Ecuador & Peru (Suggested Holiday)
Day 1 - 2 Arrive in Quito, Ecuador & city tour
Day 3 - 4 Travel to Otovalo & visit the famous markets, local weavers and instrument makers
Day 5 Enjoy the thermal baths in Papallacta near your Hotel
Day 6 - 7 Journey to the town of Banos and enjoy the Volcanic views at your leisure
Day 8 - 9 Transfer to Cotopaxi National Park and walk to the Quilotoa Crater Lake
Day 10 Return to Quito
Day 11 Travel to Lima, Peru to prepare for the Amazon Jungle
Day 12 Transfer to Iquitos and the Ceiba Tops Lodge in the heart of the Amazon Jungle
Day 13 Amazon Jungle exploring
Day 14 Amazon jungle exploring & transfer back to Iquitos airport for flight to Cusco
Day 15 Cusco sightseeing and visit to nearby archeological sites
Day 16 Visit and stay in the Sacred Valley
Day 17 Journey from Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
Day 18 Transfer back to Cusco rest of day at leisure
Day 19 Transfer to cusco airport
Day 1: Quito
Quito is a great place to start your exploration of Ecuador, this famous city is one of the highest cities in the world with its elevation above sea level. It’s also the only capital in the world to be directly located in front of an active volcano!
Our Quito package offers you the opportunity to soak up the rich history this city has to offer before heading off to explore the rest of the country in depth. You will arrive in Quito by plane and we have included the transfer from the airport to your Hotel in this package. The Hotel is located in the heart of the City where you begin your two night stay. The evening is as your leisure to relax and enjoy your first night in Quito.
Day 2: Quito
After a good night sleep it’s time to explore this historic city and we have included a fantastic city tour which also includes the Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world). Quito is most impressive for its many churches, colonial buildings, monasteries and convents as well as the impressive basilica. The vantage point from the statue of the Virgin of el Panecillo offers spectacular views of this unique city so remember to pack your camera!
Depending on what day during the week you are in Quito we recommend the local theatre where you can enjoy an evening show with traditional dancers, it’s a great night out and offers a chance to experience a piece of Ecuador and an insight into the local culture.
Day 3: Quito to Otovalo
This morning , after breakfast, your journey continues with a 2 hour journey to Otavalo, north of Quito. Otavalo is one of those places that should be on everyone’s list when visiting Ecuador. This unique city is renowned for its extravagant Saturday market where local Indian residents from surrounding villages trade their animals, often without any money changing hands. The Saturday market also provides the local people the opportunity to sell their handicrafts, textiles, tapestries, ponchos, soft alpaca scarves, Panama hats and much more. While the animal market is only held on Saturdays, the rest of the market selling all the souveniers and handicrafts is available to wander through on the other days.
Day 4: Otovalo Indian Life
Today is a full day of breathtaking sights and culture. This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel or Hacienda to start your first journey to a local village where you can see how the locals live. This village is also famous for the quality of their leather ware, shoes and handbags. Following the village your guide will lead you to the Cuicocha Crater Lake, which lies at the foot of the extinct volcano of Cotocachi at 4968 meters high.
In the afternoon your journey will take you to a local family where you will be shown the art of weaving and the making of musical instruments. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to unwind or to explore the local streets in search of that souvenir to reflect your amazing day.
Day 5: Papallacta splashing in the spa
After your experience in Otavalo (and/or Quito) travelling to Papallacta is a spectacularly scenic journey. Papallacta is a small town renowned for its thermal baths. These thermal baths are located just outside your room for you to relax in while enjoying the view of the nearby snow capped volcano of Anti Sana. Papallacta is a wonderful place to relax and soak up the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape and a great place to trek on the many walking trails around the Hotel to view the wildlife. Enjoy the different kind of massages and facials (not included) the hotel has on offer.
Day 6: Papallacta to Banos
After breakfast your guide will transfer you south to the town of Banos, along the way taking in the beautiful volcanic landscape. As you arrive into Banos you will be taken to your hotel and have the afternoon at leisure to explore the centre by yourself and enjoy a drink in the many outdoor cafés and restaurants around the Town Square.
