1st Day: Arrival in the city of Quito.
You will be received at the Quito airport and transferred to the hotel. Once in the hotel, you will have a free afternoon so you can get settled in your room and also adapt to the height of the beautiful city of Quito.
You can also admire the surroundings of this wonderful city. Welcome dinner at the hotel and accommodation.
2nd Day: Knowing the wonderful Capital and Baroque Art – El Panecillo, Quito.
Breakfast. On this day we will dedicate ourselves to discover the wonderful capital of Ecuador, we will visit the colonial center of Quito and its churches: the cathedral, La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (The church of the Society of Jesus), La Iglesia de San Francisco (The church of San Francisco), and other masterpieces of Quito’s Baroque art; we will take a walk through the colonial center of Quito and the exteriors of the Palacio de Carondelet (Carondelet Palace).
You will be accompanied with a guide to El Panecillo (10 minutes by car from downtown) a hill crowned by the statue of La Virgen de Quito (Virgin of Quito), this place offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city.
Our staff will transfer you to your hotel for a free afternoon.
3rd day: Towards La Mitad del Mundo (Half of the World).
Breakfast at the hotel. Then we will go to La Mitad del Mundo, we will make a stop at the “0º latitude” spot, where a 54-meters diameter circular platform represents the equator. “La Mitad del Mundo” monument shows us the most famous example of a city divided between two hemispheres, the north and the south. At the foot of the monument we will see a drawn line, which represents the imaginary edge between the two hemispheres of the terrestrial globe. The most beautiful experience that our travelers can enjoy is to place one foot on each side of this line, take a picture and have the best memory of their lives right in the center of the Earth.
We will be exactly in the middle of the world, where gravity has a notable decrease, for this reason when the traveler is in La Mitad del Mundo, his weight is less than anywhere else on Earth. Then we will visit the Intiñán museum, where we can perform entertaining activities on the effects of gravity. Once this day’s activities end you will be transferred to the hotel in Quito, you can enjoy a free afternoon in the city. Accommodation.
4th Day. The Otavalo Market.
Breakfast. On this day we’re visiting the town of Cayambe, here you can enjoy a very traditional snack, “bizcochos”, which are prepared in a clay oven and they’re served with “queso de hoja” (leaf cheese), or “dulce de leche”. Continuing our journey, a brief stop is made at a viewpoint to take some photos of the Lake San Pablo. Next stop is the picturesque city of Otavalo. This beautiful city shows its magnificent fabrics, which are exposed in a market where people can buy the handicrafts and textiles typical of the place. Otavalo is famous for having one of the largest indigenous fairs in Latin America, where its skilled craftsmen expose all their crafts and fabrics recognized worldwide. In the afternoon we will have time for lunch and we’re visiting the towns of Cotacachi and San Antonio.
Once we’re done we’re returning to Quito. Accommodation in Quito.
5th Day. Towards the Amazon. Arrival at the Lodge.
We’re going to a whole different region in the Ecuadorian territory, the Amazon. Once we arrive at the lodge, located at the mouth of the Pusuno Bajo River, our Staff will be waiting for you, to help you with your bags. Once you arrive at the lodge, you will be welcome with a Cocktail and our lodge manager will give you a short talk about the place and its facilities. Then your room will be shown and we will go to the restaurant to start with the Welcome Lunch.
In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the jungle, observing the flora and fauna with our native guides through an extensive system of trails full of wildlife in what many consider the most biologically diverse area in the entire Amazon. Here you can take walks of different degrees of difficulty that can vary between 1 and 3 hours. An entertaining walk through the giant trees such as the Ceibo or the Strangler Fig, among the most representative, along with some other plant and animal species that can be seen.
At the end of our tour we find one of the sandy beaches on the rivers, here we can cool off in its waters and relax enjoying the sunset in the jungle, while we float down buoys along the river.
