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My 2-Week Ecuador Itinerary – Wild Junket Journey Journey Weblog

Final Up to date on April 21, 2023 by Nellie Huang

Welcome to Ecuador, a land of contrasts and pure wonders that by no means stop to amaze. Right here’s our 2-week Ecuador itinerary that can present you the most effective of Ecuador.

On our 5-month South America backpacking journey, Ecuador was our favourite nation. The nation could also be small, but it surely certain packs a punch with so many bucket-list worthy sights — from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon Rainforest, the Pacific Coast surf cities to the spectacular Galapagos Islands.

We not too long ago returned to Ecuador for our daughter’s birthday journey (after 15 years!) and it was simply as spectacular and spectacular as we remembered. It didn’t come as a shock that Kaleya cherished it as a lot as we did. On this article, I might be sharing our 2-week Ecuador itinerary in addition to particulars on the place we stayed, ate and did all through this journey of rediscovery.

ecuador itinerary 2 week

Ecuador Itinerary & Information

You’ll want a minimum of 2 weeks in Ecuador to see the nation’s highlights: from the colonial appeal of Quito to the imposing Andes Mountains and the spectacular Galapagos Islands. It will mean you can discover Ecuador’s greatest sights, although you’ll barely scratch the floor of the Ecuador.

On our first journey, we spent 3 weeks in Ecuador; As an alternative of going to the Andes, we went south to discover the Amazon Rainforest, with Baños as our base. We additionally spent a while within the coastal metropolis of Guayaquil, making journeys to close by Montañita and Salinas. For those who do have further time, I extremely suggest including the Amazon into your Ecuador itinerary.

Here’s a abstract of our 2-week Ecuador itinerary. I might be giving a day-to-day breakdown under.

  • Days 1-3: Quito
  • Days 4-5: Otavalo
  • Days 6-7: Cotopaxi
  • Days 8-11: Santa Cruz, the Galapagos
  • Days 12-14: San Cristobal, the Galapagos

Obtain my Ecuador itinerary on Google Maps.

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How one can Get to Ecuador

The place to begin of our Ecuador itinerary is the primary worldwide airport in Quito, the capital metropolis. The Mariscal Sucre Worldwide Airport (UIO) is the busiest airport in Ecuador, serving as the first gateway for guests.

TAME Airways is the flag provider and state-owned airline of Ecuador. Flights from New York to Quito are reasonably priced, with airfares as low-cost as US$400 return. Flights from Los Angeles to Quito are round US$500.

Madrid is often the primary hub when you’re flying from Europe. Direct flights from London to Quito often value round US$890 return. Madrid to Quito flights are barely cheaper at $900 and are direct.

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Getting round Ecuador

By Automobile

For this Ecuador itinerary, we advise renting a automobile or taking a bus for the primary a part of the journey. Renting a automobile in Ecuador will not be costly; our 1-week automobile rental value round US$200. We all the time e-book automobile rental on Uncover Automobiles as they’ve constantly given us the most effective charges and buyer assist. Driving within the metropolis may be demanding, however when you get out to the mountains, it’s simple and easy. 

Ebook your automobile rental

By Bus

On the whole, bus journey in Ecuador is handy and comfy. Quite a few bus traces function regionally and in addition all through South America. Simply deliver a jacket as a result of the air con might be cranked up and be ready for a protracted journey across the mountains. Pre-book your bus tickets right here to make sure availability.

By Air

You’ll have to fly when touring to the Galapagos Islands. LATAM and Avianca of the primary airways that fly to the Galapagos. There are solely flights from Quito and Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands (Baltra or San Cristobal). Foreigners are solely allowed to e-book flights on premium class, so anticipate to fork out round US$300-400 for roundtrip tickets to the Galapagos. Seek for flights right here.

galapagos islands - ecuador itinerary

2-Week Ecuador Itinerary 

Ecuador Itinerary Day 1: Arrive in Quito

Take it gradual in your first day in Quito. Ecuador’s capital metropolis lies at 2,500m above sea stage, flying in can lead to delicate altitude illness. You would possibly really feel dizzy, nauseous and in need of breathe so give your self a while to acclimatize. 

Quito’s airport is round a 30-minute drive from the middle. Choose up your rental automobile (particulars above) or take the airport shuttle bus, Aerovía, which connects the airport to town’s northern bus terminal. Alternatively, e-book a non-public switch that’ll deliver you straight to your resort.

I like to recommend staying in Quito’s historic middle, the place the whole lot is inside strolling distance. Simply remember that it will possibly additionally get noisy, crowded and gritty. La Mariscal is a vibrant space simply outdoors downtown with tons of eating places and reasonably priced inns; we stayed on this space on our first journey to Quito and actually cherished it. La Floresta additional north is an upmarket enterprise district with good flats, meals courts and malls in proximity.

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The place to Keep in Quito

Luxurious: Casa Gangotena

Situated in Quito’s historic middle, this elegant resort occupies a fantastically restored colonial mansion. The resort options spacious rooms with vintage furnishings, a connoisseur restaurant, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of town, and a bar serving craft cocktails. Test charges right here.

Midrange: Lodge Patio Andaluz

This charming boutique resort is housed in a Sixteenth-century colonial mansion within the coronary heart of Quito’s historic middle. The resort options cozy rooms with colonial-style decor, a restaurant serving Ecuadorian and worldwide delicacies, a bar with dwell music, and a rooftop terrace with views of town. Test charges.

