Private Journeys

Family Ecuador and Galapagos

13 days from £6,530pp

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands / The Amazon

Family in South Plaza Island

Essentials

Transport

4 flights (longest 2hrs); 2 motorised river canoe rides (90 mins each); 2 road journeys, less than 2hrs each..

Accommodation

This holiday incorporates a small mid-range hotels with character in Quito,  a countryside lodge, a mid-range Amazon expedition vessel and a smart family-friendly hotel with many facilities in the Galápagos Islands. .

Meals

Breakfast daily, full board days 3-12.

Journey Grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit families. Parents with children under the age of 10 may find some days challenging, especially on the river cruise.

Summary Of Nights

13 days, 12 nights: Quito 2; Amazon cruise 4; Otavalo 2; Quito 1; Galápagos: Santa Cruz Island 4.

Climate

Lying at 2,850m on the Equator, the highlands have a permanent spring-like climate. 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.

The jungle in the Oriente (Amazonia) is hot, humid and wet all year, with temperatures averaging about 30°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.

Altitude

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 Gore-Tex outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well on the Galápagos Islands. 

For your visit to Amazonia, in addition to lightweight clothing, long-sleeved shirts and lightweight trousers will protect you from insects. Bring shorts and T shirts. You may prefer an umbrella to a rain-jacket as the humidity is high.

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). Snorkelling equipment is available but you may prefer to bring your own. Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for swimming among the rocks. Bring a light waterproof jacket in case of rain. For June to November departures, wetsuits are recommended, 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.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 30 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.

Currency

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar; in the Galápagos it is the US dollar.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in Quito. There are also ATMs in Puerto Ayora but they may not be reliable.  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). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate to dollars is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but note that almost all meals are included on this holiday. You may wish to purchase activities locally from the hacienda and thin the Galápagos (activities involving equipment especially may incur a charge). Otherwise, it’s just drinks and souvenirs. 

Tipping

Tips are welcomed and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. On the river cruise it is common practice to put your preferred amount into an envelope to be divided among the crew. For other activities and excursions it is normal to tip the guide and driver. The amount will depend on how many there are in your group plus of course your assessment of the service you have received. 

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.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. 

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Vaccinations

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. 

Visas

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.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Ecuador and Galapagos?

The country is an all-year-round destination. The highlands, at about 2,800m but astride the Equator, have a permanent spring-like climate. Most days have a sunny morning but there may be rain in the afternoon. The coast is very hot (30°C) and humid from Jan-Apr. It’s a bit cooler and drier from May-Dec. The jungle is hot and humid all year.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Ecuador and Galapagos?

Spanish

What's the official currency in Ecuador and Galapagos?

Ecuador uses the US dollar. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card.

What's the time difference between Ecuador and Galapagos and UK?

GMT -5 hours

What places combine well with Ecuador and Galapgos?

The Galápagos Islands, (1.5 - 3 hours by air from Guayaquil of Quito); a tour in Colombia to the north, with daily flights from Bogotá to Quito taking just 1.5 hours; the Inca archaeological sites of Peru (daily flights Lima to Quito take 2 hours 20mins).

Key Events

Carnival: Many places throughout the country, Feb-Mar variable. Be warned that the boisterous festivities include water fights from which no visitor is immune. 
Semana Santa (Easter): Many places throughout the country, Mar-Apr variable. Religious processions.
Todos los Santos (all souls day, day of the dead): Many places throughout the country, 2 Nov. Flower laying ceremonies in cemeteries, particularly striking in rural areas. 

A Note About Altitude

Ecuador’s high Andean spine is bookended by the Pacific coast and Amazon Rainforest, with Quito at 2,850m. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. You may initially notice a headache, dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP before booking.  We also recommend you check your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude.  If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude-related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Rest assured we will plan your itinerary carefully, taking into account any time spent at altitude.  If you have any questions or concerns about altitude please speak to your travel expert.

Further advice on travel to altitude is available on www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land, river and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Walking tour of Old Quito
  • All excursions from the Manatee river boat
  • Activities from Hacienda Zuleta in the Andean highlands
  • Activities fromyour hotel Finch Bayin the Galápagos Islands
  • Swimming and snorkelling around the Galápagos Islands

What's not included in the price

  • International flights to Latin America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions
  • Galápagos National Park entry fee

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land, river and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Walking tour of Old Quito
  • All excursions from the Manatee river boat
  • Activities from Hacienda Zuleta in the Andean highlands
  • Activities fromyour hotel Finch Bayin the Galápagos Islands
  • Swimming and snorkelling around the Galápagos Islands

What's not included in the price

  • International flights to Latin America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions
  • Galápagos National Park entry fee

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

Papagaio

Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration

Real Latin America Experts

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

Meet the team