Great Ecuador

ECU-41 / 24-day trip with 8-day Galapagos cruise

Great Ecuador
OVERVIEW

Intro


Day 1 Arrival in Quito
Day 2 Quito: Full day City tour with “Mitad del Mundo”
Day 3 Quito – Lago Agrio – Cuyabeno
Day 4 Cuyabeno
Day 5 Cuyabeno
Day 6 Cuyabeno – Quito
Day 7 Mindo: Chocolate, Butterflies & Orchids
Day 8 Mindo – Otavalo
Day 9 Otavalo – “Volcano Avenue”
Day 10 Quilotoa Crater lake – Baños
Day 11 Baños
Day 12 Baños – Riobamba
Day 13 Riobamba – Alusi – Ingapirca – Cuenca
Day 14 Cuenca
Day 15 Visit to National Park “Las Cajas” – Guayaquil
Day 16-22 GYE – GAL: Galapagos Cruise with Eden Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos 1
Day 23 Galapagos – Quito
Day 24 Quito – Transfer out
ITINERARY
Day 1

Arrival in Quito
Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Quito: Full day City tour with “Mitad del Mundo”
Full day private city tour in the historical part of Quito, including La Basilica Church, La Compañia Church and El Panecillo Hill. We leave the hotel by our private transport and will see the transformation from the new part of the city to the absolutely beautiful historical and colonial part of Quito. We will make some stops during the tour and visit all the interesting churches, plazas etc., but also will have time to simply soak up the local atmosphere, the many shops and sellers. Afterwards, we continue to “El Panecillo”, the hill in the center of Quito overlooking the city and the historical center. From here, on clear days, we may observe several of the snow-capped volcanoes surrounding Quito.
 After lunch, visit to “Mitad del Mundo” where you can stand on the equatorial line and do some fun experiments.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Quito – Lago Agrio – Cuyabeno
Transfer to airport in Quito and fly to Lago Agrio. In Lago Agrio you are picked up by the Siona Lodge-bus (it is easy, because the airport is very small) for a 1.5 hour drive East towards the border of the Cuyabeno Reserve. On the way, you will see clear signs of an increasing population in these tropical areas, and of the oil industry dominating the area. At the “puente”, the bridge from where we go by canoe to the Reserve, we will first enjoy a lunch in a small, local restaurant. After a minute in the canoe, you are in the wilderness, with chances to see small anaconda snakes, squirrel monkeys as well as other monkeys species, and lots of kingfishers, herons, cormorants etc. Upon arrival at the lodge, check in and briefing about the next days activities.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Cuyabeno
Full day jungle activities, including a highly exciting walk in the jungle (rubber boots are supplied) and a sail around the absolutely stunning lagoons viewing wildlife and the scenery. Afternoon perhaps fishing for piranhas/pirañas and searching for pink river dolphins. Opportunity for a swim in the lagoon at sunset with the other visitors in Cuyabeno. After or before dinner, we can take a night-walk in the jungle near the lodge to spot all the creepy night-life.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Cuyabeno
Full day jungle activities including a full day trip to the local Siona community. We will take a beautiful long canoe-ride to the area where the local people have their two communities, farming the area and fishing in the river. We visit a local family who will show us how to make yuca-bread and give us an idea of how their life is. Perhaps a visit to the local shaman. We will enjoy our picnic-lunch before returning along the river keeping an eye out for dolphins, parrots, monkeys and much more.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Cuyabeno – Quito
Transfer by canoe to Lago Agrio and afternoon flight to Quito. Transfer to hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Mindo: Chocolate, Butterflies & Orchids
Day tour to visit the Chocolate farm, the Butterfly reserve and the Orchid farm.
 Take off from Quito after breakfast. We head to cloud forest and Mindo, where the chocolate factory is located. From here we combine the visit with a tour to the “Butterfly reserve”, a beautiful little farm where they breed about 20 different species of butterflies. Visitors witness the whole process of the birth and flight of these lovely creatures.
 Then we go to chocolate factory – here you will have around an hour of explanation of the process of harvesting and processing of cacao, with tasting of flavors and other interesting things.
 Finally we go to the Orchid farm, which houses a fascinating collection of about 200 different species. This farm also has a small view point for bird watching and especially to observe hummingbirds. The night will be spent in Mindo.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 8

