Amazon to Galapagos

After talking to Ian and Debra about travelling to the Galapagos Islands, Forward Travel came up with this itinerary to capture the absolute best of the Galapagos and Ecuador.

Starting in historic Quito, this tailor-made itinerary combines quaint and colourful towns and markets with a pristine Amazon sanctuary, then follows snow-capped volcanoes to the coast where you’ll have a week exploring three distinctly different Galapagos Islands.

Follow this crafted journey and wander through historic towns such as Quito and Otovalo, travel through some of the country’s most fabled locations and descend to the Galapagos Islands for a true taste of Ecuador’s flora and fauna.

We specialise in creating tailor-made journeys, so have a read of Deb and Ian’s Authentic Ecuador itinerary and let us know how we can tailor a journey for you.

Amazon to Galapagos


Start in colourful Quito, the biggest and best preserved historic town in South America. You’ll meet your guide upon arrival and be driven to your hotel to rest and relax as you adjust to the altitude.

Day 2 - Quito


Be guided around Quito’s old town, the first in the world to be given World Heritage status. Explore its historic heart, starting in its oldest street, La Ronda, once home to a flood of musicians, poets and politicians. Stroll past artisanal stores and visit the most important buildings, some dating back to the 1500s, including one of the most beautiful baroque churches in South America. This afternoon, have some fun when you stand on the actual Equator, watch water circling the drain in different directions, feel its mystical powers, and see if you can balance the egg!

Days 3-5 - Coca

DAYS 3 - 5

Today you will fly to Coca and then dive into the Amazon for four days. Forest walks, wildlife spotting and the one-of-a-kind Canopy Walk are all on the agenda.

You’ll be staying at Sacha Lodge, a place that embraces every aspect of the rainforest and its conservation. Creatures of all shapes and sizes live happily around the lodge which has been around for over two decades.

Day 6 - Back to Quito


Fly back to Quito and have another afternoon to revisit the city or try some of the fine restaurants opening up in the ‘New Town’.

Day 7 - Equator to Otavalo


Driving north to the Equator to Otavalo, you’ll visit the museum and the famous Otavalo Indian Market. This market is full of brightly-coloured, woven craftwork and equally colourful indigenous people who wear their traditional clothing with pride. Shop the traditional crafts, weavings and textiles while you inhale the stunning mountain scenery.

Day 8 - Saquisili


Wrapping up the first week is a journey to the province of Saquisilí. It is here that you will explore Cotopaxi National Park and walk along the Avenue of Volcanoes.

Experience the vibrancy of this market town, where locals trade everything from livestock to handicrafts, and then drive through a pine forest to Limpiopungo Lake, along the slopes of
the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, before heading towards Riobamba.

Day 9 - Cuenca


An early start is a must for the famous ‘Devil’s Nose’ train ride. You will descend from 2,346 to 1,860 metres on the zigzag railway in just 30 minutes.

After lunch, you’ll head to Cuenca, stopping at Ingapirca for a meander through the unique and well-preserved Inca ruins.

Day 10 - Cuenca

DAY 10

Today you will wake in Cuenca, with its cobbled streets and nod to the charm of past eras. Our guided tour will tell you about the city’s 3,000-year history and why it is the true home of the Panama hat. In the afternoon, you’ll travel through Cajas National Park to coastal Guayaquil.

Day 11- Baltra

DAY 11

After a flight to The Galapagos, you’ll arrive in Baltra and take a shuttle across Santa Cruz to the highlands. Take in the mist-sprinkled forests before arriving at a ranch to explore the grounds in search of tortoises. After lunch, you’ll head to Puerto Ayora and get the chance to explore on your own.

Day 12 - Floreana Island

DAY 12

Board a speed boat in the morning to Floreana Island where marine iguanas will be there to greet you at the pier. From there, you’ll visit the highlands where pirates used to hide and the first settlers lived inside caves.

Day 13 - Walk at the beach

DAY 13

A short hike along the beach will take you to a place you can snorkel alongside sea lions, sea turtles, manta rays and a variety of colourful coral and fish. Afterwards, board the speedboat to Isabela Island, stopping along the way for wildlife watching along the cliffs and in the water. Arrive at Isabela and take some time to explore as you wish.

Day 14 - Sierra Negra Volcano

DAY 14

Today you’ll drive to the slopes of the Sierra Negra Volcano for a two-hour walk to the crater along the world’s second largest caldera, reaching 10km from side to side.

In the afternoon you will experience Tintoreras Islets, the home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, marine turtles and sea lions.

Day 15 - Flamingo Lagoon

DAY 15

Start the day by visiting the ‘Flamingo Lagoon’ where the resident flamingos are often feeding. After this, we visit the Tortoise Breeding Centre before returning by speed boat to Santa Cruz.

In Santa Cruz, you will head to the Charles Darwin Station, a reservoir of information on habitats and local conservation. Finally, you’ll visit ‘Lonesome George’, the last tortoise of his
species, that was embalmed after his death to serve as a symbol of conservation.

Day 16 at Ecuador

DAY 16

Today we suggest you wander to the local fish market where you’ll no doubt spot a few pelicans and sea lions hoping for a free meal. Later, we will take a trip to ‘Los Gemelos’, two large pit craters along the road from Puerto Ayora to Baltra that were caused by the collapse of empty magma chambers.

Finally, you’ll head to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.

Our tailor-made ‘Amazon to Galapagos’ itinerary is a great way to explore the natural jewels of South America.

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