4-weeks program: Highlight tour option II
Day 1 – Saturday
Today you arrive in Quito and our driver will welcome you at the airport Mariscal Sucre. Quito is the capital of Ecuador and at an altitude of 2850 meters above sea level. With a population of 2 million Quito is the second largest city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. The driver will bring you to the hotel in Quito were you will spend the night.
Day 2 – Sunday
After breakfast the guide will meet you in your hotel and you will start with a city tour in the historic center of Quito. The guide will explain you all about the history of Ecuador and the capital. The historic center of Quito is declared by UNESCO. You will visit Plaza San Francisco, Plaza Grande and the famous church La Compañia. Lunch will be served.
In the afternoon you are going to the equator at Mitad del Mundo. In museum Inti Ñan you are learning about history and all facts and figures about the Equator. With various experiments you will see that you are on the Equator, like putting an egg on a nail! Afterwards the guide will bring you back to your hotel in Quito were you will spend the night.
Day 3 – Monday
In the morning you will have a pick up from your hotel at 06:30 am. Leaving Quito you descend a scenic mountain road with forested mountains and beautiful views. Reaching the turn to Bellavista, you climb to the top of the mountain, again with fabulous views, where Bellavista lodge is perched. Settle into your room, enjoy the special breakfast and see the hummingbirds. Then you are invited to join the first hike into the forest.
After a tasty lunch, you can take a guided hike with a Bellavista naturalist, or explore on your own. A guided hike will acquaint you with the exuberant vegetation (orchids, bromeliads, ferns, trees, etc) of the cloud forest, its bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment. The evening is relaxed; we recommend you take time to admire the incredible variety of moths, many of which are unknown to science. You can also look for night birds such as the Common Potoo! You spend the night in Bellavista Lodge.
Day 4 – Tuesday
After a refreshing night’s sleep, an early morning bird hike in the serene morning light is well worthwhile. At 08:00 am, the special Bellavista breakfast is served. Afterwards, perhaps explore on your own, or go with a guide to a waterfall! Every hike reveals something new even for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the forest every day!
Lunch is served at 01:00 pm, and afterwards you choose whether you want to take a short hike or just relax while enjoying the flight and activity of the hummingbirds. Afterwards the driver will bring you back to Quito were you will be expected between 05:00 pm and 05:30 pm.
You will spend the night in Quito.
Day 5 – Wednesday
Today you are going to relax in the hot springs of Papallacta surrounded by mountains. The entrance of the Balneario is included in the price. If you want to go to the Spa and enjoy the hot springs over there, the entrance is $18 per person. Here you can also make a reservation for a massage or other treatment if you would like. Afterwards you are going back to Quito were you will spend the night.
Day 6 - Thursday
After breakfast a guide will pick you up in your hotel and you are leaving to the Crater Lake Quitolota. Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The caldera has since accumulated a 250 meters deep crater lake, which has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals. You can walk around the lake and take beautiful pictures. Or if you would like to have a challenge; walk inside the lake and touch the water! For the way up it is possible to rent donkeys. You can have a lunch in one of the restaurants that are situated around the lake. Afterwards the driver will bring you to a hacienda were you will spend the night.
Day 7 – Friday
Today you will have the highest tour during your trip in the highlands; you are going to visit the Cotopaxi volcano. You start from the parking lot, at an altitude of 4500 meters, climbing to the refuge to an altitude of 4850 meters. At the refuge you can enjoy the view and drinking a hot chocolate. If there is still some time left you can try to manage climbing till 5000 meters were you can see the glaciers of the volcano. Afterwards you are visiting Lake Limpiopungo. You are going back to the Hacienda were lunch will be served. In the afternoon you have free time to spend around the Hacienda and you can book optional an activity. You will spend the night in the Hacienda.
Day 8 – Saturday
In the morning you will leave for a little jungle adventure to the Cotococha Lodge in Tena. You will arrive in the afternoon. After the long drive you can relax for a while in the beautiful spacious bungalow built in a rustic native design surrounded by gardens full of amazing jungle plants and flowers. A delicious dinner will be served in a romantic candlelight setting at the attractively decorated restaurant. Afterwards you will enjoy a special welcome drink, relaxing yourself around the elegant fireplace, to coordinate and discuss next day's activities with the local crew. You will feel absolutely comfortable in this lovely peaceful setting filled with nightly sights and sounds of the Amazon jungle.
Day 9 – Sunday
After breakfast, you depart by canoe upstream for ten minutes, arriving to a small shore where you begin a fun and thrilling one hour walk, marveling yourself with the jungle's secondary forest diverse flora and fauna. After the short hike, you'll find yourself in a breathtaking cascade "La Cascada de Latas" where you will take a refreshing bath in its clear crystal waters and enjoy the surrounding views, which, mixed with the jungle sounds, makes it a unforgettable experience. you return along the same way to have lunch at the lodge.
After lunch you put on our "wet gear" (rubber boots & rain poncho) to start an exciting walk in the rainforest ready to find the secret wonders of the mysterious hidden jungle, finding amazing plant species with medicinal properties, which will be explained in detail by the expert native guide: their characteristics and how the jungle inhabitants used them in ancient times. You'll also observe a great variety of insects, small groups of monkeys weaving around the giant trees; though you will need some luck to observe them, you must stay very quiet to admire these beautiful creatures.
Dozens of curious colorful birds tag along with you during the walk whistling enchanted notes delighting your senses. After about three hours of walking you come back and arrive to the Lodge. At night, dinner and gathering around the fireplace. It's time for a good and peaceful rest delighted by the nightly sounds of the jungle.
Day 10 – Monday
After breakfast, you will continue your trip to the city Baños, also named Baños de Agua Santa.
