day 1 arrival in Quito and transfer to Otavalo
day 2 acclimatization – Indian market or Peguche waterfall on your own
Day 3 Hike Lake Cuicocha and to Papallacta
day 4 trekking Laguna de Baños and to Quito
day 5 city tour and visit to the equator museum. To Mindo
day 6 the waterfalls of Mindo
day 7 trekking Yellow House Path and to Cotopaxi
day 8 excursion National Park Cotopaxi and to Baños
day 9 Baños free day – we suggest hiking to Luna Volcan
day 10 route of the waterfalls and to Riobamba
day 11 visit to Chimborazo volcano and to Guamote
day 12 visit villages around Guamote and via Ingapirca to Cuenca
day 13 visit National Park Cajas
day 14 Cuenca city visit and to Guayaquil – return flight
Otavalo: Posada del Quinde
Papallacta: Thermas de Papallacta – standard room
Quito: Antinea Hotel Junior suite
Mindo: Mindo Gardens
Cotopaxi: Cuello de Luna – standard room
Baños: Isla de Baños
Riobamba: Santa Isabela – standard room
Guamote: Inti Sisa – standard room
Cuenca: Posada del Angel – standard room
Otavalo: Hotel Otavalo – deluxe room
Papallacta: Thermas de Papallacta – suite
Quito: Casa el Eden – superior room
Mindo: Terrazas de Dana
Cotopaxi: Hacienda El Porvenir – standard room
Baños: La Casa del Balcón
Riobamba: Hacienda Abraspungo – standard room
Guamote: Inti Sisa – standard room
Cuenca: Santa Lucia – standard room
Otavalo: Hacienda Cusin – standard room
Papallacta: Thermas de Papallacta – deluxe room
Quito: Casa Gangotena – luxury room
Mindo: Mashpi Lodge
Cotopaxi: Hacienda San Agustin – standard room
Baños: Luna Volcan
Riobamba: Hacienda Abraspungo – junior suite
Guamote: Inti Sisa – standard room
Cuenca: Cruz del Vado – luxury room
* All hotel nights with breakfast, transfers, domestic flights and excursions as mentioned in the program.
* Lunch and dinner in accordance with the program if stated.
* Drinks, tips and expenses of a personal nature.
* International flights to and from Ecuador.
* Travel or cancellation insurance.
This is an example trip. You can adapt the order of the trip and the choice of hotels and excursions to your wishes. For example, you can combine this trip with another example trip or a subsequent cruise to the Galapagos Islands. The extensive range of hotels, excursions and cruises can be found elsewhere on this website.
Arrival in Quito.
Transfer from Quito to Otavalo in private car.
You will be picked up by a Spanish-speaking driver and taken in a private car to the hotel in Otavalo. This drive through the Andes Mountains takes about 2 hours.
Acclimatization – we suggest two activities that one can do on one’s own:
Otavalo – visit to the indigenous market (on your own)
This market in the Plaza de Ponchos is without a doubt the most famous indigenous market in Ecuador. You will find a huge selection of artesanate. The best day to visit this
The best day to visit this market is on Saturday. There are 4 markets going on simultaneously in different parts of the city. But the artesanate market now also goes on the other days of the week – it is much quieter then. This in turn has its advantages.
Hike to Peguche waterfall (on own)
The 18-meter-high Peguche waterfall is located 4 kilometers south of Otavalo in a beautiful natural park… The local population of Otavalo celebrates the solar festival of Inti Raymi there on June 21. During several days purification rituals are held here. But also during the rest of the year the park is worth a visit.
Hiking around the crater lake of Cuicocha.
Cuicocha is one of the most famous lakes in Ecuador. With a private car we drive to the entrance of the reserve Cotacachi-Cayapas, where we start a 5-hour
5-hour hike between 3100 and 3500 meters above sea level. Along the way we enjoy the biodiversity, the views of the picturesque Lake Cuicocha with its two islets and the view of the peaks Cotacachi, Imbabura and Cayambe.
Duration: approximately 7 hours
Included: English speaking local guide, private transport, meal or packed lunch
Required: good walking shoes, sun protection, mosquito repellent, fleece or pullover, water (min. 1 liter)
Recommended: camera, binoculars, rain jacket, reasonable fitness also at altitude.
Transfer from Otavalo to Papallacta in private car
You will be transferred from Otavalo to Papallacta. On this 3-hour drive through the Andes, just after Cayambe you pass a small equator monument and the pilgrimage site of El Quinche, known for its cathedral and typical Indian cemetery.
Hiking tour – The lakes of Baños (Papallacta).
This hike takes about 3 hours and starts at the entrance of the thermal baths in Papallacta. By car we drive 15 minutes steep up the mountain to the entrance of the National Park Cayambe-Coca at 3800 meters above sea level. From here we walk to the lakes of Baños. On a clear day you have a beautiful view of the Antisana volcano. Along the way we look out for the spectacled bear, the mountain deer, the mountain tapir, paramo wolves etc.
Included: local guide with limited knowledge of English, transportation by private car H/T from the entrance of the thermal baths.
