Ecuador – Andean treasures tour
8 days from £1,339* per person Saving you £278 per person*
This itinerary isn’t set in stone. Pick, mix, swap however you like – your trip will be totally tailor made for you.
Day 1 Quito City Tour and Equator Monument (Mitad del Mundo)
Your journey begins with a visit to Ecuador’s capital. Quito sits 2,850 metres above sea level, set on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano and nestled in a green Andean valley. It’s one of the oldest cities in South America, preserving numerous monuments and artistic treasures of the Spanish colonial period. Tour this World Heritage City on foot, following your guide through the narrow streets to visit churches and plazas before climbing El Panecillo hill to grab a view back down to the city.
After lunch, it’s off to the famous Equator ‘Middle of the World’ Monument, located on the northern outskirts of Quito. Visit the Museo del Sitio Inti Ñan, with its exhibits from different indigenous cultures, before retiring to your hotel.
Day 2 Indigenous Market Pujilí – Quilotoa crater lake
Leave Quito and head south towards the Cotopaxi province. You’ll stop to take in the sights and smells of the indigenous market of Pujilí, before continuing through beautiful landscapes to the picturesque Quilotoa, an impressive lagoon contained in the crater of the volcano that bears the same name. Hike down to the turquoise lake shores and come back up by horse or mule. Then it’s on to your next hotel for dinner.
Day 3 Cotopaxi National Park – Rose plantation – Baños
Your day starts with a short hike through Cotopaxi National Park, seeking out its diverse flora and fauna. Your tour then ascends to 4,500 metres, where you’ll discover a landscape that’s contrastingly barren. Continue to the José Ribas refuge where you can follow a trail to the edge of the impressive glaciers.
Next up is a visit to one of the many rose plantations that have made Ecuadorian roses famous across the world. After lunch you’ll hit the lively pilgrimage town of Baños, with its famous thermal springs and beautiful cathedral, before checking into your accommodation.
Day 4 Pailon del Diablo – Baños – Riobamba
Visit Baños cathedral and enjoy the extraordinary scenery before embarking on the ‘route of the waterfalls’, which runs along the Pastaza River gorge. At Rio Verde, you’ll walk through the cloud forest to reach the thundering waterfall known as ‘Pailon del Diablo (the devil’s cauldron).
In the afternoon, your tour continues to the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo, where you’ll be greeted by a desert-like landscape and herds of shy vicuñas. The day ends at your Riobamba hotel.
Day 5 Devil’s Nose train ride – Ingapirca – Cuenca
You’ve got an early start to hop on board one of the most famous train rides in the world, ‘the Devil’s Nose’. It’s an unforgettable journey down an almost sheer rock face, with the train making switchbacks all the way down the cliff and back up again.
Have your lunch on the way to Ingapirca, the largest Inca site in the country, and learn about the Inca and Cañari cultures by touring through the beautiful temples and fortifications. Continue to Cuenca to check into your hotel before trying some of the region’s local specialities for dinner.
Day 6 Cuenca city tour
After breakfast, start your tour of the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guide will show you the imposing new cathedral, the flower market and a workshop and museum dedicated to the famous Panama braided hat.
After a restaurant lunch of local fusion cuisine, you’ve got the afternoon free to explore this charming city on your own.
Day 7 From the Andes to the Coast – Guayaquil
After breakfast, head west to cross El Cajas National Park. This reserve has an astounding variety of plant and animal life, as well as over 200 lagoons. Climb by car to an altitude of almost 4,200 metres above sea level for breath-taking views and the ultimate photo opportunity, before descending to the coast.
You’ll drive through cocoa, banana, rice and sugar cane plantations before entering the bustling metropolis of Guayaquil. Check into your hotel then take a city tour of this bustling port. See the Parque Bolívar, the Plaza de Administración, the Moorish Clock Tower and finally the Malecón 2000 boardwalk and the artist district of Las Peñas.
Round off your tour with a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant.
Day 8 Homeward bound…
Say your goodbyes to Ecuador – it’s time to catch your return flight.
*Prices are based on private arrangements (not lower priced escorted tours with set dates). Quality three star accommodation is quoted here (unless mentioned otherwise), with breakfast included and other meals where mentioned. Mostly private transfers with an English speaking driver/guide and all activities mentioned, with top guides, are included. Domestic flights and transport all included from Day 1 to end point. Can be tailored to your needs, so prices could be lower for budget arrangements or higher for luxury.
International flight is not included