Discover The Wealth of Ecuador

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10 days - 9 nights
Tour Details
  • Experience by yourself the natural treasures of Ecuador.
  • Discover the landscape of Ecuador production lands.
  • Visit a flower farm and the biggest artisanal market of Ecuador: Otavalo.
  • Pass a night in a home of the San Clemente community, learning about their practices and costums.
  • Meet Tigua community and their painters, who paint the amazing Quilotoa lagoon.
  • Take the Devil’s Nose train and and visit Ingapirca prehispanic ruins.
  • Learn about one of the prettiest fabrics and embroideries of the south part of the country: Macanas.
  • Discover the origens of the Paja toquilla hat (Panama hat)
  • Taste the flavour of Ecuador’s cocoa and the process to grown it.
  • Enjoy Ecuador!
Itinerary

Day 1ARRIVAL IN QUITO – TRANSFER IN TO HOTEL

Welcome to Ecuador!
According to your flight an english speaking guide will pick you up at the airport and take to your hotel to rest and be prepared for this amazing journey. Overnight in Quito.

Day 2QUITO CITY TOUR – REPUBLICA DEL CACAO EXPERIENCE – MIDDLE OF THE WORLD (B)

After breakfast your guide will meet you at the hotel and take you to the Old town to disvvocer the beauty of Quito. . You will start the tour visiting modern and colonial districts. First, the “Balcon Quiteño”, the Legislative Palace, the colonial center, the Independence Plaza, the Carondelet Palace (Government Palace) the Metropolitan Cathedral, “La Compañía” and “San Francisco” churches.
Before you leave the Old town, you will visit Republica del Cacao store, to enjoy and have the first peek of Cocoa history and production in Ecuador. You will walk around the museum and enjoy a cocoa taste.

You will continue towards the Middle of the World. There, you will find a monument, where you can put one foot in the North Hemisphere and the other foot on the South Hemisphere. Just outside the Middle of the World, there is an interesting open-air museum called Inti-Ñan. It explains the solar system; the effect of the equator position has on gravity and ancient cultures and their peculiarities. This is worth a visit! Overnight in Quito.

Day 3FLOWER FARM – OTAVALO MARKET – CUICOCHA LAGOON – SAN CLEMENTE (B, D)

Early in the morning, you will depart from Quito all the way north to Imbabura. On the way, you will visit Tabacundo one of the principal lands of flower production. Here you will visit a Flower farm, to see and learn about the farming, harvest and packing. You will see how flowers fields look!

After this, you will go to Otavalo market. The Otavalo´s indigenous community is one of the most prosperous in Ecuador. Nowadays, you find their handicrafts and music all over Ecuador and the world. The town of Otavalo is the heart of their culture and at the marketplace you will find all possible souvenirs at cheap prices. On Saturdays, there is also an animal market taking place just outside town.

In the afternoon, you will visit the main sites in the surroundings of Otavalo and the town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather products. Afterwards, you will visit the Lake of Cuicocha. This lake is situated in an old crater of a still active volcano. There, you will have beautiful views of the Imbabura and Cotacachi volcano, as well as, the surrounding valley with the cities of Otavalo and Ibarra.

Afterwards you will be taken to San Clemente community, a family member of the community will receive you to enjoy dinner and rest that night at their house. Overnight in San Clemente – La Esperanza

Day 4SAN CLEMENTE COMMUNITY – LA CIENEGA (B, L)

After breakfast, you will see examples of the roots and tubers native to the Andes, arboreal beans, varieties of chili, pumpkins, corn, Andean walnuts, tree tomatoes, quinoa, and many other “lost crops of the Incas.” There you will see the important conservation work carried out by the indigenous farmers of San Clemente. You will also see medicinal plants, both cultivated and wild, and learn their ancestral uses which your hosts have kept in practice. After lunch we will say good bye to our new friends and we will go all the way south to pass the night in Hacienda La Cienega. Overnight in La Cienega.

Day 5QUILOTOA CRATER LAKE – TIGUA COMMUNITY – RIOBAMBA (B)

Early in the morning, we will depart all the way west to Quilotoa town, to capture the best picture of the lake. Quilotoa is the westernmost volcano within the Ecuadorian Andes, and its two-mile wide caldera presents a stunning panorama with its green and turquoise tinted lake. The crater lake is rather deep at 250 meters, and its distinct coloring comes from the dissolved volcanic minerals remaining from its past eruptions. The crater was formed from volcanic activity around the 13th century AD, and has been dormant for much of Ecuador’s history. That being said, the lake floor contains fumaroles and the eastern rim has several hot springs that attest to its continuing geologic activity.