Transfer from Papallacta to Quito in private car (SP language driver)
You will be picked up at the hotel and taken to Quito in a 2-hour drive by private car.
Colonial Quito and the Equator Museum
First you visit with the English-speaking guide the historic colonial center of Quito, its churches and squares, the modern city and the panoramic point the Panecillo hill. Then we drive to the monument to the equator Mitad del Mundo and the Intiñan museum, where various tests show that we are indeed on the equator line. Also fun for children!
Included: English speaking guide and transportation in private car.
Not included: entrance to museums and meals en route.
Duration: 5 to 6 hours
Transfer from Quito to Mindo in private car
This ride with SP-language driver in private car takes about 2 hours.
The waterfalls of Mindo
By car, after 20 minutes of driving through the forest, we reach the entrance to the park. Here you cross a valley 530 meters wide by cable car. Once across, there are trails that lead to seven different waterfalls. It is a beautiful hike with opportunities to swim and with beautiful views. However, it can be quite busy on weekends.
Duration: 4 hours. Included: transport, english speaking guide and entrance.
In the luxury version you follow the program of the lodge.
Hiking along the Yellow House trail
This vast private forest – 500 acres in size – features well-maintained trails that lead you high into the forest and offer beautiful views of the valley. Along the path you’ll find butterflies, birds and beautiful flowers. And if you’re lucky you might see armadillos, porcupines, anteaters, and maybe even the Andean spectacled bear. The trail is a five-minute walk from town but is a world apart. The hike takes about three hours.
Included: transportation, entrance Yellow House and English speaking guide
In the luxury version you follow the program of the lodge.
Transfer from Mindo to Cotopaxi in private car
This ride in private car with Spanish-speaking driver takes about 3 hours.
The volcano of Cotopaxi
The driver will pick you up at the hotel in the morning. The National Park is an hour’s drive from Quito. On clear days you can admire the mountain from afar. After a short stop at the Mariscal Sucre information point, where you get some information about the region and the volcano, we drive up to 4500 m altitude. From here we go to the refuge which is 365 meters higher. It is a very steep walk that takes us at least an hour considering the high altitude. Then we descend to the Limpiopungo lake which lies at the foot of the volcano. This lake is fed by a volcanic glacier; you often see wild horses grazing and Andean foxes hunting here. Then we return to the hotel by car.
To bring: protection from the sun and rain, water, sport shoes, camera and warm clothes.
Duration: 6 hours
Includes: English speaking guide, transportation and lunch box
Transfer from Cotopaxi to Baños in private car
The Spanish-speaking driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the hotel in Baños. This drive through the mountains takes about 2 hours.
The town of Baños
Due to its location at the foot of the active volcano Tungurahua and surrounded by natural and medicinal hot springs, Baños has quickly developed into an all-round tourist town with many restaurants, hotels and numerous opportunities for relaxation. You can set up wonderful hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, rafting and rainforest excursions in and around Baños, then finish an active day with a visit to the thermal baths. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful church in the central square (a local pilgrimage site).
We suggest this activity that one can do on one’s own:
Hiking from Luna Runtun (2350 mts) to Baños (1800 mts) – on your own.
At the back of the hotel (near Cafe del Cielo) is a nice walking path that descends to Baños. The walk takes about an hour. You end up in Baños at the end of Avenida Maldonado. If you feel like it, you can walk back; otherwise, take a cab.
In the deluxe version, you make the hike in reverse: you leave from Luna Volcan.
The route of the waterfalls by car (you can also do part of this trip by bike).
Today the guide will let you discover, by car, several beautiful places in and around Baños. You will visit the beautiful waterfall El Pailon del Diablo, cross the Pastaza with a cable car and visit la Casa Del Arbol, where the famous swing is located.
Includes: transportation, English speaking guide, snack and entrance fees
Duration: 7 hours
Transfer from Baños to Riobamba in private car.
This 2-hour drive through the Andes will take you to Riobamba. You will drive with a Spanish-speaking driver past the active volcano Tungurahua.
Visit to the Chimborazo volcano
A guide will take you to the National Park. The white peak of Chimborazo (6310 meters) is the center of the nature reserve of the same name. The chances of encountering vicuñas (a relative of the llama) there are high. There is a first mountain hut at 4800 meters from where you can start walking to the second hut which is located at 5000 meters. You can optionally combine this beautiful day trip with a spectacular descent by mountain bike (20 USD pp – min. 2 pers).
Includes: guide (English spoken); transportation; warm jacket; packed lunch; entrance to National Park.
Duration: 5 hours without the bike – 7 hours with the bike
Transfer from Riobamba to Guamote in private car (SP language driver)
You will be picked up by a local driver at the hotel and taken to Guamote in a private car.
Duration: 1 hour
Visit to the indigenous villages around Guamote
Today we take a closer look at how the indigenous people live here in this region. After visiting the center of Inti Sisa in Guamote, we head into the mountains. We visit an indigenous school where the children explain how they are taught here. We visit a local weaver who makes ponchos out of alpaca wool and end at an indigenous family who tells about their life in the village. Along the way, you’ll get info on the history of the area and the local culture. Those who wish can then return to Guamote on foot (1.5 hours).
