Backbone of Ecuador - Andean Adventure | Galapagos Unbound

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The backbone of  Ecuador is the Andean Cordillera: a continuous chain of glaciated peaks and snow-capped volcanoes that stretches four hundred miles from Colombia in the north to Peru in the south, while to the west the mountains give way to jungle which stretches, more or less uninterrupted, into Brazil and to the Atlantic.

Staying at locally owned boutique haciendas, this cultural journey takes you through the majestic Andes Mountains and gives travelers one the greatest overview itineraries of all of Ecuador.  On this adventure you visit all of the highlights of Ecuador including: the ancient Inca city of Quito, Otavolo Market, Mitad del Mundo, Cotopaxi National Park, the Waterfall Route in Baños, take the Devil's Nose luxury train, visit the cultural center of Ecuador, Cuenca - a UNESCO World Heritage City and finally Caja National Park! 

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Day 1

Welcome to Ecuador

Custom Trip Note: Below is our most popular Andean itinerary in Ecuador, however, we can customize this trip at every turn to fit your availability, trip preference, activities, budget, lodging preferences or any other reason. Please call us at 800-451-6034 to customize a trip.

Arrival in Quito, meet & greet at the airport and transfer to your hotel for overnight.


ACCOMMODATION : Hacienda Rumiloma

Day 2

Quito and Mitad del Mundo

A tasty breakfast will be followed by exploration of the busy squares and streets of the biggest historical urban centres in the entire Americas.  You will access its key churches including the attractive Cathedral, grandiose ¨La Compañía¨ and archetypal San Fransisco. These are custodians of an amazing heritage of many cultures and ethnicities. Their interiors (pulpits and altars) are largely covered with gold and contain immeasurable collections of sacred art.

The end of your colonial history visit culminates on Panecillo hillside which has incredible views of modern as well as ancient areas of this metropolis which is bound by the undulating Andean hills and eclipsed by the impressive Pichincha Volcano. 

Lunch will be served at a superb restaurant within the city after which you will tour the imposing monument which is positioned at 0º 0´ 0´´ latitude thus providing a precious and unique chance to overlap the southern and northern hemispheres. Eventually, the cheerful “Intiñan” museum will host you and give you the opportunity to carry out some stimulating experiments which can only happen on the authentic equatorial line.

ACCOMMODATION : Hacienda Rumiloma

Day 3

Otavalo Market

The hotel will provide breakfast after which you will visit Otavalo Indigenous market. It is renowned for many textiles of various colors. Take your time and look for crafts, arts and souvenirs of different kinds. Later you will tour a dead volcano called San Pablo Lagoon or the Cuicocha Lake which towers over Cotacachi, a town famed for beautiful leatherwork. Your journey back to Quito takes place at night.

ACCOMMODATION : Hacienda Rumiloma

Day 4

Quito to Cotapaxi

This morning will witness you travelling south to Cotopaxi National Park which is found along the Pan-American Highway via the renowned avenue of volcanoes. You will arrive at the gate of the park, drive to Limpiopungo lagoon before proceeding on foot to the shelter of the volcano, where you will get the most stunning view of the gorge. The Inca Hacienda is your next step. You will drive to this facility in the afternoon for both dinner and accommodation for the night.

ACCOMMODATION : Hacienda San Agustin de Callo

Day 5

Cotapaxi to Baños

Baños town awaits you after breakfast. This urban centre is renowned for the “Waterfalls Route”, that also includes “Pailón del Diablo” and the chance to trek to the great waterfall and partake of the “tarabita” or cable way. A country bus (¨chiva¨) will be your mode of transport to the city’s view point.


Day 6

Baños, Chimborazo, Riobamba

On this morning you will tour Baños town to view handicrafts before driving to Riobamba city. Along the way, you have the chance to see a Salasaca community and understand the process they followed in making their famed tapestries.

During the morning, visit Baños town to see handicrafts and then drive to Riobamba city. En route you will have the opportunity to visit a Salasaca community to see how they made the famous tapestries. You will spend the night in the Riobamba area.

ACCOMMODATION : Hacienda Abraspungo

Day 7

Devil's Nose Luxury Train

Today breakfast will be followed by the journey to the train station at “Alausi”. Here you will begin the journey called ‘Devils’ Nose’ via the mountains. You will find no steeper railroad on the globe than this one which was finalized in 1902. It is a genuine technical work of art! The train will meander down the track and ‘Nariz del Diablo’ stretch or the Devil’s Nose at a hundred meters elevation at a walking speed. You will then take private transport from Alausi to the gorgeous Cuenca city. You will stop over at Ingapirca, which in Quechua means “wall rocks of the Inca”. This is the most significant and best conserved Inca ruins within Ecuador. You have the opportunity to roam around the impressive site and tour the local museum.

ACCOMMODATION : Mansion Alcazar

Day 8

Cuenca City Tour

This morning will find you exploring the imperial city which has craft and art shops, churches and a stunning flower market. You will find all these features in old impressive houses within a neighborhood which in 1999 was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Cuenca is regarded as the capital city of Ecuador’s craft and art industry. Moreover, you can purchase embroidery, baskets, ceramics and leather goods in the city or its rural outskirts.

Gualaceo and Chordeleg towns are you destination in the afternoon giving you the chance to see the biggest Ecuadorian Orchid farm. Create time to purchase traditional handiworks before going back to the hotel for the night. 

ACCOMMODATION : Mansion Alcazar

Day 9

Cajas National Park

After breakfast, take a private guided transfer to Guayaquil visiting “El Cajas” National Park, renowned for its lakes, flora and fauna.

ACCOMMODATION : Hilton Colon Guayaquil

Day 10


Breakfast included in the hotel, private transfer to the airport of Guayaquil for your return flight or your extension to the Galapagos Islands or somewhere else in Latin America. 


Dates & Rates

Supplementary Information

Daily Departures, Year-round.

  • 2 people $4250 per person
  • 3-4 people $4050 per person
  • 6-10 people $3850 per person


*Single Supplement: $1200



  • All transfers
  • Private transportation
  • All excursions and visits
  • Accommodations according to the program
  • Domestic flights (Quito-Jungle-Quito)
  • Meals are provided as mentioned above: B=Breakfast / L=Lunch or lunchbox / D=Dinner
  • Entrance fees
  • Train Tickets


Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Personal items
  • Travel insurance



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