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Cosmos Ecuador: From the Andes to the Amazon with Galápagos Cruise (1405)

14 days from Quito to Guayaquil 
From the Pacific Coast to the rainforest and from the Amazon to the high slopes of the Andes, Ecuador is one of the From the Pacific Coast to the rainforest and from the Amazon to the high slopes of the Andes, Ecuador is one of the world's most biodiverse countries and on this Ecuador tour, you'll experience some of its exciting destinations, natural wonders, and historic sites. You'll overnight in Quito, Otavalo, Papallacta, Ecuador's Amazon, Baños, Cotopaxi, and Guayaquil, as well as three nights aboard the Galápagos Legend.

Highlights of this Ecuador tour include your time in Ecuador's Amazon and the Galápagos Islands. Stay at a tranquil Amazonian refuge surrounded by tropical rainforest. Cruise down the Napo River in a dugout canoe with a knowledgeable Naturalist who will take you on nature walks and cruises in search of tropical birds, monkeys, and much more. Walk on a river island witnessing a variety of plants and insects, and visit a butterfly house with nearly 20 butterfly species. Additionally, imagine how much fun you’ll have as you explore the islands and swim and snorkel on your Galápagos Island cruise. You’ll see sea lions, land and marine iguanas, boobies, and much more.

On this tour through Ecuador, you'll also get to relax in one of your lodge's nine thermal pools and three cold-water pools in Papallacta, and enjoy time in traditional haciendas in Baños and Cotopaxi. Visit Cotopaxi National Park, where you'll take a walk to learn about the typical vegetation and fauna found in the area. History buffs will be delighted at Cochasquí Ruins, the largest Pre-Columbian archaeological site in Ecuador dating back to 900 AD. Marvel at its many pyramids and tombs. Your sightseeing tour of Quito features colonial Quito, the first city named a UNESCO World Heritage City.

For the value-minded traveler desiring to see and experience the wide range of areas and activities that Ecuador offers, this is a dream vacation!

Cosmos Highlights & Sightseeing

Sightseeing:
In Quito, Cochasquí, Otavalo, Papallacta, Ecuador’s Amazon, Baños, and Cotopaxi. Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.

Cosmos Hotels

QUITO Grand Mercure Alameda (F)
OTAVALO Hacienda Chorlavi (MF)
PAPALLACTA Hotel Termas de Papallacta & Spa (F)
ECUADOR’S AMAZON Casa del Suizo (MF)
BAÑOS Hacienda Leito de los Llanganates (MF)
COTOPAXI Hacienda la Cienega (MF)
GALÁPAGOS CRUISE Galápagos Legend (F)
GUAYAQUIL Unipark Hotel Guayaquil (SF)

Itinerary (2017)

