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A Culinary Trip through the Ecuadorian Andes

8 Days

During your visit to Ecuador, you will embark on a captivating journey through Quito and its surrounding areas. Upon arrival at Quito Airport, a private transfer will whisk you away to your hotel in the city center. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant craft beer culture with a tour that offers a delightful sampling of award-winning beers. Discover the rich history and architectural wonders of Quito on a guided city tour, exploring its UNESCO World Heritage Sites and breathtaking mountain views. Delve into Ecuador’s traditional cuisine through a hands-on cooking class and indulge in the flavors of local dishes. The adventure continues with visits to the famous Otavalo Market, Cuicocha Lagoon, Pasochoa Volcano, and the picturesque Isinliví town. Marvel at the beauty of Cotopaxi National Park, hike to the Quilotoa Lagoon, and experience the local markets and traditions. Finally, bid farewell to Ecuador as you are transferred back to Quito Airport for your departure, carrying cherished memories of an unforgettable journey.

This offer is valid until 31 December 2024

Overview

During your visit to Ecuador, you will embark on a captivating journey through Quito and its surrounding areas. Upon arrival at Quito Airport, a private transfer will whisk you away to your hotel in the city center. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant craft beer culture with a tour that offers a delightful sampling of award-winning beers. Discover the rich history and architectural wonders of Quito on a guided city tour, exploring its UNESCO World Heritage Sites and breathtaking mountain views. Delve into Ecuador’s traditional cuisine through a hands-on cooking class and indulge in the flavors of local dishes. The adventure continues with visits to the famous Otavalo Market, Cuicocha Lagoon, Pasochoa Volcano, and the picturesque Isinliví town. Marvel at the beauty of Cotopaxi National Park, hike to the Quilotoa Lagoon, and experience the local markets and traditions. Finally, bid farewell to Ecuador as you are transferred back to Quito Airport for your departure, carrying cherished memories of an unforgettable journey.

Highlights

  • Craft Beer Tour in Quito: Experience the vibrant craft beer culture.
  • Quito City Tour and Cooking Class: Dive into Ecuador's history and cuisine
  • Otavalo Market & Cuicocha Lagoon: Explore local markets and natural beauty.
  • Pasochoa Volcano Trek: Discover amazing landscapes and local fauna
  • Quilotoa Lagoon: Visit the stunning turquoise crater lake.

Daily Schedul

Day Highlights Location
Day 1 Arrival in Quito, Craft Beer Tour in Quito Quito
Day 2 Quito City Tour, Quito Cooking Class Quito
Day 3 Otavalo Market & Cuicocha Lagoon Quito
Day 4 Pasochoa Volcano Trek, Empanada Making Quito to Cotopaxi
Day 5 Explore Cotopaxi National Park Cotopaxi to Isinlivi
Day 6 Free Day in Isinlivi, Cheese Factory Visit Isinlivi
Day 7 Quilotoa Lagoon Isinlivi to Quito
Day 8 Chocolate Tasting in Quito, Departure

Itinerary

Transfer from Quito Airport to the City

Craft Beer Tour in Quito
Enjoy the opportunity of sampling a variety of award winning beers made in Ecuador. This refreshing and delicious tour lets you dive into Quito’s craft beer culture, expanding your knowledge of beer and the history of the city along the way.

Day 2 :

Quito City Tour
Explore Quito with a guided tour, and see why it’s designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At 9,350 feet (2,850 m), Eucador’s capital is one of the highest cities in the world, with plazas organized among
Andes mountain peaks. See Baroque La Compañía church with its gold-covered interior, and neo-Gothic La Basílica. Take a walk down La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in the city, then head to Panecillo Hill for skyline views.

Quito Cooking Class
Today is your chance to learn about—and taste—Ecuador’s traditional cooking with dishes such as locro de papa (potato stew), bolon de verde (plantain dumplings), and encocado de pescado (fish in coconut sauce). Meet a local Quito chef for a trip to a market to buy the ingredients needed for each dish. Learn about the recipes and then follow steps to create a meal to share with your group.

Leave Quito today and head into the Northern Andes, more precisely into Imbabura province, still home to a large First Nations population. Start the day by visiting the famous, colorful market of Otavalo, where you can find everything you can think about. Handmade jewelry, traditional clothes, typical food, fresh fruit juice, and many souvenirs. Dive into the narrow passageways with all your senses and get lost in this
overwhelming place.

Afterward, we will leave Otavalo and drive a bit farther north until reaching the beautiful Cuicocha Lagoon at the foot of the Cotacachi Volcano. It was formed by a massive eruption approximately 3.100 years ago and contains two forested islands in the middle of the lake, a beautiful photo spot. If you want, follow the crater rim trail leading to various viewpoints. After a day full of new and unforgettable impressions, we head back to Quito in the late afternoon.

Day 4 :

Pasochoa Volcano Trek
Today you’ll spend the day hiking on a volcano near Quito. The Pasochoa Volcano is a beautiful 13,770- foot (4,199 m) high peak, surrounded by a humid cloud forest that’s home to over one hundred species of birds and fifty species of endemic plants.

