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Avenue of the Volcanoes: Quito to Cuenca

Duration
4 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,606

Journey along Ecuador’s famed Avenue of the Volcanoes on this adventurous vacation from Quito to Cuenco. Pass by seven volcanic peaks more than 5,000m high, ride the Devil’s Nose switchback railroad, and explore the Incan fortress of Ingapirca, as well as the historical town of Cuenca.


This 4-day Ecuadorian vacation takes you along the Avenue of the Volcanoes from Quito to Cuenca. It includes moderate accommodations, shared group excursions, and plenty of adventure for active travellers want to explore the fascinating mainland of Ecuador.

Your journey begins in Quito, the country’s capital and the city of eternal sunshine. From Quito, head south, crossing into Cotopaxi National Park to see the snow-capped summits of Cotopaxi and Antisani. A visit to the interpretation centre will get you up to speed on volcanic activity before you reach Lake Limpiopungo. The next day, explore the Indigenous markets and Spanish colonial sites around Riobamba before reaching Tigua and taking in its incredible art galleries, culminating in a visit to the gallery of Julio Toaquiza, a well-respected Andean painter.

Continue south and reach one of the highlights of your journey, a ride along the Devil’s Nose, one of the world’s premier rail achievements. First constructed in 1908, the Devil’s Nose is an antiquated “switchback railroad” system, which allows the train to descend from steep elevations by moving forward and backward along a line of zigzagging rail lines. Over the course of this zigzagging train journey, you’ll drop over 500m in the course of 12km as you pass through the mountain peaks of the Andes.

At the southern end of rail journey, disembark and drive south to Ingapirca, the greatest Incan complex in Ecuador. This fascinating historical site features an Incan observatory and fortress high in the Andean hills. On your final day in Ecuador, you’ll explore the city of Cuenca, known for its churches, markets, and museums. Walk throughout the city, admire the four rivers and lush green valley, and explore the many old buildings of its UNESCO-listed historic centre. At the end of your stay, head to the airport to continue your onward journey.


 

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Duration
4 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,606

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Quito - Cotopaxi

After breakfast you will be picked up from your hotel and begin the drive south to Cotopaxi National Park.

See the snow-capped summits of the Cotopaxi and Antisana volcanoes before heading to the Interpretation center to learn about the history of this spectacular volcano's major eruptions, as well as the local flora and fauna. We will then visit Lake Limpiopungo and explore the surrounding area on foot.

If you feel like a longer walk, a 2 hour hike will take you to Mt. Cotopaxi's J. Ribas refuge (4,800 m) where you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of the volcano and the surrounding Andean peaks.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Chilcabamba Lodge

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Location View map
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    Chilcabamba Lodge



    Its rustic style gives it a cozy, simple and charming atmosphere. Its design is confused with the environment typical of our Andean páramos. We are located at 3480 meters above sea level, Chilcabamba Lodge is located in the Pedregal, six kilometers from the Cotopaxi National ...

    Its rustic style gives it a cozy, simple and charming atmosphere. Its design is confused with the environment typical of our Andean páramos. We are located at 3480 meters above sea level, Chilcabamba Lodge is located in the Pedregal, six kilometers from the Cotopaxi National Park.

    Chilcabamba Lodge, offers rooms with private bathrooms, hot water, stoves and ponchos in each room. Every afternoon you can enjoy a bonfire accompanied by traditional canelazos, or relax in our reading and games room.

    We have a restaurant, which offers exquisite dishes of our cuisine, carefully prepared with local ingredients where we offer breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Day 2

Cotopaxi - Riobamba

Today you will visit Indigenous markets in the towns of either Saquisili, Pujili, Zumbahua or Latacunga. These markets are as authentic and non-touristic as can be found today in Ecuador today. They are important to the local indigenous people as markets are the center of their social and economic worlds.

Then a visit the Quilotoa volcano crater, where you will be able to appreciate the crater's serenely mysterious green lake. There is an option of a short walk of about 1.7 km along the crater's rim.

