ECUADOR

  

 

 

 

 

 

Few countries in the world offer the wide range of attractions that the traveller may discover in Ecuador. Although one of the smaller South American countries, Ecuador is nonetheless one of the most beautiful and fascinating. Taking its name from the Equator which runs across its northern provinces, this diverse country stretches from Darwin's Galapagos Islands to the Amazon basin.   
  
Ecuador features classic colonial cities, extraordinary Andean scenery, fine hotels and a friendly population of 8,000,000. It's appealing vertical climate offers every imaginable temperature from crisp cold nights in the high mountain cities to the often sweltering tropics in the Amazon and Pacific low lands.  

No trip to Ecuador would be complete without a visit to Quito, Ecuador's capital. Once part of the Inca empire and later colonised by Spain, the city has retained the flavour and charm of both civilisations. Nestled in the valley and surrounded by the imposing Andes Mountains, it is a beautiful reminder of days gone by.  

The country's uniqueness extends to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific 966 km due west from the South American mainland where a timeless unchanging environment has created nature's most intriguing natural laboratory. Nowhere can you experience the wonders of wildlife as in Ecuador's Galapagos where animals have no fear of man. 

  

 

QUITO

3 days / 2 nights 
 
  

 

Day 1: Quito

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  

Day 2: Quito

Morning at leisure. Afternoon city tour of Quito including a drive along La Ronda and Avenida 24 de Mayo, the La Compania Church with its golden altars and, the colonial section.  

Day 3: Quito

Transfer for onward travel.  

 

ECUADORIAN RAIL ADVENTURE 

2 days / 1 night (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays)  

Day 1: Quito - Riobamba

In one scenery packed day you travel to the rooftop of Ecuador, experiencing many scenic splendours as you climb the Andean highlands by rail, skirting the foothills of snow capped mountains, passing through fertile green valleys and stopping at Latacunga Market. Lunch on board then arrive in Riobamba for a tour of the city. (L)  

Day 2: Riobamba - Quito

Return the next morning by road, stopping at Guano (famous for its homemade rugs) and Ambato before returning to Quito and transfer for onward travel. (L)  

 

QUITO TO CUENCA EXPRESS - THE DEVIL'S NOSE RAILWAY

4 days / 3 nights (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays)  

Day 1: Quito - Riobamba

Early departure by bus through the Avenue of Volcanoes to Latacunga for a stop in this picturesque Indian market (on Thursday visit Saquisili Market). Lunch at a local Hosteria prior to continuing through Ambato and Guano to Riobamba, to see the town and its Religious Art Museum.  

Day 2: Riobamba - El Tambo

Depart for Alausi to board the train to Cuenca. Ride the Devil's Nose switchback to Sibambe and end in El Tambo where you rejoin your bus to visit the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, with its sun temples and fortresses.  

Day 3: El Tambo

Full day excursion visiting Cuenca with its colonial buildings and craft markets (famous for the Panama hat made in Ecuador!).  

Day 4: El Tambo - Cuenca

Transfer for onward travel.  

 

OTAVALO INDIAN MARKET 

2 days / 1 night  

Day 1: Quito - Otavalo

Pick up at your hotel for a three hour drive north through dramatic scenery to Otavalo. Visit the Otavalo community, the nearby wood carving centre of San Antonio de Ibarra, and Lake San Pablo.  

Day 2: Otavalo - Quito

Early this morning visit the Plaza de Armas (Town Square) in Otavalo for the Indian market. Here there are colourful quality ponchos and woollen goods, Indian jewellery and straw hats. Excellent shopping and photographic opportunities. Practise your bartering skills. After lunch return to Quito and transfer for onward travel. (L)  

 

GUAYAQUIL

2 days / 1 night  

Day 1: Guayaquil

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Optional tour of the city includes Simon Bolivar Park, waterfront and Santa Ana Fort.  

Day 2: Guayaquil 

Transfer for onward travel.  

 

INDIAN MARKETS

There is an Indian market almost every day of the week and always the lively centres of commerce and compatibility with a myrid of sights, sounds and smells. All the vendors with ponchos and hats, native to their regions, come from miles around on foot and donkey, in carts and trucks and business begins at sunrise. In the weekly exchange of local produce and gossip, the plazas are full with animals, flowers, produce, pottery, housewares and handicrafts.  
  • Saturday: Otavalo Market, Latacunga Market 
  • Sunday: Pujili Market, Salcedo Market 
  • Monday: Ambato Market 
  • Tuesday: Latacunga Market 
  • Wednesday: Pujili Market, Ambato Market 
  • Thursday: Saquisili Market 
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    CUENCA

    2 days / 1 night  

    Day 1: Cuenca

    On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The afternoon city tour will show you the town of Cuenca including the Catedral del Carmen, colonial ruins and handicraft markets.  

    Day 2: Cuenca

    Optional tour to Gualeceo, set in a valley of rich plantation lands, where you will find handicrafts including the famed Panama Hat. Transfer for onward travel.  

