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Ecuador Adventure

• Quito • Cuenca 
• The Highlands  • The Jungle  
From the magnificent landscape of the Andes Mountains, to the intense bio-diversity of the Amazon jungle, and the delightful Pacific coastline, Ecuador is a land of incredible beauty, and is emerging as one of South America’s most popular tourist destinations. 

We begin in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, which has South America’s largest concentration of Spanish colonial architecture. Its location high in the Andes gives it one of the most beautiful natural settings of any world capital. 

From Quito we travel to the Highlands, where we’ll take in the incredible scenery, picturesque villages, indigenous people and the famous handicraft market of Otavalo.  
Then we travel to the jungle of the Ecuadorian Amazon, one of the world’s richest eco-systems. We will stay in a comfortable jungle lodge in the rainforest, where there are countless species of birds, animals and flora in the jungle.

Next is the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca - a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and birthplace of the Panama Hat. The city features cobblestone streets, winding rivers, graceful ironwork balconies and beautiful gardens.
We finish at the seaside village of Puerto Lopez, and enjoy an excursion to the island of La Isla de la Plata where we’ll see many of the same bird species and coral reefs (for snorkeling) as can be found on the Galapagos Islands.  

Tour Highlights:
   • Quito’s colonial centre - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
   • Equatorial Museum - stand with one foot in each hemisphere!
   • Devil’s Cauldron Waterfall
   • Amazon Rainforest
   • Visit with a Native community 
   • Andes Mountains
   • Train journey in the Andes down to the “Devil’s Nose” 
   • Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
   • La Isla de la Plata, “Galapagos’ Little Sister”

* This tour is suitable only for the fit and adventurous traveller who enjoys walking.

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Quito via Miami. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel.
Our tour of Quito includes the colonial center, the Compania Church (one of the richest in the Americas), Independence Square, the Government Palace and the main Cathedral. We also visit the Equatorial Museum which depicts the culture of the indigenous groups around the world who live on the Equator. At the museum you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere.
We travel through changing landscapes to Imbabura Province and the city of Otavalo, to stroll through the famous colourful handicraft market. We visit a weaving workshop in Peguche then continue to Cotacachi to shop for fine leather goods.
We first stop at the Salasca indigenous handicraft market before we continue down the waterfall route into the Amazon Basin. A cable car adventure and a hike down to the bottom of the Devil’s Cauldron waterfall are optional. Later we’ll enjoy a panoramic tour in Baños.
We descend from the highlands to the tropical forest and arrive at our jungle lodge, Misahualli Lodge, for a 3-night stay. After settling in we will visit a native community located on the banks of the Napo River and learn about the life of the local people.
Today is a highlight of the tour. Our native guide will take us for a guided walk through the rainforest and we’ll learn about the jungle’s incredible variety of flora, fauna and medicinal plants. Many of Ecuador's Amazonian plants, animals and insects were only discovered within the last few decades.
At leisure to enjoy the facilities of our lodge and spend more time in the jungle with our nature guide, perhaps to watch the local exotic birds and/or visit a butterfly conservatory.
We travel to the city of Riobamba, perched up in the Andes and surrounded by volcanoes. We will pass by Urbina where we can learn more about the alpacas, and enjoy the view from the Chimborazo Volcano.
Another highlight as we board a single gauge train that will take us through incredible mountain scenery and into the “Devil’s Nose” - a geological formation that leads the train up switchbacks on the cliffs of the Andes. After the train journey we proceed to Cuenca via Ingapirca - Ecuador’s most important Inca Site.
Our tour of Cuenca begins with a stroll through the cobbled streets of this beautiful UNESCO World Cultural Heritage city. This colonial jewel has many picturesque squares, balconies, churches, an incredible pink marble cathedral and people wearing traditional colourful costumes - a feast for the photographer! We will enjoy a museum visit, a panoramic view of the city from Turi Hill and a visit to a factory that makes the traditional Ecuadorian hats - a symbol of the country.
A day at leisure to explore Cuenca. The cobblestone streets are lined with beautiful colonial houses and scenic squares, so this city is ideal for strolling and exploring. Your Tour Manager will be on hand for suggestions.
We drive to El Cajas National Park, world renowned for its 300 lakes. We’ll stop at the highest point to view the beautiful landscapes before descending to sea level. You will be amazed by the rapid and contrasting change of landscape and weather as we pass from the highlands to the cloud forest and then through tropical banana plantations. We arrive in Puerto Lopez, a lovely seaside village, for a 2-night stay.
This morning we enjoy a private boat ride to La Isla de la Plata, known as “Galapagos’ Little Sister”, as some of the same bird species are found on this island (blue footed boobies, black mask boobies, frigates, Vermilion Flycatcher etc). On our guided walking tour we will spot some of these local birds and enjoy the breathtaking views. There will also be a chance to snorkel and enjoy the marine life and coral reefs around the island.
Morning at leisure to enjoy the beach and the town. Later we will depart for the Guayaquil Airport for our late night departure back to Canada.
We fly home via Dallas.
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