The Best of Mainland tour combines the three major areas of the mainland portion of the country. All of these areas are distinctively different, part of what makes this trip unique and exciting. You will explore the highlands of Ecuador home of volcanoes, Indian markets, colonial cities, Indian communities, impressive landscapes, rivers and lakes. You will also visit the exotic and mysterious Amazon Jungle, a beautiful and peaceful area, and one of the richest rainforest environments on earth. Explore this gigantic and mysterious jungle home to a rich diversity of animals, plants and home to several Indigenous communities of Ecuador. Your trip will also take to you to the coastal area of Ecuador where you will travel along the Route of the Sun, visiting charming Fishermen towns and explore one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador enjoying amazing locations along the coastal area. Here you will see the beautiful nature and different traditions and culture of this region.
If you want to get a full taste of what mainland Ecuador is all about, and get a taste of the various different environments that Ecuador has to offer, this package will take you to the main regions of Ecuador outside of the Galapagos islands.
When you arrive in Ecuador, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your charming hotel in Quito, where you will receive your full itinerary and information about Ecuador and your trip. Accommodation Hotel Mercure
After breakfast, your will visit “Quito” the most beautiful and colonial city in South America, declared by UNESCO part of the Cultural Heritage of mankind. You will explore the colonial part of the city and you will start in the Independence square, with the presidential palace, the city hall, the Sagrario church and the Cathedral.
You will then, visit San Francisco church and museum-monastery (1535), the San Agustin monastery and the finest example of baroque art in America, La Compañía church (1605) and its breathtaking gilded altars. You will then visit the art & crafts gallery of Tianguez and finally, drive up to the Panecillo hill and enjoy an amazing view of Quito from above, and admire the only winged-Virgin statue in South America. This is a great spot to take pictures above Quito;
After visiting the Colonial center of Quito you will arrive to the Middle of the World Monument and Museum, which is located 25 km north of Ecuador’s capital. There you will find the monument on the equatorial line marking latitude 0° 0´0”, where you will have the opportunity to stand in both hemispheres and take wonderful pictures. Here you can also visit the ethnographic museum on site as well.
You will transfer to the airport to take a brief flight east of Quito to the jungle town of Coca, here you will take a canoe ride to arrive to the Lodge located in a Primary Rainforest where you will enjoy rare and exotic wildlife with intriguing insects, unique species of birds and butterflies and magical sceneries. Here in the next 4 days you will explore one of the most diverse, unique and richest rainforest environments in the world. Explore this gigantic and mysterious jungle visiting the rain forest tower (135 ft). You will visit Ecuador’s largest butterfly farm and the parrot clay lick, which attracts a host of colorful birds. Meet native communities that have inhabited in this land for over 10,000 years. You will find those specially designed trails for bird waiting with a specialist guide that will let you unveil the secrets of the rainforest making the best of your jungle journey. Accommodation La Selva Lodge or Sacha Lodge (B - L - D)
On the morning of the 6th day, you will be transfer to the airport to return to Quito. Accommodation Hotel Mercure (B)
Your adventure will start driving south of Quito where you will admire the Cotopaxi (19,347 feet) the highest active volcano on earth, and its National Park. Upon you arrival to the park you will visit the interpretation center where you will find history about the last Cotopaxi eruption as well as information about the flora & fauna of this beautiful national park. Afterwards you will visit the Limpiopungo Lake and admire the Andean moorlands with its birds or you can start climbing up to the snow line and arrive to the first shelter of the mountain located at 15,744 ft. After lunch you will admire Ecuador’s highest mountain the snow capped Chimborazo (20,697 ft.) in your way to Riobamba which is the birthplace of Ecuador’s first constitution (1830). Here you will have a brief tour of the city, which includes its French-influenced plazas, the Cathedral, admire the city from Quito hill and learn about Ecuador’s history from its murals. Accommodation Hacienda Abraspungo (B - L) www.latinfrontiers.com/Abraspungo
After an early breakfast you will continue your excursion south passing by a picturesque Indian area in the highlands of Ecuador. Here you will admire the oldest Catholic chapel in the country “Balbanera chapel”. Then, you are going to arrive to Alausi train Station. If the train is available, you will experience the Devil’s nose route going from the highest Andes to the low lands. This is an unforgettable experience where you will have an opportunity to ride through the Andes on the top of the train and pass through several towns, rivers of the region.
