Explore Ecuador & Peru

National Geographic Journeys, Quito to Lima

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Experience some of South America’s incredible sites on a 16-day adventure that brings together the awe-inspiring landscapes of Ecuador and the vivid cultures of Peru. Explore the Amazon rainforest and sleep under its living, orchestral canopy during two days at our jungle lodge; follow in the footsteps of the Incas at iconic Machu Picchu; and feel at home among the people of the Sacred Valley. From the cacophony of the Amazon to the silent beauty of the Andes, echoes of this experience will resound long after the trip is over.

What’s included

  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Otavalo Weaving Lesson, Otavalo National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Amazon Home Experience, Tena National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park, Baños National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Traditional Andean Experience, Urubamba National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Cusco Planetarium, Cusco G Adventures for Good: Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), Urubamba G Adventures for Good: Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley, Lamay Recharge: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit, Papallacta Carte Blanche: Cusco
  • Arrival transfer
  • Community local lunch
  • Overnight in an historic hacienda
  • Explore the Otavalo handicraft market
  • Cloud forest reserve visit
  • Three-day (2 nts) at an Amazon lodge with jungle excursions
  • Excursion to Cotopaxi National Park
  • Two-day Sacred Valley tour including Ollantaytambo, Moray, and Pisac ruins, and pre-Incan salt pans
  • Traditional pachamanca-style dinner
  • Scenic train ride and guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Visit the otavalo weaving studio and get a lesson from miguel andrango
  • Explore the cusco planetarium
  • Learn about the relationship between cultures and the plants around them at the omaere ethnobotanical park
  • Enjoy an adobe and ceramic making demonstration in a small community
  • Traverse the amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide

