Day 1: Arrival
Once you arrived at the Mariscal Sucre airport, our local guide will take you to the hotel where you would stay during your time in Quito. On your way to the hotel, the guide will introduce you about our wonderful country Ecuador (in regards to issues such as the continental weather, history of the country, and places to visit, etc). The guide will be your personal translator, as well as the person in charge of carrying your luggage and give you support on any inquires that you might have, until arriving to the hotel (Patio Andaluz, Casona de la Ronda, Casa San Marcos o Plaza Grande, Casa Gangotena, or Rumiloma
Day 2: Quito - City tour & Equator
Early in the morning and right after breakfast, you and our local guide would start the travel tour at city downtown, well known as Quito Colonial. Once you arrive there, you would start your journey along the “churches´ trails” by visiting the cathedral, near the presidential house. In the cathedral you will learn a bit of its history and the guide would explain the internal design of the cathedral such as the “mudejar´s influence on its first stage, the area with 3 longitudinal wings, and a small transversal wing behind the choir. After finishing the round in the cathedral, we will take a brief walk to the church La Campania, while you enjoy the stories and facts told by our expert guides.
By the time you would arrive at the church La Compania, the local guide will talk about its history, as well as the way it was built. Its decoration is based on muslin features and the altars are covered by gold leaf along with faces and birds carved. La Compania is considered an architectonic jewel in the American baroque style. It also has a religious value, because the rest of Saint Marianita of Jesus is located there, and according to some, she was the protector of the city. Afterwards, we will visit the church of San Francisco, which is famous for its Cantuna legend. At the San Francisco church, there is a local handcraft store called Tianguez, where you can find a variety of items from the Ecuadorian culture and cuisine.
Right after visiting the churches, we will walk through the Rocafuerte & Garcia Moreno Avenue, where the guide will make you stop by on the little candy stores in order to show you the making process of artisanal candies and cakes. The tour will be over by the time we walk in direction to the San Francisco market, so you can grasp the diversity of local fruits and vegetables from Ecuador, and perhaps you can find in the market someone willing to explain you how our local dishes are prepared such as the Locro or Yapingacho. Finally we will get a typical Ecuadorian lunch and where the guide would help you to choose among the drinks available. After having a succulent Ecuadorian Lunch, our local tour will continue up north to the Equator line, where you would visit the “middle of the world” park and its monument. Here you can choose between the Ethnographic museum or the Intiñan museum, both located nearby the monument of the Equatorial line.
Quito - Ecuador Right after watching these amazing places, the guide would take you back to the hotel. At the hotel you would rest a few hours, until the evening where the local guide would take you to the Ronda street, which is a famous street in downtown Quito. You will walk down the narrow streets and enjoy the handicrafts, and citizens walking by. The atmosphere is so authentic from Quito, that you will feel like you were born there! D/-/-
Day 3: Quito - Cayambe - Otavalo
Early morning 6:00 a.m., our trip begins in direction to the Cayambe highway bound for one of the most representative farms in the Andes, called the Company where you will enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared in the traditional Ecuadorian way.
Quito, Cayambe, Otavalo
After a short rest we will have the opportunity to view the ongoing process of growing roses, delicate scent will accompany your journey full of color. Ecuador is world renowned for the quality of their roses.
Quito, Cayambe, Otavalo Arriving in Otavalo by noon we drive to the Hacienda Cusin where you will enjoy a typical lunch place as the red meat Pinaqui is a typical dish of Imbabura.
After lunch you will have the afternoon off so they can ride a horse with a guide along the paths that wind hills Imbabura volcano.
The horses are very well trained and allow riders from all levels to have an exciting and memorable adventure. Mountain bikes are available for hire, if they are booked previously, before coming to the ranch. All hiking, biking and horseback riding can be done with an experienced guide that can take you through a variety of trails.
Quito, Cayambe, Otavalo
Hotel: Hacienda Pinsaqui D/-/-
Day 4: Otavalo - Cotopaxi
After breakfast we return to Quito. On the way we stop to visit Otavalo, famous for its Indian market where you can admire some Ecuadorian crafts, after making a short tour of the market, will lead to some craft workshops dedicated to the manufacture of Andean instruments wind, as crawlers, panpipes, flutes, recorders, among others. These products may be as well purchased for those who are interested.
