Day 1. QUITO
Arrival in Quito, reception and transfer to a choice of deluxe hotels, either the historical Patio Andaluz in colonial Quito, the deluxe Swissotel in modern Quito or the beautiful Mansion of del Angel. Dinner at your hotel.
Day 2. QUITO
After breakfast, a full day's guided visit of colonial Quito, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1978. A visit to the Old Town, including the Plaza de la Independencia. The President still conducts business here, so access to the inside may be limited. It is the home of the tomb of Sucre and also houses interesting 17th and 18th century paintings.
A visit to the Parque Alameda that houses the oldest astronomical observatory in South America, as well as an impressive monument of Simon Bolivar.
The Plaza de San Francisco was constructed by the Spanish in 1553, and the church has a high altar made of gold and beautifully carved ceilings. You shall also visit La Compañia, the finest of all Jesuit churches. Damaged through the years by fires and earthquakes, it has since been restored and has a richly sculptured facade and interior.
If there is time, we will visit some of the markets, including the Indian market at Avenida de 24 de Mayo at the base of El Panecillo and the Ipiales market. These are best visited on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the main market days.
Lunch at Café Mosaico; affording excellent views of Quito from its incredible location above Quito. Continue the tour to the middle of the world monument before returning to your hotel for dinner and accommodation.
Day 3. QUITO - OTAVALO - COTOCACHI
After.breakfast, we head north for a visit to the colourful Indian market of Otavalo, some two hours drive from Quito. With its many impressive arts and crafts of the local people, especially weavings, the market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products from the east were traded with highland products. Traditional dress is observed throughout the market. The trip continues to Cotocachi, and the marvellous La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa, the only Relais & Chateux group member in Ecuador. Lunch before time to visit the wonderful town, the leather capital of Ecuador. Here you will have ample opportunity to purchase fine leather products. Return to La Mirage; with an elegant and unique covered Pool and Spa Area, decorated in Roman Style, La Mirage Spa offers 11 different types of massages and treatments, including reflexology and aromatherapy. Choose among the many spa treatments or just relax and enjoy the setting of the spa. Dinner and overnight accommodation.
Day 4. COTOCACHI - QUITO
After breakfast, a visit to the condor reserve at Espejo. You may choose to play a round of golf at the 9-hole course at Yaguacocha or if you prefer, a little horse riding. A trip to San Antonio de Ibarra, renowned for its handmade wood crafts and stone sculptures before continuing onto the beautiful Cusin Hacienda for a delicious lunch. After lunch, return to Quito. Dinner at the Rincon La Ronda restaurant.
Day 5. QUITO -PAPALLACTA
After breakfast, private transfer to Papallacta, an incredible natural spa and resort some one and a half hours drive from Quito. Papallacta is perched on a high Andean valley at the entrance of the "Cinnamon Trail", the same route that the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana followed in 1542. The trail led to the discovery of the Amazon River and now serves as a gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon region.
The resort places an emphasis on its therapeutic properties, offering its visitors onsite health and adventure. This includes enjoying the waters at the thermal springs, diverse treatments at the health spa, and possible walks in the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve.
After lunch, a choice of spa treatments or something a little more strenuous, such as a visit to the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. This reserve is composed mainly by páramo, primary forests, rivers and lagoons. It is regarded as home to perhaps the greatest animal and plant diversity in Ecuador.
Hundreds of species of birds are found throughout the reserve and is very popular with ornithologists.
Dinner and accommodation at the resort.
Day 6. PAPALLACTA - QUITO
After breakfast, free time to enjoy Papallacta before returning to Quito in the afternoon. Dinner at the Il Grillo Italian restaurant.
Day 7. QUITO - COTOPAXI
After breakfast, we start our long journey south in private transportation through the spectacular avenue of the volcanoes towards Cotopaxi, the most famous of all Ecuatorian volcanoes. We shall pass Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Corazon volcanoes along this spectacular journey. Arrival to the fabulous colonial Cienega Hacienda, located close to Cotopaxi and our accommodation for the night. After lunch, visit to the Hacienda of San Agustin de Callo, at the very foot of Cotopaxi. The Hacienda has been written about by the Spanish chronicler, Cieza de Leon (1553) and is one of only two major Inca sites in Ecuador. This temple or palace was built around 1440 AD by one of the last Inca emperors, Huayna Cápac, and to this day the remaining rooms prevail as a magnificent sample of the unique style of Inca construction. The site is currently being investigated by Dr. David Brown of the University of Texas, the funding of which was provided by the National Geographic Society. Previously unknown portions of Inca walls and foundations have been discovered throughout the restoration process of the house. We shall then visit an indigenous market in the area such as Saquisili and Puquilli. These are amongst the most authentic markets in Ecuador, with their colourful displays of spices, fruits and hand woven ponchos.
Day 8. COTOPAXI
After breakfast, a free day of leisure to enjoy the beautiful setting of the Cotopaxi National Park. Choose between horseback riding, walks in the area or a spot of fishing in the nearby rivers. Lunch at the hacienda before returning to Quito for dinner and accommodation.
Day 9. QUITO- CUENCA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Cuenca, the most beautiful city in Ecuador. Transfer to the beautiful Mansion de Alcazar, a turn of the century Mansion which was completely restored during 2000 and 2001. It is located in the heart of the city of Cuenca, within walking distance of art Shops, galleries, churches and the main Plaza. We continue the journey to just outside of Cuenca, and to the famous Inca ruins of Ingapirca, the most important and the best-preserved Inca ruins of Ecuador. Visit to the local nearby museum before lunch. Return to Cuenca for dinner and accommodation.
Day 10. CUENCA
After breakfast, a guided sightseeing tour through colonial Cuenca. Founded by the Spanish in 1557, Cuenca is the third-largest city in Ecuador and the finest. The old centre has many churches and homes dating from the 16th and 17th centuries lining its cobblestone streets. With many beautiful churches and handicraft stalls as well as the famous flower market, Cuenca is also the cultural and arts centre of Ecuador. Home to many beautiful buildings with fabulous façades and splendid balconies. Lunch in Cuenca before returning to your hotel. Dinner and accommodation at your hotel.
Day 11. CUENCA - QUITO
After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito and your connecting flight home.
Our price Includes:
Price includes international return flights from London, accommodation in 5 star hotels in Ecuador, all meals, all tours with entrance tickets, and all internal flights in Ecuador. All prices based on two people sharing. Single supplements available.
Our price does not include:
Meals not specified, airport taxes and travel insurance are not included in the quote.