Bygone days and cultural treasures
This 1-week trip is the perfect introduction to Ecuador's rich history and culture, from the Inca empire to Spanish colonial times to modern day life.
We begin in Quito with visits to the splendid churches and plazas of the colonial quarter; the city's best museum with fine displays of archaeological finds, gold artefacts and artwork; and the gallery of Guayasamin whose thought-provoking artwork is considered to be the best in the country.
Next stop Otavalo for handicraft shopping at the colourful Indian market famed throughout Latin America; overnight at a majestic 17th century hacienda estate; and a visit to learn about local culture in an indigenous village.
Finally to Cuenca, widely-considered to be Ecuador's most picturesque city, for a tour of the colonial centre, excursion to the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, and a chance to try your hand at ceramics.
||Arrival Quito - our driver will meet you in airport arrivals and transport you to the majestic Hotel Patio Andaluz (Comfort tour option) in the historic old town district of Quito. Patio Andaluz is an exquisitely-renovated old colonial house located just 1 block from the central plaza of Quito that was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1978, and is the only hotel in Quito to hold the Smart Voyager sustainable tourism certificate. The Regular tour option stays at the Sierra Madre colonial style hotel. Free time to relax and acclimatise to your new surroundings.
||Quito city tour -
time to acquaint yourselves with the best sites
of the city of Quito. In the morning a tour of
the beautiful colonial plazas and churches as
well as panoramic city views atop the Panecillo.
After lunch time to explore the excellent Museo
del Banco Central - generally considered to have
the best archaeological exhibits in the country
and an excellent introduction to the various cultures
that have existed here before us. Overnight in
||Otavalo market and hacienda - transfer north of Quito to visit the indian market at Otavalo, famous across the Americas for its fine handicrafts and colourful locals. In the afternoon and evening there is free time to explore the beautiful grounds of Hacienda Cusin (Comfortable Option)- a charming 17th century estate steeped in history and tradition where you can enjoy a peaceful overnight stay. The Regular tour stays at a cosy hotel in central Otavalo.
||Indigenous villages, Otavalo - a fascinating day visiting some of the small indian villages surrounding Otavalo. During the trip you will see locals making handicrafts, playing Andean musical instruments, and weaving traditional shawls. You will also visit the beautiful volcanic lake of Cuicocha, and the Peguche Waterfall - a sacred site where the locals take their energizing ritual baths during the festival of the sun god. Overnight in Quito.
||Cuenca city tour - an early morning flight down the Andes to the white-washed buildings and cobbled streets of Cuenca. An introductory tour to the colonial highlights of the city including its handsome plazas and domed churches, followed by a ceramics lesson where you can make your own pots in the local style. Overnight in Cuenca.
||Ingapirca ruins - an unforgettable visit to the most impressive Inca ruins within Ecuador: Ingapirca was built in the 15th century on a strategic hilltop with excellent views over the surrounding countryside. A local guide will explain all about the origin and purpose of the ruins as well as a full lowdown on Inca history in Ecuador. There will be free time in Cuenca in the afternoon to relax or explore some of the city´s museums. Overnight in Cuenca.
||Quito, Capilla del hombre - return flight to Quito after breakfast. In the afternoon a chance to visit the fascinating Capilla Del Hombre museum which was built by local artist Guayasamin as a tribute to humankind, and the art-work on display depicting the historic suffering and struggle of Latin America's poor indigenous population is extremely moving. Overnight in Quito.
||Tour end - the trip ends after breakfast. Our driver can transfer you to Quito airport for your return journey home.
This tour is designed to run starting on any day of the week, however, if you would like to visit Otavalo on the biggest market day when there are more sellers then please ensure that this visit is a Saturday.
Past Clients Feedback
"Finally a tour that visits traditional sites and takes a real interest in the history of a country. Although short (1 week) there was a lot packed in and we were kept interested and amused throughout by the excellent guides. A real highlight was the interaction with locals around Otavalo! A highly recommended tour." (Peter Cole, UK)
AVAILABILITY: This tour is available throughout the year.
START DATES: flexible to start on any day of the week that you prefer to travel.
- Accommodation in double rooms. Triple rooms are also available should a group of odd-numbered passengers wish to avoid paying a single supplment.
- Transport with local driver throughout tour
- Meals as listed in itinerary
- Activities as listed in itinerary
- Flight : Quito/Cuenca/Quito
- English-speaking guide for citytours, Otavalo community visit, ingapirca and capilla del hombre
- International flights
- Personal expenses
- Meals not listed as part of itinerary
- Local entry fees
- Single supplement (applies for a single room for somebody travelling within a group). If you are travelling alone then please ask our staff for a solo traveller price quote.