The central sierra of Ecuador is known as 'The Avenues of the Volcanoes' (325 km.), a necklace of 'snow-cones' like a jeweled crown. Chimborazo, Antisana, and Cotopaxi - to name perhaps the most emblematic - are all highly prized mountain-climbing destinations that rise well over 16,000 feet above sea level and give the overall Andean landscape, from large cities to small towns, a character of unsurpassable splendor.
Day 1: Quito - Banos - Riobamba
Departing south from Quito along the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes' we stop near the impressive Cotopaxi Volcano (5,943 m) to admire from afar its beauty and continue along a series of temperate valleys with some villages and towns like Latacunga, Salcedo or Ambato before arriving in Banos, a small and friendly town/thermal bath resort nestled amidst mountains and found midway between the Andes and the Amazon. Travel along the beautiful Pastaza River canyon and visit its many waterfalls: Cascada de la Virgen, Ines Maria, the Bride's Shroud, Machay Trail, and Pailón del Diablo. Afternoon drive towards the city of Riobamba and weather permitting view the highest mountain in Ecuador, Chimborazo with over twenty thousand feet. Continue onto the city for a panoramic tour of Riobamba. Hotel accommodation.
Day 2: Riobamba - Alausi - Ingapirca Ruins - Cuenca (B, BL)
Breakfast. We start the day traveling through some of the country's most picturesque areas before reaching the railway station at Alausi. Travel by train through the Andes down tracks that form a unique zigzag pattern known as the Devil's Nose. Box Lunch. Continuing south we will find the Inca-Canari ruins of Ingapirca, an amazing archaeological showcase of the splendor of Incan rule in our country. Reach Cuenca by nightfall.
Day 3: Cuenca (B)
Breakfast. One of the most beautiful colonial cities in Ecuador and also a Unesco's World Heritage Site. We visit the Cathedral, Main Square, the flower market, San Francisco and Santo Domingo churches and the Central Bank Museum with permanent archaeological, anthropological, colonial and republican art collections, including interesting photography documenting the city's history. We will visit the Monastery of The Immaculate Conception, cloisters built between 1668 and 1729, recently remodeled and home to an extraordinary collection of religious art. In the late afternoon, we visit a Panama hat factory. Hotel accommodation.
Day 4: Cuenca - El Cajas National Park - Guayaquil (B)
Breakfast. Our journey to the coast shall take some four hours drive in total. After about one hour, we drive across El Cajas National Park, an area known for its more than 200 lakes and lagoons, including La Toreadora; in less than three hours, the highway will take us from 4000 meters down to sea level, making it possible to observe some of the different habitats responsible for Ecuador's diversity: Andean moorlands, the cloud forests of the subtropical zone, the foothills and wet tropical rainforest along with some tropical crops such as cacao, bananas, sugar cane or rice. Transfer to hotel.
- Transfer from Quito
- 1-night stay in Riobamba
- 2-nights stay in Cuenca
- Devil's Nose Train ride
- Visit to Ingapirca Ruins
- Breakfast included
- 1 Box lunch
- Transfer to Guayaquil
- Multilingual guides
- Hotel Taxes
- Meals others than specified
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Medical services, insurance, tips and personal expenses
Hotels - restaurants (or similar)
.Daily departures, except Sundays. Does not operate on Eastern, Christmas and New Years.
- Riobamba: Abraspungo
- Cuenca: Carvallo hotel
- Ingapirca Ruins: Box lunch