ECUADOR CULTURAL INTERACTIONS

Visit the Top Ecuador Highlights! Although it’s one of the smallest countries of South America, Ecuador is a country with an amazing diversity!

Take this 9 days tour throughout the highlights of this incredible country and discover the magnificent views, the culture and the people so you can get a true sense of the country.

ITINERARY

DAY 1DAY 2DAY 3DAY 4DAY 5DAY 6DAY 7DAY 8DAY 9
Quito Transfer InQuito experience with localsQuito – OtavaloQuito – Horse back riding Cotopaxi – Riobamba Riobamba – CuencaCuenca – GuayaquilGuayaquilDeparture

CURRENCY

The currency of Ecuador is the United States dollar, accepted as the national currency of Ecuador in January 2000. The money that is circulated includes notes and coins.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Ecuador’s climate varies with its regions. This area has an altitude of about 7550 ft (2300 m) above sea level and because of this, the temperature is comfortable, and does not get too hot.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

All tourists need a valid passport and an entry form-tourist card which is provided by your air carrier. Citizens of Canada, UK and USA do not need to obtain a visa for stays up to 90 days.

Day 1 – Transfer In

On arrival at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport, you will be welcomed by one of our professional guides who will assist you with the private transfer to your hotel and help you accommodating and giving helpful information for your stay in this world heritage city.

Accommodation at hotel Patio Andaluz, Casona de La Ronda or Casa Gardenia including breakfast.

Day 2 – Quito experience with locals

This will be a great experience at this enchanting city that will take you on a walking tour through the cultural streets of the old Quito. We can participate in Quitenian culinary traditions, history and local life. We will explore the streets of the historic district and participate in the daily activities the artisans are doing, there are many options we can enjoy: chocolate factories, sweet shops, handicrafts, wood carving, making hats.   We will find some activities that they used to do in the past and we will also share with them what they are doing in the present.

We will start our tour at a traditional Quitenian handmade sweets shop, we will learn the process of making the traditional sweets in Quito and will enjoy some of them. They are prepared in an artisanal way and have the ability to take a trip through old times. We will then go to the neogothic Basilica del Voto Nacional, inspired in the Notre Dame Cathedral.  We will go up to the highest tower with an amazing view of the modern and old city.

The next experience is the visit to the legendary La Ronda street where we will find an ice cream shop with an innovative proposal, its delicious ice creams with flavors inspired by the popular Ecuadorian gastronomy and then, we will have the opportunity to interact with a hatter and all his stories and legends.

Day 3 – Quito – Otavalo

Leaving Quito after breakfast with your guide, heading to Otavalo, famous for its artisan market, full of vibrant colors, where you will find typical handcrafts and souvenirs. On route we will pass by Guayllabamba town where you can try its typical fruit the cherimoya.  We can admire the beautiful landscape and snow-capped mountains in the area.  When getting to Otavalo, one of the most famous markets in Latin America, we will visit the Plaza of Poncho to find all kinds of handcrafts, our guide will give you some free time to enjoy bargaining and buying souvenirs to the nice Otavaleños.

After this activity, we will get to one of the several indigenous communities who undertook an initiative in rural community tourism to have an authentic and sustainable direct interaction with indigenous communities.  One of the families will offer lodging, food and an opportunity for cultural exchange.  The visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a unique lifestyle and to expand their world views.  This will provide you a more human style of tourism, based in authenticity and nature, which allows you to experience the contact with nature and share daily life with local people.   You are also investing in sustainability of the host community. We will return to Quito late afternoon after a full day spent in Otavalo and you will be taken to your hotel.

 Accommodation at hotel Patio Andaluz, Casona de La Ronda or Casa Gardenia including breakfast.

Day 4 – Quito – Horseback Riding

This day we will go south of Quito to enjoy a horseback riding cultural adventure with the chagras (local cowboys), to know their culture and participate in sheep-grazing.  One of the best ways of getting to know the Andes is riding a horse, you will feel amazed by the surrounding wilderness.  This is some 3 hours horseback riding trip to the heights of Rumiñahui.

