Learn about the Ecuadorian culture

Duration: 13 days. Highland Scenes, Villages, Indian Markets, Devil’s Nose train ride, Yanahurco, Thermal waters. Starts Monday, Wednesday or Friday only.

Day 01: Arrive in Quito. Transfer to hotel


Day 02: Early in the morning, depart from Quito traveling south for 100 miles on a section of the Pan-American Highway named by Alexander Von Humboldt as "The Avenue of the Volcanoes". Along the way we see magnificent scenery with snow capped volcanoes reaching over 18,000 feet. Around 50 miles south of Quito is the city of Latacunga with a large, colorful and scenic Indian market. It has a great variety of produce, many unknown outside of Ecuador. After a visit to the market we continue to the town of Salcedo for lunch at a lovely country inn. Then we drive to Ambato, a town at the foothills of Mount Chimborazo ( 6,310 meters/20,803 feet) the highest in the country and among the five highest peaks in the continent. The open grasslands at the base of this majestic mountain is home to the Hosteria La Andaluza, a colonial hacienda converted into a country inn. Dinner and overnight at this historic inn.

Day 03: Today we get a very early start to catch the train from Riobamba. The train was built around the turn of the last century. We will see some incredible scenery such as the high country around the base of Chimborazo and south to the village of Alausi. The train itself is quite basic, runs very slow and in fact allows an incredible "roof ride". The experience is fantastic and the views superb. It will take about three hours to reach Alausi and it makes a stop for about 40 minutes. Then the train descends into a valley and canyon until it reaches the famous switch back, Devil’s Nose, and into the station where the ride ends. After a long lunch stop the train takes us back to the beginning and back to Riobamba for dinner. After dinner we continue to Baños and overnight in a hotel.

Day 04: Today we can relax in Baños’ thermal springs. This small community is set deep in a narrow valley at the base of Tungurahua volcano. Here you can sightsee, go biking or simply enjoy the relaxing thermal springs. Lunch and dinner at a hotel.

Day 05: After breakfast we depart for Ambato along the picturesque valley of the Patate river, to the Indian village of Salasaca. This area is know for weavers and their products. You can visit the looms and purchase goods. We continue north towards Cotopaxi volcano. Lunch stop at La Cienega, a colonial state mansion converted into a lovely country inn. Afternoon drive through Cotopaxi National Park, and continue along a mountain road around the volcano base and into the valley of the Vicious River to reach Hacienda Yanahurco. Slide show and dinner. Relax by the fireplace and overnight.

Day 06: After breakfast we depart on horseback to the Lake of Hatuncocha. A leisurely 4 hour ride while enjoying the scenery. Yanahurco offers chances to see Andean wildlife in their natural setting such as deer, hawks, eagles and perhaps condors. The lake offers great trout fishing on a catch and release policy. However you are allowed to keep some for dinner on the grill. Overnight in a thatched roof cottage or in tents. Sleeping bags are required.

Day 07: Breakfast at camp. Short fishing opportunity and then set up for a three our cross country ride to a waterfall A very exciting ride descending to the camp at the base of Sebretana waterfall. Box lunch together with some fresh trout. Return the hacienda in the early evening. Rest, relax and dinner.

Day 08: Breakfast. Pack up and depart for Quito for a mid-day arrival. Accommodations at hotel. Lunch and dinner on your own.

Day 09: Breakfast. Visit the colonial quarters and the Equator Monument a few miles north of town. Visit the Solar Museum and return to Quito for a free afternoon. Overnight.

Day 10: Breakfast. Depart Quito for a two hour drive to Otavalo, crossing the scenic valleys of Guayllabamba and Cayambe to reach Otavalo, perhaps the best known area for weaving and handicrafts. Visit the daily market. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon drive to San Antonio de Ibarra, a small village where excellent wood carvers produce beautiful sculptures. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 11: Visit the villages of Cotacachi known for its leather works, and Peguche for Otavalo Indian weaving's. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon return to Quito. Overnight in hotel. Dinner on your own.

Day 12: Breakfast. Full day trip to the thermal springs of Papallacta. A two hour drive from Quito, high in the mountains. Lunch. In the afternoon return to Quito. Farewell dinner at a local traditional restaurant with possible live entertainment depending on day of the week.. Overnight in hotel

Day 13: Breakfast, if flight time allows, and transfer to airport for homebound flight.

Cost is $ 2,200 with a minimum of two people. Best time of year to travel is October through March.




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