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What you will do

Discover the secrets of the Ecuadorian Andes and cloud forest regions with a full-immersion in the cultural and natural wonders that make Ecuador one of the countries with some of the most incredible biodiversity in the world!

Chase exotic waterfalls, colorful butterflies, and bird watch while learning the process of chocolate making in the tropical paradise of Mindo. Take a spectacular scenic drive through the cloud forest to reach the coffee valley of Intag, where you will visit a coffee plantation and taste the organic fair-trade coffee produced in the area.

Once we are back in the highlands, we will visit Cuicocha Crater Lake, and the world-famous indigenous market of Otavalo. An organic lunch will be prepared tableside, in the company of locals. Before heading out to visit the Cotopaxi National Park, which houses the highest active volcano in the world, travelers are encouraged to take a dip in the luxury hot springs resort. 

We promise you will never want to leave!

Places you will see

QuitoMindoOtavaloCuicocha LakeProvincia de Cotopaxi
Guide English (Optional), Spanish (Optional)
Food Breakfast (Optional), Lunch (Optional), Dinner (Optional)
Transport  (Optional)

Day 1
Quito

Arrival in Quito

Welcome to Quito! The biggest, and best-preserved colonial city in the Americas! Quito is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. 

Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel for a welcome briefing and there will be plenty of time to discuss details and answer any questions you may have regarding the adventure. 

Our first day is an informational and acclimatization day. 

Accommodation: Mercure Hotel Alameda

Superior Room

Mercure Hotel Alameda sits steps away from the artisan market on Quito’s most popular street, Avenida Amazonas.

Guest rooms at Mercure Hotel Alameda feature ensuite bathrooms with a bathtub, WiFi, free bottled water and a safety-deposit box. Complimentary breakfast and coffee is offered each morning. The hotel also has a fitness center. 

The fully refurbished hotel is in close proximity to many sites of cultural interest, and is a 5-minute walk to Casa de Cultura Ecuatoriana.


Select room
Amenities
No amenities for this day 

Day 2
Mindo

The Middle of the World & a Chocolate Factory

On the first day of our adventure, we will drive north of Quito to Mitad Del Mundo, known as "Middle of the World." It's a must if you're in Ecuador!

The 98 foot (30 m) monument was built on the historic site where a French explorer calculated the line of the equator in 1736. You will be able to stand on both sides of the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time and feel the neutral forces of the equator. 

Next, we will visit a chocolate factory, where you will have the chance to learn and witness the process of converting cocoa beans to chocolate. 

Activity: Mindo Cloud Forest and The Equator

Our adventure begins with a drive north of Quito to Mitad Del Mundo, known as "Middle of the World." It's a must if you are in Ecuador! We will also stop at the Pululahua crater, the third biggest inhabited volcano crater in the world!

The small town of Mindo is filled with a wide variety of plant and animal life. Perfect for a nice introduction to the diversity of Ecuador! Mindo and the cloud forest is truly a birdwatcher's paradise!

You will have the opportunity to visit a chocolate factory and learn and witness the process of converting cocoa beans to chocolate. 

 

Learn more

Accommodation: El Septimo Paraiso Inn

Double Room

A swimming pool and a hot tub can be enjoyed right in the Mindo hills, 96 km from Quito. There are charming wooden walkways throughout the forest and guests are greeted with fresh drinks upon arrival. 

El Septimo Paraiso offers rustic wooden interiors combined with elegant furniture and impeccable forest views. Guests can relax in the living room, book a massage or try their hand at bird watching.

El Paraiso features work desks and wooden furnishings. All bathrooms include showers while some feature baths. All bedrooms are equipped with gilded frame mirrors, canopy beds and Wi-Fi access for a small fee.

Continental breakfast with a variety of tropical fruit is offered daily. Additionally, shuttles to Mariscal Airport (90 km away) can be arranged.

Select room
Amenities
No amenities for this day 

Day 3
Mindo

The Mindo Cloud Forest

Our adventure starts with a trip to the pristine Mindo Cloud Forest. Your day will be filled with cable cars rides across the forest and hiking along magnificent waterfalls.  All while being surrounded by beautiful species such as hummingbirds, woodpeckers and bats. 

After, you will have some free time to enjoy the several optional activities offered in this area. We recommend a visit to the butterfly farm!  

Activity: Hike to The Seven Waterfalls

Our adventure starts in the morning with a trip in the pristine cloud forest, crossing cable cars and hiking along waterfalls, surrounded by a lush green area filled with toucans and colorful birds.
In the afternoon, you will have some free time to enjoy the several optional activities offered in this area. You can go whitewater rafting or "tubing" (with several large inner-tubes tied together) as our steely-nerved guides steer you through thrilling rapids. Or try canopy zip-line (sailing along one of 13 zip-lines over the beautiful canopy of the cloud forest).
One of the highlights of today is the visit to the butterfly farm, where we watch gargantuan butterflies dry their wings after emerging from their jewel-like cocoons.

Learn more

Accommodation: El Septimo Paraiso Inn

Double Room

A swimming pool and a hot tub can be enjoyed right in the Mindo hills, 96 km from Quito. There are charming wooden walkways throughout the forest and guests are greeted with fresh drinks upon arrival. 

El Septimo Paraiso offers rustic wooden interiors combined with elegant furniture and impeccable forest views. Guests can relax in the living room, book a massage or try their hand at bird watching.

