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10 Day Kaleidoscope of Ecuador with Andes Mountains & Amazon

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Itinerary

This 10 day "on-the go" program features the highlights of Ecuador in an active itinerary which includes several walking tours as well as some early starts and long days.

DAY 1, Sunday - Depart for Ecuador
Depart on your flight to Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador and the country's main port. Arrive and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure in this energetic city with its lovely parks, botanical gardens and historic districts
Overnight: Guayaquil

DAY 2, Monday - Guayaquil City Tour
Begin your tour of Guayaquil at el Parque Centenario, home of the Monument of the Independence Heroes and Seminario Park, a favorite place of bird watchers and home to arboreal Iguanas. Then, view the contrasting architecture of the city's Neo-Gothic Cathedral, Moorish clock tower and Rotonda Monument. Continue to the Crystal Palace, an impressive metallic structure, the colorful Garden of Malecon and Santa Ana Hill, where the city was founded in the 16th century. The afternoon is yours to explore Malecón 2000, the city's gleaming new riverside development, which incorporates shops, restaurants, a landmark museum, and several of the city's most famous monuments. Tonight, join your Tour Manager for a briefing on the wonderful tour that awaits you in Ecuador. Meet your fellow travelers and share a Welcome Dinner with delicious Ecuadorian food
Overnight: Guayaquil
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 3, Tuesday - Chocolate Tasting & Cuenca
Travel today from Guayaquil to Cuenca, one of the country's most beautiful cities. Along the route, we stop at a Cocoa (Cacao) Plantation for a tour and demonstration of the process that begins after the beans are picked from the cocoa trees. Ecuador is a major producer of cacao worldwide with chocolate as one of their thriving exports. After a rustic country lunch on the farm, and some chocolate tasting, drive along the country roads passing indigenous people in their colorful clothes wearing the customary fedoras. Arrive in Cuenca, set 7000 feet up in the majestic Andes. Enjoy the rest of the day in this enchanting city with its red tiled roofs, cobblestone streets and plazas adorned with flowers
Overnight: Cuenca
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4, Wednesday - Orchid Farm and Colonial Cuenca
Today in the small town of Gualaceo, enjoy a weaving demonstration that will teach about traditional handicrafts. Next, visit an Orchid Farm and meet with one of the orchid growers that produces and exports thousands of orchids annually. Learn about the cultivation process and see the vibrant array of orchids that are raised here. Continue to Colonial Cuenca. The tour begins at the Plaza and Church of San Sebastian, built in the 17th century, with its magnificent carved door. Then, to the Museum of Modern Art, housed in the old House of Temperance, with its contemporary modern paintings and magnificent sculptures. Arrive at the stark white Church of El Carmen de la Asunción, founded in 1682, an important historical building lovingly preserved in its original condition, with its beautiful baroque façade. See the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the Plaza Calderón, considered the most important religious monument in the city. Then, walk along the winding cobblestone lanes to the main square with its stunning architecture accented by wrought-iron balconies, tiny quaint parks and romantic plazas. The center of Cuenca was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Spend the rest of the day at leisure admiring the panorama of the city, or, enjoy the international restaurants, art galleries, and outdoor cafés surrounded by the magnificent architecture
Overnight: Cuenca
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, Thursday - The "Devils Nose" Train to Riobamba
An adventurous day! Drive from Cuenca to the small town of Alausi. After Lunch at local restaurant, on to the train station to board the world-famous "Devil Nose" train that takes you on a thrilling ride that zigzags up and down steep slopes, through scenic river valleys and along the wall of rock named Nariz del Diablo, the Devil's Nose. Sit back, enjoy this extraordinary experience and be sure to keep your camera ready to photograph the stunning surrounding landscape. Afterwards, on to Riobamba, an old-fashioned city in the Andean highlands, with wide avenues and tiny shops tucked into imposing 18th and 19th century stone buildings. Tonight, dinner with the tour group at the hotel
Overnight: Riobamba
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Friday - Devil's Cauldron Waterfall, Amazon Lodge
This morning, a visit to the powerful Devils Cauldron (El Pailon del Diablo) one of Ecuador's most striking waterfalls, hidden in the Ecuadorian rainforest. After lunch, a fascinating visit to Ahuano, a small riverside Quechua village. Time to meet with a local Quechua Indian family to learn about life and survival in the Amazon. Enjoy the sounds, the serenity and the magnificent foliage as we begin our exploration of the unique Amazon culture. After, we travel to La Punta Ahuano, a tiny port on the north bank of the Napo River, where we board a canoe that takes us to our Lodge* situated on the Napo River. You'll be able to spot many species of birds along the way. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for dinner at the lodge
*Please note upon arrival the lodge is approximately a 5-10 minute walk uphill exiting from the canoe
Overnight: Amazon
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7, Saturday - Nature Trail Hike, Leisure Time at the Lodge
Arise early this morning for a hike along the riverside nature trail to view the gorgeous flora and fauna up close. The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest ecosystem, so be sure to keep an eye out for the innumerable species of tropical plants and flowers, insects, and butterflies. The views will be spectacular as you cross suspended bridges and fly through the jungle on a short zip line basket ride. At the end of the hike** a rafting trip on a traditional balsa log raft takes you slowly along the river's bend. This afternoon, spend leisure time at the lodge, or, perhaps visit the nearby Butterfly Farm
**Please note this is an active hike and sections of the path include steps. Also, those who participate in the rafting trip will need to step through the water to reach the raft and will get wet during the ride
Overnight: Amazon
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8, Sunday - San Isidro Lodge, Hummingbird Park, Quito
Depart the Amazon this morning by canoe. Then, continue by motor coach to the picturesque San Isidro Lodge, located near the hot springs of Papallacta, a paradise for hummingbird lovers and photographers. Walk along the scenic trails, stopping to see over 14 different species of hummingbirds. After lunch, we head towards Quito, the historic masterpiece in the high Andes, at the base of the Pichincha Volcano. Arrive at our hotel in this city aptly called “an urban jewel”, with its priceless treasures of art and architecture. Tonight, get acquainted with the town's wide choice of world-class restaurants, cafes and shops
Overnight: Quito▲
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Monday - Quito City Tour, Middle of the World Monument
Discover Quito's colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved in Latin America, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin at Independence Plaza, flanked by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace. Continue to the Metropolitan Cultural Center with its exhibits highlighting Ecuadorian culture and rich history. Visit the La Compania Church with its beautiful gilded interior, or, the Monastery of San Francisco***, one of the great religious buildings of the New World with its impressive façade and atrium. Continue to the Middle of the World Monument at the Equator, which marks latitude “0”. Here, you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere! After lunch at a local restaurant, return to Quito for leisure time. There is so much to see in this city with its lovely markets, shops, cafes and excellent local cuisine. Bid farewell to your Tour Manager and new-found friends on your last day in Ecuador
***Please note that the itinerary may vary slightly based on local conditions and holidays, therefore La Compañia Church may be replaced with a visit to the Church of San Francisco
Overnight: Quito
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Tuesday - Depart Ecuador
Bon Voyage! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
~Please note: Some flights to the US depart shortly after midnight in the very early morning of Tuesday
Meals: Breakfast

