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 Arrive in Quito Quito
Day 2 Visit Otavalo Market & Cuicocha Lagoon Quito
Day 3 See the Quilotoa Lagoon & Baños de Agua Santa Baños
Days 4-5 Free Days in Baños Baños
Day 6 Return to Quito Quito
Day 7 Fly to Guayaquil, Transfer to Montañita Montañita
Days 8-12 Free Days in Montañita Montañita
Day 13 Transfter to Guayaquil, Return to Quito Quito
Day 14 Depart Quito  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive 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'll immediately glimpse 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'll get a sense of the warm and welcoming Ecuadorian Sierra Culture and experience the diversity of this beautiful city. A city of duality, you'll 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 Otavalo Market & Cuicocha Lagoon

Traditional handicrafts in Otavalo
Traditional handicrafts in Otavalo

This morning, you'll visit the famous market of Otavalo. Otavalo features one of the most important traditional markets in 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 local street food such as salted mango or fritada con mote (fried pork with cooked corn). In the afternoon, you'll 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 & 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'll then continue your journey toward Baños de Agua Santa, where you'll 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'll enjoy many activities in this town.
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Days 4-5: Free Days 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'll 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'll walk on to get the most stunning views. As you continue hiking down toward 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 out of the experience, biking or getting into a car is the best alternative. you'll 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'll hang on to a piece of wood, tied to a rope, and swing from a tree 400 feet (121 m) above the ground.
 
Continue a relaxing afternoon in a thermal hot spring and soak in the warm waters 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, often called "The Swing at the End of the World." The best way to get here is by taking a taxi, transferring up the hills, or taking a tour. you'll not only enjoy swinging but also have the chance to take stunning photos with vivid colors on a clear day or dramatic ones on a foggy one.

Day 6: Return to 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 or—if you are looking for some adrenaline—go canyoning or rafting. In the afternoon, make your way back to Quito, where you'll spend the next night.

Day 7: Fly to Guayaquil, Transfer to Montañita

Ecuadorian coast
Ecuadorian coast

Take a morning flight from Quito to Guayaquil. At Guayaquil Airport, you'll get picked up for your transfer to Montañita. you'll head north along the coast for approximately 2.5 hours until you reach the small village on the Pacific Coast. Check into your hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Enjoy a delicious meal or cocktails, take surf classes or check out the vibrant nightlife.

Days 8-12: Free Days in Montañita

Surfers in Montañita
Surfers in Montañita

Spend your days sunbathing or rent a surfboard, it's up to you! 

Day 13: Transfer to Guayaquil, Return to Quito

Malecon, Guayaquil
Malecon, Guayaquil

In the morning, you'll drive along the "Ruta del Sol" ("Route of the Sun") along the coastal highway south to Guayaquil. Afterward, you'll take your flight back to Quito.

Day 14: Depart

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

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

More Great Ecuador Itineraries

 

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Ecuador? Check out these other Ecuador itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in Ecuador, or discover the best time to visit Ecuador.

Map

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