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Ecuador in Depth


  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Quito tour
  • Otavalo Markets

Below is a sample itinerary of a past Goway Group. It is provided to give you an idea of what we have already done & what you might also consider doing.

However, because of timing, your own group's special interests and budget, we expect to custom make a program just for you. Contact your favorite travel agent click on "Inquire about this Trip" to fill out request for a group quotation.

Day 1

Arrival to Quito

Welcome to Quito! Upon arrival at Quito Airport, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Quito has a population of about two million and has been a Unesco World Heritage site since 1978. The city is a multicoloured urban quilt draped across the steep slopes and undulating inter-Andean valleys at the foot of Pichincha Volcano. As you stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets of Quito’s old town, you feel like you are walking through time to the 16th century. As the city is at a high altitude, we suggest you rest and take the remainder of the day and evening at leisure.

Accommodation: Patio Andaluz 

Duration2 Nights
Day 2

Quito City Tour and the “Middle of the World”

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. After breakfast your guide will meet you and you will begin your city tour of this exciting capital city. Your guide will accompany you to the historic centre of the Quito where you will visit El Panecillo, a beautiful place from where you can see both the colonial and modern sides of Quito You will then visit San Francisco Church, which was built in the XVII century; the colonial neighbourhood of La Ronda, and Independence Square, or La Plaza de la Independencia. Enjoy a walk along the quaint colonial streets and visit historic buildings such as the Government Palace where you might be lucky and witness the changing of the guard. 

After lunch (own expense) you will be taken to the Middle of the Earth exhibit: site of the Equator, after which this country was named. Stand with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere!

Later you will be taken back to your hotel and have time to freshen up before dinner, which will be served in a local restaurant. Arrival to Quito

Day 3

Quito to La Magdalena Karanki Community

After breakfast your guide will meet you and you will begin your journey to the Karanki Community of La Magdalena. For the next two days you will live with the indigenous Karanki people who are untouched by the urgencies of modern life. The community sits high in the Andes, amongst the llamas and condors in the shadows of the Imbabura Volcano. You will share in their everyday activities – perhaps help with shepherding or crop harvesting! This is not a hotel – you will eat home cooked meals and stay in private family homes.

After dinner this evening, a bonfire will keep you in harmony with nature. Enjoy a delicious canelazo – a traditional boiled fruit drink from the Andes. The people of the community will entertain you with folk dancing and music.

Accommodation: La Magdalena – Private Home 

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Day 4

La Magdalena Karanki Community

As you wake up this morning, you may realize how high up in the Andes you are, as you look down onto the clouds! After breakfast your local community guide will meet you and you will depart on horseback to Cubilche Hill and Lagoon. The views from the summit of San Pablo Lake, Lake Yahuarcocha and the snow-capped Andes Mountains are spectacular. Return to the community in time for lunch.

After lunch, the community members will describe and explain the cheese-making processes. The afternoon will be at leisure. If you wish, you may rent a mountain bike or help with the crops. This evening your hosts will prepare a delicious dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Chaski Route: Otavalo Markets and Scenic Rail

After breakfast you will say Adios to your family hosts as you leave La Magdalena. Your guide will meet you and you will depart for the famous Indigenous markets in the town of Otavalo. Imagine a marketplace that can fill almost an entire town! Here bartering is the norm, and is expected! This renowned market offers countless handmade products from leatherwork, beautifully carved wooden sculptures to blankets and clothing.

After the markets, the next stop is the town of Ibarra, where you will board the scenic train that will take you to the town of Salinas de Imbabura. Don’t forget your camera – the scenery is quite breathtaking! The town of Salinas is home to a community of Afro Ecuadorians; descendants of the original African slaves who were brought to Ecuador to work in the fields and the salt mines. The local musical group will entertain you as you sit down to a delicious lunch. After lunch, you will return to Quito and check into your hotel. Any luggage you don’t wish to take to the Amazon can be left at the hotel until you return on day 9.

Accommodation: Hotel Quito

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Day 6

Fly Quito to the Ecuadorian Amazon

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Coca; the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon. Within and around the huge protected areas of the Amazon rainforest, several tribes inhabit Ecuador’s Amazon basin, including the Shuar, Secoyas and Quichua. La Selva Lodge will be your home for the next three days.

The lodge is located in the heart of the rainforest on Lake Garzacocha, and like other lodges, it was built to blend in with the natural environment. There are 17 bungalows with private bathroom. You will first transfer to the dock on the Napo River, where you will board your motorized canoe which will take you to the lodge; a journey of about 2 ½ hours. Don’t worry about your luggage – it will be transferred separately. You’re not quite there yet! At the main river port, you will be able to use the facilities before embarking on a fifteen minute walk to a creek where you will board a fiberglass canoe. In twenty minutes you will arrive at the main lodge area and check in. The manager will greet you with a refreshing drink and give a brief talk about the lodge and the activities.

