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020 7263 3000

Galapagos Solaris (7-Day) + Cuenca & Avenue of the Volcanoes

Nizag, Andes, Ecuador
Homero Ortega Hat Factory, Cuenca, Ecuador
Blue footed booby, Galapagos Islands
Panoramic view, Quito, Ecuador
Bartolome, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Solaris Yacht, The Galapagos
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Marine Iguana sunbathing
Incl flights, accommodation & transfers
From   £7349 £6849
16 days

Holiday highlights

  • Visit Quito, the colonial capital, & Guayaquil, its commercial hub.
  • Traverse the Avenue of the Volcanoes and meet the Nizag community.
  • Walk the cobbled streets of Cuenca, Ecuador’s most beautiful city.
  • Discover the Galapagos Islands, earth's most exceptional wildlife destination.
  • Sail aboard the comfortable 16-berth Solaris motor yacht on a week-long cruise.
  • Click here to see all 5 Solaris holidays.

View this Itinerary in Photos

  • Fly from UK to Quito, the elegant capital of Ecuador situated high in the Andes at 2,800m, close to the famous ‘middle of the world’ equatorial line. You are met at the airport and escorted to your hotel.

    Meals included: Meal included on the transatlantic flight.

  • Explore Quito or leave the city behind on a choice of excursions into the picturesque Ecuadorian countryside.

    Our optional full-day Otavalo excursion takes you two hours north of Quito, past volcanoes, lakes and mountains, to the old market town of Otavalo, where you can shop for crafts in the colourful market. The excursion also includes a visit to a bird sanctuary, where you can see condors and different species of birds of prey, and to a workshop in Peguche where traditional Andean instruments are made. Return to Quito in the late afternoon.

    If you are more interested in nature and wildlife then the optional full-day Bellavista Cloud Forest excursion is for you. The day begins with an early two-hour drive from Quito to the Bellavista Lodge, stunningly located high in the lush Ecuadorian cloud forest. Spend the day exploring the trails around the lodge, where you can see waterfalls and hummingbirds. Arrive back in Quito in the late afternoon. The Bellavista Cloud Forest excursion can be extended to 2 days, allowing you more time to explore the area.

    For a more luxurious cloud forest option, choose the two-day Mashpi Lodge excursion, with all meals and activities included. 

    Alternatively, take the optional two-day Quilotoa Volcano Hike excursion, for a chance to discover Cotopaxi Volcano, have lunch in a fantastic hacienda with original Inca walls, and hike for 10 kilometres around the rim of the turquoise Quilotoa lake, before visiting a traditional community en route back to Quito.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch is included on the Otavalo and Bellavista excursions. All meals are included on the two-day excursions.*

    *To do any of the two-day excursions, you may need to extend the length of your holiday.

  • Spend the day getting to know Quito. See the best of this fascinating city on our half-day optional Colonial Quito excursion, which takes you from the summit of Panecillo Hill, where there are magnificent views of the city, to the iconic main square and Plaza San Francisco. Also visit the church of La Compañia, with its ornate gold-leaf interior.

    Read our blog to find out what to expect on the Colonial Quito excursion.

    Alternatively, venture out into the beautiful countryside on our optional Bellavista Cloud Forest excursion. The full-day excursion begins with an early two-hour drive from Quito to the Bellavista Lodge, stunningly located high in the lush Ecuadorian cloud forest. Spend the day exploring the trails around the lodge, where you can see waterfalls and hummingbirds. Arrive back in Quito in the late afternoon. The Bellavista Cloud Forest excursion can be extended to two days, allowing you more time to explore the area.

    For a more luxurious cloud forest option, choose the two-day Mashpi Lodge excursion, with all meals and activities included. 

    Alternatively, take the optional two-day Quilotoa Volcano Hike excursion, for a chance to discover Cotopaxi Volcano, have lunch in a fantastic hacienda with original Inca walls, and hike for 10 kilometres around the rim of the turquoise Quilotoa lake, before visiting a traditional community en route back to Quito. 

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch is included on the Otavalo and Bellavista excursions. All meals are included on the two-day excursions.*

    *To do any of the two-day excursions, you may need to extend the length of your holiday

  • You drive south of Quito, passing the majestic Cotopaxi volcano, to the town of Latacunga. After visiting the interesting local market, carry on to Chimborazo National Park, driving to the refuge at 4,800m on the highest mountain in Ecuador. You can take an optional walk up to the second refuge at 5,000m. After lunch in a spectacularly set lodge on the volcano slope, continue to Riobamba, capital of the Chimborazo Province.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch is included in a restaurant on the journey to Riobamba.

  • Depart in the early morning from Riobamba, heading south, passing through the beautiful countryside of patchwork cultivated fields dotted with traditional villages. You stop to visit Cajabamba, where the local community will accompany you to the quinoa plantations to learn about this vital Andean staple. From here, continue on the beautiful road to Cuenca, stopping for lunch at a lovely hacienda next to the Ingapirca ruins, the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador which were once used by the Cañari people as an observatory. After visiting the ruins, continue to Cuenca, arriving in the late afternoon. Ingapirca ruins are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so on these days, a visit to the nearby Inca Coyoctor ruins is included instead.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch at a restaurant en route to Cuenca.

  • Today explore the pretty and welcoming city of Cuenca on a short morning tour. This includes a visit to a Panama hat factory, to dispel the myth that this famous head gear comes from Panama. Enjoy a free afternoon to relax in the city, perhaps people watching in the plaza in front of the beautiful cathedral, or popping into some of the small galleries and craft shops. 

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel

  • Depart Cuenca for the Cajas National Park, one of Ecuador’s most impressive paramo wetlands. A jagged landscape of rocky peaks, grasslands and crystal clear streams, the park is home to over 150 bird species. Take a hike on one of the park’s many nature trails, walking through a polylepis forest, one of the oldest tree species in the world. Afterwards continue the drive down to the coastal plain, stopping for lunch at a cocoa plantation and then enjoying a tour of the farm, learning about the process by which cocoa is made into chocolate, and of course, tasting the final product. Continue to Guayaquil, Ecuador's biggest city, arriving in the late afternoon.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch at a cocoa farm on the journey to Guayaquil.

  • Fly to the Galapagos Islands, famous as inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. This archipelago off Ecuador’s west coast is home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world, as your cruise will help you discover. Board the Galapagos Solaris motor yacht, your home for the next six nights. In the afternoon, set out for your first excursion to the beautiful Bachas Beach. The sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favourite nesting site for sea turtles. You can sometimes swim off the beach here. There is a small brackish water lagoon behind one of the beaches, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos, black-necked stilts and whimbrels.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. All meals are included during the Galapagos cruise.

  • Start the morning with a visit to the Tintoreras, a group of small islands in front of Puerto Villamil, the capital of Isabela Island. Galapagos penguins and sea lions can often be seen on the shore and white-tipped reef sharks are common in the area. Another highlight of the area is the breeding colony of marine iguanas. After lunch, explore the wetlands close to Puerto Villamil, known for swamps and mangroves which support migrant bird populations. End the day at the giant tortoise breeding centre in Puerto Villamil.

    Meals included: All meals are included during the Galapagos cruise.

  • Explore Punta Moreno, a desolate and pristine landscape of impressive black lava flows with great views of Alcedo and Sierra Azul volcanoes. You can sometimes swim and snorkel here. This area is home to Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves, penguins, blue-footed boobies and mockingbirds and there is a lagoon with flamingos. In the afternoon, you will enter the Bolivar Channel and then take a tour by zodiac along the cliffs at Tagus Cove, an old pirate hideaway where flightless cormorants and other sea birds are often present, before walking up to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking Darwin Lake and several volcanoes.

    Meals included: All meals are included during the Galapagos cruise.

  • Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and Espinoza Point is located at the northeastern tip of the island. As you disembark on the dried lava, be careful not to step on the marine iguanas piled up together to retain body heat. This area is rich in wildlife with sea lions, flightless cormorants, penguins, herons and Sally Lightfoot crabs living side by side. After lunch, return to Isabela Island and take a panga ride to Punta Vicente Roca, during which you will see impressive geological formations including a large cave and volcanic tuff cones. The cliffs are home to a variety of nesting birds, including blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, storm petrels, and noddy terns. The calmer waters near the cave are a popular area for sea turtles so this is a great place for snorkelling.

    Meals included: All meals are included during the Galapagos cruise.

