Click Image for Gallery
8 days / 7 nights
Ecuador is a very popular tourist attraction due to the diversity of culture, flora, and fauna all present in a small territory. Rich cultural values are kept, and traditions are practiced to this day within the indigenous population. On this tour of the Ecuadorian mainland (the Andes to the Pacific Coast), you will be acquainted with the culture by visiting the major cities and attractions and meeting and interacting with the people there. This will be facilitated by touring through the most relevant indigenous communities as well as in cities such as Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil.
Otavalo: Find yourself immersed in one of the most famous Indigenous Markets in South America, which are the biggest and oldest in South America. - Quitsato (Solar Clock): You will find it easy and delightful to be able to put one foot on each hemisphere in a solar clock of 52 meters (170 ft) of diameter that shows both the equinox and solstices. - Quilotoa Lake: A crater lake that is hidden in the heartland of Ecuador, surrounded by authentic indigenous villages and expansive views. - The Devil’s Nose Train: Experience an exciting train ride! Dubbed the world’s most challenging railroad due to the narrow curve the train has to travel to pass through the mountain. Tragically, many people were killed building the tracks. - Cuenca: Enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in the Ecuadorian Andes where the city center showcases the Spanish culture, and today’s artistic atmosphere. This city where the Panama hat is designed, manufactured exported worldwide. - Guayaquil: Ecuador’s largest city and the economic capital. A coastal metropolis with modern attractions, nearby haciendas and cacao plantations that are a must-see.
DAY 1: Quito. International
Arrival Upon arrival at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre airport, you will be greeted by our helpful guide. The guide will serve as a translator, help with luggage, and assist with the private transfer to your hotel. -/-/- Accommodation: Illa Experience or Similar
DAY 2: SINAMUNE Concert / Otavalo / Quitsato (Solar Clock)
After meeting the guide at Quito, early in the morning, the group begins their adventure. The first stop is the SINAMUNE Foundation where travelers have the opportunity to participate in an interactive concert for around 45 minutes. The play features a wonderful and colorful orchestra formed by people with special needs. The performance includes local and international music. Afterwards, the group will be given a brief tour of the foundation, learn about their social work visit the workshop where they there are handcrafted goods made with love by members of this community. All purchases support the work of the Foundation. Continuing on to Otavalo, home to the well-known Indigenous Market. Here, everybody will be able to find many handicrafts made by the Indigenous Community and Otavalenos (residents of Otavalo). This in an ideal place to have free time to enjoy the colorful folklore of the indigenous market at “Plaza de Ponchos.” Don´t forget to bargain with the artisans for the special souvenirs; it is a custom. Lunch will be at the beautiful Lago San Pablo where guests will enjoy delicious food and a brief tour of this ancient lake. Later on, on the way back to Quito, there will be time for a stop at the “ Quitsato.” It is a solar clock of about 52 meters (170 ft) of a diameter that mark not only the hour but also the equinoxes and solstices every year. While here, the group will be able to stand in both hemispheres at the same time! A great site to take pictures with the solar clock. “Latitude 0” activities here are worth this visit. Arrive at the chosen hotel. (B/BL/D) Accommodation: Illa Experience or Similar
DAY 3: Cotopaxi National Park
After breakfast we will departure for a visit to the National Park. The Cotopaxi Volcano is one of the most important landmarks in Ecuador because it is the highest active volcano in the world. Lush endemic flora and fauna of the area can be observed, including: one of the most representative species is the Chuquiragua (also known as the mountaineer’s flower) wild horses, deers, llamas, and more. Whilst in the National Park you can also see Limpiopungo Lake, located near Rumiñahui volcano (4757 meters). In the afternoon we will head to a typical Lodge/Hacienda where we spend the night. (B/L/D) Accommodation: Hacienda Los Mortiños or Similar
DAY 4: Quilotoa - Riobamba
