Day 1: Arrival in Quito
We’ll greet you at the airport at your arrival, excited to begin your travels through this amazing country! We will head to the hotel of your choice and, depending on your time of arrival, we can organize an extra activity for the day, such as a food tour, chocolate tasting, some soft adventure, or a visit to one of the great museums.
Day 2: Quito: The City in the Middle of the World
The old town of Quito was declared the first UNESCO cultural world heritage site, due to its richness in history, culture, and size. We will visit this amazing place on your first day of your voyage, as we walk on the narrow streets exploring incredible churches, famous landmarks, and getting a great insight into the daily life of an Ecuadorian.
Within this city tour, we will visit the “Compañia” and San Francisco churches, fine examples of religious architecture and necessary stops in the tour. We will head to El Panecillo hill afterwards to get a full view of the whole city of Quito and hopefully the surrounding mountains.
We then travel north to the equator line to visit the monument and ethnographic museum to learn about local cultures and our past.
Day 3: Heading North to Otavalo, Cayambe & Cotacachi
North of Quito, there are some very interesting spots which we will explore in our tour. First, we will stop to try a local treat: the tasty “bizcochos” biscuits. These delicious snacks are made in a factory in a town called Cayambe.
Our trail then leads us to Cuicocha lake, as well as through the town of Cotacachi to do some shopping of the locally made leather goods. The village of Peguche is our next stop where we will meet the well known Otavalo Indigenous community. We’ll head back to Quito after our visit here.
Day 4: Jungle Time!
East of the Andes Mountain range lies the famous Amazon Jungle, called the “lungs of the earth”, which is the most biodiverse area in the world. We will head into this amazing place driving from Quito, across gorgeous scenery and views.
We descend into the Amazon Basin, heading to the town of Tena, and afterward aboard a canoe to head into Yacuma Natural reserve. We arrive at our lodge to enjoy of the multiple activities prepare for our enjoyment.
Day 5: Yacuma Natural Reserve
This day we will have multiple options of activities to take part in, such as jungle hikes, interactive expositions of the tools and traps from the indigenous communities, chocolate making, gold panning and much more. You’ll get the real feeling of what it is like to live in the Amazon, in a perfect balance between human and nature.
Day 6: Departure to Baños
We will depart from our lodge in the morning as we head to Baños, a small town located in the middle of the incredible rugged landscape. The overland voyage crosses incredible canyons spotted with waterfalls, rivers, and vegetation. On our way, we will stop by the “Devil’s Cauldron” Waterfall to admire the incredible force of the water. We will arrive at our next stop, the town of Baños in the afternoon.
Day 7: Return to the Highlands: Riobamba and Chimborazo
This morning we will have some free time to enjoy a variety of activities in the surrounding areas, including rafting, kayak, biking and more, or simply take some time to relax in the hot springs.
In the afternoon we will head up to the highlands of Mt. Chimborazo, the highest mountain in the country. Here we can observe the wonderful animals of the highlands such as Vicuñas and llamas, and with luck, the king of the Andes: the Condor. The town of Riobamba waits for our arrival after this fun visit, where we will stay for the night.
Day 8: Heading to Cuenca & The Devil’s Nose
The Devil’s Nose train ride is considered one of the most exciting in the world, due to the rugged landscape in which the train tracks were laid upon. Today, we have the option to take this train ride and enjoy of the wonderful sights it offers to visitors. We will cross Andean landscapes south towards our hotel in Cuenca, a nice colonial city, now popular for American and European retirees to live in. We will stop by the fascinating Ingapirca Inca ruins on the way to learn about the pre-colonial inhabitants of this region.
Day 9: Exploration of Cuenca City
This morning we will have a fun trip visiting the highlights of Cuenca city. You’ll taste many delicious flavors and explore the rich history of this town. The afternoon is free to relax, do some shopping, and explore on your own.
Day 10: Heading to the Coast
We will leave Cuenca to head to the coast of the country in the morning. We have the option to enjoy a 2-hour hike in the gorgeous Cajas National Park, one of the most important natural reserves in the country. The city of Guayaquil will be our next destination, as we head into the coastal region of the country, to where our hotel will be waiting for us.
Day 11: Exploring Guayaquil
The biggest city of Ecuador, the port of Guayaquil has many interesting sights that we will visit this day. The importance of the trade routes of the past and present can be seen in the highlights of this city, such as the boardwalk of “el Malecon” and the “Parque Historico”, where we will learn about the locals, the history, and the city’s natural environment.
In the afternoon, we will head north to the town of Puerto Lopez, a small fishing community on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, where we will stay for the night.
Day 12: Puerto Lopez
Time for some relaxation in this small coastal town. We’ll then head to Los Frailes Beach in the afternoon, one of Ecuador’s most famous, for a private whale watching tour to the “The Small Galapagos”.
Day 13: Santo Domingo de los Colorados
We will leave the coastal region, heading up towards the Andes again. Our stop will be at Santo Domingo, a town housing the famous community of “Los Colorados”. Here we will learn about the local cultures and their way of life, as well as explore the cloud forest, home of thousands of species of birds and plantlife.
Day 14: The Highlands & Haciendas
In the morning, we’ll visit the Colorado Indigenous community close to Santo Domingo. After lunch, we will start heading to Machachi town to spend the night in a nice local hacienda farm house. Here we can enjoy of the highland traditions in the middle of rugged landscapes and experience a way of life from the past century.
Day 15: Quilotoa, Zumbahua and Quito Return
From Machachi, we will head to the highlands of Zumbahua, an unspoiled Andean region. The Quilotoa Volcano with its gorgeous lake will be our main objective. We can take a short walk in the rim of the crater to enjoy the magnificent view of the area. In the late afternoon we will return to Quito.
Day 16: Departure from Quito
After breakfast, we will pack up and head to the airport for the last part of our adventure. If you like, we can also extend your journey to Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Bolivia, or other attractions in South America as a compliment to your great Ecuadorian adventure!