It all starts here...
Our Galápagos programs are designed to go through Quito in mainland Ecuador. Four U.S. carriers fly into Quito: American Airlines, United, Delta and JetBlue. There are also a number of Latin American carriers to choose from, including LANTAM, Copa & Avianca. If coming from Europe there are flights on either Iberia or KLM.
Upon your arrival in Ecuador, an employee of our associate company, GALAPAGOS TRAVEL PROINVERTUR CIA. LTD, meets you at the airport and takes you to your conveniently located downtown hotel. They will also provide all airport transfer services out of Quito, and are always there to provide assistance and guidance. This includes extension trips in mainland Ecuador.
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is an enchanting city. Flanked by the tall, snow-capped peaks of the Andes, Quito itself is at 9300 ft, yet located almost directly on the equator. On a clear day, as they say, you can see the snow cones of the volcanic peaks, giving the city an air of a mountain retreat. Based on your expectations of a bustling South American city, the serenity and the dramatic setting take you by pleasant surprise. While the population of Quito is over two million, making it the second largest city in Ecuador (Guayaquil is the largest), it has a tranquil small town feel to it (the rush hour and center city traffic notwithstanding). The people, the city, and the setting seem to blend together, all part of the rich artistic and cultural heritage.
The following selected list is but a small representation of the vast number of half-day, full-day, and multi-day mainland tours that are possible. The more time you have, the greater the number of possibilities, including tours of the Andean Highlands, Indian Markets, and the Amazon; from natural history, to bird watching to adventure trips. Speaking of birds, there are nearly 1600 species to be found in this little gem of a country.
One of the delights of Ecuador is the incredible diversity that is found here – diversity in habitats, flora, fauna, cultures… all in a country roughly the size of the state of Oregon. With Quito as your base it is possible within just a couple of hours to be hiking through lush cloud forests, trekking up active volcanoes, birding the high paramo landscape, shopping colorful Indian markets, or even relaxing at a top-rated spa.
With all the major roads radiating out from Quito, the following extension trip options are organized by areas on the compass.
Most tours (excluding jungle and cloud forest lodges, and some adventure tours) are operated by our sister company in Ecuador, GALAPAGOS TRAVEL PROINVERTUR CIA, LTD, and are private excursions for just your Galápagos group. Most include a private vehicle, driver & guide. Many can be completely customized depending on your interests.
While it is possible to book many day tours locally in Quito after your arrival, we suggest booking prior to departure (at times it is impossible to find guides with short notice – in addition the best guides and accommodations tend to book up early). Just give us a call or email for information and pricing.