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We all know what makes a trip to Galapagos the experience of a lifetime. The Enchanted Isles are brimming with flora and fauna species that are unique to the archipelago, not to mention a plethora of activities to explore to your heart’s content. Altogether, it is an expeditioner’s dream. On the other hand, a once-in-a-lifetime trip also means it’s an investment you’re unlikely to repeat, so you’ll want to make it extra momentous.
You can always augment your travel experience by adding activities or days to the tour you’ve booked; you can take it even further by adding destinations. If you’re already on a cruise, exploring the Galapagos Islands, why not see more of them by including another itinerary? Similarly, if you’re already in Ecuador, why not visit the mainland and check out life in some of the other regions of this small yet incredibly dynamic country with impressive coastlines, rainforests, cities, and mountains?
Read on to learn how to expand your Galapagos travel packages and make the most of your time in this one-of-a-kind destination!
The usual route for a trip to Galapagos is to go on a cruise through the Galapagos Marine Reserve and make stops at various visitor sites throughout the islands within the Galapagos National Park. Our fleet, comprised of the Santa Cruz II, Yacht La Pinta, and Yacht Isabela II, sails all week long throughout the archipelago. Each vessel cycles through three itineraries that include one 7-day/6-night and two 5-day/4-night excursions. It is quite easy to remain aboard the same vessel and extend your visit to include two of these back-to-back itineraries, or even all three! You’re sure to find your ideal Galapagos travel package among our fleet!
In a destination with so much to explore in so little time, you may want to see and do as much as you can, but simply relaxing and disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of mainland life can be equally satisfying!
If you’re wondering how to choose the best itinerary, the answer is simple, form your own by combining them!
The most eye-catching and fascinating native and endemic wildlife is included on our Big 15 list of iconic Galapagos species. Some of these only live on certain islands, so, by combining itineraries and visiting different regions of the archipelago, travelers can increase their chances of seeing all of them!
Each expedition vessel in our fleet features a 24/7 onboard medical officer. Menus are designed by our Cordon Bleu-trained culinary director. Also, Galapagos National Park-certified naturalist guides lead small expedition groups of up to 12 guests on all excursions. And, unlike many other Galapagos cruise tours, our site visits within the GNP are exclusive.
A week spent at sea, swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and even trekking across volcanic landscapes can take a lot of energy. While our expedition vessels have every feature necessary to make the trip as relaxing as it is adventurous, there is nothing like visiting an island spa to refresh and recharge after your excursion, especially if it is tucked away amid a beachside oasis.
Do you feel like having a foot massage after all that trekking? Or just soaking away in a hot tub under a beautiful sky? Maybe you want to treat your complexion from exposure to the elements, after an exciting week of sun-filled excursions. Or maybe your body wants to do some light stretching or yoga to loosen some tension? The Finch Bay Spa houses a fully equipped center for relaxation, healthful care, and self-healing, complete with a gym and yoga deck. Spa treatments are designed by globally renowned spa experts Raison d’être. Think of this as the perfect punctuation for your Galapagos expedition.
While gourmet meals aboard our fleet always exceed expectations, a land-based restaurant of authentic Galapagos cuisine at the Finch Bay allows you to enjoy a lovely candle-lit dinner with that special someone in a truly exotic location, surrounded by ocean sounds and a gentle breeze. The experience is even better when you take advantage of daily Ecuadorian ceviche cooking classes. Prepare your own Galapagos-style ceviche with organic produce grown in the restaurant’s own chakrita garden!
For those of you who are not done exploring, the Finch Bay Hotel offers plenty of activities by land and by sea, so you can keep having amazing adventures! Whether you visit one of the island’s giant tortoise reserves, stop by the Charles Darwin Research Station, bike or stroll through the seaside town of Puerto Ayora, or even check out some of the island’s lava tunnels, the Finch Bay’s onsite expedition leader can help coordinate your activities and excursions to these and other exciting sites including plenty of wonderful beaches!
You can even take part in day tours to nearby islands aboard the hotel’s own Sea Lion Yacht, with room for up to 20 guests, accompanied by certified naturalist guides.
