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What People Are Saying About Us

I have come to expect excellence from Odysseys Unlimited and have never been disappointed.

Michael E. Leahy
Oak Lawn, IL

We have been to many, many places all over the world, with many different tour companies.  None of them compare to the Odysseys Unlimited small group experience.

Nancy & William Sondervan
Sherrills Ford, NC

The small group is wonderful and the quality of tour directors is exceptional.

Bill Jones
Vancouver, WA

All that was advertised was delivered. Consider this tour to be a real value as to sites visited, itinerary, hotels, and travel between sites.

Susan & Paul Krupp
Georgetown, TX

Odysseys does everything with style, but without pretension. Beautiful meals and hotels. Excellent guides.

Barbara Schoetzau
New York, NY

Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.

Tara Malmberg
Quitman, TX

Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.

Jean Hall
Prairie Village, KS

We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.

Roger Soder
Seattle, WA

The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.

Patricia Joyce
Peoria, AZ

We love the small group experience.

Dave & Alice Wilson
Williamstown, MA

Odysseys is the best company we have traveled with. You have first-rate tours at affordable prices, with great itineraries, excellent guides, and outstanding accommodations.

Jane & Ronald Decker
Chicago, IL

Odysseys tours are just right for us: great value, nice group size, complete trips, sufficient free time.

Laurin & Phyllis LeTart
Shepherdstown, WV

This trip far exceeded our expectations: the small group size, the quality of the tour director (the best we’ve ever had), the ability to have dinners on our own, the lower cost without a significant reduction in the quality of the accommodations.

Barry & Bobbi Rosner
Somerset, NJ

I thought I would not like traveling in a group but I was wrong! [Our tour director] was so good at making the group seem as one that it turned out to be the best part of the trip.

Donna Stevenson
Dublin, OH

It was the best value in travel we’ve ever had. It was a wonderful experience.

Trish Merrill & Mac White
Austin, TX

This was my 7th trip with Odysseys and they keep getting better and better.

Merle Frank
Miami, FL

Love the small group format and the ease of traveling with arrangements made for us.

Ken & Carolyn Helm
Newburgh, IN

Tour exceeded my expectations having never taken a group tour. An excellent experience – can’t wait for my next one!

Ronni Goldberg
New York, NY

Absolutely the best bang for the buck – organization, quality, consistency.

Harvey Wine
Dallas, TX

I like the small size of Odysseys tours. [You] have excellent Tour Directors, great itineraries and spend more time in areas than some of the other tour companies.

Lynn Bafaloukos
Glendale, AZ

Because of the group size and outstanding guides, you make travel easy for us!

Sharon Irwin & John Akamatsu
Kent, OH
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Six-time honoree Travel + Leisure's World's Best Tour Operators awards

NEW FOR 2020!

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Colonial Quito
  • UNESCO city of Cuenca, including visits with local artisans
  • Coastal Guayaquil, Ecuador’s “Pacific Pearl”
  • Three-night Galapagos cruise aboard privately chartered catamaran
  • Visits to several Galapagos islands
  • Rare birdlife and iguanas of Española Island
  • Snorkeling and kayaking options
  • Floreana Island
  • Unique Galapagos wildlife
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Quito, Ecuador We arrive late this evening in Ecuador’s capital and transfer directly to our hotel.

Day 2: Quito After a morning briefing about the journey ahead, we set out to discover Ecuador’s capital. Set against a backdrop of staggering Andes peaks, Quito boasts a well-preserved historic center considered the finest in Latin America. Tour highlights include Plaza la Independencia, the city’s central square; La Compañía, Ecuador’s most ornate church; the 16th-century el San Francisco church complex; and the artisan area of La Ronda. This afternoon: the Middle of the World Monument, where we can stand with one foot in each hemisphere. Tonight, we gather for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. B,L,D

Day 3: Quito/Otavalo We travel today to Otavalo in the Andean highlands to visit one of the largest indigenous markets in Latin America. As we wander the lively and colorful lanes of Otavalo Market, we have time to marvel at the expertly woven textiles, wood carvings, silver jewelry, and other handcrafts on display. We visit with local weavers and Andean musical instrument craftspeople then visit a historic rose hacienda to learn more about Ecuador’s thriving rose industry. B,L

