A fascinating journey, psychograph of a country with a radiant past, wild vegetation, dreamlike landscapes, charming rhythms and sounds, colorful and bustling outdoor markets. Perched in the Andes, it overlooks the Pacific Ocean and feeds the mythical Amazon with its water veins. The “Avenue of Volcanoes”, the backbone of the country, creates an environment of rare biodiversity while hosting the imposing Inca monuments at Ingapirca. The imaginary line of the equator crosses it just above the capital and the city-poem “Cuenca”, puts it on the map of the architectural treasures of South America.
From the lively market of Otavalo we will dive into the Amazon Basin, the Napo River for a two-day adventure and activities. We will sail its canals in traditional canoes, zipline through the dense rain forests, talk to the local indigenous people and admire their handicrafts. We will literally be at the headwaters of the Amazon! Our journey will end with the coastal city of Guayaquil, on the Pacific Coast, after of course on the way we will gaze at the amazing ecosystem of the Cajas National Park with its 235 lakes!!!!
Don’t think about it, discover the “Jewel of South America”. Live unique moments, in landscapes blessed by nature. Wander through cobbled, picturesque streets. Admire the architecture of the grand, colonial cities. Enjoy unique tastes, aromas and music. Indulge in the magic of ancient cultures. Discover the code of communicating with people gifted with a fiery temperament. Immerse yourself with all your senses in this travel experience that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
The journey at a glance
• Direct flight responses with KLM
• Accommodation in 5* & 4* hotels (Lodge in the Amazon & traditional Hacienda in Riobamba)
• Half board daily
• Full tour of Quito protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
• Visit to the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi
• Visit to the folklore community of Otavalenios and their famous market
• We will visit the Equator monument where the globe …splits in two
• Excursion to the tropical forest where we will have the opportunity to enjoy the local fauna and flora, to zipline (aerial pulley) through the shady foliage
• Visit to a local settlement where we will get to know the natives of the local community
• We will enjoy a unique sunrise in the heart of the Amazon and cross the Napo River by pirogue
• Visit to cloud forest to enjoy Pailon de Diable & Manto de la Novia waterfalls
• We will photograph from a special point the top of the active Tungurahua volcano
• We will walk the historical center of the “Heart of the Homeland”, Riobamba and get to know a traditional hacienda up close
• We will see the Chimborazo volcano whose peak is the furthest point from the center of the earth
• We will pass by the mountain city of Alaoussi with its special architecture
• Visit to the archaeological site of Incapirca, the northernmost point of the Inca empire
• Tour of Cuenca which is the 3rd largest city and a visit to the Indigenous Museum with its rich collection of ceramics from the Pre-Columbian Andean Civilizations
• Guided tour of Guayaquil which was once home to important pre-Columbian populations such as the Vladivia, the Machalillas, the Choreras, the Guancalas and the Mandeñas
• Experienced Leader – Attendant
Day 1: Athens – Quito
Gather at the airport and fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador located at an altitude of 2,850 meters. Arrival in the afternoon and transfer to our hotel for immediate installation in the rooms, dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2: Quito (city tour, Cotopaxi Volcano)
After breakfast we will start the tour of the city protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Narrow streets with colonial architecture, mansions and markets will keep our interest undiminished. We will see wonderful churches, Independence Square, walk through the alleys of LA RONDA and see the statue of Our Lady El Panecillo. Top visits the Government Palace built in the 17th century and the church of Ag. Francis of 1537, with the magnificent decoration of works by great artists of the “Escuela Quitena”. Leaving Quito we descend towards the south towards the foot of the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. Part of the homonymous National Park with rich and special fauna and flora will give us “dramatic” images of its snow-capped peak.
Day 3: Quito (Otavalo, Ecuador Monument)
Today we will enjoy the folklore dimension of the country by visiting the community of Otavalenios and their famous market. Men and women dressed in their traditional costumes have been gathering for centuries in Otavalo’s Plaza de Ponchos selling incredible handicrafts. So a wonderful opportunity for us to take photos and choose souvenirs for relatives and friends.
Then we depart for the Equator Monument where the globe …splits in two. We will see the monument and take the standard photo by pressing on the northern and southern hemisphere at the same time!!! In the afternoon return to Quito.
