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First Look Galapagos & Amazon

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South America
Ecuador,  10 Days From $ 4,450 per person Themes
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Highlights

This Greenloons exclusive trip enables explorers to get a taste of Ecuador - starting with a visit to the Huaorani people in the Amazon and finishing with a land-based tour of the less-traveled islands of the Galapagos.  

While in the Amazon, you'll learn more about the Huaorani people's efforts to sustain a unique forest culture, enjoy a protected Amazon environment and relax in natural comfort.

Then, as part of this exclusive program, you will visit two different Galapagos Islands (Floreana and Isabela), where you will spend time with the unique wildlife the islands are rightly famous for: the sea lions, the world renowned giant tortoises, the marine iguanas, the blue footed boobies, and much, much more. 

 

Summary

Amazon Experience 

The Huaorani are a timeless tribe. Their origins are unknown and their language (Huaorani translates as 'The People') has no relation to any other known tongue. For thousands of years they have made their home in the lush forests of the Amazon, moving silently through the jungle, living amongst the animals and plants, leaving little trace of their presence. 

'The People' still maintain their traditional lifestyle. But unlike some closely related tribes, who shun outside influences and can be dangerous to approach, they are no longer nomadic hunters. The Huaorani now lead a more settled and open existence in the humid tropical forests of Ecuador. 

Huaorani territory takes in some 1.7 million acres, but the presence of western life can be felt even here. The missionaries, the loggers and the oil companies have all had negative impacts on this isolated, but culturally significant people and the health and diversity of its tropical environment. 

Faced with the destruction of their surroundings and the possible disappearance of their way of life, the Huaorani have chosen to resist.  By inviting small numbers of people to share their world for short periods they intend to keep their culture alive. They have opted for sustainable tourism.

Galapagos Adventure

Afterwards, you'll visit the less-overrun Galapagos islands of Floreana and Isabela.  

The smallest of the inhabited islands (150 people), Floreana was the first to be populated; the local people consequently have a very strong sense of community and a real desire to see their more relaxed way of life preserved. A visit to this enchanted island is all about slow tourism, about Galapagos as it was, about pirates, love and mysterious legends. A trip to Floreana is about meeting the local people, relaxing and, in the process, helping this small community survive intact while protecting this precious area and its unique environment.

Isabela is not only the largest but the most volcanically active island in the chain; four times the size of the next largest island, it has only 20% of the archipelago's population. This is where you will be able to get a close look at and understand a little more about the very source of the Galapagos Islands. You will see five active volcanoes and hike into the second largest volcanic crater in the world, Sierra Negra, a truly awe-inspiring site.

The archipelago's famous wildlife is also all here on Isabela: the giant tortoises that gave the Galapagos island their name, sharks, marine iguanas, sea lions, manta rays, boobies, as well as penguins and flamingos (this is the only place in the world where you can see both at the same time). And for good measure the island is also home to the Galapagos most extensive wetlands - recognized by the United Nations as a globally significant site.

 

Availability

Flexible date(s). Please Contact Us.

Green Approach

Eco-Ventional

Certification

Rainforest Alliance Verified

Why Authentic Ecotourism?

The guiding company integrates sustainable tourism operations (i.e. renewable energy sourcing, biodegradeable products) with local, community based tourism initiatives in the Galapagos Islands, the Andean region and the Pacific coast region of Ecuador. The communities the company works with receive proper economic benefit from the tourism operations.  For example, Lava Lodge on Floreana is owned by a member of the Cruz family, one of the Floreana's oldest families. The hotel is a comfortable lodge with top class service and the best of friendly local hospitality, built on black lava sands at the ocean´s edge: one of the best sites on the island.

 

Day 1 - Arrival into Quito

Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to a centrally located boutique hotel in Quito where after some time to freshen up, you'll be taken on a short city tour of this vibrant city followed by a cooking class at a chic, but traditional Peruvian restaurant.

