Al Musafer in Ecuador

Calling on passionate travelers, those who have the spirit of Ibn Battuta and Nansen, Magellan and Xuanzang! Who are willing to cross the miles and continents only to be met with an adventure of a lifetime, a 3-week Al Musafer magical journey where they will explore four distinct amazing worlds in only one country, yes, one country; Ecuador!

Travelers who will start breathing the chilly clean breeze of the Andes, completely worth it when they get dazzled by its colonial architecture and world heritage sites, traditional markets, and exquisite foods. When they wander around the foothills of its jaw-dropping mighty volcanoes and visit its charming volcanic crater lakes-all are a couple of hours away from a serene cloud forest full of fascinating waterfalls! Say Inca and Pre-Incan ruins, and pet their Llamas!

To the Ecuadorian Amazon, an unparalleled experience in a rainforest where you can indulge and reveal its mysterious and exceptional biodiversity, a jungle with one of the best accessibility in the region; learn from the indigenous communities who live there, whether the Kichwas, the Achuars, or others (they might share a couple of their secrets about the jungle). Eat their food, support them in your own generous way, inhale their wisdom through the humid air of the forest and its noisy sounds… Be it Howler Monkeys, Caimans, or Otters-feel the eyes that will be watching you!

And to the western low portion of the Equator you go, to the Pacific Coast (AKA La Costa), where the cities and towns from which one of the world’s best quality Cacao was exported. Travelers will enjoy its golden beaches and vibrant nights, the fresh seafood, and a great diversity of marine life. Surf as a master or watch the majestic whales in an experience that will take your breath away if you’re there at that time of the year.

And just when our eager travelers think that they had their overdose of beauty, Al Musafer journey takes them to the Galápagos Islands! The Enchanted Islands; where Charles Darwin got even more inspired and changed how many of us perceived ‘creation’ with his Theory of Natural Selection. Hop from one gorgeous island to another, marvel at the serenity of its pristine beaches, swim with endemic Sea Lions that will probably laugh at your skills, watch in awe the Galápagos Great Fright birds flying in elegance and the astonishing cuteness of the Blue-Footed Boobies, dive with Hammerhead Sharks if you’re up to it, or just learn about and say hi to a Galápagos Giant Tortoise that could possibly be triple your age!

The mere idea of being able to take a photo close to a ‘Marine Iguana with pure genes that trace back to millions of years on an uninhabited island’ should trigger our travelers’ enthusiasm to an unprecedented high!

Can you think of a more complete Adventure!!

Guayaquil, EC
Quito, EC
Puerto Ayora, EC

Tour Plan

Day 01
Arrival in Quito, Day at leisure in Quito

Welcome to Quito, the capital of Ecuador! Arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), where your driver will meet you to transfer to your accommodation in the city center, a one-hour trip. The entire city of Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, standing at an altitude of 9,350 ft (2,850 m). It welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas situated between mountain peaks. The city has an abundance of market stands, shamanistic healers, and fourth generation hatmakers, as well as a vibrant and sophisticated culinary and nightlife scene. Overnight: Quito

Day at leisure in Quito

Today, you have the opportunity to explore Quito on your own. Take a stroll through the historical center, visit one of the parks or one of the numerous museums. Overnight: Quito Suggested Hotel: Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar)

Day 02
City Tour Quito - Cooking Class - Mitad del Mundo
After breakfast, your English-speaking guide will pick you up for a walking city tour. The colonial center of Quito was already named world cultural heritage by the UNESCO in 1978. Visit the Plaza Grande and the beautiful churches La Compañía and La Basílica, and walk down the oldest street of Quito, La Ronda. Then you will participate in a cooking class, where you will learn from the hand of their local chef how to prepare traditional Ecuadorian dishes, with fresh products picked from the local market. Afterward, you will visit the equatorial monument Mitad del Mundo, where French scientists determined the position of the equatorial line many years ago. In the evening, you return to your hotel in Quito. Overnight: Quito Suggested Hotel: Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar)
Day 03
Otavalo Market - Peguche Waterfall - Quito

This morning you will wake up early, as you'll be heading to visit the famous market of Otavalo. Otavalo features one of the most important traditional markets of South America. Here, the indigenous people of the surrounding areas gather to trade anything from animals over handicraft to fresh vegetables and fruits. Take a stroll through the streets and maybe try some local street food such as salted mango or fritada con mote, fried pork with cooked corn. Afterward, you will head to the small waterfall Peguche, formed by the river of the same name. This waterfall is considered an indigenous ceremonial site. After visiting the waterfall, you could also stop by the local artisans who live and work in this area. For your overnight stay, you return to Quito. Overnight: Quito Suggested Hotel: Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar)

