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Luxury Galapagos Cruise & Ecuador Train Tour

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14 Days / 13 Nights

The Luxury Ecuador Galapagos and Train Tour is a 3-for-one special! Start your journey on land and visit some of Quito's best highlights, on a guided city tour. Then embark on a luxury Galapagos Cruise aboard the Petrel Catamaran. Cruise around the exotic islands and enjoy close-up encounters with blue-footed boobies, iguanas, giant tortoises and more. As your days at sea come to an end, continue the luxury Ecuador tour by rail on South America's most exciting train, the Tren Crucero. Sit back and relax on the Tren Crucero and travel past the Avenue of the Volcanoes, Cotopaxi and descend along the mythical "Devil's Nose," to more charming Andean villages. This luxury Galapagos Cruise & Train tour is the perfect introduction to Ecuador.

Note: The Petrel Catamaran & Tren Crucero have set departure dates & are subject to availability. 

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Petrel Cruise Ship to the Galapagos Islands

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Per Person Pricing Options

We include what others call optional

This tour includes:

13 nights accommodations
7 transfers
Daily breakfast
24/7 phone support

Highlights:

  • Colonial Quito
  • Otavalo Indigenous Market
  • Galapagos Islands Cruise
  • Tren Crucero
  • Avenue of the Volcanos
  • Cotopaxi National Park
  • Guayaquil

Quito Plaza de San Francisco

Arrive in Quito

Day 1

Your luxury Ecuador tour starts in Quito, the beautiful capital city of Ecuador.  Upon arrival, your local guide will take you to your hotel where you can relax and unwind. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure and wander around the city. Quito is a UNESCO Site and continues to impress travelers as being one of the best-preserved cities in Latin America. The monasteries and Churches are prime examples of the "Baroque school of Quito," combining indigenous, Spanish and European styles.

Quito City Tour Basilica and City Center

Quito City Tour

Day 2

Following an early morning breakfast, get ready for a city tour starting in Quito's old town, Centro Histórico, declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.  Tour Alameda Park and admire the staggering hills in which the city was founded. Walk down one of Quito's oldest streets, García Moreno (also known as the Street of the Seven Crosses). As you reach Quito's main square, Independence Plaza, take a peek inside the Presidential Palace and La Compañía Church, this church is considered one of the continent's most spectacular monumental buildings. Continue to San Francisco Church, most famous for being the oldest Basilica in Quito and the largest religious complex in South America. The Church and monasteries in Quito are prime examples of the Baroque school of Quito, which combines Spanish, Italian, Flemish and Moorish styles with indigenous art. 

After an exciting day of exploring Quito, return to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at your leisure.

Quito Indigenous and Artisan Market in Otavalo

Otavalo Indigenous Market & Artisan Villages

Day 3

Travel north of Quito, towards Otavalo to visit the small village of Calderon. This community is known for its unique and colorful ornamental baked-bread dolls. Pick up a few souvenirs and continue along the Pan-American Highway to Guayllabamba and take in the beautiful snow-capped mountains and changing landscape. Make a short stop at San Pablo Lake before arriving at the Otavalo market. The Otavalo market is a busy textile market located at 'Poncho Plaza,' and is considered one of the largest open-air markets in South America. Find all kinds of handcrafts including tapestries made on old-Spanish weaving looms and pre-Colombian backstrap looms. Enjoy some free time to shop and haggle with the locals. In the afternoon, stop for an authentic lunch at a colonial hacienda. After lunch, visit Cotacachi, another small artisan city where you can learn more about Ecuadorian handicrafts.

Galapagos Cruise Petrel Ship

Fly to the Galapagos & board the Petrel Luxury Catamaran

Day 4

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before meeting your guide that will escort you to the Quito Airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival, transfer to Santa Cruz Island and go on a short hike before boarding the Petrel, a luxury Galapagos Islands catamaran. Hike to the highlands of Santa Cruz to see the volcanoes, ferns and abundant wildlife. This area is home to giant tortoises, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, White-cheeked Pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species. For a unique and surreal experience, ask the guide to take you to the underground lava tubes. In the afternoon board the ship and get ready for your luxury Galapagos Islands cruise.

