This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our new Exotic Ecuador tour.
Day 1: USA/Quito. Your exciting tour to Ecuador begins today as you depart for Quito, Ecuador's capital city. Your guide will meet you upon arrival and escort you to your hotel. Sheraton Quito Hotel
Day 2: Otavalo. Today you'll experience Otavalo, whose beauty lies in its people, the Otavaleño Indians, and their market, undoubtedly one of the best in all of Latin America. Unlike other indigenous people who have given up their traditional dress for jeans and t-shirts, Otavaleños are still easily identified by their distinctive dress: women wear intricately embroidered blouses and a wealth of beaded necklaces, while men have long, braided hair and wear calf-length white trousers, ponchos and sandals.
The market takes place in the main Plaza, but don't hesitate to wander into the side streets, where the goods on display start to diversify and the prices get lower. Enjoy the cacophony of sounds as Spanish, Andean pipe music, and Quichua, the native language of the area, mix together and the explosion of color from the many fabric, fruit and other stalls that line the plaza and side streets. Later this afternoon, visit Cotacachi, another small town famous for its leatherwork; Peguche, known for its weavings; and San Antonio de Ibarra, where you'll find wonderful carved figures from wood. Break for lunch at a local restaurant, and then continue to the placid waters of the emerald-green San Pablo Lake, which sits peacefully underneath the imposing Imbabura Volcano. Puerto Lago or similar (Passengers on the 12/3 departure will stay at the Hosteria Pueblo Viejo) Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 3: Papallacta & the Amazon. The Amazonian segment of your tour begins today as you travel along the Andes Mountain range and then slowly descend to the basin of one of the biggest rivers of the world—the Amazon River.
Arrive at Punta Ahuano, a tiny port town on the north bank of the Napo River, where canoes await you for a short ride downstream to your lodge. After check-in, sip a refreshing welcome cocktail as you watch the sunset. Casa del Suizo Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 4: Amazon. Enjoy a full day exploring the wonders of the Amazon. Your tour guide will offer a variety of excursions to help you maximize your stay. Wildlife aficionados will delight in the tour to Amazoonico, a rescue center for wounded and displaced tropical rainforest animals. You'll be able to observe coatis, tapirs, and several species of monkey, snakes, and a variety of birds, many of which wander around freely!
Another option offers a unique opportunity to visit a local Quichua family who will explain various aspects of their traditional culture, including a special lesson on making chicha, a beverage typical of the region. Or, if you are in the mood for a more laid-back afternoon, we recommend a stroll through the artisan village of Ahuano, where you can watch traditional Quichua ceramics being created. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided. (Note: Excursions are provided on a group basis only).
Hacienda Leito Los Llanganates (Passengers on the October–December departures will stay at the Hotel Ambato.)Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Cotopaxi/Quito.. Today's excursion takes you to another one of Ecuador's treasures-Cotopaxi National Park, home to the highest active volcano in the world (19,500 feet above sea level). Spanning an impressive 84,000 acres, this natural reserve protects a diverse array of flora and fauna, including llamas, deer, wild horses, as well as many rare species endemic to the region. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and your cameras ready for a lucky sighting of the mythical Andean condor. After lunch at a local restaurant, begin the return journey to Quito. Sheraton Quito Hotel Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 7: Quito. After breakfast this morning, begin a panoramic tour of Quito. Arguably among the loveliest of South American cities, Quito enjoys a spectacular setting surrounded by mountains and several snow-capped volcanoes, including the still-active Mt. Pichincha.
Day 8: Depart Quito/Arrive USA. After breakfast this morning, bid adiós to Ecuador as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA, arriving later today. Breakfast provided.
For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Ecuador, click here.
In writing our evaluation, we did not have enough room to tell you about our guide, Patricio. He was, without a doubt, the most friendly, patient, and knowledgeable guide we have had out of many tours we have taken. We hope that you will pass this information on to the Friendly Planet office in Ecuador, as we feel that he should be given special recognition for the superb representation of your company. We had two medical emergencies with travelers in our group. He was able to get doctors for them and arrange for one of them to join our trip the next day. Another time, while telling us of the exportation from Ecuador of roses, he asked our driver, Jose, to stop for a moment. He came back a few minutes later with roses for all of the women on the bus! These were just two of the many kindnesses he extended to our group. He really understands the meaning of "guest service" and is to be commended for the way he conducts a tour. We came away feeling like honorary Ecuadorians!
Cathy and Rich Sholtanis, Tamworth, NH
My husband and I have just returned from our tour "Exotic Ecuador". I highly recommend this trip. We saw so much in such a short period of time. We loved the diversity of the trip... both the beautiful landscape (mountains, volcanos, rivers, jungle), as well as the fun activities offered (tubing, zip line, bungee jumping, hiking, karaoke..hope you sing better than I do.) The price was extremely reasonable and the accommodations and food were excellent. We also appreciated the opportunity to immerse ourselves into native life by enjoying their food, crafts, and entertainment. Above all, i want to applaud our excellent guide, Patricio, and our competent driver, Pablo. These two guys really knocked themselves out to be informative, helpful, and flexible. They are friendly, lowkey and patient. I particularly want to thank Pablo for tolerating my pathetic attempts at Spanish. Don't miss this tour! We've traveled to many places in the world but I can't recall having more fun anywhere than with this great group of travelers and outstanding staff.
Rose Krueger, St Augustine, Florida
This trip was great. We had so much fun and adventure. Food and hotels were great. People should take this trip just to stay in the two hotels that had live fireplaces. Patricio, our guide, and Jaime, our driver, were outstanding. Jaime did a great job driving the mountain roads and keep the bus very clean. Ecuador is a "Hidden Treasure". Viva South America!
Lois and Warren Martinek, New Gretna, New Jersey
Follow Friendly Planet Share the love of travel