Best of Ecuador

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Want to explore this beautiful country that’s become a popular tourist attraction over the past several years? Well, this tour is perfect for you! Ecuador is a small country in South America that’s got a lot of beautiful places to visit. The trip begins from Quito, the colonial capital of the country. After a full trip throughout the city, we will take you to the stunning Amazon forest. It’s a small adventure of sorts. From there, ww will take you to Hacienda Pinsaqui this 200 year-old was the favorite haunt of the revolutionary General Simon Bolivar. You will also experience the Otovallo Markets.

On the eighth day, we will take you to the Otopaxy National Park and then to Banos. From Banos, we move to Pailon del Diablo, a gorgeous waterfall that’s just a short distance away from the city. From Chimborazo and Riobamba, we will take you on a ride of the Devil’s Nose Train and then to the Incan ruins and Cuenca. From Cuenca, we travel to the Cajas National Park and then to Guayaquil. From there, we’ll also take you to the Galapagos Islands. Thi tour will come to an end with a cruise on a small yacht around the Galapagos Islands! Check out the itinerary for more details about the trip.

  • Day 1 - ARRIVE QUITO

    On arrival to Quito, Ecuador’s colonial capital, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (Private Transfer)

  • Day 2 - QUITO

    This morning, your guide and transportation will pick you up and take you on a comprehensive walking tour of the Colonial District of Quito.
    On this tour you will visit some of the most famous squares, churches and colonial buildings of the city including the Independence Plaza where you can admire the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace. Furthermore, you'll visit the San Francisco Church and the Basilica of Quito, the oldest Church in South America made almost completely out of volcanic stone.
    Then head to the 'Panecillo Mirador', the most famous hill of Quito, where you can take pictures of both colonial and modern Quito.
    While walking through the city your guide will help you appreciate the eventful past of Ecuador including the Inca Empire, the Spanish invasion, and its push towards independence.
    Return to your hotel with the afternoon and evening at your leisure. (B.) (Private Tour)

  • Day 3 - QUITO - AMAZON

    Today you will take your 30-minute flight from Quito to Coca.
    Upon arrival you will be greeted for airport reception and enjoy a brief lunch in Sacha’s private house before beginning your transfer to the Sacha Lodge.
    Boarding a covered motorized canoe, you will enjoy a two hour transfer down the Napo River.
    Disembarking the canoe, the staff at the Sacha Lodge will assist with your luggage as you enjoy an easy, 30-minute walk through the densely flooded palm forest.
    Following the raised boardwalk you will reach the Pilchicocha Lake, a remote black-water lake where dugout canoes await to carry you further into the Amazon Jungle. As you cross the lake, the cries of tropical birds will serenade you as you reach the Sacha Lodge.
    Later this afternoon you can chose to return to Pilchicocha Lake to enjoy a refreshing swim; visit the bird observation tower to view the several species of birds common around the lodge, and enjoy the sunset; or visit the butterfly house to view the many beautiful colors of the various butterfly species.
    This evening after dinner enjoy a guided night trek through the rainforest to view the hundreds of different fauna species that can be found only during the evening hours.
    You may also choose to enjoy an evening canoe ride on Pilchicocha Lake in search of caimans. (B. L. D.) (Private Transfer) (Semi-Private Transfer) (Shared Guide)

  • Day 4 - AMAZON

    This morning you will wake early to enjoy breakfast and begin your morning activity, starting at approximately 6:00AM.
    Following the Liana Chica trail for one mile you will arrive at the canopy walk, a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk that will allow you to observe the spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many colorful and exotic birds and mammals that can be found high above the ground floor.
    The canopy walkway is 36-meters high and 275-meters long, with two of the three towers offering observation decks every 12-meter.
    Descending from the thrilling canopy walk, you will follow the Liana Grande trail through the terra firma and igapo forest habitats as your native guides explain the various flora species that can be used for medicinal purposes. As the trail turns into the Higueron trail, you will be led through a pristine primary forest where large Kapok and fig trees tower hundreds of feet over your head.
    After lunch, you may choose to enjoy a leisurely hike along the Rio Napo, or choose a slightly more challenging hike along the Leoncillo trail where the elusive Titi monkey hides. Both trails will lead you back to the main boardwalk for your final trek and canoe ride back to the Sacha Lodge.
    Tonight enjoy dinner and an evening at your leisure at the Sacha Lodge. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)

