- 14 Days from$2600 p/p in USD
- DeparturesYear Round
Discover the fascinating culture and nature of Ecuador with a wealth of experiences. Stroll around the historic city of Quito, from Otavalo explore the Andean highlands on hikes and visit communities to gain a deeper insight into the local culture. Continue to Archidona, stay in a cozy rainforest lodge in a private protected forest, hike through the forest to see the flora and fauna. Take a canoe trip to a clay lick to see parrots and parakeets and in Puyo visit an Animal Rescue Centre to observe tropical animals of the Amazon region. Cross the Andean highlands to Guamote and take a train ride through the valley up to Sibambe. Travel up to the heights of the mighty Chimborazo volcano, hike to the beautiful crater lagoon, Quilotoa, and visit Cotopaxi National Park with its superb views.
- Safari types:Cultural Safari, Guided Safari
- You will visit:Andes Mountains, Amazon Basin, Mindo Cloud Forest, Cayambe Coca National Park, Cotopaxi National Park, Quito, Chocó Rainforest, Otavalo, Archidona, Guamote, Riobamba
- Wildlife:Birds, Parrots, Monkeys, Butterflies
- Activities:Trekking, Hiking, Canoe, Nature Walk, Sightseeing Tour, Optional Activities, Cultural Experience, UNESCO Site
- Getting around:Transfer Vehicle, Train, 4x4 Vehicle
- Start/end:Start in Quito, end in Quito
- Minimum age:10-65
Day 1: Arrival in Quito (Ecuador)
Day 2: Quito – Otavalo
Day 3: Otavalo – Cuicocha Lagoon – Cotacachi – Otavalo
Day 4: Otavalo –Kichwa Community
Day 5: Otavalo – Papallacta – Archidona
Day 6: Archidona – Hike in the rainforest and Pacari chocolate experience
Day 7: Arajuno River – Quichua Community – Misahualli
Day 8: Puyo – Macas
Day 9: Macas – Shuar Waterfall – Lagoons of Atillo – Guamote
Day 10: Guamote – Andean Kichwa Community – Riobamba
Day 11: Chimborazo Volcano (Altitude: 6,267m) – Latacunga
Day 12: Latacunga – La Victoria – Zumbahua – Quilotoa Lagoon – Chugchilan
Day 13: Chugchilan – Hacienda La Cienega – Cotopaxi National Park – Quito
Day 14: Departure from Quito
Requirements for this nature and culture trip: a good physical condition is necessary to enjoy hikes of approximately 2 hours (depending on conditions, maybe a bit longer) at altitudes up to 5000 m and in tropical climate (rainforest). Technical experience is not necessary for the hikes. Fixed hiking boots are recommended.
Price Per Person – USD
From USD 2,600 per person
- Overnight stays in simple mid-range hotels, lodges & guest houses
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- Excursions, transfers, sightseeing & entrance fees
- English speaking local group guide
- International flights
- Meals not mentioned in the program
- Tips, beverages, personal expenses
- Early Check-In/Late Check-Out unless explicitly indicated
- Travel insurance
- This itinerary is owned and delivered by ‘Ecuador Galapagos Travel‘
- All prices are ‘From’ and may vary at the time of booking
- Display price is usually based on two people sharing
- ‘Ecuador Galapagos Travel‘ reserves the right to change the content and price of the itinerary
- All itineraries are subject to availability
Day by Day Overview
Arrive in Quito and transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city.
Overnight: Casa Sol or similar
No meals are included today
Quito has been a city of two halves for a long time. Occupying a highland valley flanked by volcanoes, the setting of its historic center and adjoining modern quarters is breathtaking. The formerly dark and run-down colonial heart has been magnificently restored. Cobbled lanes and whitewashed façades, scrubbed up churches, and renovated theatres now gleam and echo with the sounds of the everyday life of its traditional inhabitants. Beyond are the skyscrapers and broad avenues of the contemporary commercial city, with flashy shops, offices, and restaurants.
This morning we will explore the colonial old town of Quito (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Visit the major colonial churches and monasteries including La Catedral, El Sagrario, La Compañía and San Francisco. Later, visit Independence Plaza flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building, and the Archbishop’s Palace. Continue to the Church of San Francisco, one of the most amazing religious buildings in South America. Its impressive façade and atrium lead to an opulent gold interior, a Baroque influence with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Enjoy the historic colonial center of Quito, resplendent with its churches, gilded altars, and religious sculptures and paintings dating from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The tour continues through narrow streets, ancient colonial houses with Moorish-style arches, and mysterious patios to El Panecillo, a vantage point for a stunning view of the city. This afternoon, drive from Quito north to Mitad del Mundo (literally the middle of the world) Where the Equatorial Line Monument is located. Here you can stand with one foot in the Northern and one in the Southern hemisphere. Leaving Quito behind, continue to Otavalo.
Overnight: Hotel Santa Fe or similar (BD)
This morning, we explore the surroundings of the Cuicocha Crater Lagoon during an easy to moderate grade 4-5 hour hike through the flora of the Andean highlands. After a traditional lunch in Cotacachi, visit a small archaeological museum. This afternoon, stroll through the Otavalo market and perhaps try the exotic fruits and vegetables.
Note – Alternatively, clients can take a boat tour of the lagoon instead of hiking.
