Driving up to one of Ecuador's beautiful volcanoes on a n Ecuador Tour
FROM: R95,900 pp

Discover the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes with this adventure from colonial Quito to coastal Guayaquil taking in the market town of Otavalo, impressive Cotopaxi National Park and its snow-capped volcanoes, the glittering Quilotoa crater, gorgeous Cuenca and a thrilling ride on the ‘Devil’s Nose’ train.

Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Quito and the Centre of the World – touring of the UNESCO-listed colonial city and a visit to the Equatorial Monument
Cotopaxi National Park – the Avenue of the Volcanoes with visits to the Quilotoa crater and Limpiopungo Lagoon
Baños – enjoy a stroll in the spa town
Alausí and the Devil’s Nose – ride the 100-year old train along its dramatic zig-zag mountain route
Gualaceo Valley – local handicrafts and scenic villages
Otavalo – rich cultural heritage and excellent handicrafts market full of artisan goods
Indian markets in the Cotopaxi region
Route of the Cascades – the impressive Devil’s Cauldron
Cuenca – the colonial jewel of the south with overhanging houses along the Tomebamba River and a visit to a Panama Hat factory
El Cajas National Park – glacial lakes and small forests of quinua trees


12 nights STANDARD accommodation. Upgrading to SUPERIOR or DELUXE accommodation options are also available upon request. Accommodation rating – See Trip Notes for details
Airport arrival and departure transfer on day 1 and day 13
Entrance fees to all sites included in the itinerary
Return train journey from Alausí along the Devil’s Nose
Spirit of the Andes Express train excursion (departs Fridays)
12 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 5 dinners
Services of local English-speaking specialist guides
Tour of Quito, Cotopaxi National Park, Gualaceo Valley. Otavalo Market and El Cajas National Park on a private basis
All relevant transfers and transportation on a private basis unless otherwise stated

Not Included

International flights and visas
Tipping – an entirely personal gesture
Laundry, drinks and items of a personal nature


Day 1


Bienviendos a Ecuador! Upon arrival you will be met at the international airport and transferred to your hotel in Quito where the rest of the day is free.
Overnight: Quito

Day 2

Quito and the Centre of the World

This morning visit downtown Quito and its architectural treasures. Quito’s UNESCO-listed colonial quarter is one of the largest and best-preserved in South America. Your stroll takes you through Independence Plaza, past the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace, and on to the temple of La Compañia de Jesús with its dazzling gilded interior and the impressive façade of the Monastery of San Francisco. Touring continues with the Equatorial Monument that marks the exact point of the Middle of the World. With a latitude of 0°, you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere and collect a certificate for having crossed the Equator. Next visit the Ethnographic Museum to learn about the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Quito   |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

Otavalo Market

Quito – Otavalo – Quito. Enjoy an excursion to the market town of Otavalo today. Rich in ancestral cultural heritage and set amongst stunning Andean scenery of mountains, waterfalls and lakes, Otavalo is one of Ecuador’s most popular destinations. Arriving in time to fully appreciate the activity of Otavalo market, peruse the stalls of ponchos, scarves, blankets, handbags and much more. Here you can practice your bartering skills and pick up a bargain. Unlike other Ecuadorian markets and their raucous noise, Otavaleños barter in silence. Then visit the Indian village of Peguche where artisans weave in their own homes, before returning to Quito.
Overnight: Quito  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Days 4-5

Cotopaxi National Park

Quito – Cotopaxi. Travelling south on the Pan-American Highway arrive at the Cotopaxi National Park, an ecological sanctuary centred around the soaring Cotopaxi Volcano. An introductory briefing at the Interpretation Centre will introduce you to the flora and fauna of the Andean paramo or moorlands. Put this knowledge into practice with a walk around the Limpiopungo Lagoon where you can observe a variety of birds and occasionally wild horses. On clear days the Cotopaxi Volcano provides a stunning backdrop. Enjoy lunch high up in the Cotopaxi before heading down to the cosy Hacienda La Cienega – home for the next two nights.

