Experience Ecuador – Adventure, Culture & Recreation

14-day round trip

DSCN0497Description

Ecuador is one of the most diverse countries in South America. From the colonial cities you are quickly in dense rainforest, where you can explore the flora and fauna while hiking and boating. Visit small Indian villages in the Andean highlands and enjoy the view of snow-capped volcanic peaks. At Indian markets you watch the hustle and bustle and relax in hot thermal baths.

Possibilities for extensions: Galapagos Islands, Amazon region, coast or individual tours

Travel program

Day 1 – Arrival in Guayaquil, Ecuador

On arrival at the airport in Guayaquil your English-speaking guide awaits you already. After welcoming it goes directly to your hotel in Guayaquil, where you can recover from the journey and absorb the first impressions of Ecuador.

_MG_0973Day 2 – From the Coast to Cuenca with a visit at a Cacao Farm   B L

Today you will go on to Cuenca. On the way there we take a break on a family-run Cacao Farm. After an introduction to the planting and processing of cacao, we will roast the beans and produce our own chocolate. You will have a delicious lunch at the farm, before continuing through the Andes to Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador. On the way you pass the National Park Cajas with its rugged rock formations and countless lagoons. Your hotel is located in the historic center of the city, which was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in November 1999.

cuenca1Day 3 – Colonial City of Cuenca   B L

After breakfast you will get to know Cuenca. The city was founded in 1557 on the Inca settlement Tomebamba. For most Ecuadorians – and for many travelers alike – is the most beautiful city in the country. Located at an altitude of 2,530 m above sea level, it is a center for crafts, ceramics, Panama hats as well as gold and silverware. During the City Tour we will show you historic buildings along the Tomebamba River, the Ruins of Todos Santos, the flower market and the main square with the old and the new cathedral. There will be still time to visit a Panama hat factory. You will have the afternoon off for strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets with its whitewashed houses and noble façades and discover the beauties of the city yourself.

IMG_6170Day 4 – Cañari Community   B L

In the morning, upon our arrival at the community you will be offered a typical breakfast. During a walk in the primary forest you learn the Quechua names of the plants and their curative value. In a sacred place in the mountains rituals of energization and the greeting of Pachamama (“saludo a la Pachamama”) take place. Then, you will enjoy another small walk on the historical camino del Inca. For lunch we will share panpamesa with the community, a delicious traditional meal that is made from 100% organic ingredients. In the afternoon, you will be learning about daily activities of the community, like grinding corn and hear traditional music.

P1160012Day 5 – Hiking in the Cajas National Park   B L

After breakfast we will drive to the Cajas National Park, which lies in a hilly landscape with countless lakes and lagoons surrounded by tundra vegetation, the so-called Páramo. The first hike takes you to about 3,100 meters above sea level around the Laguna Llaviuco where you can observe numerous species of birds. Then you pass the pass “Tres Cruces” at an altitude of 4,167 m, where you will have an amazing view from a lookout point. At noon you will enjoy a hot meal and the second hike takes you to the Laguna Toreadora, where you can explore a fantastic Polylepis forest.

IMG_9582Day 6 – Ingapirca and arrival in the rainforest   B L

In the morning we start to the largest Inca ruins in Ecuador Ingapirca (in Cañari “stone wall of the Inca”). The guide will show you around at this fascinating archaeological site, whose stone structures surround the temple of the sun. After exploring Ingapirca you will continue to Baños, a small town at the foot of the active volcano Tungurahua. Enjoy the thrilling swing of the “tree house” over the valley of Baños and with an amazing view at the volcano.

DSCN8651Day 7 – Amazing waterfalls   B L

Today you will admire the majestic waterfalls of the “Pailon del Diablo”. After lunch we head further east. During the trip, the landscape changes, passing deep canyons and numerous waterfalls until you reach the hilly Amazon lowlands. In Puyo you will visit a rehabilitation center for wild animals from the jungle. You have the possibility to see wild cats, monkeys, parrots and turtles among others. At the end of the day you will go on to Tena.

IMG_1983 (Large)Day 8 – Encounter with a rainforest community   B L

In the morning you will explore the rainforest on a hike and in the afternoon get to know the culture of the indigenous Kichua. After a short ride on a motor canoe down the Napo River you will arrive at the Kichua community. There you indigenous women will show you how to wash gold from the river, make chicha, a typical drink of the rainforest from the yucca plant, and manufacture traditional pots of clay.

Thermas de PapallactaDay 9 – Papallacta   B

After breakfast you will continue your journey to Papallacta which is primarily known for its hot springs. The thermal hot springs of Papallacta are located in an area of 250 ha at an altitude of 3,330 to 3,500 m, which is known for its bizarre Páramo landscape. Its pools are among the cleanest and most beautiful in the country. Enjoy the thermal springs in Papallacta and the beneficial effects of warm thermal water in a beautiful countryside surrounded by clear mountain air. A modern spa is available (optional applications).

CotopaxiDay 10 – Cotopaxi Nationalpark   B L

After breakfast, you are driving along the famous “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, which offers you stunning views on the surrounding mountain giants. We will visit the National Park Cotopaxi, that certainly belongs to one of the most attractive nature reserves in the country. During a walk around the shallow “Laguna de Limpiopungo” at an altitude of 4,000 m above sea level, you will get to know the typical vegetation of the “Páramos” and see the majestic Cotopaxi (5,897 m) in the background. Today, you will stay overnight in the historic Hacienda La Cienega in which already Humboldt resided.

P1160790Day 11 – Laguna Quilotoa   B L

This morning you will visit the Quilotoa lagoon and see how the water changes its color depending on the light of the sun. Upon arrival you can enjoy a wonderful view, take a walk down into the crater, or go for a walk along the crater rim. In the afternoon we continue to Quito, capital of Ecuador and world cultural heritage.

Calle_de_la_Ronda,_Quito,_Ecuador,_2015-07-22,_DD_215Day 12 – Quito   B L

After breakfast you will tour the historic old town with its wealth of Spanish, Flemish, Moorish and pre-Columbian architecture. You will visit the Cathedral and its Museum as well as the church of La Compañia. The Square of Independence, the main square of the city,  and the no less attractive Square of San Francisco are part of the tour. You will continue to the Panecillo (“small loaf”) on a hill of the old city with his angel statue “Virgen de Quito”. Here you can enjoy the great views over the city and surrounding mountains. In the afternoon the journey continues to the Equator Monument “Mitad del Mundo” (“Middle of the World”).

P1170194Day 13 – Indigenous Market in Otavalo   B L

Today you will visit the famous handicraft market of Otavalo. At arrival in the small town you see the Plaza de los Ponchos, which represents the central point of the colorful market. You can watch the Indians of Otavalo dressed in traditional costumes, that are considered prosperous and reputable. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the market. Here, the Indígenas from the surrounding villages offer their colorful, handmade products, hand-woven rugs, wall hangings, knitted sweaters, colorful belts, hammocks and mountains of wool and fabric products.

Day 14 – Departure from Quito   B

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport and start your journey back home. Alternatively, you can book an extension to the Galapagos Islands.

Price: $2490 per person in a double room of a middle-class hotel, single room supplement $370

Included:

  • All listed tours and activities with English-speaking guide and private transfers

  • Tour, transportation, sightseeings and entrance fees according to program

  • Accommodation in a double room of a middle-class hotel

  • Meals as described (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

Not included:

  • International flights

  • Potential airport fees

  • Meals, unless mentioned in the program

  • Personal expenses for drinks, trips et cetera

  • Travel insurance