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The Galapagos by Land + Highlands of Ecuador

7 days

A uniquely flexible private journey

Overall Rating
based on 6 Reviews

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Andean Traditions + Condors + The Galapagos

+ Spend two nights at a 17th-century highland hacienda, now lovingly restored to welcome guests with landscaped gardens and stylish, generously appointed guestrooms and salons.
+ Get an up-close view of Andean condors and other endangered raptors at a wildlife refuge dedicated to their rescue, rehabilitation and protection.
+ Experience the traditional ways that endure in Highland villages like San Pablo, set on the shores of a pristine lake.
+ Stop in Cayambe to sample the biscuits and biscotti that have been baked here from family recipes handed down through generations.
+ Spend three nights at our Galapagos resort, nestled in the highland forests of Santa Cruz, and see the island’s Giant Tortoises in their native habitat.
+ Tailor your Galapagos stay with the included excursion of your choice, traveling by yacht to explore the flora and fauna of South Plaza, North Seymour or Santa Island.
+ Experience a slice of rural life in the Galapagos on a working sugar and coffee plantation on Santa Cruz Island
+ Visit 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site c

Show all itinerary details


Arrive Quito + Travel to Otavalo

Hacienda Cusin - Otavalo, Ecuador

On arrival at the airport, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to your awaiting car and driver. Heading north along the Pan American Highway, you’ll be chauffeured to our enchanting highland resort, set on the grounds of a 17th-century hacienda estate. The balance of this day is yours to enjoy the extraordinary ambience and splendid setting of Hacienda Cusin


After breakfast, this morning is at leisure to enjoy the amenities and included activities here at Hacienda Cusin. Horseback riding and mountain biking are two delightful and intimate ways to experience the natural beauty of the Ecuadorean Highlands. Of course, you can also take this time to relax or enjoy a stroll through the estate’s garden grounds. Just before midday, your personal car and driver will take you to a charming restaurant with captivating views across the mountain landscapes of Imbabura Province and San Pablo Lake.

After lunch, you’ll continue to Condor Parque, set on a hillside overlooking the valley with great views of the Imbabura and Cotacachi Volcanoes. Here you’ll learn about the work being done to rescue and rehabilitate a variety of raptors – with the ultimate goal of returning these magnificent birds to their native habitats. It’s a fascinating and inspiring visit that offers a chance to observe and learn about a variety of species including hawks, eagles, owls and the endangered Andean Condor. Back at Hacienda Cusin, the evening is free to enjoy and dine as you wish.  Meals B+L


Village Life + Culture

Quito Polo Club - Quito, Ecuador

After breakfast, check out from our hacienda resort to begin a day of privately guided sightseeing, setting out first across the calm waters of San Pablo Lake to the charming village of San Pablo del Lago. With insight from your personal guide, you’ll witness scenes of daily life playing out along the lakeshore – where women wash their clothes as they have for generations and fishermen set out in their handmade canoes. In the village of Peguche, you’ll learn about the ancient weaving traditions of its residents and walk with your guide through the surrounding quinoa fields to a lovely waterfall set in a forest of Eucalyptus trees.

Then visit the Nanda Mañachi House to learn how instruments like the pan-pipe and Andean flute are made. After exploring the colorful, world-famous market in the mountain town of Otavalo, you’ll sit down to lunch at Molinos de San Juan, a delightful restaurant set inside a 19th-century mill cum museum. Then visit Cayambe, an Andean town renowned for its generations-old baking traditions. Enjoy a cup of Ecuadorian hot chocolate and try your hand at making Cayambe biscotti with an old family tradition. Continue southward and check in to our elegant hotel on the grounds of the historic Quito Polo Club. Situated just 30 minutes from the capital with easy access to the airport, it’s the perfect place to spend the night before tomorrow’s included early-morning flight to the Galapagos.  Meals B+L

Early this morning, you’ll be chauffeured to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos c, where you’ll be met and transferred to the Royal Palm Hotel, our secluded lodge in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. After a welcome drink, check-in and lunch, you’ll join other hotel guests for an excursion deeper into the interior highlands of Santa Cruz to observe the giant Galapagos Tortoise in its native habitat. The tortoises wander freely between the National Park and surrounding agricultural areas, and your expert naturalist will take you through the forest and fields to get your first glimpse of these amazing prehistoric creatures. This afternoon’s tour also takes you inside the nearby lava tunnels, remarkable geological formations created millennia ago by rivers of fast flowing liquid lava. After sightseeing, return to the Royal Palm Hotel for dinner and an evening at leisure.  Meals B+L+D

Tailor your exploration today with the included yacht expedition of your choice. In the engaging company of an expert naturalist, you’ll join a small group of other hotel guests to experience the landscapes, flora and fauna of one of these nearby islands:

North Seymour Island + Bachas Beach: Departing from the Royal Palm Hotel at 8:00 am, this excursion lasts about 8 hours and takes you to the picturesque, mostly flat island of North Seymour. Amidst mostly bushy vegetation interspersed with giant Candelabra Cactus Trees, you’ll find a variety of marine birds along with land iguanas and lava lizards. Blue-Footed Boobies, Frigate Birds, and a colony of sea lions are among the standout animals to be seen. An afternoon stop on Bachas Beach offers a chance to swim or snorkel. A walk along this lovely beach might reveal Sea Turtle nests and the chance to observe diving Boobies, Flamingos and other tropical species.