During the dinner, together with the guide they will agree on the activities for the next day. After dinner, depending on the weather and the desire of the group, you can coordinate short activities, such as a night walk, light a fire to listen to the wildlife around the lodge or coordinate the bird watching tours in the mornings. Many guests prefer to rest in the lounge accompanied by a cold drink or instead take a relaxing massage in the spa!
6th Day. OPTION A: Rayucocha Waterfall. In the morning after our breakfast. We will get the rubber boots ready to move to one of the hidden waterfalls deep in the tropical forest. We will make a walk to the parking lot to make a rowing canoe crossing, we will take a taxi to make a 45-minute tour. Then we walk for 20 minutes to the Quichua bridge and arrive at the Stone Plate. In this walk through the primary forest we will find several species of flora and fauna. With a little luck we can observe monkeys through the trees and lots of birds, which will be detailed by our native guide. We will enjoy a box lunch; after this we move to the viewpoint of the Rayucocha waterfall located in one of the buffer zones of the Sumaco – Napo Galeras National Park.
We can do 42-meter-tall rappelling (Optional, cost $ 20) or skirt behind the waterfall, bring your bath suit to enjoy a refreshing swim. The beauty of the environment, which mixes the sounds of the jungle with the force of the fall of the water, makes the place a spectacular site. Then we return to the lodge, (optional return by bicycle, it costs $ 15 per person). Typical dinner and campfire.
6th Day. OPTION B: Wildlife. After breakfast, we will cross the river in paddle canoes, to go downstream where we will embark a motorized canoe, crossing the wonderful Ecuadorian jungle in the waters of the imposing Napo River. The canoe is covered, in case of bad weather, like rain or strong sun.
Next to the banks of the Arajuno River, there is the famous wildlife refuge known as “Amazoonico”. This is a center specialized in the rescue of Amazonian wild animals for their conservation and reintegration into their natural habitat. It is a great opportunity to observe creatures such as coatis, toucans, parrots, parrots, tapirs, jaguars, a wide variety of birds, anacondas, snakes and several species of monkeys, many of which roam freely in a habitat very close to the natural, which is more difficult to achieve in totally wild conditions because they tend to be very elusive.
After lunch, a short boat trip will take you to know how a typical Quichua family lives in its natural and historical environment. You can learn about various aspects of the culture and learn about the blowgun, an important weapon that was once used by the people of the jungle, everyone can participate in a target shooting contest, but don’t expect to beat the natives!
Finally, get ready for the alligator watching experience in the lagoon, with our local guides, who know how to find them and their sounds to call them. Back in the afternoon we will see the Amazonian sunset and people washing gold on the banks of the river, we will stop to look closely at the technique with which they extract the gold from the river.
In the evening after a delicious dinner and if conditions permit you can enjoy new and exciting nighttime activities. This forest is full of thousands of species and there are wonderful views and sounds for everyone.
7th Day. Chocolate Route. After breakfast, discover why Ecuador is the best place to enjoy chocolate to the fullest. This is a space created to keep alive the ancestral culture of production of fine aroma cocoa, the management of the “chacras” agricultural plantations and the techniques of artisanal elaboration that after their cultivation, drying and grinding will be transformed into a delicious chocolate. Customs used with cocoa beans or “gold nuggets”. Feel how this fruit dominates your senses!
Learn about the native Quichua communities of the east, their customs and way of life. As well as the way in which they live with the forest that is their source of survival since ancient times. We will see their trees and medicinal plants, and the utility they give to each of them. In addition, you can see how local women make their naturally fermented beverage “La Chicha de Yuca”. Fishing and gold laundering are other local customs that will be explained, in this interesting visit to one of the communities that live on the banks of the Napo River.
We will check out and continue to the city of Tena. Then, we’re returning to Quito city so there we could start our next big adventure, but you’ll need to rest and recover! That’s why you will have a free day in Quito once you arrive. Accommodation.
