Ecuador Explorer | Trip Itinerary

Day 1/Fri: Arrival to Quito. You will be met as you exit the airport, and transferred to the Hotel Sierra Madre or similar

Day 2/Sat: Quito-Otavalo-San Pablo Lake. An early morning departure from your hotel for a visit to Otavalo, situated among picturesque lakes, magnificent sierras and terraced, patchwork farmlands. The town is renowned for its ponchos, embroidered blouses, ceramics, wall hangings, leather crafts and locally produced jewelry. After lunch at hacienda Pinsaqui, we take a short drive to Cotacachi, home to numerous fine leather craft shops and boutiques. We spend the night at a nearby hotel (Overnight Hacienda Las Palmeras). Dinner not included. (B, L)

Day 3/Sun: Otavalo – Bellavista. After leaving Otavalo we travel south to Bellavista, a paradise of hummingbirds. Large numbers constantly hover around the feeders and five or six species can be easily identified at close range. On a hike into the forest your guide will acquaint you with the exuberant Cloud Forest vegetation, its bird life and the fascinating ways that life has adapted to this special environment. Lunch is served so you can observe the hummingbirds and other colorful species close by. After lunch, you have the opportunity to enjoy another hike into the forest along well-marked and safe trails. (B, L, D)

Day 4/Mon: Bellavista – Santo Domingo. We depart Bellavista early in the morning and drive south through the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Cross a 13,000’ pass and then begin a windy 2-hour descent towards the Toachi river. On arrival, we receive basic instructions in paddle rafting and then we’re off for white water action! Normally, we can expect three hours of exhilaration and buffeting, coupled with languid moments as we silently drift through tropical rainforests where a rich abundance of bird life can be seen, though such is dependent on the water level. Don’t expect to stay dry! Overnight in Santo Domingo at the Hotel Zaracay or similar. (B, L)

Day 5/Tue: Santo Domingo de los Colorados - Cotopaxi National Park.  After breakfast we depart for the Rio Blanco River. Today’s trip takes us through pristine jungle canyons and over thrilling rapids before finally emerging at Valle Hermoso. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the riverbanks, before departure up the mountains to the foothills of Cotopaxi. Overnight at La Estacion or similar. (B, L)

Day 6/Wed: Cotopaxi. After breakfast, we continue along the Pan American Highway as it brings us to the Cotopaxi National Park. Turning off the main highway, we enter into the park, traversing the Andean paramo and an extensive pine tree forest and crossing through a deer and llama reserve. Gently ascending the flanks of the volcano, we pass through fields of ancient lava strewn with boulders until arriving at the base of the Cotopaxi (19,700ft/5,897m), the world’s highest active volcano.  This desolate and rugged scenery will captivate both nature enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. The park is also home to wild horses, rabbits, wildflowers and birds, including the Andean lapwing and the Curunculated caracara. Lunch is taken in a nearby hacienda in the valley where you will also spend the night. (B, L)

Day 7/Thu: Cotopaxi – Quito. Return to Quitoand morning at leisure to explore the city. Afternoon includes a city tour, concentrating on the colonial center. Overnight at your hotel. Dinner not included. (B)

Day 8/Fri: Transfer to the airport, or continue with more sightseeing. (B)

B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner



Minimum of 4 travelers


$1700 p/p

Travel Style
group trip