After breakfast, the journey to the Quilotoa Volcanic Lake (3900 m.a.s.l.) begins. The pathway is along the amazing “Avenue of Volcanoes”, ideal for visiting the small colorful indigenous towns. The majority of the population in this zone are indigenous, which means that several ancient customs are still observed nowadays; for example, Zumbahua is a Town that practices these traditions on a daily-basis. One tradition is painting and in Tigua we will enter to one of those workshop to see them. Quilotoa is a collapsed volcano that has been inactive for thousands of years. A 9km cauldron that was formed in its crater due to the collapse of the volcano. According to studies, the lava managed to reach the Pacific Ocean and the cauldron is now home to a picturesque Lake that turns greenish-blue when sunlight hits the surface for a gorgeous view. Hike on an easy trail along the rim of the Lake which is rarely crowded. The view of the Quilotoa Lake from this point is breathtaking! After that, we will continue the trip toward Riobamba where we spend the night. (B/BL/-) Accommodation: La Andaluza or Similar
DAY 5: Alausi / Devil´s Nose Train / Ingapirca / Cuenca (from Tuesday through Sunday)
Early in the morning, the group will be driven from Riobamba to the town of Alausi with some quick stops at the “Balbanera” Church, which is the very first Catholic Church built in Ecuador. Then, there is a stop to overlook the awe-inspiring Colta Lagoon. Once, the group arrives in Alausi, you will have the opportunity to board the famous Andean train commonly known as “The Devil’s Nose Train”. The journey is really exciting and exhilarating; in some parts, people can almost feel that the train will fall down! The train arrives to Sibambe Station to enjoy a colorful folkloric presentation and stroll around the valley. After all, it is time to return to the train to ride up back to Alausi. Once everybody returns from the train ride to Alausi, the journey continues to the Southern Andes; but first, there is a stop at the amazing Inca Ruins of Ingapirca, where there will be time to enjoy a box lunch. At Ingapirca it is possible to enjoy the beauty of this Inca-Cañari ancient fortress, one of the most important and largest Inca Ruins in all of Ecuador, mainly for its historical value and structural beauty. Ingapirca is located at 3100 meters above sea level. After this stop, the journey continues to the beautiful Colonial City of Cuenca to check at the chosen hotel. (B/BL/-) Accommodation: Mansión de Alcazar or Similar
DAY 6: Cuenca.
Cuenca is the third largest City in Ecuador, and in 1999 was declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. For many people, this is the prettiest city in the country. The architecture, setting and cultural value are reasons to make Cuenca a must-visit on any tour at any time. Along the city tour, the traveler will be able to visit several handcraft workshops, including one of the popular workshops where the “Paja Toquilla” hats are woven (the World-Famous Panama Hats). Additionally, there is a visit to the “Encalada” workshop, where guests can see the process of making beautiful black ceramic vases. During the interesting city-tour along Cuenca, there is one stop for experiencing the local gastronomy during the lunch at the renowned “Dos Sucres” Restaurant (or similar), where the Ecuadorian cuisine is featured. After a long day between the market, the workshops, the beautiful architecture, and the delicacies of Cuenca´s gastronomy, it is time to rest. (B/L/-) Accommodation: Mansión de Alcazar or Similar
DAY 7: Cuenca – Cajas National Park - Guayaquil City Tour PM
The tour continues from the Ecuadorian Andes to the Pacific Coast with, but first there is a must-do stop at the breathtaking Cajas National Park. It is a natural and protected reserve surrounded by pristine lagoons and gorgeous landscapes. Here, it is possible to take a small hike to enjoy the reserve’s unique flora and fauna. It is possible, also, to visit the “Toreadora” Lagoon that is the largest lagoon in the national park. This setting is ideal for enjoying a box lunch in a charming natural location within the reserve. On the way to Guayaquil, you will notice a sudden change of the vegetation at the coast and enjoy the seeing of many banana´s plantations and the coastal vegetation. Once the travelers arrive to Guayaquil, the largest city-port of Ecuador, there is a short stop to drop off the luggage at the hotel. Then, it will be possible to take a short tour to the modern part of the city to enjoy some panoramic views of the city and look at the most representative buildings in the area. One of the stops is the famous “Parque de las Iguanas” (Iguana’s Park) to view this magnificent specie bonding with the locals. There is also time to visit the famous “Malecon 2000”, a magnificent river shore by the Guayas River from where we can take pictures of the Rotonda Monument and the charming and color-filled “Las Peñas” neighborhood. After a long day, it is time to return to the hotel for packing and overnight. (B/BL/-) Accommodation: Wyndham or Similar
DAY 8: Guayaquil, Transfer Out or Tour Extension to Galapagos.