Day 04
Mindo Cloud Forest - Overnight in Mindo

Private Transportation in Ecuador's mainland, You will have your own driver-guide where you will make desired stops and learn about anything you may find during the road trip. Your guide will be making stops at different interesting points to explain something interesting, to stretch your legs, to grab a bite in a recommended place, a curious snack, or if a spot for the perfect picture appears in the way! Mindo Cloud Forest - Overnight in Mindo Today you'll explore the lush green cloud forest of Mindo. Its location at the western slopes of the Andean highlands gives this region mild temperatures and lots of rainfall. Thanks to the favorable conditions, the Mindo forest has an incredibly high biodiversity. You'll get the chance to see some countless birds, butterflies, and insect species that call the region home. Visit the butterfly garden, hike to beautiful waterfalls, or fly between the treetops on a zipline. After, learning to make chocolate and taste your creations. Overnight stay in Mindo Overnight: Mindo Suggested Hotel: Sachatamia Lodge (or similar)

Day 05
Cloudforest of Mindo & Return to Quito, Overnight Shuttle from Quito to Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

Enjoy another day in Mindo, filling the day with nature activities. Hike to beautiful waterfalls, get an adrenaline rush during ziplining, or try a chocolate tour—it's up to you. In the afternoon, you'll head back to Quito. Overnight Shuttle from Quito to Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve (9 hours) Tonight you will catch your shuttle bus from Quito to the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. This is a shuttle bus that carries international groups that head to the lodges in the Amazon Rainforest Area. The meeting point is at Blue House Youth Hostel in Quito, where you will have your own room to rest and refresh before your long journey. The boarding of the bus will be at 10:30 pm. This is a long journey to the deep Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, but once you reach El Puente where the bus drops you off in the morning you will feel it was completely worth it! Overnight: Shuttle Bus

Dia 06
Arrival to the rainforest

In the morning you will arrive at "El Puente", the main entrance to the Cuyabeno Reserve and the last point of real civilization. Here you will have a box lunch and then drive on the Cuyabeno River in a motorized canoe for 3 hours until you reach the lodge. With a bit of luck, you can already observe species of one of ten different species of monkeys and tropical birds, as this part of the river is narrow enough to observe wildlife closely. After your arrival at the Lodge, you will have more time to rest and then take an introductory tour around the area. After dinner, your bilingual tour guide will supply you with information about the activities of the coming days. Overnight: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve Suggested Hotel: Nicky Lodge (or similar)

Day 07
Adventure in the Amazon

After an early breakfast, you will start your exploration, taking advantage of the early hours of the day, which is the best time to observe the flourishing activities of the tropical forest. Below is a somewhat standard day, but you can choose to take many excursions via canoe rather than on foot. Your tour guide will share his knowledge with you during a walk in the rainforest. You will learn and understand how life in the jungle can coexist in a fragile balance. Your guide will explain the use of medicinal plants. Knowledge, that has been passed on from generation to generation and is still applied by the local population. Keep watch for amphibians, butterflies, centipedes and millipedes, snakes, birds, monkeys and other mammals along the trail. Later you will return to the lodge for your lunch. In the afternoon, you will have an excursion that will take you along the Cuyabeno River to discover the animals that live in the dense forest on the banks of the river, especially monkeys and also the Ara macaws, toucans, and sloths. There will be a good opportunity to see river dolphins (Iniageoffrensis and Sotaliafluviatilis) in the magnificent fluvial landscape. Before having your dinner, you’ll head into the dark forest to find its nightlife such as insects, spiders, snakes or colorful frogs, accompanied by the nocturnal sounds of the jungle. Overnight: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve Suggested Hotel: Nicky Lodge (or similar)

Day 08
Indigenous Community, Laguna Grande, & Igapó

Enjoy an early morning walk through the forest to see wildlife, especially monkeys and birds. Return to the lodge for breakfast, then continue by motorized canoe along the "Turtle Path" to visit the Seoqueya community, where several families of the indigenous Siona group live. One of the family members will demonstrate traditional cooking techniques, including preparing the typical yucca bread, called casave. Try your hand at making bread under instruction from the family as your guide explains local traditions and cultures. In the afternoon, continue by motorized canoe along the Cuyabeno River to Laguna Grande. Here, you'll get to explore a unique rainforest ecosystem: flooded forest (Igapo), which is characterized by massive trees and lush greenery. After exploring the lagoon, cool off with a swim in the calm waters while taking in the sunset. Continue your adventure downriver to see more nocturnal wildlife, especially caimans, before returning to the lodge. Overnight: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve Suggested Hotel: Nicky Lodge (or similar)

