Tailor-Made Holiday

Highlights of Ecuador, Highlands & Amazon

11 days

from £2,925pp

This holiday in Ecuador encompasses just some of the highlights on offer in this beautiful and diverse country, perfect for the first time visitor.

  • Discover the stunning highlands of Ecuador, travelling along the Avenue of the Volcanoes
  • Experience life in the Andes staying at a traditional hacienda
  • Explore the fascinating Amazon Rainforest, staying in a jungle lodge
  • Visit the colonial UNESCO World Heritage cities of Quito and Cuenca

Begin on the slopes of an active volcano in the capital city of Quito, wander the cobbled streets admiring the colonial buildings and churches around the many plazas.

Travel down into the Amazon Rainforest, exploring all this famous ecosystem has to offer. With a naturalist and local guide to help spot the wildlife, daily outings paddling along the tributaries or standing in a tree tower high above the canopy are immensely rewarding.

In contrast to the hot and humid jungle, life in the Andes is clear and fresh. Wind your way down through the volcanoes, visit one of the colourful markets and stay overnight in a hacienda to get a feel for life in the highlands of Ecuador.

End the trip in Cuenca, one of the most attractive cities in Ecuador, a title contested by Quiteños. Not only does the city have the cobbled streets, colonial buildings and domed churches but there are also art galleries, artisan workshops and the famous Panama hat factories.

 

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Madrid

Fly Madrid to Quito overnight


You will be staying at La Rabida, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Day at leisure in Quito
Wander the cobbled streets of this historic city, visiting Independence Square and its ornate churches. Visit the artisan markets, and spend time in some fascinating museums that include Casa del Alabado, the Guayasamin Museum, and the Intinan Museum. Catch the cable car up Pichincha Volcano at 4,100-metres for stunning views of Quito and the surrounding area, and travel further afield to see the equatorial monument and visit the vibrant market town of Otavalo. Visit the cloud forest and see a myriad of different flora and fauna, have lunch in a traditional hacienda, or journey through the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

With Pichincha Volcano one side, Machangara Gorge on the other and the equator passing directly through, few can rival Quito's setting. Few also can match the splendour of its old town, with its colonial churches, mansions and plazas.

Quito was named as the first World Cultural Heritage Site in the world by UNESCO in 1978. This historical city sits at 2,850 metres and has the largest and best preserved historic centre and colonial quarters in Latin America.


You will be staying at La Rabida, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Fly Quito to Coca


Arrive Sacha Lodge by dugout canoe
On landing in Coca, you are transferred to the port and the adventure begins. First is around a two hour motor canoe trip, followed by a walk along a raised boardwalk through a dense flooded palm forest to Pilchicocha lake, where the staff paddle you by dugout canoe to Sacha Lodge. Here receive a welcome cocktail and an introduction to the jungle, along with details of what the next few days has to offer, including animals to see in the local area. Wellington boots and waterproof ponchos are provided if needed.

Prepare for the early starts in the jungle, often 5:30 or 6:00 am, to catch the wildlife in their active hours. Please note that all flights to the Amazon have a weight limit of 20kg per person. Any excess luggage can be stored in a secure place at Sacha Lodge office in Coca or the hotel in Quito.

The Amazon region in Ecuador is located to the east of the Andes mountain range. Within this vast green wilderness are numerous national parks and forest reserves sparsely populated with indigenous communities where you can experience the rainforest, its people, and myriad of wildlife.

River dolphin, tapir, capybara, caiman, monkeys plus countless species of birds are just a few of the magical animals that hide in these forests. Mostly unexplored and more biologically diverse than the enchanting Galapagos Islands, the opportunity to stay in one of Ecuador’s jungle lodges, lost deep in the rainforest, is a life enriching experience.


You will be staying at Sacha Lodge, Full board

Day 4

Explore the area and its variety of wildlife
Today have the opportunity to see a vast variety of animals. These include monkeys, caiman, anteater, armadillo, sloth, giant otter, pink and grey dolphin, and birds such as toucans, parrots and macaws, as well as endless species of butterfly and insect. A favourite activity is to paddle dugout canoes along tannin-rich black-water creeks and lakes, where luxuriant lianas, bromeliads and palm trees thrive. Wherever an outing may lead, the possibilities of spotting animals, from the tiny pygmy marmoset to the ocelot or puma, are endless. Night walks and canoe trips, with the aid of torches, often reveal creatures seldom seen during daylight. Each excursion is accompanied by a local and naturalist guide.


