Ecuador Adventure

Discover a treasure trove of natural and cultural wonders in Ecuador, on South America’s Pacific coast.

Journey Overview

Discover a treasure trove of natural and cultural wonders in Ecuador, on South America’s Pacific coast. Immerse yourself in its soaring capital city and stroll through the cobblestone plazas. Wander through nature’s playground in the rainforest at Mashpi. Stay awhile to meet Andean villagers in markets and workshops, and delight in the traditional life of a hacienda. There’s a whole world to explore in these Andean peaks.

Journey Highlights

  • Wind down the Devil’s Nose on the world’s most unique train ride
  • Discover nature’s playground in Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve
  • Marvel at the snow-covered peak of the impressive Volcano Cotopaxi
  • Spend a day in the life of Quito, Ecuador’s enchanting and captivating capital

Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Quito.

Touchdown in Quito, the second highest capital in the world at 2,850 metres, after La Paz Bolivia, and one of the most endearing. Receive your A&K welcome and enjoy a private transfer to your boutique accommodation in the historic centre. After time to relax and refresh, take a short private visit to nearby Carmen Alto cloister, which dates to the 17th century. Spend time with the Carmelite nuns who still live there and sample their traditional sweet treats before returning to the hotel.
Casa Gangotena (Luxury Room)

Day 2: Quito.

Delve deeper into Ecuador’s captivating capital and learn first-hand how it earned its status as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites. Meander through colonial streets and cobblestone plazas amongst flowering balconies and intricate woodcarvings. Linger in the San Francisco Church, the bustling Independence Plaza and La Compañía, where seven tonnes of gilded shimmering walls will take your breath away. Spend the afternoon at leisure. Head to the hotel’s terrace and enjoy a drink as you soak up the views across San Francisco square. Alternatively explore more of the city brimming with friendly locals, hearty foods, colonial architecture.
Casa Gangotena (Luxury Room) | Meals: B

Day 3: Quito – Mashpi Reserve.

A private journey north to the Equator at the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) and experience the bizarre sensation of standing in both hemispheres at once. Spend some time learning about the unique astrology and science of the Equator in the Intiñan Museum. Continue over the pass towards the Pacific Ocean and arrive at Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve, one of the world’s most important biodiversity hot spots, home to thousands of plant species and more than 500 species of bird. Be hypnotised by the lively flying machines at Hummingbird Viewpoint before arriving at your luxury hideaway. Following lunch, meet your expedition leader and discuss the menu of unique eco-adventures led by expert naturalist and local community guides. Pedal over gorges and treetops on a sky bike. Meander through forest trails. Or take a dip in the nearby waterfalls. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the wilderness by night on a guided walk. 
Mashpi Lodge (Wayra Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 4: Mashpi Reserve.

Discover, experience and cherish the wonders of Mashpi. Rise early to hear the choir of birds welcome the day. Venture into the forest and navigate trails of wondrous wildlife, with ferns towering above and a carpet of mushrooms underfoot. Seek out waterfalls and wade through refreshing rivers, all while learning the secrets of the forest. Visit the Life Centre to discover more about your surroundings, or simply laze in a hammock with a cup of locally-grown java, mesmerised by the vivid butterflies and birds. Climb the observation tower for a birds-eye vista.
Mashpi Lodge (Wayra Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Mashpi Reserve – Otavalo.

Enjoy a final activity this morning before leaving this secret wonderland and heading north into the dizzying heights of the Andes, to a family-run hacienda and your home for the next two nights. Hear stories of this 1600-hectare farm, which has been in the family of the late Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years. Then, seek out your favourite spot for a glass of wine before dinner.
Hacienda Zuleta (Deluxe Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Otavalo.

Rise early to glimpse rare species of birds on a gentle walk around the property. Take a hike on any of the self-guided paths around your hacienda. Visit the Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, which has set up a wild condor rehabilitation project on the estate, or you may enjoy exploring the hacienda’s organic garden and cheese factory, with an opportunity to even try your hand at milking a cow.
Hacienda Zuleta (Deluxe Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Otavalo – Cotopaxi National Park.

Depart for the bustling small town of Otavalo. Meet the friendly Otavaleños and discover strange-looking produce at the world-famous market (Saturday is the main market day) that’s been gathering since pre-Incan times. Continue your morning filled with talent and artistry in the small mountain village of Peguche. Step inside a music-filled home where your talented hosts craft and play traditional instruments, then learn the ancient art of weaving. Enter a world of delicate colour in the rose plantation of Hacienda La Compañía which originally belonged to the Jesuit order and is now home to one of UNICEF’s Flowers for Kids educational initiatives where you will enjoy a delicious local lunch. Continue your journey south along the aptly-named Avenue of Volcanoes to Cotopaxi, the highest of Ecuador’s volcanoes at almost 6,000 metres. Arrive at your historic hacienda for an unforgettable stay.
Hacienda San Agustin del Callo (Standard Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 8: Cotopaxi National Park.