Day 09
Return to civilization, Transfer to Quito

This morning activity will be a short canoe trip to enjoy the sunrise in the jungle, where you will have a good opportunity to observe some different types of wild animals and enjoy another moment of peace in this wonderful natural paradise. After breakfast, you will have time to prepare your luggage for your return trip. You will navigate upriver to return to El Puente de Cuyabeno. After your box lunch, your bus will take you back to Lago Agrio, and from there you return to Quito. Overnight: Quito Suggested Hotel: Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar)

Day 10
Quito to Cotopaxi, Quito - Cotopaxi National Park

After breakfast, you will leave Quito and head South to Cotopaxi National Park. You will visit Lake Limpiopungo, located in the highlands of the park. Here, you will have a spectacular view of Cotopaxi Volcano's gigantic cone. Lake Limpiopungo offers a variety of birds, and occasionally even wild horses. A short walk around the lake will allow you to admire the Andean plant and animal life along the way. If time permits and the altitude doesn't affect you, hike to the refuge Jose Ribas at 4800 m and enjoy the spectacular view. In the afternoon, you will arrive at a traditional Hacienda near the National Park, where you will spend the night. Overnight: Cotopaxi Suggested Hotel: Hacienda El Porvenir (or similar)

Day 11
Cotopaxi to Baños, Quilotoa Lagoon – Baños

Today we will visit the picturesque volcano lagoon Quilotoa. You have the option to walk along the crater’s rim to enjoy the splendid view, or hike down a path to the crater lake. The return can become a bit longer, so you have the option to rent a mule for the uphill hike. We will then continue our journey towards Baños. Overnight: Baños Suggested Hotel: Sangay Spa Hotel (or similar)

Day 12
Baños – Chimborazo – Guamote

After exploring Baños several marvelous attractions, make your way to the impressive volcano Chimborazo. You should already be able to spot it several times along the way. If the altitude does not affect you, you could take a walk to the refuge Carrell at 4.800 m and enjoy the splendid view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. If your strength permits, you could hike even higher, up to 5.000 m above sea level! Afterward, continue your journey towards Guamote, a small Andean town where you will spend the night. Overnight: Guamote Suggested Hotel: Inti Sisa Art Guesthouse (or similar).

Day 13
Guamote - Palmira - Gualaceo – Cuenca

This morning you will continue your journey south to Cuenca, passing through the dunes of Palmira. If time and weather conditions allow, you will pass through Baños del Inca, which contains some special ruins and a fantastic hot spring. Continue your journey south to explore the Garden of Ecuador, the small town of Gualaceo to be able to appraise some beautiful orchids. From here you will continue to Cuenca where you will be able to spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight: Cuenca Suggested Hotel: Hotel Victoria (or similar)

Day 14
Cuenca – Cajas National Park – Guayaquil

After breakfast, you will leave Cuenca and head westwards to the Cajas National Park. This National Park comprises more than 200 interconnected high-altitude lagoons. The Cajas is not only source of many rivers, but even connects to the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. After a hike around the most prominent lagoon, you will be taken to Guayaquil. Overnight: Guayaquil Suggested Hotel: Oro Verde (or similar)

Day 15
Guayaquil City Tour - Transfer to Montañita

Today you are going on a city tour, starting with a visit to the Seminario Park, a very popular meeting point for young Ecuadorian lovers. Furthermore, this little park is well-known for its land iguanas, which laze about in the trees while they catch the sun. We will visit the Cathedral, built in classical gothic style, and then we move on to Guayaquil’s famous wide, tree-lined waterfront, “el Malecon”, that runs alongside the river Guayas. The next stop will be the historic local government buildings, the “Palacio Municipal” and then the “Palacio de Gobernacion” (the Government Palace). Right in front of this palace is the Moorish clock tower “La Torre Morisca”, which was built in 1843, and with a little effort climbing its steep stairs, we can enjoy the views across the city. La Rotonda, another historic monument, is a statue that marks the meeting between Simon Bolivar and Jose San Martín in 1822. The old district of Las Peñas, a vestige of old Guayaquil to the north end of the Malecon, is a picturesque neighborhood built on the  Santa Ana Hill on the edge of the river. Climbing the stairway amid the brightly painted wooden houses, you will gain a different perspective of Ecuador’s largest city. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Montañita. You will head north along the coast for approx. 2 hours until you reach the small village on the Pacific Coast. Check into your hotel and relax the rest of the day. Enjoy a delicious meal or some cocktails, take surf classes, or go out partying. Overnight: Montañita Suggested Hotel: Dharma Beach (or similar)

