4 days spent travelling by train is the focus of the tour. The rail journeys are interspersed with road journeys and there are 2 additional private bus journeys to and from and Mindo.
Mid-range hotels and traditional haciendas.
These hotels are subject to change and are dependent on availability. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.
Examples of hotels include:
• Quito: Patio Andaluz
• Mindo: El Monte Ecolodge
• Quito: Swisshotel
• Riobamba: Hacienda Abraspungo
• Bucay: Hosteria d'Franco
• Guayaquil: Hotel Oro Verde
Breakfast daily; Lunch days 2, 5 and 9; Full Board days 3, 4, 6-8.
• Quito: guided city tour and equator monument
• Mindo: excursions as described
• 4 days on board the Trans Andean Railway
Summary of nights
10 days, 9 nights: Quito 2; Mindo 2; Quito 2; Riobamba 1; Bucay 1; Guayaquil 1.
Included in the journey price
• Local tour leader throughout
• All land transport
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees
• International departure tax
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions
There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with a same-sex member of the group who is usually also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to be sure of having their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.
The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses, but as most meals are included you should only need an extra $20-30 a day for drinks and souvenirs.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most 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 additionally 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 normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $US5-10 (or local equivalent) per person for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
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.
There are some early mornings and some fairly long days of travel. All walks are optional and you should discuss with your guide which are suitable for you.
Lying at 2,850m on the Equator, the highlands have a permanent spring-like climate. The rainy season in the Andes runs between November 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.
Several days are spent at high altitude (over 2,500m). A small minority of visitors may suffer temporarily from altitude sickness. Symptoms vary; most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. If you don’t recover in a day or two speak to our representatives; in very rare instances it is necessary to descend to lower altitudes. Most people are unaffected and 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 suffering any symptoms.
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. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential at altitude; a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex outer shell makes a good combination.
Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block, hat and sun glasses.
Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and memory 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 such as malaria prophylactics. 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.
Cases of Zika virus have been reported in parts of Latin America. If you’re pregnant, or planning to be, you should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre
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. Clients with a different nationality should enquire or check with the Ecuadorian Consulate.
Esta - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html
This costs $14 per person. This 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.