The Complete Ecuador Experience
21 days / 20 nights
Spend 21 days on a comprehensive tour of Ecuador, from the magical city of Quito, to the Cloud Forest at Mashpi, the breathtaking landscapes of the Cayambe and Cotopaxi volcanoes, Yasuni National Park in Ecuador's Amazon basin, one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, the historical cities of Cuenca and Guayaquil and finally, the legendary Galapagos islands, a vast archipelago of volcanic islands home to abundant wildlife on land, in the air and underwater, and carefully protected natural ecosystems that are just as they were thousands of years ago!
Day one : Arrival in Quito
Day two : Quito to Mashpi
8:00 AM : Check out and depart for Mashpi
10:00 AM : Tulipe Ruins Visit
12:00 PM : Check in to Mashpi Lodge and meet with your guide to learn about the Cloud forest and the day's activities
12:30 PM : Lunch at Mashpi Lodge
2:00 PM : Dragonfly Experience, Mashpi, Cloud Forest
7:00 PM : Dinner at Mashpi Lodge
Day three : Mashpi, Cloud Forest
9:00 AM : Optional Activity - Waterfall or Hummingbird Garden Visit
12:30 PM : Lunch at Mashpi Lodge
2:00 PM : Free time to explore Mashpi with a guide
7:00 PM : Dinner at Mashpi Lodge
Day four : Return to Quito
11:00 AM : Check out from Mashpi Lodge to return to Quito
2:30 PM : Check in to the Casa Gangotena Hotel in Quito
3:00 PM : Free time to explore Quito
7:00 PM : Dinner at Urko Restaurant
Day five : Quito
Day six : Cayambe, Otavalo, Cuicocha Lake and Zuleta
8:00 AM : Check out of your hotel in Quito
9:00 AM : Compania de Jesus Hacienda and Rose Plantation
10:00 AM : Otavalo and Surroundings
2:00 PM : Cuicocha Lagoon
12:00 AM : Check in to Hacienda Zuleta
Day seven : Zuleta
8:00 AM : Cycling
1:00 PM : Horseback Riding
4:00 PM : Embroidery Class
7:00 PM : Dinner at Hacienda Zuleta
Day eight : Puembo
8:00 AM : Breakfast at Hacienda Zuleta
9:00 AM : Transfer back to Quito
11:30 AM : Check in to the Quito Polo Club
2:00 PM : Visit to the Capilla del Hombre Museum
Day nine : Quito to Coca
7:30 AM : Check out of the Quito Polo Club
9:00 AM : Take a flight from Quito to Coca
10:00 AM : Motorized Canoe Ride on the Napo River
12:00 PM : Check in to La Selva Ecolodge
2:00 PM : Afternoon Excursion at La Selva
6:30 PM : Dinner at La Selva Lodge
Day ten : Coca - Observation Tower, Canoe Ride and Night Excursion
Day : Coca - Parrot Clay Licks and Community Visit
Day : Coca - Quito - Lasso
8:00 AM : Check out from La Selva Lodge
10:30 AM : Ground Transportation
12:00 PM : Check in to the Hacienda San Augustin
Day : Cotopaxi National Park
9:00 AM : Cotopaxi National Park Visit
1:00 PM : Helicopter Excursion, Cotopaxi
1:00 PM : Mountain Biking in the Cotopaxi Area
Day : Quilotoa - Quito - Cuenca
9:00 AM : Quilotoa Crater Lake & Tigua Visit
12:00 PM : Ground Transportation
3:00 PM : Ground Transportation
3:30 PM : Check in to your hotel
6:30 PM : Dinner at Los Tiestos Cafe Restaurant
Day : Cuenca
Day : Cuenca - El Cajas National Park - Guayaquil
9:00 AM : Hiking in El Cajas National Park
1:00 PM : Drive from El Cajas National Park to Guayaquil
4:00 PM : Check in to your hotel in Guayaquil
Day : Guayaquil - Galapagos (Baltra) - Santa Cruz Island
8:00 AM : Ground Transportation
9:30 AM : Flight to Galapagos
12:00 PM : Ground Transportation to Pikaia Lodge
1:00 PM : Check in to Pikaia Lodge
6:30 PM : Dinner
Day : Yacht Expedition: Bartolome - Sombrero Chino Island
Day : Santa Cruz Island
Day : Yacht Expedition: Santa Fe - South Plazas Islands
Day : Santa Cruz Island - Baltra - Guayaquil or Quito
Key sights to see
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, resides high in the Andes at 2,850m above sea level, flanked by the impressive Pichincha Volcano. The city’s key attractions are the beautifully preserved historic center, the botanical garden, the trendy neighborhoods of La Floresta and Guapulo, and the Middle of the World monument, located on the international Equatorial line.