Baños is a major tourist center and well-known for the Tungurahua volcano, the waterfalls and the hot springs. You can do a lot of
activities in Baños like mountainbiking, rafting, kayaking, canyoning, bridge jumping and horseback riding. Baños is also known for its production of taffy (melcocha) made from cane sugar, and for
small shops that sell the towns famous wooden parrots. You will spend the night in a hotel in Baños.
Day 11 – Tuesday
Free day to spend in Baños. You can do some of the optional activities in Baños or just relax in one of the hot springs or during a massage. You will spend the night in a hotel in Baños.
Day 12 – Wednesday
Free day to spend in Baños. In the surroundings of Baños you can make beautiful hikes! Ask the local tourist office for some itineraries. You will spend the night in a hotel in Baños.
Day 13 – Thursday
In the morning you will travel from Baños to the indigenous town Guamote. High up in the Andes in the shadow of the Chimborazo, at the centre of Ecuador, between the coast area and the rainforest and in the little town Guamote is Inti Sisa situated. Inti sisa is an educational project which organizes workshops in the centre of Guamote and in some indigena communities. All these workshops have grown from conviviality with the people, who think that their training too theoretical is and who want more practical training.
In the morning you are going to visit the Thursday market in Guamote, one of the most important indigenous markets of the country. Looking onto the town from a far you are faced with a sea of red filling the streets, squares and public areas, produced by the arrival of the many indigenous people that come to the market, all donned in the traditional red ponchos.
They come in their thousands to sell sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, llamas, potatoes, cereals, wool, handicrafts, clothing and tools. Others simply come out of custom and ancestral ritual to meet with friends and take advantage of this time to catch up on the fascinating cosmo-visions that they share. The exchange of goods or bartering as a form of trade still exists in Guamote. In the afternoon you will have a cooking workshop were you will learn to make a local dish. Afterwards you can enjoy your own made dish during the lunch! You will spend the night at Inti Sisa.
Day 14 – Friday
In the morning you are going to make a village tour and you get to know the local people.
Afterwards you will have a cooking workshop were you will learn to make a local dish. Enjoy your own made dish during the lunch! You will spend the night at Inti Sisa.
Day 15 - Saturday
After breakfast you will continue your trip to Alausí from where you will go by train to Sibambe to visit the famous Nariz del Diablo. By train you will travel trough the mountains and enjoy the amazing view! The trip by train will take 2,5 hours, afterwards you continue traveling from Alausi to the most beautiful city of Ecuador, as told by the Ecuadorians, Cuenca. Here you will spend the night.
Day 16 - Sunday
Free day in Cuenca.
Optional tour: you can make a city tour with a guide. You will visit the flower market, the famous cathedral and of course the factory with panama hats. Did you already know that the Panama hat comes from Cuenca Ecuador and not from Panama? You will spend the night in Cuenca.
Day 17 - Monday
Free day in Cuenca.
Optional tour: you can visit the National Park El Cajas that is famous for its beautiful nature. You will find more than 200 lakes in this National Park and all kind of species of plants.
Optional tour: you can visit the community tourism project Mama Kinua Cultural Center. You will visit an indigenous community and can participate in all kinds of activities like cooking, farming and cheese-making. All revenue goes to a community health network. You will spend the night in Cuenca.
Day 18 - Tuesday
After breakfast you will drive from Cuenca to the biggest city of Ecuador, Guayaquil. During your trip you will see the environment changing from mountains to tropical plants and you will also notice the change in the climate, there will be more humidity. Here you will have a stop for lunch and then you will continue to the coast of Ecuador, Puerto Lopez. Who says that the coast of Ecuador isn’t interesting? The National Park Machalilla and Isla de la Plata are jewels at the Ecuadorian coast and you can visit them perfectly from Puerto Lopez! You will spend the night in Puerto Lopez.
Day 19 – Wednesday / Day 20 – Thursday
Free days to spend in Puerto Lopez. Visit the beautiful National Park Machalilla, this park consists of tropical forests, cloud forest, desert coast and some islands. It is an area where many birds and other wildlife.
In the period June-September you have a great opportunity for the coast of Machalilla to see humpback whales. They come from the Antarctic area and use the waters at Machalilla and Isla de la Plata to mate and to cast their young. Take a boat trip to come nearby humpback whales. They are true artists: some humpback whales jumping out of the water to come back down with a resounding slap.
Turtles, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and albatrosses: Isla de la Plata is a bit like the Galápagos and therefore is also called “poor men’s Galapagos”. With a guide you make a nature walk on the bird island. The trip to Isla de la Plata is an experience, through the breeding ground of humpback whales. Before you return to the mainland: snorkel and try to see the green sea turtles!
You will spend the nights in Puerto Lopez.
Day 21 - Friday
Early in the morning you will have a transfer from your Puerto Lopez to the airport of Guayaquil. From here your trip to the Galapagos Islands will start. You can choose for a 7 day landtour, which means that you are going to visit several islands during the day and spend the night on the islands. Or you can make a 7 day cruise, which means that you have the option to visit more islands and you will spend the night on the boat. We offer different kind of tours and categories, so for more information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Day 22 – Saturday / Day 27 – Thursday
These days you will spend at the paradise on earth, the Galapagos Islands. You will enjoy the beautiful environment and see different kinds of animals. Under the guidance of a naturalist guide you will go hiking on the islands and snorkeling to discover the amazing underwater world. He will explain everything about the flora and fauna. You will spend the nights in a hotel or a boat, depending on your program. If breakfast, lunch and dinner are included depends on the program.
Day 28 – Friday
In the morning the guide will bring you to the airport at the Galapagos Islands from were you will fly to Guayaquil. Here you will have your flight back home.
Day 29 – Saturday
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