During this 14-day trip, you will not only explore the remarkably beautiful landscapes and the friendly indigenous people of the Andean highlands, but there will also be plenty of beach-time on the Pacific coast.

Highlights

  • Wander the indigenous market in Otavalo
  • Dive into adventure sports and hikes in Baños de Agua Santa
  • Hike along the magical Cuicocha Lagoon
  • Enjoy beach time and nightlife in Montañita

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Quito Quito
Day 2 Otavalo Market Visit and Cuicocha Lagoon Quito
Day 3 Quilotoa Lagoon and Baños de Agua Santa Baños
Days 4-5 Day at leisure in Baños Baños
Day 6 Baños - Quito Quito
Day 7 Flight to Guayaquil - Transfer to Montañita Montañita
Days 8-12 Day at leisure in Montañita Montañita
Day 13 Montañita - Guayaquil - Flight to Quito Quito
Day 14 Day at leisure until departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Quito

View of Quito and the Cotopaxi Volcano
View of Quito and the Cotopaxi Volcano

On the descent to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, you will immediately get a glimpse at the immense Andean capital of Quito. Upon arrival, your Spanish-speaking driver will be ready to take you to your hotel.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site stands at an altitude of  9,350 feet (2,850 m), welcoming you with its famous picturesque plazas, situated between mountain peaks. Immediately, you will get a sense of the warm and welcoming Ecuadorian Sierra Culture and experience the diversity of this beautiful city. 

A city of duality, you will find modern apartment buildings and modest concrete homes. The city has an abundance of market stands, shamanistic healers, and fourth-generation hatmakers—all mixed with a vibrant and sophisticated culinary and nightlife scene.

Day 2: Visit the Otavalo Market and Cuicocha Lagoon

Traditional handicrafts in Otavalo
Traditional handicrafts in Otavalo

This morning, you will visit the famous market of Otavalo. Otavalo features one of the most important traditional markets of South America. Here, the indigenous people of the surrounding areas gather to trade anything from animals and handicrafts to fresh vegetables and fruits.

Take a stroll through the streets and try some of the local street food such as salted mango or fritada con mote (fried pork with cooked corn). In the afternoon, you will hike around the crater lake Cuicocha. Along the trail, your guide will point out the high altitude flora and fauna and explain the history of the once active volcano. If you prefer, there is an option for a boat ride around the two islands. In the evening, head back to your hotel in Quito.

Day 3: See the Quilotoa Lagoon and Baños de Agua Santa

Quilotoa lagoon
Quilotoa lagoon

Today, you'll visit a picturesque calderaQuilotoa Lake. The lake is a volcano's caldera filled with turquoise waters about 43 miles (70 km) southwest of Quito. Choose to walk along the crater’s rim for a splendid view or hike down a path to the crater lake. The hike requires three to five hours, but it is one of the most beautiful places to visit and hike in Ecuador. 

The way back can get more strenuous, but you can rent a mule for the uphill hike if you wish. You will then continue your journey toward Baños de Agua Santa, where you will spend the night. Baños is nestled in a valley between mountains and volcanoes with nearby waterfalls, rivers, and hot springs. The town is known for its thermal baths and is called the adventure sports capital of Ecuador, which means you will enjoy a lot of activities in this town.

Days 4-5: Day at leisure in Baños

Swing at the end of the world
Swing at the end of the world

It is time to explore Baños in-depth and enjoy a lot of exciting adventures. Enjoy your free by relaxing in the thermal pools, visiting the famous Casa del Arbol (treehouse), and hiking through the beautiful surroundings. During your two-day stay, you will have the opportunity to indulge in several activities to create memories for a lifetime.


Hiking around the Pailón del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron) is a must—it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ecuador and the world. There are several bridges and staircases you will walk on to get the most stunning views. As you continue hiking down towards the waterfall, be prepared to get wet, but usually, you can buy a rain jacket on the spot before heading down.
 
Take the Ruta de Cascadas (The waterfall route), and experience several waterfalls along the way. You can take a bus tour, rent a bike, rent a car, or hire a taxi for the day to get you through them. However, to get the most of the experience, biking or getting into a car are the best alternatives. You will see both small and giant falls, which makes it is one of a kind adventure.
 
Go on a guided trek tour in the Amazon with incredible views, canoe rides, and a thrilling rope swing ride. The swing ride is especially exciting for the adventurous traveler where you will hang on to a piece of wood, tied to a rope, and swing from a tree 400 feet (121 m) above the ground.
 
Continue to a relaxing afternoon in one of the thermal hot springs and soak in the warm waters that come from nearby active volcanoes. It is what Baños is known for, and Baños de Agua Santa means Bath of Holy Water. It is a must when you are visiting this part of Ecuador.
 
Swing sky high at the Casa del Arbol, which is often called "The Swing at the End of the World." The best way to get here is by taking a taxi or transfer up the hills or taking a tour. You will not only enjoy swinging but also have the chance to tale stunning photos with a lot of colors on a clear day or dramatic ones on a foggy one.
 

Day 6: Baños - Quito

Quito's historical center
Quito's historical center

Enjoy a last morning in Baños and do whatever you haven't done yet! Relax in the thermal pools, visit the famous "Casa del Arbol" (treehouse) or - if you are looking for some adrenaline - do canyoning or rafting. In the afternoon, make your way back to Quito where you will spend the next night.

Day 7: Flight to Guayaquil - Transfer to Montañita

Ecuadorian coast
Ecuadorian coast

Take a morning flight from Quito to Guayaquil. At Guayaquil Airport, you will get picked up for your transfer to Montañita. You will head north along the coast for approx. 2 1/2 hours until you reach the small village at the Pacific Coast. Check into your hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Enjoy a delicious meal or some cocktails, take surf classes or go check out the vibrant nightlife. Overnight stay in Montañita.

Days 8-12: Day at leisure - Montañita

Surfers in Montañita
Surfers in Montañita

A free day at the beach. Spend the day sunbathing or rent a surfboard, it's up to you! Overnight stay in Montañita.

Day 13: Montañita - Transfer to Guayaquil - Flight to Quito

Malecon, Guayaquil
Malecon, Guayaquil

In the morning you will drive along the “Ruta del Sol” (The route of the Sun) along the coastal highway south to Guayaquil. Afterward, you will take your flight back to Quito.

Day 14: Day at leisure until departure

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

Today you are free to explore Quito on your own and shop for souvenirs before you get picked up for your transfer to the airport. 

Map

Map of Explore the Andes and Pacific Coast in Ecuador - 14 Days
Map of Explore the Andes and Pacific Coast in Ecuador - 14 Days