Galapagos and Highlands of Ecuador Adventure Retreat
April 13-23, 2023
$200 off if you bring a friend.. Buddy Pass!
Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime, customized Ecuador retreat to discover the magical wonders and irresistible culture of the Ecuadorian Highlands and then THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS – the most pristine and magical ecosystems in the world.
What to expect:
We will begin our Ecuador retreat with our most incredible guide, Meche, in the City of Quito with a glimpse of the Ecuadorian way of city life. Our home for the next five days will be the country house of Meche, that has been transformed into a beautiful bed and breakfast – on the ecological reserve with exquisite gardens. Hiking in the Andes with spectacular views of Cuicocha Lake that has been formed by the volcano. We will ride our horses along the ruta del Corazon and descend into the vally of the nine volcanoes. In Otavalo, we will visit one of the largest markets and meet our talented hat and textile artist. The hike to Fuya Fuya is sure to be the most beautiful and exhilarating hike to the summit that will be unforgettable. We will also be able to give back to the local community in which we have spent the last 5 days.
Galapagos Island – here we come!! We will visit the Giant Tortoise and learn about the ecological reserve that helped return them to their natural habitat. Hiking on Bartolome Island to the Galapagos pinnacle will give us the best view of the entire area. Snorkeling time on North beach with the sea lions, fish, rays and turtles awaits us. Surfing at Tortuga Bay is amazing, and this beach is the only one in the world that we can watch iguanas and maybe sharks up close. You will love the swimming in the crystal-clear pools between high volcanic walls along with the snorkelling and perhaps cliff diving. A visit to The Charles Darwin Research Station and kayaking amongst the Galapagos penguins and sea lions will be an incredible day. Blue footed Boobies are my favorite and we will be able to see these and many other animals like the frigates, flamingos, and zayapas. Our final day we will have a chance to talk and share stories with the local women and learn about their lives.
- El Chato Ecological Reserve – the Giant Tortoise
- Hiking on paths with blue footed boobies and iguanas literally watching us looking at them
- Bartolome Adventure – hike to the summit and snorkel with the sea lions and fish
- Las Grietas crystal clean swimming hole – swim, snorkel, or cliff jump
- Charles Darwin Research Station – 60 years of scientific research
- Kayaking the rugged coastlines and hidden bays
- Bachas Beach – snorkelling and chilling time
- Tour of the capital city Quito – view the beautiful baroque churches and domes, meander down the steep narrow streets with amazing shopping
- Hike to Cuicocha Lake – incredible views of the Cotacachi volcano and the spectacular crater that forms the lake
- Horseback riding in the Andes – we will go through eucalyptus forest, observe astronomical points used by the Incas, and descend into the valley of the nine volcanos.
- Visit to Otavalo Market – a wonderland of shopping – plus meeting some special textile and hat artists.
- Delicious dinner in the local Otavalo restaurant
- Visit and milk plant and cheese cave
- Fuya Fuya summit – best of the best lunch at the top with amazing views.
- Sharing with the people of the community – giving back
- Yoga most mornings
Included in the price:
- 10 nights lodging. Rates are based on double occupancy, private rooms can be arranged at an extra cost – 5 nights at Rio Granobles Lodge (Meche’s home) and 5 nights Shangrala and Angermeyer Hotel
- Experienced Guides for Highlands
- Private transportation to and from Highlands
- All Breakfasts, lunches and dinners (except 2 lunches and 1 dinner)
- Quito and Oravalo Market tour • Galapagos Kenu tour leader and educator
- Naturalist guide
- Private transportation on, to and from the islands
- Private water transportation to islands
- Tour of Bartolome
- Tour of North Seymour
- All equipment for kayak
- Materials for experiential learning activities
- First Aid Kits and Wilderness First Responders
Not included in the price:
- Lunch in Quito
- Lunch the horseback day
- Dinner the market day
- Alcoholic drinks
- Plane ticket from Quito to Galapagos April 23, 2023 (around $250 right now)
- $100 Cash Fee for entrance to Galapagos
- Tips for Tour leaders (Meche and Tomas and naturalist)
- Tips for WQ leader (Jax)
- Snorkelling rental or bring your own
- Tips for restaurants
- Travel Insurance
What are the accommodations?