We will dress up in the chagra attire (woolen poncho, waterproof poncho, saddle bags, riding helmets and zamarros) following a brief lecture on horseback riding, then we will begin our ride through the majestic paramos along trails filled with rich legend and history. We can admire wild bulls and horses, native birds (with luck we could see a condor!) and fauna, all in the marvelous landscape of the Ecuadorian highlands.  The horses are criollos parameros, they have adapted to the arduous conditions of the paramo, losing height in the process but gaining strength and stamina to endure the harshness of the surroundings.

We return to the farm house, after relishing the freedom of nature at its wildest, where a warm fireplace and a hot drink will be ready to welcome us together with our lunch at Hacienda Porvenir or similar.

In the afternoon, we will go to a hacienda to have the opportunity to see how local people practice the llamas shearing and then to your hotel

Accommodation at Cotopaxipungo, Chilcabamba or similar including breakfast.

Day 5 – Cotopaxi – Riobamba

Depart from hotel after an early morning breakfast towards the Cotopaxi National Park, one of the most important visits in Ecuador, it has the highest active volcano in the world.   We can observe the endemic flora and fauna of the area like wild horses, deer, llamas and more.  We will visit Limpiopungo Lake, located near Rumiñahui volcano, 4757 meters, or go hiking to observe birds.

Then, we will visit the renowned markets of Pujili or Saquisili.  A visit to Ecuador for many people is not complete until getting to a traditional market where you can barter and trade with people from surrounding villages and towns gather together on a regular basis to sell their crafts and trades and to purchase new supplies.  When you buy souvenirs at markets, you are supporting the local economy and helping countless families to survive from year to year. Pujili and Saquisili markets has more authentic feel than certain other markets in Andean region and has fewer tourists.  The variety of goods there is often more beautiful and carefully crafted than those found in more easy-to-reach places where stock goes quicker, and they must produce more.

In the afternoon we will head to the city of Riobamba for a short city tour and if time permits, visit the Indian communities’ projects and the handicrafts before going to the hotel.

 Accommodation at hotel Abraspungo, Andaluza or similar including breakfast

Day 6 – Riobamba – Cuenca

After breakfast, we will depart to Alausí for a ride on the Devil’s Nose Train.  This train ride is famous in Ecuador and known as the most difficult railway in the world.  There were difficulties when constructing the railway line because of the rough terrain of the Andes, the construction ran into a problem when they found the rock known as the” Nariz del Diablo”.  The solution they found was to carve in zig zag out of the rock allowing the train to climb the ascent.

The train ride offers beautiful views of the Ecuadorian landscape.  On clear days, you will see Chimborazo volcano.

We continue our tour to visit the Archeological Inca Ruins “Ingapirca”.  These ruins, dating back to the 15th century, are the most important architectural legacy of the Incas in Ecuador, they are a significant part of Ecuador’s pre-Hispanic patrimony.  Located in the province of Cañar, about an hour and 45 minutes from Cuenca.  Our guide will take you to the ruins, it is supposed it was a religious and administrative center, as well as a fortress.  This archeological complex includes what it is supposed to be the Sun Temple, a castle, roofless fortification, courtyards, terraces and houses.  The local guides will transport you to the past and how they think it was. After the tour of Ingapirca, our guide will take you to Cuenca.

 Accommodation: Santa Lucia or similar including breakfast.

Day 7 – Cuenca – Guayaquil

Cuenca is Ecuador’s third largest city; many consider to be the most beautiful Ecuador’s city, it still retains its provincial air. Its red tiled roofs, cobblestone streets, plazas, one of them full of flowers, and museums make it very special. We will have a city tour to discover the beauty and charm for which Cuenca was recognized by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. This is a walking tour in the colonial downtown area of Cuenca, to enjoy the warmth and hospitality of its people, the colourful parks and plazas, religious monuments and handcraft shops, plus an explanation of Cuenca’s history.

After an optional lunch, we will departure to Guayaquil, in our route we will admire the landscape at Cajas National Park and its lagoons and we will arrive at our hotel.

