Quito City Tour
The tour begins visiting the Quito`s downtown, one of the biggest in South America, our first point is 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 (Tasting costs and tips are not included). After we are done with la Ronda we will visit 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). Finally, we will drive to the viewpoint at the Panecillo hill, where the Virgin of Quito (the only winged virgin in the world) is located. You will have a wonderful view of the city and the surrounding mountains and volcanoes.
CITY BY NIGHT PANORAMIC
Enjoy an incredible panoramic tour throughout Quito´s historical center on board Casa 1028 the bus, where you will encounter a total experience of Quito´s soul. We will start with a degustation of the variety of the most typical dishes of the city. During the tour, the guide on board will amaze you with all the different legends and story tales of the city while visiting each spot creating an unforgettable experience. This tour lasts for approx. 3 hours.
MIDDLE OF THE WORLD
We will drive 30 km (18.6 mi) to the north side of Quito, toward to the Middle of the World where the equatorial line divides the northern and southern hemispheres. Firstly, we will visit the main monument built in honor of the French scientific expedition that arrived in Ecuador in the XVIII century. Nonetheless, after taking some pictures with the monument, we will visit the correct location of the equator line at the Inti Ñan Museum, where we will have the opportunity to learn in a playful way more about the Middle of the World, scientifically and culturally. Later, we will go to an artisanal chocolate factory, where we can learn more about the Ecuadorian fine aroma cocoa and also about the chocolate process. In the end, we will be able to taste the chocolate processed while we sweet our day. After all, we will return to Quito.
CABLE CAR "TELEFERICO"
Enjoy a trip on board the cable car located at the foot of Pichincha Mountain. We will start at 2,950 meters and then move the way up to an altitude of 4, 100 m. Once at the summit, you will enjoy an almost full panoramic view of Quito, as well as the volcanoes that surround our city.
OTAVALO INDIGENOUS MARKET
Driving north towards Imbabura, “the lakes” Province, enjoy an exciting trip by tasting exotic fruits in the Guayllabamba valley. Cross the Equator Line at Cayambe, where on a clear day, it is possible to admire its majestic snow-capped mountain (5,790 m. / 18,996 ft), the world´s highest point where the Equator Line crosses. Here it is an ideal spot to try its famous salt biscuits with leaf cheese, a tradition of this region not to be missed. At the foot of Imbabura mountain enjoy the picturesque view of Ecuador's largest lake - San Pablo. Afterward, we will visit Peguche Wasi, a gallery where the ancestral knowledge of the kichwa town is conserved. Here we will find a workshop where they hand make and sell indigenous handicrafts. This is an excellent opportunity for learning more in-depth about these craftworks. Additionally, there is an exposition with wood, spinning, crocheting, and murals that retell the history and magic of the Kichwa Otavalo. Before continuing our trip, we will visit another local workshop called “Taita Gundo” where we can see how the traditional Andean musical instruments are made. Later, it will be time to visit the famous Otavalo Indigenous Market, the biggest in South America. Here is where vendors proudly offer a stunning variety of weavings such as the famous ponchos, among other textiles like rugs, mittens, and scarves. This market is like a rainbow due to the colors of the textiles exhibited. Without a doubt, it is an ideal place to find handicrafts, jewelry, and another artisan craftwork. After all, return to Quito.
COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK & LOCAL MARKET
We will start our day traveling to the southern part of the highlands, through the “Volcanoes’ Avenue”. During the journey, we can enjoy the marvelous view of the Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the highest active snow-capped volcano in the world. But firstly, we will visit one of the local markets in this region, depending on the day of the week for understanding the local culture and even experience the barter process, and, why not, being able to taste some of the local and exotic flavors that Ecuador has to offer to us. After this introduction to the local culture, we will drive along the Pan-American Highway towards the Cotopaxi Volcano with 5,897 m (19,347 ft) high. Once we are here, we will reach the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park and drive on a third-class road through a pine forest to Limpiopungo lagoon, a glacial Andean lake located at 3,800 m (12467 ft). From this site, we can have a magnificent view of the impressive Cotopaxi volcano. If weather conditions allow us, we will drive further to the parking lot located at 4,500 meters in order to hike up to the shelter at 4,800 meters. In the end, we will return to Quito.
PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS
Drive the same route taken by Francisco de Orellana on his way to explore the legendary “El Dorado”, in the Ecuadorian Amazon Region, towards the moors of the Eastern mountain range. During this trip, you will appreciate the radical change of scenery due to altitude variation. Surrounded by a beautiful landscape at 3,300 m level you will discover Papallacta Hot Springs. Here you will enjoy a relaxing bath in the natural hot waters. After that, a short walk in the moors to observe the unusual local flora.
QUILOTOA CRATER LAKE
This day we will combine our visit the Quilotoa Crater Lake with a local indigenous market (it varies according to the day). Every local and indigenous market has its local flare. The Quilotoa Crater Lake is located in the province of Cotopaxi and is part of the ecological Reserve Ilinizas. The beautiful lake in the crater, with its emerald colored water, will take your breath away. During the trip we will enjoy the picturesque landscape, seeing on the way rural indigenous people in their small agricultural communities. This lagoon is not just any lagoon; it’s a lagoon with a legend. There is a legend that tells about King of volcanoes Quilotoa who used to live on the surface of the lagoon. He faced many battles with his worst enemy, Toachi, who was living beneath the surface of the lagoon. The temperature is warmer inside than outside, it's a half-hour hike down from the viewpoint (and 1-2 hour hike back up the 280-meter vertical ascent). After the Quilotoa Crater Lake, we will visit one of the Indigenous Markets in this region, depending on the day.
MINDO CLOUD FOREST
In the morning we will head towards the northwest of Ecuador. After 2 hours, arrive in Mindo, an ecological paradise where hiking through the forest makes you enjoy the diversity of plants and animals. You will learn how Indians use these plants to their benefit. Enjoy the landscape of this wonderful place where you can also visit the Mariposario and chocolate factory. In the afternoon visit an Orchid garden.