Spend time today in the park on a gentle walk to the beautiful Laguna Limpiopungo, at the base of Volcán Rumiñahui, home to local and migrating waterfowl. Return to the hacienda and enjoy the afternoon at leisure soaking up the splendid views of the perfectly cone-shaped Cotopaxi. For the more active, head out on a horse ride, explore by mountain bike or visit nearby rose plantations.
Hacienda San Agustin del Callo (Standard Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Cotopaxi National Park – Riobamba.

Journey this morning along the mountainous spine dotted with villages and farms to the Andean crater lake of Laguna Quilotoa. Visit the nearby villages of Tigua and Pujili and browse artisan crafts. Continue to Riobamba, once the capital of Ecuador and now a vibrant town brimming with colonial treasures. Meander through the old town, enjoy religious art in the Concepción Convent and expand your knowledge in the Natural Science Museum.
Hacienda La Andaluza (Standard Room) | Meals: BLD

Day 10: Riobamba – Alausí – Cuenca.

Rise early for the iconic rail journey down the Devil’s Nose, an incredible feat of engineering. Head first to the city of Alausí to board your train. Drink in the Andean peaks from your carriage as you climb up the cliffs. Then, descend the Devil’s Nose, a series of switchbacks designed to let the train traverse a 45-degree rock slope. Stop awhile to explore the charming museum, before riding back to Alausí. Following a simple lunch at a local restaurant, head to the complex Inca ruins of Ingapirca, a place of extraordinary historical significance and a site that was originally used as a political and religious centre. Later continue your adventure to historic Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site and your boutique colonial hotel.
Mansion Alcazar (Suite Deluxe) | Meals: BL

Day 11: Cuenca.

Immerse yourself in the “Athens of the Andes” and discover why it’s hailed the hidden treasure of Ecuador and considered the most beautiful city in the country. Meander along cobblestone streets and through flowery plazas to the striking cathedral with three blue domes. Be sure to peek inside at the jaw-dropping gold altar. Later, enjoy the quirky Homero Ortega Panama Hat factory before swapping the city charm for the creative villages of Santa Ana Valley. Meet the guitar-makers of San Bartolomé, visit jewellery workshops in Chordeleg and seek out gems in the colourful markets of Gualaceo.
Mansion Alcazar (Suite Deluxe) | Meals: BL

Day 12: Cuenca – Depart Guayaquil.

Begin the day with a private journey over the continental divide to the El Cajas National Park, a UNESCO-protected site on Cuenca’s doorstep. Take some time to explore the park, with its rolling lakelands, ancient woods and sprawling cloud forest set against a jagged skyline of rocky peaks. Continue to Guayaquil, the nation’s principle port and gateway to the Galapagos Islands. End your journey here or continue to the Galapagos Islands.
Meals: BL

Our range of ready-to-travel private journeys can all be personalised to your individual requirements. Please contact our Travel Specialists who will work with you to create an unforgettable bespoke journey.

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Accommodation/Partners

Accommodation/Partners

Casa Gangotena, Quito

Ecuador Adventure

Spanish chroniclers told of grand Inca palaces built around the Plaza San Francisco in Quito's historic quarter. This part of the city wa ... Read more

Mashpi Lodge

Ecuador Adventure

Mashpi Lodge is set within a 1,200 hectare private reserve, part of a biodiversity 'hotspot' known as the Tumbez-Choco-Darien, particular ... Read more

Hacienda Zuleta

Ecuador Adventure

Dating from the late XVI century, Hacienda Zuleta lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range, 9,600 feet (2,800 meters) above the sea ... Read more

Hacienda San Agustin del Callo

Ecuador Adventure

The beautifully converted Hacienda San Agustin de Callo dates back to the 16th Century. The eleven cosy rooms spread across three buildin ... Read more

Hacienda La Andaluza

Ecuador Adventure

Declared a national cultural heritage site, Hacienda La Andaluza has a rich history dating back to 1555. Rooms are cosy and decorated wit ... Read more

Mansion Alcazar

Ecuador Adventure

Mansion Alcazar is a beautiful and fully renovated 19th century mansion, ideally located a short walk from the colourful San F ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this Private Journey can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey

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