Days 2-5 - Huaorani Amazon Experience

Huaorani territory is pure Amazon, complete with wide slow moving rivers, blue skies and a multitude of lush green flowering plants and trees, many of which have still to recognized and classified. A wealth of plant and animal life is waiting to be seen and Huaorani Ecolodge
has been designed to provide an intimate entry point into this astonishingly diverse
world. Up to now more than 191 species of birds, have been identified by clients and guides. Pumas, Jaguars, Deer, Marmots and numerous other species native to the region have also been spotted. 

But Huaorani Ecolodge is not simple tourism. This community based project forms an essential part of a plan to protect a globally important environment and enable a people to defend their unique forest culture.

At the Lodge daily activities are designed to give you an opportunity to interact with the host community, observe wildlife and get to know the life of the Huaorani as they move within their forest world. Carefully chosen expert guides and community members will open windows into the Amazon habitat for you. With their knowledge and experience of the jungle they will help you recognize important features of the forest - plants and animals - explaining their significance for the community and showing how the Huaorani live and hunt in this special environment.

You will travel quietly, moving by dugout canoe along the strong and tranquil Shiripuno River and on foot along extensive rainforest trails, often in the course of the same day's activity. Should you feel like spending some time alone in the forest, self guided trails will enable you to enjoy your surroundings.

Day 5 - Transfer back to Quito 

Leaving our fully serviced campsite in Nenkepare, we prepare to travel on the Via Auca to Coca and the flight back to Quito. The journey will be revealing. The road was constructed by Texaco in the 1970's as a way to access the oil fields and as we move along its eroded surface we will experience what the oil industry brochures don't show, and appreciate why the Ecolodge is so important.  

Once arriving in Quito, we'll take a private tour of Capilla del Hombre - The Museum of Man which was built to exhibit the painter Oswaldo Guayasamín´s work as a history of human suffering and violence in Latin America and the world. It includes sculptures and murals and integrates the surroundings into an artistic interpretation of the subject.  Although a difficult subject, it is an important one to keep in mind as we ponder sustainability.

Days 6-9 - Galapagos Adventure

Over the last ten years the Galapagos Islands have experienced a dramatic surge in tourism. Local economies have boomed, and as a consequence the old Galapagos way of life has been disappearing. Floreana, the smallest of the inhabited islands is the exception. The first of the islands to develop tourism back in the 1930's, this time Floreana has been less affected, a real
advantage for the visitor, the environment and the population, who are determined to
learn from the experiences of other more popular Galapagos destinations.

You'll transfer to Floreana via Baltra. At the airport you will be met by an expert local guide who will give you useful background information before transfering first to Santa Cruz which involves public transport (no private vehicles permitted) overland to the Itabaca Channel and a short crossing on the public ferry. You'll visit the impressive Los Gemelos craters and take a look at the highland Galapagos tortoises.  At mid day, you'll enjoy a tasty, specially prepared boxed lunch en route to the town of Puerto Ayora where your private speed boat will be waiting to take you on a two hour ride to the island of Floreana.

On Floreana, you'll be hiking, learning about the fascinating history of the local people, and seeing some of the Galapagos special wildlife (giant tortoises, frigate birds, Darwin's finches, sea lions, and petrels).  You'll check in at the lodge overlooking the Galapagos' most beautiful and secluded bay. After that, you'll walk towards La Loberia (a sea lion breeding ground) and then for your first marine encounter, snorkeling and swimming in the warm bright water with sea turtles, sea lions, spectacular rays and lots of shimmering fishes.  In the afternoon we return to the lodge for a nice warm shower and dinner in the village.

After breakfast on Day 7, you'll leave to explore the Floreana highlands on our open-air bus (chiva), an unbeatable, historic, and comfortable way to see the island. On the way, your Naturalist Guide will point out the wildlife and give you an idea of the colorful history of some of Floreana's first inhabitants, such as the Wittmers (whose descendents still live on the Island) and the pirates that once visited here.

