8 days – 7 nights
Quito, Mashpi, Middle of the World, Cayambe, Otavalo, Cuicocha Lake, Zuleta
Eco-Tourism, Culture, Discovery, Relaxation
This program is fully customizable and may be operated for individuals, pods and groups
Day 1: Quito
After arrival you’ll be met by your guide who welcome you with a chocolate box containing a variety of forty different mini-bars of Pacari’s best chocolate including a detailed presentation of this selection and its award-winning flavors. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight. [D]
Note: Dinner planned for tonight will be held on day 5 in case of a late flight arrival
Day 2: Quito, Mashpi
Morning departure to Mashpi for your special stay in the Andean Choco cloud forest, known for being one of the world’s best sites for bird-watching, that, just a few years ago was named as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. On our way to Mashpi Lodge, you will visit the archaeological ruins at Tulipe, said to have belonged to the ancient Yumbo civilization of pre-Inca Quito, set in a magical forested location. You’ll taste delicious Ecuadorian appetizers and fresh-brewed coffee prepared by members of the local community before a final one-hour descent to the Mashpi. Once you arrive at the lodge, you’ll plan your activities with the lodge team and receive a briefing on accommodations and will be introduced to your naturalist guide who will briefly speak about the cloud forest and the activities offered during your stay, as well as helpful tips about what to wear and bring during the excursions. Afterwards you have time for lunch before the afternoon activities, which may include a hike through the forest or an opportunity to see the forest from above on Mashpi’s Dragonfly aerial cable car. The highlight of any trip to Mashpi is the Dragonfly – an exciting, open-air cable car system that carries you over, across and sometimes even directly through the forest canopy, offering guests a relaxing way to enjoy the reserve from overhead. The guides can stop the gondola at any point to allow for an extended observation of any flora and/or fauna that catches your eye. In the evening, your guide may ask you if you’d like to go out and search for wildlife on a night walk. When the sun sets in the Choco cloud forest, all sorts of different life forms such as frogs, snakes, insects, and even tarantulas come to life. Your guide will know how to find them and show you the best way to experience these incredible creatures. [B/L/D]
Signature option: Welness
Mashpi Lodge happens to also be a wonderful sanctuary to practice wellness. Take advantage of the various wellness options at Mashpi. You can enjoy the relaxing and rejuvenating spa, open-air hot tub, or practice yoga. You have an entire menu of options to choose from.
Day 3: Mashpi
On your second day you may be awakened by the mixture of bird activity. After breakfast your guide will invite you for a walk to a waterfall where you can bathe in the pools with the water crashing behind you or, maybe, will suggest visiting the hummingbird garden where you can explore the life of the many species of butterflies found in the area and their metamorphosis. Afterwards, you’ll be back for a delicious lunch where your guide will explain further the other exciting and interesting activities available. You may want to pedal on the sky bike above ground and through the canopy like one of the many birds found in the Choco Forest. Another activity available is to climb up to the observation tower to view much of the cloud forest from above with a bird’s eye view and watch the sunset as it descends slowly. In the evening, the guides and staff like to prepare different and engaging lectures on the diverse animal and plant life or the scientific research projects conducted in the same Choco Forest you’ve been discovering. [B/L/D]
Day 4: Mashpi, Quito
On your last day at the lodge you may want to visit a special place in the forest one last time. About 11:00 am you head back to your hotel in Quito. This evening, we scheduled dinner at the Urko Restaurant that prepares Ecuadorian dishes with the flavors and elements that, throughout history, have been part of local life, and present them in a modern way. After dinner return to the hotel for overnight. [B/D]
Notes: Restaurant subject to change according to availability at the time of confirmation.
Itinerary at Mashpi Lodge is subject to change according to weather, logistics and operations, as well as guide and staff decisions based on guest’s safety.
