Tailor-Made

Coastal Cultures and Highland Haciendas

Visit the World Heritage Site of Quito, the Andean landscapes of Cotopaxi, colourful markets and beaches of San Lorenzo.

Duration 12 days
Price From $2,757
When Year Round
Destination Ecuador

Safari Overview

An eye-opening adventure in mainland Ecuador, focusing on the beautiful capital city of Quito, some charming Andean highland haciendas and their surrounding rolling hills, as well as the tropical coastal area. Get under the skin of the magnificent city of Guayaquil, witness some wonderful flora and fauna in the country's only coastal national park, before kicking back and relaxing on the beautiful coast, unwinding in natural splendour.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Explore the colonial capital of Ecuador, Quito.
  • Visit the lively Otavalo market, a riot of colour.
  • Witness the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi.
  • Venture through one of the last coastal mangrove and tropical forests of Ecuador, Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve and meet the ‘crab catchers’.

The combination of Ecuador's natural, cultural and historical highlights makes this the perfect safari to explore this beautiful country.

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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Quito

You'll be welcomed into Quito, the incredible colonial capital city of Ecuador, by your local guide who will take you to your hotel, which is enviably set on one of the most traditional and historic streets - La Ronda - a gathering place for painters, writers and poets of the 1930s. On this first evening you can settle in and explore the history of the local area, whilst looking forward to your onward adventures.

Overnight: La Casona de la Ronda

Day 2

Quito

Enjoy a full exploratory tour of Quito, which was the first city declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO back in 1978. The Old Town unquestionably features some of the finest examples of colonial architecture in Latin America and is an beguiling mix of Spanish and indigenous cultures. You will start your tour at a panoramic viewpoint to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city. Strolling through the magical Old Town, you will pause to admire some of the staggeringly well-kept architecture. Many of the colonial buildings were built atop an old Inca settlement and your guide will talk you through the detail, whilst you weave the streets and plazas observing the local way of life. Heading north to the Equatorial line monument (Mitad el Mundo), you will then, rather amusingly, straddle the two hemispheres. After this busy day sightseeing, return to your hotel to relax.

Overnight: La Casona de la Ronda B

Day 3

Quito - Otavalo

After an early breakfast you will be driven two hours north of Quito to the Otavalo region, an area famous for the daily Indian market of the same name (you will get the chance to visit this tomorrow). Moving on to Calderón, you'll explore this small town where bread dough figurines are made in all shapes and sizes. We will then continue through the valleys of Guallabamba and Cayembe passing dairy farms and experiencing Ecuadorian rural life, before arriving at your hacienda. In the afternoon, after you’ve become acquainted with your new surroundings, we head out to San Antonio de Ibarra, famous for its wood carvings, before returning to relax.

Overnight: Hacienda Pinsaqui B, L, D

Day 4

Otavalo - Quito

Today you will visit the infamous Otavalo market, a riot of colour; piled high with colourful ponchos, woollen goods, tapestries, the original Panama hat, sweaters, Indian jewellery and handicrafts. Lunch will be at another of the beautiful haciendas or hosterías of the area and in the afternoon, we'll visit the Indian town of Peguche, where textiles are woven in old-fashioned shuttle looms. In the afternoon we shall return to Quito, the ideal stopover point between Otavalo and Cotopaxi, where you can enjoy more of the capital's historic charms, relaxing in the flower-filled plazas.

Overnight: La Casona de la Ronda B

Day 5

Quito - Cotopaxi

Venturing south after breakfast, you'll come closer and closer to the carved outline of Cotopaxi - the highest active volcano in the world and Ecuador’s most visited mainland national park. Spectacular Andean landscapes combine with rolling views that are are framed by the mighty Cotopaxi itself; a conical snow-capped volcano which on a clear day may be seen all the way from Quito. The ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’ features a high concentration of these 5,000 metre high peaks, in between which llamas and other Latin American cameloids graze on their grassy slopes. Check into your charming hacienda and unwind, taking in the stunning views.

Overnight: Hosteria La Cienaga B, L, D

Day 6

Cotopaxi

Depending the day of the week, we will start today by visiting one of the uniquely colourful Indian markets of the area, where the native dresses of men and women sit alongside fresh produce and handicrafts. The bright designs of the hand-woven sweaters contrast with the clear blue skies, and the markets are a wonderful opportunity to grab a souvenir, even if that does just turn out to be a beautiful photograph.

Overnight: Hosteria La Cienaga B, L, D

Day 7

Cotopaxi - Quito - Guayaquil

Today you will be driven back to Quito in time for your short onward flight to Guayaquil, where you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel before embarking on a city tour. Located at the mouth of the Guayas River, Ecuador’s largest city has an array of attractions that you'll explore, from the port to the metropolitan cathedral. You will also be escorted to the southern end of Malecon 2000, a boardwalk traces the river's edge and is one of the city's newest attractions. To end the tour, you will head to the Barrio Las Peñas, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Guayaquil where you can immerse yourself in the history of the city before returning to your hotel to relax.

Overnight: Oro Verde B

Day 8

Guayaquil

Today you'll visit the Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve, which is one of the last coastal mangrove and tropical forest areas of Ecuador, established in 1979 and covering 49,383 hectares. Considered hugely important for biodiversity and conservation, you will explore the area's vast mangrove systems on foot, accompanied by a local naturalist, and by motor boat on the Churute River. Observe many bird species and mangrove trees that can grow up to 15 metres. If you are lucky you may even get to meet the ‘Cangrejeros’ (crab catchers), who make a living from catching the resident mangrove crabs. After exploring this natural wonderland, you'll return to your hotel to relax for the evening.

Overnight: Oro Verde B

Day 9

Guayaquil - San Lorenzo

After breakfast you set off north to reach the small town of San Lorenzo, situated close to the entrance of Machalilla National Park. Ecuador's only coastal national park, this is a dazzling blend of bays, small islands, forests and pretty beaches, all within a protected zone that is home to a number of endangered species, such as sprocket deer, white-tailed deer and even ocelots, alongside some endemic fauna. Out to sea, the islands of Isla de la Plata and Isla Salango are wonderful for whale watching between June and September.

Overnight: El Faro Escandinavo B

Days 10-11

San Lorenzo

You will have time to explore the area over the next two days. Your intimate boutique hotel and its beach are only accessible to guests, so should you wish this would be a perfect time to relax in total privacy and tranquillity. With the national park close by, you may wish to explore more of this vast area. The hotel offers excursions which you can arrange locally, such as guided walks in the cloud forest to look for mantled howler monkeys, visit the village of Pile, home to the best Panama hat weavers, or the archaeological site of Agua Blanca.

Overnight: El Faro Escandinavo B

Day 12

Depart San Lorenzo

After a leisurely morning and breakfast reflecting on your varied experiences in Ecuador, you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight back home.

Trip Details

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safaris is one designed specifically for you, around your taste, budget, people travelling, interests and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and changed to make it perfect for you

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