Day 1Quito.
 Welcome to one of the smallest yet most biodiverse countries in South America. Ecuador offers a panorama of scenery and climates—from the Pacific Coast to the rainforest and the Amazon to the high slopes of the Andes. Upon arrival in Quito, you will be met by your Cosmos representative, who will help you get acquainted with this fascinating city near the equatorial line.
Day 2Quito.
 Begin your day with a city sightseeing TOUR that showcases colonial Quito, one of the best preserved historic areas in South America. A walk through Old Town Quito with your guide introduces you to the first city named a UNESCO World Heritage City back in 1978. Stop in Independence Square to see the Government Palace and Archbishop’s Palace as well as the cathedral. In San Francisco Square, see La Compañia Church, one of the most beautiful in Quito with its ornate façade and San Francisco Church. Your afternoon is free to explore on your own; your Tour Director is sure to offer suggestions. (B)
Day 3Quito–Cochasqui–Otavalo.
 Depart Quito and head north past often snow-capped Cayambe Volcano, rising 19,000 feet in altitude. In fact, the Equatorial Line crosses the slope of this immense volcano, which is the highest and only point worldwide that the Equatorial Line is covered with snow. Visit COCHASQUÍ RUINS, the largest Pre-Columbian archaeological site in Ecuador, believed to be a ceremonial and astronomical site dating back to 900 AD. During your tour, learn about the theories on this site, where 15 pyramids and 21 tombs have been uncovered. Continue to Otavalo’s famous INDIAN MARKET, considered one of the best in South America, full of textiles, clothes, vegetables, and much more. Stay at a traditional hacienda, and enjoy a COOKING CLASS to learn about Ecuadorian specialties before dinner. (B,D)
Day 4Otavalo–Papallacta.
 Head to the Andean village famous for its healing hot springs, Papallacta, where hot water naturally flows from the Andes. First, stop at the working ROSE PLANTATION, where Ecuador’s main export is harvested year-round. The combination of volcanic soil, natural hot springs, equatorial sun, and cool nights makes this region a perfect place for growing the world’s most beautiful roses. Continue to your lodge and relax in one of their nine thermal pools and three cold-water pools. Heated from the Earth’s core due to its proximity to nearby volcanoes, these thermal waters are known for their curative properties. (B)
Day 5Papallacta–Ecuador's Amazon.
 Crossing over the Andes, follow in the footsteps of Francisco de Orellana, the first European to see the Amazon. Descend the eastern slope of the Andes into the jungle to the banks of the Napo River, where you will board a short CANOE RIDE downstream to your lodge, Casa del Suizo. Arrive at this tranquil Amazonia refuge, surrounded by tropical rainforest, and enjoy a welcome drink by the pool before dinner. (B,D)
Day 6Ecuador's Amazon.
 This morning, cruise down the Napo River on a dugout CANOE with your Naturalist to an area for a NATURE WALK to search for tropical birds, monkeys, capybaras, and other animals commonly found here. Also visit the AMAZOONICO, a rescue center developed to rehabilitate rainforest animals. Here, you can see coatis, tapirs, monkeys, snakes, and birds. Later, take a WALK on a river island to search for a variety of plants and insects. Also visit the BUTTERFLY HOUSE to learn about their metamorphosis. (B,L,D)
Day 7Ecuador's Amazon–Baños.
 Depart the Amazon region this morning for Baños, known for its famous hot springs that give the area its name. Baños is also called “Gate to the Orient” since its vegetation and climate are almost tropical due to its proximity to the rainforest. Small street cafés, restaurants, and gift shops invite you to enjoy a stroll around the town. Check into your hacienda and relax in the mild mountain climate. (B)
Day 8Baños.
 Today you will enjoy a free day at leisure. Baños is the perfect spot for outdoor activities. Your Tour Director will be happy to help you choose the right one. (B)
Day 9Baños–Cotopaxi.
 Pass through the “Avenue of the Volcanoes,” which winds its way through the Andean Mountain chain to COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK, a highland zone protected since 1975. On a WALK near Lake Limpiopungo you will have the chance to learn about the typical vegetation and fauna found in the area. Enjoy breathtaking views of Cotapaxi Volcano, standing more than 19,000 feet in elevation. Stay overnight in a typical hacienda found in the area, and enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director this evening. (B,D)
Day 10Cotopaxi–Quito–Baltra (Embarkation)–Galápagos Cruising: Mosquera Islet.
 Fly to Baltra and transfer with your expert Naturalist to the Galápagos Legend for your 3-night CRUISE. Sail to MOSQUERA ISLET and see a large colony of sea lions as well as shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. Also take a dip in the waters and snorkel to see the abundant sea life. (B,L,D)
Day 11Galápagos Cruising: South Plaza & Santa Fé Islands.
 Wake up at SOUTH PLAZA and take a walk through a cactus forest populated with land and marine iguanas—the only place on Earth where you will find the Galápagos hybrid iguana. From the summit, be on the lookout for tropicbirds, Nazca and blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. After lunch, visit SANTA FÉ to find the endemic Santa Fé land iguana, the largest in the islands; Galápagos hawks, Galápagos snakes, a variety of finches, and one of the four species of Galápagos mockingbirds. Take a swim and snorkel here for a chance to see rays, tropical fish, sea lions, and maybe even a Galápagos shark! (B,L,D)
Day 12Galápagos Cruising: San Cristobal Island.
 At PITT ISLET on SAN CRISTOBAL, walk to the top of a volcanic tuff for several magnificent viewpoints. This is one of the few sites where the three Galápagos booby species can be seen together (blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca). You will also find the two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. At CERRO BRUJO, visit a lagoon where migratory bird species can be seen: black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, other sandpiper species, and white-cheeked pintails. (B,L,D)
Day 13Galápagos Cruising: San Cristobal (Disembarkation)–Guayaquil.
 After breakfast, disembark in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and visit the GIANT TORTOISE RESERVE on SAN CRISTOBAL. Learn about the national park’s conservation and breeding programs to protect the endangered tortoise species. Transfer to San Cristobal Airport and fly to Guayaquil, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.(B)
Day 14Guayaquil.
 Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Cosmos Meals

13 breakfasts, 4 lunch, and 7 dinners

Related Cosmos Tours

1400 - Ecuador: From the Andes to the Amazon

Cosmos Pricing Details

Dates & Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Cosmos, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments, starting at $1,160 (based on Miami, departure in March, 2017); or (2) intra-vacation air segments only. Required additional intra-vacation air segments are Quito/Galápagos; Galápagos/Guayaquil. Air prices were effective on July 13, 2016, and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.

Gratuities for Tour Director, driver, and Local Guides are available for pre-purchase. Any gratuities for extensions cannot be pre-paid.

Galápagos cruise extension price is based on a Standard Plus category cabin on the Galápagos Legend. Cabin upgrades are available; please call for pricing.

Galápagos cruise extension price includes Galápagos National Park entrance fee, transit card, and ship’s fuel surcharge ($170 value)

Prices based on double room occupancy.

Single Room Supplement:
$1,275

Triple rooms are not available.

Extra Nights per person in Quito:
in single room $140; in twin room $79

Extra Nights per person in Guayaquil:
in single room $152; in twin room $81

2018 prices and itineraries are subject to change. Details will be available in July 2017.

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