  • Visit Espumilla Beach, home to a palo santo forest and a popular site for nesting marine turtles. There is also a large population of Sally Lightfoot crabs, which attract hunting herons. There is a great place for snorkelling nearby with an abundance of marine life including octopuses, moray eels, and sharks. After lunch, continue to Puerto Egas, a long, flat, black shoreline where eroded shapes form caves, lava pools and inlets which are home to a large variety of wildlife. It is a great place to see colonies of basking marine iguanas and fur sea lions can often be seen in the inlets.

    Meals included: All meals are included during the Galapagos cruise.

  • Start the day with a visit to Rabida, a unique island with red rocks and sand. The beach is often full with sea lions, and there are good snorkelling opportunities. Follow a trail to a coastal lagoon which is home to a colony of flamingos. For your afternoon excursion, navigate to Chinese Hat, a little island shaped, as its name implies, like a Chinese hat with fascinating lava tunnels and flows. Sea lions, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins make their home here.

    Meals included: All meals are included during the Galapagos cruise.

  • Morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos, to see the work done in the conservation of the islands. A series of walkways takes you through the captive breeding program where you will see juvenile and adult tortoises from different islands and also the final resting place of the late Lonesome George, the very last of his species. Land Iguanas are also bred here. Then transfer to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city located in the tropical lowlands.

    Meals included: Breakfast on the Galapagos Solaris.

  • Depending on your flight time, perhaps spend a pleasant morning strolling across the riverfront promenade or doing some last-minute souvenir shopping in the artisan markets. Then transfer to the airport for your overnight flight to the UK.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Meal included on the transatlantic flight.

  • Your flight arrives in the UK in the late morning or afternoon.

Extend Your Holiday

See some exciting extension options to your holiday. Click below for more information.

Galapagos Island Stay Extension

from £379

Peru extension

from £1149

Accommodation

Accommodation in Quito

Reina Isabel

Included
Facade, Reina Isabel, Quito, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
77%
77%
Service
80%
80%
Location
64%
64%

Standard Hotel: This 100-room hotel is located in the Mariscal district of Quito, with many restaurants and bars nearby. There is a restaurant, a bar, a small gym and sauna. The rooms are spacious with good en-suite bathrooms and free WiFi.

Why stay here: This hotel is a good base from which to explore Quito, close to lots of restaurants. The rooms are large and attractive.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, a bar/lounge area, gym and full spa service.

• The hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, a tour information desk, luggage storage and laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have free WiFi, air conditioning/heating, a TV, a telephone, a coffee maker (on request), a safety deposit box, a minibar, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available

Standard room

Casona de la Ronda

£150
(£90 Single Supplement)
Facade, Casona de la Ronda, Quito, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
89%
89%
Service
90%
90%
Location
88%
88%
Llama favourite accommodation

Boutique Hotel: This 22-room hotel is well located on the pedestrian La Ronda street in the historic centre. The hotel is located in an old colonial house, with a good restuarant and great views of the old town. The rooms are comfortable with good en-suite bathrooms.

Why stay here: This is a very well-restored colonial house, with a lovely wooden central patio. The rooms are beautiful and, unusually for colonial buildings, the rooms are outward facing rather than into the central patio, so are bright. The location of the La Ronda street is great as there is often lots going on.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant and a bar, an outdoor terrace area and a cosy lobby with a fireplace.

• The hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage, shops on site and laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning, WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a coffee/tea maker, a mini bar, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available

Swiss Business Advantage room
 

Swissotel

£75
(£75 Single Supplement)
Exterior, Swissotel, Quito, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
89%
89%
Service
89%
89%
Location
78%
78%

Superior Hotel: This 250-room hotel is one of the top hotels in Quito, with five restaurants, a spa, indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, a fitness centre and 13 treatment rooms. The large, comfortable rooms are well appointed with good en-suite bathrooms and WiFi is available for a fee. The hotel is located in one of Quito’s most prestigious areas with excellent shopping nearby.

Why stay here? This is an excellent hotel with all the comfort you would expect from a top city hotel.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas for a fee.

• There are two bar and lounge areas, five different restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines, an indoor and outdoor pool, tennis courts, a gym, a full working spa with a steam bath and jacuzzi.

• The hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage, laundry facilities and dry cleaning. There is also an ATM/cash machine on site.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning, WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a coffee/tea maker, a mini bar, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available

Standard room

Accommodation in Riobamba

Abraspungo

Included
Exterior, Hacienda Abraspungo, Riobamba, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
85%
85%
Service
81%
81%
Location
65%
65%

Standard Hotel: This spacious 42-room hotel, located just outside of Riobamba, is built in the style of a colonial hacienda. Rooms are spacious with good facilities with en-suite bathrooms and free wifi. There is a restaurant and a bar.

Why stay here? This ia a comfortable hotel with large pleasant gardens which is perfect for a one night stop.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, a garden and an outdoor terrace area.

• The hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, a tour information desk and laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have free WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a safety deposit box and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available 

Superior room

Accommodation in Cuenca

Victoria

Included
Hotel Victoria, Cuenca, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
75%
75%
Service
83%
83%
Location
95%
95%

Standard Hotel: This 23-room hotel is located in the centre of Cuenca, and has an attractive garden overlooking the river, and there is a restaurant and a bar. The rooms are comfortable with en-suite bathrooms and free wifi.

Why stay here? As the hotel is close to the centre of the Cuenca, it is very easy to explore the area. The gardens are a nice place to relax.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, a bar/lounge area, a snack deli and an open air courtyard.

• The hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, a tour information desk, luggage storage and laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning, WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a mini bar, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available

Standard room

Santa Lucia

£50
(£50 Single Supplement)
Corridor, Santa Lucia Hotel, Cuenca, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
89%
89%
Service
83%
83%
Location
99%
99%

Superior Hotel: This 22-room hotel, only two blocks from the main square of Cuenca, is a built in a beautiful historic mansion. The rooms are comfortable with en-suite bathrooms. There is a good restaurant and bar, and free wifi in the public areas.

Why stay here? This hotel is full of character and charm, and the central courtyard is lovely. Most rooms have windows to the interior courtyard, so there is not much natural light in the rooms.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, a bar and a café/snack bar. There is are also gardens and a sun terrace.

• The hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, a tour information desk, luggage storage, a gift shop and laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have free WiFi, heating, a TV, a telephone, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms. All rooms also have outdoor seating areas.

Room types available

Standard room

Accommodation in Guayaquil

Hotel Unipark

Included
Facade, Hotel Unipark, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
77%
77%
Service
74%
74%
Location
87%
87%

Standard Hotel: This well-located hotel looks onto a park, and is one block from the cathedral and 3 blocks from the promenade on the river. There are eateries in the hotel, a gym and the comfortable rooms have air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms.

Why stay here? This hotel has a great location and very comfortable rooms, making it a perfect base for exploring Guayaquil.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, cafe and sushi bar, and a gym.

• The hotel offers room service and laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have free WiFi, air conditioning, a TV, a safety deposit box, a mini bar, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available

Standard room

Wyndham Hotel Guayaquil

£90
(£90 Single Supplement)
Wyndham Hotel, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
75%
75%
Service
76%
76%
Location
84%
84%

Superior Hotel: Situated minutes from the Santa Ana Hill and the Malecon 2000 promenade, this modern high rise hotel overlooks the River Guayas. Accommodation is modern and spacious, and all rooms are en-suite with wifi, digital safes.

Why upgrade: This hotel boasts extremely comfortable rooms in a modern style. There are complimentary perks and the location is very convenient.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available free of charge

• Restaurant and a bar

• 24 hour front desk with bilingual staff

• Rooftop pool, as well as a spa and fitness center on site

About the room

All rooms are ensuite with free wifi, digital safes, mini-bars and satellite television. Most rooms have river views.

Room types available

Deluxe room

Accommodation in Bellavista cloud forest (optional excursion)

Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge

Optional Excursion
Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve & Lodge, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Ratings
Overall
85%
85%
Service
94%
94%
Location
94%
94%

Standard Lodge: The 21-room Bellavista Lodge is located high in the cloud forest at 2,200 metres, from where there are amazing views. The lodge is in the Tandayapa Valley, where over 330 species of birds have been identified. Accommodation is in either the dome or in one of the attractive adjacent buildings. Rooms are simple, but have electricity and hot showers. All meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the second day are included at the lodge.

