The Best of Ecuador
Panoramic view from The Best of Ecuador Tour

The Best of Ecuador

24 days

Great Ecuador Tour is a wonderful guided adventure with introduction to Ecuarodean cultureAmazon River is one of the highlights of Ecuador and can be visited on Great Ecuador TourSunset time at Amazon River is a best time to spot wildlife while on Great Ecuador TourLush shores of Amazon River on Great Ecuador TourGreat Ecuador Tour is a wonderful adventure that inludes visiting the best highlights of EcuadorEcuador architecture is a beautiful highlight of Great Ecuador TourGreat Ecuador Tour is a great adventure with visiting the best of Ecuador MarchQuilotoa Crater Lake is a must see in Ecuador and can be visited on Great Ecuador TourOne of numerous beautiful quechua villages in Ecuadorean Andes seen on Great Ecuador TourEcuador is a wonderful country to visit for nature lovers and Great Ecuador Tour has it allMagma fields seen on Great Ecuador TourThe family of albatrosses seen on Great Ecuador TourPink flamingo seen on Great Ecuador TourEcuador is home for loads of bird and animal speciesGiant turtle seen on Great Ecuador Tour in Ecuador

Experience the beauty of Ecuador's most famous landscapes on this 24-day guided tour

The Best of Ecuador Adventure tour is an unforgettable adventure through some of the most unique and breathtaking natural landscapes anywhere on earth. Visit the Amazon rainforest, the Ecuadorian Andes, the Galapagos Islands, and Ecuador’s ancient cities, all in one epic trip.

When traveling to Ecuador, why choose between all the special and unforgettable places this incredible country has to offer? Your tour includes canoe trips through the rainforest, where you’ll encounter both the wildlife and the local people who call this jungle home. You’ll witness remains of ancient cultures and historic colonial influences. Take a short hike in the Andes and view these impressive mountains up close. Finally, end your time in Ecuador with a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime cruise through the Galapagos Islands. This tour is life-changing, but beware: Ecuador will forever claim a piece of your heart.

Highlights of the Great Ecuador Tour

Explore the culture and natural wonders of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.
Stand at 5,000 m elevation and gaze out over the Ecuadorian Andes.
Tour the diverse and historic cities of Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil.
Cruise for 8-days through the incomparable environment of the Galapagos Islands.

Prices

From $6,050USD
24 days
Difficulty
Guided
Hotels
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The Best of Ecuador

Best of Ecuador Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Quito

Welcome to Quito, the capital of Ecuador! Arrive at the Quito Airport and meet your guide for transfer to your hotel.
Overnight Location: Hostal Fuente de Piedra, Quito
Distance: N/A
Meals: None

Day 2 Quito City Tour and Visit to Equator

Enjoy a private tour of Quito’s historic districts today. As you drive from your hotel in the newer section of the city, notice how your surroundings change in character. You’ll see architecture from Ecuador’s colonial period, including beautiful churches, such as La Basilica Church and La Compañia Church. Tour a variety of plazas and local shops, taking time to experience the wonderful atmosphere of this city. Then your tour continues to El Panecillo Hill, a hill located in central Quito that offers amazing views of the whole city and the surrounding snow-capped volcanoes. In the afternoon, visit the Equator at “Mitad del Mundo” – the middle of the world. Here you can walk on the equatorial line, place one foot in each hemisphere, or try some experiments for fun.
Overnight Location: Hostal Fuente de Piedra, Quito
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 Transfer to Cuyabeno Reserve

Return to the airport in Quito today for a flight to Lago Agrio. After you land in Lago Agrio, a bus from the Siona Lodge will pick you up for the 1.5-hour drive to the east to reach the Cuyabeno Reserve. Along the drive, notice how increased human habitation has affected this important tropical region, especially the oil industry. The bus brings you to the bridge (“el puente”), where you’ll stop for lunch, then enter the reserve by canoe. Soon after your canoe hits the water, all signs of civilization will disappear. In this exotic wilderness, watch for amazing and diverse wildlife all around you. You may see anacondas, a variety of monkeys, and many birds, including cormorants, herons, and kingfishers. When you reach the lodge, you’ll receive more information about your stay in the Cuyabeno Reserve.
Overnight Location: Siona Lodge, Amazonas
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Explore Cuyabeno

