Ecuador's Natural Wonders in the Andes & Galapagos Islands - June 2024 – Heart of Travel

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Sneak Peek Trip Details

Day 1

Day 1

Your Tour Leader will be eagerly awaiting your arrival at the airport, ready to extend a warm welcome and provide seamless transportation to Casa Gardenia, our charming boutique hotel in Quito. Take a moment to settle into your comfortable accommodations, adorned with local artwork and reflecting the vibrant spirit of Ecuador. Later, we'll gather as a group for a memorable welcome dinner at La Vid restaurant, a local culinary gem located in the heart of Quito. Indulge in a carefully crafted menu that showcases the rich flavors of Ecuadorian cuisine, prepared with locally sourced ingredients from small-scale producers. As you enjoy the delicious meal and sip on Ecuadorian wine, engage in conversations with your fellow travelers, Tour Leaders, and the passionate restaurant staff, fostering connections and gaining insights into the local culture. With breathtaking views of Plaza Grande serving as the backdrop, immerse yourself in the atmosphere that sets the stage for the remarkable days ahead.

Day 2

Day 2

Prepare for a day filled with awe-inspiring views and cultural exploration as we embark on a ride on the TelefériQo cable car, ascending the slopes of the majestic Pichincha Volcano. From the panoramic vantage point, marvel at the breathtaking vistas of Quito and its surrounding mountains, gaining a deeper appreciation for Ecuador's natural beauty. In the afternoon, immerse yourself in one of the best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. As you stroll through its narrow streets and picturesque plazas, our knowledgeable guides will share stories of the colonial architecture, revealing the rich heritage that shaped the city. Indulge your taste buds with a traditional Ecuadorian treat, the helado de paila, a hand-churned ice cream made from fresh tropical fruits, offering a delightful burst of flavors. Conclude the day with a presentation of the ballet folclórico Jacchugua, a mesmerizing performance that brings Ecuadorian culture and folklore to life through captivating dance routines and vibrant costumes.

Day 3

Day 3

Embark on an educational tour at a renowned rose producer and exporter, and discover the intricate beauty of blooming roses while learning about their significant role in Ecuador's economy. Gain insights into the cultivation and export process, supporting local small-scale farmers who contribute to the country's floral industry. Venture deeper into the breathtaking Andes mountains, surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes, and treat your taste buds to a delightful crispy snack known as bizcocho. As you savor the flavors, soak in the majestic scenery that surrounds you, embracing the harmony between nature and culture. Conclude the day at the sacred Cuicocha lagoon, a place of tranquility where serene waters mirror the grandeur of the mountains. Lose yourself in the serenity of this hidden gem.

Day 4

Day 4

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Ecuadorian culture as you meet Cristina, a captivating singer who will share her melodic stories through heartfelt performances. Journey to the charming village of Peguche, where remarkable artisans and musicians will enchant you with their craft and melodies, showcasing the vibrancy of Ecuadorian artistic traditions. Engage with these talented individuals, hearing their personal stories and gaining a deeper appreciation for their contributions to the cultural fabric of the country. Continue your exploration of Ecuadorian culture through a delightful cooking class with Claudia, a passionate local chef. Participate in making ancestral recipes using fresh ingredients sourced from local markets, honoring traditional culinary practices. As you create and savor these flavorful dishes, embrace the opportunity to support small-scale producers and connect with the richness of Ecuador's gastronomic heritage.
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Ecuador

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$6,995

Deposit: $1,500
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What's Included

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  • 13 nights accommodation in 3-4 star boutique hotels.
  • 30 meals: Includes one beverage at each meal.
  • In country transport: Ground, air, water as indicated on itinerary.
  • Entrance + guide fees: For all activities included on the itinerary.
  • 24/7 access + support: Provided by bilingual Heart of Travel Tour Leader.
  • Whatsapp Concierge Line: 24/7 support from our in-office team.

Frequently Asked Questions

& our Heart-felt Answers

  • What do we mean by “Responsible Travel”?

    We define a responsible traveler as someone who takes the time to develop a basic understanding of the culture, history, language, and socio-political climate of the host country through pre-trip research and educational activities that engage them with the local community during their time in that country. In addition, the Responsible Traveler seeks to support small business development by shopping at small, locally owned businesses and supporting independent artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs through meet and greets, as well as interactive workshops, classes, and demonstrations. Finally, a Responsible Traveler strives to minimize the negative impact of their visit on the environment and always considers animal welfare when planning their itinerary.

  • What is the group size on a Heart of Travel tour? 

    Heart of Travel's small group tours are limited to between 8 and 12 people, depending on the trip. In the case of Spanish Immersion trips, we will take a maximum of 8 students/travelers. For most other Heart of Travel trips, we limit the number of students to 10, with the exception of trips during major holidays such as New Year's Eve or Día de Muertos. 

    *In the event that there is 1 space left on a trip and two people want to travel together, we may allow an 11th or 13th person on some trips.

  • Who will be my tour leader? 

    Once a trip becomes available for registration, a Heart of Travel Tour Leader will be tentatively assigned to the trip. You can find this information on the detailed itinerary available on Travefy.com or the Trip Plans mobile app. However, as our 2024 calendar continues to fill, we may need to make adjustments to the Tour Leader schedule, so Tour Leader assignments more than 4-months out from the trip’s start date are subject to change. All of our Tour Leaders are friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced and share Heart of Travel's passion for transformative travel, small business development, and meaningful exchange. They are fully bilingual, first aid certified, and passionate about education, cultural immersion, and small business development in Latin America. Each of our Tour Leaders offers a unique personality, perspective, and passion to share with you during the trip. Whether it's Pam with her sommelier and mixology knowledge, Eimy's trekking experience and passion for coffee, Chiva's love of marine life and environmental conservation, or Allie’s photography skills and interest in human rights, we know you'll have a wonderful trip with each of these incredible women as your Tour Leader!

