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In the land of chocolate

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  • 14 Days

William Wadoux

Terra Andina Ecuador

Ecuador travel expert (tailored made programs)

  • Local time:05:18

In the land of chocolate

The recipe for this family trip: - A cocktail of exotic animals - A spoon of gluttony - A touch of comfort - A breath of sport - A grain of ecology - Mix it all up and book your flights to Ecuador

DAY 1

Quito Airport - Quito Historic Center

Reception at the airport by a English speaking guide. Private transfer with spanish-speaking driver from Quito airport (to your hotel) and free time for the rest of the day.

Quito, 1 night
DAY 2

Quito - San Rafael - Quito Historic Cent

Quito, Ecuador's capital, is a real treasure between the volcanoes of Pichincha, Cayambe and Antisana. At an elevation of 2830 meters, it is the second highest capital in the world.. It was the first city classified by the UNESCO in 1978 and its historic centre is the biggest and best maintained in Latino America. To get a good idea of the city, we will firstly go to the Panecillo, a small hill over the city with a statue of the Quito'Virgen at the top, for a superb view. You will then have a complete visit of Quito's colonial centre: the cathedral, the church of the Compañia de Jesus, the church of San Francisco and its garden and as many baroque art pieces. You will visit the first frog farm of Ecuador. You will discover the laboratory of the fundation where somebody will explain you the process of conservation and reproduction of more than 40 species of frog. You'll participate to a PACARI chocolates tasting. You will learn about the process of elaboration of a great cocoa. You'll know why Ecuador is the best country to produce a cacao fino and also learn about the cocoa history in the world. You'll have the privilege to taste 10 different types of PACARI chocolates. PACARI works directly with small producers and assure a great remuneration for their hard work, in order to preserve the genetic diversity of ecuadorian cocoa. This cooperative has been rewarded multiple times at an international levek for the quality of the products and the social hlp they have done. Read more

Quito, 1 nuit
DAY 3

Quito - Mitad del Mundo - Alambi Reserve

This Museum communicates how valuable water is to the different aboriginal communities of Quito. Located at the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano, in a place where there used to be ceremonial baths, "Yaku" (Kichwa for "water") is the place to learn about this liquid and everything it does in the world. It is a space to learn how to protect the environment. You will take the road to Mitad del Mundo. You will visit the site of the "Mitad del Mundo" where you can put one foot in the Southern hemisphere and the other in the Northern hemisphere! The different buildings corresponds to different aspects of Ecuador, with the French pavilion being dedicated to the Condamine expedition which determinated the site of this imaginary line in 1736. The visit of the museum is not included because we do not consider it of much interest. The Inti Nan etnographic museum, near the site of the Mitad del mundo, shows the country's different ethnies with their traditions and clothing. You will have the chance to realise various experiences such as water flowing and eggs balancing, which results are different on the equatorial line than in other places. Departure from Quito to follow a scenic road through the Equatorial cloudy forest to the Mindo area, a unique place for its biodiversity. It is one of the best place to observe hummingbirds. You will make a little stop over on the road to Mindo so as to see around a dozen of species of these magical and emblematic birds of this region. Read more

Mindo, 1 night
DAY 4

Mindo

You will visit a breeding center of butterflies and you will discover the process of their metamorphosis with the different stages of evolution of the caterpillars. Visit of an Orchids garden, run by a nice local family that will have you discover the numerous varieties and surprising perfumes they can emit. In Mindo you have plenty of extreme sports that you can enjoy, for example the canopy where you'll be suspended in steel strings and fly over the forest. You will be accompanied of experimented guides and a total secure equipment. Read more

Mindo, 1 night
DAY 5

Mindo - Otavalo

Trip to Otavalo, famous for its handcrafts. You will meet Claudia, who is from Otavalo to discover the traditional food of the quichuas. You will cook with her a typique dish of the andes, from the special ingredients of the region to the preparation of them and finally you will be able to appreciate your own work Read more

Otavalo, 1 night
DAY 6

Cuicocha Lake - Condor Park - Otavalo

Visit of the Cuicocha lake in the ecologic reserve of "Cotacahi - Cayapas" , one of the most beautiful in Ecuador with a shiny blue water. At the centre of a former crater at 3064 meters, the nature lovers will enjoy a very various vegetation (orchids, "elephants ears"...) with more than 400 species identified there. Half an hour boat tour on the lake. You will see two vegetation covered island at the centre of this former crater, which had been formed by successive volcanic eruptions. You will learn more about the legends around them. Visit of the Condors Park in the upper Otavalo and watch a rapace's flight show. You can get close to the condors, the Andes's emblematic bird. Flight exhibition: 11.30am and 3.30pm ( the schedule may change regarding the weather) Read more

