WELCOME TO AMAZING ECUADOR

Ecuador is a country of spectacular variety and beautiful scenery. From beaches to volcanoes, you can expect to find almost any kind of environment here. This means Ecuador's tourism opportunities are some of the best in the world. It also means that there are a lot of activities to enjoy in this country. Best of all, Ecuador offers the opportunity to enjoy the ruins left behind by the Amerindian cultures that populated this county many years ago.

Exquisite Ecuador

Day 1. QUITO

Arrival in Quito, reception and transfer to your hotel, the luxury 5 star Plaza Grande Hotel. Dinner at your hotel.

Day 2. QUITO

After breakfast, a full day's guided visit of colonial Quito, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1978. A visit to the Old Town, including the Plaza de la Independencia. The President still conducts business here, so access to the inside may be limited. It is the home of the tomb of Sucre and also houses interesting 17th and 18th century paintings. A visit to the Parque Alameda that houses the oldest astronomical observatory in South America, as well as an impressive monument of Simon Bolivar. The Plaza de San Francisco was constructed by the Spanish in 1553, and the church has a high altar made of gold and beautifully carved ceilings. You can visit with our partner optimea-credit.com. You shall also visit La Compañia, the finest of all Jesuit churches. Damaged through the years by fires and earthquakes, it has since been restored and has a richly sculptured facade and interior.

If time, we will visit the some of the markets, including the Indian market at Avenida de 24 de Mayo at the base of El Panecillo and the Ipiales market. These are best visited on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the main market days.

Lunch at Café Mosaico; affording excellent views of Quito from its incredible location above Quito. Continue the tour to the middle of the world monument before returning to your hotel for dinner and accommodation.

Day 3. QUITO - OTAVALO - COTOCACHI

After breakfast, we head north for a visit to the colourful Indian market of Otavalo, some two hours drive from Quito. With its many impressive arts and crafts of the local people, especially weavings, the market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products from the east were traded with highland products. Traditional dress is observed throughout the market. The trip continues to Cotocachi, and the marvellous La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa, the only Relais & Chateux group member in Ecuador. Lunch before time to visit the wonderful town, the leather capital of Ecuador. Here you will have ample opportunity to purchase fine leather products. Return to La Mirage; with an elegant and unique covered Pool and Spa Area, decorated in Roman Style, La Mirage Spa offers 11 different types of massages and treatments, including reflexology and aromatherapy. Choose among the many spa treatments or just relax and enjoy the setting of the spa. Dinner and overnight accommodation.

Day 4. COTOCACHI - QUITO

After breakfast, a visit to the condor reserve at Espejo. You may choose to play a round of golf at the 9-hole course at Yaguacocha or if you prefer, a little horse riding. A trip to San Antonio de Ibarra, renowned for its handmade wood crafts and stone sculptures before continuing onto the beautiful Cusin Hacienda for a delicious lunch. After lunch, return to Quito. Dinner at the Rincon La Ronda restaurant.

Day 5. QUITO - PAPALLACTA

After breakfast, private transfer to Papallacta, an incredible natural spa and resort some one and a half hours drive from Quito. Papallacta is perched on a high Andean valley at the entrance of the "Cinnamon Trail", the same route that the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana followed in 1542. The trail led to the discovery of the Amazon River and now serves as a gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon region.

The resort places an emphasis on its therapeutic properties, offering its visitors onsite health and adventure. This includes taking enjoying the waters at the thermal springs, diverse treatments at the health spa, and possible walks in the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. After lunch, a choice of spa treatments or something a little more strenuous, such as a visit to the Cayambe - Coca Ecological Reserve. This reserve is composed mainly by páramo, primary forests, rivers and lagoons. It is regarded as home to perhaps the greatest animal and plant diversity in Ecuador. Hundreds of species of birds are found throughout the reserve and is very popular with ornithologists. Dinner and accommodation at the resort.

Day 6. PAPALLACTA - QUITO

After breakfast, free time to enjoy Papallacta before returning to Quito in the afternoon. Dinner at the Il Grillo Italian restaurant.

Day 7. QUITO - COTOPAXI

After breakfast, we start our long journey south in private transportation through the spectacular avenue of the volcanoes towards Cotopaxi, the most famous of all Ecuatorian volcanoes. We shall pass Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Corazon volcanoes along this spectacular journey. Arrival to the fabulous colonial Cienega Hacienda, located close to Cotopaxi and our accommodation for the night. After lunch, visit to the Hacienda of San Agustin de Callo, at the very foot of Cotopaxi. The Hacienda has been written about by the Spanish chronicler, Cieza de Leon (1553) and is one of only two major Inca sites in Ecuador. This temple or palace was built around 1440 AD by one of the last Inca emperors, Huayna Cápac, and to this day the remaining rooms prevail as a magnificent sample of the unique style of Inca construction. The site is currently being investigated by Dr. David Brown of the University of Texas, the funding of which was provided by the National Geographic Society. Previously unknown portions of Inca walls and foundations have been discovered throughout the restoration process of the house. We shall then visit an indigenous market in the area such as Saquisili and Puquilli. These are amongst the most authentic markets in Ecuador, with their colourful displays of spices, fruits and hand woven ponchos.

