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Secrets of Ecuador

9 Days 1 Country 9 Cities

Ecuador's colours and contrasts are featured during this incredible exploration.

"Absolutely outstanding"

Joanne, Canada

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About this trip

Ecuador's colours and contrasts are featured on this incredible exploration from Otavalo's outdoor market, Cotopaxi National Park, Devil's Nose Train and to UNESCO World Heritage sites like Quito and Cuenca.

You'll enjoy Insider moments like… 3,000 roses filling the Jarrin family's hacienda, as you join them for local treats like 'llapingachos', cheesy potato cakes, after exploring their rose plantation. It's staying at a restored 17th century hacienda once owned by King Phillip III of Spain.


Trip type: Hidden Journey

Trip code: LCTA

8 Nights

accommodation

18 Meals
  • 8 full breakfasts.

  • 4 dinners.

  • 6 lunches (including Be My Guest).

On-trip Transport

All transport shown.

Secrets of Ecuador

Your Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive Quito – Otavalo (2 Nights)

Day 2

Otavalo Sightseeing

Day 3

Otavalo – Cayambe – Quito (2 Nights)

Day 4

Quito Sightseeing – Equatorial Line Monument

Day 5

Quito – Cotopaxi National Park – Riobamba

Day 6

Riobamba – Alausi – Ingapirca – Cuenca (2 Nights)

Day 7

Cuenca Sightseeing and Free Time

Day 8

Cuenca – El Cajas National Park – Guayaquil

Day 9

Depart Guayaquil

Day 1

Arrive Quito – Otavalo (2 Nights)

Welcome to Ecuador, a local host will greet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel in the village of San Pablo del Lago, located just outside Otavalo and ideally situated at the base of the Imbabura Volcano. Hacienda Cusin, founded in 1602, is one of the oldest haciendas in all of Ecuador. Enjoy the rest of your day to relax and get settled in.

Hotel

Hacienda Cusin Authentic Accommodation

Meals

Day 1

Day 2

Otavalo Sightseeing

Depart mid-morning to meet a local family who introduces you to the Andean tradition and Cultural Insight of flute-making, including a musical interlude using the handmade instruments. You'll even get the chance to try playing the instruments yourself. Enjoy a Welcome Reception Lunch with your Travel Director and fellow travellers at a traditional hacienda. Visit the public market alongside native Otavalenos and put your bartering skills to the test. Stroll through the different vendor stalls offering a variety of handcrafted items in search of the perfect keepsake.

Meals

  • Full Breakfast
  • Welcome Reception
  • Dinner

Day 2

Day 3

Otavalo – Cayambe – Quito (2 Nights)

Your morning is at leisure before heading to Cayambe where you will meet a local family for a Be My Guest Lunch at Hacienda La Compania, a beautiful home and rose plantation. Tour the grounds, including the charming chapel and learn about the roses grown here before indulging in a meal of Ecuadorian specialities. Arrive in Quito and enjoy the evening to relax.

Hotel

Hilton Colon

Meals

  • Full Breakfast
  • Be My Guest Dining

Day 3

Day 4

Quito Sightseeing – Equatorial Line Monument

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Quito, Ecuador's capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn all about the religious and cultural influences of this bustling city, located just 14 miles (22 kilometres) from the Equatorial Line. Visit a candy shop to watch a third generation candy-maker create a traditional Ecuadorian candy called colaciones, a Cultural Insight. Eat lunch at a local restaurant and try another Cultural Insight, canelazo, a delicious spiced cinnamon rum drink. Continue to the Equatorial Line Monument and stand in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at the same time. Later, meet a Local Specialist, an Ecuadorian organic chocolate-maker, who tells you all about the production process and shares samples for you to enjoy. Indulge in a Regional Meal this evening featuring local cuisine.

