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Ecuador

four seasons in one day! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,449,-
GROUP SIZE: 6-24 | 21 DAYS

Ecuador

Here you can find the day-to-day description for Ecuador

Any extensions for this tour can be found at the bottom of this page.

Highlights

There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Otavalo

Otavalo

Visit the famous Saturday market and discover the local Ecuadorian life in Otavalo. |Ecuador

Ibarra

Quito

Quito

Quito is the capital of Ecuador and situated at 2850 meters among 14 active volcanoes. The colonial centre of Quito is listed at UNESCO World Heritage. |Ecuador

El Chaupi

Baños

Baños

Baños is known for its hot springs that are fed by water of the volcano Tungurahua. Take a mountain bike tour or go hiking in the mountains. |Ecuador

Amazone Ecuador

Amazone Ecuador

Close to the village Tena, situated between mountains and jungle, you can discover the genuine Amazon jungle. |Ecuador

Riobamba

Riobamba

Riobamba is a medium-seized city that is surrounded by 5 volcanoes. Go on an excursion and climb the Chimborazo. |Ecuador

Cuenca

Cuenca

Cuenca with its colonial houses and churches, wide streets and peaceful squares is beautifully situated between green mountains. Visit the old cathedral built on Inca- stones. |Ecuador

Guayaquil

Guayaquil

Guayaquil, the biggest city of Ecuador. Discover the green parks, international restaurants, modern bars and shops with ponchos, woollen pullovers, plankets and Panama heads.

Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez, a fishing town with lovely beaches to relax. Visit the Isla de la Plata (day tour) for spotting special bird species and whales!

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Otavalo Otavalo
2 Otavalo Otavalo
3 Bus Otavalo - Ibarra/Chota Valley Ibarra/Chota Valley
4 Bus Ibarra/Chota Valley - Quito Quito
5 Bus Quito - El Chaupi El Chaupi
6 El Chaupi/Cotopaxi excursion El Chaupi
7 Bus El Chaupi - Saquisili - Banos Banos
8 Banos Banos
9 Bus Banos - Tena (Amazon) Tena
10 Tena (Amazon) Tena
11 Tena (Amazon) Tena
12 Bus Tena - Riobamba Riobamba
13 Riobamba Riobamba
14 Bus Riobamba - Ingapirca - Cuenca Cuenca
15 Cuenca Cuenca
16 Cuenca Cuenca
17 Bus Cuenca - Guayaquil Guayaquil
18 Public transport Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez Puerto Lopez
19 Puerto Lopez Puerto Lopez
20 Puerto Lopez Puerto Lopez
21 Puerto Lopez End of tour

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9

Day 1: Otavalo

Welcome to Ecuador! 

Your tour starts in Otavalo, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Most of the rest of your group will also arrive today. When you arrive into Quito airport you will need to organise the short transfer to Otavalo (not included in the cost). Please contact us and we can advise you about this.

In the meantime you are free to settle in and acclimatise to your new surroundings! Otavalo is a traditional town where you will see the colourful woven costumes of the locals if you visit the market tomorrow. Thanks to their talent for trade and travel, the Otalaveños are the most well to do Indian tribe in Ecuador, renowned for their weaving craft and at the Plaza de Ponchos, you can buy woven tapestries, hammocks, jumpers and of course ponchos.

Day 2: Otavalo

Today visit the famous and lively market held throughout the city, an ideal place to buy some pretty souvenirs. Around Otavalo you can go horse riding, walking, mountain biking and rafting, or you may choose to visit Lago San Pablo, a long lake just south of town, the Peguche waterfall and in a few hours, walk around the Cuicocha Crater Lake or visit to the surrounding villages of Cuicocha, Cotocachi and San Antonio de Ibarra.

Day 3: Otavalo - Ibarra/Chota Valley

Today you make your way to Ibarra in the Chota Valley. It is a picturesque place to relax. Ibarra is also known as the "White City" because of the many white houses and cobblestone streets. Typical products in this region are the 'Arrope de Mora' (blueberry syrup) and the delicious 'Helado de Paila' (handmade sorbet).

You can optionally take the 'La Libertad' train from Otavalo to the Salinas de Ibarra. This valley takes its name from the large amount of salt in the soil.. Enjoy a traditional lunch and visit the salt museum where you can learn all about the salt production process.