Highlands – Rio Granobles lodge was born from the love of a family and the curious history of an ancient Hacienda at the feet of the Cayambe volcano.
The old Hacienda formed part of the Ecuadorian history as it was the house of Santa Marianita de Jesus, a saint proclaimed by the catholic church. The new house was built two years ago, in the middle of green pastures and besides the Granobles river. Surrounded by the most beautiful Andean mountains and landscapes. The idea of these lodge it’s to experience what it’s like to be in an Ecuadorian home. Feel close to the nature and the culture of the country. This magical place its located 70 Km to the north of Quito. In the equatorial line, besides the town of Cayambe (the city of the flowers), and only 15 minutes away from the town of Otavalo. The country house is in one of the most beautiful areas of the Ecuadorian Andean landscapes. In the Cayambe volcano (5750 m.s.n.m.) foothills, and surrounded by the beautiful mountains Mojanda, Cajas, and Fuya Fuya. Here you can find spacious rooms, private bathrooms, huge gardens, and an ecological reserve of eucalyptus forest with the beautiful riverbank of the historic Granobles river.
GALAPAGOS – We wanted to give you a true Ecuadorian experience. We chose this little family-owned hotel. It has 17 rooms, comfortable and modern, surrounded by interesting fauna, beautiful landscape and is maintaining the basic principles of conservation.
What is a typical day on the Ecuador retreat?
Each day is totally different. In the Highlands, we will be hiking, horseback riding, visiting markets, yoga and meeting the people of Ecuador.
In the Galapagos, we will be enchanted by the spectacular volcanic landscapes and blue waters of this archipelago. We have different activities every day, but we will see finches, seabirds, giant tortoises, iguanas, swim with the sea lions, snorkel, surf and most importantly learn all about the habitats and evolution of the Galapagos Islands.
What about the hiking?
Quito is at 9350 ft so we will get a little acclimatized. Our Lodge is at 9200 feet and we will be hiking up and down in altitude from there. Our final hike will Fuya Fuya we will be going up on an out and back, so we have options…. One review was – Possibly the most beautiful and picturesque hike I’ve done in Ecuador. The shapes and colors of the landscape is unique and reminded me of Newfoundland lol
The Galapagos Islands are at sea level and our biggest ascent is 400 steps – piece of cake!!
What about horseback riding?
Our horses are at Hacienda la Alegria, about a 2-hour drive from our abode. We will ride the big extension until the Corazon Mountain where the scenery is unbelievable. We will ride through arid landscapes and pick the fruit from the cactus after we have descended the valley of the nine volcanos. All the horses are calm and well-trained. Riding pants and boots are recommended.
What about the Yoga?
Women’s Quest yoga is for everyone. We will try to practice yoga or stretch out every day but many times we are out hiking and exploring. We begin each adventure-filled Women’s Quest Day with a unique “Awakening the Senses” Yoga or a vinyasa flow yoga.
What about the Altitude?
Quito is at 9350 ft, our lodge is at 9200 ft and we will be ascending to near 11,000 ft. While adjusting to the higher altitudes we recommend to taking it slow, eating lightly, abstaining from alcohol, and drinking lots of water. Mild symptoms that some people experience usually subside in a couple of days. In order to prepare for the altitudes, we recommend spending time walking at higher elevations in the days/weeks immediately prior to the trip. Please consult with a physician if you have any specific medical concerns. We have had success with people going to their doctor and getting Acetazolamide (diamox) tablets which can really help. Oxygen will be available at our hotel in Cusco and medication is available over the counter at pharmacies just in case someone needs them.
Do you have to participate in everything on the Ecuador retreat?