Day 8. COTOPAXI

After breakfast, a free day of leisure to enjoy the beautiful setting of the Cotopaxi National Park. Choose between horseback riding, walks in the area or a spot of fishing in the nearby rivers. Lunch at the hacienda before returning to Quito for dinner and accommodation.

Day 9. QUITO - CUENCA

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Cuenca, the most beautiful city in Ecuador. Transfer to the beautiful Mansion de Alcazar, a turn of the century Mansion which was completely restored during 2000 and 2001. It is located in the heart of the city of Cuenca, within walking distance from art Shops, galleries, churches and the main Plaza. We continue the journey to just outside of Cuenca, and to the famous Inca ruins of Ingapirca, the most important and the best-preserved Inca ruins of Ecuador. Visit to the local nearby museum before lunch. Return to Cuenca for dinner and accommodation.

Day 10. CUENCA

After breakfast, a guided sightseeing tour through colonial Cuenca. Founded by the Spanish in 1557, Cuenca is the third-largest city in Ecuador and the finest. The old centre has many churches and homes dating from the 16th and 17th centuries lining its cobblestone streets. With many beautiful churches and handicraft stalls as well as the famous flower market, Cuenca is also the cultural and arts centre of Ecuador. Home to many beautiful buildings with fabulous façades and splendid balconies. Lunch in Cuenca before returning to your hotel. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.

Day 11. CUENCA - QUITO

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito and your connecting flight home.

a place in ecuador

ITINERARY

It also gives easy access to one of the greatest rainforests in the world – the Amazon! Besides the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands have much to offer the intrepid adventurer. You will never run out of things to discover when you visit Ecuador.

Escorted Ecuador & Galapagos Tour 3

Day 1: Quito

Arrival in Quito, reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Quito

After breakfast, a half day visit of colonial Quito, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1978. A visit to the middle of the world monument concludes the day. Return to your hotel.

Day 3: Quito - Otavalo

A visit to the colourful Indian market of Otavalo; with its many impressive arts and crafts of the local people including weaving products. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products from the east were traded with highland products.

Day 4: Quito - Cotopaxi

After breakfast, we head south through the avenue of the volcanoes and on towards Cotopaxi National Park. During the drive, we shall see several dormant and active volcanoes, including Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Corazon volcanoes along this spectacular journey. We shall make a visit to the fabulous San Agustin de Callo Hacienda, at the very foot of Cotopaxi Volcano and site of an Inca temple or palace built around 1440 AD. After lunch, return to Quito.

Day 5: Quito/Guayaquil - Baltra - Charles Darwin Station

After breakfast, flight to Baltra in the Galapagos. Check in to your hotel and lunch before a visit to the Charles Darwin Centre for an important orientation of the Galapagos Islands. The station is also a tortoise breeding centre.

Day 6: Chata - Los Gemelos

After breakfast, visit to El Chato, a giant tortoise wild reserve, where you can see free-roaming giant tortoises placidly grazing in the lush vegetation. A visit to the lava tubes in the area which together with the tunnels of Northwest of Australia is amongst the largest in the world. Continue to Los Gemelos (the twins), twin volcanic sink holes, formed when surface magma chambers collapsed, causing the upper crust to sink, following circumferential fissures. Return to your hotel and dinner.

Day 7: North Seymour Island

A visit to the beautiful island of North Seymour, with its abundance of tame wildlife, ranging from sea lions, numerous seabirds, basking marine iguanas along with witnessing the courtship displays of the magnificent frigate bird.

Day 8: Puerto Ayora - Puerto Villamil

After breakfast, transfer to the port for the motor boat trip to the island of Isabela, some two hours west of Santa Cruz. After lunch, we shall take a boat ride out to Las Tintoreras, where we shall see fascinating lava formations and enjoy a visit to the colony of marine iguanas and sea lions. There will also be an opportunity for snorkeling with sea turtles and the "Tintoreras" (white tipped shark).

Day 9: Puerto Villamil - Sierra Negra - Small Volcano

After breakfast, head towards the highlands, where we will collect our horses, saddle up and start our horseback riding tour to Sierra Negra and to the Chico Volcano, both of which are still active. The Sierra Negra is the second largest crater in the world after the Ngorongoro crater in Africa. Return to your lodge.

