Venture into the wilds of Ecuador on a journey that will take you from highland volcanoes to the Pacific coast, stopping at historic cities and ancient ruins in between. Stay in first-class haciendas as you visit the museums of Quito, followed by horseback rides near Cotopaxi volcano. Then stroll the cobbled streets of historic Cuenca and hike around the pre-Inca ruins of Ingapirca before lapping up ranch-style luxury living in Guayaquil.


  • Experience the rich culture and history of Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil
  • Ride horses and hike around highland volcanoes, canyons, and waterfalls
  • Explore ancient Inca ruins and overnight in historic colonial haciendas

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Visit the Guayasamín Art Museum Quito
Day 2 Transfer to Cotopaxi National Park, Horseback Ride Cotopaxi
Day 3 Half-Day Hike at Santo Domingo Lagoon Cotopaxi
Day 4 Transfer to Baños, Waterfalls & Nature Tour Baños
Day 5 Hike Chimborazo Volcano, Transfer to Riobamba Riobamba
Day 6 Day Trip to La Chorrera Canyon Riobamba
Day 7 Transfer to Cuenca via Ingapirca Ruins Cuenca
Day 8 Cuenca City Tour, Transfer to Guayaquil Guayaquil
Day 9 Hacienda La Danesa Activities Guayaquil
Day 10 Guayaquil City Tour, Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Visit the Guayasamín Art Museum

Spend the night relaxing amid Andean forests above Quito (photo courtesy of Hacienda Rumiloma)

Welcome to Ecuador! This nation offers everything South America is known for, from soaring mountain highlands and beautiful coast to Spanish-colonial cities and ancient ruins. The adventure begins in Quito, the heart of Ecuador's colonial history. Nestled in the Andes at 9,350 feet (2,850 m) and fringed with volcanoes, this is the first place the Spanish settled back in the 16th century. In fact, Quito's Old Town is so well-preserved that it was bestowed UNESCO World Heritage status.

Upon arrival at the airport, your driver will pick you up for the ride to the city's western outskirts and Hacienda Rumiloma. Located on the slopes of Pichincha volcano and offering sweeping views of the Quito skyline, this mountain retreat combines rustic charm with luxury. Each of the hacienda's six suites is furnished with antiques and local crafts, some of which also feature fireplaces and private balconies. A popular restaurant on-site serves gourmet cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. Feel free to take your meal al fresco on the terrace, enjoying city views as you eat.

After dropping off your bags, you'll head into the city and Casa Museo Guayasamín, located in the former residence of Ecuador's most famous artist, Oswaldo Guayasamín. Nicknamed the "Painter of Ibero-America," Guayasamín was of Indigenous heritage and became famous for his Cubist-styled depictions of Latin American people. This museum features a comprehensive collection of Guayasamín's works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints, spanning various periods of his prolific career. After the two-hour visit, you'll return to the hacienda. 

Day 2: Transfer to Cotopaxi National Park, Horseback Ride

Swap Ecuador's capital city for horseback riding on the foothills of Cotopaxi volcano

Rise and shine! Your first full day in Ecuador begins with an exciting road trip. Your driver and guide will pick you up at the hacienda, and the two of you will head south of Quito on a 1.5-hour ride into the province of Cotopaxi. This area is home to Cotopaxi National Park, a pristine nature reserve that covers 129 square miles (334 sq km) in the Andean highlands. Its most famous icon is Cotopaxi volcano, which rises 19,347 feet (5,897 m) over the landscape.

Upon arrival, you'll check into Hacienda San Agustín de Callo. Situated in the volcano's foothills, this rustic yet comfortable hacienda is built on the site of an Inca palace and later a colonial estate. It offers a variety of rooms and suites, each uniquely decorated with a blend of colonial and Indigenous styles. The rooms feature antique furnishings, luxurious linens, and modern comforts such as private bathrooms and heating. Of course, the real star is the property itself, surrounded by lush gardens, Andes mountains, and the rugged landscapes of the national park. 