  • Day 5 - AMAZON

    This morning after breakfast you will follow the Lagartococha trail, hiking to the Lagartococha Lake.
    As you walk you will learn more from your naturalist guides of the native people of this region, and their deep relationship with the surrounding ecosystem.
    Arriving at Lagartococha Lake, enjoy a tranquil canoe ride across the swamp that is home to anacondas, caimans and capybaras. Reaching the other side, you might be able to spot playful squirrel monkeys jumping through the trees.
    Returning to the lodge, you will enjoy the remainder of the morning at your leisure.
    This afternoon, following lunch, enjoy a fishing excursion for the infamous razor-toothed piranha. Following time to fish, you will enjoy a canoe ride through he flooded Amazonian forest. While you glide along the water, keep your eyes peeled to the trees in search of the elusive three-toed sloth, and squirrel, capuchin and howler monkeys.
    As your canoe ride comes to an end, you will reach Sacha’s 135-foot wooden tower, built around an old Kapok tree. Climbing to the top you will be able to enjoy views of the vibrantly colored birds and watch as the sunsets over this amazing ecosystem.
    Leaving the tower, enjoy an evening canoe ride through the flooded forest, listening to the symphony of nocturnal frogs and insects.
    Returning to the lodge, enjoy dinner and an evening at your leisure. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)

  • Day 6 - AMAZON - HACIENDA PINSAQUI

    This morning after breakfast you will make one final trek across the boardwalk, returning to the river for your two hour canoe ride back to Coca. Upon arrival to Coca airport you will check-in for your flight to Quito. On arrival we transfer you to one of Ecuador's finest haciendas. Nestled in the Otavalo Valley in the shadow of Imbabura Volcano, the 200 year-old Hacienda Pinsaqui was a favorite haunt of the revolutionary General Simon Bolívar. The thick whitewashed walls seem to whisper stories of a by-gone era. From the hacienda, go mountain biking in the countryside, visit the white city of Ibarra and the leather shops of Cotacachi, or take horses around Cuicocha Lake. Pinsaqui, with its gardens and old textile shops, is yours to explore. (B.) (Semi-Private Transfer) (Private Transfer)

  • Day 7 - OTAVALLO MARKETS

    Arrive early to the animal market for a riotous time of literal horse trading, and spend the day bargaining with the locals over fine sweaters, tapestries, and woodwork. Indigenous people from the mountains descend into the valley to sell their crafts, textiles, cows, and goats in the tiny town of Otavalo. This is the most famous Indian market on the continent, and the good-hearted Otavaleños are certain to win your heart.
    For the rest of the day you can relax on the lovely grounds of Hacienda Pinsaqui and enjoy the many options of recreation. Enjoy the gardens, hike, or take horses to explore Cuicocha Lake. (B.) (Private Tour)

  • Day 8 - COTOPAXY NATIONAL PARK

    Mid-morning head south along the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
    See breathtaking high plains as you head towards the magnificent snow-capped Cotopaxi - the earth's highest active volcano (19347ft/5897m).
    This area provides excellent opportunities to spot the Andean Condor.
    After lunch in the Limpiopungo Valley (12540ft/3800m), ascend to El Parqueadero (15180ft/4600m). From this point there is an optional hike for about an hour to El Refugio, the volcano's refuge lodge (15840ft/4800m) and the nearest glacier.
    Tonight you overnight in one of Ecuador's most famous haciendas, the 400-year-old Hacienda La Cienega.
    This enchanting hacienda on the slopes of Cotopaxi has hosted many of Ecuador's former presidents as well as the founder of modern geography, Alexander von Humboldt. (B.) (Private Tour) (Private Transfer)

  • Day 9 - BA„ÑOS

    This morning we will leave for Baños.
    At around midday we will reach Baños, one of the most charming towns of Ecuador.
    Banos is a land of orchids and waterfalls at the base of the Tungurahua Volcano, and its hot therapeutic springs are famous throughout the country.
    You will have a free afternoon at leisure, there is also the opportunity to take a massage or other health treatment in your hotel’s spa, or just relax in its thermal pools. (B.) (Private Transport)

  • Day 10 - BAфOS

    Head out from Banos today to visit Pailon del Diablo, a stunning waterfall located a short drive from the city.
    The rest of the day is yours to enjoy the numerous options that Banos has to offer or you can also choose to simply relax in this charming Ecuadorian town and enjoy a slower paced day. (B.) (Shared Guide)

  • Day 11 - BAÑOS - CHIMBORAZO - RIOBAMBA

    Today you will enjoy another day full of diversity as we depart Baños and drive along the ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’ on our way towards Riobamba.
    With clear weather we will be able to see many of Ecuador’s fifty-five volcanoes, and before lunch we’ll stop at the town of Salasaca, which is home to one of the most distinctively indigenous communities of Ecuador.
    In addition to their characteristic clothing, the community is known for its tapestry weaving that is sold in the more popular markets of Quito and in Otavalo.
    We continue onto the Chimborazo nature reserve where we enjoy lunch at a mountain lodge prior to a tour of the reserve. The reserve’s main attraction is Ecuador’s highest mountain, Chimborazo (6,268 metres), which is due to Ecuador’s equatorial bulge and the fact that it is the Earth’s closest point to the sun. This giant volcano is topped with a 20km diameter crater surrounded by thick ice. The park has a lunar-like landscape where it is easy to spot vicunas, alpacas, deer and many other types of fauna. After admiring the park, we will continue to Riobamba where the evening is at your leisure. (B. L.) (Private Tour) (Private Transport)