Finances: Hostal Downtown

This budget-friendly guesthouse is situated in Quito’s historic middle. The guesthouse options easy however comfy rooms with non-public or shared loos, a communal kitchen, and a rooftop terrace with views of town. Test charges.

rooftop bar quito - 2 week ecuador itinerary

Ecuador Itinerary Day 2: Wander Quito’s Historic Middle

Begin your day at Plaza Grande, the palpitating coronary heart of Quito’s historic middle. Admire the structure of the buildings surrounding the sq., together with the Palacio de Carondelet, which homes the president’s places of work, and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Subsequent, stroll over to Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús. This gorgeous baroque-style church is taken into account probably the most stunning in South America. The church was constructed by the Jesuits within the Seventeenth century and options intricate carvings, gold leaf detailing, and an ornate altar. Take your time to understand the intricate particulars of the church’s inside.

Cross over to the Plaza San Francisco, a giant sq. surrounded by colonial-era buildings and is a superb spot for people-watching. The Iglesia de San Francisco situated on one facet of the plaza, is among the oldest church buildings in Quito and options a mixture of Gothic and Moorish architectural types.

quito center - ecuador itinerary - 2 weeks in ecuador

Have Lunch at an Iconic Cafe

For lunch, head to Cafe del Fraile, an atmospheric cafe tucked inside a secret constructing within the historic middle. Overlooking a beautiful patio, the historic cafe is restored from an outdated friar’s convent and options black-and-white images in addition to a formidable menu.

cafe del fraile- ecuador itinerary

See the Metropolis from Above

After lunch, proceed strolling to the Basilica del Voto Nacional. This large neo-Gothic church is among the most iconic landmarks in Quito and provides nice views of town from its towers. Take the steps to the highest of the church’s bell towers for panoramic views of Quito’s historic middle and surrounding mountains. There are memento shops, cafes and bars within the towers; cease for a craft beer in one of many bars and benefit from the views.

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Ecuador Itinerary Day 3: Discover the Parks

See the Nationwide Museum

Rise early to browse the Museo Nacional de Ecuador, probably the most vital museums in Ecuador. It’s situated within the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana constructing. The museum’s assortment contains artifacts and displays that cowl the historical past and tradition of Ecuador from pre-Columbian instances to the current day. My favourite was archeology gallery, which contains a vary of artifacts from Valdivia, Chorrera, and Inca cultures.

quito old town - ecuador itinerary

Take the TelefériQo 

Subsequent, head over to the bottom station of the TelefériQo to take the cable automobile as much as the highest of Pichincha Volcano, which provides gorgeous views of Quito and enjoyable brief hikes. The gondola takes round 20 minutes to succeed in the Cruz Loma station on the high, which sits at a formidable altitude of virtually 13,123 ft (4,000 meters).

At this altitude, the air is thinner (and chillier) and also you would possibly discover it more durable to breather. I used to be panting simply from taking just a few steps. There are a number of viewpoints, mountaineering trails, farmers providing their llamas for picture alternatives, in addition to an enormous swing. The easy eatery on the finish of the path serves wonderful parilladas (grilled meat) and freshly made empanadas!

TIP: The TelefériQo operates day by day from 9 am to eight pm, with the final ascent at 7 pm. A round-trip ticket prices US$8 per individual. You should purchase your ticket on the ticket workplace situated on the base station.

   cruz loma quito - ecuador itinerary

Wander Parque Itchimbia

Within the afternoon, head as much as Parque Itchimbia within the south of town. The hilltop park is inexperienced and vigorous particularly on a sunny day. Locals love to return right here for a stroll —my daughter cherished the playground and huge inexperienced house right here! There are panoramic views of town and the long-lasting orange ‘Quito’ letters.

The park can also be residence to the Centro Cultural Itchimbia, a cultural middle that hosts a wide range of artwork displays, concert events, and different cultural occasions all year long. You may verify their web site or native listings to see what occasions are taking place throughout your go to.

For dinner, stroll just a few meters downhill to the legendary Cafe Mosaico, an eclectic bar and cafe with wonderful panorama of town. Catch sundown right here with a beer in hand and watch town gentle glow in gold by evening.

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Ecuador Itinerary Day 4: Go to the Market City, Otavalo

Cease at Mitad del Mundo

Time to hit the highway! Drive an hour north to your first vacation spot, Mitad del Mundo, a monument that marks the place the equator passes. The centerpiece of the location stands on the precise location of the equator line — you possibly can stand with one foot in every hemisphere and take some enjoyable images! The monument itself is a museum with completely different displays on every ground; the highest stage provides attractive views of the encircling mountains.

The entire complicated has a number of museums, together with the Intiñan Photo voltaic Museum, which provides interactive displays on the science and tradition of the equator. The Ethnographic Museum reveals the historical past and tradition of Ecuador’s indigenous communities. There are additionally eating places and touristy outlets.

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Head to Otavalo Market

Proceed driving 1.5hours to the Andean city of Otavalo, famed for its handicraft and textile market. Situated at Plaza de Ponchos, the market is opened all week, although Saturdays are the most effective time to return and see it as its liveliest. There’s a variety of merchandise on sale, together with textiles, jewellery, ceramics, woodcarvings, and work.