El Paraiso features work desks and wooden furnishings. All bathrooms include showers while some feature baths. All bedrooms are equipped with gilded frame mirrors, canopy beds and Wi-Fi access for a small fee.

Continental breakfast with a variety of tropical fruit is offered daily. Additionally, shuttles to Mariscal Airport (90 km away) can be arranged.

Select room
Amenities
No amenities for this day 

Day 4
Otavalo

Otavalo & the Indigenous Market

We will visit the world-famous indigenous town of Otavalo and explore the Otavalo Street market, South America's largest outdoor market.

Admire the endless number of local handicrafts and diversity. Stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, filled with Otavalo natives in traditional blue ponchos and admire the vibrant textiles, native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and so much more.  

Activity: Otavalo Market

Our day starts with a unique scenic drive back up to the highlands and reach the Pan-American Highway heading north on the way to the world-famous indigenous town of Otavalo. Here we will admire the endless number of handicrafts and local people,  where you will have some time to stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, which are filled with Otavalo indigenous people wearing the typical blue ponchos, and we will have the opportunity to explore their handicraft market, with its wonderful textiles, native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and more at bargain prices. In Otavalo, there will be enough time for shopping and interaction with the locals. 
In the afternoon, we will drive to Cotacachi town to enjoy the most amazing leather goods and the beauty of this small village. You will have some free time for you to explore the shops or simply take one of the best coffees in Ecuador at the main square.
Later we will finally arrive at this historical beautiful hacienda of Pinsaqui where we will overnight, enjoy a typical Andean cocktail as welcome, and learn about the History of this place.

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Accommodation: Hacienda Pinsaqui Hotel

Double Room

Hacienda Pinsaqui is ideally located at the flanks of the Imbabura Volcano and in the heart of Ecuador's lake province. It's a former estate that has been converted into a comfortable hotel, with warm and inviting rooms.

It is steps away from the world famous Otavalo handicraft market, Cotocachi leather town, and the small town of San Antonio renowned for their unique wooden handicrafts. 300 years of history is still remarkably visible throughout the hotel and is by far the best hotel choice in Otavalo.

The hotel is located about 1.5 hours North of Quito.

Select room
Amenities
No amenities for this day 

Day 5
Cuicocha Lake

Boat Ride in Crater Lake & Hot Springs

We will visit the Cotacahi Cayapas ecological reserve to see the breathtaking views of the crystal clear waters and the amazing surrounding landscapes. You'll hop on a boat to the center of the crater to see the active volcano, and watch as bubbles surface from the center.

Later in the day, we will arrive in the luxurious volcanic hot springs resort of Papallacta.

Activity: Cuicocha Crater Lake & Papallacta Hot Springs

We will visit the Cotacahi Cayapas ecological reserve to see the breathtaking views of the crystal clear waters and the amazing surrounding landscapes of the Andean Mountains. Take a boat ride to the center of the crater to observe the active volcano, and watch as bubbles surface from the center of the caldera.

After, we will be transferred to Peguche, a small peaceful village located in the heart of the Andes.  

Our final destination will take us to the luxurious volcanic hot springs resort of Papallacta.

Learn more

Accommodation: Termas de Papallacta

Standard Room

Decorated with wooden walls and gabled roofs, rooms at Termas de Papallacta are fitted with wooden furnishings. Some of the bungalows also feature seating areas with fireplaces.

Termas de Papallacta offers rooms and bungalows with free Wi-Fi.

Guests can relax in the thermal swimming pools or enjoy several beauty treatments that are available at the spa, including aromatherapy, therapeutic massages, body treatments featuring mud, clay or chocolate, individual hydro massages, and Turkish baths are also available at the Thermal Cave.

Trekking activities with native guides are can also be organized to explore the variety of unique species in the surrounding areas. 

 

Select room
Amenities
No amenities for this day 

Day 6
Provincia de Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi & Return to Quito

After breakfast and one last dip in the hot springs, we will drive south on the Panamericana Highway towards the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. The snow capped volcano is surrounded by abundant plant life, a rich fauna and Inca ruins.

We will begin our visit at the interpretation center at the entrance of the park before continuing our drive across the páramo to Limpiopungo Lake.

Take a short walk around the lake and observe a variety of birds and the stunning views of the almost symmetrical cone of the Cotopaxi.

Activity: Cotopaxi Active Volcano

After breakfast and one last dip in the hot springs, we will drive south on the Panamericana Highway towards the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. The snow capped volcano is surrounded by abundant plant life, a rich fauna and Inca ruins. 


We will begin our visit at the interpretation center at the entrance of the park before continuing our drive across the páramo to Limpiopungo Lake. 


Take a short walk around the lake and observe a variety of birds and the stunning views of the almost symmetrical cone of the Cotopaxi.

Learn more

Accommodation: Mercure Hotel Alameda

Superior Room

Mercure Hotel Alameda sits steps away from the artisan market on Quito’s most popular street, Avenida Amazonas.

Guest rooms at Mercure Hotel Alameda feature ensuite bathrooms with a bathtub, WiFi, free bottled water and a safety-deposit box. Complimentary breakfast and coffee is offered each morning. The hotel also has a fitness center. 

The fully refurbished hotel is in close proximity to many sites of cultural interest, and is a 5-minute walk to Casa de Cultura Ecuatoriana.


Select room
Amenities
No amenities for this day 

Day 7
Quito

Quito Departure

Cherish the newfound memories and leave a piece of your heart in Quito, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. 



We wish you a "buen viaje!”

Amenities
No amenities for this day 

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