Leave your things and transfer to a nearby ranch. There, you'll meet a private guide, hop in the saddle, and embark on a two-hour horseback ride. Gallop across windswept plains through native forests, all with the snowcapped peak of Cotopaxi volcano looming overhead. As you ride, keep an eye out for native wildlife, which includes rabbits, deer, and even wild horses. At the end of the excursion, you'll bid farewell to your horse and return to your accommodation.

Day 3: Half-Day Hike at Santo Domingo Lagoon

Hike around highland lakes for prime views of Cotopaxi volcano
After an early breakfast, you'll leave the hacienda on a one-hour drive through the park to Laguna Santo Domingo. This body of water may be small, but its glassy, inky black waters are a sight to behold, as are the views of Cotopaxi volcano in the distance. Upon arrival, you'll set off on a half-day guided nature hike in the area. Stake out the best spots to snap photos of the volcano, and keep an eye out for local wildlife. Small animals such as rabbits and foxes are quite common here.

Day 4: Transfer to Baños, Waterfalls & Nature Tour

Enjoy prime views of the Andes from your Hacienda's pool (photo courtesy of Luna Volcán Adventure Spa)
Plan your trip to Ecuador
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

You've hiked around highland volcanoes; now it's time to experience Ecuador's natural wonders at a lower altitude. This morning, your driver will take you on a two-hour ride farther south to the charming town of Baños de Agua Santa. During the drive, you'll leave the páramo (Andean highlands) and arrive at the edge of the Amazon basin, a region known for its hot springs and waterfalls.

Upon arrival, you'll check into Luna Volcán Adventure Spa. Get ready for more hacienda-style living, as this idyllic property sits on a hill with prime views of Baños and the surrounding Andes. It offers an array of themed rooms and suites tailored to couples, families, friend groups, and solo adventurers. They're all equipped with plush beds; some have garden and Andes views from private terraces. Expect even better views when you head up to the pool area, where you can take a dip or soak in the Jacuzzi.

After settling into your room, head back out to experience one of the region's highlights. Your driver will take you along the scenic Ruta de Las Cascadas (Waterfall Route) toward the village of Río Verde. When you arrive in town, take a one-hour hike to one of the area's famous waterfalls, El Pailón del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron). Here, the water cascades 265 feet (81 m) down through the cloud forest. After hiking around the falls, you'll head back to Baños. On the way, stop just outside of town at Casa del Arbol, where you can soar on a swing placed at the edge of a mountain.

Day 5: Hike Chimborazo Volcano, Transfer to Riobamba

Private Journey from Baños to Riobamba through The Breathtaking Chimborazo
Explore more gorgeous mountain landscapes on your way through Ecuador

Depart Baños early on a 2.5-hour ride west to Chimborazo. This dormant stratovolcano is Ecuador's tallest peak, standing an impressive 20,548 feet (6,263 m) above sea level. While you won't hike all the way to the top, you'll go on a hike up to Carrel Refuge, a mountain hut sitting at 15,748 feet (4,800 m) in altitude. Needless to say, the views of the surrounding valleys and mountains are spectacular.

Afterward, continue driving about an hour south to Riobamba, the capital of Chimborazo province in central Ecuador. Upon arrival, you'll check into Hacienda Abraspungo. Set in a country-style house with elegant colonial decor, Abraspungo features spacious rooms surrounded by gardens and offers modern conveniences like WiFi. If you like, have dinner at the hotel's gourmet restaurant, which celebrates Indigenous Ecuadorian ingredients like quinoa, corn, and beans. Enjoy the meal next to the crackling fireplace amid an atmosphere of antique furniture and decorations from the Andes.

