Pure Ecuador travel
This round trip in Ecuador shows you the most beautiful places on the mainland. After starting in the colonial town of the Quito where you can do balance tests on the equator, you can enjoy the indigenous culture and crafts in the Andes village of Otavalo. Then it’s time for the Amazon adventure, where you’ll observe monkeys, sloths, otters, caymans and other wildlife from a comfortable outrigger canoe or while walking. Then, you’re welcomed by the imposing Cotapaxi and Chimborazo volcanoes with spectacular landscapes and glittering crater lakes. You’ll visit local communities, cross the Andes by train and end your trip at the tropical coast of Ecuador.
Day 1 - Quito
Welcome to Quito.
Upon arriving in Quito (2800m), there’ll be a private transfer to the hotel, located in the old colonial centre.
Day 2 - Otavalo
We’ll visit the market of Otavalo this morning. You can indulge yourself in the typically indigenous wares that are offered here for great prices.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit native villages like Llumán or Catacachi where you’ll meet local craftsmen. Here, they still work using looms and engage in leather-working, using traditional methods. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the impressive cater lake of Cuicocha, where, during a hike, you’ll have a splendid view of the surrounding volcano peaks when the weather’s clear.
Day 3 - Quito
After breakfast, you’ll drive to the equator monument of ‘mitad del mundo’, where you visit the centre of the world. The place where the equator meets the primary meridian. In this place, you can stand on the equator, do some balance tests and play with gravity in the interactive Intinan Museum.
In the afternoon, the programme features a private city tour to the old urban district of Quito. You’ll be able to enjoy fine examples of colonial architecture. There’s a reason Quito is known as South America’s most well-preserved colonial city.
Aside from the town houses with blue windows frames, beautiful patios and plazas, some of the many churches, like the San Francisco, the oldest church and the cathedral are also among the sights. You’ll also visit the Plaza de la Independencia, the convent of San Agustín and the Archeological Museum. Also enjoy the lively streetscape and delicious culinary treats!
Day 4 - Amazon
Transfer to the airport and flight to Coca, the base for an all-in stay in the Amazon. Ecuador is one of the best countries in South America to experience the Amazon. The high concentration of wildlife in this part of the Amazon is due to the low number of tourists, small-scale eco lodges that are in perfect harmony with their environment and the large river network that ensures you can spot the wildlife up close.
After the short flight and canoe trip of around 3 hours across the Napo river, the inhabited world is left far behind. Here, indigenous native tribes live in harmony with nature.
A nature guide and local guide peddle you to your lodge in an outrigger canoe through lush plant growth. You can already spot a lot of wildlife on the way there, like large otters, snakes, monkeys, beautiful birds, crocodiles etc. The lodge is located near a splendid Amazon lake, depending on your choice of accommodation, you can do yoga, enjoy the sunset and make an exciting evening boat ride.
Day 5/6 - Amazon
The upcoming days, you’ll explore the Amazon rainforest on foot and by boat with a guide. This is done in the early morning and late afternoon (sunset) when the animals are most active and awake. You’ll be provided with information about the species of plants and their medicinal properties, visit the local native community, a clay lick with colourful parrots and a high observation tower to meet the animals face to face. In the evening, you’ll head out by boat to spot the glimmering eyes of caymans, bats and enchanting fireflies using a torch. The nightly sounds provide a wonder night’s rest. Hundreds of bird species live in this area from toucans to hummingbirds, you can also run into several species of monkeys, tortoises, snakes, caymans and many species of insects. Those last ones provide a deafening concert.
Day 7 - Amazon
Spend another day enjoying the world of animals and plants of the Amazon.
Day 8 - Papallacta
Today, you’re brought back to Quito by outrigger canoe and plane. From there, it’s an hour’s drive to your luxurious hotel of Papallacta, where you can wonderfully recuperate from your Amazon adventure in the hot water springs that dot the volcano landscape. The springs are right in front of your lodge, you can enjoy the spas and baths there until late in the evening.
Day 9 - Cotopaxi
The adventure starts early today when you drive south to the volcano belt. The destination is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, the elegant Cotopaxi (5897 metres). The impressive snow covered volcano stands proudly in the middle of the beautiful national park that carries its name. You spend the night in an atmospheric hacienda at the foot of the national park.
