Start day: Saturday
The different natural landscapes and the beautiful colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca are waiting for you in Ecuador. The Magical Andes will let you experience famous train rides, indigenous villages, colorful markets, the largest Inca site in Ecuador and, of course, the majestic snow-capped volcanoes. Then, this tour will take you to the coastal region through banana and cacao plantations to end in the tropical city of Guayaquil, the biggest port of Ecuador.
- 7 nights in double room with breakfast
- Meals as detailed above
- English- speaking guide / driver (2 people) or guide and driver ( + 4 people)
- Private transportation
- Visits and excursions described in the program
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Meals not described in the program
- Other services not described in the program
- Tips and personal expenses
- A reservation is valid only through a written confirmation.
- Reservations made with less than 30 days prior to the tour start are subject to availability.
- Full payment is required 30 days prior to the tour start date.
- Reservations cancelled between 30 and 16 days prior to the tour start date incur a penalty of 50% of the total price of the tour.
- Reservations cancelled less than 15 days prior to the tour start date will not be refunded.
DAY 1: SATURDAY | QUITO
Your journey begins with a visit to the capital of Ecuador. It is located at 2,850 meters above sea level, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano and nestled in a green Andean valley. Quito, one of the oldest cities in South America, is also one of the few cities that has preserved numerous monuments and artistic treasures of the Spanish colonial period. The colonial centre of the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. We will begin the tour with a walk through the narrow streets to visit some of America's oldest and most beautiful churches such as El Sagrario and La Compañia, as well as the famous plazas of Santo Domingo, La Merced and San Francisco. We will continue to "El Panecillo" hill to meet the winged virgin and enjoy a fascinating view of Quito. Then we will stop for lunch at a typical restaurant in the historical city center.
In the afternoon we will drive to the famous Equator Monument "Middle of the World", which is located in a dry valley on the northern outskirts of Quito. Here we will visit the Museo del Sitio Inti Ñan, which was built by a private anthropological foundation next to the official equator monument. This beautiful solar museum has exhibits of different indigenous cultures and their traditional way of life. During this visit we will also see the startling evidence that demonstrates the exact location of the equatorial line. (L)
DAY 2: SUNDAY | INDIGENOUS MARKET PUJILI - QUILOTOA CRATER LAKE
Your trip will begin by exploring the colorful and lively center of the local economy where many cultural events take place, San Jose. A local expert will meet you at your hotel after breakfast to escort you on a walking journey throughout the city of San Jose and its surroundings.
We will leave Quito and head south, towards Cotopaxi province. Our first stop will be the indigenous market of Pujili, a treat for the senses. We will continue along winding roads that pass the most beautiful landscapes of the Ecuadorian Andes to reach the picturesque Crater Lake Quilotoa. From the crater rim it’s possible to walk down to the turquoise lake shores, a hike worth taking. No need to worry about the way back, because there are horses and mules (not included in the program) to help with the climb. We will have a box lunch to help recover our strength while enjoying the unique magic and beauty of this crater lagoon.
After this visit we will drive to the traditional hacienda La Cienega (or similar) to have dinner and spend the night. (B,L,D)
DAY 3: MONDAY | COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK - ROSE PLANTATION - BANOS
In the morning we will drive to Cotopaxi National Park to do a short hike at the foot of the snow-capped colossus and discover its diverse flora and fauna. Afterwards we will continue to an altitude of 4,500 meters, where the view changes to a bizarre and barren landscape. Here we will have the opportunity to ascend to the José Ribas refuge, at 4,800 meters, from where is possible to see the impressive glaciers.
Later, we will visit one of the many rose plantations that have made Ecuadorian roses famous all over the world. Here we will see the different kinds of roses and learn about the whole production process. We will have lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to Baños, the lively pilgrimage town with its famous thermal springs and its beautiful cathedral. (B,L)
DAY 4: TUESDAY | EXCURSION TO PALION DEL DIABLO - BANOS - RIOBAMBA
A pleasant climate prevails in the town of Baños, which is located at an altitude of 1,800 meters. . It is recommended to visit the beautiful cathedral and enjoy the extraordinary scenery before starting with the day´s adventure: “The route of the waterfalls”, which runs along the Pastaza River Gorge. The highlight of this route is located by Rio Verde, where we will have a short walk through the cloud forest to reach the thundering waterfall known as "Pailon del Diablo" (Devil's cauldron).