South Plaza Island + Punta Carrion: This 7.5 to 8-hour excursion departs from the hotel at 8:00 am. The unique terrain covered with Sesuvium plants and Opuntia Cacti make this one of the loveliest islands in the archipelago. Stepping ashore with an expert naturalist, you’ll explore along an island trail in search of land iguanas and a variety of indigenous birds including Swallow-tailed Gulls and Frigate Birds. At the end of the trail, you’ll discover a raucous bachelor colony of male Sea Lions. Enjoy lunch while anchored close to the rocky shore and look for frolicking Sea Lions and Marine Iguanas diving into the ocean to feed on seaweed. In the afternoon, a short boat ride brings you to Punta Carrion, a protected cove that’s ideal for snorkeling and swimming.

Santa Fe Island: Located just south of Santa Cruz, Santa Fe Island offers a short circular trail that takes you along a cliff with captivating views. With insight from your sharp-eyed naturalist, this guided hike offers a chance to spot the Santa Fe Land Iguana, Lava Lizards, Blue-Footed Boobies and birds of prey like the Storm Petrel and Galapagos Hawk. After lunch onboard, there will be time to swim and snorkel in Barrington Bay where one can often spot Sea Lions, Sea Turtles and Rays – along with a colorful variety of reef fish. This excursion departs at 8:00 am and lasts about 9.5 hours.

All three of these excursions return to the Royal Palm Hotel in time for you to refresh and relax a bit before dining at the hotel.  Meals B+L+D

After breakfast, you’ll join other hotel guests for a naturalist-guided tour designed to show you the unique features of Santa Cruz Island – starting with Cerro Mesa. Set at an elevation of more than 1,600 feet above sea level, this viewpoint offers fine clear-day views of several islands in the Galapagos archipelago. It’s also a great place to see several species of Darwin’s finches and the beautiful but elusive vermilion flycatcher.

Then continue to El Trapiche, a local coffee and sugar plantation where you can experience a slice of rural life in the Galapagos. Watch the operation of a rustic, mule-driven sugar cane press and learn how the sugar cane juice is distilled into liquor. You’ll also learn about the plantation’s coffee and chocolate production during this enlightening, experiential visit. Your morning ends at Garrapatero Beach where a variety of birds can be spotted – including Flamingos, Herons, and Pintail Ducks. Be sure to bring your swimwear as there will be time to snorkel or swim.

After lunch, you’ll visit the esteemed Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora. This is a working research facility best known for its efforts to protect the wildlife and fragile eco-systems of the Galapagos. Along with the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, this afternoon promises an enlightening experience and a rare chance to see baby tortoises as you learn about the incubation, hatching and growth stages of these endangered creatures. Back at the Royal Palm Hotel, you’ll enjoy a final dinner of fine South American cuisine.  Meals B+L+D


Back to the Mainland

After breakfast, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight back to Quito or Guayaquil where you can connect with your homeward flight.  Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons


Fly roundtrip from Quito to this handsome Colonial-era town set high in Ecuador’s southern Andes. Enjoy a city tour and then personalize your stay with a second countryside excursion of your choice.

Machu Picchu

Enhance your trip to Peru with one of South America’s most inspiring sites, the fabled Lost City of the Inca! We include roundtrip rail transportation from Cuzco, a choice of fine hotels, an extensive afternoon tour of Machu Picchu and the opportunity for a second sunrise visit – before the day visitors arrive!

Lake Titicaca

With its pristine beauty and unique indigenous communities, Lake Titicaca is a terrific way to enhance your travels through Peru and South America. We include private airport transfers, a choice of fine hotels & resorts and a full-day, expertly guided excursion across the Lake.


Save $1,000 Per Couple
+ $500 Solo

Pay in full at time of booking.

Ecuadorian Cuisine:
A Primer

“I’d Like to Try Something Local but not the Guinea Pig, please!”

What if Charles Darwin Hadn’t Sailed to the Galapagos on the
HMS Beagle?

Historical what-ifs are always interesting. Imagine Washington's boat was in dry dock when it came time to cross the Delaware? Suppose Lenin got stuck in traffic in 1917 and missed the sealed train to the Finland Station? And what if Charles Darwin hadn't sailed... Read More >>

Cayambe: Ecuador’s
Cookie Town

A city entirely dedicated 24/7 to cookies? Sounds like something out of a fantasy novel, but in the seemingly quiet Andean town of Cayambe, nestled at the foot of its eponymous volcano, bizcocho, the town’s famous biscuits are the primary focus... Read More >>


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  • Jan

  • May

Date RangeFromAvailabilityDeparture Note
1/1/2020 - 4/30/2020$5,499Available
Charming Accommodations$5,499Available
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
5/1/2020 - 12/31/2020$5,599Available
Charming Accommodations$5,599Available
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking

Prices are per person, land only. We offer air on LATAM. Add extra nights.


Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

Book Your Air

Ask about international air service, including business class. See your travel agent or call us for current international airfare associated with this program. We offer both economy and business class fares. Prices are in U.S. currency and are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Availability is limited.

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