfer to beach front hotel. We will have some free time at the beach. In the afternoon enjoy your first impressions of the island getting around its lava formations and meetings its friendly fauna. Have your first encounter with the Galapagos shark on the Tintoreras hiking trail. Then we will enjoy a snorkel excursion.read more

Day 10

After breakfast we will drive for about thirty minutes heading towards the crater of Volcan Sierra Negra, a massive crater overlooking the whole archipelago. The first portion of the trail is slightly uphill and takes about one hour. On our way up to see the crater, we will see thick forests of guava trees that scent our path to the edge of the volcano. The scenery at the edge is breathtaking. We continue to Volcan Chico. The path from here turns more challenging. The floor is covered with Pahoephoe and AA lava formations, that brings oneself to the most basic and primitive connections with life. Lichens and a few ferns grow on this hostile territory. Wholes and lava tunnels connect the heat of the Earth Core with its surface. It is fascinating to stand on the same place, in which incandescent melted rock was flowing a few decades ago.read more

Day 11

Snorkel at lava tunnels

Today we will visit one of the most beautiful places that Galapagos has to offer: “The Tunnels” a place of frozen lava that create lava bridges and tunnels next to the sea, creating a Volcanic Venezia where you will get surprised by the amount of marine fauna found in the volcanic tunnels cutting throughout the shore of the island, inviting to experience spectacular snorkel dives.

Day 12

Flight to Quito and return to home

Early in the morning we will depart by boat to Santa Cruz Island. Once on the Island we will have breakfast, head to the airport for our flight back to Quito and then home.

Included

  • Lodging

    Accommodation

  • Meals

    Described meals One soft drink per meal.

  • Transportation

    Transport from and to Quito Airport transfers

  • Equipment

    -Riding gear (poncho, chaps and riding helmet) -High ropes gear (harness, helmet, gloves, ropes) -Mountain Bike gear ( helmet, gloves, knee and elbow protection) snorkeling gear, kayaks.

  • Other

    - Described activities - Guides (English speaking and native guide) - Entrance to APU Mountain SPA wet area at El Porvenir

Not Included

  • Dinners in Quito and Galápagos

  • Air ticket to Galapagos US$507 (approximately) per person

  • Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park US$120

  • Extra Drinks

  • Tips

Private Departures

Private departures, for just you and your friends or family

Flexible dates

  • 2 travelers$6469 per person
  • 4 travelers$4998 per person
  • 6 travelers$4699 per person
Pricing depends on group size and host availability

Similar journeys

Not quite what you seek?

We'll match you with the right local expert for a free online consult

$6469 / person