  • What does double occupancy mean?

    Double occupancy spots are for people traveling with a companion OR for someone traveling solo who is open to being paired with another solo traveler of the same gender to share a room. When you sign up for a double occupancy spot, please indicate if you are traveling with someone and if so, who, and how many beds are needed in the room (1 or 2). In the event, there is an uneven number of double occupancy sign-ups, a trip participant may end up rooming with a Tour Leader for parts of the trip or will be given the option to upgrade to a single supplement if desired.

  • What does single occupancy mean?

    Single occupancy spots are for travelers who want their own room and bathroom. This applies to solo travelers who are not traveling with a roommate and do not wish to be paired with another trip participant. To secure a single occupancy spot, please select the "single supplement add-on" at the time of registration. If you have any special requests for your room please let us know. 

  • How does roommate assignment work?

    If you are traveling with your partner, please let us know so we can arrange a double room with 1 bed, typically a queen or king. 

    If you are traveling with a friend, please let us know so we can room you two together in a room with 2 beds, typically 2 full beds, however, in some destinations it could be two twins. 

    If you are traveling alone but would like to be paired with another solo traveler of the same gender, please provide us with any useful information about what you’d be looking for (or not) in a roommate, as well as anything we should know about you. Light sleeper? Early riser? Night owl? Do you snore? Are you sensitive to scents and fragrances? Do you have any allergies to take into consideration? The more information we have the easier it will be for us to match you with the ideal roomie to share this exciting adventure with! 

  • What are "additional nights"?

    Oftentimes travelers desire to add on an extra night of accommodation at the beginning or end of the trip. You can book additional nights through Heart of Travel by adding them to your cart at the time of registration. Likewise, they can be added later if you are unsure of your plans at the time of enrollment. Note the price is per room, not per person.

  • Will Heart of Travel help me book my international airfare?

    Heart of Travel does not book international airfare for trip participants nor are we responsible for changes or delays in your reservation or flight. However, we will be more than happy to research and provide information on suggested flights. Simply provide us with the airport code for any airports that work for you to fly in/out of and we will be glad to take a look! 

  • I have special dietary requirements – will they be catered to?

    Heart of Travel is happy to accommodate all dietary restrictions and preferences. However, in certain destinations (mostly remote rural areas or small villages) specialty options may be limited. Therefore,  while we will always find a way to accommodate you, some meals may feel a little repetitive. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements or allergies and we'll pass the information along to your Tour Leader, as well as all hotels and third-party providers. It is also a good idea to bring a card with your dietary requirements written in the local language in case you find yourself eating away from the group without the Tour Leader available to assist you.

  • What will the food be like on my trip?

    Food is undeniably one of the most thrilling aspects of traveling. While you may come across some familiar dishes, the true excitement lies in encountering new, intriguing, and sometimes bizarre culinary creations from around the world. We view trying this array of new foods as a sensory adventure. When you embark on any of our Heart of Travel trips, you can expect to immerse yourself in the local cuisine in all its diverse forms. From enjoying meals at cozy local eateries known as "comedores" to indulging in elaborate multi-course feasts crafted by up-and-coming young chefs who expertly blend traditional flavors with modern techniques, food plays a central role in our travel experiences. It serves as a tangible expression of a country's culture and soul. Alongside the native delicacies of the host country, our trips also include a few opportunities to dine at restaurants that offer an international menu and cater to a variety of tastes.

  • Can I drink the tap water in the countries I visit?

    Drinking tap water isn't recommended in most of the countries we operate in but is typically fine for brushing your teeth and taking a shower. While it can be challenging, we encourage you to avoid buying plastic water bottles during your trip and instead, bring a reusable water bottle. Your Tour Leader will indicate where you can refill your bottle with safe drinking water at the hotel and will also have purified water available in the van, so if you need a refill just ask! Likewise, you can look into getting a water bottle with a built-in filtration system, such as LifeStraw.

    *In the event of Cuba, sadly the use of single-use plastic water bottles is more difficult to avoid. We will do our best to provide free refills with safe drinking water during all Cuba trips, however, if it’s not available we will provide you with individual bottles and keep you hydrated for the entire trip!

  • Do I need traveler’s insurance?

    While Heart of Travel does not require travelers to purchase insurance, we highly recommend that they do. Those who choose to purchase traveler’s insurance are responsible for arranging this on their own, though we recommend booking with Insured Nomads. Regardless, we encourage you to look for a policy that covers medical expenses, injury, death, rescue, repatriation, cancellation, and curtailment. Likewise, if you are nervous about a last-minute cancellation due to a global pandemic, a personal health issue, or any other reason then we highly recommend looking into a “Cancel for no reason” policy. We recommend you take out your insurance at the time of booking and double-check the small print to ensure it covers all activities you are involved in. 

  • What types of vaccinations or medications will I need?

    In general, US passport holders visiting most Latin American countries do not need additional vaccinations, unless they have recently traveled to a high-risk country. However, we highly recommend referring to the Heart of Travel Welcome Packet specific to your destination country for the most up-to-date information. 

    LIkewise, it is always prudent to schedule an appointment with your general practitioner or a travel nurse clinic prior to your trip. They can provide personalized advice regarding any necessary precautions, such as obtaining a typhoid-fever shot, taking anti-malaria pills, or medication to mitigate altitude sickness. Your health and safety are our utmost priority, so seeking professional guidance ensures a worry-free journey.