Spend the whole day today exploring the rainforest! Slip on some rubber boots (supplied) and go for an exciting walk through the jungle. Then sail through picturesque lagoons to enjoy the amazing scenery and watch for many varieties of wildlife. In the afternoon there are opportunities to fish for piranhas or search the river for pink dolphins. Later take a sunset swim in the lagoon, then after dark take a walk to experience the jungle at night. Rest well at the Siona Lodge after a magical and memorable day.
Overnight Location: Siona Lodge, Amazonas
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Visit Local Siona Community

Experience daily life and learn more about the indigenous people of the Amazon with a visit to a local Siona community. Ride in a canoe from the lodge to two local communities where people farm the land and fish in the river. You will be welcomed to the home of a family who will teach you more about their daily life and demonstrate how they make yuca bread. There may also be an opportunity to visit the local shaman. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the village then return to the lodge. Watch for parrots, dolphins, monkeys, and other wildlife along the river.
Overnight Location: Siona Lodge, Amazonas
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Canoe from Cuyabeno to Lago Agrio

Travel by canoe today, leaving the Siona Lodge and heading to Lago Agrio. Fly back to Quito and spend the night in a hotel.
Overnight Location: Hostal Fuente de Piedra, Quito
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7 Explore Mindo

Today is a day full of experiences and new impressions that will delight all your senses. Leave Quito bound for Mindo, where you will visit a chocolate factory. The 1-hour tour explains how cacao is harvested and processed and gives you opportunities to taste and sample their products. While in the area, you can also tour a farm that breeds approximately 20 different butterfly species. Here at this butterfly reserve, you’ll experience the full life cycle of butterflies from birth to flight. Finally, end the day with a visit to an orchid farm, where nearly 200 species of orchids are on display. This is also a wonderful place for bird (and hummingbird) watching. Spend the night in Mindo.
Overnight Location: El Abrazo del Arbol, Mindo
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 Otavalo Indian Market and Cuicocha Crater Lake

Leave Mindo for a fascinating, 3-hour drive to Otavalo. Along the way you’ll see fascinating areas that are dry, in stark contrast with the tropical rainforest, due to the “rain shadow” caused by the volcanoes. You can also see great examples of the geology that helped form the Andes mountains. Cross the Equator into the Otavalo region. Here, the Otavalo Indians proudly continue their long-held traditions. This lush and beautiful valley is surrounded by lakes and smaller volcanoes. Explore the Otavalo market, shopping for souvenirs or simply observing the daily life of the local people. After Otavalo, continue driving to Cotacachi, which is a small village that’s well-known for handcrafted leather goods. End the day with a visit to the stunning Cuicocha Crater Lake, surrounded by vibrant green mountains. From here, travel to a hacienda for dinner and a comfortable night.
Overnight Location: Hacienda Pinsaqui, Otavalo
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9 “Volcano Avenue” and the Antisana Ecological Reserve

After breakfast, travel to the Antisana Ecological Reserve in an area north of Quito known as “Volcano Avenue.” Antisana is a stratovolcano (or composite volcano) that ranks as the fourth tallest mountain in Ecuador. This volcano regularly attracts climbers from around the world. Explore the characteristic tropical volcano landscape, including evergreen forests and grasslands. While in Antisana Park, stop to visit Mica Lake to take in the scenery and natural environment. After your tour, spend the night at the renowned Hacienda Cienaga.
Overnight Location: Hacienda Cienaga, Volcano Avenue
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10 Visit Pujili, Tigua, Zumbagua, Quilotoa Crater, and Baños

