Enjoy the highlights of Ecuador and Peru as you revel in their natural wonders and ancient civilizations. Starting in Quito, venture into the cloud forests of Mindo to discover diverse flora and fauna, and meet friendly alpacas as you hike along Quilotoa Lagoon. Get your adrenaline pumping with waterfalls and canyoning near Baños, then hop over to Peru to cap off the trip with tours of Lima and Cusco—ending with a visit to the mighty Macchu Picchu and a trek up the colorful Rainbow Mountain.


  • See Cuicocha Lake and venture into the lush Mindo cloud forest
  • Kayak along the turquoise waters of Quilotoa Lagoon
  • Rappel down waterfalls in the canyons of Baños
  • Tour Lima's vibrant markets and learn to make classic Peruvian dishes
  • Visit Cusco before exploring Machu Picchu and trekking up Rainbow Mountain

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Cooking Class Quito
Day 2 Visit Otavalo Market & Hike at Cuicocha Lake Quito
Day 3 Expedition to Mindo Cloud Forest Quito
Day 4 Kayak at Quilotoa Lagoon, Transfer to Baños Baños
Day 5 Canyoning in Baños, Return to Quito  Quito
Day 6 Fly to Guayaquil, Hike in Cerro Blanco Protected Forest Guayaquil
Day 7 Fly to Lima (Peru), Cooking Class Lima
Day 8 Highlights of Lima City Tour Lima
Day 9 Fly to Cusco, Tour the Ancient Inca Capital Cusco
Day 10 Discover Machu Picchu  Cusco
Day 11 Hike Rainbow Mountain, Depart Cusco  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Cooking Class

Views over Quito and the Cotopaxi Volcano
Views over Quito and the Cotopaxi volcano

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador's capital city, where a private driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel. During the 45-minute trip, they'll introduce you to Quito and give you a rundown of the itinerary for the next day. After settling into your hotel, you'll have the rest of today to explore. Sitting in the valley of the Cotopaxi volcano, Quito has an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,850 m) above sea level, making it the second-highest capital city in the world. Discover the incredibly well-preserved colonial center and the lively bars and nightclubs around Plaza Foch.

Take a walk through Parque Metropolitano Guangüiltagua, the largest urban park on the continent, or ride the TelefériQo cable car to the top of Cruz Loma for dramatic skyline views. Later on, get a taste of the authentic Quiteño cuisine during a cooking class with a local chef. Learn how to make three traditional dishes, and learn the staples of Ecuadorian cuisine, like empanadas de viento and seco de pollo, and local star ingredients, like green plantains, cuy (guinea pig), and yuca. Your hard work won't go unrewarded as you enjoy the dishes you created for lunch.

Day 2: Visit Otavalo Market & Hike at Cuicocha Lake

Cuicocha Lagoon
A volcanic eruption formed the crater lake of Cuicocha 

Today's excursion takes you two hours north of Quito to visit Otavalo and nearby Cuicocha Lake. While in Otavalo, be sure to visit the Plaza de los Ponchos for a chance to shop around its world-famous market. While Saturdays are busy, you can find vendors throughout the week. The Otavalo people are best known for their colorful, hand-woven textiles, and many market stalls offer tablecloths, blankets, scarves, and more.

Nearby towns have their own specialties. Cotacachi focuses on leather goods, for example—but you'll get plenty of variety in Otavalo alone. After some shopping, head into nature and visit Cuichocha Lake, a crater lake formed by an eruption of the Cotacachi volcano thousands of years ago. Walk along a path on the lake's steep shores, or take a boat ride past the two islands formed by lava domes. When the day is done, return to Quito for the night.

Day 3: Expedition to Mindo Cloud Forest

Expedition to Mindo Cloud Forest
Watch out for exotic birds in Mindo Cloud Forest

Get ready for a change of scenery as you explore Mindo's dense green cloud forest. Located on the western slopes of the Andean highlands, this region has mild temperatures and lots of rainfall, stretching over 48,000 acres (19,200 ha) and reaching heights of 15,700 feet (4,778 m). It is one of the most biologically diverse forests in the world and is known worldwide for its remarkable birdlife. Its lush subtropical forest provides a mystical environment to explore and pursue adventure.