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Day 4: Ibarra/Chota Valley - Quito

This morning we head back to Quito by bus.

Ecuador's capital is situated at a breathtaking height of 2850 metres, surrounded by impressive Andes peaks. At the foot of the Pichincha volcano, Quito is overshadowed by two peaks, Rucu Pichincha and the active peak of Guagua Pichincha. You will need time to adjust to the thin air at this altitude, so make sure you take it easy. A relaxed and easy-going atmosphere permeates the city and with plenty of restaurants, bookshops, internet cafes, bars and other places to go out, you’re sure to have plenty to keep you occupied.

Day 5: Quito - El Chaupi

Ecuador owes its name to the equator crossing just 15 minutes’ drive north of Quito. A monument marks the latitude 0 ° 00 '00". This is a fun and unique place where you can literally jump from the northern to the southern hemisphere! You visit the Intinan Solar Museum, where you will discover the astronomy of the equatorial sun culture and centrifugal forces present in the sink whereby the water falls straight down. You can also have a go at balancing an egg on a nail here. It should be possible without it falling!

In the afternoon you depart for the 'Avenida de los Volcanes'. If the weather permits you can see some volcanoes such as the Illinizas, Atacazo, Sincholagua and Rumiñahu. The Cotopaxi National Park is located 90 km south of Quito, at the 'Avenida de los Volcanes'. The park is popular with climbers and campers that are located at an altitude of 3400 meters. The highest point is no less than 5897 meters! You sleep in the town of El Chaupi.

Day 6: El Chaupi/Cotopaxi excursion

Today you visit the park named after the highest active volcano in the world (5897 meters). The Cotopaxi National Park is a great place to take beautiful pictures in nice weather. You can climb the volcano for a few hundred meters, it is literally breathtaking!

Lunch will be served in the afternoon and as an optional tour you can explore the slopes of the Andes on horseback.

NB: Horse riding is an optional excursion and can only take place if there is enough time free in the afternoon.

Day 7: El Chaupi - Saquisili - Banos

Today you visit the famous weekly market of Saquisili. Colourful 'indigenas' come on market days (Thursday!) on horseback or on foot from far and wide to offer their merchandise. The traditional dress is a delight to the eye and a visit to the weekly market is a special experience. It is a widely varied market; there is a cattle market where pigs, cows and horses are traded, another selling portions of fruit and vegetables and another section for all kinds of utensils.

Then we continue on to Baños, a town at the foot of the Tungurahua volcano that got its name from the many hot springs in the area. The relaxed atmosphere and the temperate subtropical climate make this the perfect place to spend a couple of leisurely days.

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Day 8: Banos

There are some wonderful opportunities for outdoor pursuits in the vicinity of Banos. You may choose to go on a bike ride to one of the impressive waterfalls and the village of Rio Verde, or visit the zoo just outside Baños, see the Andes condor, Galàpagos turtle and tapir, among others. Thrill-seekers can go rafting or relax in the sulphurous thermal baths.

In the evening dine at one of the many restaurants, listen to panpipe music in a peña or go dancing in a typical salsoteca.

Day 9: Banos - Tena (Amazon)

We leave Banos for Tena where we will stay in a charming lodge surrounded by beautiful jungle which provides a back to basics experience of life in the jungle. There is no electricity in the bungalows and social areas, but if you need to charge an electronic device, there’s a working generator at your service. In the evening you can dine by candlelight or oil lamp whilst listening to the night sounds of the jungle, a truly magical experience.

The meals during the stay at the jungle lodge are not included. Your tour leader will collect an amount of $100 per person on arrival to cover this.

Day 10: Tena (Amazon)

How green can you go? TIP

From your jungle lodge you can do a range of activities. You can walk through the jungle and explore the abundant vegetation of the tropical rainforest with your guide who will show you medicinal plants, trees and exotic flowers.There are plenty of options for hiking in the nearby Selva Vida reserve. These walks are organized in consultation with the guide, tour leader and the group. Another possibility is 'tubing' (floating in an inflated tire) in the Napo River. The walks and the guidance of the local guide are included, as well as the above mentioned excursions.

