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Home > Well-being and Nature in Ecuador

Well-being and Nature in Ecuador

18 days and 17 nights

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: Quito Airport - Quito

Reception at the airport by a English speaking guide.

Private transfer with spanish-speaking driver from Quito airport (to your hotel) and free time for the rest of the day.

You will spend the night at Le Parc hotel in Quito.
Included : reception with english-speaking guide, transfer arrival, room & breakfast

Day 2: 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.
Discover the "Man Chapel" from the Eacuador's artist Oswaldo Guayasamín. This painting of the chapel was designed and partly realised by Guayasamín to honnor Mankind. Several of his art pieces are exhibited there.



And now, exclusively and just for you :


You'll participate to a PACARI chocolates tasting.



You will learn about the process of elaboration of a great cocoa. You'll know why Ecuador is the best country to produce a cacao fino and also learn about the cocoa history in the world. You'll have the privilege to taste 10 different types of PACARI chocolates.



PACARI works directly with small producers and assure a great remuneration for their hard work, in order to preserve the genetic diversity of ecuadorian cocoa.



This cooperative has been rewarded multiple times at an international levek for the quality of the products and the social hlp they have done.



You will spend the night at Le Parc hotel in Quito.
Therapeutic Massage included. It is personalized in tensioned areas, which would relieve any pain.
Included : entrance fees, excursion (private), local english-speaking guide , room & breakfast, spa treatment, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

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.
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 discover the ecological forest Mindo- Nambillo, where uncountable trails will allow you to observe many species of birds.


You will spend the night at lodge Casa Divina in Mindo
Included : entrance fees, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 4: Tulipe - Mindo - Otavalo - Quitsato - Cuicocha Lake - Otavalo

You will stop at the archaeological site of Tulipe, home of the Yumbo civilization (800-1400).
The museum provides you with details on this ancient culture, traditions and rituals. In the region you will find the traditional "tolas" which are pyramids cut in half, made ​​with a mixture of mud and other materials. There are also important structures in shape of pools which are considered to have been used for sanation rituals.
Trip to Otavalo, famous for its handcrafts.
Meal at restaurant Balcon 2 Hemisferios, almost on the Ecuador line.
Gourmet menu with typical flavors of Ecuador.
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.

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 spend the night in Sacha Ji.


Attend a traditional cleansings that use the Pachamama (Mother Earth) as a sacred remedy for curing or cleansing energy. The different elements and native plants are used in a ceremony in order to bring back well-being and balance (30 min approx).
Included : entrance fees, lunch (no drinks), room & breakfast, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 5: Otavalo - San Clemente - Otavalo

Yoga class and guided medidation session : Kundalini Yoga combines meditation, mantra, physical exercises and breathing techniques. Also known as the
Yoga of Awareness; its focus is on self-awareness and delivering an experience of your highest consciousness. It is a science of the mind and body, to elevate the spirit. No experience necessary - 1 hour 15 Min approx.
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.
You will get to San Clemente autochtonous communiy, down the Imbabura volcano
You will spend time with a member of the community who will guide you to discover their lifestyle, their culture and traditions.
During a hike in the community, you will learn about San Clemente, its population, its craftmen, field workers, the medicinal plants they largely use, the guinea pigs husbandry, and many other things.
In a family, you will share a lunch made of excellent quality products, organic because produced in a traditionnal way without chemical intrants.


You will spend the night in Sacha Ji.


You will enjoy a traditional andean experience. The Sweat Lodge is a round space where one literally sweats. It is a form of physical, mental and spiritual healing developed over centuries by different tribes and communities on earth. It represents the womb of the Mother and its feminine energy (3 hours).
Included : excursion (shared), lunch, room & breakfast, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 6: Otavalo - Cayambe - Papallacta

Yoga class and guided medidation session : Kundalini Yoga combines meditation, mantra, physical exercises and breathing techniques. Also known as the
Yoga of Awareness; its focus is on self-awareness and delivering an experience of your highest consciousness. It is a science of the mind and body, to elevate the spirit. No experience necessary - 1 hour 15 Min approx.
You will arrive to the Papallacata thermes at an altitude of 3220 meters surrounded with the nature and two makestic Andean volcanoes, the Cayambe and the Antisana. Have a peaceful and relaxing time in the natural thermal water, which cames with all its minerals from the geological underground through cracks in the surface up to the Papallacta fountains.
You can also go for a hike in the area.
(Entrance fee to the thermes not included).
You will stop for about 2 hours in a plantation of roses. Ecuador is one of the first countries that export roses in all the world, and actually the roses of Ecuador are considered to be the most beautiful of the world. They are produced at 2500 meter of altitude, that's what makes them to have such strong and intense colors. The minerals that come from the Cotopaxi and Cayambe volcanoes make the rosebuds to grow enormously.