Otavalo, 1 night
DAY 7

Otavalo - Cochasqui - Cotopaxi Park

Visit in the morning the famous Otavalo's Indian market, the most important in the Ecuador's Andes, where you can meet the Otavaleños Indians with their espadrilles, their brown felt hat and blue ponchos. They are the wealthiest indians in Ecuador and excellent sellers. The main market is on Saturdays with the cattle market just outside town, but others markets are hold on the Los Ponchos square every days. You will take the route towards Lasso, along the Avenue of Volcanoes. Visit of the Cochasqui pyramids, classified as World Heritage and considered as the most important archeological site North of the Equatorial Andes. The site is composed of 15 pyramids and 20 funeral mounds built by the Quitus Cara Indians in the IXth century. There are different interpretations concerning the function of the pyramids: ceremony places, houses for important people or even astronomical observatories. The site still keeps many mysteries... which we will try to learn more about. Read more

Cotopaxi, 1 night
DAY 8

Cotopaxi Park - Banos

Today visit of the Cotopaxi national park with Ecuador's second highest summit at 5897 meters. It is also the highest active volcano in the world although it mainly shows a few fumaroles from its ice covered crater. But sometimes it launches a huge column smoke and ashes right upon its center. Afterward, you will walk around the Limpiapungo laggon with stunning view on the Cotopaxi. You will appreciate the flora and some fauna, typical of the "paramo", those wide plains swept by the cold winds of the Andes. After driving up to the car park at 4600 meters you will continue by foot to the José Rivas hut 200 meters higher. The most motivated can also go and reach the snowline. Due to the eruptive process of the volcano Cotopaxi initiated on August 14th, 2015, this information can be reviewed at any time, in accordance with the safety requirements of the Ecuadorian Coordination Ministry of National Security and our agency. Meal at Tambopaxi restaurant. Horseriding for 2 hours on the sides of the Cotopaxi volcano. The most motivated can even go and reach the snow line. Transport to Baños, a nice town to walk around. The basilica of "Nuestra Señora de Agua Santa" is worth to see and you can go swimming in one of the thermal pools. Visit of the Casa del Arbol (Tree House) on the heights of Baños. This site is known for its swing over the void. Which makes the delight of youngs, and the kind fright of the dads; it is the place which allows a great moment of exchange and diversion in family and the opportunity to admire a very beautiful landscape, between the volcano Tungurahua, the sight on Baños and the entrance of the Pastaza canyon towards the Amazonia. You can also have fun with the small installation of canopy and listen to the presentation on the history of the eruptions made by the guard of the Military Geographical Institute. Read more

Banos, 1 night
DAY 9

Banos - Puyo - Fatima - Pailon del Diabl

Journey to Puyo, a town on the edge of the Amazonia jungle. On the way you will pass through various tunnels bording the Pastaza canyon, with spectacular waterfalls on your right side. You will participate to a solidarity activity in reforestation : You will spend your day in the reserve of the Yapas, where you will discover different species of orchids and bromelias, also endemical trees that are endangered. You will participate in the activities of reforestation and in this way you will learn about the delicate ecosytem of the Amazone and the threat humans represent to the nature. You will stop in Pailon del Diablo, the country's most famous waterfalls which you will be able to see from closer from a sightseeing platform. Further on the road, following the inca style, you can use a suspended basket called locally tarabita to cross the Pastaza and reach a waterfall called "Manto de la Novia". You will take the road to Riobamba going back through Ambato. Read more

Riobamba, 1 night
DAY 10

Riobamba - Guayaquil

You should make an interesting stop at this museum that presents the relationship between the andean communities and the lama. You will eventually know the difference between a llama, an alpaca, a vicugna and a guanaco. Note : 3,5 usd entrance fee to pay on the spot You will go on a stroll for one hour, accompanied by a lama, to discover the landscapes of the zone and exchange some words with the inhabitants. Your amusing companion willpermit you to iniciate a conversation more easily! You will take the route to Guayaquil. This path will make you see different kinds of ecosystems. Read more

Guayaquil, 1 night
DAY 11

Guayaquil - Naranjal - Mangrove de Churu

You will pass trough banana plantations and arrive to the hacienda Cacao & Mango, in the middle of cacao plantation. Course toward the mangrove of Churute. The ecological reserve of Churute aims at protecting the mangrove swamp, which role is essential to protect the coast from the attacks of the ocean and a large number of fishes and shrimps spend part of their vital cycle there. Finally, this strange universe shelters a crowd of endemic animal species and birds. The visit will begin with a boat trip in the mangrove to observe the fauna.Then, you will make a small walking of approximately one hour on the path of howler monkeys where you may observe them. This visit will last approximately three hours. You will go back to Guayaquil from the same road you came. You will pass trough banana plantations and arrive to the hacienda El castillo, in the middle of cacao plantation. Read more

