Ecuador Highlights in 10 Day

Quito, Ecuador

Experience Rating
    
Overview

See the best of Ecuador on a 10-day trip from Quito to the Amazon, Baños, and Cuenca. Learn about Ecuador’s indigenous cultures and explore highlights such as the Otavalo Market, the Guango cloud forest reserve, the Chimborazo Volcano, and the Ingapirca Inca ruins. Travel by motorized canoe in the Amazon, hike to Ecuador’s highest waterfall, and ride the Devil’s Nose Train through the Andes.
  • 10-day tour of Ecuador with accommodation and transfers included
  • Take a motorized canoe ride through the Amazon to view wildlife
  • Hike to Ecuador’s highest volcano and second-highest waterfall
  • Round-trip transportation from your hotel in Quito provided

Transportation: Airfare Cuenca-Quito one way, airport transfers (national flights), private and comfortable land transportation, train, motorized canoe
Accommodation based on double occupancy: First Class hotel in Quito, colonial hacienda in Otavalo, 5-star Spa Resort Papallacta, Itamandi Eco-lodge in the Amazon, 3 or 4 star hotel in Baños, 5-star Andean lodge in Chimborazo, 3 or 4 star hotel in Cuenca
Activities: Indigenous Market, volcanic hot springs, encounter with indigenous people, road of the waterfalls, hiking up the glacier of Chimborazo, trekking, bird watching in the Amazon, canoeing and wildlife observation in the rainforest, Amazoonico Animal Rescue Center, chocolate making with indigenous people, train to Devil's Nose, cultural visit of Cuenca.
Gear: hiking sticks, life jackets
Trip Leader: Certified AJ expert English-speaking adventure Trip Leader and local guides
Dinner (2)
Breakfast (8)
Lunch (4)
My Own Room supplement $350
International flights
Airport transfer (international flights)
Travel insurance (mandatory)
Meals not described in the itinerary - estimated budget USD $180 USD
Tips for guides and drivers - estimated budget USD $120 USD

Departure Point

Hotel Swissôtel Quito, Av 12 de Octubre 1820 y, Luis Cordero, Quito 170525, Ecuador

