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Essential Ecuador

Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,695

Visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and enjoy an impressive range of natural environment and culture which in combination have inspired outstanding culinary diversity for you to discover.


Crossing the mountains between the Amazon and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is fast becoming one of South America’s must-see destinations. On this 8 day trip, visit two UNESCO designated cities, enchanting traditional villages and enjoy one of the most breathtaking train rides on the planet.

The world’s second highest capital, Quito is a colonial city built over Inca ruins, giving it a truly unique character, atmosphere and architecture. Take a tour through both the modern and OldTown parts of the city, including views from Panecillo Mirador and San Francisco monastery. Visit the Equator to learn more about the unique gravitational effects created by the two joining hemispheres.

Visit the museum dedicated to Ecuador’s Oswaldo Guyasamin, followed by La Capilla del Hombre, which is covered by one of Guyasamin’s murals. A short journey south brings you to the indigenous markets of Saquisili, one of the largest in the country.

In Riobamba, climb aboard for one of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys, the Devil’s Nose. It’s also one of the steepest, climbing via a series of switchbacks to an impressive 2600 metres above sea level.

Continue your journey to Cuenca, stopping at the Ingapirca ruins. Colonial Ecuador at its finest, Cuenca is one of the country’s most picturesque cities and a major cultural centre with many markets, cathedrals and museums to explore, such as Museo del Banco Central and Pumapungo. It’s also the craft capital of Ecuador, with many artisans selling fine local handicrafts – the perfect chance to pick up a souvenir before your return to Quito.

At Goway we are experts at designing personalized itineraries to suit your special interests, tastes and budget. Let us arrange your ultimate travel experience today.
Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,695

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive in Quito

Your guide will be waiting to escort you from the airport to your hotel.

Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Eugenia Hotel

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Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Eugenia Hotel



    Located in Quito's main entertainment district, Eugenia Hotel offers rooms with classic decorations in a modern colonial-styled building. The property is 329 feet from Mindalae Museum and a 10-minute walk from Mercado Artesanal. Quito's historic centre is a 5-minute drive away, while the city's nightlife ...

    Located in Quito's main entertainment district, Eugenia Hotel offers rooms with classic decorations in a modern colonial-styled building. The property is 329 feet from Mindalae Museum and a 10-minute walk from Mercado Artesanal.

    Quito's historic centre is a 5-minute drive away, while the city's nightlife venues are just a few blocks away. Quito Airport is 28 miles away.

    Facilities

    • Cable TV
    • Cafeteria
    • Elevator
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Restaurant
    • Room Service
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 2

Quito City Tour

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compania, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

You'll set off from the modern part of the city and continue on foot through Quito's Old Town to admire the colonial art and architecture of the XVI to XVIII centuries. Afterwards you'll have the opportunity to take in spectacular views of both colonial and modern Quito from the "Panecillo Mirador" which is the highest point on the valley floor.

A special treat is lunch at "El Ventanal" restaurant on San Juan Hill. The restaurant is characterised by a cozy atmosphere, minimalist decoration and special attention to service. El Ventanal offers an extensive selection of international gastronomy with an Ecuadorian flavor.

Journey north to the Equator where your guide will show you the differences in the gravitational influence on either side of the equatorial line, as well as give you a brief overview of indigenous cultures.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 3

Guayasamin Art Gallery and Dining with a View

You'll visit the museum of Guayasamin that exhibits excellent samples of pre-Columbian, colonial and contemporary art from the private collections of the famous Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin.

Following this is a visit to "La Capilla del Hombre" (Chapel of Man), the inside of which is covered with a mural by the artist. It narrates the history of "El hombre Americano", but was incomplete at the time of the Guayasamin's death, and remains unfinished.

The Chapel holds some of Guayasamin's work as well as that of other well-known Latin-American artists, from Pre-Columbian to contemporary. The altar of the Chapel holds an eternal flame in defense of peace and human rights.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 4

Avenue of the Volcanoes

Early in the morning, you will travel south along the Pan-American highway and through the Avenue of the Volcanos. You are surrounded by over 12 active, extinct and dormant volcanoes offering stunning vistas everywhere you look. You will stop at a locals house and be invited in to learn the Andean way of life. Lunch will be at La Cienega, an old colonial hacienda that now functions as a restaurant and hotel.

Continue onto Riobamba, a small city with French influenced plazas and Cathedral.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hosteria La Andaluza

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Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Hosteria La Andaluza



    Set in a charming country estate featuring 2 restaurants and 2 bars, Hosteria La Andaluza offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and plasma TV in Riobamba. Breakfast is provided and BBQ. Volleyball and basketball courts are featured. Hosteria La Andaluza is 134.8 miles from Quito and ...

    Set in a charming country estate featuring 2 restaurants and 2 bars, Hosteria La Andaluza offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and plasma TV in Riobamba. Breakfast is provided and BBQ. Volleyball and basketball courts are featured.

