Avenue of Volcanoes Group Tour

Spectacular volcanoes, indigenous villages, Inca ruins, and more. The Avenue of the Volcanoes is a fabulous adventure taking you down the Andes from Quito to enjoy the natural wonders the Ecuadorian Andes have to offer. It is usually a costly adventure and so a group tour is a great way to explore the area and see the highlights on offer, without breaking the bank.


This tour includes

· Professional (English/Spanish/German) guide
· Private transportation
· Accommodation (double)
· Meals mentioned in itinerary
· Entrance fees to Cotopaxi National Park, Chimborazo National Park, Churches, Rose Plantation, Waterfall, Devil’s Nose Train and Ingapirca
 

This tour does not include

· Meals and drinks not mentioned in itinerary
· Travel insurance
· Tips and gratuities
· Any other service not mentioned herein
 

Accommodation options

Prices (per person) Tourist Class* First Class**
Double room $1725 $2017
Single Supplement $225 $550

 
* Tourist class: Hostal Fuente de Piedra (Quito), Hacienda La Cienega Standard Room (Cotopaxi), Hotel Floresta (Baños), Mansión Santa Isabella (Riobamba), Hotel Casa del Aguila (Cuenca), Grand Hotel Guayaquil (Guayaquil), or similar
** First-class: Grand Hotel Mercure Alameda (Quito), Hacienda La Cienega Suites (Cotopaxi), Hotel Luna Runtun (Baños), Hacienda Abraspungo (Riobamba), Hotel Santa Lucía (Cuenca), Hotel Hampton Inn (Guayaquil), or similar
 

Made-to-Measure Travel

This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of the available options for travel in Ecuador. But keep in mind:

  • We can tailor this trip to suit your needs, tastes, time frame and budget
  • Every aspect of the itinerary can be modified, from the accommodation to the activities

Sample itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday) - Quito - Middle of the World
City tour of Quito with its colonial city center declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 1978. First you’ll visit some of the city’s most famous churches such as El Sagrario and La Compañia, as well as squares including Santo Domingo, La Merced and San Francisco. You’ll then visit El Panecillo Hill to see the winged virgin that overlooks Quito. After a typical lunch you’ll visit the Middle of the World and the Museo Inti Ñan. Accommodation at Hotel Fuente de Piedra, Hotel Mercure Alameda or similar. Meals included: -/L/-
Day 2 (Sunday) - Pujili Indigenous Market - Quilotoa Crater
Head south from Quito towards Cotopaxi province through the Ecuadorian Andes, stopping at the indigenous Pujili market, before reaching the spectacular Quilotoa Crater Lake. Here you’ll have the chance to hike into the crater to the lake and enjoy a packed lunch. You’ll then drive to Hacienda La Cienega (or similar) for dinner and a good night’s rest. Meals included: B/L/D
Day 3 (Monday) - Cotopaxi National Park - Rose Plantation - Baños
Morning drive to Cotopaxi National Park for a short hike at the foot of this incredible snow-capped volcano. You’ll then take a drive to 4500 meters through the barren landscape and visit the José Ribas refuge at 4800 meters to enjoy the sight of impressive glaciers. After this you’ll continue your journey to a rose plantation, one of the many that produce the spectacular roses for which Ecuador is famous, and learn all about the production process. After lunch at a local restaurant the journey will take you to Baños, famous for its thermal hot springs and cathedral. Accommodation at Hotel Floresta, Luna Runtun or similar. Meals included: B/L/D
Day 4 (Tuesday) - Pailón del Diablo - Baños - Chimborazo - Riobamba
After having time to explore the city, you’ll visit the Pailón del Diablo, a waterfall on the Pastanza River about 30 minutes from Baños. In the afternoon you’ll visit Chimborazo, the highest volcano in Ecuador at 6310 meters, where you’ll have the opportunity to walk to the Edward Whymper shelter at 5000 to take in the incredible view. You’ll end the day in Riobamba. Accommodation at Mansion Santa Isabella, Hacienda Abraspungo or similar. Meals included: B/-/D
Day 5 (Wednesday) - Devil's Nose Train - Ingapirca - Cuenca
Early departure through picturesque landscapes and villages to reach Alausí where you’ll hop onto one of the most famous trains in the world. The famous Devil’s Nose Train is interesting because of its ingenious zigzag track that takes you down an almost vertical rock face. You’ll get the chance to travel down from Alausí to Sibambe and back again as you learn about it’s history. You’ll then travel to Ingapirca, eating a packed lunch on the way, the most important Inca ruins in Ecuador, before continuing south to Cuenca for a delicious dinner. Accommodation at Hotel Casa del Aguila, Hotel Santa Lucía or similar. Meals included: B/L/D
Day 6 (Thursday) - Cuenca
You’ll get a feel for this colonial city with a city tour, where you’ll learn about its history and enjoy its colonial architecture, visiting River Tomebamba, the New Cathedral, flower market, visit a Panama hat factory, and a local restaurant for lunch. You’ll have a free evening to rest and enjoy the city. Accommodation at Hotel Casa del Aguila, Hotel Santa Lucía or similar. Meals included: B/L/-
Day 7 (Friday) - Cajas National Park - Guayaquil
Set off from Cuenca to the famous Cajas National Park to take in the incredible scenery. You’ll then descend from the Andes to the coast, driving through cocoa, banana, rice and sugar cane plantations, before reaching Guayaquil. Here you’ll explore Guayaquil on foot, visiting Parque Bolivar, Plaza de Administración, the Moorish Clock Tower, Malecón 2000 and Las Peñas. In the evening you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner in a traditional restaurant. Accommodation in Grand Hotel Guayaquil, Hotel Hampton Inn or similar. Meals included: B/-/D
Day 8 (Saturday) - Departure
Departure from Guayaquil. Meals included: B/-/-