Overnight: Hotel Santa Fe or similar (BL)
The first excursion today takes you to the community of Kachiviro (San Rafael), where you can witness the processing of Tortora, a plant that grows in Lake San Pablo used by many families to make their handicrafts. Afterwards you will visit the Peguche waterfall, a must for the local people, where you will take a short hike and learn about the importance of this sacred place. To get a deeper insight into the local culture, visit other handicraft workshops (wool processing, a musical instrument workshop), where you can sometimes make your souvenirs! To top off the day, immerse yourself in the use of medicinal herbs.
Overnight: Hotel Santa Fe or similar (BD)
Enjoy a walk early this morning through the streets of the Andean town of Otavalo to observe the lively market activity in Plaza de Poncho and the Andean culture of the Otavaleños. Continue over an Andean Pass of 4050m altitude into a valley at 3300 m where thermal springs feed the most beautiful Spa in the country. This afternoon we reach Hakuna Matata, a cozy rainforest lodge in a private protected forest.
Overnight: Hakuna Matata Lodge or similar (BD)
This morning we will take a hike through the protected rainforest of the lodge. Your naturalist guide will point out interesting medicinal plants and talk about the wildlife in the area. This hike destination is the small village of Santa Rita, where a delicious jungle lunch awaits you. Afterwards the experts from Pacari show you how to make delicious chocolate from the local cocoa beans. After returning to the lodge, enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Hakuna Matata Lodge or similar (BLD)
Early this morning, head to the Arajuno River, where you will take a canoe trip to a clay lick, where you can observe hundreds of parrots and parakeets. Continue by canoe to the indigenous Quichua community of Santa Barbara to taste many local dishes in a typical jungle buffet with the community. Later continue to the small jungle town of Misahualli for a traditional “Almuerzo” (lunch). After a short walk through the village and its surroundings, return to the lodge.
Note – Those that do not wish to do the canoe ride can opt-out and stay by the Hakuna Matata Lodge taking some short walks and enjoying the jungle directly from the lodge.
Overnight: Hakuna Matata Lodge or similar (BLD)
After breakfast, you will travel through the rainforest to Puyo, where we visit an Animal Rescue Centre to observe tropical animals of the Amazon region and meet some monkeys face to face. From here, continue deeper into the rainforest to the small jungle town of Macau. Here there will be some time to relax at leisure in the afternoon in a mysterious rainforest Hosteria.
Overnight: Luzcelinda Hotel or similar (BD)
A short drive takes you to the Shuar territory. Taking a round trip walking of around 3 hours through the forest to a sacred waterfall. You will participate in the spiritual waterfall ceremony of the Shuar, after which enjoy a soak in the waterfall and taste the typical food of the Shuar. In the afternoon, continue to the Atillo Lakes, crossing the Andean highlands to Guamote.
Overnight: Inti Sisa Hotel or similar (BLD)
Visit the traditional Andean Market of Guamote early this morning. After visiting the market, After a short visit, return to Guamote. Later this afternoon, explore the area of Guamote and visit one of the surrounding small villages to get an insight into the life of the Kichwa population. This afternoon, travel to Riobamba, surrounded by the mountains of Chimborazo, Carihuayrazo, El Altar, and Tungurahua. The city is considered one the most important agricultural center of the Ecuadorian Andes.
Overnight: Mansion Santa Isabella or similar (BL)
Today travel from Riobamba up to the heights of the mighty Chimborazo volcano. On the way, stop at one of the Indigenous Kichwa Communities that live here at an altitude of over 3000 meters. From here, continue to the mountain hut Hermanos Carrel at 4800 meters altitude. The adventurous can hike from here to the Whymper hut at over 5000 meters altitude. Later in the afternoon, arrive at the small town of Latacunga situated at an altitude of 2800 meters.
Overnight: Villa Tacunga or similar (BL)
Avenue of the Volcanoes
The aptly named Avenue of the Volcanoes is flanked by eight dizzyingly-high snow-mantled mountains striding south of Quito down the Andean spine. It passes through a valley rich with a landscape of dense forest and tiny fields plastering impossibly steep slopes. Dotted around is a mix of deeply traditional indigenous and colonial settlements with horticultural and artisan markets and cottage industries. There’s also a clutch of old estates gifted to conquistadores where the grandiose buildings are now countryside hotels. This is an ideal hiking country. With trails leading to craters harboring turquoise volcanic lakes, with views of the Chimborazo and Cotopaxi will take your breath out.
This morning, you will continue to the village of La Victoria, which is famous for the traditional manufacture of ceramics. Continue to the Andean market of Zumbahua and experience the noisy and colorful market before heading to the beautiful crater lagoon, Quilotoa. On a short hike, enjoy the changing views of the lagoon and the surrounding Andes Mountains.
Overnight: Mama Hilda Hotel or similar (BLD)
This morning drive to the 400-year-old Hacienda La Cienega and enjoy a coffee break in this nostalgic atmosphere before visiting a nearby flower farm to experience the many colors and fragrances. Continue to Cotopaxi National Park and enjoy an easy walk around Limpiopungo Lagoon, learning about the typical vegetation of the Andes and, with good weather, enjoy superb views of the impressive Cotopaxi. Lunch is taken in the mountain refuge Tambopaxi surrounded by the impressive peaks of Sincholagua and Cotopaxi. Before returning to Quito.
Overnight: Hotel Casa Sol (BL)
Time at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)