Magic Ecuador

13 Days - 12 Nights

13 Days|12 Nights



Enjoy a magical trip through Ecuador

which includes: Saraguro market, in the southern Andes, the community of the Salasacas, the indian fair of Pujilí, the private house of Manuel one of the artisans famous for its Tigua paintings, the ceramics in the town of Victoria, the Quilotoa lagoon with its turquoise waters, the Mica lagoon located in the Antisana moorland, the artisan centers in the northern Andes and the Otavalo market; as well as Guayaquil, the largest city in the country, Cuenca and Quito cities declared by Unesco as Cultural Heritage sites.

Highlights of the Program

Cuenca, Patrimonial city and the most important artisan center

Saraguro, picturesque indian town of the Southern Andes

Ingapirca the most important Inca  archaeological site in Ecuador

Salasaca community with its variety of woven pieces

Baños, located at the entrance to the Amazonia

Pujili and its Indian fair

The Laguna del Quilotoa, located in the crater of a volcano

The Artisan centers of the Northern Highlands

Quito, UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site

Tour map

Day by Day

DAY 1: Guayaquil - arrival transfer

Wednesday: Meet and greet the Expeditions Tours representative at the airport upon arrival outside of customs. Assistance and transfer to the selected hotel. (Distance between Guayaquil airport and the city between 15 and 20 minutes approximately).

DAY 2: Guayaquil scenic tour

Thursday: Guayaquil, called by many the “Pearl of the Pacific”, is the largest port in Ecuador. Founded in 1538, Guayaquil is a now a dynamic cosmopolitan city, at its origins it was an important port and ship-building location for the Spaniards and a target of English and French pirates. Visit a number of historical places as Las Peñas, a neighborhood established in 1915, which counts many houses with historical heritage full of brightly painted homes, cafes and its famous winding climb to the top of Santa Ana Hill. Stroll along the Riverfront or Malecon, the Moorish Tower and the famous Caraguay Fish market (morning visits only).

DAY 3: Guayaquil – Guavidula - Cuenca

Friday: By land, this route offers the possibility to observe the changes in climate, vegetation and landscapes between the Andes characterized by high mountains and vegetation typically of moorland and the coast that is characterized by a tropical, humid climate and extensive plantations of banana, coffee, cocoa and tropical fruits. On the way, there will be a stop in Guavidula, a small town that in ancient times was used as a place of stay between the Sierra and the Coast. In the afternoon arrival to Cuenca located in the Southern Andes.

DAY 4: Cuenca scenic tour

Saturday: Visit Cuenca, the country’s third largest in size and population and a main icon of the southern Andes. Cuenca has preserved its rich colonial past, beautifully shown on its narrow streets, white houses with flower-pot balconies, impressive churches, with their majestic domes and towers. Not far from each other we encounter convents, museums, plazas covered with flowers and monuments, all surrounded by the scenery of green hills, mountains and the presence of four rivers that cross the city. For all its beauty and well preserved historical buildings, Cuenca was also declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1999. This is a walking tour in the Colonial area of Cuenca to discover the beautiful churches and house facades; visit a few the of artisan centers where there is the opportunity to learn about the ceramic items, the famous straw hat also called ¨Panama hat¨, gold and silver jewelry and embroidery which are some of the handicrafts for which Cuenca is also known.

DAY 5: Visit Saraguro Market (only on Sundays)

Sunday: Early in the morning departure from Cuenca to drive South to Saraguro, one of the oldest towns in the province of Loja. Saraguro is also known as the land of corn and the beautiful marble that closely resembles the onyx stone. The market in Saraguro is held exclusively on Sunday, this indigenous fair presents the possibility of observing all the products that are grown in the area as well as others that come from other regions of the country as well as the local handicrafts.

DAY 6: Cuenca - Ingapirca - Riobamba

Monday: In the morning start driving north to Riobamba, located at 2754 m.a.s.l on the Avenue of the Volcanoes and the first city founded by Spaniards in 1534; on the way will visit the Ingapirca Fortress which is without any doubt the most important archeological vestige left by the Inca Civilization in Ecuador. Despite several studies made in the area, is a mystery until today the final use of this architectonic complex. Its different spaces make us doubt if it was a fortress, a center of astronomic observation or a temple devoted to the sun and moon. The Temple of the Sun is by far the most significant building in the complex. It was built in the Inca way with careful consideration of their astrological knowledge. Before arrival to Riobamba will make a stop at the small and charming town of Colta where will visit the Balbanera church, the first Catholic Church built in Ecuador by the Spaniards in 1534.

DAY 7: Riobamba - Salasaca - Baños

Tuesday: Early morning departure from Riobamba to Baños in the route will visit a mountain acclimatization center to learn about the tallest mountain in Ecuador, the Chimborazo, which due to its location near the equator arguably is the farthest point from the earth´s center. The next stop is at artisan square of the Salasaca, a community whose origins is Aymara an old Inca society, that occupied the Andes in what is now western Bolivia and made the highlands in Ecuador its home. Upon arrival to Baños, located in the gateway to the Amazon rainforest , surrounded by high mountains with subtropical vegetation we will head straight to visit one of the most impressive waterfalls of the area, the ¨Pailon del Diablo¨, in English the “Cauldron of the Devil”. With approximately 100 feet high, this beautiful and impressive waterfall has three waterfalls which form an extraordinary whirlwind.