Travel today from Volcano Avenue to Pujili. If you are lucky enough to pass on a Thursday, stop first at the Saquisili market along the way. Continue on to the town of Tigua (3,800 m / 12,467’), where you can visit a traditional house for indigenous people and their guinea pigs. You can also see local handicrafts in this town, as well as an optional visit with some local residents. Continue traveling to the town of Zumbagua, where the Zumbagua Indigenous Fair is held on Saturdays, full of fruits, vegetables, and animals. Drive another 20 minutes to a viewpoint overlooking the Quilotoa Crater. Hike from the viewpoint (3,900 m / 12,795’) down to the lake (3,500 m / 11,483’). Return to the viewpoint where you can choose a restaurant to eat lunch. After lunch, drive to the town of Baños.
Overnight Location: Hotel Isla del Baños, Baños
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 Explore Waterfalls near Baños

Baños is famous for its waterfalls, and today you will visit some of the largest and most famous waterfalls in the area. Begin after breakfast with a visit to “Waterfalls Avenue” where you will cross the lovely Pastaza River by zip-line. Here you’ll find stunning views of the waterfall called “Manto de la Novia.” Once across the river, walk through orchards and gardens to reach a large waterfall called “Pailon del Diablo.” Return to the town and enjoy free time for the afternoon.
Overnight Location: Hotel Isla del Baños, Baños
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 Hike to Whimper Refuge

Drive today from Baños to Ambato City to visit the exciting “Mercado mayorista” market. After exploring the market and taking in all the incredible smells, flavors, and colors, continue driving to Guaranda. Stop here for beautiful views of the Ecuadorian Andes mountains, and be sure to notice the rich colors all around you. Continue driving as you climb higher into the mountains. In the Chimborazo lands you can see vicuñas, a distinctive mammal that resembles a camel or an alpaca. When you arrive at the Carriel Reserve (4,800 m / 15,748’), take a short hike up to the Whimper Refuge (5,000 m / 16,404’). Both the views and the altitude will take your breath away. Descend again in the afternoon and travel to Riobamba, where you will spend the night in a hacienda on the edge of the city.
Overnight Location: Hacienda Abraspungo, Riobamba (2,754 m/9,035’)
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 13 Visit the ruins of Ingapirca

Leave Riobamba and drive about 84 km (52 miles) south to Alausí. Many tourists are drawn to this city to take a train ride through a massive rock called the Devil’s Nose. This train tour is not included in your tour but can be added if requested with enough advance notice. It is an exciting ride, hugging the edges of the slopes then zigzagging and descending 100 m. From Alausí, your journey continues to visit the ruins of Ingapirca. Several architectural features remain here from the Cañari-Inca civilization, most notably the Temple of the Sun. This distinctive structure, elliptical in shape and 37 m long by 12 m wide, was used for rituals and ceremonies. Later, travel on to arrive in beautiful Cuenca.
Overnight Location: Hotel Inca Real, Cuenca
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 14 Tour the City of Cuenca

Take a guided tour of the city of Cuenca today. Begin in the historic colonial section of the city and see the old houses that line the banks of the Tomebamba River, which runs through the downtown area. Explore the central plaza on foot, as well as Calderon Park. Near the park you can see both the new cathedral and the old cathedral. The new cathedral is very striking as it is built with pink marble and features lovely stained-glass windows. The old cathedral was last renovated for a papal visit in 1985. You’ll also visit other impressive churches in Cuenca, including the church of San José de la Merced and the Monastery of El Carmen and the Immaculate Conception. You’ll also see the “El Rollo del Vecino” monument. End your tour with a stop at the Turi viewpoint before returning to your hotel.
Overnight Location: Hotel Inca Real, Cuenca
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 15 Visit Las Cajas National Park

