A unique gem in the Pacific Ocean. Experience what it is like to detach from daily life and truly be at one with nature, not found anywhere else on earth....
Combine your passion for golf with love for nature and culture
“Imagine getting ready to tee off at 2700 meters with the majestically snowcapped peaks of the Andes Mountains in the background“
A journey of a lifetime to combine your passion for golf with love for nature and culture. You will play at exclusive golf courses, visit the Amazon rainforest and the magical cloud forest, spend the night at traditional haciendas and explore the most beautiful colonial cities in South America: historical Quito and Cuenca (both UNESCO World Heritage sites). The cherry on the cake is a visit to the enchanting Galápagos Islands for a 5-day expedition cruise along the islands, an unprecedentedly beautiful experience in one of the most pristine places on earth.
In Ecuador you can play golf at a very high level, literally! Imagine getting ready to tee off at 2700 meters, an undulating fairway crossed by small rivers and streams in front of you and the majestically snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains in the background. In the vicinity of Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca you will find well-maintained, exclusive golf courses. Some of these were completely private and closed to the public until recently. Aves Travels is proud to offer you the chance to play in this extraordinarily beautiful country.
For a day to day overview, click here to see the itinerary.
Today you will arrive in Quito. You will be picked up at the airport by our guide and taken to your hotel in Quito.
Visit colonial Quito and surroundings.
Today you will explore the colonial city of Quito. Your tour starts with a visit to Plaza de la Independencia flanked by the Basílica de Voto Nacional, the Palacio de Carondelet (presidential palace), the Palacio Municipal and the Palacio Arzobispal (bishop’s palace). We also visit La Compañia (1605) with its amazing gilded altars. This church is considered to be one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in South America with Moorish influence in the carvings of the beautiful red and gold columns and ceilings. Then we take you to the church and convent of San Francisco (1535); the oldest Ecuadorian church. The main altar is a spectacular example of baroque engraving. There is also a nice collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures and furniture from the 16th century.
Next we drive to the highest viewpoint of the city, “El Panecillo”. This hill is a wonderful place to enjoy a breathtaking view of the colonial and modern city of Quito.
After this visit we drive about 25 km north of Quito to “Mitad del Mundo” and the Intiñan museum. Here, at the 30 meter high monument, you will learn everything about the Franco-Spanish geodetic expedition of 1736-1744, which determined that the position of the equator should be at this location. You can take a nice photo with one leg in the northern hemisphere and the other leg in the southern hemisphere. Then it’s time to return to your hotel.
Golf at Arrayanes Golf Club
Arrayanes Country Club is located approximately 30 km northeast of Quito. This Club has an exclusive 18-hole golf course (Par 71), set on 34 hectares of soft terrain. A beautiful 6000 meter long course, designed by Jamie Vellegas with narrow but well-defined fairways, medium-sized greens protected by bunkers, where water comes into play. The course is challenging for both beginners as well as experienced players. You play with the Andes in the background and you have a beautiful view over the valleys of Quito.
Today we bring you to the north of Quito, to the Otavalo region. Along the way we stop at the Mirador of San Pablo, a beautiful viewpoint. In Otavalo you visit one of the most famous indigenous markets of South America. This market offers an excellent selection of woven carpets, blankets, hand-knitted sweaters, pottery and more; a paradise for authentic souvenirs. In the afternoon you will visit the city of Cotacachi, traditionally the Ecuadorian centre of leather processing. Finally, you will visit the Cuicocha Lake, a volcanic lake at 3,246 meters altitude.
Golf at Los Cerros
Today we bring you to Los Cerros Golf Club for your second round of golf. This golf course, founded in 1992, is approximately 25 km south of Quito and is considered one of the best 18-hole courses in Ecuador. It is a par 72 course, designed by Rafael and Jaime Villegas. The course extends over a length of 6,500 meters. While playing you have a picturesque view of the Los Chillos Valley and the city of Quito.
Only a half hour drive from the southern border of Quito, located on the west side of the Andes Mountains in the Illinizas Ecological Reserve, here we find a natural treasure called Bomboli. A private reserve that is approximately 3,000 meters above sea level. This reserve consists of 120 hectares of primary highland forest and 80 hectares of secondary forest; beautifully maintained and cared for by nature lovers Oswaldito and Marianita.
This couple and their family have dedicated their lives to this nature reserve. Bomboli shows us how to preserve and appreciate mother nature with a lot of patience and love.
Today you will have a great day at “Hacienda La Alegría”; a perfect way to get to know the spirit of haciendas in the Andes and their daily work. On old cobblestone roads and paths you will go horseback riding* to a great viewpoint “La Viudita” that overlooks the entire valley. Along the way there will be lots of breathtaking views and amazing photo opportunities. After this beautiful experience you return to the hacienda and enjoy a typical lunch prepared by the owner.