However we didn’t come for the market — Otavalo is probably the most deeply-rooted indigenous cities in Ecuador. The Otavalos have a historical past that predates the Incas, and a language that’s completely different from different indigenous languages spoken in Ecuador. The Otavalo individuals as we speak proceed to decorate in conventional put on — the ladies in white blouses and black skirts, males have their black lengthy hair tied up in braids and a black hat to high it off.

Inty-Huasi by the market sq. is an effective spot to have lunch. We had a filling almuerzo (set lunch) for $7 right here, and it included locro de papa (potato soup), a alternative of trout fish or steak, and a dessert. After lunch, verify into your mountain lodge (there are various within the outskirts with entry to stunning mountaineering trails.)

otavalo market - ecuador itinerary

The place to Keep in Otavalo 

Luxurious: Lodge Otavalo

It is a charming boutique resort situated within the coronary heart of Otavalo, only a brief stroll from the market. It provides comfy rooms adorned in a conventional Andean fashion, a rooftop terrace with gorgeous views, and a restaurant serving scrumptious Ecuadorian delicacies. Test costs right here.

Mid Vary: Ushaloma Airbnb 

We stayed at this stunning Airbnb (pictured) perched on the hilltops of Ushaloma outdoors Otavalo. Ground-to-ceiling home windows within the cottage divulge heart’s contents to wonderful views of Laguna San Pablo and the volcano. By far the most effective place we stayed at on this Ecuador journey!

Mid-range: Hacienda San Juan de la Vega

It is a stunning Seventeenth-century hacienda situated within the countryside simply outdoors of Otavalo. It provides luxurious rooms and suites, fantastically landscaped gardens, and a spread of facilities, together with a spa, restaurant, and horseback driving. Test charges.

Finances: Hostal Otavalo Inn

It is a easy and reasonably priced hostel situated within the middle of Otavalo, just some blocks from the market. It provides fundamental however clear rooms, a communal kitchen, and a pleasant and welcoming environment. Test costs right here.

otavalo airbnb - ecuador itinerary

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Ecuador Itinerary Day 5: Discover Otavalo Environment

Hike round Laguna Cuicocha 

Laguna Cuicocha is a phenomenal volcanic crater lake situated about 20 km from Otavalo. The 7.5-mile (12km) loop hike across the lagoon often takes most individuals 4-4.5hours to stroll and provides gorgeous views of the encircling Andes Mountains. We didn’t get to do the entire loop as my daughter small. As an alternative, we went to this statement level for stunning views of the lake and walked a little bit across the space.

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Chill at Laguna San Pablo

After the hike, deal with your self to a pleasant meal by the shores of Laguna San Pablo. A couple of 45-minute away, San Pablo is a volcanic lake backdropped by the Imbabura Volcano. It’s a scenic spot and you may catch a ship or go kayaking on the glassy water floor.

Puertolago Nation Inn has a restaurant proper on the water, serving conventional Otavalo dishes. I had a plato tipico Otavaleño made up of mote (white corn), platano maduro (plantain), carne colorada meat stew, and llapingacho (potato patties). A heavy however satisfying meal!

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See Wildlife at Parque Condor

Within the afternoon, head to Parque Condor, a chicken sanctuary devoted to the conservation and rehabilitation of Andean birds of prey. The star of present right here is after all the Andean condor, one of many largest birds on the planet. See these magnificent birds up shut and study their habits, habitat, and significance in Andean tradition. 

The park runs common flight demonstrations, the place they launch the educated birds into the sky. Along with the Andean condor, you’ll additionally see different birds of prey, together with eagles, hawks, and owls. It’s an excellent academic spot particularly when you’re touring Ecuador with youngsters.

condor park otavalo - ecuador itinerary 2 weeks

Ecuador Itinerary Day 6: Head to Cotopaxi

It’s time for some journey! This Ecuador itinerary continues on to Cotopaxi Nationwide Park (a 3-hour drive from Otavalo) the place you’ll get a glimpse of Ecuador’s second tallest mountain, with an elevation of 5,897 meters (19,347 ft). Cotopaxi is among the most lively volcanoes on the planet — it final erupted for six months in 2015 and was closed to the general public till October 2017. Luckily, the volcano is now accessible.

Many individuals come to the nationwide park on a day journey, however I extremely suggest staying the evening. There are various lodges dotted outdoors the park, near the northern gate, and these often maintain all of your meals and arrange actions like guided hikes and horseback driving. That stated, these lodges usually are not low-cost and these actions/meals are US costs.

Some lodges have easy actions on-site so verify with the place you’re staying. We stayed at Chilcabamba Lodge and spent our first afternoon on the lodge, happening a brief hike alongside the resort’s trails, trout fishing within the resort’s pond, and making s’mores on the open fireplace at sundown. 

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The place to Keep in Cotopaxi

Luxurious: Chilcabamba Lodge

We stayed at this intimate, small-scale lodge (pictured) simply outdoors the nationwide park. The rooms are fashionable with a contact of rustic class. From its yard, you get a spectacular view of Cotopaxi. The lodge organizes loads of actions and offers 3-course dinners for $22. Test charges.

Mid-range: Secret Backyard Cotopaxi

Secret Backyard Cotopaxi is a vastly widespread lodge additionally situated simply outdoors the nationwide park. The lodge has distinctive hobbiton-style cabins in addition to regular lodge rooms with non-public or shared loos, in addition to a restaurant, bar, and out of doors sizzling tub. Test charges right here.

