Explore the stunning scenery and UNESCO heritage of Ecuador.

Taste of Ecuador Holiday Map

Departures: Daily

Length: 9 days / 8 nights

Destinations: Quito / Otavalo / Cotopaxi / Cuenca / Cajas National Park / Guayaquil

Highlights: Visit the historic UNESCO World Heritage cities of Quito and Cuenca, shop at the famous artesan crafts market of Otavalo, admire the scenery of Cotopaxi volcano and the beauty of Cajas National Park.

Price: from £1490 per person

Single Person Supplement: £POA

Price Information: Based on 2 people travelling and sharing a double or twin room in our selected standard-class hotel accommodation. See our Ecuador hotel guide for more information on our accommodation. For a quote based on superior or luxury accommodation, or to tailor this holiday itinerary, please Contact Us.

Holiday Itinerary

Arrive in Quito at any time to start your Ecuador holiday, and we will meet you on arrival at the airport and escort you through this historic city to your hotel for the evening. The remainder of the day will be free for you to relax following your long flight to South America.

Meals: None

Overnight: Hotel in Quito

Today you will enjoy a free day in Quito. We include free time to allow you to adjust to the altitude and so you can explore the historic city centre at your own pace. The city centre of Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site and can be explored on foot. The city is also known as "The Face of God" as it is home to an incredible collection of some of the finest ancient colonial churches in South America, including the Compañia de Jesús (Church of the Society of Jesus) which has a fabulously ornate gold-painted interior, and the Church and Convent of St Francis. Also worth exploring is the more modern Basilica del Voto Nacional which dates from the 19th century. It is possible to climb up rickety ladders to reach the top of the Basilica for stunning views over the whole city of Quito.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Hotel in Quito

Quito
Quito
Quito

This morning you will leave Quito to travel to the infamous traditional market town of Otavalo. During the journey you will stop at the San Pablo lookout before arriving in Otavalo later in the morning. The town is home to one of the most famous artesan crafts markets in South America, and local Ecuadorians sell an astonishing variety of hand-made crafts and clothing including decorations, paintings, tapestries and pottery so this is a great place to pick up some souvenirs - be sure to barter on price! You will also visit the nearby Ecuadorian town of Cotacachi, this delightful town has a beautiful traditional central plaza and is famous for its leather goods. Later in the day you will journey to the stunning Cuicocha Lake to admire the view of this incredible lake.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Hotel in Otavalo

Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market

Today you will journey along a section of the Panamericana south highway travelling from Otavalo towards Cotapaxi volcano. The first stop of the day will be a visit to the lookout point at Limpiopungo Lake, a beautiful Andean lake in the shadow of the surrounding volcanic landscape where you can spot for birdlife including ducks and gulls and admire the landscape. Later you will travel to the Cotopaxi National Park Interpretation Centre where you can have some lunch before embarking on a short trek within the national park admiring the conical shape of Cotopaxi volcano as well as the incredible scenic landscape surrounding you. After the trek you will travel to the Ecuadorian city of Riobamba for the evening.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Hotel in Riobamba

Today is an enjoyable day passing through some fantastic destinations as you continue your journey south towards Cuenca. The first excursion of the day is a journey on the public train from Alausi through the famous Devil's Nose route. This train journey is through fantastic scenery and is an engineering marvel as the train descends around 500 metres over the course of only a few miles via a system of switch-backs. You will next visit the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, the largest and most impressive Inca ruins in Ecuador, and will tour the site giving you the opportunity to admire the ingenious Inca stonework and learn more about this important site and its role in the Inca Empire prior to the Spanish conquests of South America. A visit to the onsite museum is also very informative, and probably the most impressive structure remaining at the ruin is the Temple of the Sun. After the visit you will continue your journey arriving late afternoon in the city of Cuenca where you will spend the night.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Hotel in Cuenca

The city of Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the incredible collection of historic buildings located within the city and it is a wonderful place to visit in South America. This morning you will enjoy a city tour visiting the most important places within the city including Calderon Park which is the vibrant and historic main central plaza of the city surrounded by stunning architecture, both the new and old cathedrals, the Park of Flowers, the City Museum and Modern Art Museum, an ancient Inca ruin discovered beneath a city building as recently as the 1970's and the Tomebamba river. The afternoon is free for you to further explore the beauty of this historic city by yourselves.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Hotel in Cuenca

Today you will journey by road by Cuenca to visit the Valley of Gualaceo, a traditional valley in beautiful surroundings located around 35 kilometres from Cuenca. Although the journey is relatively short it is through a variety of changing landscapes and there are opportunities to stop and appreciate this region of Ecuador. You will first visit the town of Gualaceo which is famous in this region for its leather handicrafts (if you are visiting on a Sunday there is a large market) and is a quaint traditional town in its own right. Later you will travel further along the valley to the town of Chordeleg which is famous for its silver and gold jewellery production as well as for the production of hand-weaved Panama hats. The name "Panama Hats" originates from the workers on the Panama canal wearing the hats during construction, however they originate from the Chordeleg region of Ecuador and the art of weaving these hats was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Hotel in Cuenca

Cajas National Park is a beautiful natural park in the highlands region of Ecuador near to Cuenca and contains over 200 beautiful lakes and a great diversity of fauna and flora making this a highlight of any holiday to Ecuador. Today you will travel to the national park to admire the nature here, which includes hummingbirds and toucans, as well as plant life including quinoa and various types of trees. You will enjoy a short trek around Toreadora Lake, one of the largest lakes in this Paramo tundra ecosystem, providing an opportunity to spot wildlife and admire the scenic views. After enjoying your visit to Cajas National Park you will travel to the coastal city of Guayaquil for the evening, descending from the Andes to the pacific coast.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: Central hotel in Guayaquil

Today is your final day in Ecuador and at the required time we will meet you at your hotel and will escort you to Guayaquil airport so you can connect with your return international flight back home.

Meals: Breakfast

Overnight: N/A

Included

  • All excursions
  • English-speaking guides for all excursions
  • Entry fees to all sites included in the itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • All meals detailed
  • Transfers to / from airports or hotels
  • All transport and travel within Ecuador

Not Included

    • International flights to/from South America. We exclude international flights to give the option to compare flight pricing or use air miles, however we can include and provide international flights as part of your holiday and any international flights booked through us would be ATOL-protected as part of your package with us. Depending on time of year, departure airport and airline preference flight prices start from around £480pp economy for return flights. If you would like us to include international flights or provide a quote just let us know your preferred departure airport when you enquire.

Make an Online Enquiry