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Train of Wonders and Galapagos - 16 Days

Train of Wonders and Galapagos

Ecuador · Private Tour · 16 Days
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Private Tour
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landscape
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cruise
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nature
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wildlife

Two magical journeys in a single trip. Cross the Andes on the Train of Wonders as you discover indigenous towns, then sail across the superb landscapes of the Galapagos Islands while you spot its unique animal species. 

Itinerary

Day 1 - Quito
Day 2 - Otavalo & Ibarra
Day 3 - Urbina
Day 4 - Riobamba → Bucay
Day 5 - Bucay → Guayaquil
Day 6 - Churute Mangrove
Day 7 - Guayaquil → Santa Cruz Island
Day 8 - South Plaza Island & Santa Fe Island
Day 9 - San Cristobal Island & Lobos Island
Day 10 - Espanola Island
Day 11 - Santa Cruz Island
Day 12 - Floreana Island
Day 13 - Sombrero Chino & Bartolome Island
Day 14 - Santa Cruz Island → Quito
Day 15 - Quito
Day 16 - Quito

What is included

  • Ground transfers in private transportation, including to and from the airport
  • Domestic flights Guayaquil-Galapagos-Quito
  • 8 day Galapagos Islands expedition on board Nemo III Catamaran
  • 4 day Train of Wonders journey Quito-Otavalo-Quito-Urbina-Riobamba-Bucay-Guayaquil
  • 8 nights accommodation at luxury hotels with breakfast
  • 7 nights accommodation on the Nemo II Catamaran in double cabins with private bathroom and AC
  • Full board meals during entire Galapagos Expedition
  • Snacks during excursions
  • Visits and excursions specified in this itinerary
  • Entrance fees to all visiting sites
  • Bilingual guide in mainland tour, naturalist guide in Galapagos

What is NOT included

  • International flights
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in this itinerary
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Entrance to the National Park US$100 per person
Did you know you can make this trip even better? Customize this tour

day
1
Quito

Arrival to Quito airport, reception and transfer to your hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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Swissotel

Quito

day
2
Otavalo & Ibarra

After breakfast, we will start our 4-day train journey in the Northern Andes, in Otavalo, home to the largest indigenous market in South America. In a convoy dragged by a carefully restored steam engine we travel this fertile valley guarded by volcanoes. 

We will learn about the cultural traditions and craftsmanship of Quechuas and mestizos: weavers, woodcarvers and musicians. We will enjoy the samples of traditional gastronomy in the different stations and we will know a very special export of roses.

Overnight at the hotel.  

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
]

Swissotel

Quito

day
3
Urbina

After breakfast, today we will see Urbina. The train runs along Volcanoes Avenue. If the weather allows, we can distinguish up to 20 volcanoes, most of them extinct or dormant for hundreds of years. In this zone, the Andes divide in two parallel arms that run towards the south. The fertile valley trapped between these walls is home to a true treasure of biodiversity. 

Crossing the Andean moors in slow ascent, we can observe the change of vegetation, crops and landscape until reaching Urbina, in the skirts of mount Chimborazo the highest point of our trip to 11,800 feet above sea level. Here we will know the history of the last ice-merchant and learn the story of his ancestral trade.

Overnight at the hotel.    

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
4
Riobamba → Bucay

After breakfast, we depart Riobamba towards Colta, where the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador. We cross colorful quinoa fields painted in purples, yellows and reds, alternating with endemic species of flora and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains of ancient cultures. 

We visit Guamote market, one of the last indigenous markets in the Andes, before continuing south towards the mythical Devil’s Nose pass. A vertiginous descent of 450 metres zigzag takes us from the Andean highlands down towards the coastal plains. We continue our descent along the narrow Chanchan river gorge and crossing an impressive cloud forest towards the temperate city of Bucay.

Overnight at the hotel.    

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
5
Bucay → Guayaquil

Breakfast at the hotel. The landscape change again as the train leaves the tropical forest behind. Rice, sugar cane, pineapple and banana plantations pass before our eyes. 

We will have lunch at a traditional hacienda, where we can learn about the growing and harvesting of the best cocoa beans in the world. Later, the steam engine whites its way across the fields towards the shores of the Pacific Ocean and the end of our trip in a hotel in Guayaquil.

Overnight at the hotel.    

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
]

Wyndham Guayaquil

Guayaquil

day
6
Churute Mangrove

Breakfast at the hotel. Churute Mangrove is located on the western margin of the estuary that the Guayas River forms when it ends in the Gulf of Guayaquil. 

This area includes six islands: Matorrillos, Los Ingleses, Los Alamos, Malabrigo, Cabeza de Mate and Churutillo. The reserve contains a mix of diverse ecosystems: mangroves, which are basically thousands of hectares of trees growing in brackish water; plains that flood with the tide; a great number of estuaries and sea arms; the fresh water lagoon El Canclon, and several hills belonging to the Churute mountain range that reach up to 680 meters above sea level.

Overnight at the hotel.      

