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Home > Travel Destinations > Ecuador > Cultural and Natural Ecuador

Cultural and Natural Ecuador

9 Days / 8 Nights

Package Overview

Ecuador posseses an astounding level of cultural and social diversity. It is located in the area which formed the northern Incan Empire prior to being conquered by Spain in 1533. The region's indigenous roots and the influences of various pre-Incan civilizations remain evident in present-day society in food, religious customs, music and dress.

Come experience the folklore and festivals of Ecuador, the indigenous markets, Incan ruins, and the amazing beauty of this country. It is an experience you won't want to miss!

Agent Commission Starting At: $240.50

Package Pricing

Package starting at: $2405.00 PP * Prices based on double occupancy. Prices per person in USD.

Travel Itinerary

Day 1

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ARRIVAL IN QUITO – TRANSFER IN

- Transfer from the airport to the hotel.

Overnight accommodations in Quito.

Day 2

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CALDERON – COTACACHI COMMUNITY

- This morning, after breakfast, you will leave Quito with your tour guide, heading to Otavalo, the town famous for its weekly artisanal market.

- On route on the Pan-American Highway, we will stop at Calderon, a town where the famous Masapan dolls are made, continuing on through Guayllabamba town where you can sample its typical fruit, the chirimoya.

- We will also stop on the highway to admire the beautiful landscape and snow-capped mountains in the area. We continue on, making a short stop at San Pablo Lake before arriving in Otavalo.

- Here we will visit the textile market located at the “Plaza of Ponchos”; this is one of the most famous markets in South America. You will find all kinds of handcrafts including tapestries made on the Spanish weaving loom as well as the indigenous backstrap loom.

- You will enjoy a short free time for bargaining and buying with the friendly Otavaleños.

- We will have lunch at a restaurant in one of the communities we will visit.

- After a full day spent in Otavalo we will return to Quito later that day, and you will be taken to your hotel.

Overnight accommodations in Quito.

Day 3

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SANTO DOMINGO DE LOS TSACHILAS COMMUNITY

- After an early morning breakfast, the tour will depart for a 3 hour ride to Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, to the Northwest of Ecuador. About an hour outside of Quito, the scenery will change to a lush rainforest with good opportunities to see orchids.

- This agricultural town is surrounded by breathtaking views of rainforest, rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife, and is a liaison between the regions. The main attraction is interaction with the Tsachillas, an ethnic group located around Santo Domingo.

- This group is widely known as "Colorados", a reference to the red "achiote" paste that they use to dye their hair and the lines they paint on their bodies.

- You can have lunch in the town near the community (optional). Following this visit, we will return to Quito.

Overnight accommodations in Quito.

Day 4

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CITY TOUR & MIDDLE OF THE WORLD

- The tour begins visiting the Quito`s downtown, one of the biggest in South America, our first point is the oldest street of the city, La Ronda, that used to be the home of musicians, poets and politics back in time. Here we will encounter with the traditions of the city first by stopping in the gastronomic capsule, to have an explanation of the different local spices that are used for the typical Ecuadorian gastronomy.

- Continuing we will visit the house of handicrafts made of metal and wood most of them designed for the traditional churches and made by hand for furniture decoration (Tasting costs and tips are not included).

- After we are done with la Ronda we will visit the Independence Square, surrounded by important historical buildings. Visit the Cathedral (XVI Century), the Presidential Palace, El Sagrario Church (XVII Century), and La Compañia de Jesus (XVII Century), one of the most beautiful baroque churches in South America, Not to be missed are the Church of San Francisco and Monastery, built a few months after the arrival of the Spaniards (XVI Century).

- Finally we will drive to the viewpoint at the Panecillo hill, where is located the virgin of Quito, the unique winged virgin of the world. You will have a wonderful view over the city and the surrounding mountains and volcanos.

- We will drive 30 km. north of Quito, towards the Middle of the World where the equatorial line divides the northern and southern hemispheres. We will visit the main monument built in honor of the French scientific expedition that arrived in Ecuador in the XVIII century to determine the correct location of the equator line.

- Here you will have the opportunity to visit the Inti Ñan Museum, a scientific and cultural museum, located in the exact crossing of the Equator Line.

- Return to Quito.

Overnight accommodations in Quito.

Day 5

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RUMIÑAHUI VOLCANO

- Riding is one of the best ways of getting to know the Andes, their culture and the surrounding wilderness. This morning we will depart from the hotel after breakfast for a 3 hour horseback riding trip to the heights of Rumiñahui.

- Following a brief lecture on horseback riding, we will dress up in the "chagra" attire. Then we will begin our ride through the majestic “páramos”, along trails filled with rich legend and history. You will experience the Andes in all their beauty, discovering the charisma of its people and the diversity of its natural settings.

- After relishing the freedom of nature at its wildest, we return to the farm house, where a warm fireplace and a hot drink will be ready to welcome us back. We will enjoy our lunch at Hacienda Porvenir or similar.

- In the afternoon, we will go to a hacienda to have the opportunity to see how local people practice the shearing of llamas.

- Return to your hotel.

Overnight accommodations.

Day 6

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COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK & INDIGENOUS MARKET

- After breakfast, we will depart for a short visit to the National Park. The Cotopaxi Volcano is one of the most important landmarks in Ecuador because it is the highest active volcano in the world.