Note: The Petrel Catamaran has fixed departure dates & is subject to availability. 

South Plaza Island Iguana

Galapagos Cruise to South Plaza Island & Santa Fe

Day 5

Today the Petrel visits the South Plaza Island; a small island with steep cliffs originally formed from rising lava, but now covered by Opuntia cacti. South Plaza Island is home to the largest sea lion colonies and colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most native plant is the Sesuvium. During the rainy season, its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.
Continue towards Santa Fe (Barrington), a picturesque bay and anchorage on the island's northeast coast. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest.

Isla de Lobos - Galapagos Islands Cruise

Galapagos Cruise to Isla de Lobos

Day 6

Enjoy breakfast on the catamaran before the first shore excursion to Isla de Lobos. Isla de Logos is an island named after the sea lions that play on the rocky shores. Look for the cute blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, brown pelicans, lava gulls, common noddies, yellow warblers and ground finches. After spotting wildlife on land, venture into the ocean for some snorkeling.  The clear waters and channels make for some of the best snorkeling in the Galapagos. Swim with friendly sea lions and snap some underwater photos. 

Next stop is the Interpretation Center, which was opened in 1998 as a phase of the project “Interpretation and Environment Education Project.” Learn about the conservation efforts taken to protect the wildlife. Continue to San Cristobal Island and go on a lovely hike to see land birds like warblers, finches and mockingbirds. Along the hike look for giant tortoises.  

Spend the rest of the evening on the luxury catamaran and reflect on your exciting day in the Galapagos Islands.

Blue Footed Boobies in the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Cruise to Gardner Bay, Osborn Islet & Suarez Point

Day 7

Today your luxury Galapagos cruise takes you to the eastern side of Gardner Bay, a breeding site of nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses. Choose between relaxing on the white sandy beaches, diving or snorkeling. Next stop is the Osborn Islet. Visit a nearby sea lion colony or go diving with adorable sea lion pups.
The final stop today is Suarez Point, perfect for spotting blue-footed boobies, albatrosses and nazca boobies. Visit the impressive blowholes, spurting water high into the air and try to capture some photographs. Return to the ship and relax with some of your fellow cruisers. 

Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Cruise to Cormorant Point

Day 8

After enjoying breakfast on the catamaran, depart for Cormorant Point, home to a large flamingo lagoon where other birds such as common stilts and white-cheeked pintails can also be found. Walk to "Green Beach," nicknamed for its olivine crystals found in the sand and “Four Sand Beach” a pristine white beach.
Later, go snorkeling in the volcanic crater and explore the coral reef as you search for marine life. For an exhilarating experience, swim with the currents as they rush through the crown.
The final stop today is Floreana Island. In the 18th century, whalers placed an unofficial mailbox on the island and today the tradition continues. Get your postcard stamped and send a postcard to your friends back home.

Quito City Center Ecuador and Galapagos Cruise

Charles Darwin Research Center & Flight to Quito

Day 9

Spend your last day in the Galapagos at the Charles Darwin Research Station. The Charles Darwin Research Station protects turtles ranging from 3-inches  (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another. Many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans and will stretch out their heads for people to pet them. The babies are kept here until they are about four years old and can prove to be strong enough to survive on their own.
In the afternoon, transfer to the airport and return to Quito. Once you arrive in Quito, transfer to your hotel and spend the rest of the night at your leisure.

Chimbacalle Train Station Quito Ecuador

Tren Crucero to Cotopaxi Volcano

Day 10

After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the Chimbacalle Train Station to board the Tren Crucero. Today you will travel towards the Cotopaxi Train Station and follow the Avenue of the Volcanoes. Pass by Limpiopingo, a beautiful glacial lake, and watch the flora and fauna change.  Try to spot Andean gulls, caracaras, white-tailed deer, wolves and Andean condors. Stop for lunch at the San Agustin de Callo Lodge for an authentic modern day Ecuadorian meal. Return to the Cotopaxi Train Station and transfer to Lasso for the evening. Enjoy dinner at either La Ciénaga, Hato Verde or Rumipamba de las Rosas, depending on availability. Lunch and Dinner are included.

