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Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

January 4-17, 2023

with Certified Sign Language Interpreter Service

Quito, capital city of Ecuador

Quito, capital city of Ecuador

Flight arrival in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. Get on the transfer shuttle to the hotel. The city has one of South America's best preserved historic centers. There are more than 30 monasteries in the city, many of them built in the baroque style. UNESCO declared the historic city center, where you can still find much of the colonial architecture, a world heritage site. The surrounding Andean mountain range is a beautiful backdrop for the city. Rest and get adjusted to the high altitude of the city. Quito's elevation is 9,350 feet. Meet with your travel companions for dinner. We will have a briefing after dinner. (D)
After breakfast we drive south along the Andes, crossing through the Cotopaxi National Park. We will visit a rose farm plantation located at the base of a volcano. After learning the process of growing roses, you can have lunch on your own. We will then continue our drive in the Andes until we reach the quaint town of Banos de Agua Santa. Once in Banos we will check into the hotel and have free time to discover the town. (B,D)

Ecuador has a remarkable diversity of birds

Packaged roses ready to be shipped

Ecuador is home to a great diversity of birds including beautiful hummingbirds. Join a walk to observe some of the birds, admire their colors and shapes. A beautiful waterfall can be seen during the walk as well. In the afternoon, we drive to the Amazon where we will stay for two nights. (B,D)
Join a boat trip on the Napo River which is a main tributary of the Amazon River. As we travel further into the Amazon, we will have some stops including one at an animal rescue center. A short walk takes us to a Ceibo tree. In the past, the indigenous people made canoes from the trunks of this tree. In the afternoon you have the option to join a walk through the secondary rain forest admiring and trying natural medicine plants of the Amazon. Or stay at the hotel and relax. (B,L,D)


Termas De Papallacta

We leave the Amazon behind and drive back into the Andes. On the way, we will cross seven climate floors and admire stunning landscape. We will arrive at our hotel which is located in the top of the Andes. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity for a short walk on the moorlands of the Andes admiring the "paramo ecosystem". Later, we will have time to use the hot springs located in front of our cabins. Be mindful that the nights can be cold. But if we are lucky, we will see a sky full of stars. Simply enjoy the evening with your travel companions in our very cozy hotel lodge. Note: The elevation of the lodge is approx. 10,800 feet. Be mindful. (B,D)
After breakfast, we continue to drive further north in the Andes until we reach San Pablo Lake. We check in at the stunning Hacienda Cusin, a restored 17th-century estate which has beautiful gardens that invite you to relax. Most guest rooms are furnished with antiques and select Andean craft, most with log-burning fireplaces and open-beamed ceilings. In the afternoon, we will visit Otavalo with its famous handicraft market. Ecuador's indigenous peoples are well known for their skills weaving textiles into clothes, blankets and traditional outfits for the local residents. And the market has a lot to offer: hats in all styles and colors, musical instruments, leather goods, purses, spices, vegetable, meat, fresh food, flowers, and much more. The market is a festival of colors and interesting fragrances. It’s a great place to do all the holiday shopping. (B,D)

We stay at the stunning Hacienda Cusin

Market in Otavalo - a festival of colors

Indigenous people of Otavalo still wear their traditional clothes.

Many goods are still handmade by indigenous people.

After breakfast, we go to Cuicocha Lake for a nice work. The 2 miles wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano has a beautiful scenery. The name derives from the Kichwa indigenous language and means "Guinea Pig Laguna” because of the guinea pig shape of the largest island in the lake. Later in the afternoon return by coach to the hacienda and enjoy dinner at the hacienda. (B,D)
Today we will drive back to Quito. On the way, we will stop at Cayambe where we will visit the Equator line, called Quitsato. This is a living museum. Here you can hop from the Northern to the Southern hemisphere. We continue to Quito. After checking in at the hotel, we invite you to join our guided city tour of colonial Quito. The city is located only 16 miles south of the Equator and enjoys a year around spring-like climate. People have inhabited the area for more than 8,000 years. But the big change came with the arrival of the Europeans who declared Quito a city in 1541. Today, the city has more than 2 million residents. In 2002 the city started to renew its historical center that is now frequented by visitors from all over the world. (B,D)

