Take a walk to the centre of the Earth (well the equatorial line to be exact), explore Quito's historic center, the largest and best-preserved in the Americas, and visit magical cloud forests and bustling markets.
This 5-day itinerary introduces travelers to the little-known attractions of the Quito area before they continue to the "Oriente" for an Amazon cruise or head to Ecuador's main tourist attraction, the Galapagos Islands.
Please note that the itinerary below is just an example of what can be done. Want to spend longer in one destination? No problem! Want to stay in different hotels? No problem! All our land tour extensions are fully customisable and can be perfectly tailored to your needs and budget. All you have to do is ask!
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN QUITO
You are met at the airport in Quito and escorted to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you either have the day to explore the city or rest in your comfortable hotel. Why not take a stroll around the bustling cobblestoned streets amidst pastel-colored mansions in this, the best-preserved Spanish colonial center in Latin America.
DAY 2: QUITO & MITAD DEL MUNDO
At Alameda Park and the Basilica, we will admire the breathtaking views of the city's staggering hills and visit the historical district with its beautiful churches, including the famous La Compañía de Jesús and the Monastery of San Francisco. In the afternoon, after a traditional Ecuadorian lunch, straddle the Equatorial line at the Middle of the World Monument. You may also choose to visit the Ethnographic or Inti-ñan Museums located near the monument site. (Meals - B, L)
DAY 3: OTAVALO
We begin our travels by visiting the small village of Calderon, known for its unique and colorful ornamental ‘baked-bread’ dolls (figuras de masapán). We then continue along the Pan-American Highway to Guayllabamba to taste one of Ecuador’s endemic fruits (the chirimoya), stopping en route to admire the region’s beautiful snow-capped mountains, making a short stop at San Pablo Lake before arriving at Otavalo. Here we visit the busy textile market located at ‘Poncho Plaza’, famous as one of the largest open-air markets in South America. Enjoy some free time to shop (and haggle) with the friendly Otavaleños. In the early afternoon we visit a colonial hacienda for lunch. We then head to the small artisan village of Cotacachi and return to Quito in the late afternoon/early evening. (Meals - B, L)
DAY 4: MINDO CLOUD FOREST
With views of wonderful stunted elfin and lush subtropical cloud forests, the route to Mindo is one of the most scenic in the world. Around midday, we will stop for an optional lunch. The town of Mindo is home to an abundance of bird, orchid, butterfly and plant species, living amongst spectacular waterfalls and dense vegetation. Spot hummingbirds and journey on a 500m long cable-car in this magical paradise. (Meals - B, L)
DAY 5: RETURN HOME
Today you are transfered to the airport for your flight home, or to another destination. Rainforest Cruises hopes that your Quito, Otavalo and Mindo Tour has been a success! We would like to express our deepest appreciation for traveling with us! (Meals - B)