Note: The Tren Crucero has fixed departure dates & is subject to availability. 

Chimborazo Volcano luxury Ecuador Train Tour

Tren Crucero to Lasso, Ambato & Riobamba

Day 11

Rise early and enjoy breakfast before boarding the Tren Crucero headed for Latacunga. Along the way visit Cunchibamba and stop by a rose plantation to see Ecuador's national flower. Learn about the cultivation of roses in Ecuador and admire the variety of roses offered. Board the train and continue to Ambato for a delicious lunch at the Roka Plaza hotel, built on an ancient colonial house. As you enjoy your traditional meal, gaze out at the Tungurahua Volcano. 
In the afternoon continue to Urbina, about  3,609 meters above sea level, the highest train station in the country. Stop and meet Baltazar Uscha, the last ice-trader in Ecuador, and listen, as he kindly share his craft of cutting ice and offers his knowledge of the Chimborazo Volcano.  
Finally, continue to Riobamba and transfer to your hotel where you will enjoy a delicious dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included today.

Devils Nose on Ecuador Train Tour

Tren Crucero to Riobamba, Guamote & Bucay

Day 12

In the morning board the Tren Crucero and travel towards the 'Sultan of the Andes' past the five volcanos.  Continue through the Andean landscapes to the Colta Train Station and visit Balbanera Church. This is where the first Christian evangelization was founded nearly 500 years ago.
Next, visit Guamote, a small Andean village and walk around the indigenous market. In the afternoon, the train continues its journey to the Alausí Train Station, traveling past unusual geological formations before heading down to the emblematic Devil's Nose. The train will zig-zag its way down the mountainside, dropping 200m in just 3km. There will be a short break after the quick descent where you can see the magnitude of this engineering feat that has earned this Ecuadorian route as the world's most challenging rail system.
Finally, arrive at Bucay and spend the night at D'Franco Lodge.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included today. 

Guayaquil Ecuador City and Water

Tren Crucero to Bucay, Duran & Guayaquil

Day 13

After breakfast, board the Tren Crucero at the Bucay Train Station en route for San Rafael.  Along the journey, visit a Shuar community that migrated many years ago from the Amazon basin to the coast. Learn about their ancestral customs and traditions. Take a bus to the San Rafael hacienda and enjoy lunch while visiting a cocoa plantation. After lunch, board the train for the Durán Train Station.  
Enjoy the brightly colored landscape as you pass by banana, pineapple, mango, sugarcane and rice plantations. Your guide will be waiting for you at the Duran Train Station to transfer you to Guayaquil. Stay overnight at Hotel Hilton Colon Guayaquil and spend the rest of the night at your leisure. Breakfast and lunch are included.

Guayaquil Departure Airplane

Transfer to Guayaquil & Departure

Day 14

After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the Guayaquil Airport and continue home or to your next destination in South America.


14 Days / 13 Nights

The Luxury Ecuador Galapagos and Train Tour is a 3-for-one special! Start your journey on land and visit some of Quito's best highlights, on a guided city tour. Then embark on a luxury Galapagos Cruise aboard the Petrel Catamaran. Cruise around the exotic islands and enjoy close-up encounters with blue-footed boobies, iguanas, giant tortoises and more. As your days at sea come to an end, continue the luxury Ecuador tour by rail on South America's most exciting train, the Tren Crucero. Sit back and relax on the Tren Crucero and travel past the Avenue of the Volcanoes, Cotopaxi and descend along the mythical "Devil's Nose," to more charming Andean villages. This luxury Galapagos Cruise & Train tour is the perfect introduction to Ecuador.

Note: The Petrel Catamaran & Tren Crucero have set departure dates & are subject to availability. 

Download itinerary pdf version

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