- Cost: Includes: local transportation, hotel accommodations including taxes, service charges, sightseeing fees, and most entrance tickets to venues in itinerary
- Meals: Breakfast daily, plus either lunch or dinner daily.
- If you have frequent flier miles/ CC points, you are welcome to use them. Just let us know of the air travel arrangements as we coordinate program.
This is our classic trip, including the Galapagos at the end. Other variations of this tour are also available. Please inquire.
Day 1 – Depart the US.
Fly to Quito, evening arrival. Reception and transfer to hotel in the city center, First Class
Day 2 – Tour of Quito and a visit to the Center of the World site and monument.
We will visit downtown Quito as well as Quito’s colonial quarter. We will stroll at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, and the Presidential Palace. We will visit also the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one of the great religious buildings of the New World.
Then we will continue to the Equatorial Monument, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where we can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. A certificate for having crossed the Equator will be given at the end of our tour.
Day 3 – Full day Tour to Otavalo, lunch included
This excursion goes north, to the land of the Otavalos and South America’s most famous Indian fair along the Panamerican Highway where guests will enjoy visiting the many stalls full of hand-woven ware. Then, we proceed to Peguche to have punch at one of the charming country inns or haciendas of the area.
Day 4 – Cotopaxi National Park – Hacienda San Agustín de Callo – Patate
We will departure early from Quito by motorcar on the Pan-American Highway to the south, to visit the Cotopaxi National Park. Next, we travel along valleys and mountains to the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano and a visit to the Limpiopungo Lagoon. At the foot of the volcano is a charming hacienda, where lunch is served in a room with Inca walls, perfectly preserved through the centuries. From here, descend towards the town of Patate, to spend the night at a 300-year old hacienda. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5 – Baños – Route of the Cascades – Ambato – El Arenal – Riobamba
After breakfast, we take a spectacular route along the gorge of the Pastaza River to the town of Baños (Baths), right at the foot of Tungurahua Volcano. We will drive along the Route of the Cascades to El Pailón del Diablo (the Devil’s Cauldron) to observe the impressive cascade up close. Lunch at a classic hacienda. Afternoon short stroll along Baños and the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Holy Water.
From here, the route to Riobamba is up the mountain, alongside the massive Chimborazo. Arrive to Riobamba for dinner and lodging.
Day 6 – Riobamba – Alausí – Devil’s Nose – Alausi – Ingapirca – Cuenca
After an early breakfast we will depart by road. We will ride through Indian villages and cultivated fields to arrive at the small town of Alausí. The highlight is the thrilling 800-metre (2630-foot) descent on the zigzag cuttings on the rock of the Devil’s Nose. At the bottom one finds the newly renovated Station of Sibambe. We continue exploring the Andean world by motorcoach to the south, visiting the Inca Fortress of Ingapirca en-route. Lunch in the area. Arrival to Cuenca at dusk for dinner and accommodations.
Day 7 – Cuenca a World Cultural Heritage Site
In Cuenca we visit Plaza of San Sebastian and the Museum of Modern Art. Next is a visit to the flower market at the small plaza in front of the carved stone entrance to the church of El Carmen de la Asunción.
From here, a stroll to the main square, surrounded by the imposing blue-domed Cathedral, the Governor’s Palace and the Church of El Sagrario. Then, a drive along the Tomebamba River with lunch at one of the excellent restaurants in Cuenca. In the afternoon, drive for a short visit to a ceramics handcraft shop.
Day 8 – Full day Chordeleg and Gualaceo Valley Tour
We will ride along the Santa Ana valley and then high in the mountains, through very scenic landscapes. We will visit the small town of San Bartolome and Chordeleg. We then continue later on to the village of Gualaceo with lunch at a very pleasant country inn, surrounded by flowering gardens and very close to the Santa Barbara river.
Returning to Cuenca we will pass the village of Gualaceo, driving along the banks of the river. On the way we visit an orchid garden and ultimately arrive in Bulcay. In the afternoon return to Cuenca.
Day 9 – Overland Transfer Cuenca/Guayaquil or Guayaquil/Cuenca, (visiting El Cajas National Park)
A jacket and walking shoes are necessary when heading for the area of Cajas, lake country, a protected area starting at 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) above sea level; the region shows remains of intense volcanic activity and glaciation. The highest point is reached on the road at Three Crosses, the water divide of those that go to the Pacific and to the Atlantic.
Continue afterwards down hill to the Pacific Coast, Guayaquil city is awaiting, a tropical city with temperatures ranging between 21°C and 30°C (70° to 90° F) all year. Here the vibe is Caribbean, in marked contrast to Ecuador’s Andean region.
You can either end your trip here…. OR…..
Day 10 – Day to explore Guayaquil.
Day 11 – Fly to the Galapagos
Suggested M/V Santa Cruz Cruise of the Galapagos
Transfer and board M/V Santa Cruz for 5, 6 or 10 day cruise.
After cruise, transfer to airport for return flight home.
End of Services.