Finances: Hosteria Papagayo Cotopaxi

Backpackers rave about this hostel with reasonably priced dorm rooms, restaurant, bar, and shared lounge space. The workers is pleasant and useful, and the lodge is a superb possibility for these searching for fundamental facilities and a handy location. Ebook right here.

chilcabamba lodge

Ecuador Itinerary Day 7: Hike round Cotopaxi

Begin the subsequent day vivid and early with a drive into Cotopaxi Nationwide Park. The park covers an space of over 33,000 hectares (82,000 acres). Entry to the nationwide park is free, you simply have to register your title to enter. The South Gate is a extra widespread entrance as you enter proper by means of the Panamerican Freeway. We drove in from the North Gate as our mountain lodge was only a brief drive from it.

hiking cotopaxi - what to do in 2 weeks in ecuador

Hike to the Cotopaxi Refugio

To climb to the summit, it’s worthwhile to be an skilled mountaineer, plus you’ll have to use for a allow beforehand— however there’s a hike to the refugio (refuge hostel) that’s vastly widespread and the views up there are spectacular.

Nevertheless, Refugio Jose Rivas is at an altitude of 15,950 ft  (4,862m) and the place to begin is the parking zone at 14,750 ft (4,500m). At this altitude, each step is troublesome as your physique struggles with the skinny air and lack of oxygen. Regardless that the hike is just 0.6 miles (1km), it may be difficult. We made it solely midway as I used to be affected by altitude illness and the summit was utterly shrouded in fog and rain.

From the parking zone, it ought to ought to take between 1 to 2 hours, relying on how match, ready and acclimatized you might be. Search for ‘Parqueadero al refugio’ on Google Maps. There are two methods to hike up, the gradual zig-zag path and the direct straight route. The zig-zag path is gentler and simpler to climb, whereas the simple route could be very steep and has quite a lot of unfastened rocks. From the refugio, it’s an extra 40-minute stroll to the sting of the Cotopaxi Glacier to see the glacier from shut.

TIP: Alternatively, you possibly can e-book a guided trek that provides you the choice to cycle again down the volcano. 

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Stroll the Laguna Limpiopungo Loop

There’s a restaurant on the refugio; when you don’t make all of it the best way to the highest, drive over to Tambopaxi Lodge for lunch. Its onsite restaurant has fairly respectable and well-priced meals.

After lunch, proceed driving in the direction of the southern gate and cease by the picturesque Laguna Limpiopungo. Sitting at an elevation of 12,696 ft (3,870 meters), the lake is surrounded by gorgeous views of the Andean mountains — right here’s the place you may get the most effective picture of the long-lasting Cotopaxi volcano when it’s not cloudy!

The title “Limpiopungo” is derived from the Kichwa language and means “clear pond”, which precisely describes the crystal-clear waters of the lake. The lake is fed by melting glaciers and is a crucial supply of water for the encircling ecosystems. We noticed a wide range of chicken species right here, together with the Andean gull and Carunculated Caracara.

There’s a preferred path that goes across the lake: the Sendero de la Laguna, a 2.4 km (1.5 miles) loop path that takes guests across the perimeter of the lake. The path is simple and appropriate for all ages and talents, our daughter loved it.

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Go to the Interpretation Middle

Only a brief drive away within the Interpretation Middle on the South Gate. The middle is small however has some displays that showcase the park’s pure and cultural variety. Study concerning the natural world discovered within the park, in addition to the geology and historical past of the world. It was proper right here that we noticed a wild white-tailed deer!

For those who nonetheless have some further time, head to the pre-Columbian ruins of Pucará de Salitre on the jap finish of the nationwide park. Not a lot of the thirteenth century ruins are left, however the space is assumed to have been a ceremonial middle for the indigenous individuals who lived right here. You may hike to the ruins and drink in views of the valley from above.

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Ecuador Itinerary Day 8: Fly to the Galápagos Islands 

The following half of your Ecuador itinerary will take you to the Galapagos Islands! Located within the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from mainland Ecuador, the Galapagos islands are residence to distinctive animal species discovered nowhere else on Earth. Blue-footed boobies, sea lions, and marine lizards roam freely on this archipelago. Learn my detailed Galapagos Islands information right here.

Immediately, over 97 % of the land is nationwide park, and Ecuador limits who might dwell there and what number of vacationers might go to. The Galapagos Islands are a few of the most unspoiled locations on Earth due to safety legal guidelines and conservations efforts.

Flights from Quito/Guayaquil to Galapagos Islands value round US$300 to $400 roundtrip. All flights are with both LATAM or Avianca, that are each dependable South American airways. Foreigners are solely allowed to e-book flights on premium class (and sadly they’re very strict about it). It’s vital to notice that flights to the Galapagos are tightly regulated, and your luggage might be checked for meals objects.

*TIP: I like to recommend flying into Baltra and out of San Cristobal like we did on our latest journey. It’s the identical value as flying return to both island.

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Galapagos Islands Entry Necessities

All vacationers should pay $20 for a Galapagos Transit Card in Quito earlier than checking in. Then upon arrival, you’ll then pay an entry tax of $100, whereas youngsters pay $50. This entry tax could seem a bit excessive, however you will need to needless to say these charges finance the conservation of biodiversity of natural world, and profit the area people.