After a Box lunch on the road you will arrive to Ingapirca ruins, the most important religious and political complex of Inca ruins in Ecuador. Afterwards, you will continue your drive to the beautiful city of Cuenca (Ecuador’s third largest city), for an overnight stay. In the evening you can enjoy a free night to roam through this charming city in the South of Ecuador. Hotel Santa Lucia or Carvallo in Cuenca (B - Box Lunch)
Discover one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Latin America “Cuenca” which is located at 2,500 meters above sea level in a valley surrounded by 4 rivers and mountains with a very colorful countryside. Cuenca is famous for its art and history; there you will be able to admire its beautiful marble Cathedral, its cobblestone streets, graceful wrought-iron balconies, flowered plazas and museums. The people of Cuenca are known for their great hospitality.
After lunch in the afternoon you will transfer to Guayaquil by car. Accommodation Grand Hotel Guayaquil (B - L)
Today you will visit Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and one of the most important ports in the Pacific Coast of South America. Visit the living tradition of the “Las Peñas” neighborhood, walk around the riverfront Malecon 2000 with its botanic gardens, and monuments with a view to the Guayas River. Walk up to the Santa Ana hill to have a spectacular views of Guayaquil, and drive through the “9th of October” Avenue to see the “Centenario” park and discover the spirit of this cosmopolitan city and Ecuador’s economic center.
After Lunch you will visit the Natural Historic Park of Guayaquil, a place where it is possible to admire local flora and fauna like Caymans, Iguanas, Arpee Eagles and a beautiful segment of mangrove forest. On the cultural side, visit a replica of a late nineteenth century Guayaquil neighborhood.
In the afternoon you will be transferred to Salinas Beach where you will stay over night in a all inclusive hotel. Accommodation Hotel Barcelo (B – L – D) www.barcelo.com
Today you will have a free day with your guide at one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. Here you will have some time to relax at the beach and enjoy your first class hotel. Accommodation Hotel Barcelo (B – L – D)
Today you begin the Route of the Sun in which you will find amazing landscapes, small and very picturesque villages typical of the Ecuadorian coast like Montañita Beach that is located just 40 miles north of Salinas. This is a laid back destination that has a safe and friendly feel to it. It is also a SURFERS TOWN. The road that takes you there borders the Pacific Ocean which makes the ride very enjoyable and many local places to eat are available to try.
Afterwards you will continue to the area of Machalilla there you will enjoy the Machalilla national park, beautiful place with white sand beaches like Los Frailes Beach, surrounded by primary dry forest that is full of life, you can visit the Agua Blanca archeological museum to learn from one of the native guides about pre-Columbian cultures, the local way of life and the natural history of the area. Accommodation Hotel Pacifico (B)
After breakfast you will continue to San Clemente, a charm town with markets, and a community atmosphere. The pace in San Clemente is slow and the people are friendly, making it a prime location for those hoping to relax and take in the delights of Ecuador’s northern coast. Here you will arrive to a oasis of relax in the beautiful hotel of Palmazul. Accommodation Hotel Palmazul (B) www.palmazulecuador.com
Today you will be travelling along the coastal line of Ecuador, visiting charming beaches and do some beautiful sightseeing. Then you will visit Manta, one of the major cities of Ecuador, located in the province of Manabí. It is set on a splendid bay, which has given international port property in the Pacific Ocean. Manta is a city with great nightlife with many restaurants, karaoke, discos and casinos also has beautiful beaches nearby which are located approximately 30 minutes from the city.
In the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight back to Quito. Accommodation Hotel Mercure (B)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. (B)