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Home > Discovery of Ecuador in Family

Discovery of Ecuador in Family

15 days and 14 nights


Day 1: Quito Airport - Quito

Reception at the airport and transport with an english-speaking driver-guide to your hotel. Free time for the rest of the day.

You will spend the night at Vieja Cuba hotel in Quito.

Included : reception with english-speaking guide, room & breakfast

Day 2: Quito - San Rafael - Quito

Quito, Ecuador's capital, is a real treasure between the volcanoes of Pichincha, Cayambe and Antisana. At an elevation of 2830 meters, it is the second highest capital in the world.. It was the first city classified by the UNESCO in 1978 and its historic centre is the biggest and best maintained in Latino America. To get a good idea of the city, we will firstly go to the Panecillo, a small hill over the city with a statue of the Quito'Virgen at the top, for a superb view. You will then have a complete visit of Quito's colonial centre: the cathedral, the church of the Compañia de Jesus, the church of San Francisco and its garden and as many baroque art pieces.

You will visit the first frog farm of Ecuador. You will discover the laboratory of the fundation where somebody will explain you the process of conservation and reproduction of more than 40 species of frog.
Duration : 2 hours

You will spend the night at Vieja Cuba hotel in Quito.

Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, local guide, room & breakfast

Day 3: Quito - Mindo

Departure from Quito to follow a scenic road through the Equatorial cloudy forest to the Mindo area, a unique place for its biodiversity.
You will visit a breeding center of butterflies and you will discover the process of their metamorphosis with the different stages of evolution of the caterpillars.
Visit of an Orchids garden, run by a nice local family that will have you discover the numerous varieties and surprising perfumes they can emit.
You will visit the chocolate factory "El Quetzal" where you will enjoy one of the most delicious chocolate of the country after having seen the manufacturing process. It's a perfect opportunity to buy a special gift to you family and friends.
You will spend the night at Hosteria La Roulotte.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 4: Mindo - Otavalo - Cuicocha Lake - San Clemente

Trip to Otavalo, which craftworks made it worldly known.
Visit in the morning the famous Otavalo's Indian market, the most important in the Ecuador's Andes, where you can meet the Otavaleños Indians with their espadrilles, their brown felt hat and blue ponchos. They are the wealthiest indians in Ecuador and excellent sellers.
The main market is on Saturdays with the cattle market just outside town, but others markets are hold on the Los Ponchos square every days.
Visit of the Cuicocha lake in the ecologic reserve of "Cotacahi - Cayapas" , one of the most beautiful in Ecuador with a shiny blue water.
At the centre of a former crater at 3064 meters, the nature lovers will enjoy a very various vegetation (orchids, "elephants ears"...) with more than 400 species identified there.

You will get to San Clemente autochtonous communiy, down the Imbabura volcano, where you will spend the night. A family will welcome you and invite you to share not only their house and food, but their customs and way of living. Many surprises await you, as the live-stock farming of guinea pigs or lamas, and the medicinal plants path maintained by their own users.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), local spanish-speaking guide

Day 5: San Antonio de Ibarra - Otavalo

Take the train (autoferro) in Ibarra in the morning for a trip to Salinas. The train follows a railway which used to be used for the transport of goods and people from the sierra to the costa. Only a part of is now suitable tu use. You will pass through exotic landscapes with sugarcanes farms in the warm valleys. The serie of tunnels on the way had been digs manually in the mountains. Arrival in Salinas the village of an afro-ecuadorian community living around the sugarcane culture. You will go for a walk around this typical village before getting back in the train to Ibarra.