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
]

Wyndham Guayaquil

Guayaquil

day
7
Guayaquil → Santa Cruz Island

After breakfast we will leave for the airport to take our flight to Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival at Baltra airport you will be greeted by a representative of the vessel then board the Nemo II, enjoy a welcome drink, and have lunch. 

In the afternoon, we will visit Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. The name is Spanglish for barges which were wrecked offshore during the World War II. A common first landing site, there is a delightful swimming beach here, with a lagoon behind, and a longer beach for a stroll and wildlife‐ watching. The lagoon often in the back has large blue herons and small birds. 

On both beaches you can observe that some sea turtles are nesting, leaving footprints in the sand at the back of the beach, especially for the months of November to February. A wet landing and open area on the beach means that the tourist can explore at will.

Overnight on board Nemo II.   

p
Guayaquil → Galapagos Islands 1h 50min
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC Galapagos Islands

day
8
South Plaza Island & Santa Fe Island

After breakfast, our discovery of the beautiful South Plaza begins with a dry landing. South Plaza has one of the largest populations of Land Iguanas in the Galapagos. The Iguanas seem to be everywhere once you land. These larger than average Yellow‐Brown Land Iguanas feed on the fruit and pads of the Prickly Pear Cactus. 

South Plaza is also home to Marine Iguanas living along the coast and a Hybrid Iguana whose fathers are Marine Iguanas and Mothers are Land Iguanas. As the walk continues along the sea cliffs Swallow‐Tailed Gulls, Frigate birds, Audubon Shearwaters, Red‐Billed Tropicbirds, Brown Pelicans, Blue‐Footed and Masked Boobies are frequently seen. Beneath along the shore a colony of Bachelor Sea Lions can be seen. 

After lunch, we will go to Santa Fe. Visit to Santa Fe Island, home to one of the most beautiful coves in all the Galapagos, Santa Fe is located in the southeastern part of Galapagos, two and a half hours from Santa Cruz and three hours from San Cristobal. 

Enjoy panga ride across the lovely turquoise lagoon. Once ashore you are brought into contact with of the many sea lion colonies in the Galapagos. Bulls vie for the right of beach master while cows laze in the sun. Santa Fe is home to endemic Land Iguanas. These iguanas are the largest in the islands and they are beige to chocolate brown in color and resemble small dinosaurs. Reaching the summit there is a stunning view of the cove beneath.

Overnight on board Nemo II.    

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC Galapagos Islands

day
9
San Cristobal Island & Lobos Island

Breakfast on board. One of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin, Cerro Brujo is a beautiful white sand beach where brown pelicans, blue‐footed boobies, sea lions, and marine iguanas are all found. An onshore version of nearby Kicker Rock, Cerro Brujo is a very striking, eroded tuff cone. Enjoy hiking and snorkeling at this mind blowing place.

We will then sail towards Kicker Rock. Also known as Leon Dormido these rocks are located off the coast of San Cristobal. It is the remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, the two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. 

This is amazing place for panga explorations and snorkeling. This natural monument has become a favorite sight for cruises due to the many tropic birds, frigates and boobies that fill the surrounding air. Beneath the sea the nearly crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful tropical fish and invertebrates. 

Finally, we will visit Lobos Island, famous for its population of sea lions and fur sea lions. You will also encounter a nesting ground for the great frigate bird and a small number of blue footed boobies. 

We will continue on to the Breeding Center, where it is explained, in a simple manner, the natural phenomena that created the Galapagos Islands. They explain the series of natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions and marine current locations that have led to the amazing islands that you are now visiting.

Overnight on board Nemo II.     

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC Galapagos Islands

day
10
Espanola Island

After breakfast, arrival to Espanola Island. In the morning visit Punta Suarez, found on the western tip of Espanola. Punta Suarez offers great wildlife such as Sea Lions, sea birds and the largest Marine Iguanas of Galapagos. This is one of the best sites in the Galapagos. The amount of wildlife is overwhelming. 

Along the beach there are many Sea Lions and large, colorful Lava Lizards and Marine Iguanas. As you follow the trail to the cliff edge Masked Boobies can be found nesting among the rock formations. 

As you follow the trail to the cliff edge Masked Boobies can be found nesting among the rock formations. After a short walk down to a beach and back up the other side Blue‐Footed Boobies are seen nesting just off the trail. 

Visit to Gardner Bay, this bay is a 45‐minute boat ride from Punta Suarez. It has a white sand beach and there is a small colony of sea lions. The possibilities for swimming or scuba diving are excellent here. 

Visitors find migrant, resident, and endemic wildlife including brightly colored Marine Iguanas, Espanola Lava Lizards, Hood Mockingbirds, Swallow Tailed Gulls, Blue Footed and Masked Boobies, Galapagos Hawks, a selection of Finch, and the Waved Albatross. Snorkel and go on a panga ride at Gardner Islet, and at Osborn Islet snorkel once ore.

Overnight on board Nemo II.   

