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Highlights of Ecuador: Quito, Cotopaxi, Cuenca & More

Duration
10 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,728

FIRST-CLASS | PRIVATE-GUIDED: Escape to Ecuador and explore the beauty of this country from the Andes to the coast. Starting in Quito, enjoy the best of the region, including small towns and majestic volcanoes, then continue to Guayaquil, "the Pearl of the Pacific."


Touch down in Quito to begin this 10-day private tour of Ecuador.

The City of Eternal Spring, where the temperature rarely fluctuates, this mountainous city offers gorgeous colonial architecture to explore, including the San Franciscan Monastery and the Plaza Mayor. After a half-day tour, you’ll have time to explore on your own before a day trip to Otavalo. One of Ecuador’s undisputed treasures, this village is popular with the tourists, but with good reason. Ecuador’s indigenous culture is alive and well here, and the world-famous craft market is a must-visit. Then visit the workshop of master weaver Miguel Andrango to learn a few of the secrets behind these beautiful creations.

Just a short distance from Quito, Cotopaxi National Park is one of Ecuador’s top natural treasures, in the shadow of the awesome Cotopaxi and Antisana volcanoes. Learn about the local flora and fauna, and take a two-hour guided hike to spectacular views. A mountain bike ride completes your day, with some traditional hospitality to help you relax after an active day. Then visit another local artisan to learn about the local folkloric art, before staring into the surreal green lake of Quilotoa. If you found Otavalo’s market a little touristy, you’ll love the market you visit on this day. It will vary according to the day of your visit, but is always as important to the locals as it is appealing to visitors.

Ready for a ride on one of South America’s most memorable train journeys? All aboard the Trans-Andean for a journey across the Devil’s Nose. Learn about the engineering challenges posed by this mountain as you either climb or descend more than half a kilometre onboard the train. Then visit Ingrapirca, the most important Inca site in Ecuador, before your onward journey to Cuenca. If Ecuador’s crafts have enchanted you, this might be your favourite part of the trip. Visit the towns of Gualaceo and Chordeleg, meeting local textile-making families who preserve the methods of the Canaris people, who predate even the Inca in this region.

Your final stop is Guyaquil, Ecuador’s powerhouse largest city and port. It’s a lengthy drive, broken up with visits to a dairy farm and a cacao plantation (chocoholics, you’re welcome). With a full day in the city, take a half day tour that takes you to Simon Bolivar Park and Guayaquil’s oldest neighbourhood, ending with a visit to the Malecon boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River.


 

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Duration
10 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,728

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Quito Airport to Hotel

Duration1 Hour

Casa Aliso

Casa Aliso is one of the best boutique hotels in Ecuador; full of personality and character and defined by its unique design, decor and ambiance. Delightfully secluded, Casa Aliso is well known to experienced travellers who want to be close to everything, but desire a quieter, more refined atmosphere. True hospitality is discreet and is expressed on a daily basis by a myriad of small gestures.

Meal Plan Buffet Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Casa Aliso

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Location View map
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    Casa Aliso



    Casa Aliso is one of the best boutique hotels in Ecuador; full of personality and character and defined by its unique design, decor and ambiance. Delightfully secluded, Casa Aliso is well known to experienced travellers who want to be close to everything, but desire a …

    Casa Aliso is one of the best boutique hotels in Ecuador; full of personality and character and defined by its unique design, decor and ambiance. Delightfully secluded, Casa Aliso is well known to experienced travellers who want to be close to everything, but desire a quieter, more refined atmosphere. True hospitality is discreet and is expressed on a daily basis by a myriad of small gestures.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

    Preferred Hotel
Day 2

Quito City Tour

The place to start exploring Ecuador is Colonial Quito: a city of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city's many spectacularly decorated historic churches. The city has one of the best preserved colonial centers in all South America, and its integrity was assured in 1978 when the United Nations declared Quito a World Cultural Heritage site.

Morning visit to colonial Quito. We will walk through the Main Plaza, where you will see the Government Palace, La Compania, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including the San Francisco Monastery which was started 5 days after the founding of the city in 1534. Then we will visit the city's famous La Ronda street, where we will learn about traditional work in Colonial Quito.

For our last stop, we will also be visiting the 'Panecillo', the hill that dominates the South of the city, and where we will be able to admire the famous statue of Our Lady of the Panecillo and enjoy spectacular views of Quito.

Duration4 Hours
Day 3

Otavalo Day Trip with Lunch

Today we will visit the Quitsato Sundial, a cultural-tourist area located on the equatorial line near the Cayambe volcano, where you will learn about the astronomical knowledge of the region's pre-Hispanic cultures.

We will then head to the town of Otavalo, This is truly one of the most interesting towns in Ecuador, where the local Kichwa indigenous culture is not only plainly visible, but on their rise.

