Highlights of Ecuador
Quito to Guayaquil or viceversa
Private tour: starting any day
Duration: 9 days
Starting either in Quito or Guayaquil. The Highlands of Ecuador tour is a great option to explore some of the most important sites in the country. On this tour, you’ll enjoy UNESCO World Heritage Sites, colorful indigenous markets, natural wonders like Quilotoa crater lake, Cotopaxi volcano, etc.
Explore the authentic Ecuadorian Indigenous markets
Visit the largest Inca archaeological site in Ecuador
Enjoy the spectacular scenery & panoramic views of the Andes landscapes.
Take a ride on one of the greatest railroad engineering feats, the famous Devil’s Nose Train.
Stroll around Baños, its waterfalls route, and visit the swing of the end of the world.
Day 1: Arrival in Quito - transfer in and free time to acclimatize
Our team will be waiting for you at the airport to transfer you to the hotel. Free time to relax and aclomatize. Overnight in Quito
Day 2: Quito city tour and Middle of the World
Day 3: Otavalo day tour
Otavalo is one of the most famous indigenous towns in South America for its colourful handicraft market, but the area also offers far more besides!. The tour of course takes you to the famous handicraft market and allows freetime to explore the many tradicional wares, but we also like to take our guests a little further off of the beaten-path. We also visit a fascinating weaving workshop, lunch at a local restaurant where we will have the chance to see an indigenous family who make and play traditional musical instruments. Overnight in Quito
Day 4: Quilotoa Lake
From Quito, we’ll travel south direction through the famous "Avenue of the Volcanos" to Quilotoa. On the drive, we'll have the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views of the Andes, Quilotoa lake, and the colorful landscape of the moors that surround it. Upon arrival, you can descend to the edge of the Crater Lake and return on horseback, or simply take a walk around the rim. In order to get in touch with local communities, a visit to a local indigenous market will be arranged depending on the weekday. Please contact us for more details about market days. Overnight in Cotopaxi area
Day 5: Cotopaxi National Park
Cotopaxi Volcano is 5,897 meters high, it's the second-highest peak in the country and elegantly adorns the Cordillera Real of the Ecuadorian Andes. We will enter the Cotopaxi National Park for a close encounter with the Paramo biodiversity and an ecological explanation of its importance. After a short hike, let the adventure begin! We will continue to the parking lot (4500 m. above sea level) in order to ascend the first refugee of the volcano (4810 m. a.s.l). You can rest and eat some hot soup at the refugee and/or continue the ascent to the Glaciers (depending on weather conditions). Drive to Baños and Overnight in Baños.
Day 6: Baños and the waterfalls
After a half an hour drive, we will take a short hike to visit the "Treehouse" where the National Geographic photo contest winner was taken. Then we will continue our drive for about 45 minutes, making several stops along the waterfalls route, before reaching the “Pailon del Diablo” waterfall. After a two-kilometer hike, we will reach this magical place, one of the top ten largest waterfalls found in Ecuador. Overnight in Riobamba
Day 7: Devil's Nose Train - Ingapirca - Cuenca
From Riobamba, you’ll travel 60 miles south to the town of Alausi. There you'll experience one of the most exciting attractions in our country. At 11:00 am you'll board "The Devil’s Nose Train". In its day it was considered one of the greatest feats of railroad engineering that the world had seen. Then we will continue to Ingapirca archaeological site, it’s the largest Incan ruins in Ecuador which encapsulates the sophisticated Inca design, architecture, and engineering. You’ll discover how, the Incas merged their own community with the Cañaris, native indigenous. Then, we will drive to Cuenca. Overnight in Cuenca
Day 8: Cuenca half-day city tour
Visit the most beatiful city in Ecuador. We will explore some of the most traditional neighburhoohs of the city. We also visit the flower market, main square, the “New Cathedral” which is considered one of the biggest churches in Latin America. The famous gold leaf altar is found here. We continue our tour to a Panama hat factory. Here we’ll observe the process of making “Paja toquilla” These hats range from classic simple ones to colorful, elegantly designed and costly ones. Afterward, we will go to the “Barranco”, an area of terraced houses which is located next to the Tomebamba River. Finally, we will go to the “mirador de Turi” (scenic viewpoint) to enjoy the beautiful vista of the Cuenca landscape.
Day 9: Cajas National Park - Cocoa Farm - Guayaquil
From Cuenca, we will drive through the western Andes to Toreadora in Cajas National Park, considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Ecuador and the main source of water of Cuenca. You will be impresed with the beautiful scenery of the area, we we will take a hike to explore the Polylepis Forest, Moorland ecosystem, and lakes. Then we will continue our driver to the lowlands, ever tasted the pulp of fresh cacao beans? We will visit a local family farm, the main product growing here is cacao (base to make chocolate), however, they have many other products such as breadfruit, coffee, passionfruit, pineapple, among many others. You will be able to experience the process of craft chocolate making and try it if you like to while our tour guide explains the history of cacao. Dropp of at the Guayaquil aiport or hotel
Prices (Per person)
} Bilingual tour guide (English/Spanish)
} Private transport
} Meals 7-Breakfasts / 5-Lunches / 2-Dinners
} Activities, entrance fees, and tickets as listed in the itinerary
} 7-nights accommodation according to your needs (Single, double, triple rooms)
} Taxes and surcharges
X Tips (optional)
X Travel Insurance (Contact us for a quote)
X Any other service not mentioned herein
For 1 to 5 passengers, a bilingual guide will also be the driver. For more than 5 passengers, a driver and a bilingual guide will be provided.
Walking or hiking shoes
Raincoat or rain poncho
Clothes for warm and cool weather
Warm hat and gloves
This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of the activities you can choose from. This trip can be customized to suit your needs, tastes, time frame and budget. You have the flexibility to make any changes that you prefer together with your guide who will advise what activities fit together in the time allowed.