Ancestor Volcanoes of Guatemala & Galapagos Islands

Explore the dramatic volcanic landscapes of these two dynamic destinations and the people and wildlife that inhabit them. This journey makes the most of opportunities for hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving. Hike up a volcano with a professional volcanologist and take a helicopter flight over some of the incredible volcanoes of Guatemala. In the Galapagos Islands, head in the opposite direction and snorkel or dive into a completely different world.

Country Information


Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

Ancestor Volcanoes of Guatemala & Galapagos Islands Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)



Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

(Interest Type(s))

Sustainable Travel


Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

11 Days

Tour Highlights

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  • Explore remarkable volcanoes of Guatemala and the volcanic origins of the Galapagos Islands with specialist guides
  • Stroll the charming cobblestone streets of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Spanish Baroque influenced architecture and spectacular ruins of colonial churches
  • Hike up Volcan Sierra Negra, the second largest active caldera on the planet; and savor an unusual treat – melting marshmallows with volcanic steam from Pacaya Volcano
  • Discover the phenomenal wildlife in Ecuador’s famed Galapagos Islands during a four-night land-based journey
  • Savor amazing aerial views of three volcanoes as your helicopter flies to Lake Atitlan, once called ¨the most beautiful lake in the world¨ by the famous writer Aldous Huxley


Day 1: Guatemala City, Guatemala / Antigua
Welcome to Guatemala to begin your discovery of some of Central America’s active volcanoes.  A Big Five representative will greet you when you arrive in Guatemala City, and transfer you by road to your hotel in Antigua. This captivating city is famous for its Spanish Baroque influenced architecture as well as spectacular ruins of colonial churches. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the best-preserved colonial cities in the Americas. Your five-star hotel is a restored Dominican Order monastery that has preserved the treasures from the baroque period while creating a luxurious experience for its guests.  Casa Santo Domingo

Day 2:  Antigua – Pacaya Volcano – Antigua
After breakfast, your volcanologist guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and transfer you to Pacaya Volcano, where you will set out on a hike, about two and a half hours.  At the top of the volcano, you will savor a lunch with spectacular views.  Active since 1965, this volcano is classified as a strombolian but occasionally plinian.  Pacaya recently had a slight increase in volcanic activity, which created several lava rivers.  Finish off your meal with a unique dessert – marshmallows heated by volcanic steam!  Return to Antigua to enjoy an afternoon walking tour of this captivating city.  Even Antigua’s present location is the result of volcanic activity.  It was moved here in 1527 after being destroyed in another location by a volcanic eruption. It has the distinct feel of a place lost in time, from its cobblestone streets to its priceless colonial architecture. There is much to explore here – art galleries, museums, shops, restaurants, quaint bars and cafes.  The city is also known for its chocolate makers!  At the Chocolate Museum & Workshop, you learn how the Mayas used cacao, and you can make your own chocolate.  Casa Santo Domingo (B,L,D)

Day 3: Antigua – Acatenango Volcano – Antigua
After breakfast, you are transferred by a 4x4 expedition through forest, communities to a point where you begin your two-to-three-hour trek up the volcano.  Acatenango Volcano sits at an altitude of 3,975 meters/13,041 feet, making it the third highest volcano in Guatemala.  And, it has the unique characteristic of having an active twin, Fuego Volcano.  From the summit of Acatenango, you enjoy lunch surrounded by incredible scenery, and you may see Fuego Volcano explosions. Both volcanoes overlook Antigua and, on a clear day, you may even see the Pacific coastline. After lunch, rendezvous with the vehicle for the ride back to Antigua.  Casa Santo Domingo (B,L,D)

Day 4: Antigua –Lake Atitlan – Antigua
This morning, travel by helicopter to Lake Atitlan.  Its natural beauty, gorgeous views of the volcanoes and indigenous villages caused the famous writer Aldous Huxley to call it, ¨the most beautiful lake in the world.¨   The flight passes over spectacular landscapes including four volcanoes: Fuego (active), Acatenango, Atitlan and Toliman.  In sight of three dormant volcanoes, you set out to hike Cerro de Oro, 1,892 meters/6,207 feet, a volcanic formation made by an explosion that occurred millions years ago.  Later you enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Return to Antigua by helicopter.  Casa Santo Domingo (B,L,D)