Why stay here? The cloud forest is beautifully atmospheric and a great place for bird and nature enthusiasts. Spending a night here allows you to explore more of the trails surrounding the lodge, which range from easy to challenging. You also have a better opportunity to spot the 16 species of hummingbird which visit the lodge and can be seen at close range at the feeders.

Read our customer's blog to find out what to expect at Bellavista

Lodge facilities

• Meals are served in the lodge restaurant, which has panoramic windows.

• Drinking water is provided.

• The lodge offers a laundry service.

About the room

Heaters and extra blankets are available and rooms have en-suite bathrooms with hot showers.

Room types available

Standard room

Upgrading to a suite room is possible for an extra cost

Accommodation in Mashpi Lodge (optional excursion)

Mashpi Lodge

Optional Excursion
Exterior, Mashpi Lodge
Llama Travel Customer Ratings
Overall
86%
86%
Service
93%
93%
Location
90%
90%

Superior Lodge: The Mashpi Lodge is a sleek, modern hotel designed to make you feel like you are one with the tropical cloud forest surroundings. En-suite rooms all boast floor to ceiling windows, with views of the cloud forest and mountains. There is WiFi, and all meals and soft drinks are included at the on-site fine dining restaurant, and tasteful lounge and bar areas, as well as a spa. There are also numerous activities available at the lodge, from the intriguing sky bike, where you pedal your way across the top of the forest on a cable, to the dragonfly, a relaxing cable system that allows you to enjoy the forest from above.   

Why stay here?  The setting here is second-to-none, with the lodge immersed in the tropical cloud forest, and rooms boasting great views. Furthermore there are so many ways to get to know the forest from the guided nature walks to the unique sky bike.

Hotel facilities

• All meals and soft drinks included

• Fine dining restaurant

• Spa

• WiFi

• Observation tower

• Sky bike & Dragonfly open-top cable car

About the room

All rooms boast fantastic picture windows, en-suite bathrooms with luxury amenities, WiFi and safe deposit boxes.

Room types available

Wayra room

Upgrading to a Yaku Suite is also possible for an extra cost

About the vessel: Solaris motor yacht

  • A spacious comfortable motor yacht
  • Great value for an 8-day cruise
  • No single supplement for single cabins

The Solaris is a spacious tourist superior class motor yacht carrying 16 passengers in eleven cabins on the upper and main decks. There are good sized social areas with an indoor dining area, a passenger lounge with a TV, a bar and a sundeck with reclining chairs. The comfortable cabins have lower berths, a desk, air conditioning and private bathrooms with hot showers. All cabins have a sea-facing window so you can enjoy ocean views. On the main deck there are five single cabins and one suite with a queen size bed and single bed, and on the upper deck there are two double suites and three suites with a queen size bed and single bed. Double suites have a queen size bed and a double sofa bed. The queen beds are fixed and cannot be separated, so twin arrangements are with one queen bed and one single bed. As there is no single supplement for the single cabins, the price is the same if you have a double suite and single cabin rather than a triple cabin, or even a twin rather than two single cabins. There is an eight-man crew and an experienced naturalist guide.

Cabins

  • 11 cabins (5 suite cabins on upper, 5 single cabins & 1 suite on main)
  • 4 suites have a queen bed and a single bed, so can be triples
  • 2 suites have a queen bed and a sofa bed so can be used for a family of 4 with 2 beds
  • All cabins have a window with a seaview
  • All beds are lower berths
  • Private bathroom with hot water
  • Air conditioning
  • 110V sockets

Social Areas

  • 1 uncovered sun deck and 1 fully shaded outdoor deck with loungers
  • Indoor dining area
  • Lounge with flat-screen TV
  • Bar

Crew

  • 8-man crew
  • English-speaking certified naturalist guides

Snorkelling equipment and kayaks

  • Snorkelling equipment is included
  • Wetsuits available for hire (US$25 per person on the 5 day cruise, US$40 per person on the 8 day cruise)

Technical Specifications

  • Fiberglass construction
  • 34 metres (109ft)length
  • 7.6 metres (24ft) beam
  • 1.45 metre (4.75ft) draft
  • 10 knots cruising speed
  • 3 x 420 HP Hyundai marine motors engines
  • 2 Deus generators 75 KVA each
  • 110V electric power
  • VHF & HF radios
  • Eco Sonar
  • Radar with a 24 mile reach
  • Satellite navigation system
  • 2x 2 way radios
  • 3 internal communication radios
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
  • 2 fully equipped rubber life rafts
  • Alarm system with fire and smoke detectors
  • Anti-fire system
  • Life jackets and fire extinguishers
  • Satelite telephone

Life On board

A buffet breakfast is served from about 7am, before you prepare for your first excursion of the day. As the yacht sails at night, you are already close to the island that you will be visiting. At about 8.30am, the passengers on board will gather with the guide and board the pangas for the short trip to the island. You will have either a wet or a dry landing, and then explore the island. The guide will explain the flora, fauna and geology of the island as you walk. As each island is different, each excursion will focus on different aspects of the Galapagos Islands. After you have explored the island, you will sometimes have an opportunity to snorkel off the beach, depending on the visitor site. This may be snorkelling with sea lions, tropical fish, or even with marine iguanas and penguins.

You return to the Galapagos Solaris in the late morning, for a shower and change before a buffet lunch is served. After lunch, you will sail to the next island, and you will have time for a rest, or maybe to look out for dolphins or frigate birds from the deck.

At around 3pm, you will again take a panga ride for your second excursion of the day. You return to the yacht in the late afternoon, where you have time for a drink before dinner as the guide explains the itinerary for the next day. After a buffet dinner, you can relax in the lounge or on deck. The yacht will usually sail at night to make sure you arrive at the next island early the next morning.


What's Included

All our holidays include flights from the UK; transfers and hotels in Quito and/or Guayaquil; flights to the Galapagos Islands; Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100; Galapagos transit card fee of US$20.

The Galapagos Solaris cruise includes all transfers in the Galapagos; all meals on board (breakfast, lunch and dinner), drinking water, tea, coffee; all excursions in the islands led by an English-speaking certified naturalist guide. There are zodiac boats for wet and dry landings.

Snorkelling equipment is included. Wetsuits are available for hire. Alcoholic and soft drinks are available for sale on board. Tipping the boat crew and guide is usually well deserved, and expected. About US$18-23 per passenger per day is suggested (approximately US$12-15 for the guide and US$6-8 for the crew).


Excursions

Excursions Package

Ecuador Bellavista Cloud Forest 2 Excursion Package Save £16

Take the Colonial Quito and Bellavista Cloud Forest excursions together for a discounted price.

from £219

Colonial Quito

£95
La Ronda, Quito, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
83%
83%

Discover Quito's colonial heritage on this half day excursion through the city’s most historic sites. Stroll through the Plaza San Francisco, admire the gold leaf interior of La Compañia church and stand alongside the famous statue of the virgin atop Panecillo hill, and take in the wonderful views of the city and surrounding volcanoes.

Read our blog for a first-hand account of what to expect on the Colonial Quito excursion. 

Full Description:

This half-day guided excursion begins in the morning with a trip to the 3,016 metre-high Panecillo hill (little sugarloaf), which offers fantastic views of Quito stretched out below, gloriously bordered by rising volcanoes. Then descend into the city and visit Quito’s main square, where you can admire the cathedral with its striking sugar white tower, the former archbishop’s palace and the historic arcade of the working presidential Carondelet palace, with the Ecuadorian tricolour proudly waving on top. After exploring the square, the tour moves to the church of La Compañia; Quito’s most impressive church with an overwhelmingly ornate gold-leaf interior and an elaborate façade carved out of volcanic rock. This church is the first and best example of Latin American baroque architecture. Next visit Plaza San Francisco, another landmark of Quito, which has been a regional market since pre-Columbian times; nowadays it houses flocks of city pigeons. The square takes its name from the Church and Convent of St. Francis, one of Quito’s most iconic buildings. Moving from a former market to a current one, visit La Ronda, perhaps the most authentic and representative street of the historic centre. In this narrow pedestrian street with its galleries, bars and local flavour you can find a selection of traditional market stalls and visit artisanal workshops.
 
Please note on Sundays, this excursion takes place in the afternoon.

