Discover Ecuador's fascinating culture and magnificent wilderness on this nine-day journey that starts in Quito and ends in Guayaquil. Between exploring the monuments and marketplaces of two major cities, you'll go hiking and bird-watching in the Yacuma Natural Reserve, see Inca ruins at Ingapirca, visit waterfalls and volcanoes near Baños, see how the Panama hat is made in colonial Cuenca, and so much more.


  • Explore Quito and Guayaquil with expert guides
  • Tour the Inca ruins at Ingapirca
  • Travel to an Amazonian ecolodge in a canoe
  • Spot monkeys and exotic birds in the wild

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Cooking Class Experience Quito
Day 2 Tour Quito & Mitad del Mundo  Quito
Day 3 Transfer to the Yacuma Natural Reserve  Tena
Day 4 Enjoy a Wildlife Hike & Indigenous Community Tour Tena
Day 5 See the Landscapes Around Baños Baños
Day 6 Visit Chimborazo Volcano, Travel to Riobamba Riobamba
Day 7 Explore the Inca Ruins of Ingapirca Cuenca
Day 8 Take a City Tour of Cuenca Cuenca
Day 9 Discover Guayaquil, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Cooking Class Experience

Views over Quito and Cotopaxi
Views over Quito and Cotopaxi

Welcome to Quito! You'll arrive at the airport and meet your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel in the city. After taking some time to get settled in, explore the historic center on a guided tour. This UNESCO World Heritage Site stands at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m) and welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas between mountain peaks. 

Take a walk down La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in the city. You'll visit Independence Square, where the Presidential Palace and El Sagrario Church are located. Visit the Monastery of San Francisco (circa 1535), the oldest church in Ecuador, then drive up to the city's highest viewpoint, El Panecillo, for a spectacular view of Quito. In the evening, you'll head to a cooking class inside a colonial house in the historic center. Learn to prepare various traditional Ecuadorian dishes, then enjoy the meal.

Day 2: Tour Quito & Mitad del Mundo 

Plaza Grande in Old Town Quito
Plaza Grande in Old Town Quito

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel this morning and take you on a walking tour of the city. Stroll through its narrow streets and visit some of the city's most important churches, such as the Baroque La Compañía de Jesus, with its incredible gold-covered interior, and the neo-Gothic La Basílica del Voto Nacional

In the afternoon, you'll visit the equatorial monument known as Mitad del Mundo ("Middle of the World"). It's located just 16 miles (26 km) north of the capital city in the spot where French scientists determined the position of the central line many years ago. You'll have the chance to stand on the line of the equator and strike a pose with one foot in each hemisphere! Visit the adjacent museum, featuring a planetarium, cocoa, and chocolate exhibits, and a small-scale model of Quito.

Day 3: Transfer to the Yacuma Natural Reserve 

Reach your Amazonian ecolodge via canoe

Leave Quito and begin the journey to Yacuma Ecolodge, located in the upper basin of the great Río Amazonas. Pass through the small city of Tena and onward to Santa Rosa. Board a dug-out canoe to navigate along the Río Napo in the Yacuma Natural Reserve. A 30-minute ride will take you to the Yacuma Ecolodge. =

The staff at the lodge will welcome you with a traditional drink. After a short welcome talk, you'll get settled in your bungalow. Later, venture to the Hidden Lagoon for bird-watching: spot kingfishers, egrets, blue herons, and more. You can also try fishing for piranhas, which you can have for dinner if you catch one! Head back to the lodge for a meal. If you're up for it, the staff can also arrange a night walk for about 40 minutes after dinner.

Day 4: Enjoy a Wildlife Hike & Indigenous Community Tour

Keep an eye out for squirrel monkeys and other Amazon wildlife on today's hike

After a hearty breakfast, begin a two-hour hike in the forest reserve. Your local guide will point out various species of birds, and you might spot monkeys and capybaras. You'll also see many species of plants used for medicinal purposes and learn about their usage in shamanic healing rituals. Return to the lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon, you'll visit the home of one of the members of the Kichwa Chontayacu community. During the walk there, you'll see local crops like coffee, bananas, cacao, cassava, papaya, pineapple, and oranges, which provide sustenance for the jungle's inhabitants. Visitors can also purchase locally produced handicrafts and sample the traditional chicha drink during the excursion. Return to the lodge and enjoy a bonfire with music after dinner.

Day 5: See the Landscapes Around Baños

Rolling green hills near Baños

Visit Yacuma's lookout before transferring to the town of Puyo. This trip offers plenty of fantastic views of the rugged landscape of Pastaza Canyon. Take a short hike to the impressive Devil's Cauldron waterfall. Then continue to the city of Baños, located at the base of the mighty Volcán Tungurahua. You'll have dinner and overnight here.

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Day 6: Visit Chimborazo Volcano, Travel to Riobamba

Chimborazo Volcano
Vicuñas grazing beneath Chimborazo volcano
Today you'll leave Baños after breakfast and make your way to Chimborazo volcano, Ecuador's highest active volcano. you'll be able to spot the volcano several times during the journey. If the altitude does not affect you, take a short hike with your guide while enjoying spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. You'll head to your accommodations in Riobamba in the afternoon.

Day 7: Explore the Inca Ruins of Ingapirca

The Inca ruins of Ingapirca
The Inca ruins of Ingapirca

In the morning, visit the small town of Guano, known for producing beautiful carpets on traditional looms. The handicraft has been passed down through the generations, and each design is significant to the heritage and culture of Ecuador. Stop by Balbanera Church, located on the shore of Colta Lake. The church is thought to have been constructed by both Spanish and Indigenous hands, as both influences can be seen in its construction techniques and decoration.

Continue to Ingapirca, and the largest Inca remains in Ecuador. Then travel to Cuenca, one of Ecuador's prettiest colonial cities. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. 

Day 8: Take a City Tour of Cuenca

City Tour Cuenca
The rooftops of Cuenca
Explore Cuenca's beautiful Old Town, with its narrow streets, big squares, and colonial architecture. Join your guide on a stroll through the city, visit Calderón Park and the cathedral, and see how the famous Panama hat is made. Top off the tour with stunning views from the Turi viewpoint and a visit to a famous pottery workshop. 

Day 9: Discover Guayaquil, Depart

Guayaquil City Tour in the morning
Take a walk in Guayaquil

This morning's transfer takes you to Guayaquil, where you'll have time to explore this colorful coastal city. At the Parque Histórico, discover native species, such as sloths, monkeys, and parrots, in a park recreating the natural mangrove habitat. The next stop could be the Cementerio General, an early 20th-century cemetery where artistic tombs are reminders of the prospering cocoa trade of that time. Finally, stroll along the historic cobblestone streets of Puerto Santa Ana and the busy boardwalk Malecón 2000 along the Río Guayas.

When the time comes, a transfer will take you to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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