Accommodation: Del Parque, Oro Verde or similar including breakfast.

Day 8 – Guayaquil

After breakfasting your guide will take you on a full day tour of the city that consists of various panoramic visits and walks through the city.  Our first stop will include the City Hall, Sucre monument and the Seminario Park, also known as the iguana’s park. After that we will go to the Southern Malecon 2000 where you will appreciate the Integration square with its southern marketplace and then continue to the Olmedo Plaza and its Jose Joaquin Olmedo’s monument, a recognized poet of Guayaquil and Ecuador’s ex-president.

We will walk on toward the Rotonda monument where the statues of Simon Bolivar and San Martin can be found. Optionally you can visit the garden area of the Malecon where you will be able to see lots of tropical plants such as: teak, guaba, mango, ferns, bromeliads, rubber plants, almonds.

Our tour will finish at Guayaquil’s historical park located in Canton Samborondón, only 30 minutes away from the city.  It is one of the biggest parks in the country and you get the opportunity to learn more about the culture, history and tradition of the city.

 You will find the traditions, the wildlife and the urban architectural zones, each covering approximately eight hectares. At the Wildlife Zone you will see many different types of animals and flora of the area.  At the traditions area demonstrates the native rural architecture of the Montubio (native people) as well as labor instruments, clothing, house hold items and other daily life objects of the countryside community.  Return to your hotel for a free evening, you can enjoy some of the night activities offered to the tourists.

 We will continue to Las Peñas neighborhood at the oldest part of the city, you will have the opportunity to climb to the Cerro Santa Ana where you will have wonderful views of Guayaquil and the Guayas river.

Accommodation: Del Parque, Oro Verde hotels or similar including breakfast.

Day 9 – Departure

You will be met by your guide and taken to the airport in time for your national or international flight.

If you have time to  add a new amazing tour, we can recommend you:

 Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas full day

 After an early morning breakfast, the tour will depart towards some 3 hours ride to Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas to the Northwest of Ecuador. The ride scenery about 1 hour outside of Quito, will change into a lush rainforest with good opportunities to see orchids. This agricultural town is surrounded by breath-taking scenery of rainforest, rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife is characterized as a liaison between the regions, tourists can savour the delicious fruits of the area.

 The main attraction is to interact with the Tsachillas, an ethnic group located around Santo Domingo. They have a noticeable good identity, the dress, its language tsafiki, that all continue using, they are widely known as “Colorados,” a reference to the red “achiote” paste that they use to dye their hair and the lines they paint on their bodies. They are recognized for their treatment powers, have a great reputation of his wise men of spiritual knowledge, they are renowned throughout Ecuador as shamans and healers, with a rich tradition of medicinal plant use.

The community of Bua is one of 7 remaining communities of the Tsachila culture. At Bua there is a cultural group, “Shinopi Bolon”, which is developing an ethnographic museum, interpretative trails through the last remaining jungle, and a medicinal and botanical garden. There are only around 2500 Tsachila left, and Bua is one of the communities that are working hard to preserve their rich culture in the face of the encroachments of modern life, most notably the rapidly expanding town of Santo Domingo which lies only a few kilometres to the east.

 Likewise, an important part of its mission is the preservation of territorial space, which for them is the core base of family and community where they also live with hundreds of animal species, vegetables, and minerals. The cultural group Tsachila proudly represents the arts and wisdom of an ancient nation.

There are projects to reintroduce native species of trees through reforestation, as well as native animals that had been hunted out or disappeared over the last half century.

You can have lunch in the town near the community (optional)

 After this visit, we will return to Quito.

 END OF SERVICES

  • Includes:
    • Private transfers and tours with English speaking guide with own car, when mentioning only driver.
    • Meals as detailed in the itinerary
    • Breakfasts are included at all hotels
    • Entrance fees
  • Not Include:
    • International flights and airport taxes
    • Additional meals and drinks (soft & alcoholics)
    • Tips, personal expenses
    • Travel and medical insurance
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