After the breakfast, the adventure throughout Ecuador ends. It is possible to connect the tour with one of the cruises on board the Galapagos Seaman Journey, or by taking one of the Galapagos hotel based tours for experiencing the Enchanted Islands without taking a cruise, 100% customizable to travelers´ period and budget. (B/-/-)
- Private bus for transportation - Fully bilingual (SP-EN) and certified guide - Tours and transfers specified in the program - Entrance fees to National Parks - All entrance fees to local indigenous communities and museums listed in the program. - Nights at the hotels chosen and mentioned (depending on availability, similar or better) - All meals mentioned in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, BL=Box Lunch, D=Dinner)
- Personal expenses and tips. - Alcoholic and soft drinks. - Meals and tours not mentioned in the program.
Add service / tours:
TRANSFER IN - QUITO (Arrival): transportation service for transfering to the hotel chosen at Quito, once the traveler arrives to the Mariscal Sucre International airport. The service is offered by a driver-guide who will assist the passenger at the airport. (-/- /-) Luxury Accommodation: Illa Experience Hotel First-class Accommodation: Dann Carlton / Patio Andaluz Tourist Superior Accommodation: Anahí Boutique Hotel QUITO SIX SENSES TOUR Quito is the second highest capital in the world, and it is the first heritage city declared by UNESCO due to its rich and well-preserved city center. Quito has very scenic and gorgeous views of the Andes Mountains which are usually coated in snow such as the Cotopaxi volcano. As a way to discover, feel, and experience the city, its customs, and traditions, this city tour includes a series of activities with local artisans and entrepreneurs in addition to the regular visits to the interesting sites of Quito. Quito showcases an amazing architecture typical from the Colonial and Republican period as well as an impressive quantity of Catholic churches that represent the baroque style that was typical of the city back then. Some of the must-see sites are: • Independence Square, surrounded by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral and the archiepiscopal house. • The Golden Leaf Church called La Compañia de Jesús that was built by the Jesuits congregation. Its interior is breathtaking due to the two tons of gold leaf that covering it. The handcrafted volcanic rock façade does not do justice to the beauty of the interior of the church. • San Francisco square and the San Francisco Church, including Cantuña chapel (if its open) that represents the first congregation that settled in Quito with the Franciscans, who also brought the beer. • National Vow Basilica that represents the new gothic style which offer a beautiful view to Quito´s city center from its domes, but also the view to the unconventional gargoyles that are animal species from the Galapagos Islands. • The Panecillo Virgin is the virgin of Quito built in 1979 following the interpretation of the famous artist of the Baroque School of Quito, Bernardo de Legarda who sculpted his representation of the Lady of the Immaculate Conception but with wings and the facial features and colors of a mestiza. In addition to the visiting the sites mentioned, you can also participate in activities such as creating traditional toys; taste different types of honey, like an avocado flower honey; or visit the workshop of the last artist from the Baroque School of Quito, and experience his passion. There are much more activities that are related to the five senses that humans have, and the sixth one is the love that people from Quito put into everything they do. (-/L/-) Luxury Accommodation: Illa Experience Hotel First-class Accommodation: Dann Carlton / Patio Andaluz Tourist Superior Accommodation: Anahí Boutique Hotel TRANSFER OUT - GUAYAQUIL (Departure) This service is for getting the transportation and assistance at the Guayaquil airport, either for taking the flight back home or for the flight to the Galapagos Islands for continuing the adventure by cruising the Enchanted Islands or in a hotel based tour.