You will spend the night at Termas Papallacta hotel.
Included : excursion (shared), entrance fees, room & breakfast, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 7: Papallacta - Archidona - Misahualli

Departure from Papallacta for a trip to the exotic 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 to Archidona, of the green valleys and the amazing waterfalls.
A short walk in the jungle will lead you up to this magnificent waterfall which falls in a big natural swimming pool, the place dreams for a cooling dive one day of big heat.

Along the way you can appreciate the jungle and its beauties, along the path which takes you exactly towards one of these marvels. Our native guide will offer you a multitude of information while he spots, tree-dwelling frogs, insects, healing plants...

After this walk and to have cooled in the waterfall, we shall take you until Misahualli to have lunch in the village, and take advantage of it to observe the monkeys playing on the square.
You will spend an amazonian night at Hamadryade Lodge.
Where you will have different options (not included in the offer):
explore Misahualli's port which is the door of entrance to the amazonic jungle
walk on the lodge' pathes
go to the Latas waterfalls
spend some relaxation time at the swimming pool
ask for a massage in your cabin
Included : entrance fees, room & breakfast, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 8: Archidona - Misahualli

You will spend an amazonian night at Hamadryade Lodge.
Where you will have different options (not included in the offer):
explore Misahualli's port which is the door of entrance to the amazonic jungle
walk on the lodge' pathes
go to the Latas waterfalls
spend some relaxation time at the swimming pool
ask for a massage in your cabin
You could chill out with agreat massage made by a specialist. You can rest listening to the sounds of the nature.
Included : local spanish-speaking guide, excursion (private), room & breakfast, spa treatment, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 9: Misahualli - Puyo - Fatima - Puyo - Pailon del Diablo - Banos

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 at the Yapas reserve, where you will discover different species of orchids and bromelias, also endemical trees that are endangered.
You will have an organic lunch with products from the Reserve, a nice way to support this ambiental initiative.
On the route you will stop near Puyo, where you will visit a center of rehabilitation for monkeys of the Amazone, "Paseo de los Monos", where you will be in contact with the animals. Six species of monkeys are present, the objective of the center is to help some of them who are sick or isolated with the purpose of liberate them in the future.

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".


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

Day 10: Banos - Quilotoa - Chugchilan

You will go to the north on the Quilotoa area.

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.

Visit the Mirador of Shalala with scenic view of Quilotoa laguna though a comunitarian project.

You will spend the night at The Black Sheep Inn in Chugchilán.
Black Sheep Inn is 100% community operate. Your host Edmundo Vega grew up in Chugchilan and he rents the entire facility while owners Andres and Michelle do property maintenance and commuity work.
Black Sheep Inn is an ecologically friendly hotel high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Free access to the yoga area. The rural lodge is a perfect place to discover centuries-old culture and diverse ecosystems. The lodge features gourmet vegetarian food with organic products from its gardens located in the heart of the Andes Cordillerra mountains.
Included : entrance fees, room & breakfast, dinner, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 11: Chugchilan

Day in liberty to discover Chugchilan and surroundings. You can visit a fabric of cheese, or meet with the apprentices of a cabinetmaking, go for a horseriding until Quitlotoa o just walk around on the endless paths that will have you amazed by these spectacular views that offers this singular region.

You will spend the night at The Black Sheep Inn in Chugchilán.
Black Sheep Inn is 100% community operate. Your host Edmundo Vega grew up in Chugchilan and he rents the entire facility while owners Andres and Michelle do property maintenance and commuity work.
Black Sheep Inn is an ecologically friendly hotel high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Free access to the yoga area. The rural lodge is a perfect place to discover centuries-old culture and diverse ecosystems. The lodge features gourmet vegetarian food with organic products from its gardens located in the heart of the Andes Cordillerra mountains.
Included : room & breakfast, dinner, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 12: Chugchilan - Chimborazo Park - Riobamba


Trip to the Chimborazo park.