Wildlife at the Galapagos Islands

Wildlife at the Galapagos Islands

Early transfer to the airport. After a 2-hour flight to Galapagos we arrive at San Cristobal Island. Board the ship for a 4-night South Islands cruise. The interpretation center is full of interesting information and offers the perfect overview to the formation of Galapagos, its significance in the world, threats and conservation efforts. Followed by a hike to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas) we will have great looks at both species of frigate bird, with the bonus of a beautiful view of the bay below. (B,L,D)
The long, white, sandy beach, lapped by turquoise waters is home to a colony of Galapagos sea lions. The Hood mockingbirds, endemic to this particular island, will be eager to inspect the visitors and satisfy their innate curiosity. Darwin’s finches may also join the throng including the reclusive warbler finch. We can also snorkel here from the beach, in the shallows of the bay. Punta Suarez is a naturalist's paradise. A slew of marine iguanas and sea lions greet us at the landing site from where our walk continues with close encounters of boobies, endemic lizards, gulls and even a dramatic blow hole. The oldest extant island in the archipelago it is our only opportunity to commune with the endemic waved albatross. With luck, we can watch their complex courtship display. (B,L,D)

Wildlife at the Galapagos Islands

Wildlife at the Galapagos Islands

A very short walk from the beach leads us to the famous Post Office Barrel. Claimed to have been first setup in 1793 by Captain James Colnett it remains the oldest functioning post office in the Pacific. The system was that whalers and fur sealers would leave addressed letters in the barrel to be picked up by homeward bound colleagues. On arriving Punta Cormoran, our walk takes us past island-endemic Scalesia plants to a large, shallow, lagoon often inhabited by a variable number of shockingly pink greater flamingoes. We continue through a forest of palo santo trees to arrive at a powdery white beach, a nesting area of green turtles. As we paddle barefoot in the shallow water we will spot diamond stingrays and white-tipped reef sharks. Devil's Crown, an eroded volcanic cone, is home to an abundance of fish and marine animals. We will swim with big schools of yellow tailed surgeonfish, salemas and creolefish and with luck may spot turtles, spotted eagle rays, parrotfish, and even hammerhead sharks! The jagged crown is a roosting area for boobies, noddies, tropicbirds and frigates. Champion Islet: A truly magical place to snorkel. We would expect to see here green turtles, harmless white tipped reef sharks, an impressive diversity and abundance of fish as well as some playful sea lions often approaching very close, itching to show off their prowess in the water. Champion Islet also happens to be the last remaining home of the island-endemic Floreana mockingbird which we may be lucky enough to see from our pangas. (B,L,D)
Once home to the famous Lonesome George, the last tortoise of the Pinta race, the breeding and relocation center is named in honor of his long-time guardian. The center is set in the Galapagos National Park Service where various interpretative buildings are available to visit. The grounds, with large stands of native vegetation are one of the better places to spot some of the seldom seen Darwin's finches such as the woodpecker, cactus and vegetarian finches. In the afternoon, enjoy water activities like snorkeling, kayaking or the glass-bottom boat. Expect to see lots of fish species including king angelfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, damsels, rays and sharks. From the land portion of the visit there will be sea lions and basking marine iguanas with herons and turtles in the mangrove areas. We might even discover some antique ceramic relics left behind by previous settlements. (B,L,D).
At the entry of the Itabaca Channel in a lagoon with turquoise water, sharks, blue-footed boobies, and different kinds of fish can be observed. In the afternoon, we return to Quito. The hotel is located near the airport. We get together for our farewell dinner. (B,D)
Jan 17 QUITO
Guests get ready for their homebound flights. Transfer from the hotel to the airport. (B)
(B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner)
The price includes:
  • accommodation
  • meals as listed above
  • all airport transfers
  • round trip flight to Galapagos Islands (1 checked bag max. 50 lb and 1 carry on max. 17 lb)
  • luggage transportation 1 bag per person in and out at hotels
  • sightseeing as listed above
  • transportation as listed above
  • tax to enter Galapagos National Park (US$ 120 per person)
Package Price: $8,790 per person based on double occupancy

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Price is per person, double occupancy. The itinerary, price, and information are current at the time of publication and subject to change at any time without prior notice. Certain restrictions may apply. Price doesn’t include travel insurance, tips, R/T air from the U.S., drinks, etc. A deposit is due to make a firm reservation. The purchase of travel insurance is mandatory. Flight arrangements can be booked through Kerstin's Deaf Travel. A passport, valid for 6 months beyond the completion date of your travel is required.

Contact Kerstin's Deaf Travel to book your amazing Ecuador & Galapagos Islands tour by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com

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