  • Day 12 - RIOBAMBA - DEVIL NOSE TRAIN RIDE - INCAN RUINS - CUENCA

    After an early breakfast, we depart to Riobamba to the south, as we head for Alausi where we will board the train to “The Devil’s Nose”.
    Mid-morning we will arrival at the town of Alausi where we will begin our adventure on Ecuador’s famous “Devil’s Nose” train.
    After about a four hour ride, we will return to Alausi in the early afternoon where our bus will be waiting to take us to Ingapirca.
    Continuing on, we will pay a visit the Ingapirca fortress, located at 3,100 metres above sea level. These ancient Incan ruins are the most important in the country. Their true history is still a mystery, as studies differ on if they were a fortress, an observatory or a temple. After visiting the ruins we will finish our trip on the road to Cuenca, arriving in the early evening. (B. L.) (Private Tour) (Private Transport)

  • Day 13 - CUENCA

    Breakfast in the morning prepares you for a city tour of this UNESCO World Heritage city, considered by many the most beautiful city in all of Ecuador.
    Our walk will include a visit to the flower market, a Panamanian hat factory, the cathedral, Calderon Park, the church of La Merced and its convent, among other attractions.
    Afternoon and evening at leisure. (B.) (Private Tour)

  • Day 14 - CUENCA

    Day at leisure to explore this lovely city on your own. (B.)

  • Day 15 - CUENCA - CAJAS NATIONAL PARK - GUAYAQUIL

    This morning you will enjoy a guided trip to Cajas National Park, located an hour’s drive from Cuenca.
    With dramatic, open, rolling land and over 200 lakes, Cajas feels almost like the Scottish Highlands and visitors stand a good chance of seeing wild llamas, hummingbirds, condors and perhaps even the parks more elusive animals such as spectacled bears, pumas, and oncillas.
    Your naturalist guide will take you on a short walk where you can observe the flora, fauna and bird life before stopping to refuel at a local restaurant for lunch.
    Continue onto Guayaquil where we include a brief panoramic tour of the city before dropping you at your hotel where the evening is at your leisure. (B. L.) (Private Tour) (Private Transport)

  • Day 16 - GUAYAQUIL

    Day at leisure. (B.)

  • Day 17 - GUAYAQUIL - GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands.
    On Arrival at Baltra Airport a naturalist guide will meet you and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor at Baltra.
    By inflatable dinghy you will be taken to the yacht.

    PM: Mosquera
    Mosquera Islet is located between Baltra and North Seymour. This is a small islet formed by a geological uplift, with a reef of rocks and coral and a great white sand beach, where a population of sea lions can be found. You can also observe several species of shorebirds. Along the rocks are commonly running Red Lava crabs or Sally light-foot crabs. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide) (Private Transfer)

  • Day 18 - GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    AM: Darwin Bay (Genovesa)
    This bay has origin when the crater of this island collapsed below sea level. The wet landing is on a beautiful white coral sandy beach.
    This is a favorite island for birdwatchers: red footed-boobies, masked boobies, wandering tattlers, lava gulls, whimbrels Yellow-crowned, black-crowned and lava herons, and yellow warblers can be seen in the area.
    Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing Red-Foots nesting in the Mangrove trees below. Bird watching includes sightings of sharp-Beaked Finches, large Cactus and ground finches, Galapagos doves and swallow-tailed Gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff’s edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.

    PM: Prince Phillip’s Steps (Genovesa)
    El Barranco is located at the southern part of Darwin Bay and it is also known as Prince Philip’s Steps. Passengers will climb to a plateau that is part of the stretch of land that surrounds Darwin Bay on its eastern side. There is a big population of Masked boobies and Red-Footed boobies in the trees; Storm petrels and Short-eared Owls have found the ideal place for nesting in the lava flows. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)

  • Day 19 - GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    AM: South Plaza
    South Plaza is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas.
    Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found on other islands. Throughout the island there are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana’s crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tunas, their favorite food. Swallow-tailed gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other sea birds as: Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.