You will spend the night at Hacienda Cusin, close to San Pablo lake, in Otavalo's region. This place keeps the atmosphere and the authenticity of those old times, with a warm and familiar welcoming.
Included : train ticket, private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 6: Peguche - Condor Park - Otavalo - Quitsato - Quito - Antisana

You will visit the village of Peguche, where you will discover the Andean music instrument fabrication workshops. You may attend to a local music session and the weaving process, an old art well established in the area.
Visit of the Condors Park in the upper Otavalo and watch a rapace's flight show. You can get close to the condors, the Andes's emblematic bird.
Flight exhibition: 11.30am and 3.30pm ( the schedule may change regarding the weather)
Journey to Quito.
You will stop at the latitude 0º, where a circular platform of 54 meters of diameter materializes a huge sundial and the equator line. The phenomena observed in the place will be explained to you, as well as how the local peoples used to integrate them in their dayly activities. An opporetunity to reconnect with what is an agriculture agenda, and what it means, between the sky and nature.

Meal at restaurant Balcon 2 Hemisferios, almost on the Ecuador line.
Journey to the Eastern cordillera, with great views on the mountain lakes and the green valleys. You will arrive to Antisana after passing a saddle at 3200m.

You will spend the night at the Hacienda Guaytara.

Included : entrance fees, private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, lunch (no drinks), room & breakfast

Day 7: Antisana - Papallacta

Visit at the Antisana reserve, the fourth biggest mountain with snow in Ecuador (4704 meters altitude). You will discover typical landscapes of Páramo, different gaps and have the opportunity to see different species of birds among which is the condor.

You will spend the night at Pampa Llacta hotel.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 8: Quito - Misahualli - Ahuano

Departure from Quito for a trip to Oriente. You will enjoy on the way various landscapes as you will cross a mountain pass at 4000 meters before descending to the Amazonian basin at an elevation of approximately 900 meters. You will have many opportunities to take photos on the road, over the green valleys and the waterfalls. Then the arrival is in Misahualli and you will go directly to the lodge.

You will arrive in the afternoon to the Lodge where you'll have a first trek to the jungle. Then your dinner at the Sacha Sisa Lodge where you will have your first night.

Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), local guide

Day 9: Ahuano

In the morning, going along with an indigenous guide, you will walk through the jungle to discover many species of medicinal plants and their properties. Keep your eyes open, with no doubt you will see monkeys and birds in their natural habitat. Depending on weather conditions and the group's wishes we can plan the program of the day. After lunch you will visit the Indian community, and where you will have the opportunity to learn about their customs, their way of life and its various plants: banana trees, papaya, pineapple, oranges, sugar cane ... You will discover likewise what is "chicha", a traditional beverage, and the making of chocolate as has been done for generations. Dinner and second night in the Lodge.

Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses

Day 10: Ahuano - Misahualli - Puyo - Pailon del Diablo - Banos

After breakfast you will go for an observation of the prehistoric birds "hoatzin" and then you will pay a visit to the kids of the community before eventualy return to your vehicle.

On the way to Banos you will follow the "Ruta de Cascadas" along the deep gorges of the Rio Pastaza and observe the evolution of the ecosystem from 950 to 1800 meters of elevation with spectacular views over the upper Amazon basin and a dozen of waterfalls.
You will stop in Pailon del Diablo, the country's most famous waterfalls which you will be able to see from closer from a sightseeing platform. Further on the road, following the inca style, you can use a suspended basket called locally tarabita to cross the Pastaza and reach a waterfall called "Manto de la Novia".

Visit of a Tagua workshop. The Tagua is a vegetable ivory and thus a fantastic way to replace the animal ivory. The material, the size of a big egg, comes from a small palm tree which is dried and sculpted when the bark falls. Many artists realise superb pieces which really look like ivory after being polished.

You will spend the night at La Floresta hotel, in Banos.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 11: Banos - Quilotoa - Chugchilan - Tigua

The road to Quilotoa follows a fertile and green valley where you can observe recent lavas from the Tungurahua seen from the road.
The landscapes change with the altitude as you will drive up the western cordillera to Quilotoa at the heart of the Andes.
The emerald colored Quilotoa lake (3854m) lays in a still active volcano, its color being due to the presence of sulfur. According to a legend, the Inca Atahualpa had hidden his treasure in the lake... You can go for a 2 hours walk down to the crater and back (option to rent a mule for the trip, for less than 10 u$d) or simply enjoy the view from the top of the crater.
The road to Quilotoa follows the Rio Toachi's canyon to the small Andean village of Quilotoa.

