Highland Odyssey Itinerary

This trip is about seeking adventure and enjoying this gorgeous landscape while connecting to the rural communities of the Andes. 

While there will be many things to do, know that you don't need to do everything! There is plenty of time and flexibility built into this magical adventure! B, L, D indicates whether Breakfast, Lunch and/or Dinner is provided each day.

DAY 1: Arrival to Quito

Everyone arrives! You'll be met at the airport by our guide and transferred to the boutique hotel, Cultura Manor.

DAY 2: Local cuisine and cooking!

After breakfast and introductions we set out for the day and discover a culinary paradise with cookbook writer, chef and nutrition expert Michelle O. Fried who has been living in Ecuador for over a decade. We'll go to local markets, hidden food stalls and end the day with a hands on cooking class and delicious meal. (B,L,D)

DAY 3: Chugchillan Community Engagement

In the morning we make our way to our new destination in the small town of Churchillian.  The drive is around three hours. Upon arrival to the Black Sheep Inn, we'll have time to settle in and eat lunch. After lunch we head out to lend a hand in the local community of Janto. (B,L,D)

DAY 4: Lake Quilotoa Adventure

We'll explore the incredible Quilotoa Lake, which was formed inside of an extinct volcano and provides expansive views of the central Andean valley. Take it slow and easy as the elevation here is 12,800 feet and will require some getting used too. Here, you can choose to spend the entire day hiking the whole crater, or you can opt for a half day, shorter hike. Those who prefer a half day will return to Black Sheep, and can choose from lots of wonderful activities in the afternoon (additional cost) such as a horseback riding, visiting a local furniture shop or relaxing and enjoying the incredible views. (B,L,D)

DAY 5: Volcano Chimborazo

After breakfast we bid farewell to Black Sheep Inn and begin our journey to Chimborazo. On our meandering drive, we cross the backbone of Ecuador, riding along the beautiful Pan-American highway. We pass mountains, volcanoes and vistas out of a dream! At our final destination, the altitude will be an incredible 14,000 feet! (B,L,D)

DAY 6: Alpaca Communities

After breakfast we head out to visit with an indigenous community outside Riobamba. Felipe and Lorena, the owners of Paqocha, will be meeting us. Paqocha is dedicated to bringing back the native tradition of Alpaca keeping and its corresponding arts. We'll meet local women who shear, clean, and spin the gorgeous alpaca fleece and have a chance to participate with them. (B,L,D)

DAY 7: Devils Nose Train-Cuenca

Winding our way down from Chimborazo Volcano, we'll stop and ride the famed Devil’s Nose train, passing through the central Andes. Lunch will be enjoyed in a small local restaurant before we continue our drive to Cuenca, a city famed for its rich history and architecture. We'll celebrate the last evening together with a delicious dinner!  (B,L,D)

DAY 8: Cajas National Park-Explore Cuenca-Airport

After an early breakfast we head to Cajas National Park for the morning. This park is filled with lakes, wildlife, and gorgeous vistas. Lunch will be in a hacienda right outside the park. The group will return to Cuenca and have some time to explore the city before we depart. We then take a 55 minute flight back to Quito in time for return flights to the United States. Those who are traveling on the Galapagos extension will continue to Guayaquil with our driver to meet up with their next group. (B.L)

Galapagos Extension

A 5-day cruise through the Galapagos Islands on the Nemo ll, a first class motor sail Catamaran. Please note that the extension is operated by our well-vetted partner company, Nemo Galapagos Latin Tour CIA LTDA. From this point forward, you will be under their ordinance.

At the end of the Highlands program you will be driven to Guayaquil in the afternoon to stay the night so you can join the Galapagos group the following day. This night, (Saturday) you'll stay in the Hotel Mansion del Rio in the city center. Dinner is on your own. 

DAY 1: Arrival to Galapagos, Baltra-Bachas (Sunday)

Today the group travels to one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world! Early in the morning our driver will bring you to the airport to catch your flight to the Galapagos. Upon your arrival you will have to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of $100 USD per person. Outside, the guides will be waiting for you. Lunch will be aboard your new home, Nemo II. In the afternoon will you'll visit Bachas, a beautiful white sand beach where sea turtles nest. (B,L,D)

DAY 2: Plazas- Santa Fe (Monday)

After breakfast you'll visit South Plaza, the island with the biggest colony of Land iguanas. You can also see Swallow-tailed gulls nesting around the tree tops and red-billed tropicbirds and shearwaters flying with dancing displays. 

In the afternoon you'll visit Santa Fe, an ancient extinct volcano that has been isolated from other islands long enough to have an endemic land dragon. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel here. (B,L,D)

DAY 3: San Cristobal: Brujo Hill - León Dormido - Lobos Island (Tuesday)

Before breakfast, the tour navigates by a dramatic tuff cone formation, Kicker Rock. The eroded structure has vertical walls of over 450 feet and has a great numbers of seabirds nesting and resting on it. The Nemo II will circumnavigate the rock to admire its magnitude. Soon after that, you'll jump in the water to swim with Galapagos sea turtles, and eagle rays and drop offs full of colorful fish and invertebrates.

Lunch and visit of Isla Lobos, here it is possible to find Frigate birds with their magenta and green iridescent feathers decorating the saltbushes. The island is also the nesting ground of blue-footed boobies. Don’t miss the chance of swimming with sea lions; a few sea creatures are as playful as these marine mammals. (B.L,D)

DAY 4: Española: Suarez Point - Gardner Bay - Gardner Islet - Osborn Islet (Wednesday)

After breakfast you will visit Punta Suarez and in afternoon Gardner Bay, both places in Española Island. Punta Suarez is a rocky point of land that sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of seabirds in Galapagos. Along its southern shore, steep cliffs rise up from the sea, for a spectacular view of soaring birds and the famous blowhole. A noisy colony of sea lions and curious mockingbirds greet us as we land on their beach. You will meet a multitude of Blue-footed Boobies, Masked boobies and endemic Marine iguanas with unique traces of red and green soak up the heat from the sun.

In Gardner Bay we find a good spot for swimming and a long brilliant white, powder-sand beach for walking. This site is favored by sea turtles for nesting, sea lions and peaceful walks. Later you will go to Gardner Islet and Osborn islets great places for snorkeling.  Dinner and overnight in the boat. (B,L,D)

DAY 5: Santa Cruz - Baltra (Thursday)

This day you will visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island of the Archipelago and the home of the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park headquarters. Here you will visit the highlands of Santa Cruz, where, there is a big possibility to see the Giant tortoises in the wild style of life at a private farm.

After this visit you will be transferred to Baltra airport to catch your flight back to Quito and connect to your international flight (B)

Sound like the trip for you? We are happy to discuss the details more and answer any  questions (please also see this trip's FAQ).