Otavalo After completing the visits both in the market and in the workshops of instruments, we will go to a community called Runa Tupari, where we enjoy a traditional homemade lunch by the people living in the community, while witnessing a weaving demonstration.
At the end of the day our tour, we head south towards the Cotopaxi where we will be staying at a traditional hacienda.
Day 5: Cotopaxi - Papallacta
After breakfast we will start our trip to Cotopaxi National Park, which is located at 59.54 km from the city of Quito. The Cotopaxi volcano is one of the most important points of reference as it is the second highest active volcano in the world. Its lush endemic flora and fauna will allow us to see the representative species as Chuquiragua , wild horses, deer, llamas and more. While we are there, you can explore the lagoon Limpiopungo, located near the volcano Rumiñahui (149.96 meters), or hike to observe birds.
Cotopaxi Papallacta After the tour in the Cotopaxi volcano and its surroundings, we return to the hotel Cotopaxipungo to enjoy a traditional lunch. After the tour we continue towards Papallacta, on the way you will enjoy a unique and beautiful landscape. In the afternoon we arrive at our destination.
Arriving at Papallacta only hotel we will go to Spa, a magnificent place where you will enjoy the hot springs and a unique (optional) massage. Just enjoy a nice dinner as the traditional (Trout coal).
Hotel Termas de Papallacta D/-/-
Day 6 - 8: Papallacta - Baeza - Tena
You have to option to enjoy the natural hot springs which offer different temperatures for different tastes.
Before noon we depart to the Guango Reserve while passing by a small town called San Isidro where we have lunch in a typical restaurant. While at lunch you will have the pleasure of being accompanied by beautiful hummingbirds. Also we would visit the trails in the cloud forest of San Isidro, in this forest you will have a wide variety of species of birds, including hummingbirds hundreds of lovely colors.
Papallacta-Baeza-Tena In the afternoon we arrive in the city of Tena for a small city tour and then drive to the Lodge "HAKUNA MATATA" which will be your accommodation for the next 4 days and 3 nights.
This private estate of approximately 150 ha is located just 10 km from Tena, the capital of the province of Napo. It is ideal for large-an inexhaustible series of activities that the area lends itself like no other place.
Papallacta – Baeza – Tena
Arriving at the Lodge you will be introduced to their rooms and can enjoy a welcome cocktail and dining.
Hakuna Matata Lodge D/-/-
HAKUNA MATATA LODGE,
Day 9: Baños
After breakfast we head to our next destination which is Baths, on the way visit the Rescue Centre Wild Animals called "AmaZOOnico" which is just outside of Tena, and we will see endemic species from animals and flora.
Upon reaching the town of Puyo, famous for its handicrafts made of balsa wood, parrots, macaws and toucans. After lunch we will serve, for members of the tour is optional before starting the tour.
Once in Tena, we will visit the House of Balsa Wood, here we can see the complicated manual process to create crafts of the locality. Depending on your preferences, you can visit the botanical park, Omaere, where you will learn about medicinal plants and also about the cultures of the Shuar and Achuar.
Later, we will go to the city of Bath. Arrive in time to check in at the hotel and enjoy a typical dinner of the city of Bath.
Hacienda Luna Run Tun D/-/-
Day 10: Baños - Riobamba
After breakfast in the city of Bath, will make a short tour and visit the center. The city provides a pleasant subtropical climate.
Then we will start the tour route of the waterfalls as this charming town is the refuge of more than 60 waterfalls, among the most visited you have: Inés María, Pailón Devil, Manto de la Novia, Hair of the Virgin, San Jorge, San Pedro, Chamana, Machay Agoyán, Phantom, El Placer, San Francisco, Cashaurco, Heart, etc. You can visit the waterfalls using different means of transport and also can meet them walking down the ecological and magical trails bridges and pendants.
You can visit them in different types of transport such as cycling, Cuadrón or goats. We can also do other activities such as Kayaking, Rafting or hiking horse.
Baños After making visits in the city of Baños, we will have lunch in a typical restaurant and enjoy the best marshmallows in Ecuador. Then we will head for our next city where we will enjoy a dinner.
