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Luxury Ecuadorian Encounter
14 DAYS STARTING FROM £5775 PER PERSON
Timeless Amazon Rainforest and Galápagos Cruise
No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.
This is the natural history holiday of your dreams – your David Attenborough moment, your very own Living Planet.
On this spirit-uplifting trip, you’ll have the chance to enjoy wild creatures at their best in the unspoilt environment of the Amazon rain forest, humming with a remarkable diversity of life. As if that weren’t enough, that unforgettable time is followed by a cruise to the Galápagos Islands, where unique animal species continue to evolve in biological isolation. And all prefaced by two days in historic Quito, highest capital city in the world and UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
WHY GO ON THIS TRIP?
DAYS 1, 2: CITY HEIGHTS
After arriving in Quito you will be whisked off to Casa Gangotena, rated as one of the top 25 hotels in the world, no less.
Quito is an extraordinary city, set nearly 3000m above sea-level, with a historic centre full of architectural splendour and fascinating places to visit. With a private walking tour on Day 2, all will be revealed to you.
Your eyes will feast on everything from brightly painted colonial houses lining quaint cobbled streets to the magnificence of the Carondelet Palace, from the Baroque decadence of the Iglesia de la Compañia to the volcanic spectacle of El Panecillo crowned with a statue of the winged virgin of Quito.
DAYS 3, 4, 5, 6 AMAZING AMAZON
A 30-minute flight across the Andes will take you to the lively town of Coca in the Amazon Basin. After lunch, the memorable experience of making your way to Sacha Lodge for an unbelievable three nights, deep in the rain forest, by canoe, a short hike and then a boat paddled by native workers across Lake Pilchicocha.
Sacha Lodge nestles amongst the lush vegetation of a 5000-acre private ecological reserve, beside the lake where you can swim to cool off in the equatorial heat. In this naturalist’s paradise, you’ll be mesmerised by the plumage of tropical birds and the vibrant colours of the butterflies; you’ll view nocturnal animals on an accompanied walk; you’ll amble along the spectacular forest canopy walkway – the very best place to view birdlife and the wonders of the rain forest; you’ll be escorted by native guides who’ll tell you about their lives and traditions; you may spot anacondas, caimans, and capybaras from your canoe on Lake Lagartococha , or sloth, capuchin and squirrel monkeys in the trees. It will be truly magical.
Return to Quito for another night of luxury at Casa Gangotena before…
DAYS 7 – 14: FOOTSTEPS OF DARWIN
A flight from Quito to Baltro, then you board the Mary Ann for the next week, an elegant three-masted sailing ship, for the cruise of a lifetime around the Galápagos archipelago.
Each island has a unique landscape, from the red beaches of Rábida, like a piece of Mars on earth, to the soft white sands of Santa Cruz. Wonder at the volcanic features of Santiago, Pinnacle Rock, and the spectacular blowhole of Punta Suárez, through which crashing waves blast upwards like a geyser.
As for wildlife – see seabirds swooping, penguins diving for fish, flamingos, the mighty albatross, pelicans, and herons. Inland, catch glimpses of Darwin’s finches, Galápagos mockingbirds, and yellow warblers. Watch languorous sea lions basking, turtles, neon-bright iguanas and tortoises. Snorkel amongst the fishes and glide across the waves in kayaks and panga.
You’ll be transported back to forgotten times, to a place where human beings rarely set foot..
Then finally, oh so reluctantly, travel home, your mind awash with the most amazing memories.