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This special departure for active travellers includes a Quito city tour, a visit to Cotopaxi National Park (home of the worlds highest active volcano), the colourful Saquisili market, the exciting Devil’s Nose train ride, the Liberty Train, the World Heritage city of Cuenca, Guayaquil and a cruise around the Galapagos Islands to complete the Ecuador Experience.
Arrival in Quito and transfer to your boutique hotel, situated in the old historical part of Quito.
Quito / Otavalo / San Clemente Community
Visit the well-known indigenous market in Otavalo for an arts and crafts shopping adventure. Visit Peguche’s waterfall, Cotacachi known for the manufacture of leather goods, and Cuicocha crater lake. Arrive to San Clemente for an overnight stay in one of the community houses.
Early in the morning, we will do some activities in the community and will learn more about their beliefs and way of living In the community for the development of all. Then drive to Ibarra and catch the "Liberty Train", which travels through magical landscapes, mysterious tunnels, and crosses bridges spanning canyons and gullies. Then arrive in the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Salinas, well known for its agricultural activities. Finish the day in Quito with an overnight stay.
CITY TOUR + MIDDLE OF THE WORLD
The tour begins with a great view of the Orellana path and Guapulo Sanctuary (XVII Century). Afterwards, walk in the old city stating in the oldest street of the city, La Ronda, that used to be the home of musicians, poets and politics back in time. Here we will encounter with the traditions of the city first by stopping in the gastronomic capsule, to have an explanation of the different local spices that are used for the typical Ecuadorian gastronomy. Continuing we will visit the house of handicrafts made of metal and wood most of them designed for the traditional churches and made by hand for furniture decoration. We will make a stop also in the ice cream house to try all the different Ecuadorian flavors put together to create an authentic experience. An explanation of chocolate will be made in the chocolate house where you will receive information of the Ecuadorian chocolate and then see how it is produced. After we are done with la Ronda we will proceed with our to the Independence Square, surrounded by important historical buildings. Visit the Cathedral (XVI Century), the Presidential Palace, El Sagrario Church (XVII Century), and La Compañia de Jesus (XVII Century), one of the most beautiful baroque churches in South America, Not to be missed are the Church of San Francisco and Monastery , built a few months after the arrival of the Spaniards (XVI Century).
We will drive 30 km north of Quito, towards the Middle of the World where the equatorial line divides the northern and southern hemispheres. We will visit the main monument built in honor of the french scientific expedition that arrived in Ecuador in the XVIII century to determine the correct location of the equator line. Here you will have the opportunity to visit the Ethnographic Museum, located inside the Equator Monument, which displays the main cultures of Ecuador or visit the Inti Ñan Museum, a scientific and cultural museum, located in the exact crossing of the Equator Line.
During the early morning drive to Quilotoa Crater Lake, enjoy the picturesque landscape, seeing on the way rural indigenous people in their small agricultural communities and local markets This sparkling emerald lake located inside the crater of an extinct volcano offers a breathtaking view. Return to Quito in the afternoon.
After breakfast, enjoy a visit to Baños. If weather allows, the Tungurahua volcano might offer an impressive view. The city of Baños known as the gateway to the jungle and several rivers coming directly from the Andes create a highway of waterfalls. Our excursion includes visits to several waterfalls such us Manto de la Novia and deep river gorges as Pailon Del Diablo. The Tungurahua volcano, 5,016 meter-high, attracts both nature and adventure lovers. Taste the local sugar cane juice and melcochas. Afternoon drive to Riobamba through “El Arenal”, an arid location in the slopes of Chimborazo Mountain. This gigantic mountain was included in the famous 1802 expedition led by the renowned German scientist Alexander Von Humboldt. If time and weather allow, this location offers amazing views of wild llamas, vicunas and alpacas. Accommodation in Riobamba.
Very early in the morning, after breakfast, we drive to Alausi for the famous train ride at the well-known Devil's Nose. Due to the land topography, this train portion is a masterpiece of railway engineering, commonly named ¨ the most difficult railway in the world¨. The descent is not an ordinary one, we start our ride at an altitude of 2,346 metres and descend to 1,860 metres in just 30 minutes in a zigzag carved railway. After a quick box lunch, we drive to Ingapirca ruins where a walk through this place will take you back to the past. These are the best preserved and unique Inca ruins in Ecuador. Arrival in Cuenca and overnight.
Walking city tour of Cuenca-visit the Calderon Park, the new and old Cathedrals, the Park of Flowers, the City, Modern Art Museum, the Cañari - Incas of All Saints ruins, Canyon of the Tomebamba and Turi Rivers.