Guayaquil, 1 night
DAY 12

Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez - Los Frailes

You will travel on the Ruta del Sol following kilometers of sand beaches in the smooth sun. On the way to Puerto Lopez, you will pass through lovely fishing towns. Trip to the Playa de Los Frailes, 12 km from Puerto lopez in the Machalilla National Park, the biggest protected area on the coast. The park is mainly covered with a dry tropical forest which used to spread over most of the Pacific coast but which almost totally disappeared now. 150 native species had been identified here in 1998. You can go for an hour walk in the forest at the park entrance before getting to the Los Frailes beach, one of the most beautiful in Ecuador. After a bit of relaxing on the beach you will enjoy a swim in this small paradise. Read more

Puerto Lopez, 1 night
DAY 13

Isla de la Plata - Puerto Lopez

Departure by boat from the beach toward the Silver Island ("Isla de la Plata" in spanish), part of Machalilla National Park, located 17 miles from the coast (around 1,5 hours of transport). The island owns its name from the famous pirate, Sir Francis Drake, english sailor who would have hidden on this island a silver treasure captured on a galeon. On another hand this name could come from the large amount of guano, for the silver reflects. Each year, from june to september, the humpback whales gather in this area during the reproduction period and offer a tremendous spectacle that you will never forget. You may cross with dolphins surfing after the boat. Then you will go for a walk around the island for about 3 hours in a surprising dry tropical forest and observe numerous colonies of birds (red and blue-footed boobies, frigate, albatross, pelican,...) and sea-lions. Back on the boat, you will have a lunch and practice snorkelling on the most important coral reef of Ecuador with a rich sub-marine fauna. Back to Puerto Lopez on the afternoon. Read more

Puerto Lopez, 1 night
DAY 14

Puerto Lopez - Guayaquil Airport

Free time in Puerto Lopez to enjoy the beach and this quiet fishing town before the transfer to the Guayaquil airport for you flight. Free connection with your international flight.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Day in trip
Location
Hotel
Day 1
Location Quito
Hotel Casa Rocafuerte
Day 2
Location Quito
Hotel Casa Rocafuerte
Day 3
Location Mindo
Hotel Bellavista Lodge
Day 4
Location Mindo
Hotel Bellavista Lodge
Day 5
Location Otavalo
Hotel Las Palmeras
Day 6
Location Otavalo
Hotel Las Palmeras
Day 7
Location Cotopaxi
Hotel Porvenir
Day 8
Location Banos
Hotel La Floresta
Day 9
Location Riobamba
Hotel Santa Isabella
Day 10
Location Guayaquil
Hotel Nazu
Day 11
Location Guayaquil
Hotel El Castillo
Day 12
Location Puerto Lopez
Hotel Mandala
Day 13
Location Puerto Lopez
Hotel Mandala

TRIP PACKAGE

Package includes

  • Transfer from/to the airport
  • Transport during the tour
  • Accommodation
  • Local guides
  • Information services
  • Entrance fee

Package excludes

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa, consular fees or any other formalities.
  • Tips
  • Beverages
  • Additional journeys and transfers

More information

  • The hotels listed are subject to availability.

REVIEWS

4 Reviews

Mireille, France

Le pays est merveilleux avec des paysages à couper le souffle sans arrêt. Les gens sont d'une gentillesse extraordinaire sans agressivité aucune. Il faut prévoir un traitement contre le mal des montagnes! Finir le voyage aux Galápagos est également un enchantement qui poursuit ce voyage de rêve . Par ailleurs l'agence Terra Andina était parfaite ! aucune mauvaise surprise. Tout s'est déroulé sans anicroche et correspondait à ce que nous attendions. Read more

Robert Patrick, France

Quito & Iles Galapagos: J'ai eu beaucoup de plaisir à faire ce voyage. L'organisation de Terra Andina a été très bonne. Je regrette seulement de ne pas avoir disposé d'un guide pour découvrir Quito, je pense que j'aurais perdu moins de temps dans une ville que je ne connaissais pas. Aux Galapagos, le jour de l'excursion sur un volcan, j'aurais aimé pouvoir en découvrir un 2e. En début d'après-midi, j'étais déjà de retour à l'hôtel. Read more

Christine S., France

Découverte des Galapagos : j'ai eu de très bons contacts avec Clara, notre déléguée à l'agence et le travail qu'elle a réalisée pour nous était sans faille, tant au niveau organisation que relationnel.

MORE REVIEWS

Destination specialist (20 years in the country)

Terra Andina Ecuador
4 Reviews
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