Ecuador and Galapagos for Everyone

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Our new Ecuador and Galapagos for Everyone provides constant options between more active and more relaxed activities. Based around freedom of choice, there’s no type of traveler and no type of family this itinerary can’t please. Whether you’re up for an adventure, tired from your last or just looking to take it easy in some breathtaking settings, our new Ecuadorian adventure always has something to suit your mood. 

Go on an exploratory bike ride throughout the colonial city of Cuenca, or visit a traditional ceramics workshop and make your own souvenir. Horseback ride through a rustic highland landscape, or opt instead to attend a demonstration in local cooking, learning about the blending of traditional indigenous ingredients and colonial Spanish influence. Swim and snorkel with sea lions around volcanic rock formations, or choose to simply relax and enjoy a good book under a coconut palm on the beach. 

This revolutionary Ecuadorian adventure takes the idea of variety to a whole new level, so kids and adults of all ages can get the utmost enjoyment out of their visit to this incredibly multi-faceted location. Ecuador and Galapagos for Everyone is perfect for family reunions and all sorts of multigenerational trips, like grandparents traveling with grandkids.

 

2014 Dates
Dates 10 or more
travelers
2 to 9
travelers
Internal Air
12/20 - 12/29 $5,290 $5,890 $1,000

2015 Dates: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice depending on availability

Internal Air includes Galapagos National Parks fees

Child Discount:$200 per child under 12

Triple Discount: $500 for children under 12 sharing with 2 adults

Alumni Discount: if you are a returning Thomson guest, please subtract $500 per family from these prices

Prices are based on the number of people in your party.

Price includes: All entrance fees, accommodations based on two to a room; land transportation, private bi-lingual guide throughout, area specialists, most meals, bottled water & snacks, Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

Don't see your travel dates?

Call us, we can personalize any trip to meet your travel needs! 

Day 1 – Depart U.S. / Arrive Guayaquil

Welcome to Ecuador! This family adventure is based around variety and designed to please every type of traveler. We offer choices between more active and more relaxed activities, so whether you prefer history and culture or action and adventure, there’s always an option for you.

Days 2-4 – Cuenca

Leaving behind coastal Guayaquil, we’ll venture up into the Andean Highlands.  Rolling hillsides nestle the ruins of lost civilizations such as the Cañari, a sophisticated society of astronomers who ruled this area for a thousand years before being conquered by the Incas.  The Incas controlled the Andean Highlands for less than a century; the Spanish arrived in the 1530s, and by 1557 the rubble of Incan buildings was being used to create the colonial city of Cuenca. Throughout this trip, we have our days and activities split so that we have something for every age and activity level.

Our Mornings:

 

  • Mangrove reserve boat trip for everybody
  • Cojitambo Mountain and school trip
  • Horseback riding OR local cooking demo

Our Afternoons:

 

  • Rock climbing OR Biblian and Panama hat weavers
  • Afternoon hot springs and farewell to Cuenca

Welcome to Darwin’s Enchanted Islands…

 Never connected to the mainland of South America, the Galapagos Islands were formed entirely through volcanic activity. Eruptions here can be almost annual, with the majority of volcanic activity being in the younger, westerly islands.

Days 5-6 – Isabela Island

Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos – bigger than all the rest combined. It is comprised of five major volcanoes, two of which are still active.

 

  • Tortoise Breeding Center
  • Frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, flamingos, and other birds
  • Underwater volcanic caves and tunnels at Los Tuneles
  • Hike on Tintoreras, with marine iguanas and reef sharks
  • Lobería Chica and swimming with sea lions  
  • Or... relaxing day option
Days 7-8 – Santa Cruz Island

The Galapagos’ second-largest island, Santa Cruz is very biologically diverse. It is home to the archipelago’s largest human population, a massive array of animal life, and several different vegetation zones, like coastal, arid, transition, scalesia and miconia.

 

  • Daphne Islands visit
  • See giant tortoises up close
  • Bahia Ballena visit
  • Fishing excursion
  • Relaxed day option – lounge on the beach
Day 9 – Galapagos Islands / Guayaquil

After one more activity in the Galapagos, we say goodbye to these enchanted isles and hello to mainland Ecuador once again!

 

  • Farewell dinner
Day 10 – Depart Guayaquil / Arrive U.S.
Hilton Colon Guayaquil
The Hilton Colon Guayaquil Hotel is conveniently located a 5 minute drive from the airport. Each of the hotel's 294 rooms features broadband and wireless internet, plasma TV, air conditioning, coffee maker and hair dryer. Other highlights of the hotel include 5 restaurants, fitness center, spa and an outdoor pool.
Mansion Alcazar

Mansión Alcázar, situated in the center of the quaint, old-fashioned city of Cuenca, oozes all the classical charm and grandeur one would expect from a renovated 1870s mansion. The hotel is beautifully decorated in an elegant colonial style, from the wrought iron balcony to the antique furniture, the crystal chandelier to the fountain and grand piano. Even the enchantingly colonial guest rooms have long drapes and chandeliers. Mansión Alcázar also has a bar called Le Bar and a restaurant called Casa Alonso, with an accomplished local chef cooking gourmet cuisine from Ecuador and elsewhere. 