On day 5 enjoy a scenic journey to the rim of the Quilotoa crater lake. Formed by the collapse of the Quilotoa Volcano after several catastrophic eruptions some 800 years ago, the crater lake is a vivid turquoise-green colour due to the dissolved minerals in the water. Spend time walking around the rim with a lunch box provided for a picturesque picnic
Overnight: Cotopaxi National Park   |  Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2

Day 6

Indian markets

Today visit one of the colourful Indian markets in the area where men and women in native dress sell their wares from neatly piled fresh produce to brightly woven sweaters. Indian markets have changed very little in 500 years and each plaza has its own product to sell. Here you’ll find everything from livestock to esteras (straw mats), sugar cane cakes to clay-pot pans. Later in the afternoon head down into the valley to your cosy hacienda - home for the night.
Overnight: Cotopaxi  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Route of the Cascades

Cotopaxi – Baños – Riobamba. This morning embark on a spectacular journey to the handsome town of Riobamba. The Devil’s Cauldron is the first stop, an impressive cascade surrounded by subtropical vegetation and colourful orchids. The adventurous can descend down to the cascade bottom for a closer look whilst others can appreciate the overwhelming force and sound of the rushing waters from a lookout point. After lunch continue to the town of Baños, famed for its hot springs and thermal waters. The drive finishes alongside Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador, where photo opportunities abound.
Overnight: Riobamba  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

The Devil’s Nose

Riobamba – Alausí – Cuenca. Depart early this morning for a dramatically scenic journey along ravines and river gorges, and Indian villages and cultivated fields, arriving to the small town of Alausí. Here you will board a train following the Devil’s Nose route, an 800-metre descent along zig-zagging railway line culminating at the Condor Puñuna museum run by the local Nizag community. The round trip brings you back to Alausí where you continue by coach to the Inca Fortress of Ingapirca. Enjoy lunch in the area before proceeding to Cuenca, the colonial jewel of the south.
Overnight: Cuenca  |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 9-10


Set above the grassy banks of the Río Tomebamba, Cuenca is an attractive mix of cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings and handsome plazas. Today enjoy a tour of Plaza of San Sebastian, a colourful artisans market where you can pick up local handicrafts. The Museum of Modern Art features an impressive collection of contemporary fine art whilst nearby the main square is home to the imposing blue-domed Cathedral. Admire the city’s overhanging houses before stopping for lunch. In the afternoon visit a ceramics handicraft shop and the production of Panama hats at a local factory before transferring to your hotel in Cuenca. The following day is a free day for you to explore Cuenca independently.
Overnight: Cuenca  |  Breakfast x 2

Day 11

Gualaceo Valley

Today you will discover the artistry of local communities in the picturesque Gualaceo Valley. Starting at San Bartolome where guitars are made by hand and artistically finished, continue to the small town of Chordeleg and its gold and silver jewellery stalls. Chordeleg is also known for its green and yellow pottery. Lunch is taken at a very pleasant country inn, surrounded by flowering gardens close to the Santa Barbara River. Continue to the village of Gualaceo, famous for its Sunday market, and on to the weaving village of Bulcay. The day concludes with a visit to an orchid garden before returning to Cuenca.
Overnight: Cuenca  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12

El Cajas National Park

Cuenca – Guayaquil. Departing Cuenca this morning journey through the El Cajas National Park, an expanse of glacial lakes, Andean cloud forests and volcanic peaks. Stop for a stroll at Llaviucu Lake and to admire the views at La Toreadora Lake. Later continue to the coastal city of Guayaquil. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the numerous barrios, each with their own distinct flavour.
Overnight: Guayaquil  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13


Today marks the end of your adventure through the heart of Ecuador. Consider extending your stay with a Galapagos cruise. Departure airport transfer included.

Prices & Dates

Prices shown are ‘per person’ based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults in twin/double occupancy. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price.

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Price /
Avenue of the Volcanoes - 13 days

In Brief

Any day of the year
Hotel Rating
Our rating: Standard
Tour Guide
Yes - for all included sightseeing
Breakfast: 12, Lunch: 9, Dinner: 5
Brightly coloured textiles at a market in Otavalo
Cotopaxi volcano towering over the landscape in Ecuador
The stunning, green landscape that makes up Banos
Charming town of Cuenca, fringed with rugged wilderness
Charming town of Cuenca, fringed with rugged wilderness
Main strip along the waterfron in Guayaquil
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