Against this backdrop, you'll get the chance to visit a butterfly farm, trek to waterfalls, go river tubing, fly between the treetops on a zipline, and taste locally made chocolate and coffee. Keep your binoculars close along the way, as Mindo is one of the premier birding destinations in the world. More than 500 different types of birds have been spotted here, and the region regularly holds the annual world record for the most bird species counted within a 24-hour period. Late in the afternoon, return to Quito for a good night's rest.
Plan your trip to Ecuador
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Kayak at Quilotoa Lagoon, Transfer to Baños

Alpaca Encounter & Kayaking at Quilotoa Lagoon
You might spot a friendly alpaca or two at Quilotoa Lagoon

Wake up early and enjoy a delicious breakfast at your hotel. Then, accompanied by an expert guide, embark on the three-hour journey to Quilotoa Lagoon, a blue-green volcanic crater lake that sits in the rugged Andean countryside south of Quito. Make stops at a quiet village and local markets along the way.

Once you arrive, you have the option to walk along the crater's rim or hike for 45 minutes down a path to the lake, where you might meet an alpaca or two as you descend. See the shimmering green waters up close at the water's edge and enjoy the beautiful views as you explore by kayak. The return journey can be a bit longer because it's steep, so renting a mule for the uphill climb is an option. After a day in the outdoors, you'll get back on the road and continue to Ecuador's "adventure capital" of Baños, where you'll be staying for the night.

Day 5: Canyoning in Baños, Return to Quito

Canyoning in Baños – Quito
Get adventurous today with som canyoning near Baños

Start your day with some adventure! Baños is known for its many waterfalls, with a scenic route that winds through its steep canyons known as the Avenue of Waterfalls, and its famous El Pailón del Diablo falls (also known as "The Devil's Cauldron") a highlight of the area. You'll see these cliffsides and cascades up close today with a canyoning excursion, leaving Baños early and spending the morning descending into river canyons around Casahurco.

Enjoy a wet, wild, and fun day full of action in one of the world's top canyoning destinations, learning the ropes from a professional guide before climbing, swinging, and rappelling down sheer faces and through the spray of mountain waterfalls. After you've had your fill of adrenaline, you'll enjoy a hearty lunch before putting your feet up on the transfer back to Quito.

Day 6: Fly to Guayaquil, Hike in Cerro Blanco Protected Forest

Flight to Guayaquil
Coastal views in colorful Guayaquil

A driver will take you to the airport today for your flight to Guayaquil, a colorful Pacific port and Ecuador's second-largest city. Upon arrival, a driver will greet you and take you to your hotel to rest and refresh. 

Then it's time to embark on your next adventure, as you transfer 9 miles (15 km) west to the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest. This beautiful nature reserve covers 15,000 acres (6,078 ha) of rich biodiversity and is one of Ecuador's most well-preserved tropical dry forests. Home to over 216 bird species, including several globally endangered species, you'll find great green macaws, saffron finches, and dorsigris hawks. You may also spot howler monkeys, jaguars, puma, deer, raccoon, and many bat species.

After a fun day among the trees, return to Guayaquil, where you can explore at your own pace and fall in love with this charming, culturally-rich city. Walk along the narrow cobblestoned streets of the historic Las Peñas neighborhood, where its characteristic wooden houses painted with bright colors stand out, or head to the waterfront for a sunset stroll along the scenic Malecón Simón Bolívar.

Day 7: Fly to Lima (Peru), Cooking Class

Experience the sights and smells of Lima's markets on today's cooking excursion

Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport to catch your flight to Lima, the capital of Peru. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed and transferred in a small group to your hotel. Later in the morning, a culinary adventure awaits, as you immerse yourself in the secrets of Peruvian cooking. Cook delicious, traditional dishes with a professional chef using all-natural ingredients. Learn to cook like a Peruvian and get hands-on help preparing your meals from your friendly expert.