8th Day. The Quilotoa Lagoon (The most famous turquoise lagoon in the world).
Our tour will start very early, we will have breakfast and check-out at the hotel in Quito; so then we could go to the Quilotoa Lagoon (3,914 meters above sea level), the popularity of Quilotoa is due to the beauty of its places and the spectacle of calm waters. In the community of Quilotoa, visitors can do ecological tourism and adventure with a high dose of adrenaline or simply contemplate the nearby landscapes.
You can have the option of walking in the surroundings from the top of the Lagoon to see the beauty of Quilotoa or get off and ascend by mule. Typical lunch in the surroundings.
During a beautiful excursion through the lagoon, in approximately 30 minutes we will reach the shore of the lagoon. The ascent to the top takes more time, (you can choose to transport yourself in mules to reach the top of the lagoon at an additional cost).
On the top you can enjoy the beautiful landscape; The breathtaking landscapes are a delight for photography lovers.
This place is also close to what many researchers consider the last home of the Inca Atahualpa, so this was the last sacred form of the Incas. Visiting Quilotoa is an extraordinary experience! We will then stay the night in the city of Alausí. Welcome dinner and accommodation.
Clothing: Jacket for cold weather, walking shoes, hat, sunscreen (SPF 70 at least), sunglasses, photo camera, cash and insect repellent.
Altitude: It varies from 2,340 to 1,400 meters above sea level. The temperature ranges from 15º to 25ºC.
9th Day. Traveling “La Nariz del Diablo”
(The Devil’s Nose) by train.
Breakfast. From the hotel we will leave to take the tourist train that will take us to travel the route “La Nariz del Diablo”. An important note about the railroad is that the biggest complication faced by its construction was “La Nariz del Diablo”, a mountain with almost perpendicular walls. To overcome this obstacle, a zig-zag track was built that exceeds a height of 500 meters in 12.5 km of vertiginous ups and downs. Today is still an impressive piece of engineering.
As you go along the amazing journey, you will enjoy the view of the narrow gorge of the Chanchán River and have the opportunity to learn a little about the traditions of the Puruhuas in Sibambe. The trip will be from 11:00 to 13:30. Upon arrival we will visit the local Museum in Sibambe, here we will be welcomed with a national folk dance.
Lunch in the surroundings. We will return to the hotel to rest. Free afternoon.
Accommodation in Alausí.
10th Day. Alausí – Ingapirca Ruins – Cuenca.
Breakfast early in the morning so we could start with our next trip, this time, destnation is Cuenca. On the way we’ll stop at the Ingapirca Ruins, in the province of Cañar.
This is an archeological complex of Inca origin. It’s located 3.160 meters above sea level, Ingapirca is the Inca sacred place in Ecuador. It’s considered the country’s most important pre columbian archeological site and the best conserved architectural ensemble in Ecuador. This construction is a magnificent example of what the Cañari-Inca culture was.
It has an extention of four hectares and it was an importan religious, politic, scientific, military, and administrative spot during the Inca conquest. Lunch in the surroundings.
Once we finish this tour, we would be finishing our journey arriving in Cuenca, where you will check-in at the hotel and you will be able to relax as you please with the rest of the day off. Accommodation in Cuenca.
11th Day. Day off in Cuenca.
Free day to enjoy this magic city .
12th Day. Stay in Guayaquil, The Pearl of the Pacific.
Breakfast and check-out at the hotel in Cuenca. We’re starting this day early in the morning going to the beautiful city of Guayaquil. As soon as you arrive you will have the opportunity to settle in your hotel. You will have a free afternoon so they can enjoy the benefits of the city and save energy for our next adventure in the Galapagos Islands.
