Nature Tour

Enjoy a wonderful trip around Ecuador from Quito to Guayaquil

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ITINERARY

Day 1: Quito IN

Arrival at Mariscal Sucre Airport, Quito. Transfer to Hilton Colon Hotel.

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

Check in – 14:00

Day 2: Quito City Line

Breakfast.

Quito city tour is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, domes and roofs that have an important historical value. You will admire and learn about colonial art, architecture, culture, legends, and traditions. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 9.350 feet. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic Center in Latin America. The architecture and rich interiors, are pure examples of Quito School of sculpture, which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art. After four incredible hours exploring the Old Town, you’ll understand why Quito was the world’s first city named to UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage list.

Lunch at El Crater Restaurant.

At the afternoon, you will visit: “Cuidad Mitad Del Mundo” and Intiñan Museum

  • “Ciudad Mitad del Mundo”

“Ciudad Mitad del Mundo” is the touristic, cultural, scientific and commercial smallest city of Ecuador. Its architecture is based on colonial style. An obelisk and a museum relevant to its geographical location were built at the Middle of the World site. All of this is found among the drastic landscape surrounded by nature and modern buildings. The monument is crowned by a metallic sphere that represents the Earth. It is named Equatorial Monument and it geographical orientation coincides with the four cardinal points and is located precisely at Earth’s midpoint — 0 degrees latitude, 0 minutes, 0 seconds.

  • Intiñan Museum

Since the year 1960, the Intiñan Museum in Quito has been a center for the promotion of the many aspects of Ecuador’s culture.  This museum offers interactive exhibits on how the Incas determined the middle of the earth, plus interesting science experiments such as balancing an egg on a nail.

Return to the hotel.

Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel 4+*

(Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3: Quito - Baños

Breakfast.

After breakfast we will drive to the famous Quilotoa Crater Lake from Quito through the Panamericana  “The Avenue of the Volcanoes”.

Before going to Quilotoa, we will visit a beautiful rose farm, to learn everything about the process of growing, harvesting and exporting roses.

On our way we will pass by the Tigua workshop and admire some impressive local artwork with impressions of life in the Andes.

At our arrival to the Quilotoa Loop, we will appreciate an emerald green lake inside the crater of an extinct volcano with steep jagged cliffs. We are going to trek into the crater to the lake shore and the return to the top of the crater is a mule ride. Kayak on the lake (optional).

Accommodation: Luna Runtun  4+*

(Breakfast,Dinner)

Day 4: Baños - Riobamba

Breakfast.

Baños is known as “The Gate of the Amazon Region.” Baños are located on the outside of the eastern range of the Andes. It is the perfect place to relax and explore. This small town is famous worldwide for its natural crystalline waterfalls.

Here you can see how it is made the famous “marshmallow” (candy, which is made from sugar cane).

Baños is the main tourist attraction for adventure, there are several ways to enjoy nature through hiking, horseback riding, cycling and rafting.

We will start the city tour and the visit the waterfalls: “Agoyán”, “Manto de la Novia” and “Pailón Del Diablo” and enjoy the “Swing at the End of the World”.

Continue to Riobamba.

Accommodation: Hacienda Abraspungo 4 *

(Breakfast)

Day 5: Riobamba - Cuenca

Breakfast.

After breakfast you will continue driving south to the train Station of Alausí. On your way to Alausí you will visit the church of Balbanera. Enduring the pass of time, this is one of the oldest catholic churches in Latin America built by Sebastian de Benalcazar in 1534.

At Alausí you will board the train for a thrilling adventure with a 45-degree descent by a zigzagging railway built in the ledge of the Condor Puñuña Mountain, known as La Nariz del Diablo. This engineering achievement finally allowed to connect the coast with the Andes region and brought a new era for the republic of Ecuador.

After visiting the reserve, we go to the ruins of Ingapirca. Ingapirca is the largest and best preserved archaeological site in Ecuador, is located 80 km from the city of Cuenca, in Cañar province. It was built with millions of hewn stone in the middle of the eighteenth century. In the complex you can see the different architectural units, among which stands the Temple of the Sun, which have an elliptical shape 37 feet long and 12 meters wide, was used to perform ceremonies and rituals Cañari-Inca culture. In addition, you can observed the oldest building Ingapirca Pilaloma which consists of a series of rectangular rooms.

After visiting the ruins we will go to Cuenca, here you can rest and enjoy your free time.

Accommodation: Santa Lucia Hotel 4*

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 6: Cuenca

Breakfast.

Cuenca, 2560 m. high (8400 feet), the third largest city in Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated in a fertile valley in the southern highlands of Ecuador. Cuenca has kept its old-world architectural charm and its colonial ambience. The Old Town is best visited on foot. Our tour takes you along the cobblestone streets admiring the historic buildings, hanging balconies, carved wooden doors, the craft fair and colorful flower market, the main plaza with the Old Cathedral, which has been converted to the “Museum for Religious Art”, and the magnificent blue-domed Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. See silversmiths at work and handicrafts of almost every kind. You end the tour with a visit to the “Panama Hat” factory.

