South America in a nutshell!
Its dramatic landscapes that change from mountains, valleys, and forests to cities make Ecuador always very interesting. Guayaquil, as busy as any other port in the world is the biggest in Ecuador. Our first stop will be at, Cuenca, the cultural capital of Ecuador, a very well-preserved historical city center known as a World Heritage Site. We will explore the city and visit Ingapirca, the biggest Inca monument outside of Peru. We continue on a 330 km long scenic mountain road, driving through Chimborazo volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an altitude of 6263 meters above sea level, the 10th highest peak in the Americas. The volcano is the highest mountain near the equator, making it the further point from the center of the planet. From this high altitude, we drive down to Baños, where we will experience a relaxed atmosphere with lots of things to do and see. The hot springs are the main attraction, but we will try river rafting in the rapids near the town. Baños as a part of the Andes mountain chain has beautiful landscapes with waterfalls and gorges to explore. On the last day, we drive on the “volcano avenue”, which goes along four high volcanos that lead us on to Quito.
What is included in the tour
- Tourguide English/Spanish-speaking
- Arrival transfer in Guayaquil
- Hotel in Guayaquil (1n)
- Hotel in Cuenca (3n)
- Hotel in Banos (3n)
- Breakfast (7 mornings)
- Lunch on day 4
- Transportation by bus; Guayaquil – Cuenca - Banos - Quito Airport
- Cuenca City tour
- Guided visit to Inga-Pirca
- Rafting in Banos II-III rapids
- Hotel transfers in Guayaquil, Cuenca and Banos
What is NOT included in the tour
- Alcohol, soft drinks, beverages, etc.
- Any meals/services not mentioned in the inclusions
- Personal expenses like tips, telephone calls, laundry, etc.
- Overnight in Quito, day 8.
- Cultural capital of Ecuador - Cuenca.
- Inca ruins of Inga Pirca
- Incredible Scenic bus rides (3)
- White water rafting
- Bathing in Hot Springs
Day 1 Arrival in Guayaquil
Ecuador's largest city, where we will meet you at the airport and drive you to the Hotel.
Day 2 Bus to Cuenca, Ecuador's Capital of Culture (187 km.)
After breakfast and a briefing on the week to come. We will go to the bus station for a journey of 187 km / 4,5 hours driving through the Andes Mountains. Very interesting scenery from the coast up to the highlands. Once in Cuenca, we proceed to the hotel check-in. Cuenca, a beautiful city is at an altitude of 2580 meters above sea level, even though we can feel the altitude, it won´t be a severe change, once you have adapted, after a short break we will meet around the main square, have dinner and just go to bed.
Day 3 Cuenca with City Tour
We have a free morning where we can walk around downtown and see the flower market, the Cathedral, and the Tomebamba river. Later we will meet up for a city tour around Cuenca. It will take around 2 hours. The guide speaks Spanish and English. We ride around the city to get a good picture of it. We end the tour by going to the lookout point of Turi, here we have a great overview of this historic place. Back to the hotel, free to have dinner and relax.
Day 4 Full-day excursion to Ingapirca
After breakfast, we get on the bus for a 2-hour long ride that will take us to Ecuador's largest Inca ruins, Ingapirca.
The name Ingapirca comes from two Quechua words – Inca and Pirca – together they mean Inca Wall. A very photogenic place built by the Incas, who expanded their kingdom from Perú to Ecuador. Before the Incas, the southern part of Ecuador belonged to the Cañari Culture, the cañaris were known for their strong character and workmanship. The Ingapirca archaeological complex is the largest in Ecuador.
A local guide will lead a walk through the ruins for about 1 hour. Our guide will give a slightly more in-depth perspective of these pieces of well-preserved history. After an interesting visit, we will have lunch at a local restaurant and head back to Cuenca, driving through the colorful Andean landscapes. Here we can rest and maybe just take a walk around the Heritage Site downtown.
Day 5 Scenic bus ride to Banos (335 km.)
After an early breakfast, we will return to the bus terminal, and get on a bus that will drive us through a fantastic scenic drive along the Andes Mountains, The bus trip is interesting because we will have the chance to see Ecuador's highest mountain, Chimborazo, 6227 meters above sea level. In a way, Chimborazo is the highest mountain in the world, as it is the farthest point from the Earth's core.
The bus journey takes about 7 hours with a 45-minute break for lunch. Our new destination is Banos de Aguas Santas, a small town where after being on the bus for so long, we will want to walk to the hotel, not very far from the terminal. After check-in and a short break, we can gather for an evening stroll in the city.
Day 6 Banos Excursion: River Rafting
The city of Baños is surrounded by fabulous nature and offers different experiences and adventures. Tourism originally started around the Sacred Hot springs, known as a fountain of youth! Besides the hot springs, there is a lot to choose from in high adventure waterfalls, hikes, horseback riding, bungy jumping, rock climbing, and advanced river rafting.
A day to remember, rafting in one of the canyons near Baños starts with transport to the river, where we will first attend a safety drill. After the briefing, we divide the group evenly into the boats. The fun and excitement start when we slowly paddle down the river, a few rapids along the way make this experience incredibly exciting and fun. After the thrill, we head back to Baños for the rest of the day.
-The river where we will paddle is a category 3–4, which corresponds to beginner rapid, this is something most people can do if they want. (Requires basic mobility.)
*For those who want to try something more adrenaline-stint can choose an advanced category. You can then accompany another group and it will cost 25 USD extra per person.
(For those who do not want to go on a rafting excursion, a calmer land alternative will be offered).
Day 7. Free day in Baños and its surroundings
Waking up slowly in this interesting beautiful place and having time to absorb all of the excitement we have been through, we enjoy a free day in which you can decide what you want to do on your own. The tour leader will be there to advise and help you decide on whatever you would like to do. The famous Hot springs are always a good and enjoyable activity, and horseback riding in the Andes is also an option.
Day 8 Scenic bus ride to Quito
Today we get back on the road again, heading up Quito, the capital city of Ecuador where our adventure ends, depending on your choices we will take you either to the hotel or to the airport.
Extend your program to visit the Amazon, a 3 day/2 nights jungle camp in the Amazon.
Galapagos or the Caribbean is also an option at this point.
On this tour you will stay in the following hotels:
Guayaquil Hotel Palace 1n // https://www.hotelpalaceguayaquil.com.ec/es/
Cuenca. Hotel Cuenca 3n // http://www.hotelcuenca.com.ec
Banos Hotel Agua y Fuego 3 n. // https://www.aguafuegohotel.com
Guayaquil Hotel Palace 1n //. https://www.hotelpalaceguayaquil.com.ec/es/
Cuenca. Hotel Santa Luica Forum 3n // http://santaluciahouse.com/en/
Banos Hotel La Floresta 3 n. // https://laflorestahotel.com