On this trip you will visit the highlights of the highlands of Ecuador. Beautiful cities, friendly little mountain villages, indigenous markets, spectacular mountains and fascinating landscapes await you. Quito and Cuenca are among the most beautiful cities in South America. On the “Road of the Volcanoes”, as the Panamericana is called here, you can see several volcanoes. You will see the Cotopaxi from very close, into the crater of the Quilotoa you can even descend. But there are more highlights in Ecuador. That’s why you can add a couple of days at the seaside or take a tour to the Galapagos Islands.
4. – 18.10.2020, 10.-24.1.2021
Program Ecuador andino – Highlights of the highlands:
Day 1: Arrival in Quito and transfer to the hotel.
Day 2: In the morning we will do a guided tour through the old town. The afternoon is at leisure for further sightseeing in Quito.
Day 3: If you like hot springs in beautiful scenery, choose the optional Papallacta day trip. However, if you want to spend more time in Quito or take a short day trip, there are a few options available. Our guide will advice you.
Day 4: Day trip to Otavalo 2 hours north of Quito. Visit of the famous indigenous market at the Plaza de los Ponchos. Afterwards we visit the workshop of a craftsman. After lunch we drive to Cotacachi. The small town is known for its leather goods. Finally we make a stopover at the impressive crater lake Laguna Cuicocha.
Day 5: We leave Quito after breakfast and drive to the Cotopaxi National Park. From the parking lot at 4600 m we hike to the refuge Refugio José Rivas at 4800 m altitude. Here you can enjoy the view and optionally continue until the beginning of the glacier at almost 5000 m above sea level. On the way back we stop briefly at the Laguna Limpiopunga. Then we drive to Isinlivi, a small village on the Quilotoa Loop.
Day 6: Day at leisure in Isinlivi. You can make one of the possible walks around Isinlivi or participate in the activities offered in the village. The Pension Llullu Llama is also ideal for relaxation.
Day 7: Hike from Isinlivi to Chugchilan. The heavy bags drive with the vehicle. If you do not feel like a longer hike, you can also ride the vehicle. In the afternoon you can optionally visit a cheese factory outside Chugchilan.
Day 8: Drive from Chugchilan to Quilotoa Crater. There we have time, which you can use to descend to the crater lake. Or you can hike along the crater rim to the nearest lookouts. Then drive to Tigua and visit of the galleries. Finally drive to Baños.
Day 9: In the morning drive from Baños along the Pastaza River, where we see several waterfalls. Finally, we reach the Pailon del Diablo after a short hike (20 to 30 minutes). It is perhaps the most spectacular waterfall in Ecuador. After lunch, there is some time to explore the village. Then we drive to Riobamba, where we spend the night in a historic hacienda just outside the city.
Day 10: We visit the Chimborazo National Park and make a hike through the polylepsis forest. On a clear day, the volcanoes Chimborazo, Altar and Sangay are visible. You see vicuña herds and possibly hummingbirds. The polylepsis trees grow at an altitude of 4000 meters. That’s why it’s one of the highest forests in the world. If you do not want to hike, you can relax on the hacienda and perhaps make a short hike from there.
Day 11: After breakfast we drive to Guamote, where we first do a community tour. In the afternoon we can watch the preparations for the next day’s market.
Day 12: We have time in the morning to visit the market. Then we drive towards Cuenca, but make a stopover in Ingapirca. Here is the largest Inca ruin in Ecuador. Some of the buildings were built by the Cañari, who inhabited the region before the Incas.
Day 13: In Cuenca, we will first tour the beautiful historic city in the morning. The program includes the new and
old cathedral. We visit a manufacturer of Panama hats and a lookout point with a panoramic view of the city. The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 14: After breakfast we head towards Cajas National Park. This high mountain region with many lakes and high peaks lies at 3800 m above sea level. After exploring we continue to Guayaquil.
Day 15: You can either return or enjoy other highlights of Ecuador. A multi-day trip to the Galapagos Islands is possible or a few days at the beach in Puerto Lopez.