Otavalo

£160
Otavalo Market, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
77%
77%

Visit a traditional crafts market and learn more about Ecuadorian life away from the city on this full-day excursion from Quito. Buy souvenirs in the market town of Otavalo amidst beautiful countryside, see behind the scenes at a local workshop which makes Andean instruments and visit a bird sanctuary home to condors and birds of prey.

Full Description:

The tour begins with a drive north from Quito, making a brief stop as you cross the equator, and continuing to a bird sanctuary, where you can see majestic condors and various raptor birds. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant in Peguche before visiting  an artisan project in the town which provides an insight into the culture of the Otavalo people. Otavalo is known for its tapestries and here you can learn about the weaving process from start to finish, as well as seeing a typical indigenous house, complete with a medicinal plant garden. The next stop is the Andean instrument workshop, followed by a drive to the Otavalo market, commonly known as the best indigenous market in all of Ecuador. Officially known as the Plaza Poncho daily crafts market, you can pick up souvenirs like pan flutes and the iconic, traditionally woven textiles. The town of Otavalo is not particularly attractive in terms of its architecture, but it is set in beautiful countryside close to San Pablo Lake and overlooked by the Imbabura volcano, which is affectionately known as ‘Taita’ ('Holy Father mountain') by the indigenous people, and plays an important role in many local legends. After exploring the market and browsing for souvenirs, you take a 90 minute journey back to Quito, arriving in the evening.

Bellavista Cloud Forest

£140
Birdlife, Bellavista Cloud Forest, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
85%
85%

The spectacular private reserve of Bellavista Cloud Forest protects several hundred hectares of mysterious fairy-tale cloud forest; full of ferns, lichens, bromeliads, orchids, waterfalls and hundreds of species of birds. Hike through the myriad nature trails and watch as tiny hummingbirds gather at the feeders and flutter through the landscape on this beautiful full-day excursion.

Read our customer's blog to find out what to expect at Bellavista

Full Description:

You leave Quito early and are driven through spectacular scenery. After two hours, you arrive at the Bellavista Lodge, high in the cloud forest at 2,200 metres, from where there are amazing views. After breakfast, take a guided walk to explore the forest and look for birdlife. You then have the rest of the day free to explore at your own pace. Enjoy the area around the lodge, where the feeders attract up to 16 varieties of hummingbirds, which can be seen at close range. Alternatively, follow the self-guided trails, which offer the chance to get to know the ecology and birds of the cloud forest. You leave Bellavista in the afternoon, getting back to Quito in the late afternoon. This excursion includes breakfast and lunch at the lodge. Note: heavy rain is not unusual and the paths around the lodge can be slippery. The last part of the drive to Bellavista is on a bumpy, unmade road.

Bellavista Cloud Forest (Two Days)

£260
(£40 Single Supplement)
Toucan Barbets, Bellavista Cloud Forest, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
85%
85%

Spend an unforgettable night at the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve on this two-day excursion, staying in a rustic lodge at the very edge of the cloud forest. Hike through the nature trails that crisscross the reserve and watch the sunrise and the mist lift from the valley below as the magical forest comes to life. You are in the cloud forest at dawn and dusk, the best times for bird watching.

Read our customer's blog to find out what to expect at Bellavista

Full Description:

If you would like to explore the cloud forest further, our two-day excursion includes a night at the Bellavista Lodge. You leave Quito after breakfast, getting to Bellavista mid-morning. As you have almost two full days at the lodge, you have more time to explore some of the longer, more adventurous trails, perhaps visiting one of the four beautiful waterfalls at Bellavista. One guided walk is included on each day, and you can then follow the self-guided trails from the lodge. Horse riding in the area is also available for an extra cost.

You return to Quito in the evening of your second day at Bellavista. All meals from breakfast on the first day to lunch on the second day are included at the lodge. You will check out of your hotel in Quito for this night. On some occasions, this excursion will extend your itinerary in Ecuador: an extra cost will apply in this case.

 

Quilotoa Volcano Hike (Two Days)

£329
(£50 Single Supplement)
Quilotoa Lake, Ecuador

Spend two days getting to know Ecuador’s volcanoes, volcanic crater lakes and Andean communities. From Quito, visit the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano, standing proudly at a height of 5,897 metres. Have lunch in San Agustin Hacienda, built on the site of an Inca fortress with well-preserved original Inca walls, then continue to the iconic Quilotoa Crater to settle into your hotel and watch the sunset over the lake in the enormous caldera. The following day, hike all the way around the lake, then visit the indigenous community of Tigua to discover their handmade masks and paintings, before returning to Quito in the evening.

Full Description:

In the morning, get picked up from your hotel in Quito and drive for two hours along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Cotopaxi National Park. The symmetrical and glaciated cone of Cotopaxi Volcano makes it one of the most prominent peaks in the entire Andean range. After admiring the beautiful views that Cotopaxi has to offer, continue to the historical San Agustin de Callo Hacienda for a delicious local lunch, with views of the surrounding peaks. Nestled in the foothills of Cotopaxi on the site of an Inca fortress, relics of the hacienda's history still remain, including the original Inca walls which have been preserved and carefully blended with the more recent architecture. The central courtyard showcases the Inca and colonial Spanish styles side by side, and entire rooms from the original palace still exist, including what is now a chapel and the main dining room. Then, continue to Quilotoa to settle into a local hotel. Like all accommodation in Quilotoa, the hotel is basic, but well situated for spending a night before a trek around the lake. Climb to the viewpoint and watch the ever-changing colours of the water of the lake in the giant crater, which stretches across three kilometres, as the sun sets over the lake, then have dinner at the hotel.

The next morning, have an early breakfast then begin your 10-kilometre hike around the crater, with incredible views of the surrounding countryside and the different hues of the turquoise lake several hundreds of metres below you. Pass locals on the trail walking home and perhaps hear villagers playing drums in the valleys. A packed lunch is included for you to eat when enjoying the views of the lake. En route back to Quito, stop to visit Tigua, a traditional village where the indigenous community create beautiful paintings and masks which you can buy as a souvenir. You arrive back in Quito in the late evening.

The trek is of moderate difficulty, but due to the high altitude and sun, a good level of fitness is required. If you would like to take the excursion alongside other excursions from Quito (e.g. the Bellavista Cloud Forest or Mashpi Lodge), you may need to spend an extra night or two in Quito.

Mashpi Lodge (Two days)

£699
(£500 Single Supplement)
Hummingbird, Mashpi Lodge, Choco Cloud Forest, Ecuador
Llama Travel Customer Rating
86%
86%

This Mashpi Lodge excursion provides a luxurious alternative to the two day Bellavista Cloud Forest excursion and takes you deeper into the cloud forest. Located on the Mashpi Reserve, 110 kilometres north of Quito, the Mashpi Lodge is nestled amongst tropical rainforest. During your stay all meals, guided activities, like birdwatching, nature walks and rain gear are included. Spend one night and two days getting to know the forest and its inhabitants.

Full Description:

Set off on a transfer from your hotel in Quito in the morning, and travel approximately 3 hours north to the 1300 hectare Mashpi Reserve. Once there, settle into the incredible lodge surroundings and explore the forest.

Mashpi allows you to aquaint yourself with the tropical cloud forest at all levels. The observation tower provides a magnificent bird's eye view of the reserve, while the unique sky bike gives you the oppportunity to pedal your way along a cable suspended above the trees. There is also the option to take a ride on the Dragonfly open air cable car, an experience which is available at an extra cost. Getting to know the cloud forest at ground level is just as intriguing as it is from above, and guided nature walks will introduce you to the life forms which call the forest home.  There are also lectures - particularly interesting as Mashpi is a conservation research organisation too. At the end of a hard day exploring, enjoy a meal of Ecuadorian influenced cuisine, in the chic on-site fine dining resaurant. 

Situated at an altitude of nearly 930 metres, the tropical cloud forest bursts with spectacular flora. Bromeliads, ferns and endangered orchid species are found in abundance, and with them a host of birds and animals. The reserve is home to over 400 bird species, 35 of which are endemic, as well as plenty of amphibian, reptile, and monkey species. 

Certain activities are included during your time at Mashpi, and all meals, served at the on-site fine dining restaurant, are also included. 

On your second day, you have an early start from the lodge to observe the different species of birds that flock close to the hotel in the early morning light. Enjoy a walk down the road looking out for the fascinating mixed-species feeding flocks, sometimes in a single flock you can see over 20 different species. After breakfast, perhaps take a hike to the 50-metre-high Copal waterfall on a beautiful trail surrounded by moss-covered trees, bromeliads and orchids. The walk takes 2 hours, after which you return to the lodge. You depart the lodge at approximately 11.30am and return to Quito, arriving mid-afternoon. A packed lunch is provided. 

