Day 1: Quito - Otavalo - Ibarra - Chaski Antawa train - Salinas (L)
Leaving Quito north along the Panamerican Highway we drive across colorful valleys. Guayllabamba valley is rich and fertile, an important area producing of avocado and the local cherimoya fruit. Cayambe valley on the other hand, traditionally dedicated to dairy cattle and manufacturing of dairy products, has recently enjoyed an important boom in rose farming. The breathtaking setting offers great photo opportunities and after two hours of traveling through the riveting Andean countryside, we arrive to the province of Imbabura, known as the Ecuadorian Land of the lakes. Enjoy the sights and treats of the Otavalo indigenous market and surrounding areas. The Otavalo Craft Market is the most famous and picturesque in South America. Markets are meeting places for shopping, bargaining and chatter, while the locals exchange produce, animals, utensils, pots and pans or textiles. For visitors, the markets offer the possibility of approaching Ecuadorians at a more intimate level, as you negotiate prices of bags, hats, or flutes or simply appreciate the skills that have created such an elegant array of handicrafts, clothing and more.
Continue north to the city of Ibarra to catch the Chaski Antawa messenger train that runs on an early 20th-century railroad system connecting the northern Ecuadorian Andes with the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast.Depart from Ibarra and descend into the warm, dry valley of Salinas across sugar cane plantations, magical landscapes, tunnels and bridges overlooking steep gullies and patchwork fields.
The 26-km stretch takes 2 hours to complete from Ibarra, as you climb down from 2200 m. to 1500 m. above sea level. Enjoy a unique lunch at the Salinas afro Ecuadorian community restaurant, implemented by Kleintours in an effort to boost tourism and cultural recovery in and around this fascinating area, with a vision of helping it become an important tourist destination. The restaurant's menu has been carefully developed through a joint effort with the community and melds local savoir-faire with Kleintours' high quality standards. Overnight in a local hacienda.
Day 2: Otavalo - Papallacta Hot Springs - Amazonia (B,L,D)
Breakfast. Departure to Papallacta. Discover the beautiful Andean landscape on route to the Papallacta Hot Springs resort located in the high Paramo, on the way which leads to the Amazon Basin. Enjoy thermal baths and relaxing massage therapy in the spa. Lunch.
This wonderful location offers excellent hiking, birdwatching, horseback riding activities where one can simply appreciate the beauty of a highly unique ecosystem. Head to Amazonia, where you will admire the drastic changes in vegetation and climate. Dinner and lodging.
Day 3: Amazonia (B,L,D)
Breakfast. Visit an indigenous family to learn about their daily life, culture and traditions, experience nature and travel by canoe by along rivers. These and other activities will depend on weather conditions and the interest of passengers. Includes lunch, dinner and accommodation.
Day 4: Amazonia - Banos - Riobamba. (B,LD)
Breakfast. We will head to Banos and encounter a series of waterfalls along the Pastaza River canyon including Cascada de la Virgen, Ines Maria, The Bride's Shroud, the Path of Machay, and Pailón del Diablo. A short visit to the spa village of Banos, the basilica and main square to continue in order to arrive to Riobamba passing the foothills of Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador with over twenty thousand feet. Upon arrival make a panoramic city tour. Hotel accommodation.
Day 5: Riobamba - Guano - Guamote - Ingapirca - Cuenca (B)
Breakfast. Start your day with a tour through the most picturesque areas of the country. Visit the town of Guano, visit some typical Andean villages like Guamote or Alausi, Along the way visit Balbanera, the first Spanish church built in Ecuador. Continue south and visit the Inca-Canari ruins of Ingapirca, the famous 'Wall of the Inca', which evokes the grandeur of the empire. We arrive in Cuenca by nightfall for excellent hotel accommodation.
Day 6: Cuenca (B)
Breakfast. One of the most beautiful colonial cities in Ecuador and also a Unesco's World Heritage Site. We visit the Cathedral, Main Square, the flower market, San Francisco and Santo Domingo churches and the Central Bank Museum with permanent archaeological, anthropological, colonial and republican art collections, including interesting photography documenting the city's history. We will visit the Monastery of The Immaculate Conception, cloisters built between 1668 and 1729, recently remodeled and home to an extraordinary collection of religious art. In the late afternoon, we visit a Panama hat factory. Hotel accommodation.
Day 7: Cuenca - El Cajas National Park - Guayaquil (B)
Breakfast. On our journey to the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, we drive through El Cajas National Park, an area known for its more than 200 lakes and lagoons, including La Toreadora; from the pass of Tres Cruces and in less than three hours, the highway will take us from 4000 meters down to sea level, to observe some of the many different habitats, Andean moorlands, the cloud forests of the subtropical and tropical Rain forests to reach the coastal plains covered with crops like cacao, bananas, sugar cane or rice. Arrive in Guayaquil and transfer to your hotel.
- Transfer from Quito
- 1-night stay in Pinsaqui
- 2-nights stay in Casa del Suizo
- 1-night stay in Abraspungo
- 2-nights stay in Victoria or Carvallo
- Visit to Ecological Reserve Antisana
- Lunch at Salinas Social Project or Karanki Magdalena
- Transfer to Guayaquil
- Multilingual guides
- Hotel Taxes
- Meals others than specified
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Medical services, insurance, tips and personal expenses
Hotels - restaurants (or similar):
Wednesday and Saturdays departures. Does not operate on Easter, Christmas and New Years.
- Pinsaqui: Hacienda Pinsaqui or Karanki Magdalena
- Amazonia: Casa del Suizo
- Riobamba: Abraspungo
- Cuenca: Carvallo
- Imbabura: Salinas Social Project or