The town's famous craft market is one of the most visited sites in Ecuador, and with good reason. The market is filled with interesting colorful and sometimes rare objects and crafts. Do remember to bargain, but only if you're interested! The market is held every day on one of the town squares at the foot of the majestic Imbabura Mountain. And to help you navigate the market, you will be given a short explanation of the market and provided with a map of the area. The Local Indian Market has been an economic and social center for more than 4000 years.

As part of our day at the market we will visit the workshop of Master weaver Miguel Andrango, in the village of Agato. Miguel's art has taken him abroad, mainly to exhibitions and fairs in the United States where the quality of his work is widely acknowledged. In the small store in the courtyard of his Tawantinsuyo workshop, the walls are covered with bright designs, most with an indigenous motif; the designs are based on Inca patterns but are the work of Miguel and his family. The workshop uses only pure wool and Alpaca; the weavers card and spin it themselves and then dye it with natural inks made from mosses (for yellow) or seeds such as 'Achiote' (for red).

In the afternoon we'll drive to the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve for a visit to the interpretation center and an outstanding view of the Cuicocha lagoon, a deep-blue crater lake on the lower southern flanks of Cotacachi Volcano. After our hike we will stop at the picturesque colonial town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather work.

Duration8 Hours
Day 4

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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    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. Located at 3480 meters above sea level, Chilcabamba Lodge is located in the Pedregal, six kilometers from the Cotopaxi National Park. Chilcabamba …

    Its rustic style gives it a cozy, simple and charming atmosphere. Its design is confused with the environment typical of our Andean páramos. 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.

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

    Facilities

    • Game Room
    • Reading Room
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 5

Cotopaxi - Riobamba

Today you will visit Indian 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



    A 4-star hotel that 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.

    A 4-star hotel that 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 6

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 built 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 Cuenca

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    Hotel Victoria Cuenca



    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 their imposing brick-and-marble facade to decorations, cuencanas the whole of them, disposed at every room. They offer an experience that matches the host city: full of delights, with centennial distinction; but where you'll always feel as it being at home.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Laundry
    • Restaurant
    • WiFi

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Day 7

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
Day 8

Hotel Palace Guayaquil

Hotel Palace is perfectly located in the heart of Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, as well as its main port. The hotel is close to the Province Governors Palace, City Hall and the vibrant Malecon 2000 riverside promenade.

Meal Plan Full Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Palace Guayaquil

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Hotel Palace Guayaquil



    Hotel Palace is perfectly located in the heart of Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, as well as its main port. The hotel is close to the Province Governors Palace, City Hall and the vibrant Malecon 2000 riverside promenade.

    Hotel Palace is perfectly located in the heart of Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, as well as its main port. The hotel is close to the Province Governors Palace, City Hall and the vibrant Malecon 2000 riverside promenade.

    Facilities

    • Conference Facilities
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 9

Half day Guayaquil City Tour

Begin your city tour of Guayaquil with a stop Simon Bolivar Park. Learn about historical landmarks from your guide as you stroll through the main streets and avenues of the city. See the statues of Simon Bolivar and Saint Martin in La Rotonda.

Then, head over to Guayaquil's oldest neighborhood, known for its charming restaurants, art galleries and craft shops, and climb the staircase up Cerro Santa Ana (Santa Ana Hill) for a majestic view of the city from more than 1,000 feet (300 meters).

Next, travel to the southern end of Malecon 2000, a 1-mile (2.5-km) stretch of boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River (Rio Guayas) and surrounded by sculptures, ponds and playgrounds.

After your tour, your guide will drop you off at your hotel in Guayaquil.

Duration3 Hours
Day 10

Guayaquil Hotel to Airport with English Assistance

Duration25 Minutes

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • 3 nights in first-class accommodations in Quito
  • 1 night in moderate accommodations near Cotopaxi
  • 1 night in first-class accommodations near Riobamba
  • 2 nights in moderate accommdations near Cuenca
  • 2 nights in first-class accommodations in Guayaquil
  • Private-guided tour of Quito
  • Private-guided tour to Otavalo Market
  • 5-day private-guided tour of the Avenue of Volcanoes, including:
    • Private naturalist guide for 5 days
    • Private transportation for 5 days (naturalist guide as driver)
    • Hiking and mountain biking near Cotopaxi volcano
    • Artisan workshop at Don Alfonso Toaquiza
    • Tour of Quilotoa volcanic crater
    • Nariz del Diablo train ride
    • Tour of Ingapirca
    • Tour of Cuenca and the "Craftsman Trail"
    • Tour of Cajas National Park
  • Private-guided tour of Guayaquil
  • Breakfast daily (excluding day 1), 5 lunches, 2 dinners

PRICE EXCLUDES:

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

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.

DP QUITPK10DGUAEC
12 Jul 2023
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