Visit of the Chimborazo natural reserve.
In this "parano" landscape typical to this Andean area, you are likely to see some vicugnas out of the 2300 birds reintroduced in 1990. After driving up to the Carrel hut at 4800m you may get closer (optionnal, you can stay at the hut level if you consider not being in the proper cphysical conditions to climb) to the Ecuador's highest summit (6310m) by walking to the second Whymper hut at 5100m, not far from the snowline. Because of the extra earth's diameter on the Equator line, the Chimborazo summit is the most distant to the earth's centre.

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


Night at the hacienda La Andaluza hotel in Riobamba.
Diner included in the hotel.
Included : local guide, entrance fees, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 13: Riobamba - Balbanera & Colta - 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.

You will spend the night at the Forum hotel in Cuenca.
Included : private transport, entrance fees, room & breakfast, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

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.


Visit of the museum of the Central Bank. This musum is located near the ruins of "Todos los Santos", where you can see ehtnological collections and works of colonial art, also old photographs of Cuenca. This museum inherited a collection of ceramics pre-incas that belonged to the priest Crespi that died in 1980. This museum is the only only one who has a collection of reduced heads or "tzanzas".
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.
Enjoy a relaxing moment in the Piedra de Agua therms. You will have access to the thermal inside and outside Pools, the rain showers and the steam baths. If you want, you could reserve a massage but already have access to the volcanic mud pool.

You will spend the night at the Forum hotel in Cuenca.
Included : entrance fees, room & breakfast, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 15: Cuenca - Cajas Park - Guayaquil

You will follow up Western cordillera to Cajas park from Cuenca 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.

In Guayaquil you will firstly visit the main streets, the neo gothic cathedral and the Simon Bolivar Park next to it, where you can find a hundred of green iguanas freely wandering around the park, some being a meter long. We will continue the visit to the Malecon 2000 and discover the colonial area of Las Peñas and admire there the architecture and the many art galleries. From the Santa Ana fort you will enjoy a scenic view over Guayaquil and the Guayas River.
You will spend the night at Nazu hotel in Guayaquil.
Included : local spanish-speaking guide, excursion (private), room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 16: Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez - Agua Blanca - Los Frailes Beach - Puerto Lopez

You will travel on the Ruta del Sol following kilometers of sand beaches in the smooth sun. On the way to Puerto Lopez, you will pass through lovely fishing towns.
Visit of the Agua Blanca site and of the the small museum showing some pieces found in the archeological site nearby which you will discover then. They are remains from the pre Inca cultures (Salango, Machalilla, Chorrera and Manta) which used to live there between 3000 and 800 before J.C.
You will then go for a walk in the forest around and to a thermal natural pool where you can have a swim.
Trip to the Playa de Los Frailes, 12 km from Puerto lopez in the Machalilla National Park, the biggest protected area on the coast. The park is mainly covered with a dry tropical forest which used to spread over most of the Pacific coast but which almost totally disappeared now. 150 native species had been identified here in 1998. You can go for an hour walk in the forest at the park entrance before getting to the Los Frailes beach, one of the most beautiful in Ecuador. After a bit of relaxing on the beach you will enjoy a swim in this small paradise.

You will spend the night at Mandala hotel in Puerto Lopez.
Included : entrance fees, room & breakfast, private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide

Day 17: Puerto Lopez

Free day in Puerto Lopez. Early in the morning you can walk to Puerto Lopez near the place where fishermen fish overnight. You may observe all kinds of fish. We recommend going to discover one of the islands located near there. You can visit the Isla de la Plata by boat the activities there include a trek, and snorkeling on the island. You can't miss the Frailes Beach, the most beautiful in the region. For amateurs of nature and history, you can visit the community of Agua Blanca with its museum and remains, but also the trails and hot springs pools with sulfur. For athletes, you can bike in the rain forest or take a course of surf.

You will spend the night at Mandala hotel in Puerto Lopez.
Included : private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide, room & breakfast

Day 18: Puerto Lopez - Guayaquil - Guayaquil Airport

Free time in Puerto Lopez to enjoy the beach and the fishing town before the ruturn to the Guayaquil
Private transfert to the Guayaquil airport.