Ecuador’s cloud forests are found on the slopes coming down from the Andes. With pleasant climates and great biodiversity, orchids, hummingbirds, butterflies and more are all popular highlights for visitors. The cloud forest offers several activities like ziplining and river tubing, and sights like waterfalls and sweeping forest canopy views, chocolate and coffee farms.
Cayambe is a small town located at the base of the mighty Cayambe volcano, which has a height of 5,790 meters. The nearby Cayambe Coca National Park provides endless opportunities for adventures in isolated mountain wilderness. This town is also well-known for its indigenous population and delicious “biscochos”, a biscuit that melts in your mouth.
Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, including the treasured Yasuni National Park, features one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Coca, or Puerto Francisco de Orellana, located at the confluence of the Napo and Coca rivers, serves as the gateway for journeys into the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador.
The Cotopaxi province, volcano and National Park are within an hour of Ecuador’s capital. At 5,897 m above sea level, this active volcano is one of the highest in the world. Visitors to the National Park can see various Andean birds, llamas, deer, fox and wild horses, and hike up a part of the volcano.
Quilotoa is a turquoise lake within a volcanic crater that is about 3 km wide and located at nearly 3900 meters above sea level. This is hands down one of Ecuador’s most stunning attractions. The water’s emerald green hues combine with panoramic views onto Andean landscapes, and the Cotopaxi and Illiniza volcanoes.
Situated high in the Andes, Cuenca is an ideal home base to explore the southern areas of the country. It is famous for its mild climate, slow-paced atmosphere, beautiful architecture, bridges, flower markets, cafes, and beautiful hotels and restaurants. Nearby attractions include Ingapirca, the largest Incan ruin site in Ecuador, and Cajas National Park.
The legendary Galapagos Islands are Ecuador’s main attraction. This vast archipelago of volcanic origin is home to abundant wildlife, carefully protected to showcase “time capsule” ecosystems, just as they were thousands of years ago! Giant tortoises, playful sea lions, blue-footed birds, turtles, penguins, flamingos and iguanas are just some of the memorable highlights.
Exciting and memorable things to do
Great places to stay
The most prestigious five-star hotel in Quito, Casa Gangotena, a fully-restored mansion with a rich history, overlooks the important San Francisco square. Finely-furnished rooms blend contemporary elegance with antique ambience, while the interior courtyard’s native flowers provide a tranquil retreat from the bustle of nearby streets. The hotel’s restaurants offer exemplary gourmet cuisine.
The Mashpi Lodge is a modern haven of opulence deep within a dense cloud forest. Birds and monkeys observe guests enjoy exotic drinks on the breakfast terrace, bathe in the jacuzzi, or dine on gourmet cuisine. A variety of expert-led excursions include use of a “Sky Bike” canopy gondola, best enjoyed in the morning mist.
Dating from the late 16th century, Hacienda Zuleta lies in the Andean mountain range at 9,600 feet above sea level, with a spectacular view of the Cayambe volcano. The hacienda has 14 beautifully decorated bedrooms, delicious home flavored Ecuadorian cuisine and a great variety of activities including horseback riding, mountain biking, embroidery and cooking classes.
Nestled in the green mountains of the Ecuadorian highlands, the La Palma Polo Club is an Andean dream, located in the small neighborhood of La Palma in Puembo, chosen as a place for rest and residence thanks to its privileged climate, environment and proximity to Quito International Airport.
Winner of the prestigious Ecotourism Award from the World Congress on Tourism and the Environment, La Selva’s Amazon Ecolodge has spacious, airy cabañas inspired by native bamboo designs. On foot and in canoes, guests can explore the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve, home to thousands of unique species of plants and animals.
Hacienda San Agustin is a historical landmark turned into an exclusive hotel located near Cotopaxi National Park in Ecuador.
Built on the site of an Inca palace, and one of the two most important archaeological Inca sites in Ecuador, the hacienda’s rooms are equipped with old furniture, paintings, and a wood-burning stove.
A restored building with a unique facade of Italian Marble, the Hotel Cruz del Vado is a luxurious hotel in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cuenca, El Vado. The hotel offers sweeping views of the modern part of Cuenca to the West, and the iconic domes of the new cathedral to the East.
The Pikaia Lodge is designed for the environmentally conscious, physically active eco-adventure traveler, who seeks close contact with the unique natural wonders of the Galapagos, along with the highest level of comfort and services. As a Pikaia Lodge guest, you will enjoy active, quality guided land and marine day programs in small groups.
- Airport transfers in Quito
- Accommodation (Suite or Deluxe Double Room) including breakfast
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- English speaking driver/guide or driver + guide
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- AIG insurance (liability insurance)
- Excursions not mentioned in the program
- Meals not mentioned in the program
- Drinks, tips and personal expenses
- International flights