Journey from Baltra to Santa Cruz

After touchdown in Baltra, you’ll need to take a bus for $5 to the canal, a barge to cross the canal for $1, and eventually one other $5 bus (or $25 taxi) to Puerto Ayora, the largest city within the Galapagos. It’s all very organised and well-signposted; comply with the group and also you’ll know the place to go. Alternatively, e-book a fuss-free airport switch right here.

Wander round Puerto Ayora

Puerto Ayora is a vigorous city particularly within the night; its pier is all the time stuffed with snoozing sealions, swimming sharks and hungry pelicans. As in comparison with 15 years in the past (once we first got here right here), the city now has correct tourism infrastructure with a spread of eating places, inns, tour operators and outlets.

The city is sufficiently small to navigate by foot. You may stroll to most points of interest (some locations are a 30-45 min stroll) or flag down taxis (the white open-back vehicles). We rented bikes from Blue Bike Rental for US$12/day — they’ve youngsters bikes they usually additionally lease by the hour ($3/h).

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The place to Keep in Puerto Ayora

Luxurious: Finch Bay Galapagos Lodge  

Undoubtedly the most effective resort on Santa Cruz, this fashionable resort is slick and unpretentious. It’s acquired a phenomenal swimming pool and beachfront location, with even its personal pier and personal yacht. Glorious place if cash isn’t a problem! Test the charges.

Midrange: Casa Paloverde 

We booked this Airbnb (pictured) for our complete household and it was incredible! Numerous house, nice location and nice facilities. The home has 4 bedrooms, a giant kitchen and comfy lounge. There are even bunkbeds for youths and a play space. Test the charges.

Midrange: El Descanso del Guia 

This new midrange resort provides panoramic views over the coast from its rooftop. It additionally has a pleasant swimming pool, and clear and spacious rooms. Test the charges.

Finances: Hostal Gardner Galapagos 

On our first journey, we stayed at this place situated within the coronary heart of city and minutes from the pier. Rooms are low-cost and spacious, and comparatively effectively maintained. Nice worth! Test the charges.

How one can Journey across the Galapagos Islands

The most well-liked manner is island-hop is on a Galapagos expedition cruise, which brings you to a number of islands inside a short while. However a 1-week Galapagos cruise can set you again round US$2,500 for price range requirements or $8,000 for luxurious cruises. This contains all bills, meals and snorkeling gear.

On each of our journeys to Ecuador, we traveled round Galapagos Islands independently. We based mostly ourselves on Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal islands and did day excursions to different islands from there. There are many lodging on each islands, although their costs are a lot larger than on the mainland. For those who’re touring Galapagos Islands with youngsters, like we did, land-based journey is far simpler and cheaper for households.

Most Galapagos Islands day excursions value round $150-250. They’re often boat excursions with snorkeling and meals included; some additionally embrace brief hikes. You’ll get cheaper offers reserving the day excursions whenever you arrive, however they’ve a set schedule. On our latest journey, we visited throughout Easter (excessive season) and plenty of excursions have been totally booked — we have been fortunate to get a last-minute cancellation for our Bartolome day tour!

Listed below are the day excursions we did and extremely suggest:

Kicker Rock day tour from San Cristobal island (pictured)

North Seymour day journey from Santa Cruz island

Bartolome day journey from Santa Cruz island

Floreana day tour from Santa Cruz island

Ecuador Itinerary Day 9: Discover Santa Cruz Island 

Swim with Marine Iguanas at Tortuga Bay

Make Tortuga Bay your first cease on Santa Cruz — it’s probably the most stunning seashores within the Galapagos and an excellent spot to search out marine iguanas and sea lions. The seaside is a 45-minute stroll from city; pack plenty of water and snacks. There’s hardly any shade on the seaside, so don’t neglect your sunscreen, rashguard and hat. 

The primary seaside is a large open bay with massive waves (and a crimson flag!) that our children cherished. Stroll additional down the coast and also you’ll discover a second seaside with calm waters and many marine iguanas hiding among the many mangroves. The third seaside is a cove with mild waters and much more shade, however much more individuals.

galapagos with kids - swimming with marine iguana 

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Go to the Charles Darwin Analysis Middle

Subsequent, lease a motorcycle (we did!) and catch a taxi to the Charles Darwin Analysis Middle, a breeding centre and rehabilitation facility for animals from native islands. Cease by the Ruta de las Tortugas for a guided tour ($10) — they run excursions in each English and Spanish each hour. The information brings you on a brief stroll and reveals you the tortoise breeding space (which is fenced up). On the finish of the tour, you’ll be led right into a room the place the well-known Lonesome George (the final tortoise of its form who handed away in 2012) stands immortalized. 

After the tour, stroll to the tip of the centre to go to the museum and study extra concerning the wildlife of the Galapagos. There’s additionally a station seaside the place you possibly can swim and see black-tip reef sharks. All in all, the analysis middle is a superb spot to go to in case you are touring the Galapagos with youngsters. 

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Get pleasure from a Night time Out in Puerto Ayora

Within the night, stroll over to Los Kioskos, a road lined with small, native stalls promoting freshly caught seafood. You’ll hear scorching from the charcoal parillas and scent grilled fish lengthy earlier than you stumble throughout this little alley. Meals right here is fairly priced and oh so bueno! It may take some time to get your meals thou, however there’s all the time ice chilly beer to maintain you busy.

