Discover a country of astonishing contrasts where cultural riches are surpassed only by breathtaking landscapes. Travel through the heart of Ecuador’s dramatic Avenue of the Volcanoes and rest by night in historic haciendas. Descend the exhilarating Devil’s Nose on a train ride, explore the charming colonial towns of Quito and Cuenca and be awed by gorgeous scenery in the Cajas National Park.
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Day 1: Arrive Quito
Arrive in the beautiful city of Quito, the world’s first city to be declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Standing at an altitude of 2,850m, Quito is the second-highest capital in the world after La Paz in Bolivia. The first three nights of your journey will be spent here.
Day 2: Quito
Begin exploring this vibrant mountain city. Packed with architectural treasures, Quito’s exquisite Centro Historico is the largest and most well-preserved historic centre of any Latin American city. Picturesque plazas and baroque 17th century cathedrals contrast spectacularly with the snow-covered peaks beyond. Visit the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, and the impressive La Compania Church which, with its ornate golden altars and perfect symmetry, is one of South America’s greatest baroque masterpieces.
Day 3: Quito – Otavalo Market – Quito
Today you will drive north from Quito to the traditional Andean town of Otavalo. Along the way, you will be able to spot the two Andean Cordilleras (mountain ranges) that run parallel through Ecuador from north to south, offering an impressively varied topography: active volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, green valleys, farmland, and historic haciendas. Discover Otavalo’s artisan market, one of the most well-known and colourful indigenous markets in all of South America. Countless stalls are piled high with ponchos, woollen goods, tapestries, hats, sweaters, indigenous jewellery and much more. Enjoy lunch at Hacienda Pinsaqui, an enchanting 300 year old colonial hacienda where you will sample some of the best Andean cuisine around.
Day 4: Quito – Cotopaxi – Baños
Travel to Baños and en route visit Cotopaxi National Park. The breathtaking snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano dominates the landscape.
Day 5: Patate – Baños – Riobamba
Today you will journey by road along the Pastaza River gorge to the picturesque and bustling town of Banos, located at the foot of the spectacular Tungurahua Volcano. Banos is well known for its thermal baths, impressive array of adventure sports and incredible waterfalls, including the 100 metre Pailon de Diablo waterfall. Continue on your journey to the scenic and old-fashioned town of Riobamba where you will spend the night at the delightful Hacienda Abraspungo.
Day 6: Riobamba – Alausi – Cuenca
Travel to the town of Alausi, where you will hop on the Devil’s Nose Train Ride, one of the most thrilling train rides on the continent. As you zigzag dramatically through the Andes Mountains, you are rewarded with breathtaking views. Continue south to the fascinating site of Ingapirca, the country’s largest known Inca ruins, before ending a wonderful day in the colonial jewel of Ecuador, the city of Cuenca.
Day 7: Cuenca
Cuenca’s red-tiled roofs, flower-filled plazas and narrow cobble stone streets are reminiscent of a splendid past, while it’s many museums, cloisters, markets and churches are all testimony to a rich historical legacy. Cuenca is known as the jewel of Ecuador for good reason, and it is arguably the country’s most beautiful city. An impressive setting along the Tomembamba River, world-class restaurants, and a variety of art galleries, cafes and bars all add to Cuenca’s charm.
Day 8: Cuenca – Cajas National Park – Guayaquil
Travel from Cuenca to Guayaquil, stopping en-route at the magnificent El Cajas National Park. The park, which is located in the western Cordillera of the Ecuadorean Andes, covers an area of 28,544 hectares and boasts no less than 235 lakes of glacial origin. At an altitude of 3,200-4,000 metres above sea level, the park’s humid Andean cloud forests act like a sponge and the park is a vital water source. With its incredible scenery, it is also a photographer’s dream. You will stop at two of the park’s lakes, Llaviucu Laguna and Laguna La Toreadora, where you can take some amazing photos. Arrive in Ecuador’s second largest city, Guayaquil, late in the afternoon where your journey ends.
|2020 Dates & Prices||Twin Share||Solo Traveller|
|Departs Quito on selected dates:||$3,895.00||Price on Application|
|Meals:||7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 2 dinners|
|Transport:||Airport Transfers & Modern air-conditioned vehicle|
|Accommodation:||7 nights accommodation|
|Guide:||Local English Speaking guide|
|Entrance Fees & Touring:||Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary|
* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.