Cuenca – Quito via Avenue of Volcanoes – 2 days

Travel between Quito and Cuenca along the Avenue of the Volcanoes. This is a fabulous alternative way to travel between the capital and the charming colonial city of Cuenca in the southern Andes. En route you’ll enjoy some of the main highlights, including volcanoes, local markets, Inca ruins or even spend the night in a local hacienda.


Description

This tour will take you to visit some of the main highlights located on the famous Avenue of the Volcanoes, such as Quilotoa crater lake, the Devil’s Nose train and Ingapirca, the most important Inca remains in Ecuador.
 
It’s an ideal way to reach Quito airport from the southern Andes to catch your flight home. What better way to bid farewell to the Andes, than to travel through the Avenue of the Volcanoes?
 
There are more than 80 volcanoes running down the Andean center of Ecuador and innumerable places of interest for travelers which means that this tour can easily be extended to cover more days. The exact itinerary will depend on the day of the week (different indigenous markets open on different days) and climatic variations. At time of booking we will confirm availability in haciendas.
 
As more passengers book for particular dates we can reduce the rate per person. If you prefer a private tour, we can tailor it to suit your personal taste, timeframe and budget, as well as ensure you reach the airport on time if you’re trying to catch a plane home.
 

This tour includes

· A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide
· Private transportation
· Accommodation
· Meals mentioned in itinerary
· Entrance fees
 

This tour does not include

· Travel insurance
· Tips and gratuities
· Personal expenses
· Any other service not mentioned herein
 

Packing tips

· Good walking shoes
· Fast-drying comfortable clothing
· Rain jacket
· Warm clothes
· Warm hat and gloves
· Sun protection
· Sun glasses

Sample itinerary: Cuenca – Quito

Day 1 - Cuenca - Chimborazo - Hacienda
Head north from Cuenca towards Chimborazo, known as one of the most picturesque in the Ecuadorian Andes. Visit the Arenal area at the foot of Chimborazo volcano. Visit an indigenous market (depending on the day: Thursday Guamote, Friday Alausí, Sunday Cañar). Spend the night in a local hacienda. Meals included: -/L/-
Day 2 - Quilotoa Volcano - Quito
Spend the day visiting Quilotoa Crater before heading to Quito or Quito airport. Arrival about 3-4pm. Meals included: B/L/-

Sample itinerary: Quito – Cuenca

Day 1 - Quito - Quilotoa or Cotopaxi - Hacienda
Head south from Quito to either Quilotoa crater or Cotopaxi. Visit a local market (depending on the day: Saquisillí, Pujilí, Latacunga or Zumbahua). Spend the evening at a local hacienda in Riobamba. Meals included: -/L/-
Day 2 - Devil's Nose Train - Ingapirca - Cuenca
Head south down the PanAmerican highway, stopping to enjoy the Devil’s Nose Train and to visit the Inca ruins at Ingapirca, before continuing on the Cuenca. Meals included: B/L/-

Highlights

Cotopaxi
Located about 50km south of Quito, Cotopaxi National Park is home to the Cotopaxi volcano, the dormant Rumiñawi volcano and Sincholagua volcano. Cotopaxi is amongst the highest active volcanoes in the world at 5900 meters and is clearly visible from Quito on a clear day. It has one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world and is popular with climbers.
Lake Quilotoa
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.
Alausí
Located at 2,357 meters above sea level, Alausí is a small town with an attractive colonial-style architecture known mainly for its train station from which travelers can take the Devil’s Nose train.
Devil's Nose Train
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.
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.

 

Rates

# passengers Price (per person)
2 $498
3 $466
4-5 $451
6-7 $384
8-9 $337
10-14 $319
15+ $270

 
* Please specify at booking if you would like a private tour or if you’d like us to try to find more passengers for your dates in order to reduce the price per person.
** Contact us to find out about group departure dates for discounted prices.
 

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
  • Check out our Andes Travel Guide for inspiration