Luxury Galapagos Extensions & Tours
EXTENDING YOUR GALAPAGOS LAND-BASED ITINERARY
Travelers almost always start planning the Galapagos leg of their trip before planning tours of mainland Ecuador and Peru. This is because cruises have fixed dates and oftentimes limited availability even if you make reservations several months in advance. Through Golden Galapagos Cruises, you can attach land excursions and tours to your Galapagos cruise.
After confirming the dates of your Galapagos cruise, you can then plan tour extensions such as day tours of the cities of Quito or Guayaquil, a luxury expedition to the Amazon Rainforest, and a tour of the Andes mountains visiting indigenous markets, historic haciendas, and colorful traditional villages. View all Ecuador and Peru tour packages available to combine with our cruise services below. You can easily add any Galapagos cruise land excursions and tours to your trip while filling out the Planning Your Galapagos Cruise inquiry.
Visit the most remarkable colonial center in South America
Quito has the largest and best-preserved historical colonial city center in the Americas. It covers most than 300 blocks with colonial houses, buildings, churches, clusters, monasteries, parks and monuments. This colonial city is built over hills, mountains and creeks, and it has become a masterpiece of colonial architecture and engineering. The cobblestoned streets of the city connect dozens of churches – the most lavish examples of the richest Baroque style – which emerged centuries ago when Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and South American indigenous artistic styles blended.
Guayaquil, on the Pacific Coast, is Ecuador’s largest city. Here we’ll learn about incredible British pirates and French corsairs chronicles that once plundered Guayaquil when the city was part of the Spanish Empire.
Guayaquil was also the cradle of the first and finest cocoa plantations in the world. During the XVII century, the port city experienced a boom when Ecuador became the largest exporter of cocoa, which also contributes with resources to fund Ecuador’s independence war against Spain.
Nowadays, Ecuador offers its unique fine aroma cocoa to the most demanding chocolatiers in Europe and North America and has been consistently the most highly-awarded country in the dark chocolate category at the International Chocolate Awards.
Indigenous Andean Markets
Learn about new cultures at indigenous markets
For the culture fan, Ecuador’s ancestral indigenous heritage of traditional costumes and highland markets will enchant you. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors gathered and traded products such as colorful textiles, animals and unique things like spondylus shells from the Pacific Coast that were used as a currency. Today, the
Discover the Avenue of The Volcanoes
From the air, train or across the Pan-American road, over 25 snow-capped volcanoes await
The Andean Range extends for 7,000 kilometers over 7 countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The Ecuadorian Andes are home to Mount Chimborazo, which forms the point on the Earth’s surface that is most distant from its center. Ecuador has an amazing 27 active volcanoes in just 257,000 square kilometers. Almost 20% of the territory is National Parks or Wildlife Reserves, which makes Ecuador a very unique country.
The volcanoes, forests and wildlife on their slopes enthralled some of the first scientists that visited the “New World”. The German scientist, Alexander Von Humboldt after crossing the continent from Mexico to Peru, found the Ecuadorian Andes so particularly beautiful that he named the region as The Avenue of the Volcanoes. Most of the snowy peaks you will see while you explore the highlands are above 15,000 ft. high and their summits are most of the time cover by snow. Suddenly if you are lucky, nature can offer you a once in a lifetime view, a volcano erupting in front of you. Off course, you will witness this amazing show from a safe distance!
While the volcanoes rise majestically across the Ecuadorian territory up to the clouds, on their slopes, an unmatched biodiversity has developed due to hundreds of different microclimates. Cloud forests, hot springs heated by the very same volcanoes, seemingly infinite moorlands, deserts and fertile valleys spread along the highlands waiting to be discovered by visitors.
Scenic Ecuador – Andes & Coast
6-Days exploring Cotopaxi, Banos, Cuenca & Coast
The country is especially rich in culture, traditions and gastronomy. Ecuador was not a land of empires, an extremely rich soil, and almost unlimited natural resources contribute to create peaceful societies called “Cacicazgos”, and therefore a complex social structure to manage these resources was never needed. Ecuador had almost 46 different indigenous nations before the Incas arrived. Around 1460, the Inca emperor Tupac Yupanqui invaded southern Ecuador and annexed the new territories, and the Tawantinsuyo, as they called their lands, became the largest Empire to be scoured by feet. After the Incas were conquered by the Spaniards, Ecuador was a Spanish colony for about 300 years after the country became independent in 1809. A strong mixture of races, culture and traditions, food, religion, art and literacy from regions as far as Middle East, Europe and the southern parts of America created new expressions that influenced almost every aspect of the Ecuadorian people.
Our journey starts in the Central Andes exploring Cotopaxi National Park, reaching the limits of Llanganates, where legends claim Atahualpa’s treasure is hidden. Then we move to the Amazon gateway as we explore Baños and going southern bound across the enigmatic Devil’s nose train, colonial Cuenca and finally reaching the Pacific coast as we finish our path in Guayaquil.
Historical Haciendas & Cultural Experiences
Ecuador is a fascinating country. While exploring this beautiful country with high contrast of colors, people, food, landscape and life in all forms, the country will surprise you anywhere at any time.
The kindest of its people have a fundamental roll while seeking life-changing and authentic experiences. Sharing with local communities allows them to preserve their traditions, culture and environment while tourism provides them an “extra income”. Therefore, we believe that better place to visit, are better place to live.
If you are planning to visit Quito before cruising Galapagos, take a weaving class from the keepers of the millenary art of hand embroidery or see how communities within Haciendas play an active role in conservation by introducing captive condors into the wild. And if you decided to touch base at Guayaquil in the Pacific coast, you can taste the world’s highest quality cocoa right from a plantation and make you own chocolate bar; or just float down the peaceful river and enjoy the tropical forest sounds.