It is possible to extend your stay to a 3 or 4 day programme, please ask us for details.

Extensions

Galapagos Island Stay Extension

from £379

4 days Extension

After your cruise or Galapagos tour, why not spend a few extra days in the Galapagos? With so much to see, both wildlife and landscape-wise, you may like a little extra time to enjoy this unique corner of the world, or to relax in a beautiful location and absorb all of your Galapagos experiences.

After your cruise or island stay, we offer the opportunity to spend a further three nights in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. 

The Galapagos Suites hotel is situated in the town itself. It is a small establishment with comfortable rooms and friendly service. It offers light and airy en-suite rooms with private balconies or patios, and air conditioning. Within easy walking distance of the Charles Darwin Research Station and the town centre, it is easy to make your way to the bustling harbour area or find a good restaurant.

If you have any questions regarding a Galapagos Island extension, or would like to spend more than three additional nights in the Galapagos, please ask us for details.

 

Peru extension

from £1149

8 days Extension

Combining the natural wonders of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with the majesty of Peru and Machu Picchu is a very attractive option, and we have put together a seven day extension to Peru that you can add to the end of your stay in Ecuador.

This combines two nights in Lima, on the Pacific coast, with five nights in Cusco, ancient capital of the Inca Empire. From here, you can visit the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas and take a breathtaking trip to Machu Picchu, lost city of the Incas, set in stunning mountain scenery. Staying in Cusco, you can experience ancient cultures, wonderful scenery, lively festivals and colourful markets. There is also hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting and even hot air ballooning possible.

Itinerary

Day 1 Lima Flight from Guayaquil or Quito to Lima (1 night).

Day 2 Cusco Early morning flight to Cusco, transfer to your hotel. Afternoon free (5 nights).

Day 3 Cusco Join the optional Inca Cusco excursion to explore the Inca sites in and around this historic city.

Day 4 Cusco Take the optional Sacred Valley excursion, visiting the famous market in Pisac and the incredible Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo.

Day 5 Cusco or Machu Picchu Take the optional excursion to Machu Picchu, which starts with a magical train ride, followed by a guided visit to the ruins. Evening return to Cusco or spend a night here and return the following day. Alternatively, take the Short Inca Trail excursion to Machu Picchu.

Day 6 Cusco Free day in Cusco. Get to know Cusco better, revisit the Sacred Valley or perhaps try one of the many adventure sports on offer.

Day 7 Lima Morning flight to Lima. Afternoon free. Go shopping in fashionable Miraflores, visit the Archaeological Museum or try one of the city’s many excellent seafood restaurants (1 night).

Day 8 Afternoon transfer to the airport for an overnight flight to the UK.

Day 9 Arrival in the UK.

Your itinerary may vary from this suggestion, as some excursions are only available on certain days.

 

Hotels

Lima Hotels

Casa Andina Select - Standard Hotel
A well-located hotel in Miraflores with a restaurant, bar and gym. The comfortable rooms have air conditioning and good en-suite bathrooms.

AC Miraflores by Marriott - Superior Hotel
This 139-room hotel in Miraflores has ocean views and excellent facilities including a European-style bar, rooftop restaurant, cocktail lounge and café. Rooms are stylish and well appointed, featuring luxury bedding and elegant bathrooms.

Cusco Hotels

Los Portales - Standard Hotel
Located opposite the Inca Temple of the Sun, this comfortable hotel has a restaurant and bar. The rooms are simple but comfortable, with en-suite bathrooms.

Casa Andina Premium - Superior Hotel 
This 94-room hotel is located three blocks from the main square. The beautifully restored colonial mansion has lovely public areas and a good restaurant. The comfortable rooms are around the three interior patios.

Hotel Aranwa - Superior Hotel 
An elegant 16th century colonial house with a beautiful central patio. Good restaurant and bar. The 43 rooms are very comfortable and well appointed with oxygen systems.

Machu Picchu Hotels

Hotel El Mapi by Inkaterra - Standard Hotel
A good 48-room hotel, located on the main street of Aguas Calientes. The hotel reception is constructed from recycled materials. There is a restaurant, bar, a small garden and hot tub. Rooms are comfortable with en-suite bathrooms and free wifi.

Machu Picchu Pueblo - Superior Hotel
A beautiful, rustic-style hotel set in 5 hectares of tropical gardens and orchid trails. The 85 rooms are located in small clusters in the hotel grounds and have en-suite bathrooms. There is a small outdoor pool, spa and free wifi in the common areas. The price includes a good dinner and a guided nature tour.

Sanctuary Lodge - Superior Hotel
This 31-room hotel, located just outside the ruins, is the closest hotel to Machu Picchu. There is a small garden and the views of the surrounding mountains are wonderful. The rooms are comfortable with en-suite bathrooms, and free wifi. Mountain View rooms are available for a supplement. All meals are included.

See more of Peru. Llama Travel offers an extensive range of holidays in Peru. If you are interested in also visiting other parts of Peru, please ask us for details.

If you are interested in adding an extension to Peru, please get in touch with us for more details.

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Prices include

Return flights from the UK; any internal flights; accommodation (bed and breakfast except where indicated); transfers; service of guides and local reps, UK airport taxes.

Prices do not include

Any optional excursions, travel insurance, tips.

Holidays without international flights

The above prices include return international flights from the UK. If you wish to arrange your own flights, we will reduce our prices accordingly. The reduction depends on when you travel, please call us for details.

Departure Airport

Flights are scheduled to be from London. Other airports may be possible, although a supplement sometimes applies.

Holiday Information

All the practical information you need regarding your trip is found here. From how to prepare before you leave and travelling to your destination, to advice on travelling within your country of choice.

About Your Holiday

  • In many cases, the best way to describe our holidays is flexible tours, so you can choose where to visit by combining different extensions and excursions, and which hotels to stay in. In most cases, you will be with other Llama Travellers, but not necessarily the same people throughout. This allows you to get to know like-minded people, but not have to spend all your time with the same group. If we don't have anyone else taking a particular part of a holiday, we will normally operate this just for you.

    In some cases, we operate more traditional tours, with the same Llama Travel group travelling together for the majority of the holiday, which allows land travel from one location to another. This is particularly the case for our European tours, and in this case we may have a minimum number of travellers required to operate the group.

    Excursions are usually taken together with other Llama Travel customers in groups of no more than 18 people. If we have more than 18 booked, we operate two groups. These will usually be in English, although in some places, especially on wildlife excursions, the excursions may be operated by one of our local partners, so you may be with people other than Llama Travel customers and the group may be a mix of English and other languages. In these cases, group sizes can sometimes be larger. If you would like to know the likely situation for your holiday, please ask us and we will be able to check. Transfers may be with more than 18 people.

    We get a wide range of people taking our holidays, with probably the largest group being couples aged in their forties to sixties, or even older. However, we also have a large number of customers in their twenties and thirties, especially for some of the more active holidays. What unites everyone is a sense of curiosity and a desire to discover new cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Although most of our customers travel with friends or family, we also have quite a few single travellers who are happy to mix and match as described above.

    Group Size
    Most holidays can operate with a minimum of 2 passengers, but some holidays have a higher minimum group size. If we have fewer than the minimum number of passengers, we will let you know two months before departure. In this case, we will refund you any monies paid or offer you an alternative option. It may be possible to operate the trip for fewer than 4 passengers for an additional cost.

    All holidays in Europe have a minimum group size of 4 passengers, except Iceland which has a minimum group size of 6passengers.
    All holidays in Namibia or South Africa have a minimum group size of 6 passengers.
    All holidays in Kenya have a minimum group size of 4 passengers.
    All holidays in Costa Rica and Mexico have a minimum group size of 4 passengers.

  • Prices listed are per person and based on two persons sharing a room and include all flights from the UK and within destination, service of guides and reps (please note that tips are not included), accommodation and all transfers and excursions listed in the itinerary. Where applicable, entrance fees, taxes and charges are included in our prices at the rates advised to us at the time of preparation. An adjustment will be made to your price if any of these change before your holiday. UK airport taxes are included.