Hotel La Casa de Marita

Hotel La Casa de Marita is a charming little family-run hotel on the island of Isabela, surrounded by white sand beaches, dazzling turquoise waters, and lush vegetation and gardens. The serene hotel is the perfect place for quiet reflection and relaxation, with inviting tropical colors and decorations, and hammocks and parasols on the beach to enjoy the golden sunshine. Due to the mom-and-pop nature of the property, each cozy room carries its own unique, quirky character. 

Angermeyer Waterfront Inn

The Angermeyer Waterfront Inn offers top-notch comfort and all the necessary amenities amid constant reminders that you’re still in the Galapagos Islands, one of the most unique places in the world. The inn was built using lava rocks and drift wood for that authentic Galapagos feel, and each spacious room is equipped with cable television, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. Located just a 2-minute water taxi ride from the bustling Puerto Ayora, the property has its own dock and a waterfront restaurant prime for observing sea lions, sea turtles, and marine iguanas. 

 Why Ecuador and the Galapagos?

Galapagos Islands geography
When you think of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands surely come to mind. Stunning beauty and an abundance of wildlife are the trademarks of these volcanic islands. For years to come, you and your children will reminisce about all of the wonderful species you saw on these islands – many of which are found nowhere else on earth.
Galapagos Islands wildlife
The Galapagos Islands are home to more than 25,000 species of plants, 6,000 species of butterflies and 1,600 species of birds. On Santa Cruz Island, enormous tortoises find refuge at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Tiny Rabida Island is home to pelicans, pink flamingos and pintail ducks in its shallow salt water lagoons and red sand beaches. On San Cristobal, the incredible wildlife includes iguanas and the rare Chatham mockingbird. Walking on lovely, remote Española Island, your family may encounter sea lions, blue-footed boobies or sea turtles as you stroll past lava cliffs where sea water jets high in the air.
Darwin’s Theory
Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835 on his return to England after repatriating the Fuegians. He collected various birds, which he took back to John Gould, a famous ornithologist, in England. While Darwin initially thought the birds were not closely related, Gould concluded that the birds were in fact, "a series of ground Finches which are so peculiar" as to form "an entirely new group, containing 12 species." This story made the newspapers and formed the basis for Darwin’s groundbreaking theory.
Culture and history of the Andean Highlands
Famous for the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s Andean Highlands are often overlooked. With a history dating as far back as 3,500 B.C. and a stunning landscape, the area north of Quito is a hidden gem. From the rolling highlands and snow capped peaks of the Ecuadorian Andes to the villages where locals are happy to share their ancient culture and traditions, to an indigenous Latin American market where local artisans sell Panama hats, colorful handmade weavings and sweaters, the highlands are not to be missed.
Seclusion
We take family vacations to get away from the daily grind of our normal lives and just be with our families. The Galápagos Islands offer the perfect opportunity to leave it all behind and enjoy each other’s company. Many of the islands you’ll visit are virtually uninhabited by humans, because they are protected lands of delicate ecological splendor, so you will be far away from any kind of hustle and bustle.

Why Ecuador and the Galapagos with Thomson?

Options
 Our Ecuador and Galapagos for Everyone itinerary gives you so many choices, so it’s downright difficult not to have a good time on this trip. Whether you’re in the mood for something active or something more relaxed, there will be an option for you.
Cuenca
Cuenca is a fascinating and very easy-on-the-eyes little city. The mix of cultural influences resulting from Cuenca’s long history makes for such a unique feel, you’ll never want to leave. With a Spanish colonial base, strong French influences, and a history rooted in the ancient Inca and Cañari cultures, Cuenca is as charmingly multi-faceted as this itinerary!
Friends Across Borders meeting
Thomson families love this program! Children traveling with us can choose to exchange letters with a local child of a similar age before leaving on their adventure. In Ecuador, your child will get to meet his or her pen pal through a fun activity like soccer or hacky sack. It’s amazing how much kids learn about one another — and the appreciation they gain for one another’s culture — when they meet through this eye-opening program.
Perfect place for a Family Reunion
When was the last time your extended family got together? A Thomson trip is the perfect way for your entire family – near and far – to spend time with relatives that you might not see as often as you would like. Pick a destination and a date, and we’ll do the rest! Let Thomson help you plan the perfect family reunion amidst the beauty and splendor of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
Rock climbing at Cojitambo Mountain
While in the Andean highlands, our expert mountaineers (yes, we even have expert mountaineers!) will show you the ropes and help you learn how to rock climb at Cojitambo – a mountain sacred to the area’s Cañari people. Rock climbing is phenomenal exercise, a rewarding challenge, and an excellent way to experience the region’s scenery.
a map of Ecuador and Galapagos for Everyone