Day 5: Antigua / Guatemala City / Guayaquil, Ecuador
You are met by a representative in the lobby of your hotel for your transfer to Guatemala City Airport for your departure flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador.  You are welcomed and privately transferred from airport to hotel.  Hotel Hilton Colón (B)

Day 6: Guayaquil / Santa Cruz Island
This morning, you fly to the famous Galapagos Islands.  Your guide meets you at Baltra´s airport and drives you through the highlands of Santa Cruz to visit the “El Chato” reserve.  This is the natural habitat of the Galapagos tortoise.  Explore the reserve to encounter these lumbering gentle giants and other wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches, and frigate birds bathing in freshwater lakes.  You will also see amazing volcanic tunnels created by hot flowing lava.  Continue on to “Los Gemelos”, two volcanic sinkholes near the top of the island. Walk around these deep craters through a beautiful Scalesia forest covered with epiphytes and ferns.  Later in the afternoon, transfer to your accommodations. Galapagos Safari Camp (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Santa Cruz Island - Daily Boat Excursions
*Depending on the day of the week the excursion to the islands may vary, however, we recommend a  visit to Bartholome.

Bartholome Island and Sullivan Bay (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday)
The summit trail begins with a dry landing, though sea lions make the dock more exciting.  The trail is a dusty walk through volcanic ash. The only vegetation is the “pioneer plants”, grey Tiquilia and greenish Chamaesyce. These are vital in binding the ash that fans down from the hill. The park wardens have built wooden steps up the hill to prevent further erosion by humans. The reddish spatter cones were minor eruptions of highly viscous material that cooled rapidly. The summit is such a cone; it seems higher than 114 meters/374 feet as you climb the steps.  The eastern side has many small lava tubes. If you look carefully, you can make out sunken craters in the sea below. In the distance, you can see most of the central islands, the peaks of Isabela to the west, and, on a clear day, Marchena and Pinta to the north. A good snorkeling place lies at the foot of the Pinnacle Rock that leans into the bay. The cliff is an eroded tuff cone. A small family of Galapagos penguins lives in the shadows of the Pinnacle. You can often spot the penguins on a dingy ride. In the afternoon, return to your tented camp privately nestled on the highlands of Santa Cruz.  Galapagos Safari Camp (B,L,D)

Day 8: Santa Cruz Island / Isabela Island
This morning, transfer to Baltra’s airport to take the interisland flight to Isabela Island.  You arrive at your hotel with some time to relax before lunch.  This afternoon, visit “Las Tintoreras”, a set of small islets within the bay. The islets are home to the Galapagos penguin, the only one of this species found in the northern hemisphere.  Explore the small, idyllic beaches and coves, and in the offshore waters, you may spot sharks, sea lions, sea turtles and rays.  At the end of the day, relax at Puerto Villamil, the island´s lazy beach town known for its flamingos and sand streets. Hotel Iguana Crossing (B,L,D)

Day 9: Isabela Island - Volcan Sierra Negra
Today, you head into Isabela’s volcanic highlands on one of the most impressive hikes in the Galapagos. After driving to the end of the road, you begin your hike into a surreal world of volcanic terrain and the flora is sustains. As you hike, you are surrounded by stunning views of volcanoes and the sea. When you arrive at the rim of Volcan Sierra Negra, you are rewarded with a truly one-of-a-kind vista. This is the second largest active caldera on the planet, six miles across at its widest point. Continue your hike along the rim of this enormous crater.  The next leg of our hike continues on to the otherworldly landscapes of the secondary vent Volcan Chico, where spectacular lava formations are painted in vibrant hues by sulfur deposits and puffing fumaroles vent volcanic gases.  As we head back, we stop for lunch at a restaurant on the slopes of Sierra Negra, which also serves as a private giant tortoise reserve.  After spending the day in this volcanic terrain, we take some time to soak up the atmosphere of Puerto Villamil and relax on the beach. Hotel Iguana Crossing (B,L,D)

Day 10: Isabela Island / Baltra / Guayaquil
Transfer to the island airport for your inter-island flight to Baltra, and connect with your flight back to the mainland. You are met and privately transferred to your hotel.  Hotel Hilton Colón (B)

Day 11:  Guayaquil / Depart
Today you will be transferred to airport in Guayaquil to connect with your onward flight.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  From US$800 per person per day. Internal air - Guatemala/Guayaquil/Galapagos/Guayaquil - additional.  Galapagos National Park fee: US$100; Ingala Park: US$10,

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