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Ecuador Itinerary Day 10: Discover Santa Cruz

Take a Bay Tour 

The easiest way to see the assorted seashores and inlets round Santa Cruz island is on a half-day bay tour which generally lasts round 4 hours and prices solely US$35. The tour begins with a brief boat experience from the primary harbor in Puerto Ayora to the doorway of the bay. Alongside the best way, we noticed blue-footed boobies perched on the rugged cliffs and red-throated fregate birds hovering overhead.

As soon as contained in the bay, you’ll go for a brief hike to see the Tintoreras and Playa de los Perros (widespread with marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs), earlier than snorkeling within the Shark Channel. We noticed so many white-tipped reef sharks right here that even our information was amazed! 

santa cruz bay tour - 2 weeks in ecuador itinerary

Descend into the Lava Tunnels at Reserva El Chato

Within the afternoon, rent a taxi to see wild large tortoises and lava tunnels. Reserva El Chato is the most effective place within the Galapagos to see each — entry price is US$10. The Galapagos large tortoises roam freely, with no fences or partitions round them. Ebook your entrance tickets right here.

And descending into the lava tube tunnels is like taking a journey into the middle of the Earth! The tubes have been shaped when cooler outer elements of lava flows hardened into thick rock partitions, offering insulation to maintain a stream going inside; finally the stream subsided, leaving lengthy empty tunnels simply sufficiently big to stroll down.

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Ecuador Itinerary Day 11: Day Journey to Bartolome 

Bartolome Island is probably the most scenic island when it comes to landscapes, and probably the most widespread locations to go to within the Galapagos Islands. For a similar purpose, day excursions to Bartolome are additionally the most costly and laborious to e-book. We have been fortunate to get a tour (which value US$220 per individual) resulting from last-minute cancellations, however I extremely suggest reserving it on-line when you actually need go there. 

A day tour to Bartolome Island begins with a two-hour cruise (we noticed dolphins and turtles alongside the best way). As soon as there, we did a guided hike to the highest of the island for 360-degree views of the encircling panorama. The volcanic island has a desolate and stark panorama, that contrasts sharply with the turquoise and indigo colours of the ocean. The hike is comparatively brief however steep. 

After the hike, we took a zodiac to see the long-lasting Pinnacle Rock up shut and watched a colony of Galapagos penguins swim and splash. There was solely a 30% probability of seeing penguins, so we felt extraordinarily fortunate to identify 5 of them! Then we snorkeled across the Pinnacle Rock and noticed tons of marine life, together with manta rays, parrot fish and black-tipped reef sharks. I even swam with a cheeky penguin proper subsequent to me!

ecuador itinerary 2 week - bartolome island

penguin colony - bartolome

TIP: On our first journey to the Galapagos, we did a day tour to North Seymour island— and it was simply as wonderful! The information led us on marked mountaineering trails that have been actually flanked by yellow land iguanas and blue-footed boobies (simply standing there, posing for footage!). Tons of of red-throated fregate birds have been perched on bushes — many males with their crimson throats inflated to draw females. Extremely suggest it when you’re searching for another day tour!

Ecuador Itinerary Day 12: Ferry to San Cristóbal 

Subsequent morning, rise early to catch a ferry to San Cristobal, the easternmost island within the Galapagos. The inter-island ferry prices US$35 per individual every manner and the journey takes 2 hours. Most tour operators promote tickets, although they get booked up at excessive season. To make sure availability, you too can e-book these ferry transfers that embrace resort pickups! 

We completely cherished San Cristobal because it has a smaller city and the island feels much more pristine and untouched than Santa Cruz. It’s additionally residence to one of many greatest sealion colonies within the Galapagos. You don’t should go far to see them — tons of if not hundreds of sealions typically splay out on the seaside within the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

ecuador itinerary 2 week - san cristobal

ecuador itinerary 2 week - sealions

Swim with Sea Lions at La Loberia

After dropping your luggage at your resort, stroll half-hour or take a taxi ($4) to La Loberia, the place you possibly can snorkel with tons of sea lions. We had SO a lot enjoyable swimming with the ocean lions and simply watching them waddle up and down the sandy seaside! There have been additionally plenty of inexperienced turtles within the shallow elements. The seaside is free to enter, simply deliver your individual snorkeling gear or lease one beforehand.

2 weeks in ecuador - loberia san cristobal

ecuador itinerary - sealion in galapagos  galapagos with kids - sealion in the water

Street journey to El Junco and Puerto Chino 

After lunch, rent a taxi (for $50-80) to deliver you on a half-day journey across the island. Make your first cease at  Laguna El Junco, the most important freshwater lake within the Galapagos. Situated within the highlands of San Cristobal, the lake itself sits in a caldera (collapsed cone) of an extinct volcano and is about 300 m extensive. Reaching the crater requires a brief uphill stroll; however from the crater there’s a view over the island.

Close by, La Galapaguera is a breeding station and sanctuary for big tortoises. You may observe large tortoises residing in a semi-natural habitat, and in addition study their origin, evolution, and threats by launched animals.

Puerto Chino is a spectacular seaside on the southeastern finish of the island, just some km from the Galapaguera. The gorgeous cove is often empty and its glowing white sand is completely image good — particularly with sea lions lazing by the water’s edge.It’s best to take meals, water, and spend the day there. 

puerto chino - san cristobal galapagos islands

The place to Keep in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

Luxurious: Lodge Indigo

The perfect resort on the island is an extremely trendy, slick resort proper on the Playa del Oro seaside. It’s only a brief stroll from city and has an infinity pool and upscale restaurant. Test the charges.

