Highlights of Ecuador
Ecuador is the country for which the adage "small is beautiful' was coined. The size of Great Britain, Ecuador is nonetheless one of the most diverse countries in the world. Due to its position on the Equator, not only can you experience all four seasons in a day, but also four distinct geographical zones.
Hotels quoted are superior class categories (similar to 4* categories). The hotels we use are clean, safe, with private facilities and are centrally located.
Upon arrival in Quito you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
This morning join a half day tour of Quito. A visit to downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stroll starts at the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. Continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium that lead to its Baroque interior influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 25 Kms. (16 miles) North of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator.
Quito / Otavalo / Magdalena Community
Visit the well-known indigenous market in Otavalo for an arts and crafts shopping adventure. Visit Peguche, known for its weavers, visit a wind instruments workshop, Cotacachi known for the manufacture of leather goods, and Cuicocha crater lake. Arrive in the Magdalena area for an overnight stay in one of teh community houses.
Magdalena Community / Liberty Train / Quito
Discover the hidden mountain niche from the Magdalena Community through a series of activities; horseback riding, mountain biking, or hiking. Then drive to Ibarra and catch the "Liberty Train", which travels through magical landscapes, mysterious tunnels, and crosses bridges spanning canyons and gullies. Then arrive in the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Salinas, well known for its agricultural activities. Finish the day in Quito with an overnight stay.
Quito / Cotopaxi / Banos / Riobamba
On the way to Banos, admire the highest active colcano on Earth, Cotopaxi. Admire the beautiful waterfall sceneries of Banos. Then drive south to Riobamba for an overnight stay.
Riobamba / Devil's Nose Train / Cuenca
Start the day with a drive through some of the most picturesque indigenous areas of the country. Take the Devil's Nose Train and continue south to the Ingapirca Ruins. Then arrive in Cuenca an overnight stay.
A quaint colonial city, Cuenca is also known for the production of Panama Hats. Visit the main square, new cathedral, and flower market.
Cuenca / El Cajas National Park / Guayaquil
Drive to El Cajas National Park. This area is known for its beautiful landscapes with at least 200 lagoons, like the famous La Toreadora. After lunch, drive to Guayaquil for an overnight stay.
Transfer to the airport.