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Incredible Ecuador: Cloudforest and Cotopaxi

Duration
7 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,859

FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: See the highlights of the Ecuadorian mainland on this week-long vacation. Explore Quito, home to the best-preserved colonial centre in South America, visit the Equator, go birdwatching in the Mindo Cloud Forest, and hike the foothills of indomitable Cotopaxi Volcano.


This 7-day Ecuadorian vacation takes you to Quito, the Mindo Cloud Forest, and Cotopaxi. It features first-class accommodations and a mix of private and small-group tours.

Your journey to Ecuador begins in Quito, the nation's capital and one of the best-preserved cities in South America. Start the day off with a visit north of the city to Mitad del Mundo, where the Equator bisects the planet. Back in the city centre, you’ll explore the colonial churches and government buildings around Plaza de la Independencia before capping off the day with a cocoa experience, learning about the world’s most beloved sweet in the country where it’s from. Then head north to the Mindo Cloud Forest, stopping at butterfly and orchid gardens en route. Ride the cable car into the forest and reach El Monto Cloud Forest Ecolodge, your home for the next couple nights. In Mindo, you’ll explore the gorgeous natural landscape of winding rivers and cloud-draped mountains on guided tours and have the opportunity to spot some of the world’s most exotic birds, including the Golden-Headed Quetzal and Cocho Toucan.

After exploring the cloud forest, stop by Tony’s House, a remarkable property where over 24 species of hummingbirds congregate, before returning to Quito and continuing on to Cotopaxi National Park to the south. In this park along the country’s Avenue of the Volcanoes, you'll explore the landscapes surrounding some the highest peaks, including Cotopaxi Volcano. In the mountains, you’ll hike and go mountain biking along trails to lookouts with stunning views. Visit the volcanic lake of Quilotoa, located in the crater of the volcano of the same name, and meet with local Tigua villagers in remote parts of the park.

Turn back towards Quito and stop by an Indigenous craft market to do some shopping. You’ll also swing by a rose plantation, where you’ll learn about Ecuador’s role as a leading exporter of roses, before reaching Quito, where you’ll head to the airport for onward travels.


 

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Duration
7 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,859

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Quito Airport to Hotel

Duration1 Hour

Dann Carlton Hotel

Quito Dann Carlton offers stylish accommodation a 1-hour drive from Mariscal Sucre Airport. The hotel boasts a panoramic swimming pool, a fitness area and a restaurant to enjoy Ecuadorian cuisine. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

Meal Plan Buffet Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Dann Carlton Hotel

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    Dann Carlton Hotel



    Quito Dann Carlton offers stylish accommodation a 1-hour drive from Mariscal Sucre Airport. The hotel boasts a panoramic swimming pool, a fitness area and a restaurant to enjoy Ecuadorian cuisine. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

    Quito Dann Carlton offers stylish accommodation a 1-hour drive from Mariscal Sucre Airport. The hotel boasts a panoramic swimming pool, a fitness area and a restaurant to enjoy Ecuadorian cuisine. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

    Facilities

    • 24 hour Front desk
    • Bar
    • Business Centre
    • Elevator
    • Free Parking
    • Free WiFi
    • Gym/ Fitness centre
    • Multi-lingual Staff
    • Restaurant
    • Swimming Pool

    More Details

Day 2

Quito City Tour and Equator Line with Lunch

Ecuador is history, fascinating indigenous cultures, slow winding rivers and lush tropical forests, spectacular snow capped volcanoes and some of the most exciting wildlife on earth.

The place to start is the 'Mitad del Mundo'; a site located just 30 minutes north of Quito, where a monument marks the equator at its closest point to the city. Archaeological evidence shows that both pre-Inca and Inca civilizations recognized and celebrated the equinox, the day the sun is directly over the equator.

In the morning we will make a 45 minute journey northwest to the equatorial line, where we will walk the rim of the extinct Pululahua volcanic crater. Later we will visit the "Ciudad Mitad del Mundo" a group of buildings designed to explain the significance of the site, as well as the Ethnographic or Intiñan Museum, located right on the Equator. Here you will have the chance to plant your feet in two hemispheres at the same time.