Meals

  • Full Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Regional Meal

Day 4

Day 5

Quito – Cotopaxi National Park – Riobamba

Travel south along the Panamerican Highway, through stunning landscapes of valleys and mountains before arriving at Cotopaxi National Park, the site of an active volcano standing 19,642 feet (5,987 metres) high. Meet a Local Specialist who shares his knowledge and passion for this spectacular natural wonder. Continue on to Limpiopungo Lake where you'll observe a great number of high-altitude birds, and occasionally, wild horses. Return to the valley where lunch is served at a 300-year-old hacienda. Venture back to the main road and continue along the "Avenue of the Volcanoes." Riobamba awaits as you continue alongside massive Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador.

Hotel

Hacienda Abraspungo

Meals

  • Full Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 5

Day 6

Riobamba – Alausi – Ingapirca – Cuenca (2 Nights)

Head south to the train station in Alausi where you board the Devil's Nose Train, an engineering feat of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The railway allows you to discover the topographic obstacles of Ecuador's diverse landscape as you zigzag down the steep mountainside. Disembark at Sibambe to visit a local museum built and run by the Nizag community. See displays of local crafts, fruits, and medicinal plants. After your train journey, enjoy a picnic lunch before visiting the Inca ruins of Ingapirca.

Hotel

Victoria

Meals

  • Full Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 6

Day 7

Cuenca Sightseeing and Free Time

Discover the charm of Cuenca with a Local Specialist and admire the red-tiled roofs, cobblestone streets and flowery plazas. Founded as a Spanish settlement in 1557, the beauty of its landscape with the harmony of old and modern architecture has prompted UNESCO to name Cuenca a World Cultural Heritage Site. Today's highlights include the Todos los Santos ruins, a flower market, and the main square surrounded by the imposing blue-domed Cathedral. Visit surrounding communities including an arts and crafts village for a Cultural Insight into the ancient weaving process of Panama hats and other items made of toquilla straw. Learn weaving methods that date back to pre-Columbian cultures while visiting a local pottery maker in action. The evening is yours to explore.

Meals

  • Full Breakfast

Day 7

Day 8

Cuenca – El Cajas National Park – Guayaquil

Journey to Guayaquil through El Cajas National Park. Watch the ever changing flora and fauna as you travel through the beautiful cloud forests to the coast for a visit to a cacao plantation. Here, learn all about growing and harvesting cacao with a Local Specialist before a delicious lunch. Arrive in Guayaquil and enjoy a short city tour. Tonight, toast an unforgettable holiday during a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

Hotel

Oro Verde

Meals

  • Full Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Farewell Dinner

Day 8

Day 9

Depart Guayaquil

Your Ecuadorian adventure comes to an end with a transfer to the airport for your flight home, or extend your stay at the Hotel Oro Verde.

Meals

  • Full Breakfast

Day 9

The Trafalgar Difference

  • Authentic Accommodation
    Hacienda Cusin, Otavalo, Ecuador
    Stay at this Authentic Accommodation, featuring beautifully decorated guest rooms that carefully preserve the historic ambiance, and be sure to stroll its lush gardens.

  • Be My Guest
    Enjoy lunch at a rose plantation in Cayambe.

  • Cultural Insights
    Traditional Andean flute-making and weaving, candy making with a local candy maker, try a delicious cinnamon rum drink and witness the art of Panama hat weaving.

  • Hidden Treasures
    Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.

  • Local Specialists
    Meet a chocolate maker at the El Cajas National Parks and an expert in the city of Cotopaxi, as well as Cuenca.

  • #JoinTrafalgar
    Join Me to We and extend your Trafalgar trip of the Secrets of Ecuador with the perfect volunteer Amazon experience. Ecuador's equally vibrant culture and landscape are featured on this transformative excursion. Visit Extension to Ecuador for the trip overview.

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.


What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

    • City tour in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca

    • Scenic drives along the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" and El Cajas National Park

    • Iconic train journey aboard the Devil's Nose Train

    • View the Cotopaxi Volcano

    • Visit Otavalo's outdoor market, Equatorial Line Monument, Riobamba and artisan villages near Cuenca


What's Included

Dining

    • 8 full breakfasts.

    • 4 dinners.

    • 6 lunches
      (including Be My Guest).


