Ecuador Experience


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A jam-packed itinerary featuring the highlights of Ecuador


Arrive Quito, city tour

On arrival in Quito we will be met and transferred to the group hotel. This afternoon we will take a tour of this fascinating city. There are features of interest in both the new and old parts of the town. Our tour may include San Agustin Monastery, Independence Plaza, La Compania Church and a view of Quito from Panecillo Hill. In the evening, you are free to sample some of the wonderful local seafood or grilled meats in one of the city's many fine restaurants.Overnight Casona de la Ronda or similar.

To Otavalo market

We will drive north through beautiful Andean countryside to the famous market town of Otavalo. The markets here date from pre-Incan times when people came from jungle areas to trade their produce with those of the highlands. This is still the case today, as well as offering many crafts and wares for tourists. It is considered by many to be one of the best markets for textiles and crafts in South America. Time permitting we hope to have the opportunity to visit the surrounding area around Otavalo. The main market day is Saturday; but Wednesday, Friday and Sunday are also good. Overnight Las Palmeras or similar.

To Cotopaxi National Park

This morning, we will head south past Quito towards the foot of Cotopaxi volcano. Nestled in the foothills of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, our hacienda accommodation provides the perfect setting for those wishing to enjoy this unique countryside (3500-4000m approx). This afternoon and tomorrow morning, we shall have the opportunity to visit Cotopaxi National Park, or simply relax and enjoy the historic hacienda with its pretty gardens and eucalyptus grove.Overnight Hacienda la Cienega or similar.

In Cotopaxi National Park. Transfer to Riobamba

This morning we will visit Cotopaxi National Park. In the afternoon, we will be transferred south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes. This route offers great views of various volcanoes, including Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Sangay and Altar. Overnight Hosteria Abraspungo in Riobamba or similar.

'Devil's Nose train & Inca ruins at Ingapirca

After an early breakfast we will be transferred to Alausi, where we will take the best portion of the infamous Devils Nose Train journey to Sibambe. This short section gives the railway its name with a series of ‘hair raising’ switchbacks that negotiate the descent down to the lowlands. This was one of the great train journeys of the world and a fantastic piece of engineering with a maximum gradient of 5.5%. The track originally climbed from Duran on the coast to its highest point at 3700m. It has recently been re-constructed to once again be Ecuador’s pride and joy. Our transportation will be waiting in Alausi to take us to Ecuador’s most significant Inca site of Ingapirca at 3160m. Though famed as a classic Inca site, Ingapirca, actually translates to “Wall of the Incas”, but is thought to be sacred to the Canari Indians prior to the Inca’s. Ingapirca was strategically positioned on the main ancient highway from Quito to Cusco and soldiers would have settled here to maintain order in this region. From Ingapirca we will then be transferred to our hotel in Cuenca.Please note that the Devil’s Nose Train does not operate on Monday's or due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, and if it does not operate, it is important to understand that the only alternative is to drive instead.Overnight Los Balcones in Cuenca or similar.

In Cuenca, transfer to Guayaquil

This morning after breakfast, we will enjoy a city tour of Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador and UNESCO World Heritage listed. Perhaps because of its isolation, Cuenca has kept its old-world architectural charm and its colonial ambience, with its cobbled streets and many buildings of interest. Many visitors consider it to be the most beautiful city in the country, as well as the centre of arts and crafts, such as jewellery making and ceramics. This afternoon we will drive 5 hours to Guayaquil. On our way we stop at a Cacao Hacienda for a delicious coastal lunch in a peaceful and cozy atmosphere. We will also visit the plantation and learn about the production process from the cacao bean to the end product 'chocolate'. This visit wouldn't be complete without a chocolate tasting! You will also see mangos, papayas and other species from the Dry Tropical Forest at the Hacienda. After this visit we continue our way to Guayaquil for our last night in Ecuador.Overnight Unipark Guayaquil or similar.

Trip concludes in Guayaquil

Transfer to Guayaquil airport, where trip concludes

Additional Information

This jam-packed trip is an ideal introduction to Ecuador and a perfect accompaniment to any Galapagos cruise. This well paced 'mini trip' incorporates Quito, the Indian markets of Otavalo, the volcanic spine of Ecuador, Cotopaxi National Park, the famous Devil's Nose Train, the ruins at Ingapirca and the UNESCO world heritage listed colonial city of Cuenca.

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7 Days



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