Duration: 4 hours.
Included: English speaking guide; snack and drink.
Transfer from Guamote to Cuenca with visit to Ingapirca on the way (SP-language driver)
From Guamote you will drive in a private car to Cuenca. On the way you will visit the most famous Inca ruins from Ecuador.
Duration: 5.5 hours (3.5 hours driving and 2 hours visit Ingapirca)
Excluding the entrance to the ruins to be paid on the spot: 6 USD
Visit to Cajas National Park
The Cajas National Park has about 200 lakes and lies between 3200 and 4600 meters above sea level. We leave Cuenca in the morning and first visit the lower areas of the National Park, called Llaviucu, which are at about 3200 meters above sea level. We hike here for about an hour and a half before moving on to the higher ground. There, one of the most beautiful and largest lakes in the park, called La Toreadora, rises. On the shores of this lake grows the Polylepis or paper tree. We hike here for about two hours and a half and then head back towards civilization for lunch in a restaurant that offers typical dishes of the region.
Difficulty: light – moderate.
Bring with you: protection from the sun and rain, camera, water, warm clothes and sturdy walking shoes.
Duration: +/- 7 hours
Includes: English speaking guide, transportation and meals
City tour Cuenca (half day) – private excursion
With an English-speaking guide, we visit the most beautiful places in the city. We stroll through the San Sebastian district and visit the most beautiful squares, streets and small churches. We make a stop at the Museum of Modern Art and then continue to a workshop where the famous Panama hats are made. We visit the panoramic point of Turi where we have a beautiful view over the city and then return to the hotel. The guide will gladly adapt the visit to your interests and preferences.
Duration: +/- 4 hours
Includes: English speaking guide and transportation
Excluding: entrance museums.
Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil in private car (SP-language driver)
On this scenic drive, you’ll ride with a local SP-language driver from Cuenca to Guayaquil. The road descends gradually from the Andes Mountains to the coastal plain.
Duration: +/- 4 hours.
Return flight from Guayaquil.
* All transfers are done with private car and Spanish speaking driver unless otherwise stated
* Mentioned trips and excursions are examples from a wider range. Check out our website for more options.
* This travel proposal is based on standard double rooms, unless stated otherwise. Surcharges for single rooms or deluxe rooms are on request.
* This travel proposal is without obligation, depending on the travel period and subject to availability.
* In the final travel program, certain fixed days of activities must be taken into account, such as Indian markets, departure dates of cruises and flights, etc. We do everything possible to optimally integrate the mentioned activities into the program.
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I’m Tom from Belgium and I’ll make sure your trip to Ecuador or cruise in Galapagos goes as smoothly and pleasantly as possible. I have been living in Ecuador for a decade and have been working in tourism for 8 years now. Before that, I obtained my guides diploma in Ecuador. Traveling and discovering new places is my passion.
Together with the local travel agency Descubre-Ecuador, we offer tailor-made tours in Galapagos and on the Ecuadorian mainland. Over the years, Descubre-Ecuador has built a reliable partnership with the best hotels and the best nature guides in Ecuador. Our small-scale way of working ensures easy accessibility and a lot of flexibility when traveling.
Customer satisfaction is the essence for us. And even in those rare moments of unforeseen difficult circumstances, we make sure that we are there to make sure your trip runs smoothly.
Explore Ecuador and Galapagos!
In South America, Ecuador is one of the smaller countries, but the country is hugely diverse in terms of geography, climate and population. You can visit the Andes, the Amazon rainforest as well as the tropical coast without taking extremely long domestic flights or transfers. And then you have the Galapagos Islands, a once in a lifetime experience. The diversity of flora and fauna per square mile is enormous. Ecuador is South America in a nutshell. Moreover, the country is relatively safe and little visited. The national currency is the USD and you have a wide choice of direct flights to Quito and Guayaquil from Europe and the United States.
Ik ben Tom uit België en zorg ervoor dat jullie reis naar Ecuador of cruise in Galapagos zo vlot en aangenaam mogelijk kan verlopen. Ik woon al een tiental jaren in Ecuador en werk nu 8 jaren in toerisme. Daarvoor heb ik in Ecuador mijn gidsen-diploma behaald. Reizen en nieuwe plaatsen ontdekken is mijn passie. Samen met het lokale reiskantoor Descubre-Ecuador, bieden we reizen op maat in Galapagos en op het Ecuadoriaanse vasteland aan. Descubre-Ecuador heeft door de jaren heen een betrouwbare samenwerking opgebouwd met de beste hotels en de beste natuurgidsen van Ecuador. Onze kleinschalige manier van werken zorgt voor een vlotte bereikbaarheid en veel flexibiliteit bij het reizen. De tevredenheid van de klant is voor ons de essentie. En ook op die zeldzame momenten van onvoorziene moeilijke omstandigheden zorgen we dat we er zijn om jullie reis toch perfect te laten verlopen. Ontdek Ecuador en Galapagos!