You do not need to participate in everything; you can pace yourself so that it is the perfect amount of activity for you. We fully support you in doing as much or as little as is right for you in the moment. The schedule gives you a sense of the flow of each day. It is subject to change, depending on the needs of the group, weather, etc. We will go over the schedule each day at breakfast.
What weather can we expect?
Average temperatures in Quito vary very little. Considering humidity, temperatures feel very enjoyable all year with a fair chance of precipitation about half of the year. The area is more temperate than most — in the 79th percentile for pleasant weather. In April the temperatures range from 60-68 in the day and down to high 40’s at night. It could be colder in the Highlands. The best time to visit the Galápagos Islands is April. Though the Galápagos is beautiful yearround, these months offer temperatures ranging from the low 70s to mid-80s, making pleasant conditions for hiking and wildlife-spotting
What is the average age on this retreat?
We have a wide range of women who attend our retreats, from 15-80 years young. Each retreat will vary. Please contact us if you have questions about the ages on a specific retreat.
What if I am coming alone?
The majority of the women who attend our retreats come by themselves. English is widely spoken, and we are here to answer any questions about travel that you may have. Although you may come alone, you will leave the Ecuador retreat with new, lifelong friends!
A deposit is required to hold your reservation at a retreat. Deposits are $500 for domestic and $1,000 for international retreats. Additional deposits may be required to reserve a single room. All deposits are non-refundable.
We cannot hold your reservation until we have received your deposit. If you would like to reserve an available spot in a retreat 90 or fewer days prior to the retreat date, we require payment in full for the retreat to hold the spot. This is in accordance with our payment policy below.
Payment in full for all retreats is due 90 days prior to the retreat date. If you do not provide payment in full by 90 days prior to the retreat you risk losing your reservation.
A 4% payment processing fee will be added to all payments made using PayPal, Stripe or Venmo.
You are welcome to send in a check or pay by Zelle to avoid this fee.
If you must cancel a reservation, a full refund, less your deposit which is non-refundable, will be provided for any cancellation we receive in writing at least 91 days prior to the commencement date of the retreat. We are sorry but we cannot refund any payments for cancellations made 90 or fewer days prior to the commencement of the retreat.
We reserve the right to cancel retreats with inadequate participant interest. Women’s Quest IS NOT responsible for any personal expenses, such as airline tickets due to changes in schedules or tour cancellations.
Cancellations by Women’s Quest: Women’s Quest reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel or reschedule any retreat due to concerns over Covid-19. As a small company Women’s Quest is unfortunately not able to provide refunds of payments for retreats cancelled by Women’s Quest due to the Covid pandemic. This is primarily due to our financial commitments with the various retreat venues. As a result, in the event Women’s Quest cancels or reschedules a retreat due to Covid-19 Women’s Quest will apply all payments to the rescheduled or following year’s retreat, or to any other Women’s Quest retreat of your choosing through the end of the next year after the year in which the retreat was cancelled by Women’s Quest. Because of the unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances of the outbreak, this policy supersedes earlier policies.
Cancellations by You: If you need or desire to cancel your reservation due to Covid-19, or failure to comply with the requirements of a negative test and being symptom free, this cancellation is subject to the Cancellation Policy above. This is why we urge everyone to purchase travel insurance when signing up.
Covid Waiver and Release
This waiver, release and acknowledgement of responsibilities is unfortunately necessary during this unique time of the Covid 19 pandemic. By signing up for and or attending any Women’s Quest retreat you agree to be bound by the terms of this document. We understand these times are challenging, however, these provisions are necessary to protect all attendees and staff members of Women’s Quest.