You will spend the night at Posada de Tigua hotel in Tigua.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, entrance fees, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Day 12: Tigua - Saquisili - Riobamba

Journey to the small andean town of Saquisili where you can visit a very typical Indian market (only on Thursdays), the opportunity to observe how the Andean Indians have lived there for generations. Anything can be found there from washing powder to spices, chicken's feet, fruits and vegetables, ponchoes etc... the lower area is dedicated to the cattle selling: llamas, pigs, sheeps are negociated and sold to the best offer.
You will reach Riobamba, back on the Panamerican Highway.
Interesting stop at this museum that presents the relationship between the andean communities and the lama. You will eventually know the difference between a llama, an alpaca, a vicugna and a guanaco.
You will go on a stroll for one hour, accompanied by a lama, to discover the landscapes of the zone and exchange some words with the inhabitants. Your amusing companion willpermit you to iniciate a conversation more easily!

You will spend the night at Santa Isabella hotel in Riobamba.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 13: Riobamba - Ingapirca - Cuenca

On the way to Ingapirca, you will have a stop at the Colta lake and the Balbanera church, the first built in Ecuador in 1534.

Ingapirca means "inca stone wall" in the canari language, and indeed a site where the rock is full of legends and history. Ingapirca was founded by the Inca Huayna Capac in the XVth century. The impressive fortress used to contain a temple, sheds and an observatory with amazing exemple of mortar free stone constructions. It was though to be a tambo (relay) along the Inca way from Quito to Cuenca. The locals also see a puma's shape in the ruins. After a visit of the site you will find the Inganahui after walking a bit away. This Inca face rock sculpted by the wind and the rain may had inspired the Incas to found Ingapirca there.
After returning to the main site, you will have the opportunity to visit the museum dedicated to this place discovered by the french scientist La Condamine.
You will travel to the beautiful city of Cuenca by vehicle, following a scenic road in the middle of the Andes with views over the colored fields and the mountains around.

Night at the Hotel Cuenca.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 14: Cuenca

The city of Cuenca (2 550 m) is undoubtedly as charming as its former name of Guapondelic reveals: "the valley as great as the sky". This colorful and lively city with superb historic buildings was classified as a World Heritage by the UNESCO since 1999. The best way to feel the warm colors of Cuenca is to walk around its paved streets, along the white houses with roman tiled roofs and flourishing wrought iron balconies.
Colonial art treasures can also be discovered in Cuenca in the churches and convents from the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries. The visit of the cathedral, the El Turi viewing platform, the flouring spaces, the churches and the covered market will gradually take you closer to the local life.
Visit of a Panama hats workshop (except on Sundays) established in Cuenca for more than 60 years where you can observe the different stage of its fabrication, an Ecuador's specialty.

Behind the museum of the Banco central we can find de Arqueologique Park of Pumapungo. You will be able to walk among the vestiges of the ancient settlement Inca which was destroyed by the spanish conquerors in order to build Cuenca.
Free time in Cuenca.

Night at the Hotel Cuenca.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, room & breakfast

Day 15: Cuenca - Cajas Park - Guayaquil - Guayaquil Airport

You will follow up the Western cordillera and cross the Cajas park where you will enjoy stunning views over the many lakes of this protected area.