Day 6: Day Trip to La Chorrera Canyon

After a day's hiking, relax and savor the tranquil views from your suite (photo courtesy of Hacienda Abraspungo)
This morning, transfer northwest of Riobamba on a private day trip to the awe-inspiring Chorrera Canyon. This vast gorge is a popular spot for rock climbing, as it features steep, rugged cliffs formed by erosion over the ages. However, you'll explore this natural wonderland on foot. As you hike, you'll witness the area's beautiful flora and fauna, which includes orchids, hummingbirds, deer, foxes, and more. You'll also be treated to prime views of its famous waterfalls cascading over terraces down sheer cliffs. At the end of the day, you'll return to the hacienda.

Day 7: Transfer to Cuenca via Ingapirca Ruins

Walk in the footsteps of Ecuador's ancient Indigenous history at Ingapirca

The road trip continues this morning as you leave Riobamba on a three-hour drive south to the Ingapirca ruins, which sit at an altitude of 10,498 feet (3,200 m). Dating to the 15th century, the site was important to the Indigenous Cañari people and the Inca, as they coexisted peacefully for many years. You'll find the Temple of the Sun, ancient terraces, and a Cañari tomb among the ruins.

From Ingapirca, continue south to nearby Cuenca, the capital of Azuay province. You'll be staying on the city's outskirts at Hacienda Dos Chorreras. Enjoy more relaxing ranch-style living at this rustic property, a sanctuary within Cajas National Park surrounded by forests and lagoons. The comfy rooms afford great views of these landscapes, and many have fireplaces and Jacuzzis.

Day 8: Cuenca City Tour, Transfer to Guayaquil

Highlights on today's tour of Cuenca include the blue and white domed New Cathedral

See more of Cuenca this morning on a private city tour. Known as the "Athens of Ecuador" due to its well-preserved buildings, it's a great place to stroll amid colonial history. Walk along Cuenca's cobbled streets to landmarks like the 16th-century Iglesia El Sagrario, known as the "Old Cathedral." Another highlight is the 19th-century Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción, aka the "New Cathedral." While the old cathedral has been converted into a museum, the new one, with its famous blue and white domes, is still a working church.

After a lunch break, get back on the road for a four-hour drive with your guide. It's a scenic journey that will take you up to one of the highest points in the Ecuadorian highlands before descending toward the coast. Rice plantations dot the landscape as you near the port city of Guayaquil.

In the countryside outside the city is Hacienda La Danesa, where you'll spend the night. The historic building dates to the 19th century and features luxury rooms and suites with handcrafted furniture, private terraces, and modern conveniences. However, the real star here is the real estate. The hacienda is set on a 1,235-acre (500 ha) working dairy farm and cacao plantation, offering a glimpse into the rural heritage that has defined this region for centuries.

Day 9: Hacienda La Danesa Activities

Comfort and luxury await after a day of memorable activities (photo courtesy of Hacienda La Danesa)
For today's fascinating tour, you don't even need to leave the hacienda. After a hearty ranch-style breakfast, you'll enjoy a full day of activities at La Danesa. Depending on your interests, these can include cacao plantation tours, lazy river tubing, horseback rides, cooking classes, and mountain bike tours. These are the best (and most fun) ways to enjoy the spectacular surroundings.

Day 10: Guayaquil City Tour, Depart 

Admire Guayaquil's colorful architecture on a city tour this morning

Milk this Ecuador adventure for all it's worth with one last memorable excursion! This private half-day city tour begins in the morning with a visit to Seminario Park, where you can spot iguanas scurrying about and relaxing in the sun. After visiting the park's neo-Gothic Metropolitan Cathedral, you'll stroll down the famous Malecón, a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) boardwalk along the river.

Then, continue north to Las Peñas, a colorful neighborhood dating to the 16th century, famous for its cobbled streets and pastel-colored hilltop homes. At the tour's end, you'll say goodbye to your new iguana friends as you hop in a car for the transfer to the airport, where your flight home awaits. Safe travels!

More Great Ecuador Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Ecuador? Check out these other Ecuador itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Ecuador in luxury, or discover the best time to visit Ecuador.


Map of Luxury Hacienda Hop Around Ecuador's Mountains & Coast - 10 Days
Map of Luxury Hacienda Hop Around Ecuador's Mountains & Coast - 10 Days