Accommodation: Santa Lucia Hotel 4*

(Breakfast)

Day 7: Cuenca - Loja

Breakfast.

In the morning we will visit Mirador de Turi, is one of the most popular excursions in Cuenca. Turi is located in the perfect place to bask in the breathtaking panorama of the entire city of Cuenca. Then we will continue to visit the Panama Hat Factory. The factory has become a popular place to visit) because the museum provides daily tours to the public on the past and current ways of producing the different kinds of panama hats.

After lunch we will continue to the Saraguro Community. The Saraguro people are very welcoming and willing to show us part of their daily life, turning this trip into one of the best experiences of rural, agro and community tourism. They are very proud of their indigenous roots so they wear their typical customs and practice ancestral rituals.

We will continue to Loja.

Accommodation: Grand Victoria 4*

(Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 8: Loja - Podocarpus - Vilcabamba

Breakfast.

After breakfast we will visit Loja. Including the “gates of the city” The gates of the city are modeled after the Coat of Arms of the city, presented by King Felipe II of Spain in 1571. The gate is on Av. Gran Colombia, and houses four galleries which show contemporary Lojano artwork, and a cafeteria and gift shop. A stunning view of the city is found by climbing the clock tower. Loja contains a number of historic churches; the city’s board of tourism has approached finding them in a novel manner. Beginning at the Puerta de la Ciudad, one of the first thing a tourist will notice is a large orange stripe painted on the sidewalk. Following the stripe takes the interested tour of the main historic churches and areas of Loja.

Also we will visit the Jipiro Park. It covers an area of 10 hectares, and features some architectural replicas of famous buildings from around the world. Among its main attractions are the Cathedral of San Basilio Moscu – Russia, a Chinese Pagoda, an Indian temple, the Colonial Bridge, an Arab Mosque, the Euro-Latino Castle, the Sun Door, and more.

After visit Loja, we will continue to the Podocarpus National Park, is a park located in the provinces of Zamora Chinchipe and Loja, in the south-east of Ecuador. It was created in 1982. In the park you can find a great variety of landscape and habitat leads to high biodiversity of flora and fauna. The native vegetation of this area, lush and varied, so the National Park is considered Poducarpus Botanical Garden of America.

 We will continue to Vilcabamba, called the Valley of Longevity. Vilcabamba was little known by outsiders until scientists discovered that a strikingly large percentage of residents were over a hundred years old.

Accommodation: Izhcayluma 3*

(Breakfast, Box Lunch)

Day 9: Vilcabamba - Jocotoco

Breakfast.

In the morning we will visit the Jocotoco Foundation; established in 1998 to protect land of critical importance to the conservation of Ecuador’s endangered birds and associated biodiversity not otherwise protected by Ecuador’s existing system of protected areas. The Foundation primarily achieves this aim by purchasing lands and managing them as ecological reserves.

The Lodge is settled in the lower portion of Buenaventura Reserve, at 500 m elevation. This reserve is home of a remarkable set of flora and fauna, including almost 300 bird species, many of them being endemics. Special climate conditions have resulted in a wide variety of habitats used by birds.

You will have the opportunity to stroll through the forest, accompanied by a guide who will tell you all the secrets of the reserve. Walking through the forest takes from 1.5 to 4 hours, depending on the chosen trail.

Accommodation: Umbrellabird Lodge 4*

(Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner)

Day 10: Jocotoco - Puyango - Guayaquil

Breakfast.

After breakfast we will visit Puyango. The Puyango Petrified Forest, or the El Bosque Petrificado de Puyango, is a very unusual reserve. It is home to the largest known area of exposed petrified wood, of which a lot comes from the Araucarias family – a tree that is not often fossilized. Forests like this are not easy to come by, as trees that are dying will normally just decompose. However, here we have an excellent example of fossilized trees and marine fossils due to the dry nature of the ecosystem. The marine fossils that you will find in the forest occur because of the area having once been completely under water. The area is estimated to be about 500 million years old. Apart from the intriguing tree fossils you can also see a wonderful array of wildlife. There are more than 130 different types of bird species to be found here throughout the year, with equally beautiful butterfly species.

We will continue to Guayaquil. On the way, we will visit a  banana plantations (optional).

Accommodation: Wyndham Guayaquil 4*

(Breakfast)

Day 11: Guayaquil

Breakfast.

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.

(Breakfast)

INCLUDES:

  • Private transportation and tours with English Speaking Guide in Mainland Ecuador as described on the itinerary;
  • Accommodation as listed on the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed on the itinerary;
  • Entrance fees as listed on the itinerary.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • International flights;
  • Travel Insurance (opti0nal)
  • Health insurance (obligatory);
  • Tips;
  • Personal expenses;
  • Items not specified.

 ITINERARY subject to change without prior notice