Testing For and Symptoms of Covid 19. Irrespective of vaccination status you are required to provide a negative test for Covid 19 taken within 3 days of the commencement of the retreat. This test can be either a PCR test or a home antigen test. Also, irrespective of your vaccination status, you agree you will not attend the retreat if you have any symptoms of Covid 19 immediately prior to the beginning of the trip. These symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea (these, along with symptoms outline in the following link and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control shall be collectively referred to as the “Symptoms”.) More information on symptoms of Covid 19 can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Symptoms During the Retreat. In the event you develop any Symptoms during the retreat you must immediately leave the retreat and follow protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and all local regulations. We understand this may result in you incurring significant expenses associated with separate accommodation and travel, however, you understand these expenses are not the responsibility of Women’s Quest and must be incurred by you. You agree to be fully honest with Women’s Quest staff in regard to any Symptoms you may develop and agree to comply with a request by Women’s Quest staff to depart as determined by Women’s Quest staff in their sole discretion. As provided below, this is why we strongly urge everyone to get travel insurance covering these and other expenses prior to departure.
Procedures During the Retreat. During the retreat Women’s Quest may, but need not, endeavor to practice social distancing and wearing of masks when traveling in close proximity. You agree to comply with all requests of Women’s Quest staff during the retreat related to these procedures. Any such procedures implemented by Women’s Quest are not a guaranty you will not be exposed to Covid 19 and you understand you are responsible for taking any precautions you deem necessary and providing your own personal protective equipment during the retreat. You also agree to comply with any reasonable requests by other attendees to respect their social distancing and other protective measures (“Participant Requests”.) Notwithstanding the foregoing, you are responsible to comply with all laws and regulations of the locality visited relating to protections against Covid 19.
Waiver of Coronavirus Related Illness; Indemnification. You understand that irrespective of protective measures that Women’s Quest or you may or may not take, you may be exposed to Covid 19 by another retreat attendee, a Women’s Quest staff member and or an individual to whom you may be exposed during, or traveling to or from the retreat. You agree to waive and release Women’s Quest, its officers, directors, staff, employees, contractors, and partners from any claims, liabilities or damages you may incur in the event you contract Covid 19 at any time during travel to, attending or after attending the retreat. You further agree to indemnify and hold harmless Women’s Quest, its officers, directors, staff, employees, contractors, and partners from any loss, liability or damages it or they may incur as a result of your failure to receive a negative test for Covid 19 prior to the retreat as provided above, attending the retreat with any Symptoms, not respecting Participant Requests, and not immediately departing the retreat if you develop any Symptoms.
Cancellation. In the unfortunate event you need to cancel your trip, cannot attend due to contracting Covid 19 or developing Symptoms prior to the retreat, or must leave the retreat due to contracting Covid 19 or developing Symptoms, Women’s Quest cannot provide any refund of any amounts you paid.
Travel Insurance. As provided in this document you could incur significant personal expense in the event you contract Covid 19 or develop any Symptoms during the retreat. As such, you are strongly urged to obtain travel insurance that provides adequate protections against these risks.
Additional Waiver. This waiver is incorporated into and made a part of other waivers you agreed to in connection with signing up for the retreat. In the event of a conflict between these terms and the terms of any other waiver, this waiver shall govern.
Purchasing Travel Insurance
We highly, highly recommend you get travel insurance to cover your expenses and losses, in the event you cannot make the Women’s Quest retreat for any reason or if you test positive or come down with Symptoms prior to the retreat, develop Symptoms during the retreat, or cannot return home due to Covid related issues. We recommend getting insurance that covers the cost of your trip, medical care while at the retreat, and coverage to pay for the necessary quarantine period if you test positive or come down with Covid. Please remember, if you have to cancel your trip in the unfortunate event you come down with Covid, test positive, or suffer Symptoms prior to or during the retreat and need to leave, Women’s Quest cannot provide a refund since we have to pay your trip expenses well ahead of time.
If you are concerned about travel and the changing environment in which we are living irrespective of your Covid status, we recommend getting travel insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason. This coverage is more expensive, however, may provide you with the coverage and flexibility you desire.
Irrespective of the travel insurance you get, please make sure you talk to a travel insurance agent prior to buying any insurance and make sure you have the coverage you desire and that the policy will cover trip cancellation, medical expenses and trip interruption due to Covid.
You can do your own investigation by checking out Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison company that helps travelers search, compare and buy travel insurance online https://www.