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The Andes of Ecuador

07 days of adventures along the equator line

Ecuador is a small country dispersed north and south along the equator line in the west of the South American continent. In spite of its relatively small size the fascination to travel seems to be particularly great in Ecuador, as numerous visits from some of the World's most famous travelers prove. Ecuador still provides many individual ways of travelling for the conscious traveler who will no longer follow the highway of mass tourism but local paths into a journey full of discovery, relaxation and adventure during which he really gets to know the destination of his choice.


Itinerary:
Day 01 Friday: Arrival in Quito – colonial and modern city in the Andes
Arrive in Quito, the capital of Ecuador that lies in 2800m altitude in the middle of the Andes. Assistance and transfer from the airport to your hotel. After a short break to recover from the travel and a first introduction to the country you get to explore this big city and learn something about its turbulent history.. This city tour covers the major colonial churches and monasteries in Quito such as La Catedral, La Compañia and San Francisco. Visit Independence Plaza flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Continue to the Church of San Francisco, one of the greatest religious buildings in South America. Its impressive façade and atrium lead to an opulent gold interior, a Baroque influence with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. You visit the historic colonial quarter of Quito, resplendent with its churches, gilded altars and religious sculptures and paintings dating from the 17th; 18th and 19th centuries. The tour continues through narrow streets, ancient colonial houses with Moorish-style arches and mysterious patios to El Panecillo, and a neutral vantage point for an overwhelming view of the city. From here you drive to the northern modern part of Quito to the city park “La Carolina” in order to visit the botanical garden of Quito where you will get a good impression of the great diversity of the Ecuadorian Flora. La Carolina Park is also a good place to watch the national sport Ecua-volley. L
Day 02 Saturday: Otavalo Indian Market

For centuries, regional markets have played an important role in Indian life, providing regular gathering places for trade and socializing. The colourful local markets of the Andean valleys are famous for their fine handicrafts. The Otavalo Indian market dates back to pre-Inca times and is famous for its textiles woven on back strap and shuttle looms. Here Otavaleños barter in silence, in marked contrast to the raucous noise of other markets. You will have time to visit the famous market and stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets filled with Otavalo Indians wearing blue ponchos, white trousers and long braided hair. After lunch you will walk to the waterfall of Peguche which is in a small nature sanctuary, and from there you will continue on to the San Pablo Lagoon. This area around the lake below the Imbabura volcano is the home of the Otavalo Indians. Following the ridge of the lake on an old cobblestone road through pastureland and fruitful fields you pass small villages still with Adobe houses inhabited by Indio farmers and art craftsmen. Clear mountain air and the wonderful sights on the landscape with the many small bird-rich side valleys as well as the enormous Cayambe in the background make this ride a genuine experience. In the late afternoon you return to Quito. B/L

Day 03 Sunday: Cotopaxi National Park

Today, following the Pan-American Highway South will bring you to the Cotopaxi National Park. You will make a stop at the visitor centre Campamento Mariscal Sucre to visit the natural history museum. After that you 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 eat lunch with great sights of the Lahar fields of the Cotopaxi Volcano and the wide expansion of the nature park. In the afternoon you cross the high plain to an old ritual place of the Incas, from which you have an excellent view across the high plain and the surrounding mountains Ruminahui, Sincholagua and of course the Cotopaxi Volcano. In the late afternoon you return to Quito. B/L

Day 04: Volcano Chimborazo – Riobamba

In the morning you leave the Hacienda and drive further south and via the town of Ambato up towards the huge Volcano Chimborazo ( 6310m ). Through a picturesque landscape the road winds itself up, passing fields, valleys and the volcano Carihuayrazo, to the wide high plain at the slopes of Chimborazo. Every now and then you see lamas, 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 latter ones live in a wide reserve near the Chimborazo. Passing this huge volcano you reach the Chimborazo high plain. If acclimatization permits you can hike up to the refuges up to 4800m or even 5000m and have lunch here. Later you descend to Riobamba, the capital of Chimborazo Province at 2750m 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 05 Tuesday: Ingapirca – Cuenca

You leave Riobamba in the early morning following the Panamerican Highway further south travelling through the Andean highlands. Near the Laguna de Colta you reach the little chapel of La Balbanera, the earliest church in Ecuador dating from August 15, 1535. from here you continue to Ingapirca to visit the famous ruins. The name Ingapirca means in the Quechua language „stonewall of the Incas; you can wander around the beautiful site, absorbing the history and also visit an informative museum. The last stage to Cuenca takes a further 2 hours. In the afternoon you will explore the colonial part of Cuenca; the third largest city Ecuador's offers you fantastic possibilities to admire 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 to be 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. B/L

Day 06 Wednesday: Guayaquil

In the morning you continue your travel down the western slopes of the Andes to Guayaquil; Ecuador’s largest city, which is also the financial, commercial and industrial centre of the country and the country’s biggest harbour. In the afternoon you take a stroll through the city. You visit the park Parque Seminario, which is a very popular meeting point for young people in love. Furthermore this little park is well-known for its land iguanas that are resting in the trees. Then you visit the Cathedral, built in the classical gothic style and walk to Guayaquil´s famous wide, tree-lined waterfront riverfront avenue „el Malecon“ that runs alongside the river Guayas. You visit the municipality, the “Palacio Municipal” and the “Palacio de Gobernacion” ( the Government Palace ). Right in front of the Palace is the Moorish clock tower La Torre Morisca, which has been constructed in the year 1843. The sights from its top make it worth the effort to climb its steep stairs. La Rotonda, is a statue that marks the meeting between Simon Bolivar and Jose San Martin in 1822. B/L

Day 07 Thursday: Transfer out
According to your travel plans we will accompany you to the airport and assist you taking your flight. B

B= breakfast; L= lunch/box lunch; D= dinner


Contact Ecuador Travel

Prices 2017 per person (minimum 02 people)

3* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1207,-
Single room supplement: US$ 124,-

4* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1341,-
Single room supplement: US$ 251,-

5* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1710,-
Single room supplement: US$ 542,-

(NB: Where no 5* hotel accommodation is available, accommodation will be in the best available rooms in 4* hotels)

Prices include: All transfers in private transportation, excursions and overland tours as mentioned above, 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 program has been organized to fit all activities. If you change the days (the program starts on a Friday) we will have to revise the program and changes may be necessary.

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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