Midrange: Galapagos Sundown Lodge

We stayed at this newish resort proper by the pier and loved the central location and spacious, glowing clear rooms. Get a room with a balcony for spectacular sundown views. Test the charges.

Midrange: La Zayapa

Situated proper on the dock, La Zayapa is the guts of the city, providing room with views of the pier. We completely cherished staying right here. Good costs for such glorious location. Test the charges.

Finances: Lodge Cactus & Cactus

With a minimalistic design, this inventive hostel options clear traces and quite simple however stunning decor. Rooms are well-priced for what it’s, extremely suggest it! Test the charges.

ecuador itinerary 2 week - where to stay in san cristobal

Ecuador Itinerary Day 13: Take the 360 Day Journey

We’ve saved the most effective for the final! The 360 day journey was a spotlight of our Ecuador itinerary. The boat tour circumnavigates San Cristobal, taking you on a loop across the island, stopping at varied seashores and snorkeling spots, together with the long-lasting Kicker Rock.

Kicker Rock, recognized regionally as León Dormmido (sleeping lion), is probably the most dramatic spot of all, with its vertical tuff cone, rising virtually 486ft (148m) straight up out of the ocean. Erosion break up the rock into two elements, forming a slender channel that’s residence to many sharks and rays. This is a superb location for diving: manta rays, sea turtles, and sharks are sometimes noticed. (I discovered the deep waters probably not appropriate for snorkeling; the water was uneven and we barely noticed something.)

ecuador itinerary 2 week - kicker rock

Cease at Punta Pitt

Earlier than reaching Kicker Rock, you’ll additionally make a cease at Punta Pitt. A steep gully leads up the cliff to a breeding floor for Boobies of all three varieties: red-footed, blue-footed and Nazca. It’s the one place within the Galapagos the place you possibly can see all three species nesting collectively!

On our day tour, the captain occurred to identify a turtle trapped in a driftnet (from unlawful fishing). Referred to as ‘curtains of loss of life’, these nets entangle and kill something in its path. We instantly entangled the poor turtle and launched it — what a particular second that was! Then we hauled the massive web onboard and picked out the small fishes and crabs and launched them again into the water. It was unbelievable to be part of it and to see how tour operators do their half to guard the ocean.

Ecuador Itinerary Day 14: Head House

It’s the final day of this Ecuador itinerary! Ebook a day flight out so you continue to have the morning to swim with sealions. Proper off the pier is Playa del Oro, the place sealions like to frolick and play with you within the water. They get so extremely near you and it’s simply completely wonderful to work together with the playful creatures! Be careful for the dominant male one, who may be aggressive.

Additional down the highway is Playa Mann, a much bigger and cleaner seaside with much more sealions. They arrive out to play in massive teams (particularly within the night) they usually aren’t in the least afraid to get shut! We had child sealions swimming proper as much as us and even their mums have been splashing round us.

ecuador itinerary 2 week - baby sealion

playa de oro - ecuador itinerary

Hike as much as Cerro Tijeretas

A brief stroll up the hill throughout the highway is the San Cristobal Centro de Interpretacion, a easy museum with data on the historical past of the Galapagos Islands. In case you have time, there’s a boardwalk that connects the museum to the Cerro Tijeretas lookout level that provides a panoramic view of Shipwreck Bay and Kicker Rock. 

It’s positively a spectacular spot and effectively definitely worth the two-mile hike there from the customer middle. You’ll be mountaineering by means of a dry forest space stuffed with cacti, acacia bushes and lava lizards. The path additionally results in a peaceful, protected inlet alongside the shore which is a superb spot for snorkeling.

This airport is lower than 5 minutes drive from the middle of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. It prices solely $2-$4 per taxi (not per individual). It’s a small airport and it doesn’t take lengthy to move by means of safety. 

Ecuador Journey Information

Visa for Ecuador

Vacationers from most nations (US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and EU residents) don’t want a visa to enter Ecuador. For individuals who do want a visa, you might be eligible to remain for 90 days on a vacationer visa, which may be simply prolonged for six months. 

To enter Ecuador, guests should have a passport that’s legitimate for a minimum of six months past the date of entry. It is usually beneficial to hold proof of onward journey and ample funds to cowl your keep within the nation.

Finest Time to Go to Ecuador

Ecuador is a year-round vacation spot, with comparatively constant temperatures all year long resulting from its location on the equator. Nevertheless, there are two distinct seasons: dry season and moist season. 

The perfect time to go to Ecuador is through the dry season, which runs from June to September. Throughout this time, the climate is delicate, and there’s much less rainfall. The moist season, which runs from October to Might, may be tougher for journey because of the heavy rainfall and potential flooding in some areas.

Nevertheless, the greatest time to go to the Galapagos Islands is from January to Might for the most effective circumstances to go snorkeling or scuba diving and cruising across the islands. You’ll should determine which one is extra of your precedence. We’ve traveled Ecuador in April and June and it was sizzling and sunny within the Galapagos and cloudy and mildly chilly on the mainland for each journeys.

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Is It Protected to Go to Ecuador?

Ecuador is usually a protected nation to go to, however like every vacation spot, it’s vital to take sure precautions. Petty theft and pickpocketing can happen, significantly in crowded vacationer areas, so it’s greatest to maintain your valuables safe and concentrate on your environment. 

