Guesthouse · Rainforest Lodge · Hotel
This adventure is perfect for anyone with basic fitness levels and a love of being immersed in the natural world
Come face to face with the Galapagos’ unique wildlife, hike the vast Sierra Negro volcano and discover pristine beaches
Raft, hike and kayak your way through a slice of the greatest rainforest on Earth in the Amazon basin
Explore Quito, stand on the equator, journey over the Andes and kick back in the Papallacta hot springs
This is an extended version of our bestselling Island Hopping Adventure in the Galapagos, allowing you to explore more of Ecuador on your trip
Welcome to Ecuador!
After touching down at the airport in Quito, your host will meet you and transfer you to your hotel in the Tababela area of the city. The rest of the day you are free to enjoy the gardens at the hotel and shake off any jet lag. There will be a group meet up at 19:00 where you can get to know your guides and fellow adventurers.
Explore Quito and visit the equator
Soak up Quito's Old Town with its squares, churches and classic art before grabbing some traditional Andean food for lunch. Head up to the best viewpoint of the city at Panecillo Hill before making your way over to the San Antonio area of Quito. Here you will find La Mitad del Mundo ('the Middle of the Earth'). This is where Ecuador's namesake, the equator, runs through the country, and you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere.
First glimpse of the Galapagos Islands
In Quito, hop on a plane bound for Baltra Island in the Galapagos – the flight is a spectacular one, crossing the open expanse of the Pacific Ocean for a couple of hours before the first islands come into view. Touch down on Baltra then take the short ferry ride over to Santa Cruz Island, where you can get stuck straight into some of the island's highlights. Check out Los Gemelos ('the Twins'), two giant volcanic sinkholes; El Chato Giant Tortoise Reserve, where you can observe these magical creatures in their natural habitat; and the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Visit a coffee farm and cycle to Garrapatero Beach
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before jumping in the van and climbing into the Santa Cruz Highlands to visit an organic coffee plantation and sip a fresh cup of Joe. Hike back and head up to the Cerro Mesa Nature Reserve where you can jump on a mountain bike and pedal over to Garrapatero Beach – an amazing beach teeming with wildlife. Have some downtime on the beach, enjoy a swim, and then head back to Puerto Ayora for dinner and drinks.
Tortuga Bay hike and Isabela Island
Head out to one of the largest white beaches in the Galapagos, Tortuga Bay. This beautiful stretch of sand is only accessible by an hour-long hike and you may spot lava lizards, native birds and huge marine iguanas. You can grab a quick dip, snorkel, or kayak here, or simply hang out on the beach and keep the local marine life company. Later, you'll hop on a speed boat to Isabela Island and check into your boutique hotel in the picturesque town of Puerto Villamil. The rest of the afternoon is free to stroll around the town and find a spot to enjoy the sunset at another incredible beach.
Hike the Sierra Negra volcano
Tackle a spectacular hike today on the Sierra Negra volcano. After a couple of hours, you'll reach a spot where you can take in the views from the rim of one of the largest and most active volcanic craters in the world. The hike continues over to Lava Nueva, a neighbouring volcanic landscape. The hike is easy-going as you walk at a gradual pace while soaking up the spectacular surroundings. Back in Puerto Villamil by late afternoon, you can unwind on the beach with another swim in the Pacific.
Bike to 'The Wall of Tears' and snorkel at Concha de Perla
Swap hiking boots for a mountain bike today for a ride over to Muro de las Lágrimas (the 'Wall of Tears'), an infamous 10-metre high wall of volcanic rock that was formerly part of a penal colony. Since the prison closed down, wildlife has taken over and it now makes a truly unique place to see giant tortoises and flamingos. Continue on two wheels to the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre, where you can say hello to five different species of endemic giant tortoise. In the afternoon you’ll snorkel at Concha de Perla – eyes peeled for reef sharks, marine iguanas, sea lions, turtles and even penguins. Wind down with a traditional Isabela Island restaurant dinner and maybe sample the Galapagan nightlife.