Day 7: Banos and the Volcano
Banos is a small town but has big attractions, one of them being the active volcano of Tungarahua. Apart from volcano spotting there is also a wide range of activities including cycling to one of the most beautiful and impressive waterfalls of Ecuador, you can also relax in one of the many thermal baths in the surrounding areas naturally heated by the nearby volcanos. Go rafting or canoeing in the Napo river, bungee jumping, see the famous Basilica or see the Virgin of the Holy
Water. Today you can explore Banos the way you like and as there are many options, please speak to your Travel Specialist to assist you with your choices.
Day 8: Banos to Cotopaxi
After breakfast you will be transfered to Cotopaxi, your highest tour of this holiday! The National Park Cotopaxi is named after the snow covered volcano, the Cotopaxi (5,897 meters). It can be very cold at this height, so we advise to put on sufficient warm layers, rain-clothes and good hiking shoes. You will be driven to the parking lot at 4,500 meters from where you walk to 4,800 meters. The climb is “just” 300 meters, but due to the altitude we recommend taking your time. Drink lots of water and stop regularly. If at any point you feel light headed, stop and descend. Once at 4,800 metres, your effort will be rewarded: at the refugio you have a beautiful view over the National Park and other volcanoes like the Ruminahui. Don’t forget to buy a souvenir in the refugio to say you’ve been to that great height!
After the tour you will drive to a beautiful hacienda where you can take a rest at the fireplace.
Day 9: Cotopaxi
This morning you will be picked up for a spectacular ride through the highlands of Ecuador. You will see amazing green colour-plaids, have impressive views over the area and on the fields on which people are working while you are driving by. You will pass places in which it seems that time stands still. You make a stop at the Quilotoa Crater Lake. You´ll have the opportunity to walk to the azure lake.
In 1797 the volcano erupted and left an enormous crater which filled with rainwater. Nowadays the water in the crater has a remarkable colour due to the algae, and routinely changes depending on how and when the sunlight touches the water. Due to the high alkaline content, there are no animals living in the lake. It is optional to walk down to the lake, but just remember that you need to climb up again and it is steep. However, for about $10 per person, you can climb back up on horseback, but don´t expect them to walk fast! Return to Cotopaxi where you will stay the night.
Day 10: Transfer to Quito
After breakfast your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel for your private transfer back up to Quito for 1 night. After arrival in Quito, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 11: Transfer to airport and Flight to Lima
After breakfast you will be transfered from your hotel to Quito airport to board your flight to Lima. (Flight from Quito to Lima is not included in package price). Your stay in Lima is for 1 night.
Lima, Iquitos (Amazon Jungle)
Day 12: Flight Lima to Iquitos
After breakfast you will have a transfer to the airport for your flight from Lima to Iquitos (flight not included in package price). Upon your arrival into Iquitos you will be transferred to the Ceiba Tops lodge situated in the heart of the Amazon jungle. This afternoon you will be able to join in on a hike through the reserve and in the evening there will be local entertainment.
Day 13: Sightseeing Ceiba tops
Today’s exploration into the Amazon starts with a morning boat ride spotting pink dolphins and visiting a small village of Yagua Indians. With approximately 3000 – 4000 surviving Yagua Indians scattered throughout the Amazon basin, it is a unique experience. Your guide can explain the local Yagua Indian culture and how they were affected by the arrival of Europeans and the passing of time. You will have the opportunity to see some of the local crafts and if permitted a demonstration of the hunting blowgun still used by some of the Yagua elders. The local Indians speak the Yagua language, as a result of geographic dispersion of the Yagua Indians combined with outside influences, the use of the Yagua language while still used, is in decline. It will be unique as nowhere else in the world do you hear the Yagua language anymore.
The afternoon is a little more relaxing with a walking excursion to the neighbouring local town of Indiana. This town was originally a Canadian Franciscan Mission. Indiana has now grown into a large river community with its own market, school and hospital.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight Ceiba Tops
Day 14: Ceiba tops/Iquitos to Cusco
This morning you will have the choice of a morning walking or boating excursion to further enjoy the rainforest and Amazon River. In the Afternoon there is a transfer waiting for you for your journey back to Iquitos and to the airport.
