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The Toquilla Expedition

The Toquilla Expedition

8 days – 7 nights

Unique places, pristine beaches, ecological reserves and natural treasures await at every stop. A seldom-traveled cultural route, curated along destinations marked by sustainability.

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Parque Nacional Machalilla
BAHÍA DE CARAQUEZ

Venture into the Cacao Route and be part of a select group of people privileged to see the oldest cocoa trees in the world, the Heritage trees. More than 200 years old, they yield the rarest cocoa beans that are harvested, processed, aged (like wine) and turned into unique chocolate creations following artisanal techniques. Meet the community of producers responsible for keeping the tradition alive and indulge in a gastronomic experience that includes a Cacao Tasting Lunch menu and a “Tree to Bar” chocolate tasting with local expert chocolatiers. An unforgettable event that will connect your senses with the surrounding nature, culture, tradition and gastronomy

Activities: Gastronomy, Communities, Trekking

BAHÍA DE CARAQUEZ
Canoe your way into one of the largest natural wetlands in Ecuador, with 1742 hectares. La Segua is a refuge for a diversity of aquatic and land animals, plants and, above all, it is a sanctuary for birds. La Segua is home to more than 177 species of birds including migrant species from North America. This wetland is a tranquil location to relax and connect with a vast ecosystem.
Activities: Bird watching, Trekking

MOMPICHE
Marimba beats and warm smiles will welcome you to the Afro-American community of Mompiche. Learn about local artisan fishermen and get an understanding of their lifestyle and traditions. Discover the rarely visited beach of Portete and stride through the mangrove for “Concheo” a local activity of collecting shellfish that will later become the star of our meal. Experiential gastronomy awakens the senses and teaches us about native produce, flavors and culture. Peruvian Paso horses will take us for a ride at the beach that will end with a visit to a private natural reserve and water activities around Jupiter Island.
Activities: Beach, Trekking, Gastronomy, Horseback Riding, Water Activities, Natural ReserveThe middle of the world, latitud 0 0′ 0” : Early in the morning and right after breakfast, you and our local guide would start the travel tour at the downtown area, well known as Quito Colonial. You would start your journey along the “churches´ trail” by visiting first the cathedral. In the cathedral, you will learn 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 would take a brief walk to the church La Compania along with the guide’s expertise.

The guide will enlighten you with history and fun facts from every place, in this case La Compania. Its decoration is based on muslin features and the altars are covered by gold leaf along with faces and birds carved. It is considered as 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 San Francisco, which is famous for the Cantuña story. San Francisco is well known due to its legends and stories, which make it culturally wealthy.

At the San Francisco church, there is a local hand craft store called Tianguez, where you can find a variety of items from the Ecuadorian culture. Here, you can buy postcards, books, Ecuadorian music, natural products, and even get a coffee with Humitas (which is sweet corn tamale) offer at the local Café Cantuña located at the Plaza San Francisco.

Around midday, you would go to “Mitad del Mundo”, a monument at the equator line that passes through our country.
middle of the world ecuador
You may choose to either visit the Ethnographic or the Inti Ñan Museums, both located near the monument. Along the way, we will stop for a traditional Ecuadorian lunch (optional and not included). After the tour, you will return to your hotel.

Overnight: Quito

Meals: B/-/-

PACOCHE MARINE WILDLIFE REFUGE
MANTA
Fifty kilometers of pristine beaches are part of the refuge; some of them are special nesting locations of marine turtles and we will see tiny tortoises leaving the beach on their way to the ocean at specific times of the year. Pacoche extends for over 5,000 hectares of humid tropical forest and it is the stage for exuberant vegetation and singular animal species. Howler monkeys are the most distinctive of the 41 species of mammals inhabiting the wildlife refuge of Pacoche. Rock formations, caves and cliffs are part of the local landscape and at the very top of the hills we will find the refuge lighthouse. From there we will enjoy breathtaking views of the coast and nearby beaches.
Activities: Bird Watching, Natural Reserve, Trekking, Sightseeing