El Cajas National Park is located in the south western Cordillera of the Andes, 35 km from Cuenca. Its altitude varies between 3,156 and 4,450 m and covers an area of ​​288 km2, including a set of 235 glacial lakes, connected by small rivers and streams. The park is home to archaeological sites, among several other sections of Qapaq Nan, the real Inca Trail, which connects the coast with the mountains and fells, allowing trade in Spondylus shell, valuable object at that time. You can walk from 2 to 6 hours owith a local guide.
Journey to get to Guayaquil, Ecuador's biggest city and economical capital.
Down from the mountains you will pass by fertiles lowlands with huge orchards and banana plantations before arriving to Guayaquil.
Private transfert to the Guayaquil airport.
Included : private transport, english speaking guide, guide expenses, local spanish-speaking guide, excursion (private), transfer departure

Vieja Cuba   Quito

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Vieja Cuba is located in La Mariscal neighborhood, where you will find many restaurants and bars. It is a cosy colonial style house, restaured by the former cuban owner with charm and criteria. A very good address if you want to walk around without taking transport means.

Hosteria La Roulotte   Mindo

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast

The Hosteria La Roulotte is a gorgeous and perfect place for complete relaxation. Guests say in independent roulottes (caravans) that are set in a beautiful flower-filled garden. Each roulotte has a private bathroom with hot water. It is possible to do birdwatching tours, hikes through the cloud forest, hikes to impressive waterfalls, and other relaxing and interesting activities.

Night at San Clemente.   San Clemente

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), local spanish-speaking guide

Let's discover one of the most authentic and traditional project of community tourism. San Clemente guarantees the provision of quality service, the sincerity of their hosts, professional native guides for excursions and hikes, and real traditional food.

Hacienda Cusin   Otavalo

Level : 3* sup
Included : room & breakfast

Hacienda Cusin is a restored, 17th-century Andean estate at 8,500ft/2,600m in Ecuador. This very personal hotel and its 38 attentive staff are close to the Equatorial Line and the famous market town of Otavalo. Guest rooms, cottages, suites and salons, furnished with antiques and select Andean craft, have log-burning fireplaces, beamed-ceilings & gardens. The Hacienda has its own monastery that you can visit. Other proudness of the owners are the gardens with so many regional plants and old trees to have a rest at the foot.

Night at the hotel Guaytara.   Antisana

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

The accomodation Guaytara is located in the Antisana area at 3550 m above sea level near the Isco cliffs where the Andean condor use to nest. The hosteria propose many trekking which permits you to observe a lot of animals (colibri, Andean hawks, perdiz and Andean condor) and many medicinal plants.

Night at Pampa Llacta hotel.   Papallacta

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast

Option : Supplement saturday

Sacha Sisa 3D-2N Lodge   Misahualli

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), local guide

Sacha Sisa is the result of a initiative developped by a indigenous community who is living close by. The lodge is situated in the middle of the nature and will permit you to live a deep experience of responsible tourism in the Ecuadorian jungle. It is situated inside an ecological reserve of Napo area ; you only can access to the lodge by boat.

Night in La Floresta hotel.   Banos

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

La Floresta is situated in a safe and quiet residential zone, near downtown and two blocks from financial and commercial services. The minute you arrive you will find yourself at home in a small hotel that feels like a comfortable private residence.

Night at Hotel Posada de Tigua (dinner included)   Tigua

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Posada de Tigua is approximately 200 years old and the house has an historic feel with walls made of straw and adobe. Posada de Tigua offers a friendly environment; it is ecological and peaceful. It truly gives its guests a feel of the countryside. At Posada de Tigua you will be able to enjoy the flora and fauna of the surrounding environment.

Night at Santa Isabella hotel.   Riobamba

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

The Mansion Santa Isabella is a beautifully restored colonial house in the center of Riobamba. It is the inspiration of an English/Ecuadorian couple and their family. The hotel places an emphasis on warm personalised service, modern comfort in classic surroundings and making sure that all of its guests enjoy Riobamba and its stunning surroundings to the best.

Night in Hotel Cuenca.   Cuenca

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Built at the end of the 40's, this traditional buildling is part of the History and cultural architecture of Cuenca colonial town. It has been restaured by the best and skilled handworkers of the town, following the antique technics.

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