Day 4: Quito/Cuenca This morning we fly to Cuenca in Ecuador’s highlands. Upon arrival, we begin our tour of this captivating colonial city, a UNESCO site. Sightseeing highlights include the New Cathedral; the Old Cathedral, now a museum; and the romantic Tomebamba River. We reach our hotel this afternoon. B,L

Day 5: Cuenca We dive in to this city’s artisan scene on this morning’s tour. First, we visit a ceramics artist, where we learn about the different techniques used to create pottery and household ornaments. Then we meet a jeweler who uses centuries-old methods to fashion traditional earrings. Last, we tour the Homero Ortega Panama hat workshop and museum. B,D

Day 6: Cuenca/Cajas National Park/Guayaquil En route to Guayaquil, we visit a private hacienda inside Cajas National Park, a network of lakes and lagoons set in a series of valleys in the tundra landscape. Continuing on, mid-day we reach Guayaquil, Ecuador’s “Pacific Pearl.” After some free time for lunch on our own, we explore the city this afternoon: Parque Seminario, Old South Market, the Malecon 2000 waterfront district, and the Barrio de las Penas neighborhood. B,D

Day 7: Guayaquil/San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands/Board Ship This morning we fly to the Galapagos island of San Cristobal then travel by coach to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the islands’ port capital. Here we have some free time to explore on our own before we embark our catamaran. This afternoon, we visit the David Rodriguez Breeding Center, dedicated to conserving and increasing the population of the Galapagos giant tortoise. B,L,D

Day 8: Cruising – Española Island Today, we visit remarkable Española Island, disembarking at Suarez Point for a nature walk through this landscape teeming with wildlife. The island is the world’s only nesting site for the waved albatross. We also pass nesting sites for Nazca and blue-footed boobies and mockingbirds, and are sure to see Española’s unique red and green marine iguanas. Later, we cruise to Gardner Bay, a pristine white sandy beach on the island’s north shore. We may spot sea lions, and the waved albatrosses who use this beach as a breeding site. Those who wish may opt to kayak, paddleboard, or take a panga (dinghy) ride to a nearby snorkeling spot. B,L,D

Day 9: Cruising – Floreana Island/Champion Islet/Post Office Bay Today we tour several locations on or near Floreana Island, starting with Cormorant Point. We visit both colorful beaches here: one with green-tinted sand from the high content of olivine crystals, and another with pure white sand (dubbed “Flour Beach”) derived from pulverized coral. Afterward, we take a panga ride to snorkel at nearby Champion Islet, whose waters abound with diverse fish. Next, we cruise to Post Office Bay, where we have time to snorkel or kayak, and may also walk through an extinct lava tube. Then we continue on to the volcanic rock formation of Baroness’ Lookout. Tonight, we enjoy a farewell dinner aboard our luxury catamaran. B,L,D

Day 10: Cruising – Mosquera Islet/Santa Cruz Island/Quito/Depart for U.S. Our first stop today is Mosquera Islet, where we’re free to explore the beautiful surroundings. Next, we cruise to Santa Cruz Island to see the huge twin craters of Los Gemelos, followed by a visit to the highlands to see full-sized Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Then we fly back to Quito where, upon arrival, we transfer to our airport hotel. There’s time to relax before tonight’s flights to the U.S. B

Day 11: Arrive U.S. We arrive in the U.S. and connect with our return flights home.

