10 DAYS TRUE ECUADOR EXPERIENCE

Discover the TRUE ECUADOR EXPERIENCE traveling through the Avenue of Volcanoes in the high Andes Mountains towards the best tropical Amazon destinations and explore the outdoor town of Baños, the UNESCO classified city of Cuenca and the local indigenous market in Otavalo. On your journey you’ll learn about all the different local tribes and their cultures. The True Ecuador Experience trip is the perfect combination of cultural experiences, wildlife spotting, adventurous activities and natural wonders that make Ecuador one of the most mega-diverse countries on earth. This is an example itinerary which can be 100% customised and personalised to your needs and preferences.

DAY 1: QUITO

We have nothing planned for your arrival day. You will be picked up at the airport by one of our trip leaders and on the way to the hotel there will be plenty of time to discuss details and answer any questions about the adventure. Depending on when your flight arrives, you can spend your time relaxing or exploring Quito..

About Quito: Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Ecuador’s capital.  It’s considered the cultural capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. Because of its strategic location in the middle of the Andes, you can organize fantastic day trips such as: Quito City tour, including trip to the Equator Line, Mindo Cloud Forest, Cotopaxi National Park, Quilotoa Crater Lake, Otavalo Indian market, Papallacta hot springs, Pululahua inhabitant crater, and more.

Ecuatraveling offers many options for all types of travelers during their stay in Quito and has incorporated outdoor activities into each experience, such as Cotopaxi biking, Pululahua crater horse riding, Mindo canopy zip lines and tubing, Papallacta trekking, Hatu Yacu river rafting, etc.

Please take a look at the menu of adventures we have to offer and contact us if you are interested in further exploration in and around Quito.

DAY 2: MINDO CLOUD FOREST

Explore the diverse natural landscapes of Ecuador on a private tour to the Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve from Quito. See gorgeous waterfalls and rushing rivers amid the tropical rainforest, and catch sight of unique species of butterflies, insects and birds. During your hike, customised to your comfort level, your expert guide will inform you about the flora and fauna – from the mossy forest floor to the canopy. This trip is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and bird-lovers! (L)

DAY 3: OTAVALO INDIAN MARKET

We will begin our day heading up to the northern Ecuadorian Andes. On our way, we will stop at the viewpoint located at the entrance of Imbabura province, where we will get a breathtaking view of the Imbabura volcano as well as sparkling Lake San Pablo. After a 15 minute drive we arrive at Otavalo where we will have the opportunity to experience and spend time with local people from the the surrounding Andean villages. You will see them wearing their traditional dresses and hear them speak in their native languages. We will visit the Otavalo market which is considered one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. Here you will be able to bargain for local crafts authentic to the area. Popular market items include sweaters, blankets, alpaca products, hammocks and jewelry. (B, L)

DAY 4: PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS 

We will drive up to 4000 meters through the western range of the Andes on a road between two national reserves (Antisana and Cayambe Coca), both located in the high altitude Paramo and known for its short vegetation and for being the home of some incredible animals such as the spectacle bear, deer, puma, Andean condor and the cara-cara. After enjoying the great views this landscape offers, we will arrive at the Papallacta Hot Springs, where we will relax and enjoy soaking in the volcanic pools, which are surrounded by mountains with colorful flowers and birdlife. (B)

DAY 5: ITAMANDI AMAZON ECO LODGE

Early in the morning we will descend a curvy road towards the Amazon Basin, where you will observe how the landscape and vegetation changes drastically as we descend from an altitude of 3000 meters to 500 meters. Our first stop will be at Guango Lodge, where we will observe different species of hummingbirds in their natural habitat. These small and colorful creatures are famous for their incredible capacity to flap their wings rapidly as well as for their bright colors. After driving for an hour, we will stop at the Macaw Look-Out from where we will appreciate the tropical rain forest named “The Amazon” after the warrior women that fought the Spanish conquistadores during their expedition to this unknown place.