COMMUNITY OF PILE AND MONTECRISTI
MANTA

Expert skill, indigenous materials and a millenary tradition give life to the craft that our expedition is named after. Incorrectly known as Panama Hats, the Toquilla Straw Hat was designated in 2012 as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World. The small town of Pile is known for the community of artisan weavers responsible for making the finest and most expensive Toquilla straw hats in the world. You will be able to visit the weavers’ homes and see firsthand how the hats are made. Combining local organic produce, with authentic cuisine and creativity, our executive chef Cecilia Cedeño will pamper us with an on-site demonstration of the rich culinary culture from Manabí in a delightful farm-to-table experience.
Activities: Gastronomy, Handcrafts, Communities

ISLA DE LA PLATA
Also known as “Small Galapagos,” Isla de la Plata is a hidden treasure 17 miles off the coast of Ecuador. With almost seven square kilometers, this uninhabited island harbors blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, Galapagos’ frigates, sea tortoises and other singular species. There are several trails across the island to explore its amazing ecosystem above sea level as well as below surface. Snorkelling will let you discover a submarine world where you can spot giant rays and other aquatic species. From June through October we will watch how large groups of humpback whales from the Antarctic Ocean, arrive to our coast to mate and reproduce in warmer waters. An extraordinary display of playful acrobatics above water will captivate us while we traverse the sea to our next destination.

Activities: Trekking, Sightseeing, Bird Watching, Water Activities, Diving, Whale Watching

LOS FRAILES
BEACH PARQUE NACIONAL MACHALILLA

Los Frailes is one of the most beautiful beaches in the coast of Ecuador. With a crescent shape, it is guarded by cliffs that protect it from the wind. White sand lapped by warm and shallow waters invite visitors to bathe and relax for hours. Snorkeling close to the rocks at the base of the cliffs reveals schools of colorful fish that live in the area. A pleasant hiking trail will take us to several lookout spots at the top of one of the cliffs where you can see neighboring pristine beaches and astounding ocean views.
Activities: Beach, Trekking, Water Activities

AGUA BLANCA MUSEUM AND VILLAGE
PARQUE NACIONAL MACHALILLA

Agua Blanca is a small settlement that holds the remains of one of the most ancient civilizations in South America, the Manteño culture of the pre-Columbian period. The ancient Agua Blanca Community was among the few communities that resisted colonization for the longest time. Therefore, many traditions and archeological findings are preserved. A set of temples, cottages, and plazas typical of the Manteño culture, as well as archeological pieces and skulls, can be found on this site dating from 1500 BC. Get ready to swim in a natural sulfur lagoon whose minerals and mud treatments are said to have medicinal and wellness attributes. Howler monkeys, butterflies, hummingbirds and local flora such as ceibo trees can also be seen here during the trail walks through the forest. Agua Blanca is a mix of natural wonder, culture and archeology.
Activities: Trekking, Archeological Site, Swimming, Bird Watching

EL SEXMO GOLD MINE ZARUMA
Suit up with the miner’s boots and helmet and get immersed in this unusual exploration of an ancient gold mine, learning about its history and operation. El Sexmo is the oldest mine in the region and in recent years has shifted its activity from extraction to tourism, which we at Kontiki support and applaud from a sustainability standpoint. Zaruma’s mining industry dates back to the pre-Inca era becoming the main source of economic income for La Real Audiencia de Quito. This is an expedition through history and culture that will reveal the secrets behind gold extraction while experiencing the working conditions of miners 500 meters into a golden cave.
Activities: Trekking, Sightseeing, Natural Reserve

ZARUMA’S OLD TOWN
A haven for coffee lovers and an ode to early 1900’s architecture, Zaruma has been named Cultural Patrimony of Ecuador and it is considered to be a “magical” town for its natural beauty, cultural richness, traditions, folklore, historical relevance, cuisine, art and crafts, and superb hospitality. We will enjoy an authentic gastronomic experience with food from local markets in an old house in Zaruma and will see from the inside how architecture can tell the history of a place and show the intimate connection between people and nature. Activities: Gastronomy, Trekking, Sightseeing, Communities

