Absolute Ecuador Experience

1nt Quito, 2 nts Mindo Cloud Forest, 1nt Otavalo, 1nt Quito, 3 nts Coca, 1nt Quito, 2 nts Banos, 1nt Chimborazo Volcano, 2 nts Cuenca

This itinerary starts in the beautifully preserved colonial city of Quito before you head to the Mindo cloud forest reserve, several days are spent exploring the cloud forest where you will see many exotic birds including hummingbirds and toucans and trees draped in bromeliads and orchids.

Then head north through the Andes to the town of Otavalo to explore the famous handicraft market and witness the Otavalo indigenous people wearing the traditional blue ponchos and long braided hair and white trousers, and learn about their traditions. The following day take a short drive to the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological reserve where you will have a guided hike around the Cuicocha Crater Lake a still active volcano.

The next few nights are spent in the Amazon rainforest where you may see wildlife such as monkeys, river otters, piranhas and toucans. Meet the Amazonian Kichwa people and learn about their interaction with the forest and their traditions.

Moving on to the town of Banos to the Swing at the End of the World and a chance to take photos. Then on to Chimborazo Volcano where you will take a guided hike to the start of the glacier, and a chance to see wildlife such as the might Andean Condor and the timid Vicunas, once extinct, but now re-introduced and related to Alpacas and Llamas.

Finally heading to the Palmira desert, located above 10,000 feet but like the Sahara desert, then heading to town of Cuenca to visit Inca ruins and enjoy this Unesco World Heritage town.

Price Guide

14 nights from £3,965 per person based on double occupancy

These prices are excluding international flights. Average flight prices vary depending on time of year and can be considerably more expensive at peak times (Christmas, Easter, Summer). Flight routes vary, please contact us for accurate flight pricing for your timings and place of departure.

Day to Day

Below is an example day by day itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Quito, a beautifully preserved colonial city. Overnight Hotel Patio Andaluz.

Day 2

Transfer to the Mindo cloud forest reserve to the Bellavista Cloud Forest lodge, enjoy a guided hike around the lodge grounds. Overnight Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge (BLD).

Day 3

Up early to experience the Cock of the Rock tour, back for breakfast and then self guided hiking around lodge trails or just sit, relax and enjoy the hummingbirds at the feeders. Overnight Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge (BLD).

Day 4

Early start to transfer through Andes mountains to town of Otavalo. On the way stopping to view the Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo and visiting the sustainable project with the women of the mountain. Once at Otavalo you can stroll the cobblestone narrow streets and see the Otavalo Indigenous people wearing their traditional blue ponchos, white trousers and with long braided plaits, hear their language and learn about their daily activities and food. Also visit the famous handicraft markets with its textiles, alpaca rugs and throws, jewellery and ceramics. Overnight at Hacienda Cusin (BLD).

Day 5

After breakfast head to Cuicocha Crater lake and take a guided hike around this still active volcano, at the end of the hike you will take a boat ride to the centre of the lake to witness the bubbles coming up from the centre of the volcano. In the afternoon you will stop at Cotacachi town before returning to Quito. Overnight Hotel Patio Andaluz (BL).

Day 6

Fly to Coca and transfer to the Napo Cultural Center where you will be greeted by your members of the Kichwa Anangu community, after lunch hike along the Playas trail or optional kayaking around the river islands is available. Overnight Napo Cultural Center (BLD).

Day 7

Head by motorboat to one of the highlights of the the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve the parrot clay lick on the riverside of the river Napo. You may see the blue headed parrot and the yellow crowned parrot. Then visit the cultural interpretation center to learn about the Kichwa culture, crafts and customs. After lunch climb to the top of the observation tower for a chance to see numerous bird species, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys and sloths. In the evening after dinner you will have a guided night walk for a direct view of the parakeet clay lick and may see other mammals. Overnight Napo Cultural Center (BLD).

Day 8

After breakfast visit the sustainable community projects of the Kichwa and enjoy a medicine walk which is an excellent opportunity to view more wildlife, massive ceiba trees, bamboo and stranglers. After lunch a paddle on a nearby stream is an opportunity to see more wildlife and maybe a chance to see giant river otters catching fish. After dinner enjoy a night walk around the lodge grounds. Overnight Napo Cultural Center (BLD).

Day 9

Travel by motorboat and then fly back to Quito. Overnight Hotel Patio Andaluz (B).

Day 10

Transfer to town of Banos in the foothills of an active volcano which occasionally erupts with lava and steam. Take a guided hike to the second largest waterfall in Ecuador, the Pailon del Diablo where you watch the water pounding the rocks from a suspension bridge. After, visit another waterfall where you will take a cable car that traverses the canyon of the Pastoza River. Overnight Hotel Casa de Luis (B).

Day 11

After breakfast you will visit The Swing at the End of the World and take photos. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy town of Banos and overnight in Hotel Casa de Luis (B).

Day 12

Drive to Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador rising more than 20,000 feet above sea level. Take a short guided hike to reach the start of the glacier. On the hike you may see Andean Condors and Vicunas. Overnight Hacienda La Andaluza (BL).

Day 13

Take a scenic drive to the small town of Palmira to see a desert at over 10,000 feet. After transfer to Ingapirca the most impressive ruins of Ecuador and have a guided tour. Late afternoon head to town of Cuenca to overnight at Hotel Carvallo (B).

Day 14

Today you will have a guided tour of Cuenca taking in the most notable and important buildings and places. In the afternoon visit several nearby towns renowned for their products and crafts such as silverware and traditional Macana shawls. Overnight Hotel Carvallo (B).

Day 15

Trip ends.

14 nights from
£3,965 excluding flights

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Highlights Include

  • Otavalo Market
  • Amazon Rainforest
  • Hummingbirds, Toucans, Condors
  • Chimborazu Volcano
  • Cloud forest lodges

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