2024 Ecuador & Galapagos Islands, Return to Paradise

Dates October 11 - 23, 2024
Destination Quito, Ecuador; Otavalo, Ecuador; Mindo Cloud Forest, Ecuador; Galapagos Islands;
Duration 15 days 14 nights
Price From 4,680
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Religious Focus:


Activity Level:

**Fast paced, extensive walking required**

Ecuador and the mysterious Galapagos Islands tour is the bucket list destination for adventurous travelers who want to the explore the best of Ecuador and the Galapagos. Quito is not only a city, it is also a masterpiece of mankind’s creative genius. In 1978 UNESCO recognized Quito as a World Heritage Site. The historic center of the city is the largest and least altered in South America. We visit temples, monasteries and convents with walls and altarpieces covered in gold. The Otavalo Indian Market is the largest and most important in the Americas, this is a typical market where you can purchase textiles, clothes, jewelry, and many hand-made arts and crafts by local communities. Sailing from island to island, is like a return to paradise. Here you can “discover” endemic species, that live only in the Galapagos archipelago.

Morris Murdock Escorted Tours and our Host, Carlos L. Fida will host this program. This is the 11th trip to Ecuador for Carlos in his 45 years of experience traveling in South America.

*While the physical activity on this tour (walking distances) is not significant, the days are full of touring from breakfast to dinner time with "down-time" only in the evening.

To book this tour contact your favorite Morris Columbus Travel Advisor or the Tour Manager below:

Carol Alegre, Tour Manager
Tel: (801) 483-6165
Email Carol

TOUR ID#9224J11

Day 1: Friday, October 11, 2024

Home Cities - Quito, Ecuador

Departure from your home city to Quito, Ecuador. Once we arrive in the international airport of Quito, we will be greeted by our local English-speaking guide, and will transfer us to the Hotel. The transfer drive will take approximately 1 hour and upon arrival at the hotel you will be welcomed by the attentive staff and give you the room keys. Then, our guide will give a short briefing about the next day's activities.

Meals : In-flight
Day 2: Saturday, October 12, 2024

Quito - Otavalo 

This is a great and amazing day! We drive to Otavalo, through the Valley of Sunrise, passing by small villages lost in time where not much has changed from ancient times. Otavalo is one of the biggest and most colorful indigenous markets in Latin America. The market of Otavalo is famous around the world for its colorful tapestries, hand-knitted wool sweaters, native paintings, wood carvings, silver jewelry, and much more, at bargain prices. The people of the area of Otavalo are known as skilled craftspeople and great musicians. We continue our journey and visit the village of Cotacachi, where you can purchase the best articles in leather at bargain price. Overnight will be in a Colonial Hacienda, where Liberator Simon Bolivar stayed.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Sunday, October 13, 2024

Quito - Pinsaqui village - Mitad del Mundo - Cloud Forest

A stop to visit the iconic Middle of the World Monument and the line that marks the northern and southern hemisphere. You can take your picture straddling between north and south hemisphere.

We arrive in Mindo. No other place on earth shows hundreds of species of hummingbirds that could be observed at distance of two feet. Bring your binocular. The lodge is called “Seventh Paradise” It is a “paradise” hidden in the cloud forest. A perfect place to relax, enjoy the pristine forest, and the swimming pool. 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4: Monday, October 14, 2024

Mindo Cloud Forest to Quito

This morning, feast your eyes by seeing hummingbirds and taking pictures. We always offer two optional experiences, ride a zip-line that takes you from tree to tree, through the pristine cloud forest. You could admire the different species of hummingbirds coming to the feeders We also offer an optional visit to a butterfly farm.  Overnight in Quito.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5: Tuesday, October 15, 2024

Quito to Galapagos Islands

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to the mysterious Galapagos Islands. The flight takes approximately two and a half hours. Upon arrival at the Baltra airport, we will be met by Galapagos Element personnel and drive in a bus with other passengers to the Itabaca Channel. Our group sails across the channel and disembark in Santa Cruz Island. We visit one of the private farms and tortoise reserves located in the hills, where giant tortoises wander around freely. You will learn about how these farms help protect the tortoises. At the farm, it is also possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6: Wednesday, October 16, 2024

Seymour Island and Bachas Beach

This is a shared tour. Morning pick- up at the hotel sail to North Seymour Island, where the turquoise waters contrast beautifully with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a red carpet of scarlet Sesuvium Succulents, which serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. During the short hike you can spot yellow-grey land iguanas sunning beneath the cacti, and waiting patiently for prickly pears to fall to the ground. Their favorite meal. Along the coastline you can observe sea lion colonies, frigate birds, Blue footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and waters birds. Afternoon picnic lunch on Bachas beach. 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7: Thursday, October 17, 2024

Santa Cruz Island to Floreana Island

The Element Wind Catamaran will take us to Floreana Island, the smallest inhabited island in the archipelago; population a little bit over 100. The accommodation is on small cabins along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a short navigation. If you are prone to get sea- sick pack Dramamine. During the evening hour, when the sun sets, the horizon is afire with the most vivid yellows and reds you may have ever seen. In 1932, a German family settled the islands. The descendants still live on the island. During the hike to the highlands of Floreana Island, we enter a circled space where tortoises live. We visit an area called Asilo de la Paz, (peace asylum) where the Wittmer family settled in the early 1930’s. After breakfast, a short hike to Lobos Beach. This is another place where you can enjoy a few hours on the beach, snorkeling at your heart content. The beach is not a long extension of sand, but small coves protected by the wind. We will have a chance to visit the local school. I suggest bringing some school materials for the children. More information coming. 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Friday, October 18, 2024