Back in Quito, after lunch we will visit the city's impressive colonial center, the reason Quito was the first city to be named a world heritage site by the United Nations. First on the agenda is a walk through the main plaza, the 'Plaza de la Independencia', where you will see the Government Palace, the Cathedral, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including the San Francisco Monastery, a building begun only 5 days after the founding of the city.

Lunch included.

We will have the chance to enjoy a chocolate experience, which starts with a guided tour explaining the history of cocoa in Ecuador, followed by a chocolate tasting.

Ecuador's unique equatorial climate provides the perfect environment for growing the world's finest cocoa - Cacao Arriba. Cocoa has been revered in Latin America for over 5,000 years. Spanish explorers loved it so much they called it the 'Food of the Gods'.

The Republica del Cacao's founders began their voyage over ten years ago when they set themselves an ambitious mission: to produce the most authentic and delicious chocolate, while protecting and developing sustainable fine cocoa production.

Duration8 Hours
Day 3

Quito to Mindo

You will be picked up from your hotel in Quito and be transferred to Mindo and El Monte Ecolodge. En route stop, admire, and enjoy the interactive butterfly garden where, surrounded by hundreds of colorful butterflies, you will be able to observe the four stages of a butterfly's life. While you are in the garden, you will be able to feed one or more of the 25 different species of butterflies. Later visit to a Garden of Orchids, where you will see about 35 to 60 species of orchids in bloom. Mindo has about 370 species of orchids in the reserve. The orchid is undoubtedly one of the most impressive attraction to those visiting the place, the un-spoilable range of species on display. Some of them are can be seen by a magnifying glass. At the end of the tour, you have the ability to observe Hummingbirds and other bird species.

The El Monte Lodge is located just outside the town of Mindo, recognized as a world-class bird watching site by Bird Life International. Arrival to El Monte Sustainable Lodge is by "tarabita" or hand pulled cable car. This cable car entrance of 20 meters over the Rio Mindo gives us a sense of privacy from the outside world, while providing access to El Monte and the buffer zone to the Mindo-Nambillo Protected Reserve.

On arrival, your hosts will offer a short introduction to the lodge and its garden, plus a few tips in regards bird species will greet us. El Monte is not simply a place to stay; the Lodge and its owners are dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural beauty of Mindo - Nambillo Forest, one of the most biologically diverse and endangered Cloud Forests in the world.

In the afternoon, your local guide will take us on a 2-hour exploration besides Mindo River and through the nearby forest, where you will spot exotic birds, find local medicinal plants and learn more about their uses.

Guests at El Monte stay in private cabanas alongside the crystalline Rio Mindo. Each cabana has a comfortable bathroom complete with a full size tub and unlimited hot water, plus separate areas for socializing and sleeping.
The design of all the cabanas and the main house is original and also very functional taking into account the mild climate, lack of strong winds and local construction materials that blend nicely with the landscape and river.

Each cabana is equipped with a flush toilet and an independent waste treatment system that is comprised of an enclosed sand bed with bamboo growing inside to remove nitrogenous buildup. This system has worked extremely well for us, and we would be glad to share the plans on request.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

El Monte Cloud Forest Ecolodge

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  • starstarstar

    El Monte Cloud Forest Ecolodge



    Stay in private riverside cabanas and see firsthand the moss covered trees, crystal clear streams, spectacular orchids, exotic birds - awaken to the symphony of forest noise, hear the sounds and try to imagine the source. Experience Cloud Forest with all your senses, an ecosystem …

    Stay in private riverside cabanas and see firsthand the moss covered trees, crystal clear streams, spectacular orchids, exotic birds - awaken to the symphony of forest noise, hear the sounds and try to imagine the source. Experience Cloud Forest with all your senses, an ecosystem not widely known by name but could be described as the Garden of Eden or Paradise Found.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Game Room

    More Details

Day 4

Mindo

Today you make an early start to visit our "Cock of the Rock", a place where these marvelous birds congregate to feed. After a nourishing breakfast, you will walk along the heights of the stunning San Lorenzo Mountain Range with your guide leading the way, and weather permitting; you catch a glimpse of spectacular birds such as the Golden-Headed Quetzal, the Choco Toucan and the Crimson Rumped Toucanet, amongst many others.