This hike is also one of the best places to see the famous Andean Condor, and the climb up to the top offers wonderful views of the mighty Cotopaxi and the other surrounding volcanoes. It takes approximately 2-3 hours to ascend, and you can hike up to all summits—there is a beautiful trail leading across three small summits in total—or just head to the most prominent one. After descending, you will travel southwards and spend the night close to the Cotopaxi National Park.

Empanada Making
This hands-on cooking class is suitable for experts, families, and avid amateur chefs who want to experience regional gastronomy and traditions. The class starts with a cooking lesson of the famous cheese empanadas recipe, followed by the elaboration of ají (hot sauce). Ají is a very important part of Ecuadorian cuisine, and you will learn how to
make it the traditional way: on a stone mortar and seasoned with various herbs and spices. We will also learn how to prepare the delicious canelazo, a traditional hot drink that is commonly served on celebrations in the highlands of Ecuador.

Your adventure takes you into the Cotopaxi National Park today.

Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanoes on earth, and the views of its perfectly shaped cone and the surrounding volcanoes are incredible. The park is also home to wild horses which can sometimes be spotted. With a bit of luck, you might even spot an Andean Condor!

During a walk around Limpiopungo Lagoon, your guide will explain to you the high altitude flora and fauna. Afterwards, if you are up for it, you can trek upwards to the refuge Jose Rivas at 4.800m – and even further to the base of the glacier! Alternatively, you could do a 2-hours horseback riding through the National Park
(optional).

In the afternoon, we continue our journey towards the Quilotoa Lake, where we will spend the night close to the lagoon in a cozy mountain lodge.

Today you’ll have a free day to explore Isinliví at your own pace! Choose from countless activities in this picturesque small town and its Andean surroundings. There are dozens of interesting hikes of varying lengths to choose from. You can also visit a local market, take a tour of a local cheese factory, or go horseback riding—it’s up to you!

Optional activities you can try:

Cheese Factory Visit
It’s just a 45-minute hike up the hills behind the village of Isinliví to reach the beautiful cheese farm of Señora Magaly Hernandez. Her family has been making fresh cheese for over 45 years, and she is now running her business together with her husband Marco, their four children and nine grandchildren.

Magaly has a large property where she also raises her own cows, but she also collects milk every day from the tiny farms in the surrounding mountains of Isinliví, since these farmers often don’t have the means to
transport their milk to the big cities; the Cheese Factory in Isinliví is of great economic importance to them!

Calvary Hike
Today you can hike to the Calvary hilltop where you’ll have an amazing view over the Toachi Canyon, the Toachi River, and the village of Isinliví. This pre-Columbian hilltop was originally called Ñuñurco and used by the Incas as a strategic viewpoint from where they could be on the lookout for intruders in their territory. It is recommended to visit the Calvary early in the morning to see the sunrise or in the late afternoon when the clouds come in for epic photographs

Ñahuira Hilltop Hike
After breakfast in Isinliví, you’ll take a beautiful short hike called Ñahuira. This is an ideal trail to get acclimated to your new surroundings. For the local people, the Ñahuira hilltop represents old indigenous culture and beliefs and is the subject of local myths and legends. It’s also a great place to catch stunning views of the surrounding mountaintops with the Quilotoa crater rim in the distance. Though the climb to the top can get quite steep, you’ll find the views worth it in the end!

Pujilí / Saquisilí Market Visit
Today, depending on the weekday, we will visit one of the traditional Andean markets, for example Pujilí or Saquisilí. These Andean villages with largely indigenous population host a weekly market where farmers from all around the region gather to offer their goods. Take a stroll over the market and try exotic food!

Private group · 7 hours · Breakfast Included
Driving through the beautiful Andes, our visit takes us to the stunning turquoise crater lake of Quilotoa today, the pinnacle of the ecological reserve of Ilinizas and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes.

You have the chance to hike down into the crater for approx. 45-60 minutes. At the bottom, you have the opportunity to hire a kayak to paddle into the middle of the lake and take another glimpse of the jawdropping 360-degree views. We will walk back up the trail to the edge of the crater after spending some time enjoying the view.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to head down to the lake, you can follow the path at the crater rim to various viewpoints. After lunch at the top (optional), we continue our journey to Ecuador’s capital Quito.

It’s time to say goodbye to Ecuador! Enjoy a leisurely morning in Quito before your driver transfers you to Quito Airport for your ongoing departure. Safe travels

Cost

Included

  • - Private Airport transfers in Quito
  • - Accommodation in selected hotels
  • - Private English-speaking guide and transportation thought the whole itinerary
  • - Activities as mentioned in the itinerary (subject to change)

Excludes

  • International flights
  • The meals not mentioned in the trip plan
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance, and repatriation insurance
  • Optional excursions, activities, and optional tours
  • Reservations marked as “reserved by traveler” are reservations that the traveler is responsible for directly.
  • These items are not reserved or supported by authenticecuador and are included in the trip plan just for completeness

    From $1745
    / Adult
    • Location Highlights
    • 8 DAYS
    • Quito, Otavalo Market, Cuicocha Lagoon, Pasochoa Volcano, Cotopaxi National Park, Quilotoa Lagoon
    • Starting at $1745

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