Itinerary Ecuador Tours
Day 1: Quito arrival
Meet and Greet by our representative at arrival, outside customs. Assistance and transfer to the selected hotel. (Distance between Quito airport and the City one hour approximately). Overnight in Quito at a selected hotel.
Day 2: Half-day Quito Colonial & Middle of the world (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. This sightseeing excursion offers the best of Quito with its rich cultural legacy, ornate facades, and dazzling gilt altars. Quito’s Historical Center, the largest and best-preserved in Latin America was built over the ruins of the Inca’s northern imperial seat. A fabulous example of colonial architecture and art blended with indigenous styles. Quito, founded in 1534 became the first city in the world to be declared by UNESCO in 1978 a World Cultural Heritage site.
The visit will take you to iconic places such as the Plaza Grande or Independence Square to have a view of important colonial buildings: The Archbishop’s Palace, The Metropolitan Cathedral, The Government Palace, as well as other representative examples of colonial art and architecture as the Santo Domingo Convent.
After visiting the old colonial Quito, a short trip to the north of the city of Quito will lead us to our planet’s Latitude 0´0´0´. Here we will visit the Intiñan museum or the Temple of the sun Museum where we will be guided through the wonderful world of the Andean Cosmovision (view of nature and the cosmos), Culture and Traditions. In the afternoon enjoy time at leisure to explore Quito at your own pace. Overnight in Quito at selected hotel.
Day 3: Andean Handicrafts & the Otavalo Market- Northern Highlands (B,L)
Breakfast at the hotel. An early start departing from Quito will take you due north on a beautiful scenic drive to the province of Imbabura, a magic land located at 2530 m.a.s.l. surrounded by lakes and mountains of outstanding beauty. The day opens the possibility to learn about the customs of the people living in the area. The Northern Highlands are the home of the Otavalo Community. The Otavalos are known around the world for their weaving patterns and textiles which pre-date the Spanish conquest. The market is world known for its colorful textiles, woven on back-strap and shuttle looms its piles of ponchos and textiles, hats, Indian jewelry, and creative handicrafts. This is a unique occasion to wander through this maze of color and enjoy some fun bargaining and buying handicrafts at superb prices. Close by is the town of Peguche where some of the Otavalo Indians live. Peguche, a picturesque town where its inhabitants are famous for their weaving abilities on hand made looms. This visit opens up the possibility to see the typical houses of the area and their way of living. Lunch will be offered at one of the many charming Hosterias or Country Inns of the area. Overnight in Quito at selected hotel.
Day 4: The Antisana Area & Riobamba – Central Highlands (B,L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart from Quito direction Riobamba. During this trip we will go through the Andean Region, covering approximately 400 km. This 400 Km. stretch of the Andes is rightfully known as “The Avenue of the Volcanoes” (German scientist – Alexander von Humboldt -1802). It is a breathtaking natural boulevard flanked by impressive volcanoes, both active and inactive, and giant peaks covered with glaciers and perpetual snow, towering well above 5 and even 6 thousand meters above sea level. If the day is clear we might get a glimpse of the geometrically perfect colossus Mount Cotopaxi (5897m), the world’s highest active volcano. In between, a never-ending line of emerald green valleys, dotted with gold-colored fields provides spectacular sights, a paradise for photographers…
During this overland trip, a stop at the Antisana Ecological Reserve is included where there might be the possibility to see the famous Andean Condor. Learn about the Andean Paramo (moorlands), enjoy on a clear day beautiful panoramic views of the Antisana volcano (stratovolcano), a large glacier which at 5,704 m is the fourth highest volcano in Ecuador. Lunch is included at a hacienda or at one of the Hosterias of the area.
In the afternoon continue direction Riobamba area, founded in 1534 by the Spaniards. A stop is included in the highest point of this route at a Mountain acclimatization lodge where you will learn about the tallest mountain in Ecuador, The Chimborazo, which at 6.268m due to its location near the equator, arguably is the farthest point from the earth’s center. Overnight in Riobamba at a selected hotel.
Day 5: The Fortress of Ingapirca – Cuenca – Southern Highlands (B,L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart from Riobamba direction south. The route offers beautiful panoramic views of the highlands and a good opportunity to see the changes in the scenery of the highlands. Great opportunities to take pictures will be present in a couple of stops made during the route. We will drive through what it was the pre-Inca territory of the Cañari culture until the Inca empire started its expansion into Ecuador. We will reach Ingapirca, a name given by the Incas, to the fortress and complex which are the most important archaeological sites left by the Inca Empire in Ecuadorian territory. The Temple of the Sun is by far the most significant building in the complex. It was built in the Inca way with careful consideration of their beliefs, is the sun and moon worshipers, and their knowledge of the cosmos. The Temple built high in the mountains at an elevation of 3.200 m is positioned in such a way so that at the right moment of the day, the sunlight would shine through the center of the doorway of the chamber at the top of the Temple. Visit the onsite museum which includes numerous samples of ceramic, textiles, and metal works found on diverse digs around the area of influence of these two cultures, an evident proof of the expert hands of these pre-Hispanic communities. Walk around the remains of this ancient facility, learning about the living practices of ancient cultures. After this visit, the tour continues south direction, Cuenca. Overnight in Cuenca at the selected hotel.
Day 6: Cuenca Half day tour (B)
Visit Cuenca, the country’s third-largest in size and population and a main icon of the southern Andes. Cuenca has preserved its rich colonial past, beautifully shown on its narrow streets, white houses with flower-pot balconies, impressive churches, with their majestic domes and towers. Not far from each other we encounter convents, museums, plazas covered with flowers and monuments, all surrounded by the scenery of green hills, mountains, and the presence of four rivers that cross the city.
Cuenca has also declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1999. This is a walking tour in the Colonial area of Cuenca to discover the beautiful churches and house facades; visit a few the of artisan centers where there is the opportunity to learn about the ceramic items, the famous Panama hat, gold and silver jewelry, and embroidery which are some of the handicrafts for which Cuenca is also known. Afternoon at leisure to explore Cuenca at your own pace. Overnight in Cuenca at the selected hotel.
Day 7: Cuenca- Guayaquil (B)
After breakfast drive to Guayaquil. During this overland transfer, a journey of 4 hours approximately, the passengers will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the Southern Highlands as well as the drastic change in the climate and the vegetation when we start descending to the lowlands. Overnight in Guayaquil.
Day 8: Guayaquil departure (B)
At the scheduled time transfer from the hotel to the airport to take your departure flight.