You will be welcomed at the airport by our representatives and then taken to your hotel. Once there, they will provide you with a package of documents, a detailed explanation of the program, and assistance with your luggage and hotel registration.
You will visit the best of Colonial Quito, the largest and best preserved historic center in the Americas. We will take you to some of the most beautiful and unusual corners of old Quito, with its flower-pot balconies, quaint plazas with stone carved fountains, and spectacular churches and convents. Then, a short drive North of the city will lead you to our planet´s latitude 0, the place where you can stand with one foot on the northern hemisphere and the other one on the southern hemispher, an out-of-the ordinary experience. Visit one of the local museums, where you may appreciate the wonderful world of the Andean cosmo-vision, its culture and traditions.
The afternoon is free to further explore Quito.
You will travel north of Quito to the Imbabura Province, Land of Lakes, at an elevation of 2530 meters. The area is much like a gigantic painting on which the artist has splattered earth tones. There are plenty of cultural experiences since it is rich in tradition, history, culture, and handicraft. Today, you will visit the small, quaint town of Peguche, famous for its community members' skill at handcrafting clothing. Lunch will be provided at one of the charming haciendas or hosterias in the area, the menu features delicious traditional dishes.
The Antisana volcano is the fourth highest mountain in the Ecuadorian Andes. Massive glaciers feed water to lakes and rivers of the reserve, which sustain the abundant wildlife of the region. Fifty percent of the Andean Condors that live in Ecuador have chosen Antisana as their home, as well as many other species of highland birds. The route south of Quito goes through the Famous Avenue of the Volcanoes up to Patate region. Very close is located Baños, this small village is considered the Gate to the Amazon Rainforest, the environment is impressive, a mixture of highlands landscapes with vegetation that becomes exuberant and greener as it descents to the Amazon Basin, along the Pastaza river canyon it is possible to admire dozens of waterfalls
Your ultimate destination today is the city of Cuenca, yet roughly two hours before reaching it are the Incan ruins of Ingapirca Fortress, definitely a highly important archeological center in Ecuador. While scholars have conducted plenty of studies of the complex, its true purpose still alludes us. After visiting the fortress, lunch will be offered in a local restaurant, and then, you will continue back on the road to Cuenca.
The city of Cuenca is located in the southern Andes of Ecuador in a charming valley set within a beautiful highland landscape. It is an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. It is also known as Santa Ana of the four rivers. The city tour will let you experience the allure of Cuenca is in its French Neo-classical buildings, and its lovely balconies decorated with colorful geraniums that you will find on the Main Square and certain churches.
At the scheduled time, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil or Quito and connections.
Optional Extension Programs: Galapagos Islands
Located in the Pacific Ocean and 1000 Kms away from the South American mainland, this Ecuadorian Archipielago, made of 14 major islands and more than 60 smaller islands and islets, surrounded by its marine reserve, the Galapagos Islands are known as a living laboratory or showcase of evolution. The combination of converging marine currents, a volcanic geological stracutrue and their oceanic isolation has resulted in this melting pot of unique species, found nowhere else on earth. Some of the most notorious samples are the marine iguanas, the giant tortoises called Galapagos, and the 13 species of Darwin´s finches.
This uniqueness inspired Charles Darwin´s thery of evolution, following his visit to the islands in 1835. Since then, they have become a Mecca for scientific investigation. Today, as a strictly protected National Park, and the world´s first natiral area designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Galapagos islands are also one of the world´s most fascinating tourist destinations and a true Wonder of Nature.
Discover the Enchanted Galapagos and be part of this awesome experience in a variety of ways..Choose between 4 day/3 nights; 5 days/ 4 nights, 6 days / 5 nights or 8 days/ 7 nights cruises on board an ample array of vessels or opt for a land based program with daily excursions.