Quito & Otavalo Island Hopping
Length: 8 days. Group educational tour to Quito and Galapagos Islands for 12 or more students or adults. Self-designed custom tours typically led by teachers of high school juniors and seniors.
Highlights: Quito City Tour, Panecillo hillside, Quito Colonial City Tour, Ethnographic Museum, Otavalo, Calderon, San Pablo Lake, Plaza of Ponchos, Cotacachi, Highlights of Santa Cruz, Twin Craters. Options: North Seymour Islands, Bartolome Island, Plazas.
Itinerary: Quito (3), Galapagos Islands (3), Quito (1)
Day 1 – Quito
Upon arrival to Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport, you will be greeted by our helpful guide. The guide will serve as a translator, help with luggage, and assist with the transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 – Quito
Explore the bustling streets and squares of the largest historical centre in the Americas, visiting some of its most important churches such as the impressive Cathedral, majestic Compañía and iconic San Francisco, guardians of a stunning multi-ethnic artistic and cultural heritage. We begin the tour the quirky Guapulo quarter; take in the Congress building, before heading to the Old Town. We finish the day at the “Panecillo” hillside with its breathtaking views of the old and modern city surrounded by the rolling Andes Mountains. As an addition to the Quito Colonial City Tour, travel to “La Mitad del Mundo” complex. Its monument it located at latitude 0° 0’ 0”, and provides for once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to straddle both hemispheres, or hop between the two in the blink of an eye. The monument forms the focal point of a park and leisure area with gift shops and restaurants. Visit the Ethnographic Museum.
Day 3 – Quito
Travel to Otavalo, the town famous for its weekly artesian market. On route on the Panamerican Highway, stop at Calderon, a town where the famous masapan dolls are made, continuing on through Guayllabamba town where you can sample its typical fruit, cherimoyer. Continue on, making a short stop at San Pablo Lake before arriving in Otavalo. Visit the textile market located at the “Plaza of Ponchos;” this is one of the most famous markets in South America. You will find all kinds of handcrafts including tapestries made on the Spanish weaving loom as well as the indigenous backstrap loom. After which you will enjoy some free time for bargaining and buying with the friendly Otavaleños. Enjoy lunch before going to the small artisan village of Cotacachi and then we will return to Quito.
Day 4 – Cruise
At agreed time transfer to the airport for your flight to the Enchanted Islands. Upon arrival visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz, lunch will served. Continue to Puerto Ayora, check in at the hotel and in the afternoon you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Day 5 – Galapagos Islands
After breakfast, the guide will meet passengers at their hotel to take them to the dock and start the tour, lunch on board. In the afternoon return to the port. Choose one of these *options:
*North Seymour Island is a spectacular place to hike, swim, and enjoy snorkeling. The main attractions are: the frigates, boobies, gulls, hawks, green sea turtles and the famous Galapagos Sharks.
*Bartolome Island is the most attractive landscape of the archipelago. This island is undoubtedly the most photographed in all the Galapagos Islands. You can appreciate a spectacular view of two beautiful bays and observe the fascinating formations of lava and volcanic cones.
*Two islands form Plazas. The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava coast. It is a wonderful spot to observe marine life, including manta rays. Coasts are perfect for snorkeling activity.
Day 6 – Galapagos Islands
After breakfast, the guide will meet passengers at their hotel to take them to the dock and start the tour, lunch on board. In the afternoon return to the port. According to boat availability you can choose one of the previously stated options.
Day 7 – Galapagos Islands-Quito
Early in the morning the guide will pick you up to transfer you to the airport. On the way, you will stop to visit the twin craters, the route to the airport takes approximately 1 hour. Upon arrival in Quito you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 8 – Return
Transfer out back home at agreed time. Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.