- Lush endemic flora and fauna of the area can be observed, including the Chuquiragua (also known as the mountaineer’s flower), wild horses, deer, llamas, and more.

- While in the National Park you can also see Limpiopungo Lake, located near Rumiñahui volcano (4757 meters).

- Next we will visit the renowned market of Pujili. For many, a visit to Ecuador is not complete without a visit to a traditional market where you can barter and shop.

- In the afternoon, we will head to the city of Riobamba for a short city tour and if time permits, visit the Indian communities’ projects before going to the hotel.

Overnight accommodations.

Day 7

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DEVIL`S NOSE TRAIN RIDE – INGAPIPRCA RUINS – CUENCA

- Very early in the morning, after breakfast, we will drive to the town of Alausi. Here we will get ready for a famous train though this emblematic mountain named “The Devil’s Nose”.

- Due to the land topography, this portion is a masterpiece of railway engineering, commonly named “the most difficult railway in the world”. The descent is not an ordinary one; we start the ride at an altitude of 2,346 meters and go down to 1,860 meters in just 30 minutes, on zigzag-carved railway tracks.

- Afterwards, the guide and driver will bring you to Tolte’s Community. Here you will have lunch in the restaurant of the community, while enjoying a traditional dancing show.

- After lunch you will be able to choose among different activities during your visit-stay in the community:

1. You can descend 330 stairs to a viewpoint, which is a perfect place to appreciate the zig-zag from Devil’s Nose and take fabulous pictures.

OR

2. You may choose between horse-back riding or a biking tour in the surrounding areas of the community, and you are also able visit an organic local farm to see how the community develops agro-tourism.

**In case that passengers don’t want to do the round trip at the devil’s nose train ride, there is an option of riding horses from the Train station up to the Restaurant, this is a wonderful ride that will let you enjoy a great landscape. This activity has a supplement.**

- After this visit, we drive to Ingapirca Ruins where a walk through this place will take you back to the past. These are the best preserved and unique Inca ruins in Ecuador.

Arrival in Cuenca and overnight accommodations.

Day 8

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CUENCA CITY TOUR HALF DAY – EL CAJAS NATIONAL PARK

- The tour begins with a visit to the city’s Historic Center. We will visit the church San Sebastian, a picturesque and traditional neighborhood of Cuenca, the Modern Art Museum, where the famous International Biennial of Painting takes place permanently, the Calderon Park (central park), the Flower Plaza, the Church “del Carmen”, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, best known as the “New Cathedral” considered as of the biggest churches in Latin America. There is also a visit to the Cathedral “El Sagrario,” commonly known as the “Old Cathedral”, the city’s first Cathedral.

- Afterwards, we will visit “El Paja Toquilla” Hat Factory, where you can observe the elaboration process of the finest hats.

- The route continues with the visit to the “El Barranco del río Tomebamba,” which constitutes a communion between architecture and the natural environment. The houses are attached to the incline, displaying their majesty and charm.

- The tour will be finished at the “Mirador de Turi” (scenic viewpoint) where the landscape of a valley full of red roofs and church domes is framed by imposing mountains.

- In the afternoon, only 30 minutes away from Cuenca we will find the El Cajas National Park; it consists of over 200 lagoons and has a surface of 28.544 hectares.

- Also, we can find the “Intercontinental Water Division” in this area. We visit the high part of the park 4.000 m.a.s.l. approximately, 45 minutes of walk. Then we move toward the Toreadora Lagoon, where we have a walk of approximately three hours.

- Then we will drive to Guayaquil city.

Overnight accommodatios.

Day 9

B/-/-

- Transfer to the airport for your departing flight(s) home.

Additional Package Information

 Package Includes

  • Transfer Airport – Hotel – Airport
  • Accommodation in Santa Cruz in the selected hotel with breakfast
  • Meals noted (as per the program – depending at the meal it can be at the hotel, onboard or at local restaurant)
  • Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
  • Bilingual Naturalist Guide in all Excursions
  • Contribution to the local community

 Package Does Not Include

  • Airfare to/from Galapagos
  • Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park (US$ 100 per person )
  • Galapagos Migration Card (US$ 20 per person)
  • Optional activity : ( 5$ Net price per person)
  • Optional excursions as supplement
  • Drinks and not mentioned meals
  • Tips (it is not mandatory)
  • Extra expenses

 Package Notes

  • Rate is based on 4* hotels, and 2 pax in room.
  • To prevent any loss due to cancellation, travel protection is recommended.
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Ecuador Package 11 of 16

 
9 Days / 8 Nights Ecuador Vacation Package

General Information

  • Capital: Quito
  • Government: Republic
  • Currency: US dollar (USD)
  • Area: total: 283,560 km2, water: 6,720 km2, land: 276,840 km2
  • Population: 14,573,101 (July 2009 est.)
  • Language: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 95%
  • Electricity: 110-220V/60Hz (USA & European plugs)
  • Calling Code: +593
  • Time Zone: UTC-5

Points of Interest

  • Otavalo Indigenous Market
  • Santa Domingo de Los Colorados
  • Equator
  • Cotopaxi National Park
  • Riobamba
  • Devil's nose train