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain and includes both wet and dry landings in the Galapagos. The elevations of Quito (9,300 ft.) and Cuenca (8,400 ft.) could pose problems for travelers with certain health conditions. You should consult your personal physician if you have concerns.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 9 nights’ accommodations: 6 nights in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels; 3 nights aboard privately chartered Deluxe twin-hulled mega catamaran
  • 21 meals: 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Galapagos National Park fee of $100
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; plus, experienced naturalists/guides while in Galapagos
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, naturalists, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2020 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Feb 9
Nov 1
Nov 29
May 17, 31
Jun 14
Sep 6, 20
Oct 4
Miami$5,972$6,172
Orlando, Tampa$6,372$6,572
Atlanta, Balt, Boston,
Char, Chicago, Cinc,
Cleveland, Houston,
Minneapolis, New York,
Phil, Washington, DC
$6,472$6,672
Dallas, Denver, Detroit,
Los Angeles, Phoenix,
Port (OR), San Fran,
Seattle
$6,572$6,772

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy in an outside cabin and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $477, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $2,995. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 155 days before departure. All 2020 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Accommodations
    Swissotel Quito, Quito / Days 1-3 / Deluxe

    The 275-room Swissotel Quito is located near Quito’s old town, close to shopping, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Hotel facilities include five restaurants; indoor and outdoor swimming pool; fitness center; squash, racquet, and tennis courts; spa with Jacuzzi, sauna, and massage treatments; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, ironing facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Oro Verde Cuenca, Cuenca / Days 4-5 / Superior First Class

    Set just outside the center of the colonial city of Cuenca, the Oro Verde Cuenca offers an elegant and welcoming atmosphere in this UNESCO-recognized city.  The hotel’s modern, whitewashed facade gives way to a chic yet comfortable interior, and amenities include a restaurant, deli, fitness center, outdoor heated swimming pool, spa with sauna and steam room, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each air-conditioned guest room has private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, coffee-making facilities, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Oro Verde Guayaquil, Guayaquil / Day 6 / Superior First Class

    The stylish Oro Verde Guayaquil occupies a prime location in the center of the city’s commercial and entertainment district.  Amenities include five dining options, outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, fitness center, spa, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee).  Each air-conditioned guest room includes private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, coffee-making facilities, minibar, TV, and phone.

    M/C Galapagos Elite, Galapagos Islands / Days 7-9 / Deluxe

    The newly constructed M/C Galapagos Elite launched in June of 2019 and offers the finest cruising experience in the Galapagos Islands.  This 123-foot mega catamaran is broken up into three decks: the main deck, which includes four guest cabins and the indoor restaurant; the upper deck, featuring four more guest cabins and several outdoor lounge spaces; and the sky deck, a partially covered top level featuring lounge areas, hot tub, a bar, and al fresco dining tables.  With floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, the ship offers panoramic views of the Galapagos, and each meal is prepared fresh daily by the onboard chefs.  Air-conditioned guest cabins have private bath with frosted glass exterior wall for natural light, floor-to-ceiling windows, and private exterior balcony.  Please note that the M/C Galapagos Elite does not have Wi-Fi or an elevator aboard ship.

     

    Specifications

    Built:               2019                                                    Length:           123 feet

    Draft:              6 feet                                                   Breadth:          44 feet                                                

    Decks:             3                                                          Cabins:            8

    Crew:              10 crew, 1 service officer, 1 guide      Capacity:        16 guests

    Wyndham Quito Airport, Quito / Extension / Not rated

    Located at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, the Wyndham Quito Airport offers a comfortable and convenient stay for our final day in Ecuador.  The hotel has a restaurant and bar, fitness center, spa with hot tub and sauna, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms feature private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Hamadryade Lodge, Misahualli / Extension / Not rated

    The modern Hamadryade Lodge sits hidden in the heart of the Amazon jungle, close to a bend in the Napo River.  Rather than one large building, the lodge is comprised of a handful of separate, smaller structures, built from natural wood and stone, and set seamlessly within into the landscape.  Amenities include a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool overlooking the rainforest, spa with massage treatments, laundry service (for a fee), and a range of extra activities including hiking, bicycle rentals, and canoe trips (for a fee).  Each of the lodge’s bungalows is decorated with local Amazonian art and includes private bath made from local rock, floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto the jungle, private outdoor sitting area, and comfortable Italian linens.  Note:  the lodge has no internet access.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Amazon Rainforest

3 days/3 nights for $1,495 total price
Single Supplement: $695

Journey into Ecuador’s diverse Amazon basin, home of indigenous Amazonians and a stunning variety of plant and animal species.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Private ground transportation Quito/Amazon/Quito
  • 3 nights’ accommodations: 1 night at Wyndham Quito Airport (Not rated); 2 nights at Hamadryade Lodge in Misahualli (Not rated); day room at Wyndham Quito Airport
  • 8 meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing in the Amazon’s Napo River area, including rainforest trek, wildlife spotting, and canoe trip; visit to indigenous Amazon community; Papallacta’s hot springs
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

 

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Charles Darwin
Voyage of the Beagle
The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life — and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, it is still a marvelous introduction to the wildlife, nature and allure of South America.

