Ecuador and Galapagos Family Tour

9 Days/8 Nights

From $5,289 per person

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  • We can customize this tour to suit your requirements.

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Venture to the Highlands of Ecuador and the Galapagos on this captivating family tour. Witness the creation of handicrafts by Andean natives. Spend the night at Hacienda Pinsaqui, and appreciate its rich history. Experience one of the most important indigenous markets on the continent in Otavalo. And, journey to the Galapagos Islands for a five day cruise aboard the M/V Santa Cruz II to observe fascinating volcanic landscapes and endemic animal species.

Lodging, Meals, and Airfare: This tour includes accommodations for 8 nights (3 nights in Quito, 1 night in Otavalo, and 4 nights aboard the Santa Cruz II), 20 meals (8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners), and domestic airfare in Ecuador.

Best Time to Go: Year-Round.

Destinations: South America, Ecuador, and Galapagos.

Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Family Tours, Sea Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Wildlife Viewing.

Places Visited: Quito, Otavalo, and the Galapagos Islands.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Note: The route and program may vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and wildlife encounters.
Dry Landing: Guests step from the dinghy directly onto rocks or a dock.
Wet Landing: As the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.

Depart to Quito. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito.

Today, you will head north along the Panamericana Highway to Otavalo, home to one of the most popular indigenous markets in South America. Enjoy the remarkable scenery along the way, passing by rose plantations and other farms, mountain lakes, and extinct volcanoes.

The first stop is the Middle of the World, an equatorial monument at latitude 0º, where you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere. There is an interesting Ethnographic Museum inside the complex, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador.

Other stops, where you will witness local artisans at work, include San Antonio de Ibarra, famous for its woodcarvings, Cotacachi, known for its leather goods, and Peguche, where textiles are still woven in old-fashioned pedal shuttle looms.

Lunch at Hosteria Puerto Lago, on the shores of San Pablo Lagoon. Following lunch, you will be taken to Hacienda Pinsaqui, a former colonial textile hacienda with a rich history, for check-in. You will have the afternoon free to explore the grounds of the hotel or enjoy horseback riding (not included). Overnight at Hacienda Pinsaqui. (B,L,D)

This morning, you will visit the Otavalo Market, featuring textiles, jewelry and other handicrafts, fruits and vegetables, and spices in outdoor stalls. Witness the colorful traditional clothing of the natives, and bargain with them for the best price.

After the market, you can also visit the nearby Parque Condor, where raptors and other birds of prey, including the Andean Condor, are rehabilitated. Lunch at local hacienda, then depart for Quito, arriving late afternoon. Overnight at Hotel Patio Andaluz. (B,L,D)

Early morning transfer to the airport for the flight to San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the dock at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to board the MV Santa Cruz. Cabin assignment, introductory briefing, and lunch.

In the afternoon, disembark (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island. Punta Pitt is an eroded tuff cone; the trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions along the beach. After the walk, if conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim from the beach or snorkel at the nearby islets. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Santa Fe Island. After breakfast, a wet landing on a sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right of “Beach Master”, while smaller males masquerading as females make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name with tree-sized trunks! The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the afternoon walk. Snorkeling and swimming from the beach rounds off the rewarding experience, or if guests prefer, the glass-bottom boat for non-snorkelers. Lunch on board.

South Plaza Island. Disembark (dry landing) in the channel between North and South Plaza Islands, where the island tilts toward the water, the approach makes for a lavishly colorful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange ‘Sally Lightfoot’ crabs. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide playing with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Morning disembarkation (dry landing) visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.

Optional Excursions on Santa Cruz Island. There are several options available for the afternoon, which can be discussed in advance with your Expedition Leader, including: 1.) Trek along trails amid miconia forest in the highlands, home to many elusive birds including the dark-rumped petrel; 2.) Mountain bike (mostly downhill) to Garrapatero Beach; 3.) Sea kayak and relax on a beautiful, sandy beach; 4.) Experience sustainable agriculture in an organic coffee plantation; 5.) Discover SCUBA diving day in Puerto Ayora. This is a day designed for people who wish to discover the marine wonders of the archipelago, but who are not ready to dive in the current-strong Galápagos open waters. A local diving outfitter is contacted on your behalf. This activity takes most of the day and has an additional cost. At the end of the afternoon’s activities, return to Puerto Ayora and the ship. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D))

Morning outing at Punta Suárez (dry landing) for an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including waved albatrosses (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tail gulls as well as a view of the Galápagos famous “blow-hole”. Among its land birds, the Hood island mockingbird, Galápagos hawks, Galápagos doves and three species of Darwin’s finches are common highlights. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.

Gardner Bay. In the afternoon, disembark (wet landing) at a white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area, or ride aboard the glass-bottom boat. Departure briefing, Farewell Cocktail, and dinner. Overnight aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Disembark at Baltra Island. Transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the continent. Upon arrival, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Quito. (B)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Itinerary Map

Santa Cruz II - Eastern Galapagos Islands Itinerary Map

Prices & Dates

Price per Person

Horizon Deck Explorer Cabin$5,289$3,499
** The prices shown above are in U.S. Dollars. See the cost of this tour in your currency here.


  1. The above prices are valid until December 20, 2017.
  2. The Child rate is based on one child under 12 sharing a Horizon Deck Family Cabin with two adults paying full fare.
  3. There is a high season (Dec 20-25, 2017-Dec 30, 2017-Jan 03, 2018) surcharge of $159 per adult and $117 per child.

Departure Dates

Wednesday departures based on the Eastern Islands itinerary (as shown above), and Friday departures based on the Northern Islands itinerary (not shown). Call for available dates.

What's Included

Price Includes

  • South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
  • Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
  • Three night accommodations at the Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar) including service fees and taxes.
  • One night accommodations at Hacienda Pinsaqui (or similar) including service fees and taxes.
  • Accommodations on board the M/V Santa Cruz II.
  • Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100/$50).
  • Transit control card ($20).
  • All meals scheduled on board and others as indicated on the itinerary.
  • Daily excursions to the islands conducted by English-speaking naturalist guides.
  • Evening briefings and lectures.
  • Use of snorkeling equipment, sea kayaks, and a glass bottom boat.

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare.
  • Domestic airfare ($498/$382).
  • Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to ship crew and guides (suggested $25/person/day).
  • Bar, gifts, and personal items.
  • Travel insurance.

We will be happy to quote the cost of international airfare and travel insurance, and to make these arrangements for you.



Santa Cruz II, Galapagos Cruise Ship

First Class – Santa Cruz II

Additional Details

Group Private: The transfers in and out of Quito on the first and last days of the tour and the excursion to Otavalo are private. The transfers on the first and last day of the cruise, and all services in the Galapagos are operated on a group basis.

Elevations: Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level, and Otavalo is 8,399 feet.

IGTOA’S Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund: South American Vacations is an active member of IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association).  In support of IGTOA’s Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund, we contribute $20 for each passenger that we send to the Galapagos Islands.  You’ll travel knowing that you support the lasting protection of Galapagos Islands.

Sixty percent of the funding of this program goes directly to the Charles Darwin Foundation for science, conservation, and education.  Their work, carried out through the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park, is vital to the preservation of the islands.  You can visit their web site to learn more  The remainder goes toward IGTOA’s mission of creating a model of responsible and sustainable tourism.

Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their country before traveling.

Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.

To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of a cabin on this ship for your desired dates of travel.  The non-refundable deposits for single, double, and triple passengers are $1,100, $1,100, and $1,000 per person, plus the cost of the airfare (if we arrange it for you).