Mindo – Otavalo
After breakfast, the tour continues to the Otavalo Indian Market and Cuicocha Crater Lake. We leave Mindo and have an approximately three hour drive to Otavalo. The drive is fascinating, as we travel through the relatively dry areas caused by the “rain-shadow” of the volcanoes, and it is easy to observe the sediments suggesting the formation of this part of the Andes. We cross the Equatorial line and soon pass into the lush Otavalo region, where the Otavalo Indians have managed to continue their proud traditions. This valley is very beautiful, surrounded by smaller volcanoes and lakes. We visit the Otavalo market where you will find all sorts of souvenirs, but it is perhaps even more interesting simply to watch the local people and the daily life. Afterwards, we’ll continue to Cotacachi, a small village known for its handcrafting of leather goods. Before heading to the Hacienda, we’ll visit the beautiful Cuicocha Crater Lake, where you will enjoy a stunning view of the lake and the green mountains surrounding it. Arrival at the Hacienda by the end of the day, where you will have a nice dinner.
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9

Otavalo – “Volcano Avenue”
The departure will be after breakfast, as we head from Otavalo to the Antisana Ecological Reserve. Antisana is a Statovolcano in the “Volcano Avenue” north of Quito. It’s not only the fourth highest mountain in Ecuador and a popular challenge amongst climbers from all over the world, but also an excellent place to enjoy the characteristic landscapes of the tropical volcanoes. The evergreen forests, moors and grasslands comprise the vegetation.
During the visit to the Antisana Natural Park we will visit the Mica Lake to observe the flora and fauna.
After the tour to the Antisano, we head for the traditional hacienda Cienaga where we will spend the night.
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10

Quilotoa Crater Lake – Baños
Your guide will pick you up after breakfast. First stop is Pujili town (if it’s a Thursday we will visit the Saquisili market before going to Pujili). We will continue to the Tigua town, where we will visit a traditional indigenous house with guinea pigs at 3800 m. Afterwards a visit to see the local handicrafts of Tigua (optional visit to the indigenous people of Tigua). We will continue to Zumbagua town – if it’s a Saturday we will be able to see the Zumbagua Indigenous fair, where we can see lots of animals, fruits and vegetables. We will continue our journey to the Quilotoa crater (20 min drive) and will make a stop to see the erosion of the Quilotoa crater. We arrive at 11-12 in the morning to the viewpoint at 3900 m. From here we take a hike down to the lake at 3500 m. Once back to the viewpoint you will find plenty of restaurants for lunch. In the afternoon we will continue to Baños.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 11

Baños
After breakfast we will visit the waterfalls avenue and will try the zip-line over the Pastaza River with a beautiful view of the waterfall “Manto de la Novia”. On the other side of the river we will hike through the orchards and gardens of the peasants, and the trip continues until we reach the big waterfall “Pailon del Diablo”. Return to Baños, free afternoon.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 12

Baños – Riobamba
We leave Baños and drive until we reach Ambato city. Here we will visit the market of the city, “Mercado mayorista”, full of exciting colors, flavors and smells. We continue from Ambato to Guaranda, where we can see the beautiful colors of the mountains of the Ecuadorian Andes. Once we reach the Chimborazo lands we will see the particular vicuñas until we arrive to the Carriel reserve (4800m) in our vehicle. Short hike to the Whimper refuge, at 5000 m, and in the afternoon we will go down to Riobamba city. Night in Hacienda on the outskirts of Riobamba.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 13

Riobamba – Alusi – Ingapirca – Cuenca
We start in Riobamba and will drive to Alausí, 84 km to the south of Riobamba, a small valley attractive to tourists for it’s train trip through the Devil´s Nose. (This train trip is not included, but it can be arranged with good time in advance.) Devil’s Nose is a massive nose-shaped rock, with the train running along the slopes until it reaches a point where zig-zags and descends 100 m. Like entering a time machine, traveling by train is a unique experience (for fans of vertigo). It is a magnificent piece of engineering, and unique in the world.