Floreana Island to Isabela Island

Early morning, we sail to Puerto Villamil, the largest town in Isabela Island. After lunch at the hotel At 2:00pm we return to the pier to board a water taxi. We will explore the area to see the black marine iguanas, a very particular specie endemic of the Galapagos. Usually, iguanas are reptiles that live on the sandy grounds. In other islands we will see the land iguanas, which are a yellow whitish color. Be prepared to snorkel in the lava canals, surrounded by rock sharks. When you return home, you can tell your friends and family that you have snorkeled with sharks. 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9: Saturday, October 19, 2024

Isabela Island

This morning the adventure will take us to see the second largest volcano crater in the world, after the Ngorongoro crater in Africa.  The Sierra Negra volcano offers a spectacular view of the Isabela Island. The caldera is also the shallowest of all the volcanoes that form Isabela Island. All the islands are part of extinct volcanoes. Some of them have luscious vegetation that serves as a protection for birds and other species.

The afternoon tour will take us to the wetlands and the tortoise breeding center. Here we see the gigantic tortoises from birth to maturity. The “Humedales” or wetlands cover a great extension. This is the place where we see flamingos and many other birds populating the shallow waters and trees.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 10: Sunday, October 20, 2024

Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island

A three-hour sailing on the Element Wind, takes us to Santa Cruz Island and to the Ikala Hotel. Along the way, we navigate around Tortuga Island. The cliffs of the island serve as a breeding ground for blue footed boobies, the Nazca masked boobies, frigate birds, dolphins and hopefully whales. Free time to explore Puerto Ayora and do some shopping. Afternoon, visit the Darwin Research Center where we learn about the endemic species and its adaptation to the environment. Free time. Lunch on your own, You may like to enjoy a fine lobster lunch, or anything you prefer. 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Monday, October 21, 2024

Santa Cruz Island to Quito

This is our last day in the Galapagos Islands. After breakfast, we make two stops on the way to the airport. We have scheduled a visit to Rolando’s workshop. Rolando will demonstrate how tortoises, seals, blue footed boobies, and other birds are carved. It is a perfect place to buy souvenirs. The second stop is going to be at a small coffee and sugar cane plantation, we will learn how the sugar cane juice is made into a drink.  Bring cash to pay for your purchases. I am sure you will spend money shopping for souvenirs at Rolando’s Afternoon flight to Quito. Transfer to the hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 12: Tuesday, October 22, 2024


Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is one of most beautiful colonial cities in South America and was declared by UNESCO as part of the Cultural Heritage of mankind. We will explore the colonial area by walking along the cobblestone streets. Our tour starts in the heart of the city: Independence square, with the presidential palace, the city hall, and the Cathedral. We will walk and visit La Compañía Church, dating back to 1605, with its breathtaking gilded altars, it is one of the finest examples of baroque art in America. We continue to the San Francisco convent, built in 1535. From this point we drive up to the Panecillo hill, for an amazing view of Quito from above. Here we can admire the only winged-Virgin statue in South America. This is a great spot to take pictures above Quito. At the end of the tour we return to the Swiss hotel for a few hours of rest, before our departure home.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 13: Wednesday, October 23, 2024

Quito to U.S.A.

Return to your home city.


To Book This Tour, Contact:

Carol Alegre, Tour Manager
Tel: (801) 483-6165
Email Carol

TOUR ID#9224J11

CASH DISCOUNT of $100.00 for final payment by check

Meals : In-flight

Price includes:

  • 1 tour-bus experience for the entire tour
  • Small group experience (20 maximum capacity)
  • Roundtrip transfers to ship and airport
  • Experienced tour manager
  • Navigation on board of the First-Class Yacht Catamaran Galapagos Element Wind
  • English Speaking guides & Galapagos naturalist guide
  • Sightseeing as outlined on the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the itinerary-Daily breakfast
  • 11-night accommodations in moderate to first class hotels
  • Travel documents & Digital travel App
  • Tips for guides and drivers

Price does not include:

  • International round trip flights to Quito 
  • Round-trip Air Ticket to Galapagos: $ 600.00
  • Airport transfers for those not arriving/departing with main group
  • Galapagos Islands National Park Fee: $100.00 pp
  • Transit Card fee: $ 20.00 pp
  • Single Occupancy: $ 5,860.00
  • Meals not included on tour
  • Additional nights or sightseeing tours not included
  • Beverages on cruise
  • Items of a personal nature (room service, phone calls, internet, etc.)
  • Medical Coverage and Travel Insurance

Optional Pricing:

  • Double Occupancy - $4,680 per person
  • Single Occupancy - $5,860 for private room

Payment information:

  • Deposit due at time of booking $500 per person
  • Final payment due July 12, 2024
  • CASH DISCOUNT of $100 per person available! Inquire for more details!