Ecuador Southern Route

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8 Days - 7 Nights
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Tour Details

Get to know the southern part of Ecuador, with an amazing route that will lead you through the Andes to the Coast region.


Departure & Return Location

Departure: Cuenca (Google Map)

Departure Time

Depends on your flight.

Price Includes

  • Transportation in private car or minivan according to number of participants
  • Spanish/English speaking guide
  • Meals as mentioned on the program
  • Overnight on double occupancy at mentioned hotels.

Price Excludes

  • Meals and Drinks, not included in the program
  • Extra excursions on the program, including activities with additional cost at Hillary Resort.
  • Any entrance fee
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips

Day 1Cuenca – Saraguro – San Lucas – Loja City Tour

Today starts your adventure towards the Southern Part of Ecuador. First, you will visit the home land of the Saraguros, an indigenous ethnic group that descended from the Incas. This community still maintains their authenticity, original traditions, folklore and even property over their ancestral lands. The Saraguros were originally a culture from the Peruvian Altiplano. They were conquered and brought to Ecuador by the Incas in a system called “mitimaes”. The objective of this system was to consolidate the Empire of the Tahuantinsuyo by depriving the people from their land, culture and power. The first stop will be in the San Lucas indigenous community. This community is known because of their Saturday markets of agricultural products and cattle, flower festival and Incasic ruins. During the afternoon, you will arrive to the city of Loja, which was the first city in Ecuador to have electric power. It is located at 2.000 masl in a valley that seems to have spring all year round. The temperature fluctuates from 16 to 21°C. The straight alleys of the center of Loja contrast with the modernity of the new city. You will visit the main squares and parks such as: Parque Central or Plaza Mayor, Parque de la Federación or Santo Domingo, Plaza de la Independencia or San Sebastián. Overnight . NO MEALS INCLUDED (-,-,-).

Day 2Loja Zamora – Callejon del Bombuscaro – Podocarpus – Loja

This day you will travel from Loja to Zamora Chinchipe, on the way you will enjoy breath taking landscapes with waterfalls, water streams coming down from the mountains and feeding rivers, and diverse vegetation. The amazonic province of Zamora Chinchipe has a strong touristic potential because of its wonderful landscapes and ecological richness. It is located in the confluence of two rivers, Bombuscaro and Zamora. The city is a business and cultural center, that enjoys a good urban infrastructure surrounded by a natural environment. The “callejon del Bombuscaro” is the best example of jungle slopes landscape. It is full of natural pools and it is the entering point to the “Parque Nacional Podocarpus”, known for its humid forests of high diversity. Over ther you can visit the lacustrine system of “El Compadre”. There are a lot of endemic vegetation such as orchids, and also a big amount of birds, mamals, and anfibians. At the end of the day you will return and overnight in the city of Loja to get a deserved rest. Overnight. ONLY BREAKFAST INCLUDED (B,-,-).

Day 3 Loja – Malacatos – Quinara – Vilcabamba

This day we will travel from Loja to the Malacatos valley that constitutes an extraordinary policromy. Then, you are going to travel around 10 km from Malacatos to Vilcabamba. This is a small town that is famous for the longevity of their habitants and that has an interesting touristic offer such as: The Central Park, church, communal house, touristic places, Yambuara natural park with it´s orchid house, zoo, National Institute of Gerontological Studies, houses with wide halls and portals. Some of the recommended activities are trekking or horse riding near the Chamba and Uchima or trekking the Mandango hill from which it is possible to see the Sacred Valley. After that, you will visit the Quinara town, which is 10 Km far from Vilcabamba. The stories say that in this town can be hidden the treasures of the last emperor of the Inca Empire, Atahualpa. Overnight. ONLY BREAKFAST INCLUDED (B,-,-).

Day 4Vilcabamba – El Cisne – Catacocha – Puyango

You are going to visit an orchard to be part of one of the main activities of the local people, agriculture. Some of the products that are grown in that place are: corn, peanut, bananas, tobacco, sugar cane, citrics, fruits and most of the houses are constructed with adobe, wood, internal courtyards and wide portals. The local people is gentle, quiet, and the majority dedicate their lives to agriculture. In this place it is common to see people of 45-50 years working the land to produce fruits, vegetables, grains and cereals. After this visit, we will be driven to “ El Cisne” sanctuary, which is located 70 kilometers far away of Loja city. In the midst of a humble village, a huge Catholic church, will be observed. This place is visited for all the peregrines of the southern Ecuador and northern Peru. Inside the temple, it is venerated an image of “Virgin Mary”, which is carved in cedar in the late sixteenth century by Don Diego de Robles. We will visit the Religious Museum of Art that is located in the basement of the temple. This place keeps artistic treasures that are testimonies of love and veneration of all the people who visit this beautiful temple. Afterwards, we continue our route and the next stop is Catacocha. This place is the oldest capital of Paltas Nation, a preinca group. Catacocha is a city of salient landscape, it is surrounded by Pisaca, Pisaquilla and Pisaquita hills that resemble three perfect pyramids. The main attraction of the place is the abyss of Shiriculapo or Inca balcony. The city has wonderful colonial buildings with decorated windows and balconies, narrow streets with wide doorways and corridors. Finally, we will go to Puyango to enjoy the facilities that the best Resort in Ecuador offer to their guests. Overnight. ONLY BREAKFAST INCLUDED (B,-,-).

