“Ecuador is a small country with rich biodiversity in each region and micro-climate.”
This program is designed to show you how incredible this small, but mighty and varied country is and how in just a few hours in any direction, everything can change so dramatically that you could find yourself in 3 different climates, in the same day. And no matter where you go, you will discover the warm and friendly smiles of the locals who live in the small towns, the incredible flora and fauna of the national parks, as well as a plethora of traditions, cuisines, varied landscapes and new experiences that never seem to end. Without a doubt, you will fall in love with this amazing country all over again, each and every day you continue to explore its wonders.
You will begin this amazing journey driving south from Quito traveling down the Avenue of the Volcanoes, finally arriving at the Cotopaxi National Park. This massive volcano stands out impressively and can be seen from the various regions surrounding the park. Inside the park you’ll have incredible photo opportunities while experiencing the highland paramo and the different animals and flora known for existing in the park. You will have lunch after this visit in a traditional restaurant inside the national park and then continue until you reach the small town of Baños de Agua Santa where you will stay overnight.
Baños is a small town that attracts visitors due to its many splendid waterfalls and great tropical climate due the fact that it is located literally in the doorway of the Amazon rainforest giving it the reputation to be the best place to practice extreme sports like rafting, canopy, canyoning, ziplining and biking, among others. You will visit the most iconic waterfalls in town as well as the cable car that travels across the ravine to get a close up of enormous waterfalls. Lunch will be served in an area with a viewpoint from where it is possible to overlook the whole town of Baños from above. Afterwards, you will be driven in the afternoon to Riobamba and taken to your selected hotel.
You will combine your experiences of the Andes today with a train ride on one of the most important sections and highlights of the interprovincial train tracks of Ecuador known as the “most difficult railway in the world” or the Devil’s Nose Train. It will follow the tracks up an incredible feat of 45-degree gradient mountains before returning to the station. After a boxed lunch you will continue the trip to the south by car to visit “Ingapirca”. These archeological ruins are the reminiscences of what was once a resting stop and small fortress for the Incan Empire. After this visit you will arrive in Cuenca in the late in the afternoon as the last stop of the day.
It is easy to enjoy the beautiful city of Cuenca. You can see how it conserves many Ecuadorian traditions and why it was also named a World Heritage Site for its well-preserved colonial areas, historical buildings and cathedrals. The streets are teeming with history and culture, while the locals dot the streets with their artist handiworks from jewelry, scarves, knitted pieces, paintings and more. Visiting all the highlights of this city will take you to old churches, museums and culinary taste. Cuenca is also known as the original creator of the Panama hat and is also a great place to view artisanal pottery, a gift of artistry crafted from pre-incan times. You will spend the night in Cuenca.
Today you will see for yourself just how dramatic the landscapes can change so quickly from region to region in Ecuador. Leaving the highlands of Cuenca and descending to the coast will allow you to visit the El Cajas National Park. It is home to 786 lagoons ranging in size from small to large and the astounding shapes and formations of the terrain will certainly leave you speechless. The environment itself seems to have escaped from a movie, while the flora and fauna are precious to the area as many are endemic. Nearby you can enjoy the cacao and mango farms where it is possible to taste passion fruits and see where and how the chocolate is grown, produced and processed. The final stop will be in the city of Guayaquil, which is the biggest city in Ecuador and so called “Pearl of the Pacific” as an important trading and business port.
Now is the time to explore the bustling, but beautiful port city of Guayaquil. It is quite a modern city and offers plenty of interesting sites and things to do. Your guide will escort you through the various parks, such as the Historical Park and popular spots like the Malecon 2000, a newly built boardwalk showing off Guayaquil’s most trendy cafes, restaurants and shops and highlights like the large ferris wheel with incredible views of this coastal city. There is a great selection of restaurants where you can have lunch and dine on the most delicious seafood dishes and taste the unique flavors of the coast they are so well known for. The tour on this day will finish with a coffee experience, learning about its growth and production in these areas and why it is important to Ecuador. You will then be transferred to your hotel for the evening.
Today you will be transferred to connect with your international flight back home or to the Galapagos Islands for a cruise experience. There are many other options available in order to continue exploring the beautiful country of Ecuador.
Prices per Person
Private services with local English-speaking guide
Services and entrance fees as detailed in the itinerary
Columbus Travel was very professional and helpful. They prepared a wonderful trip for us and provided a very professional guide and driver. The Galapagos Legend was a good choice for the variety of experiences provided and the staff.
Patricio our driver, was pleasant and always smiling when we saw him no matter the time. A true asset for your company to work with someone like him.
My wife and I wanted to express how this trip so far exceeded our expectations ! Your companies attention to detail is below no other that we have worked with around the world. The staff on the Ocean Spray were top of the line as well.
Please let me know where I can post a review for other folks to learn about what a great company you all are.