Travel company Fairaway is offering unique travel experiences that are not only sustainable but can be entirely customised based on your individual needs together with a local travel expert. One of their recommended trips is covering all-round insights of Ecuador. From North to South, from city to mountain villages, from adventure to relaxing in nature – this Ecuador Round Trip will show you the highlights of the small country in South America.
Ecuador Round Trip: From Start to Finish
The Ecuador Round Trip will start in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and finish in Guayaquil. You will be amazed by the diversity of landscape and vibrance of the cities and villages you come across in between these two cities. After spending a few days in the capital you will continue to Otavalo, a paradise for those that love to get lost in markets. On the Saturday market you can not only shop for colourful fabrics and carvings, but you can surely buy the best souvenirs!
Afterwards you will travel to Tena, the entrance of one of the largest rainforests in the world: the Amazon rainforest. You stay here for a few days in a lodge to experience the nature and get to know the people of the Amazon region. Baños, the hotspot when it comes to adrenaline activities, is also waiting for you with a special treat. After passing the hot springs there, you will head to the mountain village of Guamote, where you get to know the traditional life in the mountains. As the last highlight of this trip, you will travel to Cuenca, known as the most beautiful city in the country, before returning home via Guayaquil.
Ecuador Round Trip: Schedule
Day 1: Arrival in Quito
Today you arrive in the capital of Ecuador. The city is on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage sites because of the many buildings in colonial style, most of them were built by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Stroll along the colonial houses and churches and sit in one of the street cafes on one of the many squares surrounded by shops and restaurants.
Day 2: Quito
On this day you to get to know Quito and the surrounding area. During a city tour, you can visit the St. Francisco Church, where you can buy a candle and some incense sticks, which can be lit in the church. Later on, you can visit the “La Escuela Taller”, a school for street children, which prepares them for different professions and offers them a better future. By visiting the school you can donate some material if you like to. On an optional excursion at noon you can go to “La Mitad del Mundo”, where, according to a French expedition from 1743, you will stand exactly on the equator. Among other things, you can find here a monument to praise the participants of the expedition from 1743 and around the corner there is a museum with an exhibition of the indigenous population groups of the country.
Day 3: Quito to Otavalo
Today you travel to Otavalo, a city known for its indigenous market. In the past the market was only held on Saturdays and it is often described in the tour guides, but the market is currently open every day because of the high demand. However, the market is still the largest on Saturday.
Day 4: Otavalo
Everywhere in the city you can see colourful fabrics, wool sweaters and carvings. Otavalo is the perfect place to buy souvenirs! On an optional tour, you can visit the villages around Otavalo, where you will get an insight into various indigenous crafts. The tour offers, besides the possibility to buy souvenirs, also an impression of the life of the indigenous population. Today you will sleep at a local farm.
Day 5: Otavalo to Tena
You travel by private transport to Tena, so you can make a stop at the thermal baths of Papallacta if you like to. When you arrive in Tena you will drive with a motorised canoe for 20 minutes across the river into the tropical jungle. The Amazon rainforest is one of the largest rainforests in the world and is the only preserved rainforest in Ecuador. Here you will stay one night in a lodge inside the forest.
Day 6: Tena
Early in the morning you get into the canoe to admire the so-called “claylick” of the parrots. This is a unique place where parrots and parakeets gather to “lick” minerals. This allows them to better digest the fruits and seeds. In addition to that you will hike along the banks of the river to see the smallest monkeys in the world, the Titi monkeys. Enjoy the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest on your way! At noon it is time for a cultural activity. The Kichwa community, a community on the Amazon, shows you all about their life and about their relationship to the rainforest.
Day 7: Tena to Baños
It is time to continue your Ecuador round trip and leave the Amazon and its inhabitants. Today you will travel by private transport to Baños. Baños is located at 1800 meters altitude at the foot of the volcano Tungurahua. As people say, the hot springs of Baños have a healing effect.
Day 8: Baños
Today you have all the time in the world to enjoy the hot springs of Baños. You can also spend the day a bit more actively. Ride or hike along the canyon of the Pastaza River for example. We recommend as well a mountain biking tour through this area.
Day 9: Baños to Guamote
Today you leave Baños and continue to Guamote. On the way, you can optionally stop at the Chimborazo National Park. Mount Chimborazo is 6310 meters high, that makes it the highest mountain in Ecuador. You can admire a snow-capped peak from the parking lot or get closer to a mountain chalet at 5000 meters. On the way you can encounter Vikunjas, a rare species of llama. The day ends in Guamote, a small, remote village in the mountains. Here you will stay in an inn.
Day 10: Guamote
Today you can make 2 optional excursions. During a tour in a jeep you will learn about the traditional way of life of the people living here. They live partly in clay (choza) huts and, among other things, make Ponchos from llama wool. This way you get to know the authentic life in the mountains. You can also take a trip to the lakes of Ozogoche, a few lakes 20 kilometers from Guamote. The lakes are famous, as hundreds of birds kill themselves during the birdwatching (around September), immersing themselves in ice-cold water. A strange phenomenon,the cause is still unclear.
Day 11: Guamote to Cuenca
You say goodbye to your host family and travel further. Today, you can make an optional trip by train via the “Devil’s Nose” or Nariz del Diablo. This is followed by an impressive ride with various serpentine and zigzag routes downhill. The journey takes about 2.5 hours. Although it is difficult to get train tickets, we do our best for you if you want to make the experience. Your day ends in Cuenca.
Day 12: Cuenca
Cuenca is situated at an altitude of 2350 meters and is considered by many people to be the most beautiful city in Ecuador, since you can take a stroll through history. Cuenca is the cultural center of the country and has many art galleries and museums, which are mostly placed in historical buildings. In Cuenca you can visit an impressive cathedral that has become a symbol of the city with its high, sky-blue domes. You can also drive to Ingapirca, the largest ruin of the Incas in Ecuador. This structure consists of stones with irregular shapes that interlock with incredible precision.
Day 13: Cuenca to Guayaquil
On the way to Guayaquil you will travel amongst the mountains to the tropical coast with banana plantations. Guayaquil is the largest city of Ecuador and due the port it is the economic heart of the country. On the way to Guayaquil you can stop at El Cajas National Park. The park is located about 30 kilometers from Cuenca. The nature is almost untouched and has a rough character. There are hundreds of small lakes. During a hike you can enjoy the landscape and with a bit of luck even see a condor.
Day 14: Departure from Guayaquil
Your Ecuador round trip has come to an end today. You will either get on the plane to fly home, or you decide to extend the journey and take the boat towards the Galapagos Islands.
Round Trip Ecuador: Price Overview
Travel duration: 14 days / 13 nights
Price: From € 997, – per Person (on the conditions of 2 travellers in the low season)
For individual requests, more details and booking requests of the Ecuador Round Trip, please check out the travel itinerary on the Fairaway website or get in touch directly with Lukas, the travel expert in Ecuador: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© All photos via Fairaway