     

    ECUADORIAN JUNGLE ADVENTURES

    Travellers with a sense of adventure will especially enjoy Ecuador's Amazon Basin Oriente. Travel in safety with naturalist guides, and visit areas, rarely seen by man, that are home to exotic birds and wildlife. Visit Indian villages and overnight in jungle lodges or Flotel Orellana, whichever you choose. You can walk through primeval forest and travel by dugout canoe, through lush tropical jungles whilst enjoying one of the richest complex ecosystems on earth.  

     

    QUITO - MISAHUALLI

    3 days / 2 nights  

    Day 1: Quito - Anaconda Island.

    Departing Quito, cross the fertile valley of Tumbaco towards the Amazon Basin. Stop at Baeza, Archidona and Tena then Puerto Misahualli before continuing down the Napo River by motorised canoe towards Anaconda Island for overnight in a rustic lodge. (L,D)  

    Day 2: Anaconda Island.

    Morning hike through jungle to visit Ahuano to see the local witch doctor practising medicine with various natural ingredients. Be taught blow gun skills by the Pucunero (hunter), with afternoon dugout canoe rides to the Napo and nearby rivers. (B,L,D)  

    Day 3: Anaconda Island - Quito.

    Early departure by motorised canoe to Puerto Misahualli before connecting with your bus through Puyo to Banos. Return to Quito via Ambato and the Avenue of Volcanoes. Transfer for onward travel. (B,L)  

     

    QUITO/AMBATO/BANOS

    4 days / 3 nights  

    Day 1: Quito - Puyo.

    Travel overland on the Pan American Highway through the Avenue of Volcanoes to Ambato then to Banos. Proceed by spectacular road to the Amazon Basin viewing waterfalls and orchids enroute to Puyo. (L,D)  

    Day 2: Anaconda Island.

    Today continue overland to Misahualli, and depart by motorised canoe to Anaconda Island for a relaxing day and jungle hikes. Overnight in a rustic lodge. (B,L,D)  

    Day 3: Anaconda Island.

    Morning trek through jungle with naturalist guide. Afternoon visit local witch doctor and practise your blow gun technique prior to returning to lodge. (B,L,D)  

    Day 4: Anaconda Island - Quito.

    Return to Misahualli by motorised canoe and observe Indians panning for gold and spear fishing in the river. En route to Quito visit the Umbuni waterfalls. Transfer for onward travel. (B)  

     

    LA SELVA LODGE

    4 days / 3 nights  

    Day 1: (Wed.) Quito - Selva Lodge.

    Fly from Quito to Coca. On arrival in the jungle frontier town you are met by the Selva staff and travel by motorised dugout canoe for 3 hours down the Napo River, then take a short walk by jungle path to board paddle canoes for the trip to Garzacocha Lake and the Selva Lodge (30 min.). Selva Lodge is the perfect place to experience the jungle in a traditional style of the region. Here a short briefing of the complex, the activities and then lunch (you will be hungry). A short trek with naturalist guides prior to dinner and briefing of the next day's activities. (L,D)  

    Days 2 & 3: (Thu. & Fri.) Selva Lodge.

    Each group follows instructions from its assigned guide and chooses from activities involving swimming, fishing, canoeing, trekking on jungle trails through primary forests and lakes. You can expect to see trees that bleed, medicine plants, flowers of all kinds, electric blue butterflies, 500 plus species of birds, as well as monkeys, tapir, jaguar, deer, caiman and piranha. (B,L,D)  

    Day 4: (Sat.) Selva Lodge - Quito.

    Early departure by motorised canoe to Coca for your flight to Quito. (B)  

     

    LA SELVA LODGE

    5 days / 4 nights  

    Program also available Saturdays to Wednesdays.  

     

    ECUADORIAN JUNGLE ADVENTURE, FLOTEL ORELLANA 

    4 days / 3 nights Departs every Tuesday from Quito.  

    Day 1: (Tue.) Quito - Flotel Orellana.

    Morning flight from Quito to Lake Agrio. You will be met and transferred to the Flotel Orellana. Especially designed to navigate the Amazon tributaries, the Flotel is a three deck, 40 mt floating hotel with upper and lower bunks, all with private bath and shower and oscillating fans, large sundecks and community rooms and naturalist guide for activities. (L,D)  

    Day 2: (Wed.) Flotel Orellana.

    Full day excursion with the naturalist guide by motorised canoe to the Pacuyacu River. After dinner a chance for a nocturnal excursion. (B,L,D)  

    Day 3: (Thu.) Flotel Orellana.

    Explore the jungle at close hand during an overland hike, to observe the Cofan Indian community. (B,L,D)  

    Day 4: (Fri.) Flotel Orellana - Quito.

    Return transfer for your flight back to Quito. (B)  

     

    FLOTEL ORELLANA

    5 days / 4 nights  

    Program also available Fridays to Tuesdays.