  • All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

    For holidays not including any flights, financial protection is provided through IPP: https://www.llamatravel.com/ipp-protection

Booking Conditions

How To Book

  • To book a holiday or discuss your requirements, please call us on 020 7263 3000. We can usually confirm availability immediately, but may need to check with a supplier first.

  • You can pay your deposit by bank transfer, cheque, standard UK debit card or non-premium UK personal Visa / MasterCard credit card. Balance payments can be made by bank transfer or cheque. We do not accept cards for balance payments. We are unable to accept cash.

Before You Go

  • To issue some tickets, we require passport details and ages when you book. If you subsequently change your passport, please let us know as soon as possible.

    Latin America

    Visas are not required in advance for British citizens for any Llama Travel Latin American destination. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the appropriate consulate.

    If you are flying via another country, especially the US, you need to comply with the appropriate immigration requirements. Please ask us for details.

    You need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum period needed if you are transiting in Europe.

    There is an entry fee to enter Chile for citizens of Australia, the US, Canada and some other countries which must be paid upon arrival. There is also an entry fee for US and Canadian citizens visiting Argentina, which must be paid in advance online.

    If children are not travelling with both parents, some countries require a letter of consent to enter or depart. Please consult the appropriate consulate.

    Africa

    British nationals can enter Morocco, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana for a visit of up to 90 days without a visa. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the appropriate consulate. You need a passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. For South Africa, you need a passport with two blank pages.

    For Zimbabwe, British nationals will be granted with a KAZA Univisa (valid for travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia and day trips into Botswana) visa, for a fee (US$ 50 per person, paid in cash). This is easiest to obtain upon arrival at the airport or border post, rather than via an agency in the UK. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask Zimbabwe consulate. You need a passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK.

    For Kenya, British nationals require a visa, which must be obtained online in advance, and for which there is a cost. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the e-visas website. For more information, see the website of the Kenya High Commission. Children aged 16 and below do not require a visa to enter Kenya. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the Kenya consulate. You need a passport with two blank pages, valid for six months after your return to the UK.

    If children are not travelling with both parents, some countries require a letter of consent to enter or depart. Please consult the appropriate consulate. In South Africa and Namibia, children under 18 must also carry an unabridged birth certificate.

    You need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum period needed if you are transiting in Europe.

    To issue some tickets, we require passport details and ages when you book. If you subsequently change your passport, please let us know as soon as possible.

    Asia & the Middle East

    To visit Jordan, you need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. You will need a visa to enter Jordan. The Jordan visa is included in the price of your holiday. On arrival in Amman our representatives will meet you prior to immigration and this will be provided to you free of charge. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the Jordanian consulate.

    All visitors to Sri Lanka, including British nationals, require an electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), which must be obtained online in advance, and for which there is a cost. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the ETA website. For more information, see the website of the Sri Lanka High Commission. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the Sri Lanka consulate. You need a passport with two blank pages, valid for six months after your return to the UK.

    All visitors to India, including British nationals, require a visa, which can be obtained online in advance, and for which there is a cost. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the e-visa website. For more information, see the website of the India High Commission. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the India consulate. You need a passport with two blank pages, valid for six months after your return to the UK.

    Visitors from 13 countries, including the UK, can travel to Vietnam visa-free for stays  up to 15 days. For stays longer than 15 days, a visa is required at a cost. This can be applied for online on the e-visa website. Stays longer than 30 days are not permitted. You need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the Vietnamese consulate.

    To visit Cambodia, a visa is required at a cost. This can be applied for online on the e-visa website. You need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the Cambodian consulate.

    Europe

    You need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum period needed.

     

  • In many destinations, you can arrange adventure activities, either through Llama Travel or through Llama Travel. If you are interested in taking any of these, please make sure you are covered by your travel insurance.

  • Some countries have strict regulations regarding the entry and exit of children under 18 when not travelling with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting. If you are travelling with children who are not entering or leaving the country with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting, please contact the consulate of the country you are visiting to check requirements.

    Countries in Africa have particularly strict requirements regarding children travelling, and in both South Africa and Namibia, children need to carry an unabridged birth certificate. Additionally, in Namibia, adults travelling with children where they are not the biological or legal guardians of those children, should be in possession of an affidavit statement from the child’s parents giving consent for their travel.

    Such requirements do change from time to time, and although we try to keep abreast of such changes and update this information, if you are travelling with children, we suggest you check current requirements carefully.

  • You will receive tickets approximately 10 days before departure, along with information on accommodation, transfers and excursions. Our agents in destination will give you final details for hotel and excursions when you arrive. Please check airline tickets carefully in case timings have changed after we issued your confirmation.

  • Cards are widely accepted in most hotel and restaurants, and cash machines are common in most destinations. However, when travelling to remote areas, it is advisable to take cash, as it is difficult to withdraw or change money. Travellers cheques are no longer widely used, so it may be inconvenient to take these.

    It is always recommended to inform your bank that you are travelling abroad and to which countries. This will allow them to authorise money withdrawals from your account when you are away. Some banks say that this is not necessary, however we would still recommend contact with your bank as in some cases people have had difficulty in withdrawing currency.

    More information on the situation regarding money, budgeting and tipping in specific countries is in the country information below.

  • Adequate travel insurance is essential. We do not sell or recommend any specific policy, but good medical insurance should cover medical evacuation and repatriation. If you are going to be taking part in any activity, please ensure your policy covers you for this, especially if this involves high-altitude trekking, such as the Inca Trail.

When Your Are Travelling

  • Most people who travel to the countries where Llama Travel operates experience no problems on holiday. However, as is the case anywhere in the world, crime can be a problem, especially in large cities. Tourists can appear attractive targets to criminals. To minimise the risk, use common sense. Do not display signs of wealth, such as expensive looking jewellery or cameras. Avoid empty streets, especially on your own. Take a taxi after dark. By taking sensible precautions, you should have a trouble-free holiday.

    Each country has its own standards for health and safety, but these are often not as good as in the UK. We take this into account when selecting hotels and request that they comply with all local regulations, but cannot guarantee that these are equivalent to British standards. Please take reasonable precautions to protect yourselves whilst on holiday, e.g. by locating fire exit routes.

    Please also check the Foreign Office travel advice for the countries you are visiting at www.fco.gov.uk.

  • Attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travellers around the world can be very different from those in the UK.

    In Latin America and Europe, attitudes can sometimes be more conservative than in the UK, but there are not usually problems.

    In some African countries, including Morocco, Zimbabwe and Kenya, same sex relationships are illegal and conservative attitudes prevail. However, hotels and lodges do not discriminate and same sex couples can share rooms. In much of Africa and the Middle East, public displays of affection may attract negative attention, especially with LGBT couples, although the majority of people are friendly to visitors, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation. In South Africa, the authorities have introduced legislation which bans any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    In most of Asia, attitudes to same sex relationships can be conservative, but there are not usually any problems. In Sri Lanka, same sex relationships are illegal, but hotels do not discriminate and same sex couples can share rooms.

    The UK Foreign Office has information LGBT travel on their travel advice for individual countries, found at www.fco.gov.uk.

  • For all wildlife excursions, please always follow the instructions of your guide, both for the animals’ welfare and for your safety. Staff are experienced at dealing with wildlife, but by their nature, excursions involving exposure to wild animals will always carry some risk.

    If you take a safari in Africa, you will be with an experienced guide at all times, who is usually unarmed. All of the game drives run according to schedule, although unexpected delays can occur, which the guide will deal with as quickly and safely as possible. Being in the wilderness means that the environment is unpredictable, so the unexpected can happen. For any excursions taken on foot, there will be a safety briefing to inform you of the possible dangers.

Health & Fitness

  • Please consult your GP or a travel clinic about health and vaccination requirements. Advice for travellers is available at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

    When travelling, stomach illnesses are not uncommon due to changes in diet. We suggest you only drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you are unsure if salads and fruit have been washed in purified water, it is best to avoid them.

    If you suffer from a disability or condition and are worried whether this will affect the enjoyment of a holiday, please call us. We will do our best to help. We recommend that you bring any medicines you require from the UK.

    If you have any health problems on holiday, please speak to our local agents or hotel staff. They will arrange for a doctor or hospital if necessary. If you do experience any problems, please seek appropriate medical attention.

    Outside of major cities, medical facilities can be basic, meaning a lengthy transfer if hospital attention is required.

