Tailor-Made

Ecuador & Galapagos Family Adventure

This family-friendly trip includes a tour of Ecuador's capital city, Quito; two nights in the lush Mashpi Cloud Forest Reserve, home to hundreds upon hundreds of fascinating species; and a week-long exploration of the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.

Duration 14 Days
Price From $6,513
When Year-Round
Destination Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

Safari Overview

If you are longing for all the adventure and wildlife of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, but with a softer landing for a more family-friendly trip, this safari provides just that. Designed for families with children in mind and based around our favourite land-based lodges, this itinerary encompasses everything mainland Ecuador and the remote archipelago have to offer: the history and charm of Quito, the comfort of an award-winning National Geographic lodge in the beautiful rainforest, and the abundant and diverse wildlife of the magical Galapagos. This safari delivers a fantastic educational glimpse into two of South America’s true wildlife treasures.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Get up close with the wildlife of the Galapagos, from iguanas and frigatebirds to tortoises and blue-footed boobies.
  • The geology of the Galapagos is like no other; explore lava tunnels, coral beaches, lagoons and more.
  • Observe the abundant wildlife of the Ecuadorian rainforest, in one of the world’s most exclusive lodges.
  • Follow expert naturalist Galapagos guides in search of some of the islands' endemic wildlife.
  • Make the most of snorkelling opportunities in the Galapagos, with sea lions, turtles and more.
  • Enjoy a half-day city tour of Quito, one of UNESCO’s first ever World Heritage Sites.
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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Quito

At the beginning of your safari you'll be welcomed into Quito, the incredible colonial capital city of Ecuador, by your local guide who will take you to your hotel. As Ecuador is located at 2,800 metres above sea level, you may feel light-headed due to the altitude. Make sure to drink plenty of water and avoid heavy foods. On this first evening you can settle in and discover the history of the local area while looking forward to your onward adventures.

Day 2

Quito

Enjoy an exploratory half-day tour of Quito, which was the first city declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO back in 1978. The Old Town unquestionably features some of the finest examples of colonial architecture in Latin America and is a beguiling mix of Spanish and Indigenous cultures. You will start your tour at a panoramic viewpoint to enjoy a bird's eye view of the city. Get your bearings a little by understanding Quito's layout and fully appreciating its breathtaking valley setting. Strolling through the magical Old Town, you will pause to admire some of the staggeringly well-kept architecture, from the Cathedral to the President's Palace on Plaza Independencia. Many of the colonial buildings were built atop an old Inca settlement, and your guide will talk you through the detail, while you weave through the streets and plazas observing the local way of life.

Day 3

Quito - Mashpi Cloud Forest

After breakfast, you will depart Quito and drive approximately three hours to the Mashpi Cloud Forest Reserve. This private rainforest biodiversity reserve is stunningly set, surrounded by forested mountains, with the spectacular Mashpi Lodge at its heart. After checking into the lodge and enjoying lunch you will head out on your first activity in the cloud forest.

Overnight: Mashpi Lodge B, L, D

Day 4

Mashpi Cloud Forest

Today you will wake to the sounds of the jungle while enjoying some of the excursions within the cloud forest. These may include forest walks, visits to nearby licks and leks to view some of the bird species found locally, walks to nearby waterfalls, observation towers and the unique “sky bike”, which allows you to explore the forest from up above – a fantastically unique way to explore the natural splendour of the reserve.

Overnight: Mashpi Lodge B, L, D

Day 5

Mashpi Cloud Forest - Quito

Enjoy an early-morning excursion in the rainforest in order to make the most of the spectacular birdlife that this area is famous for. On your return there will be time for a nice breakfast before heading on a two-hour walk to the beautiful Copal Waterfall. Well known for its moss-covered trees, bromelias and orchids, this is a spectacular trail that ends at the spectacular waterfall which cascades over 50 metres to the ground. After this beautiful excursion you will make your way back to Mashpi Lodge in time for lunch before returning to Quito.

Day 6

Quito - Galapagos Islands

Prepare for an early-morning departure as you fly to the remote Galapagos Islands. After being met on arrival, you will be transferred to your beautiful lodge on Isabela, the largest island of the archipelago, shaped like a seahorse. The afternoon is free to settle into your new surroundings.

