Discover this fantastic South American coastal gem, from its cities to its volcanoes, its markets to its mountains.
You start in the capital city of colonial Quito—high in the Andes and a UNESCO heritage site—where you literally straddle the equator. Then begin an Avenues of the Volcanoes tour by heading to Cotopaxi National Park, home to the highest active volcano in the world. You will spend the night in a restored hacienda (ranch house) and watch for wild horses and birdlife. Enjoy the hot springs in Banos, or head out for some hiking or mountain biking. You will take in Ecuador’s prized highest peak, Chimborazo, then ride the country’s famed Devil’s Nose Train to see the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, before maybe picking up a Panama hat in Cuenca.
Day 1 Quito Ecuador. Arrive in Quito, which lies amid high volcanoes and in a valley of the Andes.
Day 2 Quito Tour. The first city chosen as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. See San Francisco Square, the Cathedral, the 150-foot tower at La Merced. Then on to the Middle of the World Monument, where you literally straddle the equator. Back to rest at your hotel or walk around the Mariscal, where the city’s best bars and restaurants are located.
Day 3 Cotopaxi Tour. Head out of Quito to Cotopaxi National Park, the highest active volcano in the world, and see wide diversity of flora and fauna (including wild horses). Enjoy lunch in a traditional hacienda, complete with original Inca walls. Stay the night in a restored hacienda.
Day 4 Avenue of the Volcanoes Tour. You travel down the spectacular Avenue of the Volcanoes to the lower-altitude town of Banos. The name – meaning baths – comes from the numerous hot springs here. Banos has become a top outdoor center in Ecuador, with numerous hiking and cycling possibilities. Visit the area´s spectacular waterfalls and see Tunguragua, the active volcano towering above the town. In the afternoon, you continue to Riobamba, with views of Chimborazo, Ecuador´s highest peak.
Day 5 Devil´s Nose Train and Ingapirca Tour. Travel to Alausi to board the Devil´s Nose Train Ride. Building this railway through the mountains was an engineering feat. This short train journey takes you along on of the most difficult sections in a series of steep switchbacks. After lunch, we take you on a tour of the Inca site of Ingapirca, the largest such site in Ecuador. Continue through the mountains to the colonial city of Cuenca.
Day 6 Cuenca Tour. Cuenca has a historic colonial center, plenty of green river banks, colorful markets and a quiet, museums, a Panama hat factory, and just a relaxed atmosphere.
Day 7 Cuenca to Quito. You fly back to Quito for an additional night among the Andes.
- Quito’s San Francisco Square, its famous cathedral, the 150-foot tower at La Merced
- Trek, hike and bike around the volcanic hot springs of Banos
- Walk around cozy Cuenca, a historic city filled with lush greenery and colorful markets
- Wild horses and beautiful scenery in Cotopaxi National Park
- Tours of UNESCO cities Cuenca and Quito
- Devil´s Nose Train Ride and Ingapirca Incan Ruins
IDEAL SOUTH AMERICA
- Phone: 800.820.7932
- Email: [email protected]
- Length/Departs: 8 days/year-round
- Accommodation: Hotel, hacienda
- Price: from $1,395 US
- Note: ask operator about its commitment to sustainable tourism