Swim with Galapagan marine wildlife
Tick off more islands today as you make your way to Islote las Tintoreras, a chain of small islands named after the white-tipped reef sharks who love to hang out here. Enjoy a boat trip around the bay to look for the famous and unique residents – such as Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles and sea lions – and visit The Cliff, a natural tunnel where sharks can often be seen resting. Jump in the water for another snorkelling adventure with the chance to see more turtles, manta rays, marine iguanas, and of course the famous reef sharks of this part of the Galapagos. Bid farewell to Isabela Island later as you take a speedboat back to Santa Cruz Island for your final evening in the Galapagos.
Wave goodbye to the islands as you jump on a plane back to Quito. The afternoon and evening are free to explore some more at your own pace, or enjoy some well-earned downtime in the hotel gardens. Get some rest before the next part of your Ecuadorean adventure begins tomorrow.
To the Amazon
From one iconic wilderness destination to another: this morning you'll hit the road for the journey from Quito to the Amazon rainforest. You'll stop off en route at the Papallacta hot springs – a network of geothermal pools nestled in the Andes mountains at 3300m above sea level. Later, descend from the Andes all the way down into the Amazon basin through various different climactic zones until you reach your base in the rainforest at Kuyana Lodge. Settle into your lush surroundings and tuck into a dinner which showcases some traditional Amazonian dishes using local produce.
Wake up to the sound of the jungle and grab breakfast at the lodge before heading out to explore the Amazon on foot. Meander through the Usphayacu Estuary, a remarkable natural wonder formed by a network of water sources and natural springs, culminating at Ushpayacu Waterfalls where you can cool down with a memorable wild swim in the heart of the rainforest. Later, hit the Guitarracocha Trail to explore Kuyana Island, keeping your eyes peeled for the plethora of birds, insects and other wildlife in this area. Hike up to an epic viewpoint for an unforgettable vista over this part of the Amazon.
Raft a tributary of the Amazon River
Ramp up the wild factor today with a trip to the Jatunyacu River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River, originating from a glacier and springs fed by the Cotopaxi Volcano at the roof of Ecuador. Hop in a raft to tackle an exhilarating descent downstream through a series of Grade III whitewater rapids, interspersed with calm stretches where you'll soak up the dense rainforest on the banks. You'll have chances to relax on remote river beaches and take a swim in this magical environment. Head back to the lodge after a long day on the river for a well-earned dinner and some time to chill this evening at your Amazonian base.
Kayaking and night hiking
Get back on the river today as you head to the Alto Misahualli to sluice and meander through another Amazonian wilderness ecosystem, this time by kayak. There are more rapids to tackle on this stretch of river, around Grade II level – you'll be in the hands of qualified river kayaking guides to keep you safe and show you the lines to follow. After some downtime back at the lodge in the afternoon and evening, you'll head out to see the rainforest at night when it's at its most alive. Your naturalist guide will be on the lookout for nocturnal species as you weave through the forest under cover of darkness.
Soak up the last of your time in the Amazon with one final breakfast at your rainforest lodge, before bidding farewell and settling in for the journey back to Quito. The terrain and climate changes on the journey are incredible as you meander from tropical rainforest up to high-altitude regions in the Andes. You'll stop for lunch en route at a lookout point over cloud forests before continuing on to Quito. Tonight is the final night of an epic two-week journey, so tuck into a farewell meal with your fellow adventurers and guide and maybe hit the Old Town to experience Ecuador's vibrant capital one last time.
Transfer to Quito Airport for your onward flight
Your adventure comes to an end today as your host takes you back to the airport in Quito in time for your flight home.