Once we arrive to the Itamandi Eco Lodge we will have the opportunity to explore the majestic Amazon jungle, by planning some night hikes, visiting parrots clay licks, and learning more at the Amazon animal rescue centers. (B, D)

DAY 6: ITAMANDI AMAZON ECO-LODGE

In the morning we will take a motorized canoe down the largest river in Ecuador, Napo River, to experience the feeling of navigating on one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River on our way to the “Amazonico“ Rescue Animal Center”. Here we will have the opportunity to see many different species of Monkeys, Capibaras, Caimans, Ocelots, Toucans, Parrots, and other animals that live in this area. After approximately an hour, we will get back on the boat in order to go to the Ahuano village with the purpose of appreciating the skills of the indigenous women manufacturing handmade pottery (ceramics). This is the main handicraft and source of income of this area. We will enjoy our lunch by the riverside right before we canoe up-stream for an exciting hour of pristine forest on our way back to Itamndi Eco Lodge. Here we will spend the afternoon relaxing in the Amazon and enjoying the facilities of this pristine lodge. (B,L,D)

There is an optional night hike in the jungle after dinner.

DAY 7: ROUTE OF THE WATERFALLS TO BAÑOS

On day seven, we will go further south to Puyo, a city where we will have a quick look at the Balsa Carving workshop. Later we will stop at Rio Verde, located in one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Sangay National Park. Here, we will hike down to the second highest waterfall in Ecuador, the Pailon del Diablo. After a quick drive, we will get to another incredible waterfall called El Manto de la Novia, where we will take a cable car suspended above the Pastaza River. In the late afternoon, we will enjoy the hot springs in the town of Baños, located right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. (B)

DAY 8: HIGHEST VOLCANO IN ECUADOR AND VICUÑAS

We depart early in the morning since we will go up towards the Chimborazo Volcano located 6310 meters above sea level. It is the highest volcano in Ecuador and the furthest point from the center of the earth in the world. We will hike until we get to 5000 meters where the glacier starts. This reserve is very well known for the wild vicuñas and alpacas that live there. (B,L)

DAY 9: DEVIL’S NOSE (TRAIN) AND INGAPIRCA RUINS  

We will go to Alausí early in the morning, a small town where we can find the Railway Station. We will board the train for the most exciting stretch of the train route: the descent from Alausí to Sibambe by the ravines of the Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s nose). This descent is possible thanks to a series of zigzags by the steep mountainside.

It’s the only stretch of the Trans-Andean Railway that in the past connected the Coast with the Andes (Guayaquil-Quito).

Afterwards, we will visit the most important Archeological Cañari-Inca Complex of Ecuador: INGAPIRCA, which means “Wall of the Inca”.  The complex has patios, terraces, temples and a “castle.” We will be able to visit the Site Museum and admire the stone fortress that has several thresholds as well as stone walls that perfectly match one over the other, without having any type of mortar in between. (B,L)

DAY 10: CUENCA CITY TOUR

In the morning, we will enjoy a city tour visiting the most important buildings and notable places in Cuenca, such as Calderon Square, the New Cathedral, El Barranco and El Turi. In the afternoon we will visit the famous factory where those hats from Panama are actually made! We will see the whole Panama hat-making process and have the opportunity to buy them at their original factory. (B)  – Flight back to Quito – Arrival Quito.

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Activities: Hiking, Trekking, Bird watching, Canoeing, Chocolate making.

Accommodations: 2 nights in first class hotel in Quito, 1 night in colonial haciendas, 1 night in Papallacta Spa Resort, 2 nights in Itamandi Amazon Eco-lodge, 1 night in tourist class hotel in Baños, 1 night in tourist class hotel in Cuenca.

Transportation: Private and comfortable 4WD or van, train, motorised canoe.

Meals: 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches.

Private certified national guide and local guides.

Travel insurance mandatory, extra meals, tips for guide, additional beverages.

10 Days – 9 Nights – from $1.850 p.p minimum 2 pax (this price can change depending on your needs, size of group and requirements)