Welcome to Ecuador! Upon arrival at Quito airport you will be met and transferred to our joining hotel. After arriving at our hotel consider heading out to explore the city on foot before our group welcome meeting later this evening. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.
Quito - Otavalo. We begin our journey by heading north to visit the famous market town of Otavalo and its surrounding area. From here you can visit Laguna Cuicocha, an extinct volcano famous for the deep lake in its crater. At certain times of the year you may be able to go for a short boat ride on the lake. There are also nice walking trails around the lake. On the return from Cuicocha you could visit Cotacachi, where you can buy inexpensive leather goods.
The market in Otavalo is a great place to stock up on souvenirs and gifts for friends back home. The local people of Otavalo, who come from their villages to sell livestock, produce and textiles are distinct in appearance. The men wear calf length white trousers and sandals and have their long hair braided, while the women wear white frilly blouses, black skirts and have gold coloured jewellery twirled around their necks. It's a wonderful place to shop for all kinds of handicrafts and great for photographs.
Quito â€“ Amazon Jungle. On day 4 we descend into the humid Amazon Basin for three nights. To reach our remote Amazon accommodation, we hike through the rainforest climbing and canyoning through the dense undergrowth. After getting muddy and wet, we are transported to the hotel, home for the next few nights.
The next few days are packed with adventure and discovery and your local guide will help you make the most of your time spent in the jungle. You will have a chance to journey down the river by motorised canoe, visit museums, an animal rescue centre and meet local communities to live in the Amazon Jungle. You will be taught about the different plants that grow in the rainforest and their importance for jungle survival. You will also have the chance to float down the River Napo on tubes or swim in its waters.
Overnight: Amazon | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 3
Amazon - Banos. Leaving the Amazon behind, we head by bus to the spa town of Banos, known for its hot springs. On the way we pass spectacular scenery. In Banos you are free to relax in the thermal pools or take leisurely walks amongst the surrounding mountains. Youâ€™ll also have the chance to enjoy horseback riding in the hills. Banos is a great place to buy beautifully painted balsa wood animals and try the local sweet, taffy.
Overnight: Banos | Breakfast x 1
Banos â€“ Cuenca - Quito. Continuing on we reach the old colonial market town of Cuenca, Ecuadorâ€™s third largest city. Despite its size, the centre of Cuenca retains much of its colonial charm with cobblestone streets, open plazas and whitewashed buildings with ironwork balconies, and is even an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is also the home of the Panama hat and youâ€™ll have the chance to visit a factory where the hats are made. Whilst in Cuenca you have the option to visit the celebrated Inca ruins of Ingapirca, Ecuadorâ€™s most important archaeological site. The original structures were made by the Canari people and you can still see the place where these pre-Inca people worshipped the moon.
A short flight takes us back to Quito where you will have more free time to discover the city. Wander around the UNESCO listed old town, a maze of colonial splendour where the vibrant indigenous character is still retained or head to the colourful Mariscal Sucre, the heart of the â€˜new townâ€™. Here you will find trendy cafes, international restaurants and lively bars.
Our tour concludes today. Spend the day further exploring before making your way to the airport for your flight back home.