▲ Due to the high elevation, travel in the Ecuadorian Andes may cause some passengers to experience the temporary effects of altitude sickness. If you have any concerns about traveling to higher than your accustomed elevation, please consult your healthcare provider.

Gate 1 itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.


Dates & Prices

Featured Hotels    
Hotel Oro Verde - details ★★★★ Guayaquil
Hotel Oro Verde Cuenca - details ★★★★★ Cuenca
Hosteria La Andaluza - details ★★★★ Riobamba
Casa del Suizo - details ★★★ Amazon
Swissotel Quito - details ★★★★★ Quito

Please go to Groupon and book now!

2015 Travel Dates Groupon Price
Jun 7 $1699*
Jun 21 $1699*
Jul 19 $1799*
Aug 16 $1899*
Aug 30 $1849*
Sep 13 $1899*
Oct 11 $1799*
Nov 8 $1799*
Nov 22 $1699*
Dec 6 $1899*
Dec 20 $1949*

*Not Included:
Optional tours and gratuities.

Additional Information:
Passport numbers for all passengers must be submitted before documents can be issued.

Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.
Entry Fees/Departure taxes are required as follows: Quito taxes of up to US $3

Is This Trip Right for You?
This moderately active trip covers a fair amount of ground each day. Expect from three to four hours walking every touring day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. Due to the high elevation, travel in the Ecuadorian Andes and the Peruvian highlands may cause some passengers to experience the temporary effects of altitude sickness. If you have any concerns about traveling to higher than your accustomed elevation, please consult your healthcare provider.