On the way back we will visit the community of painters Tigua, Tigua Art an ancient tradition became art Tigua paintings focus on the landscapes of Andean highlands to narrate stories, festivals, legends and traditions. Its detailed scenes focus in two main areas, the Cotopaxi volcano and the Andean condor. Tigua paintings are done on Sheepskin with enamel paint. After this you will go south to Riobamba to pass the night. Overnight in Riobamba.

Day 6ALAUSI: DEVIL’S NOSE TRAIN – INGAPIRCA RUINS – CUENCA (B)

Early in the morning, you will travel to Alausi where the train experience start. Several plans were made to build the railway from Guayaquil to Quito, since 1860 until 1874, this project was called at that time “the most difficult railway built in the world” because the tracks reached a huge obstacle, an almost perpendicular wall of rock, called the “Devil´s Nose”. Many lives were shed in the building of what until now is called a masterpiece of railway engineering: a zig-zag carved out of the rock, which allows the train, by advancing and backing up, to reach the necessary height to the town of Alausí.

After the train experience, you will continue to visit the Ingapirca ruins, located in the province of Cañar. Ingapirca means “Incas stone wall”. It is believed today that Ingapirca was both a religious and administrative center, as well as a fortress. The Incas built the complex on top of an old Cañari settlement. The vast archeological complex of the ruins includes a roofless fortification, courtyards, terraces, temples, houses and a “castle”, possibly the “Temple of the Sun”. Finally, you will continue to Cuenca. Overnight in Cuenca.

Day 7CUENCA CITY TOUR – MACANAS WORKSHOP – ORCHID ECUAGENERA (B)

Early in the morning, you will start a city tour through the Colonial Cuenca. This city is one of Ecuador’s colonial jewels, with orderly classified cobblestone streets, houses and buildings characterized by their elegant and unique metal balconies, adorned with abundant spring plants. Typical markets and stores show the region’s cultural wealth, a heredity of its Indigenous ancestors. Cuenca is one of Ecuador’s most visited cities. You will admire lovely balconies, tiles, pink marble stone and wood with which most of its fantastic houses are built. Afterwards, tourists visit a Paja Toquilla Hat Factory, where they observe the elaboration process of the finest hats.

Afterwards you will visit Ecuagenera garden in Gualaceo, the botanical garden Ecuagénera, located 2 km. in the Gualaceo-Bullcay route it is the largest orchid garden in the country. It has 32 greenhouses that house more than 2,500 species of the 4,500 existing in the country, most of them native. The seductive perfume of the orchids invades the environment. The paths are decorated with pools that show the visitor the varieties of orchids, colors, whimsical shapes, smells … In the tour you will know from the growth of the seed to the flowering.

In these 19 years of permanence in Gualaceo, Ecuagénera has participated in international exhibitions (USA, Japan and European countries), national and local. Ecuagenera has 6 stores nationwide and exports its products abroad. Overnight in Cuenca

Day 8CAJAS NATIONAL PARK – GUAYAQUIL CITY TOUR (B)

After breakfast you will go all the way west to visit Cajas National park. A day tour through one of Ecuador’s most impressive areas covered by mysterious lakes and enchanted forests!. You will notice the change of vegetation, leaving the valley of Cuenca and crossing Andean cloud forests which lead you to the high and abandoned moor with many grass, crystalline streams and rocky peaks. You will start on one of the highest points in the park from where you will descend through the diverse vegetation with many colourful flowers such as gentians and chuquiraguas. Further on you will get to a small Polylepis forest extension. The Polylepis tree, with its funny paper-like barks of a red-brownish color, is one of the oldest and highest growing tree species in the world. Once in the forest you will have the feeling to be in the middle of fairy tale like surroundings.

Then, you will be driven to Guayaquil. This is a populous city in Ecuador; and the nation’s main port. The Malecón 2000 is a restoration project of the historic Simon Bolivar Pier. It will be a symbolic center of the city, a mix of green areas and shopping. Las Peñas Neighborhood in the northeast corner of the city’s center, is the artistic center of the city. Many of the area’s 400-year-old houses have been converted into art galleries and several notable artists have studios in the area. Overnight at hotel where you will have a courtesy farewell Dinner. Overnight in Guayaquil

Day 9 - OPTION 1COCOA FARMS EXPERIENCES: HACIENDA VICTORIA- FINE COCOA TASTING (B, BL)

After breakfast, you will have a ride of 1 hour and a half to visit on the of these two haciendas, to know and learn about Cocoa plantation and its post-harvest process. You will discover how this product was and its start to be again one of our main exportation products. Of course always enjoy amazing landscapes.