In the afternoon, our tour continues to the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo (6,310 m), where we will be greeted by a desert-like landscape and herds of shy vicuñas. From here it is possible to walk to the Edward Whymper shelter that offers a great view from an altitude of 5,000 meters.
The day ends in Riobamba, where we will spend the night at Mansion Santa Isabella or in the Hacienda Abraspungo (or similar). (B,D)
DAY 5: WEDNESDAY | DEVIL'S NOSE TRAIN RIDE - INGAPIRCA - CUENCA
We will depart early in the morning through picturesque landscapes and small villages to reach Alausí´s train station, where we will hop on board one of the most famous trains in the world. The ‘Devils Nose’, as it is known, is an unforgettable train ride down an almost sheer rock face; the train makes switchbacks all the way down the cliff and then back up again. After this, we will enjoy a box lunch on our way to the next highlight: Ingapirca archaeological complex, the largest Inca site in Ecuador. We will learn about the Inca and Cañari cultures by touring the beautiful temples and fortifications. In the late afternoon we will continue to Cuenca, where we will stay at Hotel Casa del Aguila or Hotel Santa Lucia (or similar). Before turning in for the night we will have a delicious dinner at a local restaurant to try the region´s specialties. (B, Box Lunch, D)
DAY 6: THURSDAY | CITY TOUR IN CUENCA'S COLONIAL CENTER
After breakfast we will start our tour of the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The promenade along the Rio Tomebamba, the imposing new cathedral and the daily flower market are just a few of the highlights that this city has to offer. The tour also includes a visit to a workshop and museum of the famous Panama hat, the finest braided hats in the world.
We will enjoy lunch at another local restaurant which specializes in fusion cuisine. The afternoon is left free for you to explore this charming and historical city on your own. Accommodations for the night will be provided in the same hotels as the night before. (B,L)
DAY 7: FRIDAY | GUAYAQUIL CITY
After breakfast, we will head west to cross El Cajas National Park. This reserve, although it is mostly above the tree line, has an astounding variety of plant and animal life. In addition to rugged ridges and deeply incised, box-shaped valleys, there are nearly 240 different-sized lagoons. We will drive to an altitude of almost 4,200 meters above sea levelto reach the most western watershed between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, where we will also make a short stop to take in the landscape and shoot pictures. After this stop our route starts descending to the coastal region, passing through beautiful and changing landscapes as the altitude drops and the vegetation grows in size and variety. We will drive through extensive cocoa, bananas, rice, and sugar cane plantations to enter the bustling metropolis of Guayaquil, the largest city in the country. Once there, we will get to our hotel (Grand Hotel Guayaquil / Hotel Hampton Inn or similar) to then do a city tour in Ecuador´s main port. This city is best explored on foot, so we will start from Parque Bolivar to then continue by the Plaza de Administración, the Moorish Clock Tower and finally the "Malecón 2000" and the artist district of Las Peñas, with its spectacular panoramic view of the lazy Guayas River and its green mangrove belt. After the tour we will all gather in the evening for a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant. (B,D)
DAY 8: SATURDAY | DEPARTURE
Today, transfer to the airport for your departing flight. (B)
(B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
3 Star Hotels
|Quito||1||Reina Isabel/ Fuente de Piedra 1||Standard|
|Cotopaxi||1||Hacienda La Cienega||Standard|
|Riobamba||1||Mansión Santa Isabella||Standard|
|Cuenca||2||Hotel Casa del Aguila||Standard|
|Guayaquil||1||Grand Hotel/ Unipark||Standard|
4 Star Hotels
|Cotopaxi||1||Hacienda La Cienega Suites||Suite|
|Baños||1||Hotel Luna Runtun||Standard|
|Cuenca||2||Hotel Santa Lucia||Standard|
|3* Hotels - Double||3* Hotels - Single||4* Hotels - Double||4* Hotels - Single|
March 4th - 11th
April 1st - 8th
April 29th - May 6th
June 10th - 17th
July 8th - 15th
July 22nd - 29th
August 5th - 12th
October 14th - 21st
November 11th - 18th
December 9th - 16th