Ecuador is a microcosm of South America. Within its borders are snow-capped mountains, smoking volcanoes, enormous river systems, lush tropical coastal plains and dense Amazonian jungle. The city of Quito was established as the second of the Inca capitals and its surrounding area is rich in history and culture. Ecuador has something for everyone!
Day 1 - QuitoYour trip starts today in Quito. No activities are planned, so you may arrive at any time. Quito is considered one of the world’s most beautifully located capitals, surrounded by towering snow-capped volcanoes. Situated 2850 metres above sea level on the eastern slopes of an active volcano, Mount Pichincha, it is the second highest capital city in the world. This evening there will be a tour briefing at our hotel – around 6 pm. If you are unable to make this meeting, please check at hotel reception for a message from your Gecko’s tour guide. Note: On arrival in Quito, you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude such as dizziness, insomnia and shortness of breath. If this is the case we recommend that you drink plenty of fluids, and avoid any strenuous activity. Perhaps a perfect opportunity to instead soak up the atmosphere in one of the many bustling cafes and watch the colourful street life pass by in the colonial centre.
Day 2 - Quito
Quito is not only the capital of Ecuador, but it also has one of the most impressive and well-preserved ‘old town’ areas in South America. In the morning we embark on a walking tour around the charming and evocative ‘Centro Historico’. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, there is much to discover, meandering through the narrow, cobblestone streets and exploring the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco. The city is filled with Baroque art and architecture, as exemplified by magnificent churches, monasteries and public buildings. We visit the beautiful Church of the Society of Jesus (La Compania de Jesus). With its ornate facade and intricately decorated and gold-gilded interior, this is undoubtedly Ecuador’s most impressive church. Exploring further afield we head for one of the many viewpoints over the city. ‘El Panecillo’ (The Little Bread Loaf) offers sensational views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes. The 30-metre high statue of ‘La Virgen de Quito’ sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city.This afternoon we drive north of the city to visit 'La Mitad del Mundo' (The middle of the world) . This monument is built on what was claimed in 1736 to be the line of the equator. We also visit another smaller complex nearby called Museo Solar Inti Nan, which is supposedly where the equator actually runs through since re-measurements were made. This is an entertaining little place where experiments are conducted before our very eyes. The evening is free for us to dine out at one of the many great eating spots in Quito (optional).Breakfast
Day 3 - Equator Monument - Otavalo MarketToday we drive north to enjoy the colourful indigenous town of Otavalo, where we find one of the best handicraft markets in the Andes. In the afternoon we visit the surrounding villages, where we can see the local indigenous communities at work making beautiful handicrafts. Cotachi village is well known for its leather whilst San Antonio is famous for its woodcarvings. There may also be time to visit a beautiful crater-lake known as Cuicocha before returning to Quito in the late afternoon.Breakfast
Day 4-5 - Papallacta Thermal Springs - the Amazon BasinYou leave Quito early and travel by road over the mountains and down to the Amazon basin. The highest pass is at 4060 metres before arriving at the volcanic baths at Papallacta. You'll break your journey here to relax and enjoy the hot thermal pools and the beautiful mountain scenery. The entrance fee is not included so you will need to pay locally for this. Continuing your descent the scenery changes rapidly to thick jungle vegetation. You arrive in the jungle town of Tena and continue on to your jungle lodge on the banks of the Napo River for a two-night stop. During your stay you'll explore the jungle with a local site guide who shares their extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna. This will include forest walks through both primary and secondary forest and canoe rides.Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 6-7 - Banos (or alternatively Puyo)Leaving the jungle you climb steeply into the Andes. Towering mountain peaks and deep gorges provide stunning scenery. You'll break your drive for a short trek to one of Ecuador’s most beautiful waterfalls, “El Pailon del Diablo”. You'll arrive in Banos in the late afternoon. The town of Banos lies in one of the loveliest settings in the Andes. Here you have time to explore the town or if you like, you can venture off into the surrounding countryside. There are many optional activities including mountain bike riding, white-water rafting and horseback riding.Breakfast
Day 8 - Cotopaxi Volcano - QuitoToday you will return to Quito, stopping to visit the Cotopaxi Volcano (5897m) the highest active, snow capped volcano in the world. Those who are keen for some physical exercise can climb to the refuge, a 200 metre steep climb (from 4600 – 4800 metres). Once you reach the refuge it is an easy hike to the snow line and the glacier. You will arrive back in Quito in the late afternoon for your final night together with your new friends.Breakfast
Day 9 - QuitoYour short discovery trip of Ecuador finishes today after breakfast.Breakfast
What to Know
- Quito city tour including One museum, Compania Church & Panecillo - Jungle excursions during your Amazon stay - Short hike to 'El Pailon del Diablo" (waterfall) - Entry to Cotopaxi National Park - Entry to Cuicocha Lake in Otavalo - Transport, accommodation and meals as listed below
- International flights, departure and airport taxes, visas, other meals, optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
This tour passes through volcanic areas. In the instance, a volcano becomes potentially dangerous and authorities declare nearby towns unsafe for travel, the itinerary will be re-routed. Where possible, Gecko’s will provide advance notice of such changes. At short notice, when this is not possible, your tour leader will provide up to date information on behalf of Gecko’s.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 02 Feb 2014 - 10 Feb 2014 7+ Available US $1,175 On Sale Sale: US $1,011 Promo code: 1493 Book Now 14 Apr 2014 - 21 Apr 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 On Sale Sale: US $473 Promo code: 1493 Book Now 04 May 2014 - 11 May 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $535 On Sale Sale: US $461 Promo code: 1493 Book Now 01 Jun 2014 - 08 Jun 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 On Sale Sale: US $473 Promo code: 1493 Book Now 29 Jun 2014 - 06 Jul 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $565 On Sale Sale: US $486 Promo code: 1493 Book Now 27 Jul 2014 - 03 Aug 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $585 On Sale Sale: US $504 Promo code: 1493 Book Now 07 Sep 2014 - 14 Sep 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $585 On Sale Sale: US $504 Promo code: 1493 Book Now 05 Oct 2014 - 12 Oct 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $565 Book Now 02 Nov 2014 - 09 Nov 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 Book Now 14 Dec 2014 - 21 Dec 2014 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 Book Now 11 Jan 2015 - 18 Jan 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $535 Book Now 08 Mar 2015 - 15 Mar 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $535 Book Now 05 Apr 2015 - 12 Apr 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $535 Book Now 03 May 2015 - 10 May 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 Book Now 31 May 2015 - 07 Jun 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 Book Now 28 Jun 2015 - 05 Jul 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 Book Now 26 Jul 2015 - 02 Aug 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $565 Book Now 23 Aug 2015 - 30 Aug 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $585 Book Now 20 Sep 2015 - 27 Sep 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $585 Book Now 18 Oct 2015 - 25 Oct 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $565 Book Now 15 Nov 2015 - 22 Nov 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 Book Now 13 Dec 2015 - 20 Dec 2015 This trip has variations 7+ Available US $550 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Emyo - Australia, 14 Apr, 2013
Wonderful trip. We sank deep into Amazonian mud and scaled dizzying heights of Cotopaxi volcano. A magical encounter with an orphaned baby woolly monkey at Yacuma Lodge.
Viktor/Anna - United States, 3 Jan, 2013
Very interesting, and with a lot of varieties trip. So much and so reach experience in only 7 days!