HACIENDA VICTORIA – FINE COCOA TASTING

This agro-hacienda is producing the best cocoa in the world, Arriba Victoria Cocoa. Our product has a floral fruity aroma and a strong chocolate flavor, which permit us to bring the fruit of the Gods back, returning to ancestral flavors that Ecuador has lost.

Here you will have an interpretive guide on the cultivation of cocoa, going through the nurseries, understanding the importance of the process of cultivation from the seed. During the tour you will appreciate the plantations and learn about the variations of cocoa, its flavors, uses, cultural, environmental, post-harvest data.

HACIENDA VICTORIA-FINE FLAVOR COCOA EXPERIENCE, begins after touring the cacao sheds, where the seeds are dried depending on the customer’s needs. You can enjoy a tasting of cocoa liquor, a sensory experience that will allow you to appreciate the natural flavors of cocoa in its purest form before being formulated to be chocolate.

Day 9 - OPTION 2COCOA FARMS EXPERIENCES: HACIENDA CACAO Y MANGO (B, BL)

After breakfast, you will have a ride of 1 hour and a half to visit on the of these two haciendas, to know and learn about Cocoa plantation and its post-harvest process. You will discover how this product was and its start to be again one of our main exportation products. Of course always enjoy amazing landscapes.

HACIENDA CACAO Y MANGO – MANGLARES CHURRUTE RESERVE & COCOA PROCESS

A family hacienda dedicated to cocoa production, whom also have expertise with adventure tourism in nearby Manglares-Churute Ecological Reserve. The reserve encompasses 50,000 hectares of meandering mangrove waterways, dry tropical forest and salt flats. Lara son, Jiro, is a guide in the reserve that served as his backyard while growing up. He developed an expert eye for spotting the birds which inhabit the salt flats – roseate spoonbills, osprey, horned screamers – as well as the forest dwellers – mantled howler monkeys and white-fronted capuchins, armadillo and tigrillos (a small spotted cat similar to ocelots) badgers and tortoises. A relaxing canoe ride among the mangroves reveals the richness of this environment to those who slow down and live within it for a few brief hours.
Back in the Hacienda there is a tour of the different plantations that the farm has to obtain a better knowledge of the different processes that are carried out in it, including a small garden with plants, wild flowers and orchids cultivated, a pool of tilapia, plantations of rice and an orchard with a collection of tropical fruits that can be tasted in the place. We visit the nursery where the crops of the cocoa plants are made up to their stage of growth, planting, grafting, etc. Later they go into the cocoa plantations to learn about the process of planting, pollination of flowers, production, etc. During the cocoa harvest there is a tour of the cocoa plantations in which each tourist harvests several ears of corn and they are guided to the elaboration of cocoa juice or the cocktail of the house. In the traditional chocolate workshop you learn and practice the process of transformation from cacao to traditional chocolate with roasting, peeling and grinding in an artisanal way. And finally the hot chocolate is prepared in the traditional way or with the incorporation of condiments and handcrafted chocolate bars are also offered as souvenirs.

After you finish one of these experiences, you will come back to Guayaquil having yime to rest. Overnight in Guayaquil.

Day 10TRANSFER OUT GUAYAQUIL – FLIGHT BACK HOME (B)

After breakfast your guide will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the airport to take your flight back home.

PROGRAM BASED IN 2 PASSENGERS MINIMUM

PROGRAM INCLUDES

• Accommodation in double room
• English speaking guide
• Transportation in private car or minivan according to number of participants
• All transfers, sightseeing and excursions according to the program
• Meals mentioned in the itinerary
• Entrace to: Intiñan museum, Flower farm, Devil’s Nose train, Ingapirca, Orchid garden, Cocoa Farms.

PROGRAM DOESN’T INCLUDE

• International air tickets
• Meals and Drinks, not included in the program
• Tips to guide and driver
• Extra expenses not included in the program
• Tips to porters at airport

PAYMENT

• 20% Deposit of the total amount up to 5 days after booking
• 80% Payment 45 days before the beginning of the journey

CANCELLATION POLICY

• Up to 90 days prior to the booking: USD 100.- per person as administrative charges.
• 89-60 Days prior to arrival: 50% cancellation fee of the total amount
• 59- 0 Days before arrival: 100% cancellation fee of the total amount

PROGRAM BASED IN 2 PASSENGERS MINIMUM

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