Day 11: Riobamba - Huigra - Ingapirca
After an early morning breakfast in Riobamba, we will move towards the train station cruise to start the tour from Riobamba to Huigra visiting key sites such as the Church of Banbanera. Then follow the path of the train to the "Devil's Nose" about four hours away. Then we will be arriving in the afternoon to Huigra where the guide will be waiting to go to Ingapirca where you will spend the night and enjoy a delicious dinner in the beautiful Posada Ingapirca. Riobamba – Huigra – Ingapirca, Hotel Posada de Ingapirca D/-/-
Day 12: Ingapirca - Cuenca
By starting the day we move towards Ingapirca prime to view the ruins of Ingapirca history as it is believed that the massive strengths of Ingapirca served as religious and administrative complex in addition to its function.The ruins include a roofless structure built of carved stones masterfully tailored, patios, warehouses and a Temple of the Sun
This exciting full-day tour includes a stop at Biblián, one of the most famous churches in the region view. Before coming to Ingapirca, we willstop to enjoy the panoramic view of small villages.
After visiting the ruins we head towards the city of Cuenca, where we enjoy a delicious lunch as "Hornado to Barbosa" and also we will enjoy the delight of the typical "Mote Pillo" or "The Cascarita Chancho" in a typical restaurant called "Barranco.
After lunch, we drive to the downtown of Cuenca city where we will become your host, and start our Colonial tour.
The City Tour will begin in the Plaza de San Sebastián, which forms the western border of the colonial city of Cuenca. Then we will visit the museum of modern arts, which has many contemporary works of arts.
At the end of this hearing, we will walk through the historic downtown area to visit the San Francisco market, the flower market, the house of culture, Abdon Calderon Park, and the cathedral. Then we will go to the New Cathedral, which is the largest in the country and observe the famous golden leaf flag.
We continue the trip to the hat factory Homero Ortega to observe the entire process of making Panama hats, originated in Ecuador, which is undoubtedly the most important in our country.
Later visit the "canyon" with its colonial style townhouses situated along the river Tomebamba houses.
Upon completion of the City Tour we drive to the hotel where you will be staying for the night and enjoy a grand dinner typical of Cuenca.
Hotel Mansion Alcazar D/-/-
Day 13: Cuenca - Gualaceo - Chordeleg
After a good breakfast we head towards Gualaseo and Chordeleg. The tour begins with a transfer to the town of San Bartolo where we visited their church, Central Park, a typical house of the area and its gardens with medicinal plants. Here we will enjoy a cup of coffee or aromatic tea harvested from the garden of the house, with a delicate homemade bread delicacy.
Cuenca - Gualaceo-Chordeleg During this tour we see the development of straw hats and craft shop guitars. As part of the tour will also visit the Chordeleg, famous for its handicrafts in gold, silver filigree, wood, ceramics, etc. and finally we will visit the main square and have time to shop.
Cuenca - Gualaceo-Chordeleg Continuing the tour, we head to Gualaceo, where we visit two markets: the fruit and typical food. We have lunch in a beautiful old hacienda and end our tour with a visit to a craft workshop where they make the famous "Macanas" or shawls, typical dress of our "Chola Cuencana".
Cuenca - Gualaceo-Chordeleg With the afternoon off you can walk through the historic center or go to the Mirador to see the beautiful city of Cuenca in the afternoon and head to a local restaurant in the historic center as "Villa Rosa or El Tiesto" to enjoy a nice dinner before heading to the hotel.
Cuenca - Gualaceo-Chordeleg Hotel Mansión Alcazar
Day 14: Cuenca - Cajas - Guayaquil
Cajas National Park - Ruta Del Cacao - Banana – Guayaquil
Immediately after breakfast, we head northwest towards Cajas National Park. After a short drive, we can take part in various activities such as hiking, fishing, bird watching, flora, fauna and more.
We visit the Interpretation Centre located on Lake La Toreadora (the largest and most important in the entire complex). Here we see pictures and interpretations of the park.
After the visit in the national park we will go to the "Cañas house" where we will experience the famous route of cocoa.
We start the visit through short and safe paths of maximum 100 meters. The tourist goes into the cacao and bananas, where the guide would explain the processes of production and harvesting from the main crops of Ecuador.
Then, we would observe the process of clonal propagation of cacao plants in the "greatest country cacao nursery" where clonal plants produced 500,000 per year. We will be in an environment of unique beauty of tropical vegetation, rivers, birds of various species, and even a river dam. In the hacienda, we have excellent facilities such as Cabañales, dining, roads, signs, parking, etc.