Day 10: The Tunnels - Puerto Villamil - Santa Cruz

After breakfast, we will have a boat ride out to the Lava Tunnels of Isabela (two hours), an incredible natural aquarium of channels, black lava tunnels and bridges rarely visited and a fabulous site for snorkeling. Return to Santa Cruz.

Day 11: Santa Cruz - Quito

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito and your onward connecting flight home.

Escorted Natural Ecuador through Cloud Forest & Rain Forest

Day 1: Quito

Arrival in Quito, reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Quito - Ibarra

After breakfast, excursion to Ibarra, located in the El Choco rainforest reserve, a mixture of both rainforest and cloud forest. The El Choco rainforest reserve has primary and secondary forest, with a variety of tropical birds such as parrots and toucans. Animals found in the area include the mantled howler monkey. Treks into the fabulous reserve.

Day 3: Ibarra

A selection of tours available with further treks into the cloud forest and horse back riding tours.

Day 4: Ibarra - Quito

Morning at the hacienda for various excursions before a late afternoon return to Quito and transfer to your hotel.

Day 5: Quito - Coca - Yasuni National Park

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Francisco de Orellana (Coca). Arrival and transfer to the Napo River port before the canoe ride downstream. Arrival to Amazon Explorer River boat, complete with private air conditioned cabins. We begin navigating down the Napo River for the whole afternoon.

Day 6: Yasuni National Park

On the second day of our cruise, we will explore one of the fantastic tributaries of the Napo River that originates from the core of the Yasuní National Park. At this river, we will navigate upstream in search of the evasive Giant River Otter, the mysterious Jaguar and the timid Spider Monkey. Excursion into the Yasuní National Park to look for Capybara and Caiman (South American alligators).

Day 7: Peruvian Border & Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

After a morning excursion to observe plants, birds and more wildlife in the Yasuní National Park, we will navigate into the Aguarico River, the largest tributary of the Napo River to get through the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, one of the highlights of our exploration. On our way to Cuyabeno, we will visit a Peruvian town and meet some local people.

Day 8: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve - The Forest Dwellers

A full day visit today to the Indian Community will give as an idea of how indigenous people live in the forest. At the community, a local guide accompanied by our expedition leaders will enlighten you with the use of plants for medicinal purposes.

Day 9: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve - Lagartococha

This remote area is accessible only through the Lagarto (Alligator) River, a black water river surrounded by freshwater mangroves (Coussapoa trinervia), Macrolobium trees, and Palm trees adapted to flooding conditions. Lagartococha (Alligator Lake) is not one but a system of lakes situated along the Ecuadorian-Peruvian boundary. An overnight stay in the forest could be arranged for this day.

Day 10: Napo River

From this day, we will start our return to the point where we boarded the crusier. There will be navigation throughout the entire day to relax and observe the Napo River banks, the forest and perhaps some wildlife.

Day 11: Napo River - Panacocha (Piranha Lake)

Today we will continue our navigation upstream to arrive at the mouth of the Pañayacu (Piranha River). After arrival, there will be a canoe trip through the Piranha River to see the sights of this interesting protected forest. There is a possibility to observe Pink River Dolphins and the agile Common Squirrel Monkeys.

Day 12: Yasuni National Park - Cicame Museum

The cruiser will arrive back to were we started our adventure. Early morning, we will visit the most accessible Parrot and Parakeet clay licks in Ecuador. There are blinds or hides to watch and enjoy this nature show so close! It is difficult to imagine hundreds, sometimes thousands of parrots and parakeets coming all together at once into the clay licks. This area is also located inside of the Yasuni National Park.

Day 13: Quito

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito and your connecting flight home.

Escorted Ecuador Tour 2

Day 1: Quito

Arrival in Quito, reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Quito

After breakfast, a half day visit of colonial Quito, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1978. A visit to the middle of the world monument concludes the day. Return to your hotel.

Day 3: Quito - Coca - Amazon Jungle

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Coca, a 25-minute flight that takes you over the Andes Mountains' majestic snow-covered peaks and down over 8500 feet (2600 meters) into the Amazon Region. A motorized canoe will cover the 2 hour trip down the sediment-rich waters of the Napo, the largest river in Ecuatorian Amazonia. Arrival to the lodge from where several species of monkey are often sighted.

Day 4: Amazon Jungle

After breakfast, a choice of activities including exploring several trails which lead through pristine terra firme forest, where 150 foot kapok trees tower above and roots form huge buttresses to give trees support. A favorite activity of our guests is to paddle dugout canoes along tannin-rich black-water creeks and lakes, where luxuriant lianas, orchids, bromeliads and palm trees thrive. Night walks and canoe trips, with the aid of flashlights, often reveal creatures seldom seen during daylight such as caiman (of the alligator family) and giant insects.