    Latin America

    Yellow fever and / or malaria precautions are recommended for visiting the jungle, Iguazu Falls and some parts of Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. Yellow Fever certificates are sometimes required if you have recently visited a country with an infected area. Children under 6 require proof of vaccination against polio to enter Brazil. Some GPs do not recommend yellow fever vaccinations for travellers over 60 years old. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, please speak to your GP about zika. Please seek medical advice before you travel.

    Parts of South America are at high altitude. Most visitors do not suffer major problems. However, shortness of breath is common and we advise you to take things calmly during your first day at altitude. If you suffer from a heart or lung condition, or think that you may suffer due to the altitude, please consult your GP.

    Africa

    Malaria precautions are highly recommended when visiting the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the north of Namibia, including Etosha, Botswana and Kenya. Yellow Fever vaccination is highly recommended for Kenya. Travellers entering many African countries, including South Africa and Kenya Africa, coming from a yellow fever zone must have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Some GPs do not recommend yellow fever vaccinations for travellers over 60 years old.

    Asia

    Malaria precautions are not usually advised when visiting the areas that Llama Travel offers in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam or Cambodia, although malaria is present in some other parts of these countries. If you have visited a country with yellow fever recently, you will usually require a valid yellow fever certificate to enter. Please be aware that Dharamashala in the Himalayas in India is at a moderately high altitude, so we recommend you take things calmly during your first day at altitude. If you suffer from a heart of lung condition, or think you may suffer due to the altitude, please consult your GP.

  • For most of our holidays, age is not a concern. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required, as most holidays require some walking, sometimes on uneven ground. Even relatively mild activities can be strenuous at altitude. High altitude trekking is more strenuous than an equivalent length walk at low altitude.

Getting There

  • Depending on the route and the airline, if you would like to break your journey to or from your final destination, and add a stopover to your holiday, this may be possible. Please ask us for information.

  • If you are interested in arranging your own international flights, this is sometimes possible. Please ask us for details of this and any discount we can arrange for removing international flights. Please do not book your flights until we have reconfirmed all services with our suppliers and you have checked the confirmation invoice.

  • All people transiting in a third country need to make sure they comply with any immigration requirements for that country.

    This is especially the case when in transit in the US when flying to Latin America. In this case, you must comply with US immigration requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with these requirements before you travel. Failure to do so may result in you being denied boarding on your flight to the US and, at best, a last-minute and probably expensive re-routing avoiding the US. It is important, therefore, that you follow these procedures carefully.

    If your flight to Latin America involves a stop in the US, you will be subject to US immigration control upon entry to the US. If you qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program, you are able to avoid the need to apply for a visa, but still need to enter your details online on the US State Department website. If you do not qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program, you must apply in person at a US embassy for a US visa. Please make sure that you do this in good time.

    If you are a UK citizen and have a UK passport, you may qualify for visa-free travel. You will require a machine readable passport to qualify for the ESTA Visa Waiver Program (so you do not require a visa to enter the US). A machine readable passport has the holder's personal details (name, date of birth, nationality and passport number) contained in two lines of text at the bottom of the photo page. This appears as two lines of letters, numbers and chevrons (">>>>>") printed across the long edge of the photo page. It must be also include an integrated circuit chip capable of storing the biographic information from the data page, a digitized photograph and other biometric information.

    Please note, holders of passports indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, a British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen or British Protected Person do not qualify for travel without a visa. A passport which states that the holder has Right of Abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK does not quality for visa-free travel.

    If you have visited certain restricted countries, including Cuba, you may not qualify for visa-free travel.

    If you have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, or if you have a criminal record, you will need a visa.

    If you have any doubts about whether you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, please check with the US embassy. Full details can be found on the US embassy’s UK website at: http://london.usembassy.gov/vwp3.html

    Many European, Australian and New Zealand passport holders also qualify for the Visa Waiver Program as long as the passport is machine readable and complies with the relevant criteria. Please see the US embassy website for a list of countries which qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. It is important that you check the website of the US Embassy in the country of passport nationality for any further changes before you travel.

    Details of the ESTA Visa Waiver Program can be found on the US State Department website at

    https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov.

    In addition to the Visa Waiver Programme, the US Transportation Security Authority requires anybody flying through the United Sates to supply specific passenger information prior to their international flight.

  • Air fares vary from date to date and between airlines. Our holidays are scheduled to use the most advantageous air fare. You can choose which airline you prefer, we will let you know if a supplement is payable. Levels of onboard service and facilities, such as entertainment, vary by airline and route. Please ask us for details. Flights are sometimes operated by another airline in the appropriate airline alliance.

  • Many airlines offer the option of flying from regional airports in the UK, avoiding the need to make your own way to London. Due to the timing of flights, in some cases this may involve an overnight stop in London or another intermediate airport. There is usually a supplement for regional departures. Please note that most of our flights depart from London.

  • You can upgrade to business class or premium economy on most airlines. Call us for prices for the route and airline you are interested in.

    Premium Economy

    Some airlines offer Premium Economy cabins, which provide more comfortable seats which recline further and have more legroom. There are better meals and a bar service.

    Other airlines offer standard economy class seats with extra legroom for an additional cost.

    Business Class

    Many airlines have long-haul business class cabins with seats that convert into full flat beds and often have a privacy screen.

    Business Class within Europe is often similar to economy class seating, but with better meals, and middle seats are often left empty.

  • Most scheduled airlines have a baggage allowance of 23kg per passenger for international flights, but internal flight allowances can be less. Exact limits can be found on airline webpages. Please bear this in mind when packing, as carrying excess baggage will normally incur an expensive additional cost payable at check in. Additionally, certain excursions have a limited baggage allowance. Where this is the case, we will advise you in advance. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the delay, loss or damage of luggage.

    There may be additional luggage restrictions for specific countries. In this case, details of this will be in the country information below.

  • Many airlines now charge a fee to select your seat prior to checking in for your flight, even when travelling in premium economy or business class. Alternatively, you may choose your preferred seat free of charge when online check-in opens 24 hours prior to departure or at the airport. Please ask us about the options available at time of booking.

    We all want a comfortable journey, particularly on long haul flights. If you would like a seat with some extra leg room or a larger recline please let us know. Airlines have introduced a range of “economy comfort” seats that may be purchased in advance. In some cases, these seats may only be purchased online directly with the airline once Llama Travel has issued your ticket approximately 30 days prior to departure.

    For internal flights, and for connecting flights in Europe, it is usually only possible to select seats when you check-in online or at the airport.

                        

    It may not be possible to always use online check-in systems, especially when using a codeshare flight. On occasion, your preferred seat may be changed by the airline for operational reasons such as a change of aircraft or to facilitate a disabled passenger on the day you fly and as such, Llama Travel cannot guarantee specific seats.

Travelling in Galapagos & Ecuador

  • All hotels include breakfast, and other meals are included on some tours and excursions. However, generally, you will need to arrange your own lunches and dinners. We recommend budgeting approximately US$15 – 20 for a meal, although many restaurants have excellent value set lunches for less than this. Hotel restaurants, especially in superior hotels, can be more expensive, as can meals in restaurants on the Galapagos Islands. Additionally, there are some upmarket restaurants in cities where you should expect to pay up to US$50 per person, or possibly more. However, these still offer excellent value for money compared to equivalent restaurants in the UK.

    Bar prices on the mainland are similar to the UK, or slightly cheaper, and a small bottle of beer usually costs around US$2-3 in a hotel bar. Wine, particularly imported wine, can be quite expensive. On Galapagos boats, bar prices are usually higher than on the mainland, particularly for wine.

    We find that many people take advantage of the excellent crafts markets in and around Quito, so please allow for this if you are likely to buy such items. The prices vary significantly depending on the quality of the items, and detailed crafts can be expensive.

  • Quito has many good restaurants with a wide range of national and international cuisine. Many of the best restaurants are located in the new town. Ingredients from the jungle, the Andes and the coast allow for an interesting mix of dishes. Sometimes, traditional restaurants are only open from noon to 3pm.

    Although it does not have as many options as Quito, Cuenca has a good variety of restaurants and cafes serving both local and international cuisine. The locals are fond of sweet food, particularly ice cream, and there are many good cafes near the main square catering for this market. There are also a number of restaurants in central Guayaquil and on the promenade, although many of the best restaurants are located in the malls and entertainment centres away from the centre.