Michael Jackson
Galapagos, A Natural History
This comprehensive guide to the natural history of the Galapagos is practically mandatory reading — the single best introduction to the geology and climate, habitats, plants, birds, animals, ecology and evolution.

ITMB
Galapagos Islands Map
This full-color map of the Galapagos at a scale of 1:420,000, printed on water and tear-resistant paper, shows in detail major features, topography and visitor sites. With a large city plan of Quito on the reverse.

Ben Westwood
Moon Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands
Ecuador-based English travel expert Ben Westwood writes with insight in this guide to the pleasures and practicalities of visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos.

William Beebe
Galapagos, World’s End
This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.

Henri Michaux, Robin Magowan (Translator)
Ecuador, a Travel Journal
A brief, querulous and entirely wonderful narrative of the modernist painter Michaux’s travels with the poet Gangotena, strong on color and personality. Its many pleasures include an unbeatable description of Quito’s accursed mountain weather.

Tui De Roy
Galapagos, Islands Born of Fire
A stunning celebration of the landscapes, wildlife and habitats of the Galapagos by a photographer who was raised in the archipelago. Tenth anniversary edition.

Edward J. Larson
Evolution’s Workshop
A vivid history of the Galapagos and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Larson covers Darwin and the discovery of the islands, the visits of Hancock and Beebe, the influence of the United States during WWII and the establishment of the national park.

Jonathan Weiner
The Beak of the Finch
This Pulitzer Prize-winning work is an accessible look at the modern debate on the mode and rhythm of evolution, using the story of Peter and Rosemary Grant and their ground-breaking field work on Daphne Major as an example.

Paul D. Stewart (Director)
Galapagos, the Islands That Changed the World
Also available on Blu-Ray, this stunning BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before. 150 minutes.

Henry Nicholls
The Galapagos, a Natural History
Editor of the Galapagos Conservation Trust magazine and author of  Lonesome George, Henry Nicholls charts the human and natural history of the archipelago from its fiery origins through famous visitors and current conservation challenges.

Pocket Naturalist
Galapagos Wildlife
A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of the Galapagos.

Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, David Hosking (Photographer)
Wildlife of the Galapagos
A compact identification guide to Galapagos nature and wildlife, featuring over 650 color photographs, an overview of the history, climate, evolution and geology of the islands, and helpful full- color visitor site maps.

Stephan Kuffner and Sarah Humphreys
The Rough Guide to Ecuador
This popular guide book series offers a comprehensive guide to Ecuador, including information on the country’s flora, fauna, indigenous communities, natural wonders, thriving cities, and small towns.

Ludwig Bemelmans
The Donkey Inside
The author of the Madeleine series of children’s books took several trips to South America in the 1930s, and blends them here into a seamless portrait of the jungles, politics, and peoples of WWII-era Ecuador.

Kelley Aitken
Love in a Warm Climate
In this series of short stories, the author chronicles her time in Ecuador in the 1980s. The intriguing and vibrant culture and characters of Ecuador make the emotions – loss, mourning, love, adventure, redemption – jump off the page.

Margaret Wittmer
Floreana:  A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galapagos
In this German author’s autobiography, she recounts her one-way trip to the small Galapagos island of Floreana, where she made a new life with her husband and stepson. At turns humorous and high-stakes, this book is a love letter to the islands she called home.

Susan E. Benner (editor), Kathy S. Leonard (editor), Marjorie Agosin (foreword)
Fire From the Andes:  Short Fiction by Women from Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru
This late-’90s collection of shorter works has been translated from its native Spanish, giving English-speakers a glimpse into the world of South America.

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