Day 11: Tena (Amazon)

How green can you go? TIP

In the Selva Vida reserve you can visit Amazoonico, a shelter for animals in the region. Here you see many native species such as monkeys, toucans, agoutis, snakes, caimans and tapirs. You can also visit a Quechua Indian community and watch demonstrations on the use of the blowpipe and the preparation of the local fermented drink, chicha.

Day 12: Tena - Riobamba

You have a long, but exciting day of travel ahead. Your goal today is Riobamba, in the Andes and about 300 kilometers south of Quito. Riobamba is a tourist attraction for local and foreign visitors alike because of its beautiful 20th century architecture. Riobamba is located in the foothills of the Chimborazo volcano.

Sustainable travel

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Day 13: Riobamba

Free day. You may like to visit the Chimborazo Reserve, where the highest volcano in Ecuador (6310 meters) can be found. In clear weather you can already see it from afar, the highest peak on the horizon. Also in the reserve live "vicuña" (rare camelids, of the llama and alpaca family), foxes, wolves and wild horses.

Anyone who wishes to, can partially climb the volcano. The bus takes you to the parking lot, located at 4800 meters and from there you climb up to the Refugio Whymper at 5000 meters altitude for a stunning view in good weather. You will find that even this seemingly small stretch is quite an effort! The more adventurous can book an optional excursion and go mountain biking on the slopes of Chimborazo. The first part is along a bumpy dirt road, but the last 28 km is a lot more relaxed biking on the paved road.

Day 14: Riobamba - Ingapirca - Cuenca

You can today take the optional train ride from Alausí, through the 'Devil's Nose'. It's a fun ride with the train zigzagging its way through the rocky, wooded landscape - full with cacti. Travelling slowly and alternately forwards and backwards, the train makes its way through the Andes range.

You leave from Alausí and then the train starts to descend along the spectacular Devil's Nose and then, after a stop in Simambe, slowly over the same route, climbing back uphill to Alausí, where you will be met by the bus that will take you to Cuenca .

You travel through the 'Ruta Panamericana' and along the way you have enough time to visit the ruins of Ingapirca, the best preserved monument from the Inca era in Ecuador. The most notable landmark of the complex are the ruins of the temple of the sun, for the worship of Inti, the god of the sun. In the evening you arrive in Cuenca.

Day 15: Cuenca

Historic Cuenca is Ecuador’s third city and one of the most beautiful and has been nominated as a Human Heritage Site. You will have a chance to explore the old colonial part of town at your leisure, on the cobbled streets of the city centre there are stately houses with large patios, charming squares and a variety of churches, cathedrals and museums. During your tour, you will come across lots of little shops selling crafts from the surrounding Indian villages.

Day 16: Cuenca

Today you can take an optional visit to the El Cajas National Park, about an hour’s drive from Cuenca. For this tour a local guide is mandatory. It is recommended to wear warm clothes because El Cajas is situated at an altitude of 4000 meters.

A walk is the perfect way to get acquainted with the typical flora of the páramo (highland). You will find, among other things, bromeliads, mosses, ferns and orchids, which hold a strong attraction for the hummingbirds. It is even possible to spot the condor and the puma here.

Day 17: Cuenca - Guayaquil

We leave the Andes range behind us for the tropical lowland of the Costa in the town of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and port. The country’s economic heart with a lively and chaotic atmosphere typical of the costeños, the coast-dwellers who live a more nocturnal life than the inhabitants of the highlands.

Go for a walk along the renovated waterside Malecon 2000 or visit the colonial neighbourhood Las Peñas. In Parque Bolivar you will find a pleasant place to relax and watch the freely roaming iguanas. The new Parque Historico has various animal species found on the coast and an overview of the customs and traditions of the costeños.

Day 18: Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez

Travel along the coast by public bus to the town of Puerto Lopez, a pleasant fishermen’s town with pretty beaches.

Here you can take an optional excursion to Isla de la Plata, nicknamed Mini Galapagos. This uninhabited island is part of the Machalilla National Park, and is home to the famous blue-footed booby, albatross and frigate bird.

Day 19: Puerto Lopez

You may choose to take a ‘whale-watching’ excursion. From June to September, the humpback whales flock to the shallow coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean to give birth to their young. If you are keen to be active, you can join a walking or horse-riding excursion to the mainland Machalilla National Park. Behind the bone-dry coastal strip lies a dry tropical forest, where various species of succulents and cacti grow.