    PM: Santa Fe
    Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift, which explains why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which assure this could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of lands Iguanas of the islands.
    After disembarkation in the beautiful and clear waters you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail many salt bushes can be seen as well as giant prickly pear cactus. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fishes. (B. L. D.) (Shared Guide)

  • Day 20 - DEPART GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    AM: Witch Hill & Kicker Rock (San Cristobal)
    Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill) is a beautiful beach made of white coral and volcanic ash. It is located along the north coast of San Cristobal, the island where Charles Darwin first arrived in September 1835. Cerro Brujo is an eroded tuff cone and several parts are composed of the a’a’ lava type.
    In this fascinating landscape you can observe sea lions, as well as different sea birds, finches and warblers. The sheltered bay is popular for young sea turtles and rays. The salt water pools behind the sand dunes were used as a salt mine in the past.
    After visiting Cerro Brujo you will continue by yacht to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). This huge ‘cathedral’ of rock is an old lava cone, now split in two. On the rocks many blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies and frigate birds are to be found.
    The snorkeling is great here, with good opportunities for seeing sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, tropical fish and the Galapagos shark.

    Once all activities are completed we will transfer you to San Cristobal airport for your flight to mainland Ecuador.
    Upon arrival to Quito or Guayaquil your tour comes to an end. (B.) (Shared Guide) (Private Transfer)

     

    PLEASE NOTE:
    We can offer you the possibility to extend this tour to other incredible destinations like:

    • PERU: Cusco and Machu Picchu
    • PANAMA: Panama City and Panama Canal
    • CUBA: Havana
    • CHILE: Santiago & Valparaiso

The below hand-picked properties feature good location, superior service, and all facilities necessary for a comfortable stay.

ECUADOR

  • Quito: Casona de la ronda
  • Guayaquil: Continental
  • Amazon: Sacha Lodge
  • Otavallo: Hacienda Pinsaqui
  • Cotopaxi: Hacienda La Cienega
  • Ba–os: Samari Spa
  • Riobamaba: Casa Real
  • Cuenca: Fuorum

GALAPAGOS CRUISE

  • Yacht: San Jose

NOTES:

  • Hotel accommodation quoted in lead-in hotel guest rooms unless specified otherwise
  • Hotels can easily be changed at the customer request. We have a wide selection so you can be assured of a great place to stay
  • We have several Galapagos Islands cruises and itineraries that you can choose from, please let us know if you wish to changed the selected yacht for other vessel or program
  • Occasionally due to circumstances out of our control, hotels quoted may not be available at the time of booking. In these circumstances when hotels are unavailable, South America Tours Pty Ltd will provide the best possible alternative.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • All Internal fights within Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands plus all airport taxes
  • Accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Galapagos Islands Cruise
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary:

(B.) = Breakfast

(L.) = Lunch

(D.) = Dinner

  • All transport, sightseeing and excursions as per the itinerary unless specified otherwise:

(Private Transfer / Transport) = Your own exclusive driver. No queuing for taxis, no stopping en route at tour booking agencies. All private transfers / transport are operated on a private basis – i.e., you won’t be sharing with others

(Semi-Private Transfer) = transport provided by the hotel or lodge to their guest only

(Private Tour) = Your own, personal tour guide and an exclusive vehicle

(Shared Guide) = Meet other like minded travellers and share the services of a guide / vehicle during the plan activity. Typical group size is 10 travellers which really works well and makes for a fun experience for all.

  • All parks and monuments entrance fees (excluding Galapagos Islands)
  • Professional English speaking local guides throughout
  • Service charges and taxes.

 

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • International air-tickets. We have access to wholesale fares and work closely with LATAM Airlines, contact us before organize your flights independently
  • Reciprocal fees and tourist visas are not included
  • Travel insurance
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee $100 and Transit Control Card $20 per person
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included, phone call, laundry, tips, etc.

 

NOTES

  • Rates are subject to change and different rates may apply during holiday seasons and special events
  • Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll want to know the details of all of your fights – flight times frequently change and we want to make sure your transfers and other arrangements are amended accordingly.
  • We only book flights in conjunction with tailor-made land (and sea) arrangements booked through us – we don’t book just flights, sorry.
  • You should ensure you have travel insurance in place to cover the possibility of unforeseen circumstances which result in the inability to participate in the tour
  • It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure they meet the visa requirements for the country they are visiting.
  • South America Tours Pty Ltd does not provide visa services.
  • All routes are subject to change without notice due to unexpected circumstances or weather conditions.
  • Thank you for considering South America Tours for your travel plans to Latin America! We'd love to speak to you.

    This is an information request and does not constitute a confirmed reservation in anyway. After we receive your enquiry we will contact you to talk about your specific travel requirements.

  • LATIN AMERICA EXPERTISE
  • A LOVELY PERSONALIZED ITINERARY
  • EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR HOLIDAY COVERED
  • YOUR OWN TRAVEL SPECIALIST
  • WE RESEARCH EVERY OPTION
  • A 24 HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT