Detailed Itinerary

Day 01

12th July ‘19

Day 02

13th July ‘19
  • Quito City tour –Visit of the Middle of the World (B,L)

    This morning you will explore the historical center of Quito, famous for being one of the largest and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas, and one of the first cities in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Step back in time as you journey through intricate 16th-century plazas, cathedrals and churches to learn more about the history of Ecuador’s capital city and how it has shaped the local culture and people today.

    After a delicious lunch overlooking the Pululahua crater, you will take part in one of the most iconic activities in Ecuador. You will travel to Mitad del Mundo – the middle of the world – where the equator runs through Ecuador. Ecuador means equator after all! Have your photo taken while standing in the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time and explore the Intinan Museum. Also, remember to bring your passport with you so that you can acquire a unique stamp to remind you of your visit.

    Accommodation in Quito: Relicario del Carmen Hotel or similar.

Day 03

14th July ‘19
  • Tour in the Northern Andes: Cuicocha–Cotocachi – Otavalo (B,L)

    This morning you will head north, driving for around 2.5 hours into the highlands of Ecuador, watching the landscape becoming more rural, dotted with quaint villages built in the foothills of the Andes. Your first stop will be the beautiful Cuicocha Laguna, a turquoise crater lake. There is a lovely viewpoint showcasing not only the lake but also incredible views of the surrounding volcanoes and countryside. If you are lucky, you might even see the magnificent snow-capped peak of Cayambe Volcano.

    You will have the opportunity to explore this area by hiking (for 2-3 hours) along the trail that goes around the whole lake. We may not have time to complete the full circuit, but you will definitely be able to enjoy magnificent views.

    After Cuicocha, you will head to the small town of Cotocachi (20 minutes away), famous for its handmade leather goods. Here, you can visit the local craftsmen, see how they make their products, and of course, have the chance to purchase some yourself (30min – 1 hour). From Cotocachi, you will head south and stop at the town of Otavalo, home to one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. Countless talented, local weavers from Otavalo and the surrounding areas bring their products to be traded at this market. Take your time roaming around the stalls, where you can find a vast range of items from textiles, scarves, sweaters, ponchos, and blankets, to hand-crafted jewelry, ceramics and paintings. It is an excellent opportunity to observe the traditional dress and local culture of the people of the Ecuadorian highlands. You will spend 1-2 hours in Otavalo before driving back to Quito (a 2-hour drive).

    Accommodation in Quito: Relicario del Carmen Hotel or similar.

Day 04

15th July ‘19
  • Tour in the Southern Andes: Pasochoa Nature Reserve Hike - Cotopaxi National Park - Baños (B, L)

    Today you will travel south, to Baños, visiting Pasochoa Nature Reserve and Cotopaxi National Park along the way. The Pasochoa Nature Reserve is situated 1-hour south of Quito, at the beginning of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Pasochoa Volcano sits at 4,200 metres above sea level, and the surrounding reserve has some great hiking trails. The highlight of the Pasochoa Reserve is its humid cloud forest where you can find over one hundred species of birds and fifty species of original Andean trees. Enjoy searching for these exotic species as you hike for 3-4 hours through the beautiful, lush green trails.

    From Pasochoa, you will continue south for 1 more hour to Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi Volcano is considered the second highest active volcano on the planet and an iconic place in Ecuador. The volcano and surrounding area have been designated as a National Park, offering several great visiting sites and adventure sports. You will take a leisurely walk through the alpine tundra to reach Pucara de Salitre, the ruins of an Inca military fortress, set into the foothills of Cotopaxi. These ruins are rarely visited by other tourists so you will have plenty of room to explore the area at your own pace, with magnificent views of the volcano if the weather is clear. After your volcano adventure, you will drive 2 hours south to Baños, a beautiful town, famous for its adventure sports.

    Accommodation in Baños: Monte Selva Hotel or similar.

Day 05

16th July ‘19
  • Hike to Hacienda Leito - Casa de Arbol - Route of the Waterfalls - Tena (B, L, D)

    Your hike this morning will take you through small villages such as Sucre, Poato, Mundug, and Lligoat the foothills of the Southern Andes. You can observe the unique Andean landscape as you go from a dry, paramo climate, to a cloud forest ecosystem, with various microclimates in-between. The hike will end after approximately 3.5 hours, at Hacienda Leito, where you will be welcomed with incredible views of the active Tungurahua volcano. You will then visit one of Baños' most famous attractions, Casa del Árbol, a 20-minute drive from town. Once up in the mountain, you will have an incredible view of the valleys and rivers that lead to the Amazon. You will also see the active Tungurahua Volcano that often sends out fumaroles and lava. The main attraction at Casa de Arbol is “the swing at the end of the world.” You can ride this swing above the abyss, and get an awesome photo swinging out over the valley. You will spend around 1 hour there.
    After visiting Casa de Arbol, you will drive for 2.5 hours to the Upper Amazon town of Tena, passing the iconic route of the waterfalls along the way. This is a beautiful drive as you will pass numerous waterfalls, including the impressive Cascada El Pailon de Diablo which means the Devil's Cauldron, named after the large volume of water rushing into the river below.
    You will end your day in the town of Tena, located in Ecuador's Upper Amazon Basin.

    Accommodation in Tena: Kuyana Lodge or similar.

Day 06

17th July ‘19
  • Upper Amazon: Jatunyacu Whitewater Rafting –Return to Quito (B, L, D)

    Today, you will embark on a rafting adventure in the Upper Amazon. You will first drive to the town of Cando, situated in the Llanganates National Park, where, after gearing up and listening to a safety briefing, you will begin your 3-hour excursion down the Jatunyacu River, which means “big water” in Quichua. This is a trip that is enjoyable for all ages, and no previous experience is required. The Jatunyacu River has Class III rapids and is one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River, originating from a glacier and springs fed by Cotopaxi Volcano. It is a fast water-run with continuous roller-coaster waves. Enjoy the adrenaline rush as you crash through the whitewater, take a tour through a hidden canyon and relax during the calmer points of the river where you will drift along in the raft, enjoying the rainforest surroundings. There will also be an opportunity, at a safe location, to get in the water and float downstream, for those who would like to. Halfway through the excursion, you will stop at a beach near a Quichua community to enjoy a delicious homemade lunch and meet with the locals who live in the area.

    After this rafting adventure, you will head back to Quito (a 3.5-hour drive).
    Farewell dinner.

    Accommodation in Quito: Wyndham Quito Airport.

Day 07

18th July ‘19
  • Departure from Quito or Extension to Galapagos Islands (B)

    After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flights.