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Overview
Fixed Departure possible on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Detailed Itinerary

You will land at the Mariscal Sucre international airport, on the east side of the capital.
There, you will meet your driver who will welcome you in his country and will accompany you to your hotel.
To be steeped in the local atmosphere, you will stay in the heart of Quito historical center, between cobbled streets and colonial monuments.

Quito’s historical center is the largest and better preserved in Latin America. There is nothing like walking through it to admire the wonders of this Unesco World Heritage, its beautiful churches and monasteries, museums, lively squares as well as the Panecillo hill.
The flora wealth and diversity in the Pululahua reserve makes it a unique area that is worth stepping by! Its geological history causes the reserve to be the only one protecting an inhabited crater. You will have the feeling of being at one with nature in this calm and peaceful environment, where the clouds appear as a white coat and seem to be willing to protect the reserve as well.
After your lunch, you will join the Intiñan Museum, on the equinoctial line and will be able to try to keep an egg in equilibrium on a nail. Also ask someone to take a photo of you with one foot in each hemisphere.

You will start you day with a walk in a plantation in order to discover another of the country’s wealth: the roses’ production.
You will then drive to the Otavalo market, one of the most important of South America. You will find a great number of souvenir ideas there!
Then you will walk towards the Peguche waterfall and visit the artisans’ villages of Agato and Iluman before driving to Otavalo to stay for the night.

You will start off in the morning towards Cotacachi village then will explore the Cuicocha Lake and its two islets in the Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserve.
You will then meet the San Clemente community that will welcome you from lunch time and with whom you will be able to share during the whole afternoon.
The inhabitants have the aim of promoting a responsible rural community tourism with the human at the heart of the projects, through experience sharing and cultural exchange.
San Clement takes very seriously its youth education and the respect of the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth), two fundamental topics for the next generations to guarantee the harmonious development of the community, using the new technologies without losing the ancestral knowledge, their identity, their culture and their native language, kichwa.

In the morning, you will follow the « Avenida de los volcanes » to reach to Cotopaxi National Park where one of the highest active volcano of the world rises.
Accompanied by a local guide, you will visit the interpretation center and walk around the Limpiopungo Lake. Your driver will then take you to the parking lot located at 4 500 m altitude from where you will enjoy an extraordinary view on the surrounding nature.
For the sportiest, it is possible to climb up to the José Rivas shelter some 300 m higher to admire the Cotopaxi, or “Moon neck” named this way because of the impression that the Moon lands on top of it during the night.
You will then drive towards Riobamba where you will stay for the night.

Departing from Urbina, the Del Hielo train will offer you beautiful panoramas on the Altar volcano, the majestic Chimborazo – highest of the world from the center of the Earth – and the sky is clear, you may catch sight of the Carihuairazo.
Between Urbina, La Moya and Riobamba, will also be narrated some of the Andean ancient traditions that remain nowadays in the region. You will learn what some of the mountains of the region represent and the myths related to the most important of them.
Back to the hotel, you will participate in an Andean cooking class and will have the opportunity of making your friends travel – or at least their taste buds – when returning from your travel!

To accompany the meal you will have learn to prepare the day before for your close ones, what is better than music? You will then participate in a music workshop with the Inti Sisa community in the Guamote village.
After having your lunch in the same village, you will discover the best preserved archeological site of Ecuador: Ingapirca.
This place originally employed as an observatory by the Cañaris, and later conquered by the Incas in the 15th century, still retains, among other, the Ingapirca ruins of a temple and the residence of the virgins destined for the ritual sacrifice.
You will then leave for Cuenca to spend the night there

This day will be dedicated to the superb colonial city of Cuenca.
Its historical center, listed as a Unesco world heritage, overflow with beautiful churches and monuments that the Spanish built integrating the Cañari and Inca cultures vestiges.
The inhabitants of the city maintain alive the hand-crafted traditions by carrying on working ceramics and silver, and of course, weaving straw hats better known under the name of Panama.
During the afternoon, you will be able to immerse yourself in the different pre-Columbian cultures depicted in the aboriginal cultures museum in the heart of a now restored old house.

Leaving the Andean region, you will have an unobstructed view on the El Cajas national park that you will cross to arrive in the coastal plains where bananas plantations and paddy fields abound.
You will discover the Manglares Churute reserve where you will go for a walk to observe monkeys and sloths, then on a small boat to appreciate the mangroves and the many birds that live in it. With a bit of luck you might catch sight of crocodiles.
You will have your lunch within a family farm. The family members will be delighted to show you around their rice fields and exotic fruits plantations during the afternoon. They will especially show you how to produce a delicious chocolate from the cacao crop.
Eventually, you will arrive in Guayaquil, the largest city of the country, named “the Pacific gem”.

You will be able to use this day to enjoy the city at your own pace, shop, or taste delicious sea-food based meals.
You may for instance sunbath with the iguanas in the Seminario Park and walk along the Malecón 2000 to finally climb the stairs in Las Peñas leading to a panoramic view on the port town.
A transfer will be coordinated from your hotel to Guayaquil’s airport in order that you arrive there 3 hours before your international flight’s departure.

Inclusions

All nights in the accommodations mentioned herein above
Transport in a private vehicle with a Spanish speaking driver from day 1 to day 9
English/Spanish-speaking local guides during the Cotopaxi and the Manglares
Churute visits
Mentioned trains tickets and entry fees in national parks and reserves.
Tasting of local products during guided visits
Meals as follows:
o Breakfasts from day 2 to 10
o Lunches on day 3, 4, 7 and 9
o Dinners on day 5 and 6
Constant assistance during the entire journey

Exclusions

International flight
Luggage carrying
Meals not indicated as included herein above
Drinks
Entry fees on sites and museums mentioned in the itinerary to be paid on site
Insurances, tips, extras and all other element not specifically mentioned as included
in the program.

Notes

Fixed Departure possible on Mondays and Tuesdays.

HOTELS

Masaya*** - Quito
Acoma*** - Otavalo
La Andaluza***sup - Riobamba
Hotel de las Culturas*** - Cuenca
Grand Hotel Guayaquil**** - Guayaquil

Trip Highlights

Quito - Historical center & Pululahua reserve - Roses plantation - Otavalo market - Peguche waterfall - Cotacachi, Cuicocha - San Clemente community - Cotopaxi National Park - Tren Del Hielo - Andean cooking class - Music workshop - Ingapirca ruins - Cuenca - Ecological reserve - Chocolate production - Guayaquil

Departure Period

01 Jan, 2020 to 28 Mar, 2021
AUD 3,454 P P twin share

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