Return flights from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands
Certified naturalist guides in both the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest
10 nights in locally owned boutique guesthouses/hotels, 4 nights in a rainforest lodge
All breakfasts, 11 lunches, all dinners
All transfers, including boat transfers between islands and to/from the Amazon
All equipment for your biking, snorkelling, rafting and kayaking adventures
Flights to and from the meeting point
Tips for your guides
Some meals as described
Visas where required
Day 3 – Day 8
Day 10 – Day 13
What is the food like?
In Quito there will be an array of traditional Ecuadorian food to sample, including street snacks, as you roam around the old town. Traditional dishes tend to be meat-heavy; however, seafood ceviche is popular and there are plenty of vegetarian options using potato, plantain and local cheeses.
In the Galapagos Islands, expect plenty of seafood options. Your host has a keen eye for visiting the restaurants with the most sustainable approach to sourcing their seafood. Ceviche is perhaps the Galapagos's most famous dish, however, there are often traditional Ecuadorian highland dishes with meat, potatoes and grains, along with coastal ingredients like yuca. A local breakfast in the Galapagos Islands typically involves fried dumplings of green plantains (bolones) and fresh fruit, however, there are American-style breakfasts at the hotel on Santa Cruz Island as well.
In the Amazon, you'll tuck into local produce such as tropical fruits, yuca and chayote – a delicious cross between a cucumber and squash. The lodge where you will have your meals has an organic garden on-site, producing vegetables, herbs and spices which form an integral part of the menu.
Vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and any food allergies can be catered for. Please let your host know of your requirements in advance.
What is the accommodation like?
Before and after your time in the Galapagos you'll usually stay at the pretty Quinta La Constanza – an independent country house-style hotel in Quito, located just a short drive from the airport. The hotel is convenient for the short hops to and from the airport, but also has quiet and peaceful surroundings with lovely gardens to relax in during your downtime here. For some departure dates, the local host may reserve an alternative nearby hotel of the same standard.
Santa Cruz Island
During your time on Santa Cruz Island, you'll stay in a lovely boutique hotel called Deja Vu, located in the Eden neighbourhood just outside Puerto Ayora. Deja Vu has cool, comfortable rooms and an outdoor pool to enjoy during any down time after your adventures around the island, and it also includes epic American-style breakfasts to fuel you up each day.
On Isabela Island, you'll stay at Hotel Cally, a small family-run hotel near the centre of Puerto Villamil, which has the added advantage of being just a few steps from the beach. The hotel is close to several bars and cafes.
Your base in the Amazon rainforest is the Kuyana Rainforest Lodge, nestled on the banks of the Hollín River in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Family-run Kuyana is a luxury eco-lodge, with rooms and bungalows nestled in the jungle environment surrounded by nature. The lodge runs on strong sustainability principles, utilising biodegradable products, water treatment and recycling measures, organic food grown on-site and a reforestation program to restore endemic plant species to the area around the lodge. The maximum capacity at the lodge is 18 guests: this is small-scale Amazonian tourism making a huge impact on your experience here.
For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).
Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito
Any time on Day 1
Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito
Any time on Day 15
Your host will meet you at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito and transfer you to your hotel, just a short drive away. On the last day of the trip, your host will return you to the airport in time for your onward flight.
Airport transfers are included if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 15. If you wish to arrive before the trip start date or stay longer at the end, your host can arrange private airport transfers and pre-/post-trip accommodation. See Optional Extras for prices.
There are regular flights to Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito from major airports across the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia.
Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear
In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.
- Snorkelling equipment (mask, flippers and snorkel)
- Bike and helmet
- Rafting and kayaking equipment in the Amazon
What do I need to bring?
- Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
- Daypack (20-30 litres)
- Small drybag
- Light waterproof jacket
- Fleece jacket or similar
- Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
- Underwear and socks
- Swimwear x2
- Something to sleep in
- Hiking boots (worn-in)
- Padlock for left luggage
- Universal travel plug adapter
- Power bank or solar charger
- Passports (and visas)
- Travel insurance documents
- Insect repellent (ideally 0% DEET)
- Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
- Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
- Quick-dry towel
- Alcohol hand-gel
- Reusable water bottle
Payable Before Departure
Payable Before Departure
Optional Private Room Upgrade
Payable Before Departure
Optional Private Room Upgrade
Quito Airport - Accommodation (each way)
Payable Before Departure
Quito Airport - Accommodation (each way)
We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.
