Ecuador - Galapagos & South America
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Ecuador Andes Experience 8 Days Tour

Highlights

Trip Highlights

Ecuador offers different adventure, cultural, historical and natural opportunities for you not to miss. It maintains a unique contact with its ancestral indigenous cultures and is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. 

The Andes region, with its majestic snow-capped mountains and active volcanoes surrounded by hot springs, humid cloud forests and fertile valleys, colorful Indian markets, lovely colonial towns, ancient haciendas and historic cities, make of this area a paradise on its own.

Program Overview  

Participants will be based in Quito. From this city, you will have all the departures to the nearest attractions in the region. Each day, our personal guides will take care of you, showing this fantastic opportunity to see the real Ecuador and its beauty. 

Destination Information 

Quito: enjoy the Old Town-churches, government, squares and shopping. The historic old own of Colonial Quito is the jewel in Ecuador's crown. The city was designated the first UNESCO World Heritage City in 1978 in recognition of the importance of its colonial architecture (ahead of cities like Bath and Venice).

Middle of the World (Equateur line): The Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Spanish: Middle of the World City) is a tract of land owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. It is located at San Antonio parish of the canton of Quito, 26 km north of the center of Quito. The grounds contain the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador.

The 30-meter-tall monument was constructed between 1979 and 1982 by Pichincha's Province Council to replace an older, smaller monument built by Government of Ecuador under the direction of the geographer Luis Tufiño in 1936. It is made of iron and concrete and covered with cut and polished andesite stone. The monument was built to commemorate the first Geodesic Mission of the French Academy of Sciences, led by Louis Godin, Pierre Bouguer and Charles Marie de La Condamine, who, in the year 1736, conducted experiments to test the flattening at the poles of the characteristic shape of the Earth, by comparing the distance between a degree meridian in the equatorial zone to another level measured in Sweden. The older monument was moved 7 km to a small town near there called Calacalí.

The UNASUR headquarters is currently under construction. Contrary to popular belief, there are only two points of interest positioned exactly on the equator: the Catequilla archaeological site, and the Quitsato Sundial.

Otavalo: capital of Otavalo Canton, is a largely indigenous town in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador.

The indigenous Otavaleños are famous for weaving textiles, usually made of wool (that is sometimes as black as a raven), which are sold at the famous Saturday market. Although the largest market is on Saturday, there is a very wide range of wares available throughout the week in the Plaza de los Ponchos, and the many local shops. The shops sell textiles such as handmade blankets, tablecloths, and much more.

The Otavalo market consists of ninety mushroom-shaped concrete umbrellas with benches. The market was designed and built in 1970 by Dutch architect Tonny Zwollo. During the market's peak, almost one third of the town becomes full of stalls selling textiles, tagua nut jewelry, musical instruments, dream catchers, leather goods, fake shrunken heads, indigenous costumes, hand-painted platters and trays, purses, clothing, spices, raw foods and spools of wool.

Otavalo was an area made up principally of farming communities due to the rich volcanic soils in this area, but with the growth of tourism, the town has begun to focus more on the making of handicrafts which have made the Saturday market a popular stop with visitors to Ecuador. Tourism has become the town's main industry and as a result there are many more hotels, hostels, and tour operators than other similarly sized Ecuadorian towns, such as nearby Cayambe. Further, Otavaleño (people from Otavalo) have had notable success selling their goods abroad.

As Otavalo is famous for its textiles, many of the nearby villages and towns are famous for their own particular crafts. Cotacachi, for example, is the center of Ecuador's leather industry. In San Antonio, where the local specialty is wood carving, the main street prominently displays carved statues, picture frames, and furniture.

Papallacta spring hot water pools: Papallacta is a small village in Napo Province, Ecuador located at an altitude of 3,300 m in the Andes just off the Eastern Cordilleras on the road from Quito which leads into the Amazon jungle. The scenic drive from Quito to Papallacta passes through several towns and small villages before ascending to a peak of over 4,000 m where views of mountains and glaciers are visible. Descending from the peak to Papallacta, one passes through the portal where the ecosystems transforms from alpine to tropical jungle.

The village of Papallacta itself is not known as a tourist destination but houses several hot springs and spas. Many of the local restaurants are known for their steamed trout and a hearty meal can be had for just a few dollars. For lodging, there are several tourist hotels and a resort.

Cotopaxi Volcano: Cotopaxi National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Cotopaxi) is a protected area in Ecuador situated in the Cotopaxi Province, Napo Province and Pichincha Province, roughly 50 km south of Quito. The Cotopaxi volcano (supposedly meaning smooth neck of the moon) that lends its name to the park is located within its boundaries, together with two others: the dormant Rumiñawi volcano to its north-west and the historical Sincholagua volcano (last major eruption: 1877) to the south east. Cotopaxi is among the highest active volcanoes in the world; its last significant eruption took place in 1904.

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