Ecuador travel vacations - Andes tour & Amazon cruise

Andes tour and Amazon cruise

Enjoy Ecuador travel by visiting the Andes and the countries beautiful capital city Quito, a UNESCO cultural heritage site. Quito is a city with unique architecture, colonial buildings that display the best barroque art in South America - specially its churches.

You will get to visit the Equator line and its monument, tour an interactive museum where you will see water spin in diferent directions depending if you are north or south of the Equator.

Cultural encounters in the Northern Andean market of Otavalo and surrounding villages in search of artisan craftmanship.

Head south through the Avenue of volcanoes, ride on the Devils nose and explore Cuenca one of South Americas most beautiful cities and the gem of southern Ecuador.

Cruise the Amazon river on board the Manatee Amazon Explorer, a unique wildlife expedition that includes creature comforts as you learn from the best nature guides about the rainforest and its mysteries.

Itinerary

Day 1 -  Arrive in Quito
Your Tame vacations tour leader will great you at the airport. After a short drive he or she will assist you in checking in at your hotel. Overnight.

Day 2 - Quito & Equator line
Today we explore the city that enamored both Spaniards and Incas. The capital of Ecuador is a true colonial gem with a mystical blend of indigenous and hispanic cultures. You will appreciate how the mix has influenced art and every day culture.

We will visit the Equator line and its monument. The Intiyan museum is included (Sun Path), here we will prove with experiments that you are at the exact location where the Equator line divides the world in two hemispheres.

Overnight in Quito. B, L

Day 3 - Quito - Otavalo - Quito
Drive north from Quito to Calderon (famous for its bread dolls) and to Peguche, where the Otavalo indians do their weaving. Visit the famous Otavalo Indian market. The Otavalo Indians are propsperous tradespeople and their outdoor emporium is loaded with baskets, ponchos, hats, tapestries, leatherwork and woodcarvings. After lunch at a country inn or local hacienda, continue to Cuiocha Lake and Cotacachi Village, known for their leather goods. Afternoon journey back to Quito. 

Overnight in Quito. B, L

Day 4 - Quito-Riobamba 
South of Quito, visit  Mount Cotopaxi and its national park, world’s highest active volcano (5.907 m / 19.400 feet). Lunch en route.  Continue to Riobamba, visit a Indian market and see Ecuador's highest snow capped mountain, Chimborazo (6.310 m. / 20.697 ft.). Brief tour of Riobamba.

Accommodations at a country inn by Riobamba. B, L

Day 5 - Riobamba-Devils Nose-Ingapirca-Cuenca
Take the Andean train, through the Devil's Nose and admire the great scenery. Visit Ingapirca Inca and Canari ruins, the most important archaeological site in Ecuador.

Overnight in Cuenca. B, L

Day 6 - Cuenca
Cobblestone streets, wrought-iron balconies, and flowered plazas. Market places and handicrafts. Colonial cathedral, convents and museums. Visit a straw-hat export enterprise. Free afternoon to continue exploring this beautiful city, there are many options, you can walk around the dowtown of Cuenca for days and always find something interesting.

Overnight in Cuenca. B

Day 7 - Cuenca - Cajas - Quito 
Today we visit the boxed lakes at Cajas National Park, more than  200 lakes and spectacular landscapes. Great opportunity to see andean flora and highland birds. If you are very lucky, you might spot an Andean Condor. Lunch at a local trout farm. Afternoon flight to Quito.

Overnight in Quito. B, L

Day 8 - Quito - Amazon rainforest
Depart from Quito in the morning (11:00), flight to Francisco de Orellana (Coca), arriving to Coca at around 12:00. Transfer to the Napo River port then the motorized canoe ride downstream will be approximately one hour and 30 minutes. Once aboard the Manatee Amazon Explorer will start navigating downstream. The courteous crew will attend to your needs and the guides will introduce you to the surprising Amazon world, its people, more than 600 species of birds, and hundreds of botanical wonders. The Manatee sails along different ecosystems and important natural reserves such as the Yasuní National Park and the Limoncocha Biological Reserve.

Overnight on board the Manatee. B, L, D

Day 9 Amazon Rainforest : Terra Firmae Forest, Lakes and Gorges
Morning disembarkation for a stroll on terra firmae forest, towards an internal lagoon on the Yasuní National Park, observing the different ecosystems and accompanied by the naturalist guide. The excursion includes the opportunity to swim and fish for the famous piranha, time to rest and lunch. The return to the mighty Napo River will be on board a native canoe, rowing along a small black water creek or gorge.

Overnight on board the Manatee. B, L, D.

Day 10 Amazon rainforest: Parrots and the Limoncocha Biological Reserve
Early departure by motor canoe to visit a very special corner of the jungle, the clay banks of the river where different species of parrots gather daily to eat this clay that helps them digest the seeds they feed on, it is quite a sight, colorful and noisy! Then, back aboard the Manatee to sail upriver and reach one of the tributaries of the Napo to observe the flora and fauna, the surprising pygmy monkeys and then a trek to the facilities of what used to be South America's Summer Institute of Linguistics in Limoncocha, currently the only Biological Reserve of Ecuador.

Upon reaching the Limoncocha Lake, we will board a canoe and travel along the banks of this marshy ecosystem, where over 470 species of birds have been recorded. There is a possibility to fish for piranha, and for a short walk. At night, it is possible to observe the black caimans that inhabit the lagoon; quite an experience... Late return to the Manatee for dinner

Overnight on board the Manatee. B, L, D.

DAY 11 Amazon rainforest : Culture / The Amazonian man / Giants of the Forest
The adventure today begins with a visit to the Museum of Pompeya, a small archaeological sample with Amazonian funeral urns that date back several centuries, as well as utensils and ways of life of the ancient denizens of the rain forest, which can still be seen today. We will also have the opportunity to see the giant trees of the Amazon, like the kapok, which rises over the forest canopy to more than 40 meters high, with huge, protruding roots. Guests can also try rowing the canoes on a tranquil tributary of the Napo River up to the house of a native family, to share a moment with them and learn their ways of life.

Overnight on board the Manatee. B, L, D.

Day 12 Amazon rainforest - Quito
While the Manatee navigates upriver, the guides wrap up our knowledge of the great Amazon region. Then transfer to the airport for the flight to Quito. Free afternoon.

Overnight in Quito. B.

Day 13 Quito - Home ( or trip extension )
Your tour leader will say farewell as he or she escorts you to the airport for your flight home. B


 Tour details

Departs: Every Monday, all year round. Minimum 2 passengers.

Includes: Private transportation, all airport transfers, English speaking tour leader throughout itinerary, guided excursions, park and museum entrance fees, meals as listed in itinerary (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= Dinner), flight Cuenca to Quito, roundtrip flight Quito - Francisco Orellana (Coca) - Quito, 8 nights lodging at 4 star hotels throughout the itinerary, 4 night cruise on board the Manatee Amazon Explorer, guided Amazon hikes with nature guides.

Does not Include: Meals not listed, gratuities, personal expenses, trip insurance, airport departure taxes, all other items not listed.