Ecuador touring holidays:
Haciendas of Distinction
Visit many of the highlights of Ecuador with the rich hospitality of the country’s most characterful haciendas and fine hotels. Some guided touring is included.
Day 1 You are met on your arrival at Quito airport and driven to Hotel Patio Andaluz or Mansión del Angel. This is your base for your first 3 nights in Ecuador, allowing you to discover Quito while acclimatising to the altitudes of the Andes.
Day 2 BL An experienced local guide meets you at your hotel to introduce you to Quito and Ecuador in the course of a leisurely morning’s walking tour of the historic quarter.
The streets of the Old Quarter are closed to traffic on Sundays, and there are often colourful events in one or other of the principal plazas. In the afternoon you might like to continue exploring the city on your own (within a very short walk of Hotel Patio Andaluz are the City Museum, the delightful House of María Augusta Urrutia and La Compañía church), or relax in your hotel.
Day 3 B A free morning in Quito. As today is a Monday, you will be able to get a better look inside Quito’s churches to appreciate their breathtaking gold and silver altars, and perhaps to ride the cable car to the top of Mt Pichincha with its extensive views over the city and to the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
In the afternoon your guide takes you to other parts of the city and its surroundings, including a visit to the Equator monument.
Cotopaxi National Park
Day 4 BLD Today you are driven south along part of the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Cotopaxi National Park. You visit the beautiful Limpiopungo Lagoon at 3,800m and enjoy the high páramos vegetation, with miniature asters and crocus-like flowers nestling amid lichens and mosses.
If you are responding well to the thinness of the air there is the option of walking up to the volcano’s glacier.
Then continue to your choice between Hostería La Ciénega or Hacienda San Agustín de Callo for a two night stay.
Day 5 BLD Free day for walking, riding or relaxing at Hostería La Ciénega or Hacienda San Agustín del Callo.
Day 6 BD Today you will be driven along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Baños where you stay for 2 nights at Hostería Luna Runtun.
Day 7 BD Free day to enjoy the hotel and spa.
Day 8 BD After a leisurely morning free at Hostería Luna Runtun you will be transferred to Riobamba where you stay for one night at Hotel Abraspungu, a comfortable country inn style hotel just outside the town, ready for an early start next morning for the Devil’s Nose Train.
Devil’s Nose Train and Ingapirca
Day 9 BL The engineers who constructed the Trans-Andean Railway between Guayaquil on the coast and Quito in the mountains faced incredible challenges of terrain. Their most outstanding accomplishment was the section completed in 1902 known as the Devil’s Nose, where the track descends an almost perpendicular wall of rock in a tight switchback–one of the great railway journeys of the world.
To make the trip even more memorable it used to be the thing to travel on the roof of the train, but in these days of health & safety precautions you will be sitting inside.
At present the favoured rolling stock is the ‘Chiva Express’ – a traditional Latin American bus mounted on the chassis of a diesel powered rail coach.
You leave from the small station at Riobamba. The single track journey twists and turns through Andean villages and pretty valleys, carrying you over bridges and across steep ravines as you descend to the village of Alausí.
From here you descend the Devil’s Nose switchback, pause, then ascend and return to Alausí.
You are met off the train to be driven by shared small coach to Cuenca, with a stop to visit the Inca ruins of Ingapirca en route.
At historic Cuenca, the principal city of the southern Andes, you stay for three nights in the historic quarter at Mansión Alcázar or Hostería Santa Lucia.
Day 10 B You are collected from your hotel for a morning tour of Cuenca. In the afternoon you are free to relax at the hotel or perhaps to explore some more of the city by yourselves. Don’t forget to buy a Panama hat!
Day 11 B A free day in Cuenca. Though there is plenty to see in the city, you could choose to arrange an optional excursion, eg to Cajas National Park or nearby villages famous for their crafts.
Day 12 BD Today you will be transferred to the airport at Cuenca for the short flight back to Quito. On arrival, you will be driven to Otavalo and your choice of one of four distinctive hotels: Hacienda La Zuleta, Hacienda Pinsaqui, Hacienda Cusín, or La Mirage.
Day 13 BD A free day at your chosen hotel near Otavalo. Optional excursions can be arranged locally.
Day 14 BD A free day at your chosen hotel near Otavalo. Optional excursions can be arranged locally.
Day 15 B Morning visit to Otavalo Market.
On Saturdays all four separate markets will be in full operation–the early morning animal market, the handicrafts stalls, fruit and vegetables and the Indian market where the locals buy their unique items of dress.
In the afternoon you are transferred to Quito airport for your onwards flight to the Galapagos, or home to the UK.
Prices depend on the options selected for days 4-5 and 12-14.
Days 4-5 Hosteria La Ciénega
Days 4-5 Hacienda San Augustin de Callo
Days 12-14 Hacienda Pinsaqui or La Cusin
Days 4-5 Hacienda San Augustin de Callo
15 days / 14 nights. Starts and ends in Quito. Designed to start on any Saturday.
Includes: all transfers in Ecuador, all accommodation, services of a private guide on days 2,3,4 & 10, shared services of a guide on day 9, some meals (except for 10 lunches and 6 dinners – these have been excluded so you can order a-la-carte).
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