    Hosteria La Andaluza is 134.8 miles from Quito and 144.8 miles from Guayaquil. Urbina Train Station is 5 miles away.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Fireplace
    • Flat Screen TV's
    • Games Room
    • Hairdryers
    • In Room Heater
    • Mini Bar
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 5

Devils Nose Railway Adventure and Ingaprica Ruins

The journey begins in the small city of Riobamba. Like many cities in the Ecuadorian Andes, Riobamba sits in the shadow of a giant volcano, Chimborazo, which at 6,310 meters enjoys the distinction of being Ecuador's highest peak. The train travels south from Chimborazo through a number of small villages and large expanses of open country before arriving at the small town of Alausi.

The main attraction of the Devil's Nose ride is the series of switchbacks that engineers carved into the mountain as a way to allow trains to climb a gradient of 1-in-18 from 1800 to 2600 meters, by going forwards then backwards up the tracks. As the rail cars go forward and backward over the three or four zigzags, they will occasionally stop to allow another car to pass.

A hundred years after it was constructed, the steep grade of the Devil's Nose stretch of track precludes its use as a freight or efficient passenger line, but is a way for present-day explorers to catch a glimpse of the rugged and breathtaking Ecuadorian countryside.

From here you will continue your trip to Cuenca, visiting the Ingapirca ruins. They look like a small fortress. Some archaeologists think that its main elliptical platform structure (usnu), referred to as Temple of the Sun, was used for religious purposes. Its location on the Inca road that linked the northern and southern capitals of the Inca Empire, Quito and Cusco respectively, suggests it may have also served as a resting point for chasquis - runners that carried messages for the royal court. The structure itself has outstanding Inca stonework. Its doorways and niches were designed in the trapezoidal shape that is the unmistakable Inca style. From here we journey through the many volcanoes to the colonial gem of Cuenca. Ovenight in a boutique hotel in Cuenca.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Posada del Angel Hotel

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Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Posada del Angel Hotel



    The Posada is an old colonial house that has been completely restored and remodeled. It is situaded on the historical center of the city, where visitors will feel comfortable in a family atmosphere.

    The Posada is an old colonial house that has been completely restored and remodeled. It is situaded on the historical center of the city, where visitors will feel comfortable in a family atmosphere.

    Facilities

    • 24 hour Front desk
    • Coffee/Tea in Lobby
    • Computer Station
    • Free Parking
    • Free WiFi
    • Housekeeping Service
    • Laundry Service
    • Luggage Storage
    • Newspaper in Lobby
    • Restaurant
    • Rooftop Terrace
    • Safe Deposit box at reception

    More Details

Day 6

Colonial Cuenca

Santa Ana de los Rios de Cuenca is set in a valley surrounded by the Andean mountains in the south of Ecuador. This inland colonial town (entroterra), now the country's third city, was founded in 1557 on the rigorous planning guidelines issued 30 years earlier by the Spanish king Charles V.

Cuenca still observes the formal orthogonal town plan that it has respected for 400 years. One of the region's agricultural and administrative centres, it has been a melting pot for local and immigrant populations. Cuenca's architecture, much of which dates from the 18th century, was 'modernized' in the economic prosperity of the 19th century as the city became a major exporter of quinine, straw hats and other products.

Lunch is at a typical restaurant in the historic centre. Your guide will lead you on an exploration of the markets, churches, museums and craft shops for which the city is known. To the surprise of many, the Panama hat originated here.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 7

Cuenca Crafts Market and Orchard Villages to Quito

Cuenca is surrounded by villages where skilled artisans work wonders. Among these are Gualaceo, with its markets that are especially crowded on Fridays and Sundays, where you can observe hand-woven shawls, ponchos and lots of fruits and vegetables on sale.

You also visit Bulcay for Ikat weaving and Chordeleg "chorro de oro" (waterfall of gold), a village specialized in jewelry - mainly gold and silver - with fine filigree work; handmade ceramic pottery and the chance to observe people weaving Panama hats and other items made of toquilla straw. One of the highlights on this trip is the visit to Ecuagenera, the most important orchid growing laboratory in Ecuador, whose aim is to study and preserve the different species existent through time. Among their achievements, they have discovered 12 new species and 1 gender.

During the visit you could observe hundreds of species and learn a bit about these amazing and beautiful plants. Lunch in a countryside hacienda.

Your afternoon flight will find you back in Quito.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Eugenia Hotel

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Eugenia Hotel



    Located in Quito's main entertainment district, Eugenia Hotel offers rooms with classic decorations in a modern colonial-styled building. The property is 329 feet from Mindalae Museum and a 10-minute walk from Mercado Artesanal. Quito's historic centre is a 5-minute drive away, while the city's nightlife ...

    Located in Quito's main entertainment district, Eugenia Hotel offers rooms with classic decorations in a modern colonial-styled building. The property is 329 feet from Mindalae Museum and a 10-minute walk from Mercado Artesanal.

    Quito's historic centre is a 5-minute drive away, while the city's nightlife venues are just a few blocks away. Quito Airport is 28 miles away.

    Facilities

    • Cable TV
    • Cafeteria
    • Elevator
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Restaurant
    • Room Service
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 8

Depart

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES: 

Mondays

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Transportation (including internal airfare)
  • Transfers
  • Guides
  • Meals as indicated

PRICE EXLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes unless specified
  • 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 CONDORTQUI15SG: YCUE70072
4 Dec 2017
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