Overnight: Scalesia Lodge B, L, D

Day 7

Las Tintoreras Islets / Tortoise Breeding Centre

Take a short dinghy ride this morning to Las Tintoreras. Formed by lava flows, the islets' name is derived from ‘tintoreras’, the Spanish name for white-tipped reef sharks which often frequent the turquoise waters of the surrounding area. The Galapagos penguin is often seen here as well as marine iguanas. A stunning place to snorkel, the waters are filled with tropical fish and playful sea lion pups that join you for a swim. After lunch, you will visit Los Humedales, an area identified by the four types of mangroves found in the Galapagos. Here you'll find solitary beaches and lava tunnels as well as natural pools and estuaries where flamingos and other birds reside. Later, pay a visit to the Tortoise Breeding Centre on Isabela Island where the future of tortoises in danger of extinction is beginning to look brighter. Many tortoises have been released back into the wild and can be found on nearby trails. Finally, you will visit the "Wall of Tears", constructed by Ecuadorian prisoners between 1945 and 1959 when Isabela served as a penal colony.

Overnight: Scalesia Lodge B, L, D

Day 8

Sierra Negra Volcano

Today you will visit Sierra Negra Volcano. After driving to the highlands, begin a walk up this incredible volcano. It last erupted in 2005 and is considered the second-largest active caldera on the planet, with a diameter of approximately 10km. You will walk along the rim of this dramatic volcano which opens up to spectacular views. Your hike continues to Volcan Chico, where active sulphur vents can be seen, and a dramatic collage of coloured rocks in hues of red, yellow, orange and black adorn the volcanic landscape. Return to your comfortable lodge for a freshly cooked meal after this long day of exploration.

Overnight: Scalesia Lodge B, L, D

Day 9

Isabela Island - Santa Cruz Island

This morning you will be transferred by boat back to Santa Cruz where you will be picked up and dropped off at your new lodge. Settle in and spend the rest of your day at your own pace.

Overnight: Finch Bay Eco Hotel B, L, D

Day 10

El Manzanillo and Highlands

Travel by vehicle this morning to the highlands of Santa Cruz and the tortoise reserve of El Manzanillo. Tortoises can be seen year-round grazing on the surrounding vegetation, wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-coloured pond (impressively tinted by red pondweeds). The area is teeming with life: finches, mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit. Lunch is served in the cooler highlands, with stunning views of Santa Cruz Island. After lunch, you'll have the chance to visit a small farm, where coffee, sugarcane and cocoa beans are grown, harvested and prepared – all organic and sustainable. You will also have the chance to taste the products while learning about the local way to burn island spirits! Return to the lodge to relax by the pool or on the beach.

Overnight: Finch Bay Eco Hotel B, L, D

Day 11

Santa Fe Island

Today it's time to set off on another boat excursion. Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the Galapagos. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets, forming an ideal anchorage. Like North Seymour Island, Santa Fe has been uplifted, and you can see where underwater lava once cooled off (a formation known as pillow lava). A wet landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right to be "Beach Master", while smaller males masquerade as females and make stealthy mating moves. Galapagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes. The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name, with tree-sized trunks! The goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana, native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in colour with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay, a great snorkelling opportunity with diverse marine life.

Overnight: Finch Bay Eco Hotel B, L, D

Day 12

Divine Bay

This morning you visit the quiet and wildlife-rich Divine Bay. This cove is protected from swells by the natural volcanic reefs on one side and mangrove trees and cliffs on the other side, which form a wonderful natural shelter for wildlife. Herons, noddy terns and Galapagos brown pelicans can often be spotted here, while non-breeding blue-footed boobies gaze watchfully from atop the cliffs. Underwater, sea turtles graze on seaweed, countless tropical fish dart in and out of reefs, and sharks and rays patrol the waters. You can explore the cove by boat or kayak and it is an excellent and calm place to snorkel. A short walk takes you to Playa de los Perro (Dog Beach) where marine iguanas are prominent. After returning to the lodge for lunch, head to the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the giant tortoise breeding programme.

Overnight: Finch Bay Eco Hotel B, L, D

Day 13

Galapagos Islands - Quito

After your final breakfast in this unique archipelago, it is time to say goodbye to your hosts as you are met by your driver and transferred to Baltra Airport for your return flight to the mainland. Transfer back to your Quito base and relax for the rest of the evening!

Day 14

Depart Quito

It is time for your adventure to come to an end as you check out of your hotel and transfer to the international airport to meet your flight home. What an adventurous two weeks it has been for you and your family!

Trip Details

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safari is one designed according to your specific requirements, including budget, dates, personal interests, the number of people travelling, and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and altered to make it perfect for you.

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