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Colonial Andes and Volcano Road - First Class

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 6 - 7 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 8 people
Destination(s): Ecuador  
Specialty Categories: Volcano Tours   Honeymoon  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 2400 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2750 US Dollar (USD)

Combined with our tour 'Hopping Galapagos Islands - First Class' will make your honeymoon unforgettable!

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1, Saturday: Drive from Quito across the Panamericana Norte alongside the northern Avenue of the Volcanoes to one of the biggest Indian markets of South America in Otavalo. En route you will have a photo stop at equator line and the colonial Hacienda Guachalá, one of the oldest estates in Ecuador which was built in 1580. At the market of Otavalo you will find woolen sweaters, tapestries, hats, ponchos, hammocks, jewelry or antiquities.

The Otavaleños are said to be the richest Native Americans who have already accomplished a little economic miracle without losing their own values and traditions. Typical lunch a la Carta in a selected restaurant either in the picturesque leather town of Cotacachi or in Hacienda Los Pinos. In the afternoon you will have a short panorama hike (1 to 2 hours) at the shore of the 3.100 m high crater lagoon Cuicocha, on of the most beautiful lagoons of Ecuador. There is also the possibility of doing a four hours walk around the crater. In the later afternoon you will have Siesta and dinner a la Carta in the historic Hacienda Pinsaqui (2.400 m) just within its garden of monkey puzzles and palm trees. If available, you will stay in the Fireplace Suite No. 1 for the night. The liberator of South America, Simón Bolívar, used to stay just within these massive walls back in the beginning of the19th century when he was on his long journeys through Gran Colombia. Driving time is about 3 hours at this day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 2, Sunday: Short visit of the provincial capital Ibarra and its two beautiful Plazas which are full of trees. Continuation of the journey towards the South where bumpy cobblestone-covered streets are leading to the idyllic Andean villages of La Esperanza, Zuleta and Olmedo. There is hardly any traffic as this is aside the usual tourist paths: You will see farmers in neat customs, colorful mosaic fields, adobe houses with moss-covered tiled roofs, old estates, handmade stitchery, unaltered country life as well as the highest point of the equatorial line, the Southern slope of the 5.790 m high Cayambe.

Lunch will be served in the beautiful colonial Hacienda Zuleta from the year 1691, including a round trip through biological fruit and vegetable gardens, the cheese dairy, sticheries, the pre-Columbian Caranqui pyramids and through a unique Condor breeding station. We will drive around Quito and will reach the Panamericana at Machachi, this southern point of the Panamericana was named Avenue of the Volcanoes by Alexander von Humboldt. When the weather is good, you will have an amazing view on the 5.000 m peaks to the right and left of this street.

Dinner a la Carta and overnight stay in the 300 years old Hacienda La Ciénega where the Berlin baron, natural scientist and “Re-discoverer of America” Humboldt used to sleep. You will sleep in the swanky Humboldt-Suite if this suite is available. Driving time is about 4 hours at this day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 3, Monday: Via twisty ways we will continue towards the Western Cordillera right into the heart of the Ecuadorian “Indian land”. Visit of the original painters of Tigua (colorful paintings and sheep skin). Short onward trip to Quilotoa Crater Lagoon. A short steep way leads down to the lagoon. Here, very brave people can swim in the turquoise water. We will return to the 4.000 m high crater edge on the back of a donkey. Delicious traditional lunch in the familiar Hacienda Tigua Chimbacucho (3.477 m). Continuation of the journey towards the South along side the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Chimborazo Massiv where we reach the highest located station of Ecuador, the 3.618 m high Estación Urbina.

That is where we leave the paved “Pana”. The tour will lead towards the “primary-Panamericana” which is back from the year 1865. This used to be a connection for carriages between Riobamba and Quito and will now lead us alongside adobe houses and rag rug-fields. The Chimborazo was considered as being the highest peak of the world for a long time and if measured from the geocenter that is still right. Dinner and overnight stay in a suite of the colonial Hacienda Chuquipoggio (1555) close to Riobamba. Simón Bolívar used to sleep in this property. Driving time is about 5 to 6 hours for this day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 4, Tuesday: Drive on the „hardest narrow-gauge railway of the world” in a private rail bus, "Chiva Express”, up to the Western Cordillera, in the Indian town Guamote and to the plateau of Tiocajas where the fights between the Incas and the Spaniards used to take place in the past. There is the possibility of sitting on the roof in order to take better pictures. You will ride the famous Devil’s Nose up and down during your zigzag route.