If all this weren’t enough, this expedition hotel on Santa Cruz Island has a freshwater swimming pool and is the island’s only beachfront hotel. The Finch Bay is the perfect complement to any Galapagos cruise.
Now that you’ve experienced the Enchanted Isles to the fullest, you’re going to be left wanting more, and mainland Ecuador is only a short plane ride away. The country is known for the diversity of ecosystems found within its territory. With four very distinct regions, this small yet vibrant country has something of interest for everyone. Landscapes vary with the blink of an eye, and culture remains as dynamic as the weather. No matter your passion, be it white-sand beaches, snow-capped volcanoes, lush jungle rivers, and rainforests, or modern bustling cities, you will find what excites you in Ecuador.
For coastal lovers, we recommend a visit to Ecuador’s largest and most vibrant port city, Guayaquil, or the adventureland that is Manabí. If excitement is your middle name, look no further than Baños, the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon, surrounded by waterfalls and plenty of thrilling activities for your pleasure. Perhaps your heart is set on learning all about the fascinating and artistic indigenous cultures of the region? You can always traverse the Andes and visit special locations such as Otavalo with its colorful indigenous handicrafts and exciting markets.
Do the Andes Highlands pique your interest? Why not visit the impressive Cotopaxi Volcano or enjoy the natural mountain hot springs of Papallacta? And if you’re looking for a cool day excursion to the rainforest region, you can visit the lovely towns of Mindo and Tulipe known for their tremendous cacao production, flowing rivers, and charming butterfly sanctuaries. Each of these destinations is sure to satisfy you.
That said, there are two places on the mainland we recommend visiting the most. They are the not-to-be-missed Chocó Bioregion and the capital city of Quito. Respectively, Mashpi Lodge and Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel are the perfect add-ons to Galapagos travel packages, and when combining either or both with your Galapagos tour aboard one of our ships, you’ll automatically be eligible for some great additional discounts.
Deep inside the heart of the Sierra region, a modern glass structure blends seamlessly into the tropical foliage of this privileged and unique spot where cloud and rainforest meet. Welcome to Mashpi Lodge. It is both a luxury ecolodge and a conservation research facility. Guests are invited to go on exciting treks through some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world, as expert guides teach visitors about the reserve’s delicate ecosystems, they also explain how Mashpi plays a key role in serving the local community.
Soar between trees aboard the Dragonfly gondola or climb the viewing tower in the clouds to indulge in some magnificent birdwatching. Hike to refreshing waterfalls and discover how sustainable tourism makes the world a better place by offsetting carbon footprints from travel.
Back at the lodge, relaxation and luxury are on full display, a yoga deck, a hot tub, and a spa are all at your disposal. Of course, an extravagant culinary experience and a full bar with clear views of the surrounding forest also make the trip even more enjoyable. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, with black-out curtains for the most comfortable sleep and relaxing afternoon naps imaginable.
At the very center of South America’s most well-preserved Historic Quarter, a grand mansion-turned exclusive hotel flanks one of Quito’s most renowned squares, Plaza San Francisco. Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel merges the grandeur of centuries past with the modernity of luxury tourism to form an authentic experience of the living, breathing museum that is Colonial Quito. As the only Relais & Châteaux Hotel in Quito, Casa Gangotena leads guests through activities that range from tours of majestic churches and awe-inspiring museums, to tasting traditional hot chocolate and creating your own cocktails. A wedding destination and favorite event venue for many a local, this unique hotel features a brand-new spa, an elegant bar, an orchid-filled atrium, a first-class restaurant, and a prized rooftop terrace. The culinary experience here is aptly named Cocina Mestiza and celebrates the country’s diversity of cultures and traditions, through its abundance of ingredients and flavors.
As far as enhancements go, combining itineraries is just the beginning of a fuller travel experience beyond your trip to Galapagos. Exploring the rest of the country, especially the Chocó and Quito, will take you to some amazing biodiversity hotspots in Ecuador. Traveling across all four regions of this country is truly the best way to enhance Galapagos travel packages.