Breakfast, Lunch (if departure flight permits)
*Due to the ever-changing nature of the rainforest, day-by-day activities are subject to change due to weather, trail or river conditions.
**We do have other lodges in Iquitos to suit your style and budget, just ask our friendly staff
You will then board the flight from Iquitos to Cusco via Lima. Your journey to Cusco and Machu Picchu starts off with your guide meeting you at your entry point and transferring you to your Cusco hotel. Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and has an elevation of 3400m above sea level. We recommend you spend the rest of first day in Cusco at leisure to allow your body to adjust to the altitude. We suggest also drinking lots of water and cups of coca tea which should be available in the hotel as this will ease the affect altitude can have on some people.
Cusco is also the archaeological capital of America and for good reason. It is one of the most important destinations in Peru and the gateway to one of the world’s most sacred ruins of an amazing ancient culture. With a mix of Spanish and Ancient Incan cultures, there are cobble-stoned streets, interwoven stone walls, Incan buildings, Andean Baroque structures from the Colonial Period like the Cathedral. You can stroll through the picturesque neighbourhood of San Blas or dine in one of the many modern cafes, bars and restaurants.
Cusco sightseeing and Sacred Valley
Day 15: Sightseeing Cusco
It’s an early start to the day with a full day sightseeing tour of Cusco. The tour today takes you to visit the Korikancha (Temple of the Sun), the Cathedral, and then continuing onto the nearby archaeological sites of of Tambomachay (Inca Fountains), Puca-Pukara (the red fortress), Qenko (Sacred site) and finally the famous gigantic Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The many restaurants in your Hotel vicinity will let you sample the delicious Peruvian Cuisine. Overnight in Cusco
Day 16: Journey Cusco to Sacred Valley
Today you will have a full day sightseeing to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The Sacred Valley is home to some breathtaking towns and sites including Maras, Moray, the fortress of Ollantaytambo and Pisac. Seeing these ruins and visiting the towns will enlighten your knowledge of just how sophisticated the Incas were and an insight into their ancient way of life. Enjoy the sights at your leisure and perhaps visit the colourful market of Pisa. Tonight you will stay in the Sacred Valley.
Machu Picchu, Cusco
Day 17: Journey from Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the main attractions when visiting Peru. You have seen postcards, read about it in magazines, seen documentaries and have had it on your list as a “must do” in your life. Today is the day you will not only see Machu Picchu but you will breathe the magic and the beauty of Machu Picchu!
Your full day Machu Picchu tour starts off with a transfer and train to Aquas Calientes for your bus ride up to Machu Picchu, this is an excellent option of those who do not have time to hike the Inca Trail or wish not to. On arrival in Machu Picchu your sightseeing tour of the ruins and entrance fee have been included so you can enjoy Machu Picchu from the moment you arrive at the gates. Soak up the significance of your visit, enjoy the beautiful location and marvel in the intellect and architectural ability of the ancient Incan culture. It is amazing and spectacular just how appropriately located Machu Picchu is in its complimenting surroundings. The Inca Trail Walk can also be arranged for those wishing to experience the beautiful hike to Machu Picchu.
Due to Machu Picchu’s popularity with all travellers, we suggest that you go back for a second visit early the following morning before the trains arrive with the day tours. Spending time in the lost city of the Incas, soaking up the atmosphere without the crowds is a real spiritual experience. Hotels are located in Aguas Calientes and there is the also an option to stay at the Orient Express Hotel at the entrance gate into Machu Picchu. Please advise if you would like us to quote for this.
Also to consider is the climb up Huayna Picchu Mountain, tickets are limited and pre-booking is required. Your guide will be able to assist with this.
After a full day at Machu Picchu, you will be taken to your hotel in Aguas Calientes in the Machu Picchu region to spend the evening at your leisure.
Day 18: Journey Machu Picchu to Cusco
After a relaxing morning in Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes, we will take you back by train back to your Cusco hotel. On arrival into Cusco you have the remainder of the day to relax, dine, wander through the colourful markets or get last minute souvenirs to remember your time here.
Day 19: Depart Cusco
After breakfast your Best of Ecuador and Peru tour concludes with a departure transfer to Cusco Airport