Discover one of the most diverse countries in South America, from waterfalls to volcanoes and markets to mountains, you'll visit some of the highlights of Ecuador on this 10 day tour. Starting the colonial capital of Quito you'll visit the colourful market of Otavalo before relaxing in the hot springs of Papallacta. Head deep in to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, see the incredible waterfalls & volcanoes of the region and visit the fascinating Inca ruins at Ingapirca.
Welcome to Ecuador and to the beautifully preserved colonial city of Quito. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and is considered the cultural capital of South America.
Upon arrival you'll be met and transferred to your hotel in the heart of Quito. The afternoon is free for you to explore this magnificent city. Your tour leader will meet you in the lobby at around 6pm this evening for a welcome meeting and to discuss the details of your upcoming itinerary.
Departing early this morning we make our way north to Otavalo. Driving through the incredible Andes mountains we'll stop to take in the breathtaking views of Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo. Arriving into Otavalo, you'll explore the cobblestone streets, where Indigenous people wearing colourful traditional dress will be going about their daily lives. You'll learn all about the customs, cuisine and language of the native people of this area. We'll then explore the handicraft market, full of stunning textiles, alpaca throws & rugs and many other fascinating articles from ceramics to jewellery.
We'll then make our way to Peguche, a small village located in the heart of the Andes where we'll immerse ourselves in incredible cultural experience, learning all about the customs and traditions of the South American highlands.
This afternoon we'll make our way up to an elevation of 4000m as we drive through the unique landscape of the eastern Andean range. Situated between two national reserves, Antisana and Cayambe Coca, the road we'll journey on will take us through the Paramo ecosystem, home to some incredible wildlife including spectacled bears and puma.
This afternoon we'll arrive at Papallacta Hot Springs Resort, this relaxing resort offers the opportunity to soak in the volcanic water pools whilst gazing out across the stunning scenery of mountains, wild flowers and birds.
Overnight: Papallacta | Breakfast, Lunch
We'll make an early start this morning as we take a winding but panoramic road towards the Amazon rain forest. Descending from 3000m to 500m we'll see the drastic change in landscape and vegetation. Our first stop today will be at the Guango reserve, a unique opportunity to see many different species of hummingbirds in the wild. These majestic, brightly coloured creatures are famous for their ability to rapidly flap their wings, giving them fantastic stability in able to extract the nectar from flowers.
Later in the day we'll make our way to Guacamayos-Macaw lookout, located between the Antisana and Sumaco National Reserves. Here we'll observe the blanket of clouds that cover the Amazon rain forest. Arriving at the Arajuno River, we'll embark on a 20 minute boat ride to our Eco-Lodge for our overnight stay.
Overnight: Amazon Jungle - Ecuador | Lunch, Dinner
We'll head out on a hike this morning, exploring the tropical rainforest that surrounds us. Our guide will show us the different flora and fauna, explain the medicinal uses of the various plants and help us look for the exciting wildlife in the area. After our hike we'll visit an Amazonian Kichwa community to learn about their way of life and interact with their culture. We'll see how the indigenous women are skilled at handcrafting pottery. Later in the day we'll have the opportunity to learn how to make our own chocolate from the raw fruit before we return to our lodge.
Overnight: Amazon Jungle - Ecuador | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After we've enjoyed breakfast we'll head to Rio Verde, located in the UNESCO World Heritage site, Sangay National Park. We'll then take a hike to the second highest waterfall in Ecuador, Pailon Del Diablo, where we can watch the mesmerising waterfall from a suspension bridge. There will also be the option to make your way behind the falls and see its awesome power from a different angle. Another short journey will take us to another waterfall, El Manto de la Novia, where we'll enjoy a cable car ride over the Pastaza River canyon.
This afternoon we will arrive at Banos, at the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano which has been active since 1999. Every few months small eruptions can be seen, delighting visitors with a show of lava and steam that can be viewed from a number of safe positions in the region. You'll have free time to explore the area or pehaps relax at a spa or one of the hot springs in the area.
Overnight: Banos | Breakfast
This morning we'll head to La Casa Del Arbol (The Treehouse) where we'll find 'The Swing at the End of the World', an incredibly exhilarating experience which allows you to swing out at 2,600 metres above sea level with incredible views of Tungurahua Volcano.
