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Ecuador Highlights

  • 17 Jan
  • -
  • 26 Jan
  • |
  • 10 days

$1452

per person

Availability: 16 places

    Discover the magic of Ecuador by traveling by train and trekking through the Avenue of Volcanoes, high in the Andes mountains, cruising the tropical Amazon rivers and exploring the cultural towns of indigenous Otavalo, Quito, Baños and Cuenca. On your journey learn all about the different local tribes and their cultures. The Ecuador Highlights trip is the perfect combination of cultural experiences, wildlife spotting, adventure activities and natural wonders that make Ecuador one of the most highly diverse countries on the planet.

    Day 1

    Quito

    Welcome to Quito! The largest, best-preserved colonial city of America - declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and is located on the equator in a valley at the foothills of the Pichincha volcano. Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. ADVENTURE JOURNEYS can help you to organize a day trip (please request in advance). In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel’s lobby for a welcome briefing at 18:00 hours. At this time we will discuss the details and questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an acclimation and information day.
    Quito

    Day 2

    Otavalo Market

    We take an early departure from Quito and drive north through the majestic Andes. On our way we will stop at a viewpoint to admire Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo.Once in Otavalo, you will have plenty of time to stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, filled with the Otavalo Indigenous people wearing the traditional blue ponchos, white trousers and long braided hair. Learn all about their daily activities, typical food and native language. Explore their famous handicraft market, with its wonderful textiles, alpaca throws and rugs, knitted clothing native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and more at bargain prices. In the afternoon, we will drive to Cotacachi to have lunch and witness the impressive leather goods of the town and enjoy the beauty of this small village. There will be some free time for you to explore the shops or simply relax while sipping on one of the best coffees in Ecuador in the main plaza.Finally we will go to Peguche, a small village known for its waterfalls and wind instruments production

    Otavalo girl

    Day 3

    Papallacta - Hot Springs

    We’ll drive through a unique landscape up to an elevation of 4000 m(13123 ft) through the eastern range of the Andes. This road is situated between two national reserves, Antisana and Cayambe Coca, both located in the high mountain Paramo ecosystem, known for its short vegetation and for being home to some incredible animals such as the spectacled bear, deer, puma, Andean condor, cara-cara and more. After our 2 hour drive through the beautiful landscape, we will arrive at Papallacta Hot Springs Resort, where you can soak in the volcanic water pools surrounded by mountains and colorful flowers and birds.
    Papallacta web

    Day 4

    Hummingbirds Sanctuary

    Early in the morning, we will drive down along a curvy panoramic road towards the Amazon Rain forest; as we descend from an altitude of 3000 m to 500 m (9843 ft to 1640 ft), you will observe how the landscape and vegetation change drastically between climates. Our first stop will be the Guango reserve, where we will have the unique opportunity to see many different species of hummingbirds in the wild. These small creatures are famous for their incredible ability to flap their wings rapidly, as well as for their bright colors. Later, we also stop at the "Guacamayos-Macaw Lookout," located between Antisana and Sumaco National Reserves (low elevation cloud forest), to observe the magic blanket of clouds that covers the Amazon rain forest, until we finally arrive at the Arajuno River, where a motor canoe will take us 20 minutes up the river to the Itamandi Eco-Lodge.
    Colibri

    Day 5

    Amazon Hike and Kichwa Community

    In the morning, we will hike to explore the Tropical Rain Forest and have an interpretation from our guide and learn about medicinal plants and we will search for wildlife. Later, we will enjoy a cultural activity where an Amazonian Kichwa community will receive us and we learn about their way of life and the interaction they have with the forest. Appreciate the skills of the indigenous women manufacturing handmade pottery (ceramics). This little business helps to support the indigenous people in their daily life. Today we will also have the chance to learn how to make our own chocolate from the raw fruit.
    Blowgun   amazon

    Day 6

    Parrots Clay Lick and the Road of Waterfalls

    This morning explore the “Saladero” parrots clay lick. Come back for breakfast and continue our journey driving farther south to Puyo, where we will have a quick look at the balsa carving shop. From here continue onto Rio Verde, located in the UNESCO World Heritage site, Sangay National Park. Here, we will hike down to the second highest waterfall in Ecuador, the Pailon Del Diablo, where pounding water cascades on the rocks and mesmerizes you as you watch from a suspension bridge. You may also take an optional hike behind the falls. After another quick drive, we will arrive at another incredible waterfall called El Manto de la Novia, where we will ride in a cable car traversing the canyon of the Pastaza River. In the late afternoon we will arrive to Baños, located right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. It has some eruptions every few months which delights visitors with lava and steam displays that can be viewed from a number of safe view points in the region. Here in Baños you can also visit a spa or another place to enjoy the hot springs of the area.
    Tungurahua

    Day 7

    Chimborazo Volcano

    Early in the morning, we will drive through valleys and farming villages to reach the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an elevation of 6310 m(20702 ft) above sea level; whose summit is also the furthest point from the center of the earth on the entire planet. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometers. There will be a short hike for 0.9 km (0.57 mi) to reach the elevation of 5000 m(16404 ft) where the glacier begins. On the hike, we will spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic wonderland such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the timid vicuñas. Once extinct in Ecuador, they have been reintroduced and are now protected; this beautiful animal is related to the alpacas and llamas.
    Chimborazo

    Day 8

    Devil's Nose Train - Inca Ruins - Cuenca

    After an early breakfast, we will take a scenic drive to the small town of Alausí. Here, we will board the train to the Devil’s Nose, where the tracks wind through the countryside in a zigzag formation, creating a travel experience like no other. After the train ride, we will continue our visit towards Ingapirca, the most impressive Inca ruins of Ecuador. We will spend the afternoon learning about this archaeological site, notable for its unique fusion of Inca and native Cañari architecture, as well as for its religious meaning. Later, we will head up to Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colonial architecture.
    Ruinas inca

    Day 9

    Cuenca UNESCO City

    Starting in the morning enjoy a fantastic city tour, visiting the most important buildings and notable places in Cuenca, such as Calderon Square, the New Cathedral, El Barranco and El Turi lookout point. In the afternoon visit a famous Panama hat factory where we will understand the whole process of making this traditional Ecuadorian hat. In the early evening we will take a short 45 minute domestic flight back to Quito, where we will transfer you to the hotel and go out to enjoy a farewell dinner with the group.
    Cuenca

    Day 10

    Quito - Departure

    Today our trip will end and you will have your International departures. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!
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