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Ecuadorian Andes Expedition: Immersing in Nature and Culture Amidst Breathtaking Landscapes

Hosted by

Alvaro

7 Days30 Days!

Extra Cancellation Days
only for the first TripMate

Guided trip
What's special?
special Andes landscapes
special Local handicrafts
special Quito's history
Embark on a captivating journey through Ecuador, a land of diverse landscapes and rich culture. From seamless airport transfers to thrilling explorations of bustling markets, majestic volcanoes, pristine lagoons, and lush cloud forests, our itinerary promises an immersive experience. Discover the vibrant city of Quito, stand astride the equator in the Middle of the World, indulge in the beauty of Ecuadorian roses, and unwind in the soothing Papallacta thermal springs. Immerse yourself in the indigenous culture at Otavalo's renowned market, then venture to Cotopaxi and Quilotoa for exhilarating adventures. Explore the cloud forest of Mindo, home to unique biodiversity, and savor local gastronomy. As your journey comes to an end, enjoy a hassle-free transfer to the airport. This itinerary showcases the best of Ecuador's nature, culture, and adventure, ensuring an unforgettable travel experience.

About me! Born and raised in the vibrant country of Ecuador, I am the ideal person to craft a unique and unforgettable trip within my homeland. My passion for travel and exploring new and exciting places knows no bounds. From the enchanting landscapes to the captivating culture, I wholeheartedly believe that Ecuador, Galapagos, Colombia, and Peru are exceptional destinations that offer a treasure trove of experiences.

Details about the accommodation: Explore the Ecuadorian Andes in Tourist Class accommodation with breakfast included. Immerse yourself in the indigenous culture the beautiful landscapes of the Andes and the nature in the cloud forest with guided visits while enjoying comfortable accommodations. Private bathroom in the room. The accommodation is a shared room for up to 2 people. Any questions about the trip? You can let me know in the Q&A section!

What's included?
5 nights in Quito
1 night in Cotopaxi
English guided activities
Transfers mentioned in the itinerary
7 breakfast
Tickets to all the activities
Your Booking includes free protection from Trip cancellations.
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My passion for travel and exploring new and exciting places knows no bounds.

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Trip Itinerary
1

Quito

Day 1-2
As you wing your way into Quito, the walls of this Andean valley rise up to greet you as do the volcanic peaks all around. The city spreads across the valley floor, climbing its sides up narrow, winding roads. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once you land and take care of the formalities, a driver will meet you and take you to your hotel, a charmingly colorful place with welcoming rooms.
2

Quito

Day 2-3
The day begins with a lovely breakfast at your hotel. Then you start the tour of Quito’s Centro histórico, the historic city center. As you stroll around well-preserved buildings from the Spanish colonial era, you enjoy the open plazas with trees and flowers alongside the rich architecture of the civil and religious buildings that line the streets. Built-in the 16th century, Plaza Grande – the colloquial name for Plaza de la Independencia – is bordered by landmark buildings: Palacio de Carondelet, the presidential residence and seat of the national government; the mayor’s office directly across; and the Archdiocese of Quito on the northeast side. In the plaza itself is a lovely garden with a statue of heroes from Ecuador’s fight for independence. As you explore the city’s nooks and crannies, the guide will tell you about its history as well as its present. Check out La Ronda, the oldest street in the city. After lunch, the group will head north to the Equator. First, you visit the monument called Mitad del Mundo, which was constructed at the location French scientists determined to be the Equator in the early 1700s. Not until recent decades did GPS technology make it possible to measure more accurately, showing the location designated as the Equator centuries ago was, in fact, off by a few hundred yards/meters. However, the monument is impressive and fun to visit. Be sure to take your passport if you want a stamp from the Equator! Next, you head a few hundred yards north to the line currently recognized as the Equator, in the solar museum Intiñan. Here you can experiment with the Coriolis effect while checking out the sundial, seeing traditional buildings of the area, and learning about history and science. Once you have had your fill of balancing eggs, the tour takes you back into the city. You can spend the evening as you wish.
3

Quito

Day 3-4
Following a delightful breakfast at the hotel, our journey will take us to the picturesque town of Pifo, where an exclusive and scenic farm awaits. This enchanting plantation offers an immersive experience as you explore its greenhouses, showcasing a mesmerizing variety of roses in diverse colors and shapes. Among them, you'll even encounter the world's largest blossoms. During your visit, gain insights into the meticulous selection standards, witness the intricate cultivation process, observe the delicate artistry involved in crafting exquisite bouquets, and conclude with an inside look at the packaging procedures for distribution across continents. Our journey continues to Papallacta, an Ecuadorian town nestled in the Andes at 3,250 meters above sea level. This unique environment, flanked by the Cayambe and Antisana volcanoes, offers self-guided hikes to explore diverse flora and fauna, including over 160 bird species. The highlight is the Hot Springs Spa, featuring nine pools with temperatures ranging from 97°F to 104°F, sourced from rainwater in a volcanic crater, offering relaxation and mineral-medicinal benefits. After this soothing experience, we return to your hotel for rest.
4

