Ecuador - 12 Days Around Ecuador

ECP03 Ecuador Total 12D/11N

Day 1: Arrival in Quito.

Welcome reception at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Our guide will give a short briefing about next day activities.

Day 2: Quito.

After breakfast at 8:00 a.m. transport will be provided from your hotel to Quito’s old town. The tour begins with a visit to the Independence Square, where the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral and El Sagrario Church are located. Afterwards we will take you to the church of San Francisco (1535). This is the oldest Ecuadorian church and the main altar inside is a spectacular example of baroque carving. There is also a fine collection of artwork, including paintings, sculpture and furniture dating back to the 16th century. Finally, we will drive up to the highest viewpoint of the city, " El Panecillo" hill from where we will have a spectacular view of Quito. Return to the hotel for lunch (on your own and rest). At 1:30 p.m. we will transport you to the Equator. Just 30 minutes from Quito is the location of the Equator at La Mitad del Mundo ("the middle of the world".) This is the site where, in 1736, Charles-Marie de la Condamine’s expedition made the measurements that demonstrated that this was the equator. Here visitors have the rare opportunity to be in two hemispheres at the same time! A monument was built to mark the site and visitors can take an elevator right to the top, as well as visiting the excellent ethnographical museum inside. Around the monument are buildings and restaurants designed to represent those of a typical colonial town. Return to Quito’s hotel.

Day 3: Quito – Otavalo.

In the morning we’ll drive north to the city of Cayambe and then continuing to the city of Otavalo, home for the famous Otavalo Indians. From here we will go to visit to the beautiful Cuicocha Lake, located inside of an spectacular volcanic crater. We can enjoy a short hike around the lake. Later on transport to Cotacachi where we will have a shopping time in this town, famous for its quality leather goods. Later on we will visit to the indigenous village of Peguche. Our day will finish with an overnight in a local comfortable hotel. (B).

Day 4: Otavalo – Quito.

After breakfast we will head towards the textile market of Otavalo. The main market is running every Saturday, however everyday the local Indigenous sell their textile good in the main plaza so offering a small Indian Market. Later on we will continue or tour to the town of San Antonio de Ibarra where we will visit the many shops offering beautiful wood crafts made by local artisans. Drive back to Quito and stay overnight in a comfortable hotel. (B).

Day 5: Quito – Cotopaxi National Park – Baños.

After breakfast, we’ll drive south towards the highlands of the beautiful Cotopaxi National Park. This day we will enjoy gently hikes on the wonderful area close to the impressive Cotopaxi volcano (5,897 m), considered one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. The views are impressive and amazing with the perfect snow capped volcanic cone. The surroundings are also of great beauty with other high volcanoes in the area: Rumiñahui, Sincholagua and Pasochoa. During our trip we will have a light box lunch with hot and cold beverages. Late in the afternoon we will drive south towards the charming city of Baños and stay overnight in a local hotel. (B,BL).

Day 6: Baños – Jungle Lodge.

In the morning we will drive eastwards to the intriguing rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon area. This trip is plenty of enjoyable views of the rugged landscape. Late in the afternoon we will arrive to our jungle lodge. (B;D)

Day 7: Jungle Tour.

We will make a full day tour in the jungle to observe in the company of an experienced Indigenous guide the marvellous of the jungle with impressive huge trees, beautiful flora and with luck some wildlife. Stay overnight in the lodge. (B,L,D).

Day 8: Jungle Lodge – Riobamba.

After a relaxing morning, transport up to the highlands of the impressive Mount Chimborazo. Enjoy the view of great landscapes before we arrive to our hotel in the city of Riobamba. (B).

Day 9: Riobamba – Ingapirca – Cuenca.

After breakfast we will be transported south towards the Azuay province. The road follows the Pan-American Highway with spectacular views of Mount Chimborazo (6,310 m) and the highlands of the area. We will pass the small town of Alausi and then heading to the Inca Ruins of Ingapirca. These are the biggest remains of the Inca Empire in Ecuador. Here we will visit the oval temple and many remains of the Inca / Cañar buildings. Then we will continue our drive southern to finally arrive in the beautiful city of Cuenca. Stay overnight in a comfortable hotel. (B).

Day 10: Cuenca city.

Cuenca is considered one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Ecuador. With its typical Spanish-style houses, interesting museums, restaurants, hotels, etc. Cuenca is a pleasant place to enjoy and visit. We will take you around the city for a guided tour to visit some of the most interesting touristic areas like the Museum, The Cathedral, the Flowers Market, the "Panama hat" factories, etc. There will be enough time to visit the city and admire its cultural life. Hotel accommodations. (B).

Day 11: Cuenca – Guayaquil.

We will drive from Cuenca to the cityt of Guayaquil quite early in the morning in order to use our time to first visit the beautiful Las Cajas National Park, a protected area where we find beautiful landscapes, lakes, different species of highland birds, Andean flora and with luck perhaps we can observe the impressive flight of the condor. Later on we will continue our trip west towards the low lands of the Ecuadorian coast where we will observe the banana plantations, sugar cane and pineapples. We expect to arrive in Guayaquil at about 2 p.m. with enough time to make a city tour visiting the new Malecon of Guayaquil and the colourful Las Peñas neighbourhood. Hotel in Guayaquil. (B).

Day 12: Guayaquil transfer out.

After breakfast we will transport you to the airport. (B).