- See the historical sights of Quito and go bargain hunting in Otavalo
- Stroll along Cuicocha Lagoon and shop for leather in the quaint town of Cotacatchi
- Explore Cotopaxi National Park to observe the fascinating flora and fauna
- Relax in hot springs, waterfalls, and thermal baths in and around Baños
|Arrive in Quito, Enjoy Your Hacienda
|Colonial Quito City Tour & Visit Mitad del Mundo, Transfer to Otavalo
|Otavalo Market, Visit Cuicocha Lagoon & Cotacatchi Village
|Transfer to Papallacta, Heal Body & Soul in Its Hot Springs
|Transfer to Cotopaxi, Hike in Cotopaxi National Park
|Saquisilí Traditional Market, Transfer to Baños
|Explore Baños, Return to Quito
Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Enjoy Your Hacienda
Welcome to Ecuador! Upon arriving at Quito airport, your driver will meet you and take you to your hotel, Hacienda Rumiloma, to rest up for your upcoming journey. Hacienda Rumiloma is poised on the western outskirts of Quito on the slopes of the Pichincha Mountains, a peaceful paradise just outside the hustle and bustle of the city. This small but opulent establishment boasts only six rooms, so the staff can pamper and spoil you during your visit.The hotel has plenty of delightful amenities, and the rooms are full of history and unique furnishings, including many antiques and colonial art. With its gourmet Ecuadorian cuisine and excellent service, the restaurant has a fabulous reputation locally and among international travelers. If you'd like to explore the grounds, you'll find prime bird-watching and hiking trails on-site as it sits on some 100 acres (40 ha) with around 80 documented species of birds.
Day 2: Colonial Quito City Tour & Visit Mitad del Mundo, Transfer to Otavalo
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up to take you on a tour of the UNESCO-listed Centro Histórico of Quito. Stroll the narrow old streets and visit La Ronda, one of the oldest lanes in the city. Admire the churches and other historic buildings. Check out the presidential residence, and enjoy some coffee, tea, or artisan chocolate while people-watching in the Plaza de la Independencia, more commonly called "Plaza Grande." Climb the hill south of downtown to see fantastic city views from La Virgen de el Panecillo, then have lunch at the restaurant just next to the monument.
Later, see the monument that marks the equator, the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World). Located just 16 miles (26 km) north of Quito, this is where French scientists determined the position of the central line many years ago. You can stand on the equator and pose with one foot in each hemisphere. If you're up for it, visit the nearby reserve, Puluahua, and see beautiful views of the valley below. From here, your guide will take you to Otavalo, where you will enjoy a relaxing evening in the lap of luxury at the Hacienda Zuleta.
Located at an archaeological site, this hacienda is still a working farm. It is a diverse enterprise that produces cheese, wool, trout, wheat, cream, barley, wood, and more, with a horse stud farm and an earthworm composting facility. The farm-to-plate restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients produced on-site, whenever possible, for you to enjoy traditional Ecuadorian dishes.
Day 3: Otavalo Market, Visit Cuicocha Lagoon & Cotacatchi Village
This morning you'll visit the local market in Otavalo, famous for products ranging from musical instruments, jewelry, and embroidery to vegetables, traditional sweets, terracotta objects, alpaca-wool ponchos, and more. Don't forget to bargain a little, as that is included in the price vendors first quote you. Next, it's off to the nearby volcanic crater lake of Cuicocha. The volcano's collapsed caldera filled with water after an eruption, with two islands that emerged due to later eruptions. Stroll along the shore to admire its midnight-blue water and beautiful flowers as you listen to hummingbirds.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Transfer to Papallacta, Heal Body & Soul in Its Hot Springs
Get ready to ease those tired muscles as you travel southeast to the hot springs of Papallacta, where you'll stay for the night. Upon arrival, check into the resort and head to the volcanic mineral waters. Located at 10,660 feet (3,250 m), this resort has nine warm and three cold pools at various temperatures. The on-site spa offers multiple health and beauty treatments, including hydromassage that can improve circulation, a chocolate body wrap, a Turkish steam bath, and a mud wrap. Your room will have direct access to the pools, so you can let go and allow the soothing waters to work their relaxing and therapeutic magic on you.Later on, relax with a drink by the fireplace in the bar and then migrate to the hotel's restaurant to enjoy local cuisine or international specialties made with produce from the gardens. The area also has numerous restaurants if you prefer to eat outside of the complex.
Day 5: Transfer to Cotopaxi, Hike in Cotopaxi National Park
This morning you'll visit Cotopaxi National Park, where you'll find the volcano of the same name. Rising to 19,347 feet (5,897 m) on a high Andean plain, this majestic peak with glaciers towers over the rest of the surrounding landscapes. Start at Lake Limpiopungo and walk all or part of the trail around the lake. Home to many fascinating birds, you may also spot Andean foxes, wild horses, eagles, and hawks that might come for a drink. Look out for the spectacular reflection of Cotopaxi on the lake's surface. If you feel up to it, hike to the Refugio José Rivas at 15,748 feet (4,800 m) for panoramic views.
Day 6: Saquisilí Traditional Market, Transfer to Baños
Continue south to Saquisilí to stroll through their market. Produce, clothes, animals, housewares, and crafts are sold alongside each other in this traditional regional mercado. Afterward, head farther southeast to Baños de Agua Santa. Sitting at the foot of the idyllic Tungurahua volcano, Baños is the gateway between the Amazon and the Andes. This quaint, colorful town overflows with sweet shops—make sure to try the fruit-flavored taffy and guava paste. The town's center is el Santuario Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Agua Santa, a church receiving thousands of pilgrims annually.
This area is full of hot springs, thermal baths, and waterfalls. The waters contain many minerals and have a reputation as healthy and healing. As you enter the village, you'll see waterfalls cascading down the nearly vertical slope on the town's south and east sides. Head to Luna Volcán, the resort where you'll be staying, and settle in amid amazing views of the Amazon and the Andes. Four pools with Tungurahua's volcanic mineral waters are available for you to enjoy, and you can opt for various luxurious treatments at the resort spa.
Close to the resort, you'll find the famous treehouse, Casa del Árbol, and the swing known as El Fin del Mundo (The End of the World). Balanced on the edge of a steep valley at 8,530 feet (2,600 m), you'll experience exhilarating sensations with Baños and Tungurahua in full view. In the evening, dine at one of the resort's gourmet eateries. Experience Ecuadorian specialties with an international flair as you gaze down over the sparkly lights of the city. Enjoy the view with a nightcap, relax in one of the pools, or turn in for a peaceful night's sleep.
Day 7: Explore Baños, Return to Quito
Today is your final full day in Ecuador, and you're free to explore at your own pace. You could visit waterfalls, go ziplining, take a cable car ride, or even do something more daring such as canyoning, rafting, or kayaking. Maybe stroll around town to visit the church and sit in the central plaza to people-watch. Later in the day, a driver will take you to Quito. Along the way, marvel at the natural beauty of the Andes as you'll see its gorgeous volcanoes one last time. Once back in Quito, return to the Hacienda Rumiloma.This evening is an excellent time to explore Quito. You could have dinner at a restaurant with a view or try a seafood establishment with local crab or lobster. Of course, if you feel more like putting your feet up for the evening, another meal at Rumiloma would allow you to try one of the delicious options you haven't sampled yet and the chance to relax at the hotel, enjoying its comfort and beauty.
Day 8: Depart Quito
Have a leisurely morning at the hacienda, enjoying breakfast and packing your luggage. When the time comes, your driver will take you to Quito Airport for your international flight. Have a safe trip!