DAY 8: Baños – Pujilí – Latacunga

Wednesday: Morning departure from Baños the route will drive through the village of Pujili, mainly indigenous and famous for its market which takes place usually on Wednesday and Sunday, to reach the house of ¨Manuel¨, one of the local “Tigua” artist who will share and show his work and crafts. These wonderful paintings, usually made on a sheepskin stretched over a wood frame, display every imaginable part of the native Ecuadorian lives, which include their festival, rituals, livestock, rural scenes, nature and landscapes. The next stop will be at the village of La Victoria where almost in every house of this small town will find artisans making pottery. This day brings the opportunity to meet the locals and directly learn from them through their work, their history, customs and traditions.

DAY 9: Latacunga - Quilotoa Lagoon - Latacunga

Thursday: From east to west, enjoy a drive through wonderful scenery of moors and green pastures until reaching the high pass at Zumbahua, where one of the hidden secrets in the Ecuadorian Andes can be encountered, the Quilotoa Volcano and its giant crater holding a mirror of emerald and turquoise waters. The Quilotoa Volcano, located at 3500m above sea level, is the most western one in the Ecuadorian Andes characterized by the 3 kms inner water filled caldera. It has steep inner walls which rise approximately 400 m above the surface. This “greenish color lake”, a result of mineral accumulation, was formed as a result of a catastrophic eruption around 800 years ago. Time off at the high point of the lake, will give the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful panoramic views of the Andes, take beautiful pictures, despite the clouds that sometimes surround the area and experience the solitude of this point high up in the Andes.

DAY 10: Latacunga - Antisana - Quito

Friday: The day includes a visit to La Mica lagoon located deep inside the Antisana Reserve area. The path that leads to the lagoon offers impressive views composed of primary forests and paramo (moorland), with trails made of lava and dwelled by ducks and other birds of the moorlands. At arrival there will be an opportunity to walk in the surroundings of the Lagoon and learn about the moorlands (Andean Paramo) flora and fauna. The day will bring also the opportunity to observe the paramo vegetation in which the plants and animal life are both highly adapted to the extreme conditions of the highlands high winds, heavy precipitations and cold temperatures. Nothing taller than the grass can be found in this area. Even hardy, high altitude shrubs, are found only in crevices and creek beds hidden from the wind.

DAY 11: The Northern Highlands & Otavalo Market

Saturday: An early start departing from Quito will take you due north on a beautiful scenic drive to the province of Imbabura, a magic land located at 2530 m.a.s.l. surrounded by lakes and mountains of outstanding beauty. The day opens the possibility to learn about the customs of the Otavalos when visiting Peguche, a small town where its inhabitants are famous for their weaving abilities and the Otavalo market a local fair where the handicrafts made in the area as well as the vegetables, fruits and cereals produced in the area are displayed.

DAY 12: Quito colonial – Teleferico – middle of the World

Sunday: Early morning will start an excursion that offers the best of Quito with its rich cultural legacy, ornate facades, and dazzling gilt altars. Quito’s Historical Center, the largest and best preserved in Latin America was built over the ruins of the Inca’s northern imperial seat. A fabulous example of colonial architecture and art blended with indigenous styles. The visit includes iconic places such as the Plaza Grande or Independence Square to have a view of important colonial buildings: The Archbishop’s Palace, The Metropolitan Cathedral, The Government Palace, as well as other representative examples of colonial art and architecture as the Santo Domingo Convent. From the Old Colonial Quito will travel north up to the station to take the Quito Cable car from which spectacular views over Quito’s mountainous landscape are presented, hop aboard a cable car, one of the world's highest aerial lifts, that takes passengers on a 2.5km ride (10 minutes) up the flanks of Volcano Pichincha to the top of Cruz Loma. There will be some time free to enjoy the beautiful views (depending on the climate) of the city of Quito as well as of the mountain range that surrounds the city.


After lunch a short trip to the north of the city of Quito will lead us to our planet's Latitude 0´0´0 to visit the original Equatorial monument and where visitors can learn about the 18th century French Geodesic expedition, one of the first executed under the modern scientific principles, which main´s purpose was to measure the roundness of the Earth and then we will visit a museum known as well as The trek of Sun where we will be guided through the wonderful world of the Andean Cosmo vision (view of the nature of the cosmos), Culture and Traditions. Mixed with didactic games where the physic laws show us the unique events that happen at the middle of the world. This is the place where you can stand with one foot on the northern hemisphere and the other one on the southern hemisphere… a unique experience….

DAY 13: Quito departure

Monday: Transfer from the hotel to the airport in Quito to take your international flight or your connecting flight to the next destination. (This transfer takes usually 45 minutes).