After lunch, the Chagras (Cowboys of the Andes) will give you an impressive demonstration of their driving skills and work with horses and llamas. In addition, this fantastic hacienda offers a visit to its cellar, where delicious cheeses are matured.
At the end of the activities you drive further south to Cotopaxi, where you will spend the night at Hacienda Hato Verde.
*In addition to horseback riding, it is also possible to hike or cycle.
Today you continue your journey further south and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Andes along the way. Our destination today is the impressive active Cotopaxi volcano; 5,897 meters high.
We stop at Lake Limpiopungo and during our stay in the National Park we will go on a comfortable trek. The Cotopaxi volcano reflects beautifully in the lake. There are several rare water birds, waders and migrating birds at this place, such as the black-headed ibis, of which only 100 species live in this area. Along the way you see herds of llamas. After lunch we drive to our hotel or hacienda in the area.
After a good breakfast we continue our journey through the Andes Mountains to the south. In Alausí you transfer from your car to the train for a spectacular tour along the “Nariz del Diablo”. The Nose of the Devil is named after the shape of the mountain on which the track for this train was laid. At the beginning of 1900 a railroad was constructed to connect Guayaquil and Quito. The biggest challenge on this route was the Nariz del Diablo. This mountain has almost perpendicular walls. To overcome this obstacle, a zigzag railway was built; in less than 12.5 km, the train climbs 500 meters with steep climbs and descents during the ride. It remains an impressive engineering marvel to this day.
After this train ride you will continue to drive south with your driver to the Ingapirca ruins. These are the largest remains of an Inca City in Ecuador. Take the time to wander through the ruins and find out more about the indigenous cultures that are still present in Ecuador.
After the visit we will have lunch and then continue to the beautiful city of Cuenca, a drive of approximately 2 hours.y
Golf at Cuenca Tennis & Golf
Today you play on the beautiful course of Cuenca, founded in 1952. Although this is “only” a 9-hole course, it is a real pleasure to play here. The fairways are wide and sufficiently long with 2 tee-boxes per hole.
We visit the centre of Cuenca with its beautiful churches and squares, charming markets, artisan shops and the colourful flower market. Admire beautiful historic houses on high cliffs that rise above the rushing Tomebamba River. Depending on your personal preferences, your tour ends with a visit to a ceramic art gallery, a Panama hat factory or an artist’s workshop.
From Cuenca we drive to the Cajas National Park, located in the west of Ecuador. Cajas is the lake area of Ecuador, a protected natural area of 28,800 hectares that lies at an altitude of 3000 meters. The region shows relics from the ice age and is shaped by intense volcanic activity. Wind and drizzle can make it very cold in this area, but the landscape around the 230 lakes is wonderful for walking and to observe the flora, fauna and birds.
After our visit to the park, we will continue to the west side of the country, with the city of Guayaquil as our final destination. It is the largest city in Ecuador, located at sea level and the port “Puerto Maritimo” is the most important seaport in the country. Guayaquil is the commercial and industrial centre of Ecuador and is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, about 60 km from the outflow into the Gulf of Guayaquil.
Golf Guayaquil Country Club
Time for another round of golf: On the outskirts of Guayaquil lies this particularly beautiful par 73 golf course with a length of 6500 meters. This is the place to play golf in Guayaquil. The course was founded in 1933 by a group of friends, mostly North Americans and Europeans, who settled in Ecuador and were looking for a place to play golf.
Today you will explore Guayaquil. Your tour starts at the Plaza de la Administración, the centre of the city administration and the municipality and where you will find the monument to Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre and the Parque Seminario (Iguana Park).
Next we head to Malecon 2000, a long waterfront promenade with important sights such as the Plaza de la Integración Latinoamericana with its famous southern market place, the Palacio de Cristal and the Plaza Olmedo, home of the famous Jose Joaquin monument Olmedo, a poet and former president of Ecuador.
At our third stop we visit the Torre Morisca and view the most important historical monuments of Guayaquil including the Hemiciclo de La Rotonda and the statues of Simon Bolivar and San Martin. Then we go to the garden of the Malecon, where a wide variety of flora and vegetation can be found.
We continue our journey and go through the beautiful neighbourhood of Las Peñas with old houses. You enter the stairs of the Santa Ana hill. At the top of the hill you have a beautiful view of the city and its rivers.
Finally we take a boat to visit the famous historical park, a park where historic Guayaquil is brought back to life, with its characters, traditions and architecture.
Overnight: Catamaran Petrel
You fly from Guayaquil to the Galápagos Islands where you board the luxury catamaran Petrel for a 4-day Cruise Expedition. During this cruise you will visit the beautiful islands of San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana and Santa Cruz. During the entire cruise you will go on fantastic hikes, snorkelling, kayaking and exploring the water and the coast with small pangas (zodiacs).