Free connection with your international flight.
Included : private transport, guide expenses, english-speaking driver guide, transfer departure

Boutique Hotel Le Parc   Quito

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

Le Parc Hotel is located in the privileged República del Salvador Avenue in a very important business sector and close to the main malls of Quito, its modern frontage contrasts with the natural environment of Quito surrounded by hills and volcanoes that can be seen from the large windows of the rooms.

Option : Therapeutic massage (1 hour)

Included :
spa treatment

Night in Casa Divina hotel.   Mindo

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

La Casa Divina is located 1.2 km from Mindo in a private reserve. Each room has a private terrace with a hammock, they are big and have elegant bathrooms. Meals are served in large dining rooms and there is a beautiful observation deck on the third floor. You can even watch birds from the door of your own room.

Sacha Ji.   Otavalo

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

This hotel is far from classical standards. It is a product of an arquitect fond of yoga. With a spectacular sight on San Pablo lake and Imbabura mountain it gives you the impression that you truely can cut off from the problems of real life and enjoy a piece of nature. You can have a room in small separate buildings or be in the main one.

Option : Spiritual cleaning ceremony.

Option : Yoga class.

Included :
excursion (shared)

Option : Temazcal (3h).

Night at Termas Papallacta hotel   Papallacta

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

The thermal baths are located on the banks of the Papallacta river in a unique natural environment accommodating nine hot thermal pools and three cold water pools. The resort restaurant offers a diverse menu to cater for all tastes. You can also purchase snacks and drinks at the kiosk.

Hamadryade Lodge   Misahualli

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Hamadryade Lodge is a luxurious hotel located in the High Amazon region, near Puerto Misahualli. This ecosystem, even if it is still the Amazonian Rainforest, is very different that the one in Lower regions. We are at 500mts altitude with hills and small mountains. Therefore, the climate remains pleasant all year round (24°C in average), and the absence of swamps allows an easier access to the more remote zones of Primary Rainforest, and of course the most positive consequence, is that we do not suffer from the presence of mosquitoes and Malaria. The tours in the Jatun Sacha’s jungle will be a good opportunity to discover primary and secondary jungles and a large variety of animal and vegetal species inhabiting the region. This hilly topography also offers a great opportunity to enjoy the numerous and pristine whitewater rivers around during day trips in Rafting, kayaking or tubing. Yet a larger range of activities for our clients.

Option : 1 hour massage

Included :
spa treatment

Samari Hotel   Banos

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

To create an atmosphere of relaxation and absolute well-being, Samari Spa Resort offers you a faboulous Spa and 4 hectares of extraordinary gardens situated in a quiet area of Banos city. The hotel preserved the arquitecture of what has been, 3 centuries ago, a jesuite monastery.

The Black Sheep Inn   Chugchilan

Level : 2*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner

Black Sheep Inn is an inexpensive ecologically friendly hotel high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The rural lodge is a perfect place to discover centuries-old culture and diverse ecosystems. Dayhiker's Paradise: People come here because the Inn is perfectly situated in the middle of breathtaking high Andes beauty. The Iliniza Ecological Reserve, the Rio Toachi Canyon, and Lake Quilotoa are all easy to hike from the front door.

Hosteria La Andaluza   Riobamba

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

Located in the heart of the country, the "Hosteria La Andaluza" has all the qualities of a peaceful and inviting place for visitors to enjoy a great time. All the major characters involved in the First Constituent, even the famous Simon Bolivar, stayed in this centennial house, that today offers every comfort, technology and distractions to enjoy the most of your stay.

Night at the Forum hotel.   Cuenca

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

The hotel, located in the Historical Center of Cuenca, consists of a recently refurbished patrimonial house. With only 12 rooms with private bathrooms, it kept the charm of the old styled building.

Nazu House   Guayaquil

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks)

The Nazu House is a villa located in the highlands of the city, far from the agitation downtown which propose 8 rooms. With a smart designed and modern furniture, the Nazu will offer you a wonderful rest in a charming environment with its swimming pool and luxurious garden. A peaceful and cocooned experience.

Night Mandala hotel.   Puerto Lopez

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Visit the cabins of Hostería Mandala, a place of nature and art, with botanical gardens, games, musical instruments, located in Machalilla National Park in Puerto López at the pacific coast of Ecuador, where you can enjoy gorgeous beaches, the Plata and Salango islands, Spondylus reef, diving and snorkeling, horseback riding or hikes through the dry and rain forest, archeology, bird watching, and see humpback whales from July to September.

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