Our Pure Ecuador tour is perfect for travellers looking to explore Ecuador off the beaten path. This tour will take you to some of the highlights including Quito and Cotopaxi, but you will also take some hikes in remote areas and experience the local life on markets and farms.
Day 1: Arrival at Quito - Cusin
Today you will arrive at Quito International Airport. Upon arrival, you will be met by a representative who will welcome you and you start your journey to Cusin, and proceed to your accommodation for leisure, dinner, and overnight at Hacienda Cusin.
Day 2: Cusin - Otavalo - Cuicocha Lake - Cusin
Today you will have an early start of the day, with a full day of activities. You will start with a short walk around the property prior to breakfast. After a delicious fresh farm breakfast, you will be heading out to explore more of the area and can choose to go for any of the following activities: Condor Huasi Project, gardens and lagoon, chapel, 60 km of self-guided trails, and 1,700 hectares of protected land, cheese factory, orchards, permaculture sustainable methods, milking experiences and foundation projects such as the community library and store with hand-embroidered products. After lunch, you will visit Otavalo city, famous for its Indigenous market that is held every day, the biggest is on Saturdays, an ancient tradition and cultural exchange site among the Otavalo community. Furthermore, you will visit the peaceful Cotacachi Village, famous for its leather, and meet the local craftsmen. After the last visit to the charming Cuicocha crater lagoon where you can hike around or take a boat for a trip around the lagoon (extra cost). In the afternoon you will head back to Hacienda Cusin for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Cusin - Quito
After breakfast, we invite you to explore the organic garden, where you can learn about all the ingredients you consume during the meals. You can explore the farm operation, feed baby calves, count sheep, talk to the vaqueros (local Cowboys), enjoy the embroidery museum, or relax in the garden before leaving Zuleta for Quito. After your morning farm activities, you will depart to the Middle of the World, where the equator line meets the prime meridian and the coordinates indicate point 0° 0’ 0”. You will also visit the Intiñan Museum, where you will learn more about the astronomical geography, and explanations of the importance of Ecuador’s geographical location. In the evening transfer to Hotel Patio Andaluz for leisure and overnight.
Day 4: Quito - Tandayapa
Leaving Quito we descend a scenic mountain road with forested mountains and beautiful views. Reaching the turn to Bellavista, you climb to the top of the mountain, again with fabulous views, where Bellavista lodge is perched. Settle into your room, enjoy our special breakfast and see the hummingbirds. Then you are invited to join the first hike into the forest. After a tasty lunch, you can take a guided hike with a Bellavista naturalist, or explore on your own. A guided hike will acquaint you with the exuberant vegetation (orchids, bromeliads, ferns, trees, etc) of the cloud forest, its bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment. The evening is relaxed; we recommend you take time to admire the incredible variety of moths, many of which are unknown to science. You can also look for night birds such as the Common Potoo! You then return to the lodge to enjoy a delicious dinner and overnight at Hotel Bellavista Cloud Forest.
Day 5: Tandayapa
After a refreshing night’s sleep, an early morning bird hike in the serene morning light is well worthwhile. At 8 am, our special Bellavista breakfast is served. Afterward, perhaps explore on your own, or go with a guide to a waterfall! Every hike reveals something new even for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the forest every day!! Lunch is served at 1 pm, and afterward, you choose whether you want to take a short hike or just relax while enjoying the flight and activity of the hummingbirds. In the evening it is possible to see night birds and more. In the evening, return to the lodge for dinner and overnight at Hotel Bellavista Cloud Forest.
Day 6: Tandayapa - Quito
Today will be another early wake-up call with a cup of coffee, you will walk down the road seeking mixed-species feeding flocks. After this morning activity, you will return to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, you will leave for the Copal Waterfall, which is a beautiful 2-hour-long hike that features a landscape of moss-covered trees, bromeliads, and orchids at every corner. The trail ends at a spectacular waterfall over 50 m high. You will return to the hotel by noon for check-out and enjoy your last meal at Mashpi before heading back to Quito at approximately 1:30 PM. Upon arrival in Quito, you will spend the rest of the afternoon free at leisure at Hotel Patio Andaluz.
Day 7: Quito - Cotopaxi
After breakfast you will be heading out for a historical city tour, you will explore the beautiful colonial center of Quito, with visits to Basilica Church, Plaza Grande, Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, Archbishop's Palace, and the San Francisco de Quito Church. You will walk through the lively colonial streets of the old town to visit other historical highlights. Visit the famous Panecillo Hill, from where you will have an amazing view of the city and see the contrast between colonial and modern Quito from above. One of the highlights of the city tour is the visit to La Compañia Church, considered to be a masterpiece of the baroque style. The facade is made of volcanic stone and the interior is all covered with gold. You will also head up to the Pichincha Volcano with the Teleferico. This cable car brings you up to an altitude of 4050 meters / 13287 ft, from where you have a spectacular view of the Ecuadorian capital and the valleys in the east. From this unique spot, you can perfectly see how Quito stretches from north to south and, on a clear day, you can even spot several volcanoes surrounding the city. In the afternoon you will be transferred to Cotopaxi for your overnight stay at Hacienda El Porvenir.