You will be staying at Sacha Lodge, Full board

Day 5

Canoe around the lagoon and flooded palm forest
Early start this morning to be paddled by dug-out canoe around the surrounding lagoon and through the flooded palm forest. Opportunity to fish for the notorious piranha, Caiman spotting at night or join a nocturnal walk through the virgin forest trails.


You will be staying at Sacha Lodge, Full board

Day 6

Depart Sacha Lodge
Early departure to begin the journey back to Coca in a motorised canoe, spotting for monkeys and birds as they begin a new day in the Amazon jungle.

Fly Coca to Quito


Avenue of the Volcanoes and Cotopaxi
Two hours south of Quito, the ’Avenue des Volcanoes’ winds its way between the Andean foothills with views of the snow-capped volcanoes and very lush and green valleys. As well as the views, not least of Cotopaxi the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi National Park is of note for its flora and fauna, in particular the Andean Condor.


You will be staying at Hacienda La Alegria, Full board

Day 7

Travel to Riobamba


A two to three hour journey along the Avenue of the Volcanoes. Travel to Riobamba, passing through Banos and Tungurahua; an active volcano where the natural springs are perfect for bathing. Look out enroute for plumes of steam rising from the rainforest as the underground activity vents itself. Approaching Riobamba glimpse the spectacular Chimborazo peak - the highest peak in Ecuador, rising to 6,310 meters above sea level.


Riobamba sits on the flanks of Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador 6,310 m and one of the largest cities in the central highlands. It is the starting point for rail journeys to the famous Nariz del Diablo (Devils Nose) a zig zag rail track that runs down a beautiful valley. There is a fantastic market on a Saturday where indigenous people come to sell and barter local produce.


You will be staying at Hacienda Abraspungo, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Travel from Riobamba to Cuenca


A four to five hour scenic journey through the Andes.


Cuenca is a designated UNESCO city, set in a valley surrounded by the Andean mountains on the grassy banks of the Rio Tomebamba. This colonial city is now the country's third largest and often regarded as the most attractive as well as the centre for arts and culture. With narrow cobblestone streets, flower-filled plazas, domed churches and many old buildings constructed from the marble quarried nearby, the city preserves a colonial air. Cuenca is also home to the panama hat industry. Visit places where the hats are expertly made using traditional techniques. With many art galleries and artisan workshops it is the perfect place to find high quality pieces.


Incapirca Ruins tour
Located about 17 km from Cañar are the historical ruins of Ingapirca (meaning ’Wall of the Inca’) are the pre-eminent Incan remains in Ecuador. Originally, it was constructed as an inn for Incan couriers and other travellers, later fortified under the control of the Cañaris of Huayna Capac, and expanded for use as a lodge for troops, a resting place for the emperor and a temple. The temple is built in the style of Coricancha, the main temple of Cuzco in Peru. The ruins of Ingapirca, an ellipse-shaped fortress made of green diorite, are well worth a visit to appreciate the Inca culture and intricate stone work.


You will be staying at Carvallo, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Day at Leisure
Time to enjoy this charming town with its flowing rivers lined with Eucalyptus trees and little stone bridges. Home to two cathedrals, numerous churches and a daily flower market, Cuenca is a great place to potter around. Cuenca is also the place to buy a Panama Hat, which comes from Ecuador and not Panama.


You will be staying at Carvallo, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Fly Cuenca to Quito

Fly Quito to Madrid overnight

Day 11

Fly Madrid to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Sacha Lodge

Sacha Lodge

Sacha Lodge offers a rainforest lodge experience on the banks of Pilchicocha Lake, downstream from Rio Napo....

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Hacienda La Alegria

Hacienda La Alegria

Hacienda La Alegria is a family-run organic farm situated one hour south of Quito in the heart of Ecuador's Andean region....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Ecuador

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

"James listened and managed our expectations and therefore made sure we were prepared for all eventualities when going on our holiday to Brazil"

"James was brilliant and all the advice was spot on."

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Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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Tailor-Made Holiday Ideas

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Holiday Ideas in Ecuador

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