This weeklong itinerary is perfect for travelers who are interested in seeing the astoundingly beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. Travel along the Andean highlands to see ancient volcanoes, sacred waterfalls, and lagoons before ending your trip in the lush coastal lowlands. At the end of each adventurous day, you will be able to relax at beautifully restored haciendas that will allow you to step back in time.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a free evening wandering around Ecuador's capital of Quito
  • Hike around the Cotopaxi and Chimborazo volcanoes
  • See the Pailon del Diablo Waterfall
  • Tour the El Salitre Inca Ruins
  • Take in breathtaking views from the rim of the Quilotoa Lagoon

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito Quito
Day 2 Otavalo Market - Cuicocha Lagoon Otavalo
Day 3 Explore Cotopaxi National Park Cotopaxi
Day 4 Trekking at Quilotoa Lagoon - Patate Patate
Day 5 Scenic Waterfalls Drive - Baños Hot Springs - Riobamba Riobamba
Day 6 Riobamba - Chimborazo - Guayaquil Guayaquil
Day 7 Departure via Quito  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito

Plaza Grande in Quito
Plaza Grande in Quito

When you arrive in Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), a driver will be waiting to take you to your accommodation in Quito. You'll have the evening free to spend as you'd like.

Day 2: Otavalo Market - Cuicocha Lagoon

View of the Cuicocha Lagoon
View of the Cuicocha Lagoon

After breakfast this morning, a driver will be waiting to take you to Otavalo. Otavalo features one of the most important traditional markets of South America. Here, the indigenous peoples of the surrounding area gather to trade animals, handicrafts, fresh vegetables, and fruits. Take a stroll through the stalls, do some souvenir shopping, and try some of the local street food like salted mango or fritada con mote, fried pork with hominy.

In the afternoon, you will visit the crater lagoon of Cuicocha. You have the chance to hike around the lagoon (the full trek takes about four to five hours), and on the trail, your guide will point out the high altitude flora and fauna and explain the history of the once-active volcano. Alternatively, you can take a boat ride around the two islands.

In the evening, a driver will take you to your hacienda in Otavalo where you will spend the night.

Day 3: Explore Cotopaxi National Park

The Cotopaxi Volcano
The Cotopaxi Volcano

After a delicious breakfast, a driver will pick you up and take you south to Cotopaxi National Park. You will visit Lake Limpiopungo as well as the El Salitre Inca Ruins, which are located in the highlands of the park. Here, you will have a spectacular view of the Cotopaxi Volcano. If you're interested in viewing wildlife, Lake Limpiopungo offers a variety of birds, and occasionally even wild horses to see.

You will reach your traditional hacienda in the park just in time to have lunch on your own. You'll have the rest of the day free, and you may choose to book your own activities. Some of our suggestions include:

  • Go for a scenic horseback ride along the foothills of the Rumiñahui Volcano
  • Explore the surroundings of the hacienda on a mountain bike
  • Relax in your cozy room and enjoy some local food and drink

Day 4: Trekking at Quilotoa Lagoon - Patate

The Quilotoa Lagoon
The Quilotoa Lagoon

Today, a driver will pick you up at your hacienda in Cotopaxi and take you to the picturesque volcanic Quilotoa Lagoon. You have the option to walk along the crater’s rim to enjoy the splendid view or hike down a path to the crater lake. For the hike back up, you have the option to rent a mule for the uphill portion. A driver will then pick you up, and you'll continue your journey to Patate where you will spend the night in a traditional hacienda.

Day 5: Scenic Waterfalls Drive - Baños Hot Springs - Riobamba

Scenic waterfall outside of Baños
Scenic waterfall outside of Baños

In the morning, a driver will pick you up and drive you along a route known as the "Avenue of Waterfalls." Driving south from Baños, you will follow the Pastaza River on its way through the valley of the same name and pass a number of striking waterfalls. In the afternoon, you will reach the village of Rio Verde, where you will stop to visit the well-known El Pailon del Diablo Waterfall. After continuing on to the thermal pools of Baños, you'll be able to take a dip in the natural hot springs, so bring a bathing suit. Finally, your driver will take you south to Riobamba for your overnight stay.

Day 6: Riobamba - Chimborazo - Guayaquil

Sunset at the Chimborazo Volcano
Sunset at the Chimborazo Volcano

This morning, a driver will arrive early at your Hacienda to drive you to the Chimborazo Volcano, whose summit is the point farthest away from the earth's center! If you don't mind the altitude, you can hike to the refuge and enjoy the spectacular view. Afterward, you will continue driving for about five hours to Guayaquil, where you will spend your last evening in Ecuador.

Day 7: Departure via Quito

Quito Cable Car
Quito Cable Car

It is time to say goodbye to Ecuador and continue on to your next adventure. A representative will pick you up at your accommodation and take you to the airport in Quito for your flight.

Map

Map of Volcanoes of Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Guayaquil - 7 Days
Map of Volcanoes of Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Guayaquil - 7 Days