andes mountains

Andes travel and Diving at Galapagos

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andes mountains
Enjoy the highlights of the mainland of Ecuador. Start you tour in Quito, go to the north and explore the Otavalo Region, hike through the Cotopaxi National Park where you can have amazing views of the surrounding volcanoes, get to the blue Quilotoa Crater Lagoon, take part in the amazing train ride through the Andes, and then relax in the quite atmosphere of the colonial town of Cuenca before travelling to the coast from where you will fly to the Galapagos Islands. Enjoy your time on board of the dive ships that visit Darwin & Wolf.

Overview Itinerary
Day 01: Arrival in Quito – City Tour
Day 02: Calderon – Cayambe, Hacienda Guachala
Day 03: Otavalo Indio Market – Hacienda Pinsaqui
Day 04: El Angel Nature Reserve – Hacienda Pinsaqui
Day 05: Cotopaxi National Park – Hacienda la Cienega
Day 06: Latacunga – Zumbahua – Quilotoa Crater Lagoon
Day 07: Train Trip – Ingapirca – Cuenca
Day 08: Cuenca – Guayaquil
Day 09: Guayaquil – Galapagos
Day 10: North Seymour, 2 dives
Day 11: Wolf or Darwin, 4 dives
Day 12: Wolf or Darwin, 4 dives
Day 13: Wolf or Darwin, 4 dives
Day 14: Isabela Island – Cape Marshall, 4 dives
Day 15: Island Santiago – Cousins, 2 dives – Sullivan Bay / Bartolome (snorkeling)
Day 16: San Cristobal – Galapaguera, flight back to Guayaquil, international flight
Detailed Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival in Quito – City Tour
Arrival in Quito, the capital of Ecuador (2.850m). We will pick you up at the airport and bring you to the Hotel Mercure Alameda, which is situated in the modern centre of the city. After a short break you will start a city tour. Starting from the hotel you will visit the historic colonial quarter of Quito, resplendent with its churches, gilded altars and religious sculptures and paintings dating from the 17th; 18th and 19th centuries. The tour continues through narrow streets, ancient colonial houses with Moorish-style arches and mysterious patios to El Panecillo, and a neutral vantage point for an overwhelming view of the city. In the evening your guide will inform you of the details of your travel, while you can sip a welcome cocktail. -/L/-
Day 02: Calderon – Cayambe, Hacienda Guachala
The trip will start on the Panamericana towards the North, to a city called Calderon. Calderon is famous for its little ornaments made of marzipan and bread dough. After that you make your way through the Guayllabamba-valley to the village Cayambe that is situated down at the majestic volcano Cayambe (5790 m). You will have lunch in a typical restaurant for this region. In the afternoon you will reach the picturesque Hacienda Guachala. You will explore its surrounding area while you take a little walk. You will have dinner in the Hacienda and spend the night. B/L/D
Day 03: Otavalo Indio Market – Hacienda Pinsaqui
You will visit Otavalo early in the morning. This is one of South America’s most famous Indian markets. It offers an excellent selection of woven tapestries, blankets, hand-knit sweaters, pottery and more. It’s a paradise for souvenirs. After lunch in a typical Otavalenian restaurant you will visit the Cuicocha Lake in the crater of an ancient volcano, which is surrounded by typical highland vegetation. Subsequently you will go to the small village of Cotacachi, famous for its fine leatherwork. At the evening you will reach the Hacienda Pinsaqui. Dinner and accommodation. B/L/D
Day 04: El Angel Nature Reserve – Hacienda Pinsaqui
You will continue the journey along the Pan-American north passing by El Valle del Chota towards El Páramo del Angel. Enjoy a short walk through this spectacular high altitude Andean landscape similar to the arctic tundra. In this area grows the endemic plant Frailejones Gigantes, which measures about one meter. With luck you will also see a Condor soaring overhead. Lunch en route. In the afternoon you will return for dinner and accommodation to the Hacienda Pinsaqui. B/L/D
Day 05: Cotopaxi National Park – Hacienda la Cienega
Early in the morning the way will lead you south via Quito to the Cotopaxi National Park (about 4 hours drive time). You will stop here at the visitor centre Campamento Mariscal Sucre to visit the natural science museum. Continue the way to the lagoon Limpiopungo where you have the opportunity to cast a glance of the giant and majestic volcano Cotopaxi. Short walk at 3.800 m. After lunch you will drive to the nearby 300 years old Hacienda La Cienega. Enjoy the flair of this colonial house with its colonial chapel and the flower garden surrounded by ancient trees. In this nostalgic atmosphere you will spend the night. Dinner and accommodation. B/L/D
Day 06: Latacunga – Zumbahua – Quilotoa Crater Lagoon
During the 6-hour roundtrip by car you will see the region of Chugchilan, which is one of the most impressing places of Ecuador. You begin in direction South to Zumbuahua. It is a small, colored village with 40 families. 10 km north lays the blue and green glimmering volcano lagoon of Quilotoa. This lake is one of the most beautiful volcano lakes in the Ecuadorian Andes. From the crater you can see the different snow topped volcanoes far-off. Then you will continue to Riobamba, where we will spend the night at the Hostería Abraspungo. B/L/D
Day 07: Train Trip – Ingapirca – Cuenca
After breakfast you will go to the train station where a breathtaking train ride will start. This line from the year 1902 is still a technical masterpiece and it is the steepest line of the world. On this historic steam train you will enjoy unbelievable views of valleys, pasturelands and picturesque towns along the way. At the most spectacular point the train descends a 600-meter vertical cliff known as the Devil’s Nose. After the train adventure you will drive to Cuenca, a city renowned for its colonial splendor. Stop en route to visit Ingapirca, Ecuador’s most impressive Inca site. The name means in the Quechua language „stonewall of the Incas“. You will see the fine stonework and characteristic trapezoidal niches and doorways. Accommodation in Cuenca at the Hotel El Dorado. B/L/-
Day 08: Cuenca – Guayaquil
Today you will have a half day to explore the colonial town, museums and churches including the 17-century flower market of Cuenca. The cobblestone streets emphasize the cozy atmosphere of this city, which is known as the cultural metropolis and centre of art in Ecuador. Lunch at a typical Ecuadorian restaurant. In the afternoon you will fly to Guayaquil, the biggest city of Ecuador. Upon arrival you will be picked up and taken to the Hotel Oro Verde. B/L/-