 

Scheduled departure dates

· 13 August – 20 August 2016
· 15 October – 22 October 2016
· 5 November – 12 November 2016
· 19 November – 26 November 2016
· 10 December – 17 December 2016
 

Highlights

Baños
Baños is known for its pleasant climate, beautiful Cathedral and adventure activities. Located at 1800 meters, it is home to the route of the waterfalls that runs along the Pastanza River gorge with its Pailón del Diablo waterfall. It’s a thriving tourist destination with many hotels, hostels and restaurants.
Cajas National Park
Cajas National Park is located about 33 km west of Cuenca in Southern Ecuador. The park covers about 285 km2 at an altitude of between 3100m and 4450m above sea level. It is famous for its characteristic tundra vegetation covering hills and valleys. There are about 270 lakes and lagoons throughout the park. The name of the park comes from the Quichua word cassia which translates as gateway to the snowy mountains, though some link it to the Spanish word cajas meaning boxes due to the hundreds of lakes.
Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi Volcano is an active volcano in Latacunga only 2 hours from Quito. It is one of the world’s highest volcanoes reaching 5,896m. Cotopaxi is clearly visible from Quito. It is an almost symmetrical cone riding from a highland plain of about 3,800m. It is also home to one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world. Cotopaxi has been sacred to Andean peoples throughout history and was worshipped as a rain sender. The Gods were believed to live at its summit. The first European to climb the mountain was Alexander von Humboldt. It has now become a major destination for climbers and hikers.
Cuenca
Located in the southern Ecuadorian Andes Cuenca is known for its historic city center, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, and the magnificent surrounding mountains. Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador and an attractive destination for travelers and expats due to its pleasant weather, relaxed pace, colonial architecture, stable economy and its natural surroundings which are ideal for adventure activities.
Devil's Nose Trail
In 1899 work started on the construction of Ecuador’s first railway running between Guayaquil and Quito. 130 kms east of Guayaquil the tracks reached El Nariz del Diablo (The Devil’s Nose), a vertical rock wall that created a huge challenge to engineers. The solution was found in an ingenious zigzag track running for 2 kms from Sibambe to Alausí which took the train uphill in small distances both forward and backwards. Many lives were lost in the construction of this masterpiece of railway engineering. The track reached Alausí in 1902 and the section to Quito was completed in 1908. In the 1980s and 1990s the Devil’s Nose Train became famous as a tourist attraction for travelers who would ride on the roof to the amusement of locals. In 1997 the tracks were devastated by El Niño and have recently been restored as part of a large project called the Tren Crucero that runs the entire train line from Quito. A museum, café and small market have been built at Sibambe, while the train station at Alausí has been revamped.
Ingapirca
Located at the top of a hill with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, Ingapirca is the most important Inca complex located in Ecuador. It was built during the Inca expansion into Ecuador at the end of the 15th century on a site that had been occupied by the Cañari people for 500 years. The original Cañari structures were mostly destroyed and replaced by the Incas and their settlement was probably used as a fortress and place of worship on the Inca road between Cuzco and Quito. Today the Temple of the Sun is the only structure that remains mostly intact. The temple features stone walls constructed in the Inca way using massive blocks chiseled to fit together perfectly without the use of mortar.
Middle of the World
If you’ve always wanted to tick a visit to the middle of the world, known as la Mitad del Mundo, off your bucket list, then a visit to the equatorial line is a must. The area attracts crowds of visitors to visit the painted line (the actual equator is 250 yards away due to a mix-up in the 1700s) and assorted attractions, which include the Intiñan Museum, the true location of the middle of the world at 0º. The true importance of the monument lies in the fact that Charles Marie de la Condamine’s findings proved that the world bulges at the equator and is not perfectly round, as was once believed.
Pailón del Diablo
The Pailón del Diablo, or Devil’s Cauldron, is a thundering waterfall that can be reached by taking a 1km hike from Río Verde along a picturesque path.
Quilotoa Crater
Located about 90 km west of Latacunga is the isolated Lake Quilotoa, a spectacular crater lake filled with emerald water and one of the highlights of any trip to Ecuador.
Quito
The Spanish-colonial historic center of Quito, capital city of Ecuador, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 which has helped it invest in a complete make-over over the past decade. At 2850 meters above sea level it is the second highest capital city in the world. It is also one of the best-preserved historic city centers in the Americas. The old town is packed with architectural treasures, art-filled churches, colonial monuments and picturesque plazas, combined with the throbbing pulse of everyday life.