Take a magical journey to Guayaquil today. Along the drive from Cuenca, watch how the landscape changes with the climate in just those few hours. Visit the Cajas National Park and see how ancient glaciers carved out horseshoe-shaped valleys long ago. There are more than 200 lovely lakes in this park, which supplies most of Cuenca’s drinking water. In addition to these lakes, the other main attraction of this park is the polylepis forest. These trees, which have an unusual, paper-like bark, look like something out of the pages of a fairy tale. In the afternoon, travel to the southernmost point of Ecuador’s coast and see where cocoa, bananas, and other tropical fruits are grown. End your day at a hotel in Guayaquil.
Overnight Location: Hotel Ramada, Guayaquil
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 16 Galapagos Cruise, Day 1

In the morning, make your way to the Baltra Island Airport and transfer to your cruise ship for your Galapagos Island Cruise. Cruise itineraries vary depending on which tour you choose. Some cruises will explore Las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island in the afternoon.
Overnight Location: Cruise Ship
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17 Galapagos Cruise, Day 2

(Sample itinerary) Visit Genovesa Island today, starting with Darwin Bay in the morning, then heading to the Barranco in the afternoon.
Overnight Location: Cruise Ship
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18 Galapagos Cruise, Day 3

(Sample itinerary) Start the day with a visit to Bartolome Island. In the afternoon, stop at Sullivan Bay.
Overnight Location: Cruise Ship
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19 Galapagos Cruise, Day 4

(Sample itinerary) Spend the morning at Black Turtle Cove on Daphne Island. In the afternoon, return to Santa Cruz Island.
Overnight Location: Cruise Ship
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 20 Galapagos Cruise, Day 5

(Sample itinerary) Explore Santa Cruz Island today. In the morning, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Venture to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island in the afternoon.
Overnight Location: Cruise Ship
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 21 Galapagos Cruise, Day 6

(Sample itinerary) Start your day with a visit to Cormoran Point, then the Devil’s Crown. In the afternoon, head to Post Office Bay and the Baroness Lookout.
Overnight Location: Cruise Ship
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 22 Galapagos Cruise, Day 7

(Sample itinerary) Visit the lovely Suarez Point on Española Island in the morning today, then spend the afternoon at Gardner Bay, Gardner Islet, and Osborn Islet.
Overnight Location: Cruise Ship
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 23 Galapagos Cruise, Day 8, Fly to Quito

End your Galapagos cruise today with a visit to San Cristobal Island. Visit the Interpretation Center on the island, and also Kicker Rock, just off the coast. Then, from the airport at San Cristobal, fly back to Quito. Spend the night in Quito in preparation for your journey home.
Overnight Location: Hostal Fuente de Piedra, Quito
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 24 Departure Day

Sadly, your Great Ecuador adventure has come to an end. Transfer to the airport is included. Have a pleasant journey!
Overnight Location: N/A
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

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Best of Ecuador Tour Price and Dates

Pricing for this guided tour of the Best of Ecuador depends on your group size and what level of Galapagos cruise you select (yacht vs. Catamaran and tourist class vs. First Class).

The prices below are per person sharing a double or a triple room:

  • Guided Groups of 2 from: $7,295 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 3-5 from: $6,650 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 6+ from: $6,050 USD per person
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Accommodation on the Best of Ecuador Tour

This tour is based in 3- and 4-star hotels that offer modern conveniences to make your tour even more enjoyable. Rooms are double occupancy, and single travelers will pay a supplement. Seven nights of this tour will be spent onboard a yacht or catamaran touring the Galapagos islands.

In some cases, accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other, comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a supplement of $650 USD to have a private room in a hotel. Private rooms on the 8-day cruise are priced based on availability. Contact us and we can try and match single travelers up, where possible.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Hostal Fuente de Piedra, Quito ★★★

Enjoy a comfortable stay with all the modern conveniences you would expect, including free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, a cafe, and an outdoor terrace.

