Magic of Ecuador
The very best of mainland Ecuador packed neatly into a perfect 12 day trip.
Trip highlights include elegant colonial Quito, scientific mysteries at the equator, trekking at Cotopaxi Volcano National Park, the stunning Quilotoa crater-lake, lush-green mountains and waterfalls at Baños, ancient Inca ruins at Ingapirca, museums at the beautiful white-washed city of Cuenca, handicraft shopping at Otavalo's colourful market, and chillout at the rejuvenating Papallacta hotsprings.
This trip was actually designed by one of our past clients and always proves extremely popular as an introduction to this wonderful country. It is a great way to travel without stress or hassles as Happy Gringo and our driver organise everything meaning that you can simply sit back and enjoy the ride!!!
||Arrival Quito - our driver will meet you in airport arrivals and transport you to Hotel Sierra Madre - a charming colonial-style hotel close to the newtown part of the city. Free time to relax and acclimatise to your new surroundings.
||Quito citytour - a full day to acquaint yourselves with the best
sites of the city of Quito. In the morning enjoy
a tour of the colonial highlights in old town including the cathedral & most impressive churches and pretty plazas. After lunch a trip north to the
equator - stand literally in the middle of the
world! We also visit the unique Inti Ñan
museum where you can prove (or disprove) various
scientific phenomena that only hold true at the
equator. Overnight in Quito.
||Cotopaxi National Park - a spectacular day visiting one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. In the morning we visit the surrounding parkland and have time to explore the pictoresque Limpiopungo Lake. In the afternoon we go up to the snowline volcano refuge and visit the glaciers. Overnight at one of the oldest and most elegant colonial haciendas in the country.
||Quilotoa craterlake - Quilotoa is a real highlight of the tour that will literally take your breath away! An emerald green laguna inside the crater of an extinct volcano with steep jagged cliffs and views straight down the entire valley of volcanoes. It is possible to trek into the crater to the lake shore (with optional mule ride out for those with tired limbs), and there are also many other fine trekking opportunities in the local area sometimes refered to as the Grand Canyon of Ecuador, as well as a chance to buy local handicrafts. Overnight at Baños.
||Baños: valley of the waterfalls - a morning transfer to the lush green mountains of Baños, followed by an afternoon exploring the pretty valley of the waterfalls. The Pailon del diablo (Devil's cauldron) is the largest and most spectacular but other smaller ones are also impressive. Overnight at Posada del arte in Baños.
||Baños: free - Ecuador's premier resort town has a whole array of potential activities to enjoy ...relaxing hotsprings, trekking, biking, canyoning and horse-riding to name but a few. You have a freeday to enjoy and explore at your own pace. Overnight at Baños.
||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. Overnight at Cuenca.
||Cuenca - a full day amidst 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 freetime to explore the city by yourselves. Overnight at Cuenca.
||Transfer Otavalo - an early morning flight takes you back up the Andes to Quito with great aeriel volcano views on a clear day. You will be met at the airport by our driver and transported north to Otavalo where there is freetime to relax at the pleasant Hotel.
||Otavalo market and surrounds - a full day around Otavlo begins with time to
shop at the indian market of Otavalo, famous
across the Americas for it's fine handicrafts
and colourful locals. In the afternoon visits
to the sacred Peguche waterfall, a local weaving
workshop, and other local sites. Overnight at
||Papallacta hotsprings - after the non-stop action of the past 10 days of travel today is time to put your feet up and relax at the stunning mountain setting of Papallacta. Bathe in the rejuvenating waters of the crystal clear natural hotsprings and there is also an excellent spa available (note - spa activities are not included in the tour). Overnight at Quito.
||Tour end - after breakfast our driver will transfer you to the airport for your flight out.
This tour is designed to run starting on any day of the week, however, if you would like to visit Otavalo when the market is at its largest and there are more sellers then this day should be on a Saturday.Contact us to book this tour
PAST CLIENTS FEEDBACK
"We had a wonderful time in Ecuador and would love to visit again. The itinerary was very well organised and maximised our time, guides and drivers were excellent, and was a very smooth operation throughout. Thankyou very much Happy Gringo - we will definately recommend you to friends and family" (Raj Haria-Shah, UK)
"We loved our driver Milton - he is so kind, considerate and flexible and really made the tour excellent for us! We want to thankyou for a really wonderful tour - we had such a good time and really feel as if we have seen a good part of Ecuador. Happy Gringo provide an excellent service and we will recommend you to others!!!" (Audra Hollingsworth, USA)
"Quilotoa was our favourite part - it was beautiful and even the drive there was breath-taking. The hotels along the way were very interesting and cool places to stay. Above all everything ran very smoothly. Thankyou" (Wayne Chan)
"We would like to thank you for doing an excellent job in coordinating and accommodating our needs - you made me look like an excellent vacation planner in my wifes eyes! I can't thankyou enough for being great ambassadors for the beautiful country of Ecuador." (Dan Van Coppenolle)
PRICES (per person)
|# OF PASSENGERS
|| $1665 Regular / $2075 Comfort
||$1395 Regular / $1850 Comfort
||$1315 Regular / $1750 Comfort
||$1215 Regular / $1675 Comfort
|6 or more
||$1130 Regular / $1625 Comfort
- Accommodation in double rooms or triple for odd-numbered groups who do not wish to pay any single supplement.
- Transport with local driver throughout tour
- Meals as listed in itinerary
- Activities as listed in itinerary
- English-speaking guide at Quito and Cuenca citytours, and at Cotopaxi and Otavalo
- Domestic flight Cuenca-Quito
- 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.
RECOMMENDED ADD-ON TOURS
Clients on this tour may also be interested in the following add-on trip options:
Galapagos cruise - many past clients on this tour have recommended a visit to the Galapagos islands as part of their trip. The islands are perfectly suited for an add-on because they are such a unique world destination and offer the combination of a relaxing yacht cruise with unforgettable wildlife. We offer a great range of budget and luxurious yachts and catamarans for the perfect cruise
Amazon rainforest - Ecuador offers easily-accessible rainforest adventures that fit onto either the start or end of this trip. We offer trips to suit all budgets and adventure levels.
Cloudforest - the Bellavista lodge is an easy short add-on because it is close to Quito and trips run for either 2 or 3 days. It makes for a wonderfully relaxing getaway amidst lovely forest scenery and hummingbirds.