Day 1 – To Quito: Fly to Quito, via Madrid, with Iberia. Stay 2 nights at Casona de la Ronda. (N)
Day 2 – Quito: Scenic morning tour of the old colonial centre of Quito, followed by a visit to the equatorial line monument, 'Middle of the World'. (B)
Day 3 – To Otavalo: Full-day visit to the colourful Otavalo market and the verdant countryside north of Quito, including San Pablo lake and small surrounding villages where weavers and craftsmen work. Take lunch at an historic hacienda. (It is possible to stay overnight at a hacienda in this region - please enquire for more details). (B, L)
Day 4 – To Cotopaxi & Riobamba: Transfers and excursions for the next two days will be on a shared basis. Private guide and transportation (except the train) can be booked for a supplement. Travel south into the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes', with its fertile valleys, traditional villages, patchwork fields and soaring volcanic peaks. Explore the Cotopaxi National Park, a habitat for a variety of birds and Andean flora. Continue by road to Riobamba and spend a night at Hacienda Abraspungo. (B, L, D)
Day 5 – To Devil's Nose & Cuenca: Travel by winding and scenic roads to the town of Alausí. Board the train for a journey down the zigzag tracks of the famous Devil's Nose, a masterpiece of railway engineering. Continue by road through stunning mountainous scenery to the Inca ruins of Ingapirca and finally on to Cuenca. Stay 2 nights at Hotel Santa Lucia. (B, L)
Day 6 – Cuenca: Full-day tour of Cuenca, Ecuador's beautiful southern colonial city. Explore the cobblestoned streets, flower-filled plazas and historic churches. (B)
Day 7 – To Guayaquil: Drive via the moorlands of the Cajas National Park, down to the steamy coastal region and the city of Guayaquil. Optional afternoon tour of Guayaquil, including the waterfront and the picturesque and historic Barrio Las Peñas. Stay overnight at the Hampton Inn. (B, L)
Day 8 – To Galapagos: Shared transfer to the airport and fly to the Galapagos Islands for a 3-night cruise on board the Beluga, a comfortable motor cruiser with a capacity for 16 passengers. It is also possible to take a 5- or a 7-night cruise, sailing on an alternative small or medium sized boat. (B, L, D)
Days 9–10 – Galapagos: Shared excursions to the islands with a naturalist guide. (B, L, D)
Day 11 – To London: Disembark the cruise and fly to Guayaquil. Connect with a flight to London, via Madrid. Alternatively, break your journey with an overnight stay in Guayaquil and take a short city tour the following day or an exploration of the Churute mangroves. (B)
Day 12 – London: Afternoon arrival. (N)
Meal Basis: As per itinerary - (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner, (N) = No Meals
Notes: This is a suggested itinerary, which can be tailored to suit your needs. The above itinerary is based on a Tuesday departure from the UK to fit in with a Tuesday sailing (every other week) on the Beluga. Prices are based on two people travelling and sharing a twin-room, are intended as a guideline only and will vary according to time of year.
Hotel upgrades: Recommendations include Casa Gangotena in Quito, a boutique hotel in a converted historic mansion; the small and atmospheric Hacienda San Agustin de Callo in Cotopaxi; the beautiful Mansion Alcazar in Cuenca or smart modern Wyndham Guayaquil or Hilton Colon in Guayaquil. Prices on request.