Traveler pickup is offered

Airports

  • Mariscal Sucre Airport, Quito Ecuador


Departure Time

8:00 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Itinerary
Adventure Journeys
Welcome to Quito! The largest, best preserved colonial city of America -declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and is located on the equator in a valley at the foothills of the Pichincha volcano. Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. ADVENTURE JOURNEYS can help you to organize a day trip (please request in advance). In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel’s lobby for a welcome briefing at 18:00 hours. At this time, we will discuss the details and questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an acclimation and information day.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Accommodation:
 Swissôtel Quito or similar.
Meals:
  Not Included
Otavalo Market
We take an early departure from Quito and drive north through the majestic Andes. On our way we will stop at a viewpoint to admire Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo. Once in Otavalo, you will have plenty of time to stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, filled with the Otavalo Indigenous people wearing the traditional blue ponchos, white trousers and long braided hair. Learn all about their daily activities, typical food and native language. Explore their famous handicraft market, with its wonderful textiles, alpaca throws and rugs, knitted clothing native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and more at bargain prices. Later, we will head to Peguche, a small village located in the heart of the Andes, where you will live an unforgettable cultural experience, immersing yourself in the true spirit of the South-American highlands. You will help the local people prepare a delicious lunch using the fresh products harvested the same day from the surrounding organic fields and share precious moments of conviviality with them. After that, we’ll drive through a unique landscape up to an elevation of 4000 m (13123 ft) through the eastern range of the Andes. This road is situated between two national reserves, Antisana and Cayambe Coca, both located in the high mountain Paramo ecosystem, known for its short vegetation and for being home to some incredible animals such as the spectacled bear, deer, puma, Andean condor, cara-cara and more. After our 2 and a half hours’ drive through the beautiful landscape, we will arrive at Papallacta Hot Springs Resort, where you can soak in the volcanic water pools surrounded by mountains and colorful flowers and birds.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Accommodation:
 Termas Papallacta Spa Resort
Meals:
 Breakfast  Lunch  
Tena
Early in the morning, we will drive down along a curvy panoramic road towards the Amazon Rain forest; as we descend from an altitude of 3000 m to 500 m (9843 ft to 1640 ft), you will observe how the landscape and vegetation change drastically between climates. Our first stop will be the Guango reserve (entrance fee not included), where we will have the unique opportunity to see many different species of hummingbirds in the wild. These small creatures are famous for their incredible ability to flap their wings rapidly, as well as for their bright colors. Later, we also stop at the “Guacamayos-Macaw Lookout,” located between Antisana and Sumaco National Reserves (low elevation cloud forest), to observe the magic blanket of clouds that covers the Amazon rain forest, until we finally arrive at the Arajuno River, where a motor canoe will take us 20 minutes up the river to the Eco Lodge.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Accommodation:
 Amazon Eco-lodge
Meals:
 Lunch  Dinner  
Napo Province
In the morning, we will hike to explore the Tropical Rain Forest and have an interpretation from our guide and learn about medicinal plants and we will search for wildlife. Later, we will enjoy a cultural activity where an Amazonian Kichwa community will receive us and we learn about their way of life and the interaction they have with the forest. Appreciate the skills of the indigenous women manufacturing handmade pottery (ceramics). This little business helps to support the indigenous people in their daily life. Today we will also have the chance to learn how to make our own chocolate from the raw fruit.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Accommodation:
 Amazon Eco-lodge
Meals:
 Lunch  Dinner  Breakfast  
Tungurahua
After breakfast, we will reach to Rio Verde, located in the UNESCO World Heritage site, Sangay National Park. Here, we will hike down to the second highest waterfall in Ecuador, the Pailon Del Diablo, where pounding water cascades on the rocks and mesmerizes you as you watch from a suspension bridge. You may also take an optional hike behind the falls. After another quick drive, we will arrive at another incredible waterfall called El Manto de la Novia, where we will ride in a cable car traversing the canyon of the Pastaza River. In the late afternoon we will arrive to Baños, located right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. It has some eruptions every few months which delights visitors with lava and steam displays that can be viewed from a number of safe view points in the region. Here in Baños you can also visit a spa or another place to enjoy the hot springs of the area.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Accommodation:
 Hotel Casa de Luis or similar
Meals:
 Breakfast  
Tungurahua
In the morning we will visit The Swing of the End of the World, where the winner of the 2014 National Geographic photo contest took his photo, you will have some time to take the amazing picture with the stunning landscape in the front. We will have the afternoon at leisure to enjoy optional activities in this incredible town.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Accommodation:
 Hotel Casa de Luis or similar
Meals:
 Breakfast  
Mount Chimborazo
Early in the morning, we will drive through valleys and farming villages to reach the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an elevation of 6310 m (20702 ft) above sea level; whose summit is also the furthest point from the center of the earth on the entire planet. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometers. There will be a short hike for 0.9 km (0.57 mi) to reach the elevation of 5000 m (16404 ft) where the glacier begins. On the hike, we will spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic wonderland such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the timid vicuñas. Once extinct in Ecuador, they have been reintroduced and are now protected; this beautiful animal is related to the alpacas and llamas.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Accommodation:
 Hacienda La Andaluza or similar
Meals:
 Breakfast  Lunch  
Estacion Ferrocarril
After an early breakfast, we will take a scenic drive to the small town of Alausí. Here, we will board the train to the Devil’s Nose, where the tracks wind through the countryside in a zigzag formation, creating a travel experience like no other. After the train ride, we will continue our visit towards Ingapirca, the most impressive Inca ruins of Ecuador. We will spend the afternoon learning about this archaeological site, notable for its unique fusion of Inca and native Cañari architecture, as well as for its religious meaning. Later, we will head up to Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colonial architecture.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Accommodation:
 Hotel Carvallo or similar
Meals:
 Breakfast  
Cuenca
Starting in the morning enjoy a fantastic city tour, visiting the most important buildings and notable places in Cuenca, such as Calderon Square, the New Cathedral, El Barranco and El Turi lookout point. In the afternoon visit a famous Panama hat factory where we will understand the whole process of making this traditional Ecuadorian hat. In the afternoon, we will visit the nearby towns of Chordeleg and Gualaceo, unique destinations that can be enjoyed on this tour. Chordeleg is well known for his jewelry, especially his silverware. And Gualaceo is a picturesque market, where locals gather to exchange their products and crafts. Here you can find traditional Macana shawls, fabrics of fabrics with intense colors and folkloric designs.
Duration: 8 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Accommodation:
 Hotel Carvallo or similar
Meals:
 Breakfast  
Mariscal Sucre International Airport
You will have this free morning the enjoy the charming city of Cuenca and its surroundings. Around midday you will take a short 45-minute domestic flight back to Quito, where you will connect with your internatinal flight. Today our trip will end. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!
Admission Ticket Free
Accommodation:
  Not Included
Meals:
 Breakfast  
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • IMPORTANT DETAILS
  • It is our intention to adhere to the itinerary described; however, due to our travel style, on occasions it may be necessary or desirable to make small changes. Weather conditions and unpredictable local circumstances may lead us to make alterations to the route and/or travel times. Hotels and flight schedules might change according to availability. Any mention to specific wildlife in the itinerary or trip details is not a guarantee that it will be seen during the trip.
  • From 2 to 3 hours driving average from place to place.
  • All-year (best from May to October)
  • Pichincha, Imbabura, Napo, Pastaza, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Cañar and Azuay.
  • All Inter-Andean Valleys and Andes ranges, Amazon Rainforest upper part, cloud forest and canyons.
  • From 500 to 5000m (1600 to 16500 ft)
  • Day 15-34ºC / 59-93ºF - Night 12-17ºC / 53-62ºF
  • Easy. This program will run from the high Andean Mountains to the Tropical Rainforest of the Amazon, which involves the hiking in flat areas of the Amazon, hike down the Pastaza canon to the Pailon Del Diablo waterfall for 1 km. Optional hike up to Chimborazo Volcano Base Camp 5000m.
  • Life jackets, hiking sticks.
  • Guides are certified as Wilderness First Aid Responders. We carry a complete first aid kit.
  • All prices are based on double-occupancy. If you are travelling solo, you will be matched with another participant of your same gender. If you prefer to have a single room, please contact AJ prior to your departure to arrange your accommodation at an extra cost.
  • Traveling with Adventure Journeys you will have the possibility to experience and taste local food and snacks. Your guide will help you identify typical food and suggest the best places to enjoy it. Some meals are not included in order to give you some flexibility about where what and with whom to eat. You have the option to share these meals with the group, however, there is no obligation to do this. If you have any allergies or food restrictions, please inform AJ prior to your departure.
  • Clients receive a conservationist interpretation of the ecology of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest and the factors that threaten it. We aim to promote long-term conservation to support responsible ecotourism as a sustainable alternative to surrendering to the oil industry's destructive appetites. We transport out and recycle all non-organic garbage.
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travelers

Cancellation policy

All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties. Learn more about cancellations.
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