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC Galapagos Islands

day
11
Santa Cruz Island

After breakfast, admire the incredible areas of vegetation at the highlands of Santa Cruz . 

There you will visit Las Primicias private farm. This reserve offers one of the best possibilities to see the enormous turtles of the Santa Cruz Island in their natural habitat. 

After that, we will drop you in Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Scientific Station. An excellent way to start learning about the islands, their origin and training is to visit the station. You can also see how Galapagos turtles are raised and meet George, the famous solitary tortoise. The Science Station has its own beach that receives many visitors on the weekends.

Overnight on board Nemo II.  

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC Galapagos Islands

day
12
Floreana Island

After breakfast, visit to Punta Cormorant offers two contrasting beaches. Arriving on shore you will encounter a green sand beach from here you will follow the trail leading to a lagoon where Pink Flamingoes and other shore birds can be seen in the distance making their home. Looking into the mud of the lagoon there appears to be cracks in the mud. 

These cracks are not caused from dryness but are actually the footpaths of flamingos. This is also a good spot for seeing Large‐Billed Flycatchers, Small‐Ground Finches, Medium‐Ground Finches or Cactus Finches. The walk continues to another beach on the other side made of fine white sand particles known as Flour Beach. In the waters, Ghost Crabs and Rays can be seen swimming. Time permitting you may even go for a swim. Go on a panga ride at Champion Point and kayaking at Baroness Viewpoint

We will continue to Post Office Bay, where you will land on a brown sand beach, passing the sea lions lying in the sun. At the post barrel the guide will pull a hand full of letters for the group. Continuing the tradition, the letters are brought home with the traveler and then mailed to the addressee. 

Visitors also have the opportunity to send letters of their own. There is also the remains of a Norwegian Fishing Village a commercial fishing operation established in 1926 and abandoned a couple of years later. 

Overnight on board Nemo II.   

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC Galapagos Islands

day
13
Sombrero Chino & Bartolome Island

After breakfast, visit Sombrero Chino, a tiny island just off the southeast tip of Santiago. Those visitors who travel to the island will find its special landscape worth the visit. Though centrally located it is one of the least visited sites in the area. National Park Service restrictions have limited the number of visitors to Sombrero Chino. Multi‐day cruises with 12 passengers or less are the only ones permitted at this site. 

The landing is on a beautiful crescent‐shaped white sand beach, home to Sea Lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs. The trail on Sombrero Chino's explores its volcanic origin, one of the most evident in the islands. Patches of Pahoehoe Lava, cracked lava and lava tubes can be found on the island. Snorkeling in the waters near Sombrero Chino can create a stir, white‐tipped sharks frequent the area, as do the playful Galapagos Penguins and Sea Lions. 

We will then sail to Bartolome Island. This island consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green, and glistening black volcanic formations. The best known of the island features is the Tuff Cone known as Pinnacle Rock. This large black partially eroded lava formation was created when magma expelled from the volcano reached the sea. 

Bartolome Pinnacle Rock has become one of the best recognized and most photographed sights in the islands. A prominent sight it was used as a target for US airmen during WWII. Lying beside the Pinnacle Rock are twin half-moon shaped beaches. 

The northern beach is a popular snorkeling site where visitors have the opportunity to swim with fish, Sea Lions and Galapagos Penguins. Much larger animals can be found near the southern beach including stingrays, spotted eagle rays, white‐tipped sharks, and black‐tipped sharks.

Overnight on board Nemo II.   

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC Galapagos Islands

day
14
Santa Cruz Island → Quito

After breakfast, we will have our last panga ride in Caleta Tortuga, also known as Black Turtle Cove, It is on the north side of Santa Cruz. You have to go by panga, a motorized canoe to reach it and see its mangrove swamp where there are nesting marine turtles during certain seasons of the year, and also sharks and rays. 

Transfer to the airport. Be assisted to Baltra airport for your flight to Quito where our guide will pick you up to transfer to your hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.     

p
Galapagos Islands → Quito 2h 15min
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
15
Quito

Breakfast at the hotel. Free day

Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
16
Quito

After breakfast, our guide will pick up you from your hotel to transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. 

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Accommodations

Quito
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Swissotel

Riobamba
]

Hosteria la Andaluza

Bucay
]

Hosteria D Franco

Guayaquil
]

Wyndham Guayaquil

Galapagos Islands
t

Nemo II

Double Cabin with private bathroom, hot water and AC
Quito
]

Patio Andaluz

Price for luxury experience

Customizable private tour
Prices per person2-3 pax
Double Sharing
4-5 pax
Double Sharing
1 Jan 2018 - 31 Dec 2018$6505$6375

Photos

Train of Wonders
Bartolome Island, Galapagos
Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
Espanola Island, Galapagos
Train of Wonders
Train of Wonders
Churute Mangroves Ecological Reserve
Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
South Plaza Island, Galapagos
San Cristobal Island, Galapagos
Floreana Island, Galapagos
Patio Andaluz Hotel, Quito

Map

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