This after we'll return to Banos where we'll have free time to explore this charming town or partake in one of the optional activities on offer here.
Overnight: Banos | Breakfast
It's an early start this morning as we make our way to the impressive Chimborazo Volcano, our journey there will take us through fertile valleys and farming villages. Chimborazo is the highest volcano in Ecuador with an elevation of 6310m above sea level and on a clear day the peak dominates the view for many miles around. We'll take a short hike to reach the elevation level of 5000m, where the glacier begins. On our hike we'll be on the look out for some the incredible animals that inhabit this volcanic wonderland such as the condor, cara-cara and the timid vicunas. Once extinct in Ecuador, timid vicunas have since been reintroduced and are now a protected animal. This beautiful animal is related to the alpaca and llama family.
Overnight: Chimborazo | Breakfast, Lunch
Today we'll take a scenic drive to the small town of Alausi where we'll board a train to take us to the Devil's Nose. This exiting train journey winds its way through stunning mountainous countryside, giving us incredible views of the region. Disembarking from the train we'll make our way to Ingapirca, the most impressive Inca ruins to be found in Ecuador, where we'll spend the afternoon exploring this incredible archaeological site. We'll learn about the unique fusion of Inca and native Canari architecture that can be found and the religious meanings found within these buildings. We'll finish the day in Cuenca, this stunning city is a UNESCO World Heritage site listed for it's colonial architecture.
Overnight: Cuenca | Breakfast
We'll explore the fantastic city of Cuenca today, visiting the key highlights of this charming architectural canvas. We'll head to Calderon Square, the New Cathedral, El Barranco and El Turi lookout.
In the afternoon, we will visit the nearby towns of Chordeleg and Gualaceo, unique destinations for different reasons. Chordeleg is well known for his jewellery, especially silverware. And Gualaceo is a picturesque market, where locals gather to exchange their products and crafts. Here you can find traditional Macana shawls, fabrics of fabrics with intense colors and folkloric designs.
Overnight: Quito | Breakfast
You will have free time this morning to enjoy the charming city of Cuenca and its surroundings. Around midday we will take a short 45-minute domestic flight back to Quito, where we will transfer you into the city where our tour comes to an end. We wish you ¡Buen viaje!
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are per person when there are 2 persons sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Located in Quito's affluent commercial and residential district, Swissotel offers luxury accommodation in the heart of the city. Featuring 2 pools, tennis & squash courts as well as a fully equipped spa, there is plenty to keep you busy. Rooms are tastefully decorated, bright and air conditioned. You'll find Egyptian cotton linen in each room as well as free WiFi throughout. With an abundance of choice, the 5 restaurants at the Swissotel Quito serve cuisines that range from French to Japanese.
Termas de Papallacta Resort, Papallacta
Located in the pristine Andean Highlands, Termas de Papallacta is a haven of relaxation. Founded in 1994 the hotel has 32 rooms, whilst in the spa you'll be able to enjoy a dip in one of the numerous hot pools of varying water temperatures whilst gazing at the beautiful mountain scenery. The wooden interior of the bedrooms offer a tranquil and calming decor, with private bathrooms in each room.
La Casa De Luis, Banos
Set in a hacienda style building, La Casa De Luis is a welcoming hotel with a friendly, family feel. Bedrooms are spacious with stunning features such as exposed beam ceilings and large bright windows. The gardens around the hotel are perfect for taking a relaxing stroll. Or you might prefer to sit back with your favourite book in the reading room. A delicious breakfast of local produce is offered each morning along with tea and coffee.
La Andaluza Hacienda, Chimborazo
This historical hotel, set in a stunning country estate, offers 2 restaurants and 2 bars. La Andaluza Hacienda has many period features that embellish its long and fascinating story as a home. Rooms offer comfortable beds and en-suite bathrooms. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel as well as numerous activities to keep you entertained, including billiards, table tennis and board games.
Hotel Carvallo, Cuenca
Situated in the historical heart of Cuenca, this architectural gem of a hotel has been lovingly restored to original 19th century beauty. Just a short walk from major highlights such as the Old and New Cathedrals as well as Calderon Park. Centred around a colonial-style courtyard, all rooms are lavishly decorated and offer en-suite bathrooms. A generous buffet breakfast can be enjoyed in the morning, whilst free WiFi is also available at the hotel.