Our shared program will let you visit all the amazing highlights of the Ecuadorian Andes, while staying in exclusive boutique hotels and Haciendas in the company of a small group (12 passengers maximum) and at a great price. This program presents the best option to experience the unique Avenue of the Volcanoes and the Ecuadorian highlands; a must see for everyone coming to Ecuador
Pick up: 08:30-08:45. Breakfast in the hotel. Your journey begins with a visit to the capital of Ecuador. It is located at 2,850 meters above sea level, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano and nestled in a green Andean valley. Quito, one of the oldest cities in South America, is also one of the few cities that has preserved numerous monuments and artistic treasures of the Spanish colonial period. The colonial centre of the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. We will begin the tour with a walk through the narrow streets to visit some of America´s oldest and most beautiful churches such as El Sagrario and La Compañia, as well as the famous plazas of Santo Domingo, La Merced and San Francisco.
We will continue to "El Panecillo" hill to meet the winged virgin and enjoy a fascinating view of Quito.
In the afternoon we will drive to the famous Equator Monument "Middle of the World", which is located in a dry valley on the northern outskirts of Quito. Here we will visit the Museo del Sitio Inti Ñan, which was built by a private anthropological foundation next to the official equator monument. This beautiful solar museum has exhibits of different indigenous cultures and their traditional way of life. During this visit we will also see the startling evidence that demonstrates the exact location of the equatorial line.
Overnight at Hotel Fuente de Piedra I
We will leave Quito and head south, towards Cotopaxi province. Our first stop will be the indigenous market of Pujili, a treat for the senses. We will continue along winding roads that pass the most beautiful landscapes of the Ecuadorian Andes to reach the picturesque Crater Lake Quilotoa. From the crater rim it’s possible to walk down to the turquoise lake shores, a hike worth taking. No need to worry about the way back, because there are horses and mules (not included in the program) to help with the climb. Enjoy the unique magic and beauty of this crater lagoon.
Overnight at Hacienda La Cienega
In the morning we will drive to Cotopaxi National Park to discover its diverse flora and fauna. We will walk to limpiopungo lagoon which is located at an altitude of 3800 meters.
Later, we will visit one of the many rose plantations that have made Ecuadorian roses famous all over the world. Here we will see the different kinds of roses and learn about the whole production process. We will continue to Baños, the lively pilgrimage town with its famous thermal springs and its beautiful cathedral.
Overnight at Hotel Floresta.
A pleasant climate prevails in the town of Baños, which is located at an altitude of 1,800 meters. . It is recommended to visit the beautiful cathedral and enjoy the extraordinary scenery before starting with the day´s adventure: “The route of the waterfalls”, which runs along the Pastaza River Gorge. The highlight of this route is located by Rio Verde, where we will have a short walk through the cloud forest to reach the thundering waterfall known as "Pailon del Diablo" (Devil´s cauldron).
In the afternoon, our tour continues to the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo (6,310 m), where we will be greeted by a desert-like landscape and herds of shy vicuñas. From here it is possible to walk to the Edward Whymper shelter that offers a great view from an altitude of 5,000 meters.
Overnight at Mansion Santa Isabela.
We will depart early in the morning through picturesque landscapes and small villages to reach Alausí´s train station, where we will hop on board one of the most famous trains in the world. The ‘Devils Nose’, as it is known, is an unforgettable train ride down an almost sheer rock face; the train makes switchbacks all the way down the cliff and then back up again.
Afterwards, the guide and driver will bring you to Tolte’s Community. Here you will have lunch in the restaurant of the community, while enjoying a traditional dancing show. After lunch you will be able to choose among different activities during your visit-stay in the community: You can descend 330 stairs to a viewpoint, which is a perfect place to appreciate the zig-zag from Devil’s Nose and take fabulous pictures; you may choose between horse-back riding or a biking tour in the surrounding areas of the community, and you are also able visit an organic local farm to see how the community develops agro-tourism.
After this, we will visit Ingapirca archaeological complex, the largest Inca site in Ecuador. We will learn about the Inca and Cañari cultures by touring the beautiful temples and fortifications. In the late afternoon we will continue to Cuenca.
Overnight at Hotel Casa del Aguila or Los Balcones.
After breakfast we will start our tour of the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The promenade along the Rio Tomebamba, the imposing new cathedral and the daily flower market are just a few of the highlights that this city has to offer. The tour also includes a visit to a workshop and museum of the famous Panama hat, the finest braided hats in the world. The afternoon is left free for you to explore this charming and historical city on your own.
Overnight at Hotel Casa del Aguila or Los Balcones
After breakfast, we will head west to cross El Cajas National Park. This reserve, although it is mostly above the tree line, has an astounding variety of plant and animal life. In addition to rugged ridges and deeply incised, box-shaped valleys, there are nearly 240 different-sized lagoons. We will drive to an altitude of almost 4,200 meters above sea levelto reach the most western watershed between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, where we will also make a short stop to take in the landscape and shoot pictures. After this stop our route starts descending to the coastal region,
passing through beautiful and changing landscapes as the altitude drops and the vegetation grows
in size and variety. We will drive through extensive cocoa, bananas, rice, and sugar cane plantations to enter the bustling metropolis of Guayaquil, the largest city in the country. Then we will continue to the hotel.
This city is best explored on foot, so we will start from Parque Bolivar to then continue by the Plaza de Administración, the Moorish Clock Tower and finally the "Malecón 2000" and the artist district of Las Peñas, with its spectacular panoramic view of the lazy Guayas River and its green mangrove belt. After the tour we will all gather in the evening for a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant.
Overnight at Grand Hotel Guayaquil or Howards Johnson.
Breakfast in the hotel. Check out. Transfer to the airport to take your international flight.
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