It’s additionally beneficial to keep away from unlicensed taxis, significantly at evening, and to be cautious when utilizing public transportation. Some areas of Ecuador, significantly close to the border with Colombia, are recognized for drug-related violence, so it’s greatest to keep away from these areas.

otavalo mountains - 2 week ecuador itinerary

Price of Journey in Ecuador

Ecuador has been utilizing the US {Dollars} since 2000. After the collapse of the Ecuadorian forex ultimately of Nineties, the federal government determined to undertake the US greenback so as to boosts its financial system.

Journey in Ecuador isn’t fairly as low-cost as touring in different elements of South America— the Galapagos Islands particularly are very costly (50% larger than on the mainland). The islands are so distant and remoted that just about the whole lot must be imported.  In addition to the entry tariff of US$100, you’ll have to needless to say lodging, meals and day excursions are much more costly than on mainland Ecuador.

Beneath are the tough costs on mainland Ecuador:


  • Finances guesthouses and hostels: $10-25 per evening
  • Mid-range inns: $30-80 per evening
  • Luxurious inns: $100-300+ per evening

Food and drinks:

  • Finances meals from road distributors and native eating places: $2-5 per meal
  • Mid-range eating places: $10-20 per meal
  • Upscale eating places: $30+ per meal
  • Home beer: $2-3
  • Imported beer or cocktails: $5-10


  • Metropolis bus fares: $0.25-0.50
  • Taxis: $1-2 for brief rides within the metropolis
  • Home flights: $50-150 relying on the vacation spot and time of 12 months
  • Intercity buses: $5-15 relying on the space


  • Entrance charges for museums and nationwide parks: $1-10
  • Guided excursions: $30-100+ relying on the exercise and length

ecuador itinerary - sleeping sealion

What to Pack for Ecuador

You’ll want to pack for all seasons no matter whenever you’re visiting. Due to the excessive altitude in Quito and Cotopaxi, you’ll need to pack a jacket, trekking pants and correct mountaineering footwear. The Galapagos Islands would require plenty of waterproof gear and tropical-weather garments.

1. Delicate Shell Jacket: Pack a skinny waterproof, delicate shell jacket whatever the climate you’re touring. It’s significantly helpful for Quito and Cotopaxi. I packed an extremely gentle down jacket that’s compact and may be squashed right into a ball.

2. Fast-dry pants: Carry a minimum of two pairs of cozy trousers for the hikes. Fast-dry and light-weight mountaineering trousers are the most effective choices as they’re comfy, breathable and simple to clean and dry. I like to recommend bringing convertible pants that mean you can zip off the underside half and convert them to shorts.

3. Moisture-wicking t-shirts: Pack a number of light-weight, moisture-wicking t-shirts which are nice for mountaineering within the sizzling climate. You don’t wish to be carrying cotton, black t-shirts beneath that scorching solar.

4. Mountain climbing footwear: Be sure you deliver some comfy and light-weight mountaineering footwear. Some say excessive ankle boots are higher as they defend you from mosquito bites and preserve your ankles protected through the hikes. Others say low ankle footwear are higher because it will get too sizzling in any other case. I say something works so long as your footwear are comfy and durable sufficient to guard you.

5. Sports activities sandals: KEEN footwear are the most effective choices for touring the Galapagos as you possibly can put on them on hikes and within the water. My Teva sandals have been incredible too. I don’t suggest bringing flip-flops as these are solely helpful for the seaside and showers.

6. Rashguard/swim shirt: Pack SPF 50+ rashguards to guard their pores and skin. Sporting regular swimsuits and making use of sunscreen aren’t sufficient to stop sunburn – all of us acquired terribly burned regardless of layers of sunscreen.

7. Sunscreen: One other important factor to deliver on this Ecuador journey as you’ll be on the seaside, island-hopping, mountaineering and doing plenty of out of doors exercise beneath the tropical solar. I like to recommend getting a minimum of SPF 30.

8. Dry bag: You’ll want a small dry bag to guard your valuables whenever you’re island-hopping or kayaking and mountaineering round waterfalls. A 10L bag might be sufficient for you and your companion (except you’re carrying an SLR).

9. First-aid package: It’s all the time a good suggestion to pack a small first-aid package with bandages, antiseptic, and any medicines your loved ones might have. I extremely suggest bringing Dramamine for movement illness because the water circumstances within the Galapagos can get tough.

10. GoPro: An underwater digicam is absolutely helpful within the Galapagos islands, I took hundreds of movies of sealions swimming proper round us in San Cristobal. A lot of them are actually curious concerning the digicam and got here nearer for a peek!

ecuador itinerary - family in galapagos ecuador itinerary - family in galapagos

Additional Studying on Ecuador 

Thanks for studying all the best way to the tip! I hope by sharing my 2-week Ecuador Itinerary, you’ll be capable of plan your individual journey across the nation. Be at liberty to print this Ecuador itinerary out and convey it with you. We hope you take pleasure in your travels to this unbelievable nation as a lot as we have now! Please go away a remark under in case you have any questions.

Take a look at different articles I’ve written on Ecuador and different elements of South America:

Disclaimer: This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks i.e. when you e-book a keep by means of considered one of my hyperlinks, I get a small fee at NO EXTRA COST to you. Thanks to your assist!

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