On this adventurous week long tour in Ecuador you will not only experience the unique spirit of the Andes but learn about the customs, traditions and legends of the ancestral peoples of the Ecuadorian Highlands. On the trip you will see awesome scenery, quaint villages, the spectacular Avenue of the Volcanoes, fertile valleys and snow capped peaks. As Condors fly above, you will visit Inca ruins and all the time take in the mystical spirit of the Andes themselves. This memorable tour begins and ends in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador.
On arrival in Quito you will be met by one of our tour representatives and taken to your city hotel. Time to relax and unwind after your journey then go out and see for yourself some of the sights of the city, strolling through the streets around Independence Plaza.
Begin with a visit to the downtown area to relish this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito's colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved in South America, is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Visit the temple La Compania de Jesus and marvel at its gilded interior. Then travel 16 miles north to the Equatorial Monument , which marks the exact middle of the world.
Cotopaxi National Park
Today a four day immersion in the world of the Andes begins when you travel along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Cuenca. See centenary Haciendas and visit an artisans village on the way to Cotopaxi National Park, which surrounds the magnificent Cotopaxi volcano. From here descend to the town of Patate where you spend the night.
Banos, Route of the Cascades
After breakfast you take a spectacular route along the gorge of the Pastaza River to the town of Bafios with its thermal waters. Drive along the Route of the Cascades to El Pailon del Diablo - the Devil's Cauldron - and see the impressive cascades and rare orchids. Then take the road up to Riobamba, alongside the massive Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest mountain. Overnight and dinner in Riobamba
Riobamba to Cuenca
Today you take an astonishing road that flanks the Andes as it twists and turns along ravines and river gorges. Travel through Indian villages to the small town of Alausi, where you can ride the famous restored train down zig zag cuttings to the Devil's Nose and the renovated station of Sibambe. Then continue your journey south, visiting the Inca fortress of Ingapirca on the way to Cuenca.
Cuenca to Quito
Cuenca is Ecuador's third largest city, yet retains a pleasant provincial air with cobbled streets, flowery plazas and museums. Visit a colourful artisans market, where handicrafts are sold, some of the museums and a flower market. Stroll through the main square then drive along the Tomebamba River to admire the city's overhanging houses. In the evening fly back to Quito.
Today your magical tour of the Ecuadorian Andes comes to an end where it began. Perhaps time for some last minute sightseeing in the city or shopping before you are taken to the airport for your onward flight or journey home.