We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.
What's the number?
It works out on average at 1024kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.
The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.
But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:
- Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
- A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
- 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.
What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.
Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.
Yes, there are some payments that you'll need to make locally on this trip. Much Better Adventures usually include everything to make for a hassle-free trip; however, sometimes there are payments that must be made in person (usually at borders or national parks) which require cash payment along with your passport. Entry to the Galapagos is operated like this by the Ecuadorian Government. Please make sure you bring along the following:
$100 USD in cash for the Galapagos National Park entry fee. This fee is paid by each adult visiting the Galapagos, and the payment goes towards protecting the wider national park and marine reserve. You must pay this fee on arrival at Baltra Airport while presenting your passport to immigration control. It can only be paid individually by the passport holder.
$20 USD in cash for the Galapagos Transit Control Card. Again, this is payable in person at the airport when flying from Quito to Baltra Island on Day 3.
$10 USD in cash for a municipal tax to enter Isabela Island on Day 5. This is payable when presenting your passport upon arrival on the island.
Everybody with basic levels of fitness can enjoy this trip. All you'll need is to be able to handle a few hours of activity every day, mixed between snorkelling, kayaking, hiking and biking. The activities aren't strenuous: the aim on this trip is to soak up the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands while immersed in your surroundings. In the Amazon, you'll spend a day and a half on a wild stretch of river while rafting and kayaking – no experience is needed as full instruction will be provided. You don't need to be hugely fit, but a sense of fun and being comfortable in a wild place will help you enjoy the experiences to their fullest. The hikes in the Amazon aren't overly strenuous, though the humidity can be a factor – bring plenty of water and your swimmers for a cooling dip.
Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.
Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however, we suggest the below as a guideline per person:
- $5 USD per day on the mainland and in the Amazon
- $10 USD per day in the Galapagos Islands
Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality – a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Yes! This trip is a longer version of our much-loved Island Hopping Adventure in the Galapagos. So if the Galapagos is all you're looking for, head over to this trip instead for more details and to book yourself on.
The tap water in mainland Ecuador and Galapagos is not always friendly on the stomach for those who haven't been in Latin America for a while. There is purified water in each of the hotels and lodges which you can use to fill up each morning, so be sure to pack a reusable water bottle or two.
Seasons in the Galapagos are split into the cool and dry season (June to November) and the warm and wet season (December to May). The seas are warmer, calmer and have better visibility in the warm and wet season. Rain showers in the wet season tend to be over quickly, and are often a pleasant break from the heat and sun.
Average temperatures in the warm and wet season from December to May range from a low of 22°C (70°F) to a high of 31°C (84°F). Average temperatures in the cool and dry season from June to November range from a low of 19°C (68°F) to a high of 27°C (82°F).
The wildlife in the Galapagos can be seen year-round, as many of the big draws are resident to the islands, with few migratory species.
The Amazon is a tropical and humid region, with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year of 24-32°C (75-90°F) during the day and 18-24°C (65-75°F) at night time. The wet season generally occurs around December to May, with heavier rains during these months, while the dry season usually lasts from June to November, with less rainfall and lower water levels.
Humidity levels in the Amazon are typically very high, often hovering around 80% to 90%. This contributes to the lush and vibrant ecosystem of the rainforest.
Yes, you are able to leave excess luggage in Quito at the start of the trip, to be collected when you return to Quito after your time in the Galapagos and the Amazon.
Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.
Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.
We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!
We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.
If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.
All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.
You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.
Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.
Pay In Installments
You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.
Full Financial Protection
Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.