Itinerary

Day 1 Quito Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included. Additional Notes: Booking pre- or post-trip accommodation is highly recommended to fully experience the city and take advantage of the optional activities available. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 2 Quito/Otavalo (1B, 1L) Spend a night in the Otavalo area and visit its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables. One of the most obvious signs of the Otavaleños’ cultural integrity is their traditional dress. This is not just worn for the tourists at the Saturday market, but is worn throughout their daily life. Otavalo is famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday animal market. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products were transported from the eastern lowlands and traded for highland goods. Today's market has two different functions: the local market for buying and selling animals, food, and other essentials, and the crafts market for the tourists and other interested people. Included Activities: Peguche Community Visit Otavalo Handicrafts Market Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Otavalo/Papallacta (1B) Visit the home and studio of Don Miguel to learn how the Indigenous people of the Otavalo region have used the backstrap loom to create their woven goods. Continue to the Papallacta Hot Springs Resort for a dip in hot springs, optional spa treatments, and hiking excursions. There is plenty of time to soak, relax, and enjoy the mountain views. Included Activities: Otavalo Weaving Lesson Papallacta Hot Springs Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 4 Papallacta/Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) The lodge is located along the bank of the Arajuno River approx. 40min. from Tena. We stay in comfortable cabañas next to the river, which have private bathroom with hot water in the rainfall-shower, electricity and a balcony. From your balcony, you can relax in a hammock or deck chair and observe hummingbirds, shore river birds and butterflies. In the evening, listen to the night music of the multitude of frogs and other nocturnal creatures. The Lodge also has an open-air lounge with pool and full service bar, all connected by a raised and roofed boardwalk to guests rooms. The lodge is dedicated to protecting the pristine jungle environment and has a dedicated recycling program, energy conservation program and offer biodegradable amenities including shampoo and shower gel in the bathrooms. Included Activities: Guango Cloud Forest Excursion Amazon Night Walk Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 5 Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) Depart early by canoe to visit a parrot clay lick (Saladero). With our naturalist guide, view parrots and parakeets who gather to eat the mineral-rich clay which helps them digest fruit and seeds. Return to the lodge for breakfast then continue on to visit AmaZOOnico, an animal rescue centre that rehabilitates, reintroduces, and cares for animals who are victims of illegal trafficking. Later, enjoy a unique cultural experience at a local family’s home. Meet the family to learn about their traditions and what daily life is like in the Amazon. Included Activities: Parrot Clay Lick Excursion AmaZOOnico Animal Rescue Centre Visit Amazon Home Experience
Day 6 Tena/Baños (1B) Baños is one of the most popular spots in the country. Many Ecuadorian families vacation here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Baños means “baths” and this is precisely what the town is famous for. Some are thermal springs from the base of Tungurahua Volcano, which means “little hell” in Quichua. Other baths have melt water running into them from Tungurahua's glaciated flanks. Locals swear that the baths are good for your health; it’s definitely worth rising early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains from a hot spring vantage point. Included Activities: Visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 7 Baños (1B) The town is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits. Activities include horseback riding, canyoneering, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rafting on the River Patate.
Day 8 Baños/Quito (1B) Drive back to Quito along the scenic Avenue of Volcanoes with a visit to Cotopaxi National Park en route. Enjoy stunning views of the perfectly shaped volcano (it's one of the highest active volcanoes in the world). Included Activities: Cotopaxi National Park Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00-9.00 hours)
Day 9 Quito/Lima (1B) Catch a flight to Peru and transfer to our hotel in Lima.
Day 10 Lima/Urubamba (1B, 1D) Board an early flight to Cusco then head to the Sacred Valley. Explore the pre-Inca salt pans of Las Salineras and tour the Maras and Moray ruins. Enjoy a traditional pachamanca-style meal of local specialties. Additional Notes: There are some very early morning starts on this trip to make the best use of our time and see as much as we can of Peru in a week. Included Activities: Moray Ruins Guided Tour Las Salineras Pre-Incan Salt Pans Guided Tour Traditional Pachamanca Dinner Transport: Plane (1.00-1.50 hours) Times includes all stops and visits enroute through the Sacred Valley. Private Vehicle (6.00-8.00 hours, 95km)
Day 11 Urubamba (1B, 1L) Continue exploring the Sacred Valley with a visit to the “Parque de la Papa” (“Potato Park”). An exclusive experience for Journeys travellers and part of G Adventures for Good, you'll walk through this rural community with a local guide to learn about potato cultivation, weaving, and the importance of both to Andean culture. Also, explore the Ollantaytambo and Pisac ruins and visit the G Adventures-supported Sacred Valley Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo. Included Activities: Traditional Andean Experience Parque de la Papa (Potato Park) Pisac Ruins Guided Tour Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley Ollantaytambo Ruins Guided Tour Transport: Times includes all stops and visits enroute through the Sacred Valley. Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours)
Day 12 Urubamba/Aguas Calientes (1B) For serious archaeology buffs, there is time for an optional independent visit to Machu Picchu before the guided tour the following morning. Additional Notes: Please bear in mind that the town has several amenities, but is also geographically remote meaning services are sometimes more basic than one would assume. As the only option for travellers visiting Machu Picchu, the development of infrastructure has happened quite quickly, much without proper planning, and the focus on providing quality service may not be up to the standards experienced in other parts of the country. Those who have chosen the option in advance to hike the "1-day Inca Trail" will disembark the train at km 104 to begin the trek. The trail rises steeply up into the mountains and will take hikers past the archaeological sites of Wiñay Wayna and Inti Pata, where the local guide will provide insights into the fascinating culture of the Incas en route to the trek's culmination at the Sun Gate. Enjoy a packed lunch along the way and reach the Sun Gate in the late afternoon with a chance for a preliminary exploration of Machu Picchu before the guided tour on Day 5. Transfer by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes to rejoin the group and spend the night in a hotel. If time permits, take an optional visit to the nearby hot springs to soak your sore muscles. 1-day Inca Trail option: Approximate Distance: 11 km Estimated hiking Time: 5-6 hours Transport: Private Vehicle (1.00-2.00 hours) Train (1.50 hour(s))
Day 13 Aguas Calientes/Cusco (1B) Enjoy a guided tour of the Machu Picchu ruins. Get free time to explore on your own or take an optional visit to the Inca Bridge before returning to Cusco by train. Included Activities: Machu Picchu Guided Tour Transport: Local bus (0.25 hour(s)) Train (2.00-3.00 hours, 118km) Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 95km)
Day 14 Cusco (1B) Please remember that star gazing is completely weather dependent and sometimes there can be cloudy skies. Additional Notes: Please note that if you pre-book the Peru Culinary Bundle, on day 6 you will be picked up from your hotel at approx 12:30 and taken to a local market and restaurant to prepare and enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal. You will return back to your hotel around 16:00. Included Activities: Cusco Planetarium
Day 15 Cusco/Lima (1B) Fly back to Lima and spend an afternoon in Peru's bustling capital. Transport: Plane (1.50-2.00 hours, 572km)
Day 16 Lima (1B) Depart at any time. Additional Notes: Your CEO can help arrange an optional transfer to the airport. Included Activities: Departure Day
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