What's Included

Travel Highlights

    • Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing

    • Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage and local charges included

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver

    • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday

    • VIP entry to many sights


    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page


Why Trafalgar?

The Trafalgar Experience

Enjoy

Enjoy the wonder of travel, crisscrossing the globe through the seasons. On effortless adventures in breathtaking new horizons, forge lifelong friendships and memories. Our lovingly crafted itineraries are a fascinating mosaic of cultures, flavours, festivals and local stories. We’re with you all the way, guiding you and ensuring you experience the real thing: the sheer love of travel, entirely hassle-free.


sunset heart

Love... Travel

"Is simply the best way to position what our guests love to experience and what we love to deliver" - Gavin Tollman CEO


Meet

Meet warm-hearted locals and like-minded travellers. Along your journey of discovery, stop to share stories and flavours with local farmers, chefs and winemakers. Pause to admire the handicrafts and rich traditions of amazing artisans. Explore the essence of Europe through captivating accounts shared by expert historians and savvy local guides.


Taste

Travelling with your tastebuds, treating them to new flavours, spices and textures along the way. From the very first breakfast to the last nightcap, travelling through Europe indulges your palate, with every meal an opportunity to discover regional fare. Savour each new flavour, try the local tipple and take home fresh culinary inspiration. Let us share our love for food and hospitality with you.


Unwind

Once you've packed your suitcase, we take care of the rest, removing all your concerns so that you can be secure in the knowledge that an award-winning global company with an impeccable reputation has taken care of every little detail. We arrange everything you'll need along your journey - meals, accommodation and travel logistics, because we are with you all the way. Travel the world with peace of mind, knowing you’re in the hands of Trafalgar.


Guest Reviews and Ratings

  • Guest Service Rating from 3 Reviews

  • Trip:

    Service:

    Service rating : Willy is an excellent travel director who goes above && beyond to assist people. He is very proud of his country and tries impart his love of the history etc. To all of us travellersProduct : There appeared to be a desire for us to buy all the time

  • Trip:

    Service:

    Great trip. Guide Tomas Palma was excellent. The crew on the Isabela II was amazing, especially with their timing. Indira was great as was Daniel. Denis was very knowledgeable and full of passion. Last day on lava beds was overdone. 10 minutes would have covered subject.

  • Trip:

    Service:

    Service rating : The driver and the tour director were absolutely outstanding in the assistance they gave me when I became ill on this trip. There was not one hotel or restaurant that was not excellent.Product : Mission accomplished with this wonderful tour and it was my 10th Trafalgar Tour.

Secrets of Ecuador

What our customers say on social | #simplytrafalgar

9 Days, 1 Country, 9 Cities

Secrets of Ecuador

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Starts

Quito, Ecuador

Ends

Guayaquil, Ecuador

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i Please read our Trip Notes before booking

iNotes
    • Crossovers: These departures will operate per the 2016 brochure. Hotels and inclusions may vary. Please inquire at the time of booking.
    • Hidden Journeys: These itineraries have a maximum of 26 guests.
    • Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.
    • Join Me to We and extend your Trafalgar trip of the Secrets of Ecuador with the perfect volunteer Amazon experience. Ecuador's equally vibrant culture and landscape are featured on this transformative excursion. Visit www.metowe.com/volunteer-travel/trafalgar-ecuador for the trip overview.
    • We've arranged a Christmas and New Year's Eve celebration for this departure.
    • Trafalgar offers a selection of optional Itinerary Extensions to customize your vacation in South America. Please note, you cannot book these extensions online. To book and for more information, please contact your local Travel Agent or Trafalgar directly. For more information about the optional extensions offered on this program, please go to www.trafalgar.com/extensions.
  • Trip prices are per person, land only, based on double occupancy and reflect applicable discount. Discounts are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
  • Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change - please confirm all details at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Website Terms of Use page.
  • Twin-share option not available for trips to South America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey. It's also not available on Small Group trips.  Guided Vacations included in this restriction are Newfoundland and Labrador (DNLA) as well as Panama, the Canal & Beyond (LPAN).  
  • For trips that are part of our Guaranteed Room Share, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 

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