Day 8: Cotopaxi National Park - Quilotoa - Cotopaxi
Early morning you will leave for an exciting adventure to one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, the elegant Cotopaxi (5897 meters/ 19347 ft). Upon arrival at the entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park, your guide explains to you about the unique flora and fauna of the area, and about the history of the volcano and you will set off for a hike through the stunning landscape leading up to Limpiopungo Lake. In the afternoon you head to your hotel located close to the Cotopaxi National Park for leisure and overnight at Hacienda El Porvenir.
Day 9: Cotopaxi - Quilotoa - Riobamba
After breakfast, you will leave to visit the impressive Quilotoa Lagoon located within an extinct volcanic crater. It is one of the most spectacular highlights of the Ecuadorian highlands. The mineral waters of the lagoon showcase turquoise colors, depending on the weather it varies from blue to green, even yellows according to the season. Since the lagoon is part of an extinct volcano it has a large quantity of carbon dioxide mixed with hydrogen sulfide. The highlight of the visit is that you can hike all the way down and back to the top of the crater. On your way back you will see a small village that is famous for its local paintings and masks, called Tigua. They are known all over Ecuador for their stunning paintings of the highlands and volcanoes in the paramo. In the afternoon, you will be heading to your hotel in Riobamba for leisure and overnight at Hosteria Andaluza.
Day 10: Cotopaxi - Ingapirca - Cuenca
After breakfast, you will depart into the untouched Andean Landscapes. From snow-capped volcanoes to agricultural zones where traditionally dressed locals work their land; this rural area surprises at every corner. The highlight of today is your visit to the Ingaprica Inca ruins; once the most important Inca complex in Ecuador. Its Temple of the Sun, storage chambers, observatories, and other ruins offer interesting insights into the Inca Empire. In the afternoon you arrive in the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca where you will be transferred to Hotel Santa Lucia for leisure and overnight.
Day 11: Cuenca
Today, you have the opportunity to explore Cuenca together with a guide. Cuenca is the fourth city of Ecuador and its gorgeous colonial center is declared as Cultural Heritage of Mankind by UNESCO. The beauty of the city center is complemented by the friendliness of its people and the cozy atmosphere. During the city tour, you will see the architectural highlights of the city, such as the impressive cathedral. Your guide will also take you up the viewpoint of Turi for a splendid view of the entire city. You will also visit an artisanal Panama hat factory. Unlike what the name suggests, Panama hats are originally from Ecuador and Cuenca is one of the most important producers of these hats that are made out of Paja Toquilla palm leaves. Depending on the quality and size, it can take weeks or even months to produce a handmade Panama hat. Afterward, you return for leisure and overnight at Hotel Santa Lucia.
Day 12: Cuenca - Cajas National Park - Guayaquil
After breakfast, you will travel to Cajas National Park, a beautiful protected area of 70,000 acres with different types of ecosystems, varying from cloud forests to rocky lunar landscapes. Its diversity and its large number of lagoons, over 200, make this national park truly unique. It is this higher located area that impresses the most; the paramo landscapes where mountain peaks and ice rocks are alternated by dark lakes and fields with wild llamas. Afterward, you will be transferred to the coastal area, to the vibrant city of Guayaquil for leisure, and overnight at Hotel Unipark.
Day 13: Guayaquil - Puerto Cayo
In the morning you will be transferred to the beach town of Puerto Cayo. You will spend the rest of the day at leisure at Nautilus Lodge.
Day 14: Puerto Lopez - Isla de la Plata - Puerto Cayo
In the morning, you will leave the small port of Puerto Lopez for a wonderful boat excursion. Isla de la Plata is a small island located in front of the coast of Puerto Lopez. The island has a dry ecosystem and attracts several unique bird species, like the funny blue-footed booby. The waters around the island form a great snorkel site, and during this activity, you have the opportunity to swim together with colorful fish and, with some luck, sea turtles. From June to September, this excursion has a wonderful plus: humpback whales! These majestic animals pass the Ecuadorian coast between, in search of warmer to mate and give birth. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see them playing and interacting in the water. In the afternoon you return to Puerto Lopez for leisure and overnight at Nautilus Lodge.
Day 15: Puerto Cayo - Guayaquil
After breakfast, you will be picked up for a transfer to Guayaquil International Airport where you can catch your international departure flight.
Included in this Package
Transportation by air-conditioned car or shared shuttle
Private airport transfers
English speaking guide
Accommodation on Bed and Breakfast
Lunch on day 2, 4, 5 & 14
Dinner on day 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 & 8
Unlimited drinking water
Excursions and visits as mentioned in the program
Entrance fees as mentioned in the program
Snorkeling gear at Isla de la Plata
Excluded in this Package
International Airfares and Airport taxes
Travel and personal insurance
Visa, passport, vaccinations, medicines
Optional excursions/activities not detailed in the itinerary
Any additional services requested
Wire Transfers Fees (sending & receiving)
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Ecuador is home to an astounding array of wonders that include picturesque colonial towns, the Amazonian rainforest, the world's longest continental mountain range, the Andes, and of course the dynamic region of contacts change, the Galápagos Islands.
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