During your stay you will participate in excursions into the jungle by canoe, and your native nature guide will accompany you on treks through the jungle. In the Amazon, you will encounter a wide range of fauna from monkeys to butterflies; snakes to macaws! Your guide will teach you the medicinal and religious uses of the local flora. Meals are included at La Selva and are served in the lodge restaurant.

Accommodation: La Selva Lodge 

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Nights
Day 7

Amazon Jungle

Another day of lodge activities. Perhaps today try white-water rafting, have a swim in the Amazon or fish for piranhas (don’t worry; they’re not in the same place!). This evening participate in a nighttime walk in the jungle. Your only tools are a flashlight and your camera. It is during the night that you have the best opportunity to see a wide variety of mammals, insects, birds and amphibians.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Amazon Jungle

Another day of lodge activities. Perhaps today try white-water rafting, have a swim in the Amazon or fish for piranhas (don’t worry; they’re not in the same place!). This evening participate in a nighttime walk in the jungle. Your only tools are a flashlight and your camera. It is during the night that you have the best opportunity to see a wide variety of mammals, insects, birds and amphibians.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Return to Quito

After breakfast at the lodge, you will be transferred by boat back to the airport for your flight back to Quito. On arrival in Quito, you will be transferred to your hotel and have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. This evening after dinner, you will be taken on a special night time illumination drive of Colonial Quito in a vintage 1955 bus called the Don Otto. Your guide will point out the various buildings and monuments as you drive by. You will gain a whole new appreciation for the beauty of the city when you see it illuminated at night. After, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Quito

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 10

Depart Quito for The Galapagos

We have saved the best for last! Your guide will meet you at your hotel early this morning. Any luggage you don’t want to take with you to the Galapagos can be left at the hotel.

Due to the early departure, the hotel will prepare a boxed breakfast. You will be transferred to the Quito Airport, where you will collect your documentation for the Galapagos Islands. Your AeroGal flight will make a brief stop in Guayaquil before heading out over the Pacific to the Galapagos Islands, 1,000 km off the coast of mainland Ecuador. The excitement in the plane builds as you catch your first glimpse of the Galapagos Islands. On arrival at Baltra Airport, you will be transferred by zodiac to the M/V Galapagos Legend, your floating home for the next three nights.

Only a special few have had the chance to travel to these amazing islands. During your 3 night / 4 day cruise, you will see a wide range of bizarre animals such as prehistoric iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as sea turtles, sea lions, frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. Animals in the Galapagos have no fear of humans, so don’t be alarmed if an iguana or lizard comes right up to you (please never touch or feed the animals). Your naturalist guide will accompany you on your shore excursions twice a day. On board, the crew will conduct lectures explaining the geology, history, evolution and the flora and fauna of the islands.

Accommodation: M/V Galapagos Legend in a Junior Suite 

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Nights
Day 11

Galapagos Islands

After an early breakfast, you will board your zodiac and transfer to Santiago Island for your morning shore excursion. Most of the landscape is comprised of layers of rock and lava flows. Some of the wildlife you might encounter include blue herons, sea lions, and marine iguanas. There will be time for a swim in the ocean before you return to the ship for lunch.

This afternoon you will visit Bartolomé Island and hike up to the summit for spectacular views. You may recognize the scenery from the film “Master and Commander” – some scenes from this movie were filmed here. Later, you will have time for swimming and snorkeling. You may see Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, manta rays swimming among a wide variety of colourful fish. Don’t be surprised if a sea lion joins you while you are snorkeling. After your swim, you will return to the ship and have some leisure time before dinner. Tonight, you may wish to attend the lecture where the naturalist will talk about tomorrow’s activities.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

Galapagos Islands

After breakfast, you will board your zodiac and transfer to Santa Cruz Island where you will embark on a three kilometer hike up to Dragon Hill. It is called Dragon Hill for a reason - Here you will encounter the large land iguanas, but do be careful walking as they are very well camouflaged and blend in very well with the local vegetation. As you walk by the lagoon, keep an eye out for pink flamingoes. After lunch, you will visit North Seymour Island. This island has a large nesting colony of blue-footed boobies. They are not shy, so don’t be startled if one walks right up to you! There is also a large colony of frigate birds. You will also see sea lions, land iguanas and perhaps even a Galapagos snake – don’t worry, they are harmless! You will return to your ship and have time to freshen up before dinner. 

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 13

Galapagos Islands to Quito

After breakfast, you will be transferred back to the Baltra Airport where you will board your flight back to Quito. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to enjoy your last day sightseeing or catching up on last-minute shopping.

Accommodation: Accommodation: Hotel Quito

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 14

Depart Quito

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Quito Airport for your onward or return flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

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