Day 16
Montañita - Guayaquil - Afternoon at leisure

After breakfast and a last stroll through Montañita, you will be brought back to Guayaquil, where you will be able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight: Guayaquil Suggested Hotel: Oro Verde (or similar)

Day 17
Guayaquil to Santa Cruz - Highlands - Charles Darwin Research Station

Early this morning, you will be picked up at your hotel to be taken to José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport, so you can catch your flight to the Galápagos Islands. The recommended arrival time to the airport is about 3 hours before your flight as if it were an international flight due to extra controls than on a domestic flight, such as double baggage inspection, and the purchase of the Galápagos Migration Card (TCT). The flight from Guayaquil to the Islands takes about 2 hours. Please note that in Galápagos, the time difference between Ecuador's mainland is one hour less. After arriving at Baltra Airport, your guide will already be waiting for you and take you to Santa Cruz Island. Enjoy lunch at a local farm in the highlands, followed by the observation of giant turtles in the wild. Then continue to the port in Puerto Ayora to check into the hotel. In the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Station, where scientists from all over the world meet and work together in environmental projects such as water analysis, animal protection, effects of tourism on nature, etc. Here you can visit the turtle rearing station, where the animals are raised before being released into nature. Land iguanas can be observed here too. Overnight: Puerto Ayora Suggested Hotel: Ikala Galápagos (or similar)

Day 18
Day trip to Floreana Island

Floreana Island was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago, having previously been called Charles Island (after King Charles II of England). It is also called Santa Maria, after one of the caravels of Columbus. Floreana was the first populated island of the Galápagos, and it still holds unsolved mysteries, romantic sites, and a vivid history. You will leave Puerto Ayora in the morning and reach Floreana Island after approx. 2 hours, where you will visit the highlands of the island. The “Asilo de la Paz” is a pretty lookout, as well as the only source of fresh water for the island. On the way back to the village, marvel at the endemic land tortoises. Continue by boat to La Loberia, which is the perfect place to view the baby sea lions. They may curiously join you as you snorkel in the bay – it’s truly an unforgettable and unique experience. In the afternoon, you return to Puerto Ayora where you will spend the night. Overnight: Santa Cruz Island Suggested Hotel: Ikala Galápagos (or similar)

Day 19
Speedboat to Isabela Island & Wildlife on Las Tintoreras Islet

Start your morning with a public speed boat trip to Isabela Island, a 2-hour trip. After arriving, make your way to the Flamingo Lagoon or the Giant Tortoise Breeding Station to learn about the local wildlife. After lunch, join a group tour for a visit to the Tintoreras Islet for a short hike and some snorkeling. See Humboldt penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions and sharks, which rest in the natural channels formed by lava flows. Afterward, snorkel in the turquoise water and spot different fish, sea turtles, rays, and penguins. The evening is free, with an overnight stay on Isabela Island. Overnight: Isabela Island Suggested Hotel: Hotel Albemarle (or similar)

Day 20
Los Tuneles - Afternoon speedboat to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz)

Today you will go on an excursion to Los Tuneles, a perfect snorkeling spot. A series of lava flows have produced unique geological formations, like arcs and tunnels underneath and above the water. In the shallow waters, you can find tropical fish, rays, turtles, seahorses, and white-tipped reef sharks! And keep your eyes open for penguins on the rocks. In the afternoon you return to Puerto Villamil where you will catch the afternoon speedboat to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Overnight: Santa Cruz Island Suggested Hotel: Ikala Galápagos (or similar)

Day 21
Transfer to Airport on Baltra Island – Flight to Guayaquil, Departure

If there is enough free time before your transfer to the airport, do some last-minute souvenir shopping or take a last stroll through Puerto Ayora. At the designated time, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the Itabaca Channel, which you will cross on a ferry. For the last part of your trip to the airport, take the public shuttle bus to the terminal where you will take your flight back to Ecuador mainland. From there, you may connect your flight to depart back home. Overnight: N/A Suggested Hotel: N/A

  • All activities listed
  • Transportation
  • Accomodations
  • International flights
  • The meals not mentioned in the trip plan
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance, and repatriation insurance
  • Optional excursions, activities, and optional tours
  • Reservations marked as “reserved by traveler” are reservations that the traveler is responsible for directly.

Book your tour NOW!

Feel free to contact us

Still can't find what you were looking for?

Send us a message and we will gladly help you find the perfect tour for you

Get in touch
Hello 👋🏽
Can we help you?