Day 5Bosque Petrificado de Puyango – Free afternoon in Hillary Resort

Early in the morning, we will visit “El Bosque Petrificado de Puyago”. There are paleontological remains of 3,000 hectares, it keeps gigantic petrified trees, in some cases stems are more than fifty meters long. Some stems lie on the ground or are even erect, with fossils of marine animals, huge ferns and dinosaur bones. Beyond the scientific interest, the area has a unique natural beauty that can be visited through countless paths by streams and hills trails. In the afternoon, we will return to the resort to enjoy their facilities. Free afternoon. Overnight. ONLY BREAKFAST INCLUDED (B,-,-).

Day 6 Puyango – Portovelo – Zaruma – Machala

In the morning we head to the town of Portovelo, which is a veritable museum of mining of the last century. We will visit an old mining plant built by Americans and British companies for the exploitation and processing of gold. As well, we can observe the new industrial systems of exploitation and processing of some metals. After this interesting visit, we will go to the city of Zaruma, which undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful cities of the Southern Region of Ecuador. This city has gorgeous sceneries, full of fruit orchards, coffee plantations and mills for grinding and mines of gold extract. Zaruma is a city built on the slopes with a wonderful climate. This city is full of history, the architectural style includes guayacan wood, cedar and bamboo cane. One of the principal attractions is the Main Catholic church which was built in the early twentieth century; it is an extraordinary example of wooden architecture saturated with balconies, eaves wood and paneling. Finally, we head to the city of Machala for one night. Overnight. ONLY BREAKFAST INCLUDED (B, -, -).

Day 7Machala - Jambeli – Puerto Jeli – Bananera - Guayaquil

Machala is a city of great commercial and banking activities, this constitute an important port for exportations. Some years before, this city was named like “Capital Mundial del Banano” (Worlds´ Capital of Banano) due to the quantity of banana production has per year for exportations. In the morning, we will take a small boat to go to the Island Jambelí. On this tour, we will enjoy the lush nature, mangroves and estuaries. You will have a relaxing morning on the beach. Later, we will go to Puerto Jeli, famous place for its marine cuisine, their specialization is seafood. In the afternoon, we will visit a banana plantation to learn the process of planting, growing, harvesting, sorting and packaging the best bananas of the world. Finally, we will go to the city of Guayaquil. Overnight. ONLY BREAKFAST INCLUDED (B, -, -).

Day 8Transfer Out

Before breakfast and depending of your international or domestic flight, you could have the opportunity to discover for your own the amazing city of Guayaquil. (B, -, -).

Planned Hotels

It is located just steps away from the Central Park, within the historic, financial and commercial center of the city. The hotel has 34 rooms and 4 suites, 2 restaurants: Gournet “Mediterraneo” and “El Patio”, Cafeteria “Café y Canela”, “Alma Lojana”. Bar, pool and spa area, a multipurpose room, business center.

The Madre Tierra Eco-Resort is located a mile north from the center of Vilcabamba, the Andean village made famous for the longevity of its citizens. Every one of our rooms is unique with a different floor plan and décor, all rooms have a private bathroom with shower. This hotel offer WIFI and on the lobby computer access.

This is a new concept in holidays in southern Ecuador for those passengers who are seeking comfort and tranquility given by nature. It is located only 15 minutes from Santa Rosa Regional Airport and 30 minutes from Tumbes Airport in Peru. Hillary Nature Resort & SPA shows its kaleidoscope of colors, flavors and natural wealth, which pleases the most demanding tastes and desires.

It is a beautiful hotel built in the style New Mexico-Santa Fe, with tropical gardens and luxurious facilities. You will enjoy the widest selection and exclusive gourmet food accompanied by excellent service and hospitality that characterize Oro Verde Hotels. It is a luxury establishment in Machala city, located at the entrance of the most exclusive residential area, just 10 minutes to downtown and 35 minutes from airport in Santa Rosa. All rooms have exquisitely designed bathroom, direct international dialing, cable TV, air-conditioning, minibar.

Located in front of ParqueSeminario known as Iguanas’ Park and cornered to Guayaquil’s Cathedral, Unipark Hotel is a referent of Hospitality and Gastronomy on the Touristic and Financial center of Guayaquil, a few steps away from major attraction as Malecon 2000, City Hall, Barrio Las Peñas, and a 15 minutes car ride to International Airport Jose Joaquin de Olmedo and Convention Center.