Day 10 - Cotopaxi
Free day in the splendid highlands.
You can visit the national park under supervision of a guide. You can take beautiful hikes and enjoy the glittering highland lakes. The active traveller can take a hike up to around 4680 metres, this is quite a tough hike through the high mountains.
There are also splendid horse riding options from the hacienda with breath taking views of the volcano. The level is accessible to everyone and is absolutely recommended. You can also follow an empanada cooking workshop in the hacienda, which is a lot of fun if you want to master the local cooking techniques.
Day 11 - Quilatoa crater lake
Early this morning, you’ll drive to Laguna Quilotoa, the most beautiful crater lake of Ecuador. The crater lake is at a height of 3900 metres and occasionally changes from emerald green to heavenly blue due to the high concentration of sulphur. You’ll be amazed by its beauty.
The lake is at a 5-minute walk from the parking lot. You can also choose from hikes of 3 or 6 hours across a properly constructed path along the edge of the crater. On the way, you’ll encounter llamas, alpacas and the beautifully dressed indigenous population.
A visit to the Shalala project is also one of the options. There are accommodations and a lookout tower built by the indigenous population with a spectacular view of the lake. They sell their handmade wares there and this allows you to provide a small contribution to the local economy.
At the end of the afternoon, you’ll drive on to Banos.
Day 12 - Banos
Free day in Banos.
You can do all kinds of activities in Banos; horse riding, hiking, mountain biking and rafting are some of the options. You can also visit many waterfalls nearby and Banos has the highest swing in the world.
Day 13 - Chimborazo & Inti Sisa
The Chimborazo National Park is at a 2,5 hour drive from Banos. The Chimborazo stands at 6,267 metres and is the highest of the 60 volcanoes in Ecuador. Thanks to its location close to the equator, this volcano is also the highest point on earth, measured from the core of the earth. You can see the elegant vicuña on the abandoned plains.
Afterwards, you drive on to Guamote, a native village with colourful local attire like ponchos and bowler hats with peacock feathers. You’ll visit a local school and the Inti Sisa volunteer project run by Flemish people. You’ll spend the night in the colourful, comfortable posada, of which the profits go to the project. The Flemish volunteers can tell you a lot about the indigenous population and the beautiful initiative.
Day 14 - Andes train ride
On the way, you visit Ecuador’s only Inca ruin, Ingapirca, with its sun temple. There’s also the option of booking the world-famous Devil’s Nose train ride, which zigzags through the Andes mountain range.
Day 15 - Cuenca
Free day in Cuenca.
Today, you can explore this beautiful colonial city on your own. Wander through the beautiful streets, enjoy the many delicious ice cream salons, markets, nice shops and splendid plazas with cathedrals that can be found in the city.
Day 16 - Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez
Transfer to the fishing village of Puerto López. The upcoming days, you can enjoy the long coastline with unspoilt white beaches with coconut trees and bars with fresh juices. In the evening, those who want to can go salsa dancing.
In summer, Puerto López is the base for whale watching. Between June and September, you can see many humpbacks near the coast.
Day 17 - Isla de la Plata (small Galapagos)
Boat ride to the bird island of Isla de la Plata. This island is also called the Poor Man’s Galapagos because it’s home to many species of birds that can also be seen at the Galapagos Islands like the blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds and albatrosses. You can swim and snorkel among colourful fish and sea turtles.
Day 18 - Los Frailes
You can visit the ‘Los Frailes’ and ‘La Tortuquita’ beaches in the Machalilla National Park. The beaches are pearly white with crystal clear water. A wonderful place to end this splendid trip.
Day 19 - Return flight
Transfer to the airport for the international return flight.
End of an unforgettable trip through Ecuador.
* All accommodations with breakfast
* Mentioned meals
* Transport like mentioned in the program, except from domestic flights
* Excursions like mentioned in the program, unless stated otherwise
* International and domestic flights
* Not mentioned meals
* Entry fees national parks, unless mentioned differently
* Optional and not mentioned services and excursions