Day 4: Quito – Napo River (Amazon)
After breakfast we leave by road for the Amazon region and specifically the port of Punta Ahuano, 230 km. SE of the capital. There, small traditional canoes will be waiting for us to take us to our lodge on the banks of the Napo River, an important tributary of the upper Amazon with a total length of 1,075 km. The Napo rises in Ecuador between three volcanoes of the eastern Andes, Antisana, Chinsulagua and Cotopaxi, and feeds the Amazon at 6,976 cubic meters per second. Arrival with welcome cocktail, room collection and afternoon excursion to the rain forest where we will have the opportunity to enjoy the local fauna and flora, zipline (aerial pulley) through the shady foliage and visit the local settlement with the natives of the local community.
Day 5: Napo River – Bath
Today wake up early and enjoy a unique sunrise in the heart of the Amazon. After breakfast we will walk along the waterways admiring the crunching of animals and the morning chirping of birds hidden in the mangroves on the banks of the river. Our final destination is the provincial town of Banos de Agua Santa, between the Andes and the equatorial Amazon basin, just 8 kilometers from the Tungurahua volcano crater.
Day 6: Bath – Riobamba
What better way to start our day with a visit to a cloud forest to enjoy the Pailon de Diable & Manto de la Novia waterfalls! Their view is literally breathtaking, while a little later we will look at and photograph from a special point the top of the active Tungurahua volcano!
Our final destination Riobamba “the heart of the Motherland” as the inhabitants of the country call it! The city is surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes, including Chimborazo, whose summit is the farthest point from the center of the earth! We will walk through its historic center and end up at a traditional hacienda on the outskirts of the city.
Day 7: Riobaba – Alausi – Incapirca – Cuenca
Leaving Riobamba we will pass by the mountain town of Alausi with its special architecture. In fact, they say that some of the houses in the historic center are over 100 years old! But what will fascinate us today is the archaeological site of Incapirca, the northernmost point of the Inca empire. There, in the middle of the archaeological site, surrounded by the terrible volcanoes of the Andes, we will listen to the whispers of warriors, the groans of peasant farmers and the long-winded prayers of priests on the altars!
A visit that, combined with the imposing landscape, will surely captivate us! In the late afternoon we will end up in Cuenca, the jewel city of Ecuador that will surely impress you during our evening walk.
Day 8: Cuenca – Guayaquil
Cuenca is the third largest city in the country and was founded in the 16th century. in the ruins of the Inca settlement Tomebaba. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the Andes and has it all: cobblestone streets, low red-tiled houses, elegant wrought-iron balconies, graceful squares, colonial mansions and rich local handicrafts.
We will explore it, photograph it and stand in awe of its marble-adorned Cathedral. In addition, we will visit the Indigenous Museum with its rich collection of ceramics from the Pre-Columbian Andean Civilizations. After the tour we depart for the seaside Guayaquil. The route will give us beautiful images as we cross the Cajas National Park, desert landscapes and “seas” of clouds as we descend the slopes of the Andes to the humid valley of Guayas dotted with sugar cane, cocoa and banana plantations. In the late afternoon, approaching Guayaquil we will feel the Pacific breeze gently caressing us.
Day 9: Guayaquil – departure flight
The city of Guayaquil with its tropical climate, which we will enjoy during our tour, is full of life and is an important economic factor of the country. However, we must not forget that it once housed important pre-Columbian populations such as the Vladivia, the Matsalillas, the Choreras, the Guancalas and the Manteñas. The jewel of the city is the Malecón 2000, a redevelopment along the Ocean that gives it a cosmopolitan air.
Special encounter, the exotic iguanas in Bolivar Park! In the evening, full of images, sounds and colors, we fly through an intermediate station to Greece.
Day 10: Athens/Thessaloniki
Arrival in Athens/Thessaloniki.
NOTE: Program flow may vary without skipping a beat.
ROUTE DEPARTURE TIME ARRIVAL TIME
Athens – Amsterdam
Amsterdam – Quito 06:00
Guayaquil – Amsterdam
Amsterdam – Athens 18:40
(*) Arrival the next day
10 days Half board & full board in the Amazon
Air tickets (economy class) with KLM
Hotels 5* & 4* (Lodge in the AMAZON & TRADITIONAL Hacienda in Riobamba
Half board daily (3-course set menu lunch or dinner)
Entrances to all places visited and special permits where required
One piece of luggage per person
Local experienced guide for the whole trip
Leader/companion throughout the trip
Travel folder with useful information