Galapagos Islands & Quito, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands provide a window on time. In a geologic sense, the islands are young, yet they appear ancient.
- More about your oliver guide: Stacey Silver
- Trip type: Family, Beach, City, Mountains
- Activity level: moderate
- Ideal length of trip: TWO WEEKS- 10 DAYS FOR GALAPAGOS AND A FEW DAYS IN QUITO AND SURROUNDING TOWNS (+ 1 FULL DAY OF TRAVEL ON EITHER END) .
to & from
From the West Coast fly through Miami or Houston to Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador. Spend the night and then take a plane to Galapagos where you board your ship.
Where to Stay
- For the Galapagos, I recommend a sea-based tour. We spent a week with National Georgraphic/Lindblad and the accommodations were perfect. The guides are very knowledgable and great with kids. You have access to many of the more remote islands in the Galapagos.
- In Quito, I recommend Casa Gangotena located in the heart of old city Quito (a Unesco World Heritage City). The hotel is a converted hacienda with with elegant rooms, a beautiful atrium where they serve high tea and a delicious restaurant.
Where to Eat and Drink
- In Quito, great sushi at Noe Sushi
- Cedron in Casa Gangotena - classic Ecuadorean dishes with modern twist
- Ceviche - served with popcorn and corn nuts! Shrimp ceviche is Ecuadorean specialty.
- Snack on the fried plantain chips!
What to Do
- Snorkel amid sea turtles, quirky penguins, and playful sea lions; observe decades old giant sea tortoises; discover marine iguanas (that only exist in the Galapagos).
- Meander along the cobble stone streets of Old Quito and visit Baroque Style churches from the 16th century.
- Visit a master weaver and see how the magic happens on the loom.
- Visit the volcano in Cotopaxi - a beautiful snow capped volcano outside Quito.
- Marvel at the gold interior of Iglesia de La Compania de Jesus - built by the Spaniards when they settled in Quito.
- Enjoy the views of Quito and take the cable car Teleferico Quito to view the city from above
- Taste some of the world's best chocolate at Pacari in Quito.
Bring an extra duffle bag for the Otavalo market – you will want to bring home blankets and scarves for everyone!
Visiting the Virgin del Panecillo and the small tacky stands around it. Wait until Otavalo to buy all your goods!
For more info on the Galapagos by boat, check out Caren Orum’s guide.