2 flights (longest 2hrs); 3 motor-launch rides.
This holiday incorporates small mid-range hotels with character and some history and special features, and countryside haciendas and lodges.
Breakfast daily, lunch day 9; full board days 2-4; 6-8. Some lunches are packed lunches.
We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.
• Mindo: Biking to Mindo cloud forest.
• Mindo: Visit to cock-of-the-rock lek.
• Otavalo: Hiking round volcanic crater-lake Cuicocha.
• Otavalo: Guided excursion to market.
• Mountain biking in Cotapaxi National Park.
• Riding at Rumiñahui volcano.
• Mountain biking around Pasachoa.
• Galápagos Islands: Hiking, biking, “SUP” and kayaking activities.
• Galápagos Islands: Swimming and snorkelling.
• Galápagos Islands: Tortoise breeding centre.
Summary of nights
11 days, 10 nights: Quito area 1; Mindo 1; Otavalo 1; Cotapaxi 1; Quito 1; Galápagos: Floreana Island 2, Isabela Island 2, Guayaquil 1.
Included in the journey price
• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Ingala fee.
• Excursions as specified.
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.
• Galápagos National Park entry fee.
The unit of currency in Ecuador and in the Galápagos is the US dollar.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$20 per day pp should cover the cost of the few meals which are not included,any bottled drinks and the odd souvenir.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in Quito. Taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in some shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend as the dollar is the local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.
Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier
Travel insurance is essential.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
This holiday is suitable for all able, fit visitors who are used to an active lifestyle at home. Some of the days involve quite a few hours of fairly strenuous activity.
A support vehicle will accompany bike riders.
The sea can be choppy around the Galápagos islands during your speedboat trips.
The rainy season in the Andes runs between January and April when there are showers most afternoons. The dry season is June, July and August when the sun is strong during the day, but at night the temperature drops dramatically (maybe as low as freezing point). May, September and October are less predictable, with both rainy and sunny spells. Given the proximity to the equator, altitude is the determining factor with regard to temperature.
In the mountains at any time of year you should expect a variation between 15°C and 25°C.
In the Galápagos, from January to April it’s hot and the sun is relentless, with some sudden showers. May to July, and October to December is cloudier; August and September it’s often cloudy and cool, and a stiff breeze makes the waters choppier for your speedboat transfers. High and Low seasons reflect demand rather than the best time to go.
Several days are spent at high altitude (over 2.500m). You may notice the effect of high altitude; symptoms vary: most common are mild headaches and breathlessness. If you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of being adversely affected.
Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.
Clothing and special equipment
For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. A light fleece jacket and a waterproof/breathable outer shell makes a good combination for the highland regions. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well on the Galápagos Islands.
Biking to Mindo:
The bikes used are 27-speed Scott bikes with comfortable saddles. Helmets are provided.
You should bring a pair of cycling gloves and a (small) backpack in which to carry essentials, camera etc. Lightweight clothing is recommended. Cycling shorts (you’ll use them in the Galápagos as well) are best, T-shirt, trainers, sunglasses and a light breathable waterproof since it is common for the weather to be drizzly.
Cotopaxi has its own micro-climate and the weather in the area is unpredictable, so warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, sun screen and sunglasses are recommended.
Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block, hat and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for ocean swimming (Galápagos). You can hire snorkelling equipment but may prefer to bring your own. Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for swimming among the rocks. For June to November departures, wetsuits are recommended (can be hired locally, but not on Floreana), as the waters can be chilly for snorkelling.
Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and cards.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America and Galápagos.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.
For admission to the Galápagos a yellow fever certificate is required for anyone over 1 year old coming from an area with risk of yellow fever transmission.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online
This costs $14 per person, and must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.