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Essential Ecuador

From the outdoor playground of Baos to the bustling lanes of the Otavalo market, get an introduction to the culture, history and spectacular scenery of Ecuador on this 8-day adventure. Venture through the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes' amidst the Andean mountain scenery and mingle with the locals. Because we have years of experience in Quito and an established operational office, well take care of the hasslesso that you can focus on the highlights. And, with a guided tour of the Ingapirca ruins and plenty of optional excursions, this adventure offers up a great combination of must-see highlights and free time to do your own thing.

Latin America
  • Duration: 17 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Not Rated%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: SEEE/126543
  • Starts: Quito, Ecuador
  • Finishes: Quito, Ecuador
You will Visit
  • Quito

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Quito

Arrive at any time.
There are no activities planned until the evening welcome meeting.

02

Day 2: Quito/Baños

Travel to Baños and be spoiled for choice with optional outdoor activities like hiking, ziplining, and canyoning. Or, take it easy and relax in the hot springs.

03

Day 3: Baños

Enjoy another free day to take full advantage of all the activities in this adventurous town.

04

Day 4: Baños/Tena

Travel by bus into the Amazon Jungle. Spend two nights with a local Quichua family at a homestay in a small village. Enjoy nature walks and learn about local culture.
Descend into the Amazon Jungle region. Notice the scenery change dramatically heading from the mountains into the lush, tropical Amazon rainforest.

Stay with a Quichua family and enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle firsthand.

05

Day 5: Tena

Spend a full day in the Amazon learning about life at a homestay. Enjoy nature walks and visits with the local shaman.

06

Day 6: Tena/Papallacta

Take a local bus to Papallacta and relax in the natural mineral hot pools with volcanic views.

07

Day 7: Papallacta/Quito

Enjoy a relaxing morning at the hot springs before travelling back to Quito for free time to explore.

08

Day 8: Quito/Otavalo

Explore the largest handicraft market in South America, Otavalo market. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables.

09

Day 9: Otavalo/Cotopaxi

Travel by bus to Cotopaxi National Park. Opt to visit a lagoon at elevation, hike national park trails or mountain bike with views of Cotopaxi Volcano. Spend the night in a mountain lodge near the national park.

10

Day 10: Cotopaxi/Alausí

Enjoy the morning in Cotopaxi before continuing on to Alausi.

11

Day 11: Alausí/Cuenca

Board the train for an included excursion bound for the Devil's Nose. After, head to Cuenca and marvel at its colonial architecture.
Enjoy Ecuador's most spectacular train journey. The famed Nariz del Diablo (Devil's Nose) ride descends to the coast in a spectacular display of engineering around stunning mountain terrain. The journey returns back to Alausí after more than 1000m (3280 ft) in elevation loss.

12

Day 12: Cuenca

Enjoy a free day to explore. Opt for a city tour or go hiking in Cajas National Park.
Explore the city's sights, including cobblestoned streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shaded plazas, and museums.

13

Day 13: Cuenca/Montañita

Head to the coastal laid-back surf town of Montañita. En route, stop at a traditional cacao hacienda.

14

Day 14: Montañita/Puerto López

Head to the beach town of Puerto Lopez and the beautiful Machalilla National Park that surrounds it. There are tons of activities in the area to take part in over the next few days.

15

Day 15: Puerto López

Enjoy free time to explore. Optional activities include hiking in Machalilla National Park, relaxing on white-sand beaches, or whale- watching (when in season). Or, opt for the popular day-trip to Isla del Plata, home to a variety of seabirds including blue-footed boobies and fantastic snorkelling that rivals the Galápagos.

16

Day 16: Puerto López/Quito

Fly Back to Quito and enjoy free time. Opt to take a city tour, ride the cable car up the nearby volcano, or relax in one of the city's many cafés and restaurants.

17

Day 17: Quito

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Local Living: Amazon Jungle Homestay, Tena Recharge: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit, Papallacta Hands-On: Traditional Cacao Hacienda, Naranjito
    • Otavalo Handicrafts Market visit
    • Devil's Nose Train Excursion
    • Orientation walk of Cuenca
    • Traditional cacao hacienda visit
    • Machalilla NP stay
    • Internal flight
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels (12 nts), simple village cabañas/homestay (2 nts, multi-share), rustic mountain lodge (2 nts)
    • 13 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
    Transport
    • Local bus, plane, taxis, motorized canoe, private van, 4x4 vehicles, pickup truck
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Wander Quito and colonial cities
  • Get adventurous in Baos
  • Feel like a local at an Amazon jungle homestay
  • Soak in an Andean hot spring
  • Shop at the Otavalo Market
  • Visit a traditional cacao hacienda
  • Enjoy the laid-back surf vibes in Montaita
  • Relax on Ecuador's beaches