You end your cruise with 1 more night on the Galápagos Islands in a hotel in the nice town of Puerto Ayora.
Today you will arrive in San Cristóbal in the early afternoon and board the Petrel where you will receive a light lunch.
Afternoon: San Cristóbal – Centro Interpretación: this centre is a good landmark to prepare you for all the beautiful things you will discover in the next few days. Here you will find a series of interactive exhibitions with information about the history and biodiversity of the Galápagos. The Interpretation Centre was opened in 1998. Visitors enjoy exhibitions about natural history, human history and nature conservation.
San Cristóbal – La Galapaguera: centre for the conservation of the giant tortoise set up by the National Park. A visitor location in the southeastern part of the island of San Cristóbal, reachable in about an hour’s drive from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. In the trees and shrubs around the site, you can see land birds such as the yellow warbler, finches and mocking birds, giant tortoises will meet you on the paths.
Morning: Española – Bahía Gardner: a beautiful beach with turquoise waters. The bay is home to a large colony of sea lions. Bahía Gardner, on the eastern side of the island, is the breeding ground for almost all 12,000 pairs of Waved Albatrosses in the world. It has a spacious white sandy beach with a large number of sea lions, a perfect place to relax. The rocky shores make this site a great location for snorkelling.
Afternoon: Española – Punta Suárez: one of the most remarkable natural areas of the archipelago. This area is great for spotting blue footed boobies, albatrosses and nazca boobies.
Morning: Floreana – Punta Cormorant: this site houses a large lagoon where flamingo’s and many other water birds can be seen. You will also visit two beautiful, very different beaches: the ‘green beach’ owes its colour to the high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the second beach consists of white coral and is soft as feathers under your feet.
Floreana – Corona del Diablo: undoubtedly one of the best snorkelling spots on the islands, Corona del Diablo offers an amazing variety of marine life. This volcanic crater has been eroded by the waves causing the northern and southern sides to protrude from the water. The coral reef in the middle is perfect for attracting marine life. Snorkelers enjoy the variety of marine life and exciting currents that sweep through the crown.
Afternoon: Floreana – Bahía Post Office: a white sandy beach where sailors used to go ashore to collect mail. In the 18th century, whalers placed a wooden barrel on Floreana for use as an unofficial letterbox. This tradition is still being honoured, you too can leave your mail here and take cards from others that you then deliver to the recipient’s home. The system sometimes works faster than the official postal channels.
Morning: Santa Cruz – Charles Darwin Station: a centre for the conservation of the giant tortoise. The young tortoises are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive independently.
After visiting the centre you have the rest of the day at your leisure in the nice town of Puerto Ayora. You can stroll along the nice shops or go to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful beach within walking distance of the town.
In the morning you can enjoy Puerto Ayora. In the early afternoon you leave the Galápagos Islands and fly to Guayaquil where you can spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Golf at La Costa Country Club
La Costa Country Club is a beautiful 18 hole / par 72 course with a length of 6230 meters. Here you can end your holiday in style with one of the best golf experiences in Ecuador. The club was founded in 1993.
Today you have one more day to spend in Guayaquil before you take your flight home.
This journey takes you to the soul of colourful Ecuador. You will visit colonial Quito, stay in a luxurious lodge in the most beautiful cloud forest of the country and you will go on an adventure at two grandiose haciendas in the Andes Mountains.
A luxury journey in which you combine your passion for golf with love of nature and culture. You stay in the best hotels and haciendas of Ecuador and play on the most beautiful golf courses. During this journey you will explore the magical cloud forest, experience adventure in the Andes and visit the best preserved colonial city in South America: Quito, You end your trip with an 8-day expedition cruise on one of the most beautiful ships of the Galápagos Islands .
This beautiful, adventurous journey will introduce you to all facets of Ecuador. Nature and an active holiday predominate. You will explore the Amazon, mountain bike among the volcanoes and descend along refreshing waterfalls. The chosen hotels are basic but very good and attractive.
Aves Travels is your specialist for birding holidays to Ecuador. We offer both group tours as well as bespoke, individual programs, in which you can explore all the stunning natural areas of this country. This example tour is very suitable for novice birders on a first visit to Ecuador, but also interesting for the more experienced. In addition to trips aimed at spotting unique bird species, we also offer holidays where you combine bird watching with photography. Read about this in our blog “Exclusive birding and photography tours”. Learn more.
Aves Travels continuously seeks to amaze our guests with unique travel experiences. Aboard your intimate, 16-passenger, luxury yacht you will experience a unique variety of nature ranging from mangroves, cloud forests, pristine beaches to uninhabited islands equal to Galápagos atmosphere, vibrant fishing villages, local culture and exquisite gastronomy. This exclusive journey will take you to places that are extremely difficult to reach overland, making it truly an experience of a lifetime.
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