Siona Lodge, Amazonas (Lodge)

Experience the delights of the Cuyabeno reserve from this eco-hotel. Each room has a private bathroom and a private balcony. Enjoy fresh, local meals.

Hostal Fuente de Piedra, Quito ★★★

Enjoy a comfortable stay with all the modern conveniences you would expect, including free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, a cafe, and an outdoor terrace.

El Abrazo del Arbol, Mindo ★★★

A peaceful, remote eco lodge built on 14 acres of rainforest featuring trails to the river, waterfall views from the balcony, and many other amenities.

Hacienda Pinsaqui, Otavalo ★★★

You'll love the historical atmosphere and lovely gardens of this charming hacienda. Immerse yourself in Ecuadorian mountain culture during your stay here.

Hacienda Cienaga, Volcano Avenue ★★★

Visiting this 400-year-old hotel is like traveling back in time. It has been modernized for comfort but retains its colonial character and charm.

Hotel Isla del Baños, Baños ★★★

Tucked into the trees, this cute hotel and spa offers comfortable rooms, free WiFi, a delicious breakfast, and a convenient location.

Hacienda Abraspungo, Riobamba ★★★

A comfortable and charming hacienda in the colonial style surrounded by the magnificent Andes mountains. Each room is named for a local mountain.

Hotel Inca Real, Cuenca ★★★

A beautiful house from the 19th Century that has been renovated for use as a hotel. Enjoy a wonderful atmosphere in a convenient location.

Hotel Ramada, Guayaquil ★★★★

Located beside an estuary, you can look for wildlife among the mangrove trees. Ask for a room on a higher floor for excellent river views.

Night 16-22

Aboard Galapagos Cruise Ship

Explore the breathtaking Galapagos in the best way possible: a catamaran or yacht. Every day includes two excursions of the best of the Galapagos.

Hostal Fuente de Piedra, Quito ★★★

Enjoy a comfortable stay with all the modern conveniences you would expect, including free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, a cafe, and an outdoor terrace.

What’s included in the Best of Ecuador Tour?

Meals

21 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 12 dinners are included in the tour.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 16 nights along the tour are included as described. Nights 16-22 are spent on a yacht or catamaran cruising the Galapagos islands.

Transportation during the Tour

  • All transfers during the tour (Galapagos transfers only when you book your flight as part of the tour)
  • Domestic flight from Quito to Lago Agrio on day 3 + return flight on day 6

Also Included

  • English-speaking guide during all activities and tours
  • All activities and tours described in itinerary, except tour to Siona Lodge
  • Entrance fees (except Galapagos entrance fee)

Not included

  • Transportation to and from Ecuador before and after the tour
  • Flights to/from the Galapagos Islands (expect pricing to be $500 USD to $600 USD)
  • Galapagos entrance fees (the prices below are subject to change):
    • Galapagos Park entrance fee - $100 USD per person
    • Ingala - $20 USD per person
    • Isabela Island local taxes - $10 USD per person
  • Fee to Siona community and shaman - $5 USD per person (subject to change)
  • Beverages
  • Tips
  • Meals not listed as included
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything else not listed as included

Optional Extras

  • Devil’s Nose train tour, Day 13
  • Upgrade Yacht and/or room type

Frequently Asked Questions about The Best of Ecuador

Andes World Travel is a boutique adventure tour operator, founded by mountaineers, grown out of a love for adventure and first-hand knowledge of the Andes region. They offer a wide range of tours throughout South America, including both adventure tours and cultural tours.

Andes World Travel offers climbing, trekking, and hiking tours with an emphasis on safety and professionalism. They also offer “light trekking” trips for less experienced adventurers.

The company runs tours in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Peru. They focus on sustainable practices and are more than willing to customize their tours to client’s wishes.

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The Best of Ecuador Map

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Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour as a 2 / 5. This incredible tour is active but not strenuous. There is a lot of flexibility in choosing activities that suit your abilities and interests.

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