Day 20: Puerto Lopez

Make the most of your final day in Puerto Lopez before leaving tomorrow.

Day 21: Puerto Lopez

The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in Puerto Lopez until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon).

We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Ecuador.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 21) is not included. 


Please note: In a group of 8 persons (and above), the entire trip will be carried out with private transport.

In a group of fewer than 8 people you will be travelling the following routes by public transport: Otavalo - Chota Valley - Quito;  Banos - Jungle; Jungle - Riobamba; Cuenca - Guayaquil; Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez

With a group of fewer than 8 people private transport will be available only for the following routes: Quito - El Chaupi - Baños and Riobamba - Cuenca

Naturally, the tour leader takes care of the ticket arrangements for any public transport sections.

Galapagos Islands

If you would like to extend your tour with a 4 or 5-day trip to the Galapagos Islands please inform us when booking (price on request).


Extend your trip

  • Galapagos Islands extension (price upon request)

    Extend your trip with a visit to the enchanted Galapagos Islands where a 4 or 5-day trip (depending on availability) will take you between the different islands. The English-speaking guide will tell you all about the volcanic origin of the islands and the unique ecosystem of the animals that are here. You will be able to get unusually close to them, as they have not built up any fear due to the absence of natural enemies. You can photograph nesting albatross up close, go swimming with sea lions, observe thousands of iguanas and walk among the giant tortoises. The Galapagos package is on a request basis.

    The price for the Galapagos package is from € 1500, - per person. The price depends on which boats are available on the desired date. Each boat has its own price tag. Please note that the price in high season can rise to up to € 2000, depending on availability.

    IMPORTANT: If you choose to visit the Galapagos Islands, then you need to scan a copy of your passport and send it to us.

    The package includes:
    - Flight Guayaquil - Galapagos - Guayaquil
    - 5 days /4 nights or 4 days/3 days stay on a yacht
    - English speaking naturalist guide
    - All meals on board (3 x per day)
    - All excursions
    - Transfers to and from the airport

    Not included: Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($ 120 per person upon arrival in Galapagos), drinks, personal expenses, tips.

    The Itinerary:

    There are many different boats active in the Galápagos Islands, each with its own price and own schedule. Sailing schedules are always subject to change. The captain of the boat and the authorities of the Galápagos National Park always maintain the right to change the route (during the trip).

    Take a morning flight from Guayaquil to Baltra Island where you will board a motor yacht. You will visit the idyllic beaches of Las Bachas where you can swim and sunbathe.

    Today you visit the Islas Plazas and the island of Santa Fe. The Islas Plazas are two small islands off the coast of Santa Cruz. Here you will find a real cactus forest where many land iguanas dwell. A path leads you along a kilometer of sea lion colonies and along a steep cliff where different species of birds nest. From the Islas Plazas sail to Isla Santa Fe or Barrington, a small island about 20 miles southeast of Santa Cruz. The island has a beautiful bay and there are a number of hiking trails. Cacti grow here that can reach a height of 10 meters. This is the island where the Santa Fe land iguana roams, a rare subspecies. You can also find a colony of sea lions, marine iguanas and visit various species of birds.

    Today we see the island of Española in the program. The English name for this island is Hood. It is the southernmost island in the archipelago. From March to December you have a great opportunity to see albatrosses here. The stately Blue-footed boobies let themselves be photographed at close range whilst in their nests and you have the chance to witness the comical mating dance of these birds. Marine iguanas are also frequently seen. The island has lovely white sand beaches.

    The next island on the route is Floreana, officially called Isla Santa María. This is the sixth largest island of the archipelago. This island has beautiful beaches and the snorkelling is excellent. The island has an interesting fauna, marine iguanas, sea turtles, flamingos, pelicans and other birds.

    On this last day take the boat to the island of Santa Cruz where you can visit the town of Puerto Ayora, the Charles Darwin Research Center and the Turtle Farm, where the world famous giant tortoises can be admired. At the end of the afternoon take the flight back to Guayaquil, where the group is currently staying and the tour will finish.

    If you want to book the Galapagos package, please inform us when booking. Shoestring will contact you about the possibilities, the route and the final price. Then you can decide if you wish to confirm your place(s).

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