In Darwin’s footsteps
Ecuador and the Galapagos | 15 days
We start in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes. Explore the rich colonial architecture, churches, monasteries and museums and later head out to Cotopaxi National Park. Then it’s a road trip with glorious mountain scenery, overnighting in haciendas, to visit the colourful Otavalo market. Our ultimate goal is the Galapagos Islands, discovered by Darwin in 1835. The ideal way to explore the unique wildlife and ecology of this volcanic archipelago is in the intimate surroundings of smaller vessels. We offer a full range from tall ships of classic elegance to luxury yachts and catamarans.
Day 1Fly to Quito, Ecuador's colonial capital
Day 2Tour the cobbled streets of Quito visiting churches, plazas, museums and monuments
Day 3Day visit to the scenic Cotopaxi National Park and Lake Limpiopungo with opportunities for walking
Days 4-6A road trip north to Otavalo's colourful market, staying on farms and in haciendas, looking for Condors, a chance to ride. Return to Quito on the last day
Day 7Fly to the Galapagos Islands and begin Galapagos cruise
Days 8-13Cruising in the Galapagos islands on your small yacht, boat or catamaran with daily shore excursions accompanied by naturalist guides
Day 14End cruise and fly to Guayaquil, connect onwards
Day 15Arrive London
guide price £5,970 per person
Fiona’s travel tips
FOR THE LESS ACTIVE: If you don’t want to trek the whole Inca Trail, take the train and hop off early to enjoy a wonderful day’s walk instead.
MY FAVOURITE PLACE: (Once I had got over a slight vertigo moment), sitting atop Wayna Picchu watching the cloud drift over the ruins of Machu Picchu spread out below me.
DON’T MISS: Superb camping at the edge of the Salar de Uyuni. The walk-in tents, though not en-suite, each have a built in stove and the view from the loo is to die for.
TOP TIP: See Lake Titicaca and its floating reedbed islands from the Bolivian side — it’s much less visited than from Peru.
BEST TIME TO GO:
Argentina: October to April
Bolivia: April to September
Chile: October to April
Ecuador: October to June
Peru: April to October
Argentina: 16 hours (indirect)
Bolivia: 18 hours (indirect)
Chile: 18 hours (indirect)
Ecuador: 14½ hours indirect
Galapagos: 14½ hours indirect
Peru: 14½ hours (indirect)
“A wonderful wildlife experience. The guides are excellent, accommodation super and your arrangements were first class. The explanations of how the Kichwa people used the rainforest plants were enlightening and the national parks showed Ecuador’s diverse landscapes and yet more unusual wildlife. The Galapagos Islands from our beautiful yacht were amazing in every respect. We couldn't believe how close you could walk to the birds and reptiles and swimming with the sea lions was another lovely experience. Thanks Fiona for a brilliant holiday.”Sue and Ken Miles, Ecuador and The Galapagos, May 2019
“Your arrangements for our recent trip worked well and we had outstanding help from our guide in Buenos Aires.”
James and Shelagh Westwood, Argentina
Excerpt from an email sent to their guide by our clients:
“We should like to thank you for all the hard work and research which you did, particularly on my behalf, to find out all that you discovered about my grandfather, my uncle and my aunt. Your guided tours each day in Buenos Aires were excellent (it must be so difficult to know what to show clients of your fascinating city) and your choices of where to take us and what to show us were perfect. I now have a much clearer picture of my family background and, thanks to you, have learnt so much more about the Cromwell roots. Once again, enormous thanks for all that you did to help to make our visit to Buenos Aires so unforgettable.”
James and Shelagh Westwood, Argentina
“Having arrived back overnight, I was going to email you, but you got there first! It was a wonderful trip. Awasi, in particular, was amazingly good in every respect. I’ll get to the questionnaire in due course, but I did want to say thank you and how much we enjoyed ourselves. I do hope we will get to travel with Arcturus again”.
Andrew and Hilary Reicher, Argentina and Chile
“The whole trip was successful and memorable. I was very pleased with the private guides you arranged who were charming and helpful. The drivers were excellent and all very polite and pleasant. I had the services of the same guide three times in Buenos Aries and she was she was very keen to make sure that I was safe before she left.”
Eileen Turner, Argentina
“We loved exploring a part of the world that neither of us knew previously. Without your guidance we would not have known where to start and we felt we came away with a very good and broad experience”.Mr and Mrs Charles Pybus, Argentina, Chile and Brazil
“From the moment I contacted Fiona again, I knew that I was going to have a fabulous time. She always seems to make my trips holidays of a lifetime. I loved the dramatic way in which we travelled to the Napo Wildlife Centre and the MV Santa Cruz was great despite being quite a large ship. The guides were tremendous. I cannot thank you enough for all the hard work you put in”.
Charlotte Langley, Ecuador and the Galapagos