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The Andean Trail

Itinerary:
Day 01 Cotopaxi Volcano:
South down the "Avenue of the Volcanoes” will bring you to the Cotopaxi National Park. You will make a stop at the visitor center "Campamento Mariscal Sucre" to visit the natural history museum. After that you will drive to the lagoon Limpiopungo crossing the wide high plateau at the slopes of Cotopaxi Volcano. During an easy hike around the lagoon you get to know the typical vegetation of the Andean highlands and watch out for the local birds as the Andean humming bird and the condor. After the hike you continue to the rustic mountain refuge Tambopaxi on the high plateau. Here you will have lunch with simply stunning of the glacier of Cotopaxi Volcano and the wide plains of the nature park. In the afternoon you will cross the high plain to an old ritual place of the Incas, from which you have an excellent view on the surrounding mountains: Ruminahui, Sincholagua and of course the Cotopaxi Volcano. In the afternoon you will continue your travel to Ambato before you make a stop at Salasaca, a small indigenous community not too far from Baños. The Salasaca are fine crafts people who specialize in Ecuadorian textiles. Finally you will reach an Andean Hacienda situated in the valley of Patate, well known for its picturesque location. After having dinner, you’ll spend the night in one of its comfortable guest rooms, the cosy atmosphere guaranteeing a good rest. L/D
Day 02 The waterfall route – Puyo:
This morning you will continue driving on to the east through the “Avenue of the Waterfalls”, that follows Rio Pastaza on its way through the valley of the same name. In the village Rio Verde besides the river you will stop in order to visit the well-known waterfall El Pailon del Diablo. Then you will continue your journey passing a number of waterfalls until you reach Puyo, known as “The Gateway to the jungle”, that has sprung to life as a trading post for jungle communities. Near the town you visit the foundation “Yanacocha” where you can meet many of the monkey species that inhabit the rainforest. At the Yanacocha rescue center you can observe many more species of tropical animals including ocelots, parrots and caimans. With your visit you support the important work of these institutions while at the same time getting the great chance to observe and get close to some of the beautiful animals of the rainforest that otherwise are very hard to spot in the dense green of the jungle. In the afternoon you return to the Hacienda. B/L/D
Monday: Volcano Chimborazo – Riobamba
In this morning you leave the Hacienda and drive heading south and via the town of Ambato up towards the huge Volcano Chimborazo ( 20702 ft). Through a picturesque landscape, the road winds itself up, passing fields, valleys and Carihuayrazo volcano , to the wide high plain at the slopes of Chimborazo, where you will see llamas, which are still common working animals in this region. With a little bit of luck you also might see some Alpacas and even Vicuñas, the last ones live in a wide reserve near the Chimborazo. Passing this huge volcano you will reach the Chimborazo high plain. If you acclimatize yourself, you can hike up to the refuges up to 15748 ft or even 16404 ft and have lunch here. Later you descend to Riobamba, the capital of Chimborazo Province at9022 ft altitude. In the afternoon you explore Riobamba, especially its colourful and lively markets where you will have the chance to taste some of the tropical fruits like Granadilla (yellow passion fruit), Guaba fruit or Taxo. B/L
Day 04 Guamote Market – Ingapirca:
You leave Riobamba in the early morning following the Panamerican Highway further South to the little Andean village of Guamote. Guamote is a pleasant mountain town in the middle of the Chimborazo province surrounded by stunning mountains. The inhabitants of Guamote still live a very traditional life and their Thursday-market shows the colourful culture at its best. Looking onto the town from afar you are faced with a sea of red filling the streets, squares and public areas, produced by the arrival of the many indigenous people that come to the market, all donned in the traditional red ponchos. They come in their thousands to sell sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, llamas, potatoes, cereals, wool, handicrafts, clothing and tools. Others simply come out of custom and ancestral ritual to meet with friends and take advantage of this time to catch up on the newest chit-chat. The exchange of goods or bartering as a form of trade still exists in Guamote. In the afternoon you continue to the little Andean town of Cañar. In the afternoon you will reach the famous ‘Ingapirca’ ruins (Quichua for “wall rocks of the Inca”) the most important and well preserved of Ecuador’s Inca ruins situated to the North of Cuenca. There you can wander around the beautiful site and imagine the scenes prior to the Spanish conquest. A visit to the museum will reveal further details of life there at the end of the 15th Century. The last stage to Cuenca takes a further 2 hours. B/L/D
Day 05: Colonial City Cuenca:
The rising morning sun will surely shine a mystic light on the colonial town of Cuenca and provide a good reason to make a photo. Today you will explore the colonial part of Cuenca; the third largest city that Ecuador offers you to admire a great colonial and republican architecture. Archaeological and ethnographical sites, sacred art museums and markets, Churches, many art and craft shops and a flower market are here found. All this is located amongst beautiful old houses, ornately painted and decorated, in an area that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Cuenca is considered Ecuador’s cultural metropolis, and also the arts and crafts centre of the country. The city and the surrounding countryside are fantastic places to buy ceramics, embroidery, leather goods and baskets. Explore the city and take the opportunity to look for a unique souvenir. At midday you will feast on local cuisine in a typical restaurant of the town, after which you will take your flight back to Quito (end of services). B/L

B: Breakfast / L: Lunch / D: Dinner

Departures Monday (or any other day without the visit of Guamote market)


Contact Ecuador Travel

Prices 2017 per person (minimum 02 people):

3* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1150,-
Single room supplement: US$ 84,-

4* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1245,-
Single room supplement: US$ 103,-

5* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1488,-
Single room supplement: US$ 385,-

(NB: Where no 5* hotel accommodation is available, accommodation will be in the best available rooms)

Prices include: All transfers in private transportation, flight Cuenca – Quito, excursions and overland tours as mentioned in the program, accommodation based on double rooms in hotels & haciendas of the chosen category, meals according to the itinerary description (B: breakfast, L: Lunch/Box Lunch D: Dinner), entrance fees, bilingual guide (Spanish/English – other languages upon request) during the round trip.

Not included in the price: Beverages, extra charge for single rooms, international airport tax (Quito ca. US$ 43 / Guayaquil ca. US$ 28), personal equipment and items, tips, travel insurance and luggage, anything not mentioned in the program.

Please note that the category-stars given for the accommodations are estimated as local categories do not fit international standards. Local categories are in all cases equal or higher then the ones given above.

NB: Please read all itineraries as a guide only. All routes and programs can change without notice due to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and the wildlife encountered during the travel. Flexibility is the key to the success of any tour. Nevertheless the safety and the interest of our passengers is always our first priority.


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