Quito

Day 4-5
We begin our journey by heading down the iconic Pan-American Highway to reach the Quitsato solar clock, nestled in the Cayambe canton, aptly named after the nearby snow-capped Cayambe mountain peak. This unique site marks the equator's crossing amidst the Cayambe mountain, often referred to as the "other middle of the world." It serves as a cultural monument, dating back to pre-Hispanic times, designed for measuring solstices and equinoxes. To immerse ourselves in local cuisine, we pause to savor a cup of authentic Ecuadorian coffee or indulge in delectable Bizcochos. Our journey continues to the charming town of Otavalo, where we're treated to breathtaking views from a vantage point overlooking San Pablo Lake and the majestic Imbabura hill in the backdrop. Nestled in the northern Imbabura province, Otavalo boasts the largest and most renowned market for indigenous handicrafts in all of South America, a bustling hub of culture and commerce that operates daily. On the day of the grand fair, all craftsmen converge at La Plaza de los Ponchos, granting us two hours of shopping bliss before we proceed to Cotacachi. In this charming town, we explore another artisan market, renowned for its fine leather goods, with 45 minutes to discover its treasures. Our final destination is the breathtaking Cuicocha Lagoon, nestled within an active volcanic crater at an elevation of 3,068 meters (10,065.62 feet). Here, you can peruse handicraft stores and embark on a leisurely 20-minute stroll to the Cuicocha viewpoint, offering an ideal backdrop for photos and a panoramic view of the lagoon's impressive 3-kilometer diameter and its picturesque islets. We then return to the hotel to unwind and relax.
5

Machachi

Day 5-6
One hour and a half from Quito, on the Pan-American Highway south, you'll traverse a portion of the Andes and the town of Machachi. This area is renowned for its livestock and agriculture, nestled at the foothills of Pasochoa to the right and Rumiñahui to the left, with the impressive Corazon hill in the backdrop alongside the majestic Ilinizas. Our first technical stop, situated at an altitude of 2945m (9,662.07 ft.), serves as an acclimatization point, where you can also opt for breakfast and capture some memorable photographs. Our second stop awaits at the entrance to Cotopaxi National Park, positioned at 3200m (10,498.69 ft.). Here, locals from surrounding communities will greet us with their crafts and mountain apparel. Cotopaxi National Park, considered one of Ecuador's most breathtaking parks after the Galapagos Islands, boasts the prominent Cotopaxi Volcano, standing tall at an altitude of 5987m (19,347.11 ft.). It ranks among the world's highest active volcanoes. The park offers various activities, including mountain climbing, hiking, horseback riding, and biking. Our tour seamlessly blends two activities. Initially, we embark on a hike from the parking lot at approximately 4600m (15,091.86 ft.) to the perpetual Glacier at around 5100m (16,732.28 ft.). This ascent requires no technical equipment and is feasible for individuals without prior experience, although good health and basic fitness are essential (feel free to contact us with any doubts before making a reservation). Following the glacier descent, you have the option (at no extra cost) to enjoy a thrilling bike ride from the upper part of the volcano parking lot to the lower reaches of the park, ending at the picturesque Limpiopungo Lagoon at 3850m (12,631.23 ft.). To conclude the adventure, we'll drive you to your hotel in Machachi.
6

Quito

Day 6-7
Begin your day with a hearty breakfast before embarking on a captivating 1.5-hour drive to Saquisilí, home to one of the most significant markets. Here, we delve into the daily life of the indigenous highland communities by visiting a traditional hut. As we descend, we reach the vibrant community of Tigua. This area sustains itself through agriculture, livestock, and the creation of intricate handicrafts and paintings. The locals, celebrated worldwide as accomplished artists, are particularly known for their brightly colored wooden sculptures depicting animal faces and paintings on sheepskin. A mandatory stop along the way awaits us at the Toachi River Canyon viewpoint, offering a perfect opportunity for snapshots and perhaps a selfie. Our final destination, the Quilotoa Lagoon, nestled within a volcanic crater, captivates visitors with its emerald-colored waters. Our journey includes a visit to the Quilotoa Community lookout point, which provides access to the crater, allowing us to hike down to the lagoon. For adventure enthusiasts, kayaking is an option at 3914m (12,841.21 ft), and the daring can even take a plunge into its invigoratingly cold waters. Conclude the day with some free time to savor local gastronomy before we return to Quito.
7

Quito

Day 7-8
In the northwest, near the Middle of the World monument, lies Mindo, a captivating attraction in the vicinity of Quito. Our journey begins with a visit to Calacali for an optional breakfast before proceeding to explore the wonders of Mindo. This region boasts a cloud forest with a warm and humid climate, nestled between the Andes and the Ecuadorian coast. The cloud forest is a haven for diverse bird species, attracting biologists, bird watchers, scientists, and explorers alike. Our shared tour commences with a visit to the Butterfly and Orchidarium. We then ascend to a high point for an optional canopy experience over the cloud forest, offering the chance to witness various bird species flying alongside us. Following this exhilarating adventure, we return to the community to explore an artisan chocolate factory, gaining insight into every step of the production process. As we wrap up our exploration, we head back to Quito, celebrating the memorable adventures we've experienced.
8

Quito

Day 8
After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, you can enjoy on your path the city before we ensure a smooth transfer to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport so you can take your international flight.
Trip Summary
Accommodation
Hotel
8 days trip
Quito, Quito & 6 more
Transportation
Car
What's excluded?
International flights
Travel Insurance
Extra activities
Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
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