On the way back, stop to visit the art galleries in the community of Tigua, where you are able to appreciate the paintings representative of the folklore of this special part of the Andes. The brightly coloured naïve style of the area's painters, currently the third generation, has transcended local boundaries and is now internationally renowned. These days there are a lot of painters in Tigua, but Julio Toaquiza was the first, and is still number one. Visit Julio in his studio, and you will be able to see why his work is appreciated for the bright colours, the meticulous detail, and the stories his paintings tell of life in the high Andes: the volcanoes, the condors, and the indigenous communities with their legends.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hotel Casa Real

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    Hotel Casa Real



    Royal House is a 4-star hotel offers excellent amenities to make their guests feel really comfortable. It was created with futuristic vision based on elegance and distinction offering the royal houses of Spain, with an exotic garden.

    Royal House is a 4-star hotel offers excellent amenities to make their guests feel really comfortable. It was created with futuristic vision based on elegance and distinction offering the royal houses of Spain, with an exotic garden.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Reception
    • Bar-cafe
    • Breakfast Lounge
    • Laundry
    • Parking
    • Restaurant

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Day 3

Riobamba - Alausi - Ingapirca - Cuenca

Today is the day for the exhilarating train journey down to the 'Devil's Nose', called by some the "most difficult train route in the world". The railroad was originally built to connect the Andes with the coast, and the route climbs up steep slopes, rolls down into river valleys and negotiates a truly massive wall of rock called the 'Nariz del Diablo', or Devil's Nose.

The biggest complication faced by the construction of the Trans-Andean railroad was the Devil's Nose, a mountain with almost perpendicular walls. To overcome this obstacle a zigzag railroad was bulit that climbs more than 500 meters in less than 12 km with steep ascents and descents. It today remains an impressive piece of engineering.

As part of this dramatic ride, you will take a short walk to a spectacular lookout over the mountains and the train route.

While recovering from the mind-blowing descent you will enjoy the views of the narrow gorge of river Chanchán and will have the chance to learn a bit about the traditions and worldview of the Puruhuas in Sibambe.

Now drive South to Ingapirca, an Inca observatory and fortress. This is the most important Inca site in Ecuador, where the Emperor and his entourage would rest during trips to this northern segment of the Empire.
Ingapirca Ruins, is the largest and best preserved archaeological complex in Ecuador. It was built with stones perfectly carved and joined with natural mortar, this Temple served for ceremonies and rituals of the Cañari-Inca culture, also had strategic-military purposes. It is then onto Cuenca.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hotel Victoria

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Location View map
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    Hotel Victoria



    Hotel Victoria is located in the nestled between the hustle of Calle Larga and the serenity of Barranco: you'll have the stream of the river at your feet and the concurrence of our Historical Center just some steps away. Yet Hotel Victoria's charms are gathered ...

    Hotel Victoria is located in the nestled between the hustle of Calle Larga and the serenity of Barranco: you'll have the stream of the river at your feet and the concurrence of our Historical Center just some steps away.

    Yet Hotel Victoria's charms are gathered inside: from our imposing brick-and-marble facade to our decorations, cuencanas the whole of them, disposed at every room. We offer an experience that matches our host city: full of delights, with centennial distinction; but where you'll always feel as it being at home.

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Day 4

Cuenca

One of the first things to notice when entering Cuenca is the magnificent skyline marked by brilliant church domes. And after breakfast you set out on a city tour whose highlight is the city's colonial architecture.

Cuenca's winding rivers, graceful ironwork balconies and beautiful gardens, are part of the pleasant atmosphere of this historic city, declared a Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in December 1999. This is the perfect place to discover by walking and is ideal for those looking to blend into the relaxed setting of a truly romantic colonial city.

Walking along Cuenca's cobblestone streets or watching the people go by in the town square dominated by the great cathedral is both peaceful and inspiring. With approximately 400,000 inhabitants, this city is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the country due its architecture, surroundings and small town ambiance.

Cuenca is traversed by four rivers and surrounded by green valleys and its people create some of the finest crafts in the country.

At the end of the tour services end with a transfer to the airport.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • All airport transportation
  • 3 nights accommodations
  • Local guides
  • Tour of Cotopaxi National Park
  • Visit to local markets
  • Devils Nose Railway Day Trip
  • Food and drinks as per itinerary

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB CONDORTQUI0219SG: TEA AV1A 01
14 Nov 2019
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