Best of Ecuador

  • 2 Weeks

Colonial treasures, cloud forests, rainforests, teeming markets and wondrous wildlife are all on the menu of this action-packed journey around Ecuador.

Begin the trip in Quito. Spend two days soaking up the architectural gems of the Old Town, then go 2½ hours north to Otavalo for its famous market (best on Saturdays). Spend the night there and squeeze in a hike out to the stunning lakes Laguna de Cuicocha or Lagunas de Mojanda. On the fourth day, go west (via Quito) to the lush cloud forests of Mindo. Overnight in a riverside or mountaintop lodge, then return to Quito for a flight to Cuenca, the colonial jewel of the south. Spend two days exploring 500-year-old churches and visiting the fairy-tale–like setting of Parque Nacional Cajas, 30km to the west. If time allows, visit the Inca ruins of Ingapirca before continuing to Guayaquil for a flight to the Galápagos. Spend four days there, wildlife-watching and island-hopping. For the final part of the Ecuadorian adventure, fly back to Guayaquil and onward (via Quito) to Coca, gateway to the Amazon. Spend three nights at a jungle lodge on the Lower Río Napo, one of the best places to see Ecuador's Amazonian wildlife.