Return to the lodge midafternoon. Free evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Return to Quito

Today, before heading back to Quito, you will visit "Tony's House", an iconic spot where you can admire more than 24 species of hummingbirds. Tony is an expert on the birds and their songs and has placed a lot of hummingbird feeders around his house, as well as in the forest, to attract the amazing variety of brilliantly colored birds you will see here. More than 19 varieties can regularly be seen, including some of the rarest specimens.

Return to Quito where services end.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch

Quito to Cotopaxi

Depart Quito early morning and head south to the Cotopaxi National Park where, weather permitting, you will be able to see the snowcapped summits of the Cotopaxi and Antisana volcanoes.

You will also visit the Interpretation center to learn about the history of this spectacular volcano's major eruptions, as well as the local flora and fauna. 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.

Later, enjoy some mountain bike riding through exclusive trails designed by mountain bikers and engineers on a fantastic journey through the heart of the Andes. You will be escorted by mountain biking guides and pampered by traditional hospitality during the whole trip. Tonight you stay at the the Hacienda San Agustin del Callo.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hacienda San Agustin Del Callo

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    Hacienda San Agustin Del Callo



    One and a quarter hours from Quito, capital of Ecuador, stands the beautiful and little known colonial Hacienda of San Agustin de Callo. Built on the site of an Inca palace, and one of the two most important archaeological Inca sites in Ecuador, it is …

    One and a quarter hours from Quito, capital of Ecuador, stands the beautiful and little known colonial Hacienda of San Agustin de Callo. Built on the site of an Inca palace, and one of the two most important archaeological Inca sites in Ecuador, it is the furthest point north from Cuzco that features Imperial Style construction. Featuring a garden, a restaurant and an Inca Chapel, Hacienda San Agustin de Callo offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and fireplaces in Cotopaxi. Free parking is provided. Cotopaxi national Park is 20 km away.

    Facilities

    • Bicycles
    • Horseback Riding

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Day 6

Quilotoa Lagoon

Today visit the Quilotoa volcano crater, where you can appreciate the crater's serene mysterious green lake. Take the optional short walk of about 1.7 kilometers/1.1 mile along the crater's rim.

On the way back, stop to visit an art gallery in the community of Tigua, where you can see paintings representative of the folklore of this part of the Andes. The brightly colored style of the area's artists, currently the third generation, have transcended local boundaries and is now internationally renowned. Return late afternoon to the hacienda.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Cotopaxi to Quito via Local Market and Rose Plantation

After breakfast, visit a traditional indigenous marketplace in the Cotopaxi area. Local markets are part of Ecuadorian traditional culture; the places where indigenous communities buy food and accessories. This is a real contrast to how you would shop in your regular supermarkets.
*Markets take place on the following days
Tuesday: Latacunga - Wednesday - Sunday: Pujili - Thursday: Saquisili - Saturday: Zumbahua.

Then to see a world class rose producer. Ecuadorian roses are recognized as being some of the finest, and are exported to all parts of the globe. On the farm, the company produces unique, beautiful, multi colored roses for the most discerning customers. Your guide will show you the process of producing high quality roses and explain the research that has gone into producing the flowers' spectacular colors. Many products based on this beautiful blossom are also available for your enjoyment, such as: rose honey, rose sea salt, rose vinegar, rose chocolate, rose marmalade and many others.

Late afternoon you are transferred back to Quito.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • 2 nights in first-class accommodations in Quito
  • 2 nights in a boutique eco-lodge near Mindo
  • 2 nights in a boutique hacienda near Cotopaxi Volcano
  • Private-guided tour of Quito & the equator
  • Small group excursions at El Monte Ecolodge
  • Small group excursions at Hacienda San Agustin del Callo
  • Breakfast daily (excluding day 1), 6 lunches, 5 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 QUITPK7DEC
11 Jul 2022
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