El Cajas National Park is located 30 km. west of the city of Cuenca. This park is well known for its 230 beautiful lakes, most of them product of volcanic activity and glaciations. The park also lodges a great diversity of fauna and flora. The vegetation includes quinoa trees and small forests offering shelter to many bird species, such us hummingbirds and the gray-breasted mountain toucan. This beautiful park is located in the Paramo (moors) ecosystem, between 3,000 to 4,700 metres above sea level. During the journey we will enjoy a beautiful day of nature, walking around its biggest lake-Toreadora, while discovering its flora and fauna. Continue our way to Guayaquil where we will spend the night.
Transfer to the airport in order to take the flight to the Galapagos. Arrival and transfer to the cruise. Embark on an eight day Western Route cruise aboard the Eric & Letty.
Daily visits and excursions to various islands in the Galapagos.
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the mainland. Arrive to Quito and transfer to your hotel for overnight accommodation.
Departing from Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, a 30-minutes flight over the eastern Andes will take you to the jungle town of Coca. There, members of our staff will be waiting for you to give you a warm welcome and take you to the Francisco de Orellana Port –which is only 5 minutes away from the airport. And here is where the real adventure begins! At the port you will get on a motorized canoe downstream the Napo River, the major tributary of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. During the trip, you will have the chance to see different birds such as kingfishers, herons and other and admire the incredible views of the Amazon jungle that open before your eyes. A trip a box lunch will be provided.
After our two-hours ride along the Napo River, you will arrive at the NWC’s dock entrance where to take a short break to freshen up and use the restrooms. Then, we will continue our way to the lodge on paddle-canoes –motorized canoes are not allowed within the Napo territory. This majestic and peaceful dugout canoe ride a narrow stream will lead us to the Añangu Lake, where the hotel is.
Late in the afternoon, we will arrive to the Napo Wildlife Center where our staff will welcome you with drinks and show your rooms and other areas of the lodge.
Adventure at the Napo Wildlife Center begins early in the morning! In this second day at the premium Amazon Jungle tour you will presence one of the most incredible nature spectacles you will ever see: the parrot clay licks. It will only take us about an hour to get to the first parrot clay lick which is of easy access from the lodge. Once we get there, at about 7:30 or 8:30 am it will take just a few minutes for birds to show up. It is a real spectacle of colors, about 11 species of bird such as parrots, macaws and parakeets visit the clay licks every day to feed with the minerals that are concentrated in the soil.
Later on, we will hike along the forest trail to visit the Kichwa Añangu community to share time with the men, women and children of the community and learn about their every-day-life activities, routines and their ancestral customs and traditions. Then, we will say goodbye to the families and continue our adventure. Then, we will go back to the creek and go hiking for 30 minutes throughout a Terra Firme forest until reaching the second parrot clay lick and repeat the experience of seeing a great variety of parrots, parakeets and macaws as you eat a delicious lunch our staff will provide you.
Late in the afternoon we will arrive back to the NWC to rest and enjoy from our lodge social areas and comfortable-luxury rooms.
A delicious breakfast will be served at the NWC restaurant early in the morning. After that, we will depart to the Canopy Observation Tower, a high platform from which you will get a close up view of the most amazing views of the jungle. The tower is about 30 minutes from the lodge within the terra forme forest.
This wooden platform of 36 meters high was built just next a huge and ancient Kapok tree. To get to the top you have to pass through different levels of the forest. Then, when you are finally there, the immensity and beauty of the Amazon jungle opens just before you. There are not enough words to describe it, you have to watch it yourself!
Birds that are just virtually impossible to see from the jungle floor will pass right through you. Flocks of vibrantly colored tanagers, blue-and-yellow macaws and large toucans fly past in the early mornings and afternoons.
In the afternoon, after have lunch back in the Napo Wildlife Center, we will go deep into a terra firme trail to discover the beautiful and mysterious wildlife that hides in the forest interior. There are great possibilities to see lizards, different species of monkeys such as the endemic Golden Mantle Tamarin monkey, rare and unique insects and even some scary snakes! Also, we will take you to explore the black water Añangu Lake and streams that are home of different species of fish and mammals such as the Giant Otter, a unique species from the Amazon.
Last day, we will depart after an early breakfast to go back to Coca city and repeat the adventure to go out the way you came, a ride on a paddle-canoe to the docking area and then embarking on a motorize canoe to the jungle town.
During this last excursion the creek may reveal new sights of rare bird species and monkeys and a Giant Otter will possibly show up to good-bye you! Arrival to Quito and transfer to the hotel.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport with English speaking driver for your onward flight.