Anyways, VIVAECUADOR recommends you to take a city tour in this marvelous city as an option for this day, in which you could go to downtown Guayaquil. Our first stop will be at the Seminario Park (Seminary Park), also called Simón Bolívar Park, in addition to admiring its beautifully decorated gardens and artificial lagoon, we will discover why this park is popularly known as the “Iguana park”. With the Cathedral of Guayaquil as a backdrop, we will look closely at the exotic iguanas of Guayaquil, which can measure up to a meter long and are one of the main tourist attractions of the city. Then we will start a private panoramic tour of the city of Guayaquil. We will visit the main streets and avenues of the city. While we cross the popular Malecón 2000, we will see a variety of museums, gardens, docks and observation points. We will know the Guayas River, a site that has become the most visited place in Guayaquil.
We will also arrive at the Hemiciclo de la Rotonda (Roundabout Hemicycle), where the monument of the liberators of South America is erected, we will know the history of the famous “Interview of Guayaquil” that took place in 1822 between the liberator Simón Bolívar and the Argentine hero, José de San Martín. We will go to the oldest part of the city to explore the colonial neighborhood of Las Peñas, this place is adorned by its colorful wooden houses that represent true works of art.
Accommodation in Guayaquil.
LOCATION: It is located in the Gulf of Guayaquil, south of the Guayas Province.
TEMPERATURE: It has an average temperature of 25 ° C. It is a hot and humid city in time that goes from January to May.
ALTITUDE: It has an approximate height of 6 m above sea level.
13rd Day. Towards the Galapagos Islands, the Enchanted Islands.
Flight Guayaquil – Baltra. Accommodation in rooms and lunch.
In the afternoon you will take a taxi-boat from the Port that leaves you on the path that takes you to Finch Bay Beach, a small, but very beautiful beach of fine sand, following the route you will arrive at Las Grietas, an impressive rock formation that filters the sea water and gives rise to a huge natural pool of brackish water, an impressive landscape, you can swim among thousands of colorful fish easily visible by the crystal clear water. Return, dinner and accommodation.
14th Day. Tortuga Bay Beach and Isabela Island.
Breakfast at 07:30 am, you will do the morning exercises on the 45-minute walk to the most beautiful beach in the South Pacific, Tortuga Bay Beach, fine white sand like talcum powder, a turquoise pool, black iguana colonies … the coolest thing of the world. Lunch and navigation to Isabela Island, room delivery and visit to Playa Grande until the sun goes down. Accommodation and dinner.
15th Day. Sierra Negra Volcano and Poza de Flamingos.
Breakfast at 06:00 a.m. The tour starts early in the morning, our transport will take you to the starting point of the trek, which is 30 minutes from Puerto Villamil, where you continue along the path that leads to the Sierra Negra Volcano, the walk lasts approximately 4 hours, most of the trail is flat, with few ups and downs. When you are entering the Volcano, you will realize that it is still active and there are many holes that feel hot when you enter your hand. At the end of the tour you will reach one of the most fascinating viewpoints of this island.
In the afternoon, you will take a walking tour through the Poza de Flamingos, Puerta del Jeli and Poza Baltazar, until you reach the Arnaldo Tupiza Terrestrial Turtle Breeding Center, here you can see the giant Galapagos turtles from the small to the huge ones of over 150 years old Dinner and accommodation.
16th Day. Snorkeling in Pearl Shell.
Breakfast at 07:30 am, overlooking the Concha de Perla Beach, an incredible place to snorkel, where all passengers will have their snorkeling gear and life jacket. Upon returning to the hotel, your bags will be ready to sail to Santa Cruz. Dinner.
17th Day. The science behind the Enchanted Islands and return to the city of origin.
Breakfast at 07:30 am. Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Departure to the airport, on the tour there will be a technical stop to visit The Twin Craters, two huge crater holes located at the highest point of the Island, continue your trip to Baltra, flight back to the city of origin.
NOTE: VivaEcuador recommends that you stay an additional night in the city of Quito or Guayaquil (depending on your flight) before traveling to your place of origin, as this can help with the coordination of your return flight schedules.
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