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Ecuador Tours: Highlights of Ecuador

Highlights of this Tour: Quito • Otavalo • Amazon • Cotopaxi National Park • Baños • Cuenca • Cajas National Park

Duration: 14 days / 13 nights

Days of Departure: Daily, On Request (Private)

This private tour of Ecuador takes you to many of the highlights this small country, but diverse country has to offer. The tour ends with the Galapagos Islands Cruise of your choice. If you have more time, extend your trip with one of our custom tours to Peru. As with all of our sample itineraries, this can be altered to suit your interests and travel style.

Sample Itinerary

quito city tourDay 1 | Arrive in Quito
Arrive in Quito. A guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel.

Day 2 | Quito
An afternoon city tour of modern and colonial Quito. Among the highlights of this three-hour tour are: the Legislative Palace, Sala Capitular, Independence Plaza, Government Palace, Archbishop’s Palace, La Compañia Church, San Francisco Church. And finally, drive up Panecillo Hill for a panoramic view of the city before returning to town. Afternoon at leisure to visit museums, galleries or take the new cable car to the top of Pichincha Volcano.

otavalo overnight tourDay 3 | Quito-Otavalo
Met and driven to Otavalo. This trip is a treat of brilliant scenery and artisan villages, like Calderón, a small town where bread dough figurines are made in many shapes and sizes.  Continue along the valleys of Guayllabamba and Cayambe, with their dairy farms. After you have arrived at your hotel, visit the town of San Antonio de Ibarra, famous for the woodcarvings, the town of Cotacachi, an entire town dedicated to  selling fine leather products, and the town of Peguche where textiles are woven in old-fashioned shuttle looms. 

Day 4 | Otavalo-Quito
After a hearty country breakfast, visit the market of Otavalo, piled high with ponchos, woolen goods, tapestries, the original “Panama” hat, sweaters, Indian jewellery and many handicrafts. Return to Quito in the afternoon.

amazon jungle tour Day 5 | Quito-Amazon
Fly from Quito to Coca and transfer by boat to your chosen Amazon Lodge.

Days 6-7 | Amazon
Spend these days exploring the forest trails and taking boat trips along the river to spot wildlife. Hopefully you will see capybara, many birds, various monkeys, caiman and more!

Day 8 | Amazon-Quito
Transfer by boat back to the airport to fly back to Quito for the night.

Day 9 | Quito-Cotopaxi
Met early in the morning to travel along valleys and mountains to the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, for an up-close view of the Andean paramo habitat and its unique flora and fauna; a number of high-altitude birds can be observed around Limpiopungo Lagoon, and occasionally, wild horses.  On clear days, the perfect snow-capped cone of the Cotopaxi Volcano is quite a sight! 

banos tour Day 10 | Cotopaxi-Riobamba
Take a spectacular route along the gorge of the Pastaza River to the town of Baños, right at the foot of Tungurahua Volcano, from where the thermal waters that gave it its name emerge.  Drive along the Route of the Cascades to El Pailón del Diablo (the Devil's Cauldron) -the most adventurous will descend (medium difficulty) to observe the impressive cascade up close, surrounded by subtropical vegetation and orchids. The force and sound of the waters can also be appreciated from a lookout point without descending.  Continue to Riobamba up the mountain, to where the clouds can be touched, alongside the massive Chimborazo, the highest mountain of Ecuador, on the high paramo where vicuñas graze and scamper. 

devil's nose train Day 11 | Riobamba-Cuenca
Travel by road, skirting the flanks of the Andes, twisting and turning, along bridging ravines and river gorges.  Ride through Indian villages and cultivated fields. After about 2 hours arrive at the small town of Alausí, the beating heart of the rehabilitation of the Ecuadorian Railway Company in the last years.  Great effort has been made to restore the 100-year old train to its old glory and romance.  Stations have been renewed, railways and sleepers replaced, engines and classic coaches renovate, and, most important, the project involves the local communities along the route in the rail operation.  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.  Here there is time to visit the local museum "Condor Puñuna" built and run by the Nizag community, see the display of local handcrafts, fruit and medicinal plants and try the local coffee.  The train whistle calls guests back on board for the return to the Station of Alausí, where a light snack is served to regain strength.  Continue exploring the Andean world by motorcoach to the south, visiting the Inca Fortress of Ingapirca en-route to Cuenca.

cuenca tourDay 12 | Cuenca
A day to relax and explore Cuenca independently. Alternatively, an excursion can be pre-arranged for you, perhaps a city tor or visit Gualaceo Valley.

Day 13 | Cuenca-Cajas National Park-Guayaquil
Driven from Cuenca to Guayaquil via Cajas National Park with the option to stop for a look around.

Day 14 | Depart Guayaquil
Transfer to the airport for onward connections including the Galapagos Islands.

No prices are mentioned here as there are many variations on hotels and excursions in each area. Contact our Ecuador Travel Specialists to discuss details or to request a quote for a custom private tour of Ecuador.

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