  • In Quito, daytime temperatures tend to be around 20°C and night time temperatures around 10°C. The weather in the Avenue of the Volcanoes, Riobamba and Cuenca is similar to Quito. Temperatures in the jungle and Guayaquil tend to be hot and humid year round, although cold snaps are also possible. Therefore, a variety of clothing, suitable for warm and cooler weather is advisable. Rain is possible throughout the year, so waterproofs are also recommended. Insect repellent is advisable, especially for the jungle, the Bellavista cloud forest and for the Galapagos Islands.

    Sturdy footwear is advisable for the Galapagos Islands, as some paths can be rocky and uneven. If you are visiting the Bellavista cloud forest, the trails can be muddy and sometimes they are slippery. Therefore, please take appropriate footwear.

    The hottest months in the Galapagos Islands are usually December – May, when temperatures can rise above 30°C, although it tends to be wettest then. Sea temperatures are also at their warmest, around 25°C (although the temperature can vary significantly between different islands). From June – December, temperatures are usually cooler (around 25°C), but it rains less. It is often misty at this time of year. Sea temperatures also tend to be cooler, around 20°C. Dress on board the cruise boats is informal, so formal dress is not required.

    Electricity in Ecuador is 110V, and plugs are of the flat two-pin type.

    Having a copy of your passport with you at all times is recommended.

    Please bring any medication you may require from the UK.

  • The official currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. Travellers should take US dollars and not UK sterling, which is not widely accepted in any form. Credit and debit cards (both Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted) can be used in many shops and restaurants, and can be used to withdraw money from cash machines. It can be difficult to use dollar notes which have even the smallest tear. Some places do not accept US$100 bills, so it is best to take smaller denomination notes. When travelling to some of the more remote areas (e.g, the jungle), it is advisable to take cash, as it is difficult to withdraw or change money. If taking travellers cheques, a high commission may be charged. Some hotels do not change travellers cheques so you may need to change them in a bank or exchange shop, therefore, please bear in mind opening hours.

    It is always recommended to inform your bank that you are travelling abroad and to which countries. This will allow them to authorise money withdrawals on your account when you are away. Some banks say that this is not necessary; however, we would still recommend contact with your bank as in some cases people have had difficulty in withdrawing currency.

    On most small boats in the Galapagos, you can only pay in cash. Some larger boats also take credit cards.

  • If you receive good service, you may want to leave a tip. This is completely at your discretion. For general excursions, if you want to tip guides, US$2 – 3 per person per day is usual if you are in a group. Approximately US$1 is usual for drivers or transfer staff. As tipping is not necessarily normal in restaurants, please give any tips directly to the person you would like to tip to ensure that they get it.

    Tipping your Galapagos boat crew and guides on board is expected and is usually well deserved. For yachts up to 16 passengers, and the Hotel Finch Bay tours, approximately US$15 – 20 per person per day is recommended. For larger yachts, US$23-25 is normal.

    If you would like to tip your guide in the jungle, approximately US$10 per person per day is recommended. This is divided between the guides and the staff.

About the Galapagos

  • The Galapagos Islands are in the Pacific Ocean 1,000km west of Ecuador. Flights to and from Quito take 3 hours, with a brief stop in Guayaquil.

  • The Galapagos can be visited year round and wildlife can be seen all year. Between January to May the weather is hotter, but wetter, and the sea temperature tends to be warmer. During this time the average daytime temperate is between 27-31°C and the sea temperature is around 25°C. June to December is drier, but cooler. The average daytime temperature ranges between 21-26°C and the sea temperature is around 21°C. It is often overcast at this time of the year, especially in July and August. The seas around the Galapagos tend to be fairly calm all year around, however the choppiest time to visit is around September. Some birds are only present at certain times of the year; if you would like to see a specific bird, please ask us for details.

  • •Lightweight clothing, including shorts and t-shirts. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers are useful on board as there is air conditioning.

    •Swimming costume.

    •Sandals and trainers.

    •Prescription snorkelling mask if required.

    •A sun hat.

    •Waterproofs (a plastic poncho is often the best thing).

    •Sunglasses.

    •Binoculars/camera gear.

    •Water bottle.

    •Sun cream and insect repellent.

    •Day pack for island excursions.

    •Ear plugs for night-time sailing.

    •Biodegradable soap and shampoo are provided. If you would like to use your own, please ensure this is also biodegradable.

    Read our blog to find out what to pack for the Galapagos. 

  • The Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100 and the transit tax of US$20 are included in all our holidays. 

  • All boats Llama Travel works with have excursions carried out in small groups (maximum 16 passengers) led by a naturalist guide.

    Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining area, and drinking water, tea and coffee are provided. There is also a bar service available.

    Electricity onboard is 110V and plugs are of the flat two-pin type. There are small safes in each cabin or in the captain’s cabin. There are no hairdryers in cabins on most boats.

    Smoking is not permitted inside the boats and is only permitted on deck.

    Dress on board is informal on all boats.

  • Itineraries are fixed by the Galapagos authorities and usually cannot be varied. However, these are subject to change by the park authorities at short notice and can be affected by local conditions, airport closures or other factors. The activities at each site specified in the itineraries may vary and will be determined by the guide. Some longer cruise itineraries are made up of 2 shorter cruises, and so some guests may start or end their cruise on these changeover days. On all cruise itineraries, you visit a range of different islands, allowing you to see the land and marine animals and birdlife. The Finch Bay itinerary includes visits to several visitor sites in the central islands.

  • All guides in the Galapagos Islands are registered with the National Park. All Llama Travel holidays include experienced naturalist guides who speak English.

  • For many people, the highlight of the visit to the Galapagos is snorkelling among the sea life, including sea lions, turtles, penguins, rays and sharks. Snorkelling equipment is available for rent,
    or you can take your own. If you need a mask with prescription lenses, it is best to get this before you leave. Wetsuits are also available for hire. Please ask us if you are interested in hiring a wetsuit. If you do not want to snorkel, it is sometimes possible to remain on the beach on the island. However, at some sites visited on cruises this is not possible, in which case you will stay on board your boat.

  • You explore the visitor sites, seeing the wildlife, flora and geology at very close quarters. Most excursions require some walking, often on rocky and uneven surfaces, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. To reach the islands it is necessary to go from your boat in a panga, a small dinghy. On a dry landing, you will step out of the panga onto rock. On a wet landing, you will step out of the panga into about a foot of water, from where you will wade to land.

  • Sailing between the islands is usually done in the early morning or late evening. However, for some of the longer distances, the journey can be made at night. In this case, there is usually more movement and the noise of the motor can be heard.

  • On the smaller yachts, you can only pay in cash. On the larger boats, you can usually pay by cash or credit card. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted on any of the boats. There are banks and cash machines in both Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal.

  • Tipping the boat crew and guides on board is usually well deserved, and expected. If you feel you have received good service, the following are the suggested tipping levels per passenger per day: San Jose and Galapagos Beagle, approximately $15 - 19. MV Santa Cruz II and La Pinta, approximately $25. Galapagos Odyssey, approximately $20 - $22. Hotel Finch Bay, approximately $19.

  • There is a small boutique shop on board the larger ships and there is also the chance to shop at Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. However, it is best to buy anything that you will need before visiting the islands.

  • Entertainment on board is quite limited, although the larger ships have bars and may have music at times. It is sometimes possible to disembark in Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where there are restaurants and bars.

  • Airport transfers are included to your Galapagos cruise. If you are landing at Baltra airport, an excursion to the Santa Cruz highlands is often included. This is usually prior to boarding your boat, so we recommend having appropriate footwear and clothing handy for this excursion, as your main luggage will usually be taken straight to your boat.

    Transfers are also included for hotel stays in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. These are with a driver only, usually with limited English.

    It is sometimes possible to get a Galapagos stamp in your passport when you arrive at the Galapagos airport, so please ask for this if you would like this.

  • No specific vaccinations further to those required for Ecuador are required for visiting the Galapagos Islands. However, please consult your GP or a travel clinic for up-to-date medical advice. As you may feel the movement of the boat, we recommend you bring any sea sickness medication you will require. We recommend bringing any painkillers or medication for upset stomachs and rehydration sachets in case you have a problem on board, as these can be hard to get in the Galapagos Islands.

    Although the excursions are not physically demanding, they do require walking on uneven surfaces, and this can be under the hot sun. Therefore, a reasonable level of fitness is required.

    Larger ships (48 passengers and up) usually have a medical officer on board, although facilities and treatments are quite simple. Smaller boats have basic first aid. If you require more serious medical attention, there are hospitals on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.