Rich box-lunch in „Doña Marlene“ style. Taking the Panamericana back we will drive to Riobamba and continue towards the subtropical Baños (1.800 m). Dinner a la Carta. Overnight in the fantastic Finca Chamanapamba which is located close to the active volcano Tungurahua (5.016 m). Driving time is about 3,5 hours for this day, time in Chiva Express is about 4 hours. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 5, Wednesday: Alongside the Waterfall Route over the Pastaza Canyon we will arrive down at the Amazon basin. Visit of the thunderous Pailón del Diablo waterfall at Río Verde. Ride with an adventurous cable railway and walk to the other side of the canyon. You will find Cloud and Mountain forests of the Sangay and Llanganates national park to the right and left of the Río Pastaza. Orchids, butterflies and various bird species. Fresh trout for lunch.

In the afternoon the tour continues up to the Avenue of the Volcanoes going over the Panamericana into the North. Walk around through rose plantation or have a short horseback ride, Ecuadorian Chagra style. Dinner and overnight stay in one of the three comfy suites of Hacienda San Augustín de Callo at the edge of Cotopaxi national park. Many of the walls in this colonial manor have remains of original joint-less Inca walls with trapeze windows. This unique Andean Hacienda was once built on top of a temple of the Sun King Tupca Yupanqui: Thick adobe walls with original Inca stones, huge paintings, old tubs, oven and impressive fire places. An exclusive insider tip in the Ecuadorian Andean plateau. Driving time is about 3,5 hours for this day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 6, Thursday: Authentic Mercado Indígena of Saquisilí. A dozy little town is changing into a huge market place every Thursday. In contrast to the market in Otavalo this market is even more aboriginal: bargaining farmers from the Andes among striped ponchos and fedoras, an overflow of fruit and vegetable stands, corn and banana piles, roasted guinea pigs, big potatoes in all imaginable colors and shapes, handmade wicker baskets and ropes of cactus, weld together tin cans and pots made of car tires, pellet guns, machete and patient quadruped at the animal market: A must for all highland visitors!

Via a little dusty street the tour will go into the Cotopaxi national park. Thermal spring of Wild horses are grazing on alluvium plains at the bottom of the 5.896 m highest active freestanding volcano of the world. Cotopaxi is a Quichua word and when translated it means “soft neck of the moon”. Walk at the Limpiopungo lagoon. Visit of an old Inca place in the hinterland of the national park or alternatively a 45 minutes climb from the 4.500 m high Parqueadero to the 4.800 m high refuge. Rich panorama picnic underneath the sky: Tasty cheese and salami sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt, nuts, chocolate, hot tea. We will leave the national park on a beautiful cobblestone street with great view. Arrival in Quito in the afternoon. End of the roundtrip in the capital (program Day 1 to 6) or drive from Cotopaxi national park up into the Eastern Cordillera (program day 1 to 7). Following the 4.050m high “Paso de la Vírgen” we will reach the Papallacta Thermal springs (3.400 m).

Bathing fun in the hot pools and whirlpools of this Spa-resort, situated just at the 5.704 m high Antisana the pools are in accordance and harmony with the beautiful nature. Humming birds and other birds can be seen while bathing. Wellness program with hydro and aroma therapy massages. Dinner a la Carta and overnight stay in the beautiful Rancho Hotel Posada de las Termas: This beautiful place invites you to have a drink underneath the starlit Andean night while relaxing outside in the hot water pool in front of your hotel room. Driving time is about 4 hours for this day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 7, Friday: Relax and bathing fun in the exclusive Spa area of Papallacta. Guided hike (one hour or more) with observation of the local flora and fauna in the Páramo highlands. Lunch a la Carta and drive to Quito over the Interoceánica. Arrival at the capital in the afternoon. Driving time is about 1,5 hours for this day. Includes: (B), (L).

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price per person in double bedroom from/to Quito:

2.400 USD (Day 1 to 6 and 2.750 USD (Day 1 to 7).
Single room option + 580 USD (6 days) and 680 USD (7 days).

Prices Includes:
- All overnight stays in the best available suites and rooms;
- Full board mostly a la Carta or course menu;
- Table or mineral water, juice or soft drink for all meals;
- Professional English speaking guide/ driver; local native guides;
- All private transports in comfortable 4 x 4 vehicles;
- All excursions and activities;
- Chiva Express;
- All entrance fees for national parks and nature sanctuaries,
- Entrance for Papallacta Spa area including a one hour aroma
- Therapy massage per participant;
- One bottle of first class red wine per participants;
- All legally required taxes.

Price Excludes:
- Alcoholic and additional non-alcoholic beverages;
- Tips and personal spending.