Lunch will be at the same hacienda with a traditional coastal food accompanied by the famous "Cacao juice." During lunch time there will be a group of folk dances with music and dances of the coastal area. We may also observe a "Peacock Fighting" at the Coliseum in the Hacienda as it is a great peasant tradition.
The tour will come to the city of Guayaquil to start the night. During the evening we will go to a typical restaurant in Guayaquil called "Mannis", where we can enjoy a delicious cangrejada. Then, you are moving to the hotel where you spend the night before traveling to the Galapagos cruise.
Hotel Oro Verde
Day 15: Galapagos Cruise
DAY 1/15: Guayaquil – Galapagos San Cristobal Island AM: Flight to Galapagos from Guayaquil Seaman Journey Cruise 5day/4night
arrival at San Cristobal travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless prepaid), and $10 for the INGALA card which is an identity card that you need . Guides will meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called ‘Pangas’ will transport you to the M/C Seaman Journey and our crew will welcome you onboard. After departure and lunch, the first island visit is made.
PM: KICKER ROCK
Also known as the Sleeping Lion because of its resemblance, it is located of the coast of San Cristobal. The remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, the two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. This Galapagos Islands natural monument has become a favorite sight for cruises due to the many tropical birds, frigates, and boobies that fill the surrounding air. Beneath the sea the nearly crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful tropical fish and invertebrates.
Isla Lobos is about an hour by boat from Port Baquerizo Moreno. The length of the trail is 850 meters and the estimated travel time is one hour. There is a small population of blue-footed boobies and common frigate birds nesting on this site. You can observe the two species of sea lions present in the archipelago. During the tour you go through a dry vegetation zone, substrate of volcanic rocks and a sandy area. During the panga tour brown pelicans and several species of shorebirds can be observed; although, snorkeling, it's common to see juvenile sea lions, manta rays and sea turtles. L/D
Day 16: Galapagos Cruise
SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND AM: PITT POINT
This place is on the north of San Cristobal. One can see endemic species such as lava lizards and red-footed boobies. The view is impressive when you walk up to the high part of the island. You may be lucky to see the red footed booby - the least seen of the bunch. It's also the home of the Chatham mockingbird, only found here on San Cristobal Island.
PM: CERRO BRUJO
Cerro Brujo beach is a white coral beach and the first coast to be stepped by Charles Darwin. In this fascinating landscape of lava, we can observe boobies, gulls and pelicans. The sheltered bay is popular for young sea turtles and rays and there are excellent opportunities for swimming. Among the most attractive fauna you may be able to see is the Chatham mockingbird and San Cristobal lava lizard, both species endemic to this island and not seen anywhere else in the Galapagos. You can also find the Canary of the Islands, the Galápagos Flycatcher and hopefully the Vermilion Flycatcher, a small red and black bird that is called Pájaro Brujo in Spanish. The vegetation covers the whole path, where you can find species such as candelabra cactus, chala, carob, Muyu and more. Cerro Brujo Beach is special for being in calm and in peace. The white sand and water clarity are the perfect combination to enjoy an incredible break. B/L/D
Galapagos Cerro Brujo
Day 17: Galapagos Cruise
ESPAÑOLA ISLAND AM: PUNTA SUAREZ
This rocky land spot sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.
PM: GARDNER BAY
Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here we can also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters. B/L/D
Galapagos Garden Bay
Day 18: Galapagos Cruise
FLOREANA ISLAND AM: CORMORANT POINT
This site offers probably the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It’s situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks, and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral.
Galapagos Cormorant Point
PM: POST OFFICE BAY & BARONESS LOOKOUT
Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrels that wasplaced in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. It has been used since this time by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. We will continue to the north of the island and will ascent to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful vista at the Baroness lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa Von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as her house. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo. B/L/D
Post office bay & Baroness Lookout
Day 19: Galapagos Cruise
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND AM: CHARLES DARWIN STATION Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. One of the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Straelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises, Lonesome George (turtle from Pinta), and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity. B/-/- Charles Darwin Station
AFTER THE MORNING EXCURSION YOU WILL BE TAKEN TO THE AIRPORT FOR YOUR FLIGHT TO THE MAINLAND Transfer to Baltra airport Flight to Quito or Guayaquil.
Day 20: Galapagos - Guayaquil
After you enjoy a wonderful breakfast, depending of the time you will be taken to the Airport for your international connections.