Ecuador

Number of Days: 10

Tour Type:  Guided by Gate 1 Travel (found on Groupon)

Total Cost: $1,297

DAY 1, Thursday – Depart for Ecuador
Depart on your flight to Quito, Ecuador; arrive and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure in this vibrant city aptly called “an urban jewel”, with its priceless treasures of art and architecture. Tonight, get acquainted with Ecuadorian food at one of the town’s wide choice of world-class restaurants and cafes

DAY 2, Friday – Mindo Cloud Forest
An excursion this morning to the beautiful Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve, home to over 350 species of birds, including toucans, parrots, and golden tanagers. See the diverse natural landscape, gorgeous waterfalls and rushing rivers amid the tropical rainforest. During your walk, the expert guide will enlighten you about the flora and fauna – from the mossy forest floor to the colorful bromeliads. After lunch, on to the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve turned into an ecological center in the 1990s and now growing over 270 species of orchids. Enjoy the sight of these exotic flowers and the tranquil waterfalls. Visit the hummingbird sanctuary before returning to Quito. This evening, join your fellow travelers and Tour Manager for a Welcome Drink and briefing on the exciting adventure that lies ahead
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 3, Saturday – Middle of the World Monument
Today, a visit to the Middle of the World Monument at the Equator, which marks latitude “0”. Here, you can stand with one foot in the Northern and one in the Southern Hemisphere! Then, on to the magnificent Peguche Waterfall, situated in a protected forest important to the local indigenous people who still perform sacred rituals here. Arrive in Otavalo, a bustling city filled with friendly people that take great pride in their heritage and still dress in bright traditional attire. Dinner together in a popular restaurant
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

DAY 4, Sunday – Otavalo Market, Transfer to Papallacta
Visit the lively Otavalo market, one of the largest in South America, run by the local Otavaleño Indians – a great way to experience Ecuadorian culture and the traditions of the Andes. Local people use the market the same way today as their ancestors did during Ecuador’s pre-Colombian history. Time to browse the various stalls for traditional goods such as hand-woven clothes and rugs, jewelry, fruits and more. After, on to the surrounding town of Cotacachi, known for its leather handicrafts. Shop to your heart’s content before embarking on the scenic drive through small towns and villages to Papallacta, tucked away in the Andes Mountains, known for its many hot springs and spas. After settling in, opportunity to join an optional tour to the Termas de Papallacta Spa. Indulge in a little relaxation and pampering and unwind in one of the thermal hot pools, the refreshing cold pool or opt for a facial or body massage
Meals: Breakfast

 

DAY 5, Monday – Amazon Lodge, Meet a Quechua Indian Family
A contrast in scenery as we reach La Punta Ahuano, a tiny port on the north bank of the Napo River, where we board a motorized canoe that takes us to our lodge on the Amazon River where we’ll spend the next two nights. Enjoy the sounds, the serenity and the magnificent foliage as we begin our exploration of the unique Amazon culture. You may be able to spot many different species of birds and monkeys along the way. After lunch at the lodge, a fascinating visit to Ahuano, a small river side Quechua village. Meet a local Quechua Indian family and learn about daily life, education and survival in the Amazon. Return to the lodge in time for dinner
**Please note upon arrival the lodge is approximately a 5-10 minute walk uphill from where passengers will exit the canoe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 6, Tuesday – Nature Trail Hike, Leisure Time at the Lodge
Arise early this morning for a hike along the flourishing nature trail to view the gorgeous flora and fauna up close. The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest ecosystem, so be sure to keep an eye out for the many different species of tropical plants and flowers, insects, and butterflies. Enjoy spectacular vistas as you cross suspended bridges and fly through the jungle on a short zip line basket ride. At the end of the hike** a fun-filled rafting trip on a traditional balsa log raft that winds slowly along the river’s bend. Time to relax this afternoon at the lodge, or perhaps visit the nearby Butterfly Farm before dinner
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 7, Wednesday – Patate & Baños
A canoe takes us on the short trip back to La Punta Ahuano, continuing by coach to Patate. En route, stop in the town of Puyo, Ecuador’s largest jungle town noted for its striking highland scenery. Watch a demonstration of a traditional craft that transforms palm nuts into jewelry and animal carvings. Stop along the way to view the powerful Devils Cauldron** (El Pailon del Diablo) one of Ecuador’s most striking waterfalls, hidden in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Continue to Baños, an idyllic little town known for its hot thermal baths and the sometimes-steamy Tungurahua Volcano. Tonight, dinner together at a restaurant in Banos
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 8, Thursday – Transfer to Cotopaxi
Drive this morning to Cotopaxi, known for its magnificent roses. After lunch, tour of the working Casa de los Perez rose plantation. Although roses are not native to Ecuador, the country has a perfect environment for rose cultivation, and is presently one of the world’s major producers. On the plantation we’ll learn more about the farming process, from planting to exporting. View the owner’s artwork showcased at the plantation and meet a local artisan specializing in traditional painted sheepskin crafts on drums and masks. Visit a dairy farm to hear about farm life in the Andes before returning to Cotopaxi for an afternoon at leisure
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 9, Friday – Quito City Tour
We journey to Quito today, the historic masterpiece in the high Andes, at the base of the Pichincha Volcano. Time permitting, stop to visit with the children at a local school along the way. Upon arrival in Quito, tour of the colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved in Latin America, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin at Independence Plaza, flanked by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Continue to the Metropolitan Cultural Center with its exhibits highlighting Ecuadorian culture and rich history. Visit the La Compania Church **with its beautiful gilded interior, or, the Monastery of San Francisco, one of the great religious buildings of the New World with its impressive façade and atrium. Tonight, we say goodbye to our Tour Manager and new-found friends at the delightful Farewell Dinner
**Please note that the itinerary may vary slightly based on local conditions and holidays, therefore La Compañia Church may be replaced with a visit to the Church of San Francisco
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

DAY 10, Saturday – Depart Ecuador
Bon Voyage! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
~Please note: Some flights to the US depart shortly after midnight in the very early morning of Saturday
Meals: Breakfast

*Itinerary directly from Gate 1 Travel

 

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