After driving into the highlands, you'll reach Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven) where your hike begins. You'll walk up to this historic site, explore pirate caves, and visit the freshwater spring that provides water for the entire Island. Along the way, you can expect to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the vegetation or even on the trail. You will leave Asilo de Paz walking down through a rural area where the local people grow produce for their own consumption: this is a fascinating example about how these island people survived in this remote place and over the years were able to develop an understanding of the local environment and now work to preserve their unique agricultural knowledge. Once back on the coast, you will be able to watch the extraordinary behavior of the frigate birds who "dance" as they wash their salty wings in the fresh water. With a little bit of luck, we may be able to see males puffing up the red pouches on their chests in an attempt to attract females.

From La Primavera we continue by Chiva down towards Las Palmas, where the Island's first permanent inhabitant, the eccentric Dr Ritter, lived and is buried. Arriving in 1926, this German physician believed that with a combination of exercise and the right vegetarian diet he would live to be 150 years old. He didn't, but his story is one of the many strange episodes that still abound on the island. On the way, you will see spectacular views of the Floreana shoreline, and on arrival sit down to a special BBQ.

In the afternoon, back at the lodge, you can do more marine exploration, snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddling, SUP, our newest water activity. It is lots of fun, so come and learn how to walk on water.

Today, on Day 8 you will take an early morning speed boat and transfer to Isabela Island where you will check into the beachfront hotel. The Isabela adventure begins with a tour of the Tintoreras, a group of small islands near the village of Puerto Villamil, that are named after the white tipped "Tintoreras" reef sharks that swim in these calm waters. A Galapagos in miniature on the Tintoreras you will see almost all of the archipelago's iconic wildlife: white tipped sharks, sea lions, turtles, rays, penguins, and of course pelicans and blue footed boobies. You will have a chance to snorkel in the bay - and don't be surprised if some of the penguins or sea lions jump in to play alongside you in the water.

In the afternoon, you'll walk from the hotel to the local giant tortoise-breeding center and on the way, catch a glimpse of pink flamingos feeding in a lake. Once at the Center, your guide will explain the process of breeding and then releasing into the wild these giant slow moving creatures whose Spanish name (meaning saddle) gave the Islands their present title. The breeding center is an important conservation tool and it is here that the islands' giant tortoise population is presently recovering.

During Day 9, you will have the whole day to explore the Isabela highlands, and you can start by hiking up to the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano, and then to the rim of the Volcan Chico. This fascinating walk usually begins with some morning fog and drizzle which sometimes persists in the shadow of the volcano, adding to its mysterious character. But when you reach the rim of the Sierra Negra crater, the second largest in the world after the Ngorongoro in Tanzania, you will see why it has been worthwhile. The crater is so large, and the views so expansive, that photos don't even do it justice, but you should bring your binoculars and camera anyway!

Later, as you head towards Volcan Chico, you may get the feeling you are walking on Mars, but while the landscape appears desolate, a closer look reveals small lizards, scurrying about amongst the rocks.  After Volcan Chico under the shade of a lovely Òjaboncillo tree you enjoy a well prepared picnic lunch with the chance to enjoy some spectacular views over the central and northern parts of Isabela Island. In the distance, you will be able to see Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands. You then head back down to complete the day of hiking (16 km in total) and relax on the beaches of Puerto Villamil.

Day 10 - Travel Home

Today you say goodbye to Isabela very early via speed boat towards Puerto Ayora and then Baltra. At Baltra you boardy our return flight to Quito or Guayaquil.

 

 

Departure City

Quito

Finishing City

Guayaquil

Group Size

Minimum of 4 people

Exclusions

  • Galapagos entrance fee and Transit Card
  • Tips for guides and staff
  • International aiport tax
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses
  • Evacuation or medical expenses

 

We advise our clients to purchase travel interruption and travel medical insurance.

Inclusions

  • Accommodations
  • Most meals: All meals while at Huoarani Ecolodge, Floreana Lodge and Beachfront Hotel on Isabela
  • Naturalist Guides
  • Noted Activities & Entrance Fees
  • All domestic transfers
  • Domestic flight from Shell to Amazon
  • Domestic flight from Coca to Quito
  • Domestic flight from Quito to Baltra
  • Domestic flight from Baltra to Guayaquil

 

Best for:

Little Greenies

Not as good for:

Solo
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