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.
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
What a great trip we just had in Ecuador! Patricio, our guide, did a terrific job informing us of facts about Ecuador and challenging us physically on a hike through the Amazon forest. It was so exciting to tube on an Amazon tributary. Each day we were clearly prepared for what was happening and contributed to the choice several times. The animal refuge was inspiring as our guide shared his experiences restoring abused and/or orphaned animals to good health and, hopefully, return to the wild. The quality and quantity of food was top notch, and hotels provided R&R as well as shelter. Bus trips were extensive because of winding, narrow and steep roads, but Patricio kept us involved with historic and cultural info of the areas we visited. Big bang for the buck again with Friendly Planet. They're hard to beat.
J. and T. McGlaughlin, McClure, PA
The trip last May to Peru and Ecuador was one of the best vacation experiences I have ever had. The food was excellent and the other 7 couples on the tour were super. Machu Picchu, Lima, Quito, Lake Titicaca, and the Galapagos Islands were all fun to visit. I will be touring with Friendly Planet again this May to Japan.
Arthur Low, Sunnyvale, CA
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