We continue the journey to the ruins of Ingapirca. In this complex you can appreciate the different architectural features, including the Temple of the Sun with its elliptical shape 37 m long and 12 m wide. It was used for the ceremonies and rituals of the Cañari-Inca culture. In addition, you can observe the oldest building in Ingapirca during our afternoon arrival in the beautiful city of Cuenca.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 14

Cuenca
City Tour in Cuenca. The tour starts in the colonial part which is surrounded by history. One of the main attractions is the Tomebamba River, running through the downtown, with old houses that tower above the grassy riverside. Walk through the central plaza, the Calderon Park, and visit the new cathedral, whose construction in pink marble and beautiful stained glass windows is breathtaking. The same park is crossed to see the old cathedral which was renovated for the visit of Pope Juan Pablo II in 1985. Visit to the Monastery of El Carmen and the Immaculate Conception, the monument of “El Rollo del Vecino” and the church of San José de la Merced. At the end of our tour we will make a visit to the viewpoint of Turi and then return to the hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 15

Visit to National Park “Las Cajas” – Guayaquil
This trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil is magical, as we can see the changes of the climatic floors in a few hours. We will visit the National Park Cajas – a glacial landscape with huge horseshoe-shaped valleys, remnants of an icy past. This park is the main source of drinking water for the city of Cuenca. The landscape dotted with more than two hundred blue lakes, one of the main attractions of the park in addition its flora, and the interesting polylepis forest, populated by a tree known for its particular bark that resembles paper. In the afternoon we reach the southern point of the Ecuadorian coast, where we will see the great tropical crops of fruits, bananas, cocoa, etc.
At the end of the day, transfer to hotel in Guayaquil.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 16 – 22

GYE – GAL: Galapagos: 8-day Cruise cruise-ship-
Galapagos Wildlife Cruise. We suggest a 8-day itinerary on the tourist superior yacht Eden, or any of our other cruises. (The itinerary below is for the Eden.) Transfer to airport by hotels shuttle bus and flight to Guayaquil and Galapagos. Upon arrival in Galapagos, the crew from the cruise will be waiting for you.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAYVISITOR SITES
1 - SunAM - Baltra Island Airport: Arrival and Transfer to the boatPM - Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
2 - MonAM - Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island)PM - The Barranco (Genovesa Island)
3 - Tues AM - Bartolome IslandPM - Sullivan Bay
4 - WedAM - Daphne Island / Black Turtle CovePM - Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz Island)
5 - ThursAM - Charles Darwin Research StationPM - Highlands of Santa Cruz Island
6 - FriAM - Cormoran Point / Devil´s CrownPM - Post Office Bay / Baroness Lookout
7 - SatAM - Suarez Point (Española Island)PM - Gardner Bay / Gardner Islet / Osborn Islet
8 - SunAM - Kicker Rock / Interpretation CenterTour Ends - Transfer to San Cristobal Airport
See detailed Itinerary for Eden 8-day cruise(pdf)

Day 23

Galapagos – Quito
End Galapagos tour and transfer to airport in Baltra. Flight to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, transfer to hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 24

Quito – Transfer out
Transfer to Airport and end of services.
Included meals: Breakfast

PRICING
ECU-41 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


INCLUDED

  • All transfers
  • English speaking guide during activities/tours
  • All activities/tours in private services except following tours (shared services): Tour to Siona Lodge (max 12 pax per guide)
  • Entrance fees (except Galapagos Entrance fee)
  • Domestic flight: Quito – Lago Agrio – Quito
  • Hotels according to “hotel list”  (the availability will be confirmed at the moment of the booking)
  • Meals as described in the itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • International & domestic flight to Galapagos
  • Fee to Siona community (USD 5 per person)
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Galapagos entrance fees: Galapagos Park Entrance fee (100 USD), Ingala (20 USD) and Isabela Island Local Taxes  (10 USD)
  • Galapagos Cruise (price depends on length and final choice of cruise – see options here)
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Everything not mentioned in the included list
HOTEL LIST

QUITO: Hostal Fuente de Piedra

AMAZONAS: Siona Lodge

MINDO: El Abrazo Del Arbol

OTAVALO: Hacienda Pinsaqui

“VOLCANO AVENUE”: Hacienda Cienaga

RIOBAMBA: Hacienda Abraspungo

BAÑOS: Hotel Isla del Baños

CUENCA: Hotel Inca Real

GUAYAQUIL: Hotel Ramada

MAPS

Overview:


Continent:


Galapagos:

GALLERY
Tags: Nature & Culture, Ecuador, Amazonas, Galapagos Cruises, Quito, Cruise, Mindo, Baños