MARINE RESERVE ISLA SANTA CLARA
Puerto Bolivar

A magical collection of islands and islets guarded by the ocean at the southern coast of Ecuador, Santa Clara is a natural refuge for more than 23,000 birds and a large colony of sea lions. A trail walk around the island will bring us up close and personal with nesting blue-footed boobies, frigates and pelicans. On the shore, a large colony of sea lions go in and out of the water in their daily feeding chores without paying much attention to our curious eyes. The rich underwater ecosystem in Santa Clara not only attracts marine birds and sea lions, but also invites dolphins and whales who grace us with their lively gymnastics from the months of June through October.
Activities: Bird Watching, Trekking, Water Activities, Natural Reserve

BUENAVENTURA RESERVE, JOCOTOCO FOUNDATION
Puerto Bolívar

In the southern region of the coast expands the Buenaventura reserve with more than 1500 hectares of cloud forest and four different microclimates. The reserve is managed by a private foundation in charge of protecting the habitat for more than 320 species of birds including 36 species of hummingbirds and 30 local species; 255 species of butterflies; and a diversity of marsupials, reptiles and amphibians. An easy guided walk along one of the five 5 trails available will immerse us in a sub-tropical forest naturally adorned with exotic orchids. A true natural paradise that will attest to Ecuador’s being the most biodiverse country in the world.
Activities: Trekking, Bird Watching, Natural Reserve

GUAYAQUIL
La Perla del Pacifico (Pacific’s Pearl) is the unofficial name for Guayaquil. This is the largest city in Ecuador, home to beautiful historic locations that have been preserved despite the vibrant life and growth of the city. Las Peñas has become the historic bohemian neighborhood of the city, bursting with life in the form of small traditional cafes, bars and restaurants, art galleries and handicraft shops. At the top of the 444 steps that take you uphill, a lighthouse and a small church crown the neighborhood while offering amazing views of the city. Next to this colonial neighborhood is Puerto Santa Ana, a modern development where cultural and leisure activities take place.
Activities: Walking, Sightseeing, Culture

Toquilla Expedition Map

Highlights

  •  Cultural immersions
  •  Exotic birds and flowers
  •  Gastrocultural experiences rich in authentic flavors, textures and aromas
  •  Unforgettable experience snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding
  •  Ancestral purification ritual to connect our souls with nature
Guayaquil | Perla del Pacifico

Included

  • Accommodation in the luxury stateroom of your choice with 2 twin beds or 1 king bed dressed with sustainably sourced cotton.
  • All meals and snacks prepared fresh daily by our onboard chefs with local organic produce using a balanced mix of traditional and modern techniques. Menu variations are available upon request.
  • All in land gastronomic experiences beautifully set up by our crew in unique natural locations, following the traditional cuisine of the destination.
  • All soft beverages, an assortment of wine, beer and other spirits, classic and signature cocktails, freshly ground local coffee and organic teas.
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi onboard, air conditioning, a/v entertainment and automated lighting, shades and audio systems in each stateroom.
  • All land and sea expeditions led by our two expert naturalist guides, daily briefings about the excursions, tips and other valuable information.
  • Transfers and access to all natural reserves, beaches and protected areas.
  • All gear for water activities: wetsuits, kayaks, SUPs, snorkeling equipment.
  • All facilities on board: Jacuzzi, fitness center, sunbeds, and beach towels.
  • Kontiki shuttle from hotel to port of Manta or Guayaquil for check in and boarding.

Not Included

  •  International airfare to Quito (UIO) or Guayaquil (GYE).
  •  Internal transfer from Quito to the port of Manta or Guayaquil.
  •  Hotel accommodation the night before the expedition in Manta, Quito or Guayaquil. However, we can assist with information, selection and reservation of 5 star properties.
  •  Fine wine and spirits, available on demand at a cost.
  •  Pre and Post experiences/stays are not included, but we can gladly assist with information, selection and reservation at partner properties in Ecuador, including Galapagos and neighboring countries.
  •  Gratuities to crew and guides.
2021-08-03T21:02:40+00:00