Day 5: Amazon Jungle

Free day with a variety of tour options including river trips and further treks into the rainforest.

Day 6: Amazon Jungle - Coca - Quito

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight to Quito and transfer to your hotel.

Day 7: Quito - Otavalo

After breakfast, a visit to the colourful Indian market of Otavalo; with its many impressive arts and crafts of the local people including weaving products. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products from the east were traded with highland products.

Day 8: Quito - Cotopaxi

After breakfast, we head south through the avenue of the volcanoes and on towards Cotopaxi National Park. We shall make a visit to the fabulous San Agustin de Callo Hacienda, and is one of only two major Inca sites in Ecuador. After the visit, a small hike or horse ride in the beautiful countryside in the foothills of Cotopaxi Volcano. Overnight accommodation.

Day 9: Cotopaxi - Banos

After breakfast, our adventure continues further south passing more volcanoes including Carihuayrazo before entering the Sangay National Park famous for its breathtaking view of Tungurahua Volcano. Transfer to the magnificent Luna Runtun, a hotel and spa nestled in fabulous countryside and with incomparable views of the volcano. Opportunities for further hikes, mountain biking, horse back riding, or visiting the countryside in the area of Sangay National Park, Llanganates National Park.

Day 10: Banos - Riobamba

After breakfast, we shall have a free morning to continue our enjoyment of the Sangay National Park before we continue our journey westwards to the town of Riobamba and accommodation for one night.

Day 11: Riobamba - Cuenca

After an early breakfast, transfer to the train station for a spectacular journey through the beautiful high country to Chanchan and through the famous "devil's nose ride" journey, with the giant Chimborazo 6,310m ever present. After the train journey, we continue on towards the famous Inca ruins of Ingapirca, the most important and the finest preserved Inca ruins of Ecuador. Visit to a local nearby museum before we continue onto Cuenca and our hotel.

Day 12: Cuenca

A sightseeing tour through colonial Cuenca, the most beautiful city in Ecuador. With many beautiful churches and handicraft stalls as well as the famous flower market. Cuenca is also the cultural and arts centre of Ecuador, home to many beautiful buildings with fabulous façades and splendid balconies. Overnight in Cuenca.

Day 13: Cuenca - Quito

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Quito and onward for your connecting flight home.

Escorted Ecuador Tour 1

Day 1: Quito

Arrival in Quito, reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Quito

After breakfast, a half day visit of colonial Quito, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1978. A visit to the middle of the world monument concludes the day. Return to your hotel

Day 3: Quito - Puerto Lopez

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Guayaquil. Reception and transfer to Puerto Lopez on the Ecuadorian coast. Transfer to your hotel.

Day 4: Puerto Lopez -Whale-watching

After breakfast, transfer to the port for a half day whale-watching tour (June to September) by boat to observe the humpback whales that have migrated from the colder waters of Antarctica to breed in the warmer equatorial waters. Return to Puerto Lopez and transfer to your hotel.

Days 5: Puerto Lopez - Isla de la Plata

After breakfast, transfer to the port for the full day excusion to Isla de la Plata, some 17 K/m off the coast off Ecuador. During the trip you will observe many humpback whales before arriving at the island. Arrival at the island where you will take a 3 hour hike and observe the diverse wildlife. Return to Puerto Lopez and your hotel.

Day 6-7: Puerto Lopez - San Sebastian

A two day camping program to the cloud forest of San Sebastian. You may either hike or go on horseback and view the wide variety of fauna in this protected reserve (Machalilla National Park). Wildlife often seen include monkeys, toucan, hummingbirds, parrots and many other species of birds. Overnight camping before returning the last day to Puerto Lopez.

Day 8: Puerto Lopez - Salango Island Kayak

A half day Kayak program around Salango Island. Return to your hotel and free afternoon to enjoy the lovely coastal setting or perhaps to visit the archaeological museum at Agua Blanca.

Day 9: Puerto Lopez - Guayaquil - Loja

Transfer to the airport in Guayaquil for the flight to Loja. Loja is a beautiful city in the south of Ecuador surrounded by lovely countryside. Transfer to your hotel.

Day 10: Loja - Podocarpus National Park

After breakfast, a visit to the Podocarpus National Park. A biodiverse area home to tapirs, spectacled bears and numerous bird species.

Day 11: Loja - Vilcabamba

Today a visit to the lovely village of Vilcabamba. Opportunities for horse riding or just relaxing and enjoying the pleasant location. Return to Loja.

Day 12: Loja - Quito

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight to Quito. Transfer to your hotel. Farewell dinner.

Day 13: Quito

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.