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Highlights of Ecuador & Descending to the Coast (7 days / 6 nts)

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Places Visited:
v/   Quito
v/   Otavalo
v/   Papallacta
v/   Baños
v/   Riobamba
v/   Cuenca
v/   Guayaquil
Price from $2,097
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A short but special tour focussed on the essentials of the rainforest, Baños, Riobamba, and the World Heritage site of Cuenca
Day 1:Quito - Otavalo - Karanki Magdalena
Day 2:Otavalo - Papallacta Hot Springs - Rainforest Lodge
Day 3:Rainforest Lodge
Day 4:Rainforest Lodge - Baños - Riobamba
Day 5:Riobamba - Ingapirca Ruins - Cuenca
Day 6:Cuenca city tour
Day 7:Cuenca - El Cajas National Park - Guayaquil


Day 1:  Quito - Otavalo - Karanki Magdalena
Departing Quito to the northern highlands of Ecuador, stunning views of valleys such as Guayllabamba and Pisque.  Unique “in situ” opportunity to learn about the formation of the Andes Cordilleras. Photo stops of the snowcapped volcanoes Cayambe and with some luck, Cotopaxi.   We will drive through rose farming and quilt patched country side with corn, potatoes, quinoa and broad beans fields.  Arrival at the province of Imbabura, the “lake province of Ecuador”.

The Otavalo market is special, hence, the better known market in South America, in as far as, to the gentle and soft spoken Otavalo Indians; attired with beautiful and unique costumes.  Interaction with the local people is given to the visitor through the process of bargaining, which is the fun element in the negotiations, while purchasing woven goods both in sheep´s wool and cotton, as well as, hats, belts, bags, jewelry and more.  Tourist´s photography paradise!

Continue to drive further north to the city of Ibarra to start with the train ride that travels on an early 20th. Century railroad system, built to connect the northern Andes and the Pacific coast.  A two hour ride, dropping from over 8,000 ft. to almost half this altitude, embraces high altitude vegetation, dry zones with bromeliad and pear cacti, ending in a sub-tropical zone with sugar cane plantations.  The main attraction of this ride is the travelling through tunnels and bridges following the canyon of river Ambi.   Arrival to Salinas an Afro- Ecuadorian village to enjoy lunch and cultural experience.   Kleintours implemented this project in an effort to boost the economy and the safe keeping of the cultural roots of the region. Overnight in Otavalo at Hacienda Pisanqui.

(Included meals: lunch) 
Day 2:  Otavalo - Papallacta Hot Springs - Rainforest Lodge
Discover the beautiful Andean landscape on route to the Papallacta Hot Springs resort located in the high Páramo, on the way that leads to the Amazon Basin.   Enjoy thermal baths and relaxing massage therapy in the spa.  Lunch.  This wonderful location offers excellent hiking, bird observation, and horseback riding activities where one can simply appreciate the beauty of a highly unique ecosystem. Head to Amazonia, where you will admire the dramatic changes in vegetation and climate. Overnight in Hotel Casa del Suizo. 

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner) 
Day 3:  Rainforest Lodge
Visit an indigenous family to learn about their daily life, culture and traditions. Experience tropical forest nature.  Napo the largest river east of Ecuador, will be the setting of this Amazonian experience.  Other activities will depend on weather conditions and the interest of passengers. Overnight in Overnight in Hotel Casa del Suizo. 

(Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner) 
Day 4:  Rainforest Lodge - Baños - Riobamba
We will head to Baños and encounter a series of waterfalls along the Pastaza River canyon including Cascada de la Virgen, The Bride’s Shroud, Machay, and Pailón del Diablo. A short visit to the thermal-baths town of Baños, the basilica and main square.  Weather permitting observation of the active volcano Tungurahua.  Ride continues in order to arrive to Riobamba, passing the foothills of Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador with over twenty thousand feet.  Upon arrival, panoramic city tour. Overnight in Riobamba at Hotel Abraspungo. 

(Included meals: breakfast) 
Day 5:  Riobamba - Ingapirca Ruins - Cuenca
Start your day with a tour through the most picturesque areas of the country.  Along the way visit Balbanera, the first Spanish church built in Ecuador. Continue south and visit the Inca-Cañari ruins of Ingapirca, which means "Wall of the Inca", the most important Incan relic in Ecuador. This citadel was built in the fifteenth century on an ancient route that connected Quito to Cuzco. The Solar Temple and the surrounding buildings follow the system of construction found in the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco.  Visit the archaeological site.  Arrival in Cuenca by nightfall. Overnight in Cuenca at Hotel Carvallo. 

(Included meals: breakfast) 
Day 6:  Cuenca city tour
Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador, which holds along with Quito, the title of World Heritage Site.  A quaint colonial city, also known, for the profusion of handicrafts, such as pottery, embroidery, filigree jewels and the world wide known Panama hat.  Visit a well displayed factory of Panama hats, a learning and shopping unique experience.  Visit the Main Square, New Cathedral and the flower market.   Visit either the Central Bank museum with permanent archaeological, ethnographic, colonial and republican art collections or the Conceptas Religious Museum.  This museum gives to the visitor the experience of immerging in the monastic life of nuns, a very special visit.  View point, Turi. Overnight in Cuenca at Hotel Carvallo. 

(Included meals: breakfast) 
Day 7:  Cuenca - El Cajas National Park - Guayaquil
Departure from Cuenca to Guayaquil for a breath taking and diverse drive.  We start with high altitude impressive scenery by crossing El Cajas National Park, we shall see lagoons such as La Toreadora, alpacas and a special tree:  Polylepis or paper tree.   From over 13.000 ft. we shall drop to sea level.  Ecuador´s bio diversity will be understood in this ride, Andean moorlands, cloud forest, subtropical and tropical rainforest.  Once in the low lands or coast we shall see plantations of Ecuador´s main exports:  bananas, cacao, coffee, rice, mangos and sugar cane.  Upon arrival in Guayaquil, transfer to the hotel or airport.

(Included meals: breakfast)
 
Trip type:
  Shared service
(can be done privately also)
Departures:
    Tuesdays & Saturdays / from Quito