The experience starts with a visit to a local market to select the ingredients used in your cooking class. You'll also have the chance to appreciate different local vegetables, fruits, and other products only available in Peru. After the market, head to your cooking class, where a local chef will show you step-by-step how to prepare regional dishes. Don't forget to pair your meal with pisco sour, a traditional Peruvian drink, as you sit down to enjoy your delicious lunch. 

Day 8: Highlights of Lima City Tour

Highlights of Lima- City Tour
Tour the highlights of Lima's center
After breakfast, discover more of Lima on a private tour, starting with a panoramic view over the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca temple from the fourth century CE. Visit the romantic Parque del Amor in the oceanside Miraflores neighborhood, and learn more about the monuments and history of the grand Plaza San Martín. A highlight is a stop at the central Plaza Mayor, dominated by emblematic Lima landmarks like the soaring Baroque Cathedral of Lima, the stately Government Palace, and the monastery of San Francisco and its famously macabre Catacombs.  
Head to Bodega & Quadra Museum to admire the Lima Wall, a fortification built in the 17th century, and learn more about the city's Spanish colonial history. Visit the Santo Domingo Convent, proof of the importance of Catholicism during this era, and climb its tower for incredible views over the city.

Day 9: Fly to Cusco, Tour the Ancient Inca Capital

Arrival to Cusco and Tour of the City
Mountain vistas in the high-altitude city of Cusco

Experience a city with a completely different vibe today as you catch a flight inland to Cusco. Settle into your hotel and take some time to rest as you adjust to the altitude—this capital of the Peruvian Andes and ancient center of the Inca Empire sits at a lofty 11,152 feet (3,399 m) above sea level.

In the afternoon, tour the city and its nearby archaeological sites. You'll visit the Cathedral Santo Domingo and the Inca temple of Koricancha, then continue to the ruins of Sacsayhuamán in the city's north. This colossal ceremonial fortress still holds many mysteries for historians, who believe its foundations pre-date even the Inca.

Just outside of Cusco lies the Qenko Archaeological Complex, or the "Labyrinth," a sacred temple carved from a monolith where the Inca performed holy ceremonies in honor of the sun, moon, and stars. Head a little farther north to Puka Pukara ("Red Fortress"), a military ruin where you'll find a fort that was part of the defense system of Cusco and the Inca Empire. Finally, you'll visit Tambomachay, which has an important religious role linked to water and the regeneration of the earth. At the end of the day, you'll return to Cusco for the evening.

Day 10: Discover Machu Picchu 

Crown Jewel of Peru: Machu Picchu Sanctuary
Stand atop a wonder of the world in Machu Picchu 

The penultimate day of your adventure is sure to be one of the most memorable, as you head to the bus station this morning for the 30-minute ride up to Machu Picchu—a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Translated as "Old Mountain," this 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 feet (2,430 m) and is a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Inca ruler Pachacutec and his royal court. 

Your guide will lead you around the site and explain the different buildings and curious corners of the complex. Approximately one-third of the site has been reconstructed into its original structure, giving you a sense of the grandeur and artistry of the original citadel. After the tour,  you will have time to explore Machu Picchu on your own, then take a bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch in the picturesque town center. Once you've eaten, ride a train to Ollantaytambo and return to Cusco.

Day 11: Hike Rainbow Mountain, Depart Cusco

Rainbow Mountain
Enjoy the colors of Rainbow Mountain

Your trip draws to a close today, but not before you've experienced one last Peruvian wonder. Rise early this morning for a transfer southeast to the hamlet of Llactoc, passing herds of llamas and alpacas along the way. Upon arrival, you'll lace up your hiking boots and set out to tackle the summit of Vinicuna, also known as "Rainbow Mountain." Centuries of mineral sediment have weathered to create the mountain's colorful effect, with striations of turquoise, lavender, and carmine swirling along its slopes.

Along the two-hour walk, you'll take in views of snow-capped mountains and beautiful landscapes in the distance, before snapping some memorable photos at the top, which lies at a staggering 7,060 feet (5,200 m) above sea level. After your descent, you'll head to nearby Cusipata for lunch, followed by a return to Cusco and a transfer to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Wonders of Ecuador & Peru: Quito, Baños, Guayaquil, Lima & Cusco - 11 Days
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