Day 5: Quito (Middle of the World)
During the historical city tour of Quito, you will explore the best-preserved colonial center of all of South America and one of the first World Heritage Sites. The first stop is the Basilica del Voto Nacional followed by Plaza Grande or Independence Square. Admire the historical buildings surrounding the square like the Presidential Palace, Catholic Cathedral and Archbishop's Palace. Next, visit the most impressive of all churches: San Francisco de Quito, that houses masterpieces of talented indigenous artists. Then, walk through the lively colonial streets of the old town to visit other historical highlights such as the Panecillo, from where you will have an amazing 360-degree view over the city. One of today’s highlights is La Compañia Church, considered to be a Baroque masterpiece. Not to miss is the mid-seventeenth century’s Santo Domingo church belonging to the Dominican Order. In a picturesque corner of Quito’s Historic Colonial Center, you’ll find a small but fascinating 18th century house and museum known as the “El Descanso” manor house. Here, you will have a unique and exclusive experience, enjoying a completely magical meal filled with Ecuadorian traditions, while learning more about Ecuador’s culinary heritage. In the afternoon, we drive to the north part of the city where the equator line meets the prime meridian and the coordinates indicate point 0° 0’ 0”. This unique place allows you to be a part of a historic landmark in what was once thought as the exact equator line and, of course, you can’t miss taking your picture with the monument in the background and one foot in each hemisphere! See the solar dials at the Intiñan Museum and try fun experiments that can only be done here, like balancing an egg on a nail. Return to the hotel for overnight. [B/L]
Day 6: Quito, Cayambe, Otavalo, Cuicocha Lake, Zuleta
Ecuador is the third largest exporter of roses in the world. They are much more appealing compared to roses from other locations due to their size, longevity and variation of over 500 colors, thanks to the special microclimate conditions, especially along the equator. The climate allows more daylight hours and cooler nights due to the elevation of the Andes, providing longer growth cycles and uncountable possibilities for rose colors and beauty. Visit unique Rose Museum at the hacienda “La Compañia de Jesus” that originally belonged to the Jesuit Order when they established themselves in Ecuador about 300 years ago and enjoy typical refreshments as you walk along. Continue to Otavalo, famous for its indigenous market, an ancient tradition and cultural exchange site among the Otavalo community. Then, visit the peaceful town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather products such as shoes, purses, coats and belts and meet the local craftsmen who create these beautiful pieces. The Cuicocha lagoon is a beautiful volcanic crater nearby and part of the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve located at an altitude of 10,650 feet. On a clear day, you even have a panoramic view of the area, including the volcanoes Imbabura and Cayambe. A last short drive to Zuleta for dinner and overnight. [B/D]
Day 7: Zuleta
Today you are free to explore the hacienda and take part in the activities which make of this a unique place. You can choose between many options such as the Condor Huasi Project, gardens and lagoon, chapel, cheese factory, orchards, permaculture sustainable methods, milking experiences, and foundation projects like the community library and store with hand-embroidered products. You can also walk around one of the 37-mile self-guided trails within the 4,200 acres of protected land. [L/P/D]
If you are looking for a more active experiences, here are available for you:
Cycling (1 hour)
Mornings are the best time to take advantage of the sun and warm weather in the cooler section of the Andes. A morning bike-ride to experience scenic roads and high grasslands is a perfect activity for you. It will be just you and the wide-open Sierra.
Horseback riding (1 hour)
An exclusive stable with the hacienda’s own breed of Zuleteño horses gives you the opportunity to discover this magnificent landscape in true style! The hacienda has horses for every level of expertise and provides you with good quality helmets, half chaps, rain ponchos, and a saddle bag so you can feel at ease while exploring some of the hacienda’s glorious horse trails.
You will enjoy an exclusive meal in the fresh Andean air and stupendous scenery in the hacienda’s tranquil picnic area, surrounded by Caranqui mounds and towering mountains. You will be served by your own personal chef and delight in an array of flavors with a delicious traditional meal.
Learn how to cook Andean specialties together with the local chef, using handpicked produce from the hacienda’s organic gardens.
Become part of the famous creative tradition of Zuleta and try your hand at embroidery with the help of our friendly local experts!
Day 8: Quito, USA
After enjoying a delicious breakfast, you will have a private transfer from Zuleta to Quito airport to board your flight back home. [B]
Important note: Due to logistics and driving distance between Zuleta and Quito, an evening/night flight is advisable.
[B] = Breakfast | [D] = Dinner | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/D] = Breakfast and Dinner | [B/P/D] = Breakfast, Picnic Lunch and Dinner | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
· Round-trip airfare Miami/Quito
· Arrival and departure transfers
· 7 nights’ accommodation:
o Quito 3 nights
o Mashpi 2 nights
o Zuleta 2 nights
o Breakfast daily
o 0 lunchs
o 0 dinners
· Ruins at Tulipe
· Dragonfly aerial cable car
· Mashpi waterfall
· Pedal on the sky bike
· Hummingbird Garden
· Bird viewing
· Sightseeing of Quito
· Excursion to
· Middle of the World
· Rose Museum
· Cotacachi leather center
· Cuicocha lagoon
· Zuleta outdoor activities
· Transportation by deluxe vehicle
· Entrance fees where required
· English-speaking guide
· All local taxes
· Airfare taxes and fees
· Early check-in or late checkout at hotels
· Expenses of personal nature
· Travel insurance
· Optional tours
· Any services not included in the tour
· Tips to restaurants, guides and drivers
|City||Hotel Name||Room Type||Tripadvisor|
|Quito||Casa Gangotena Hotel||Balcony Junior Suite||5|
|Mashpi||Mashpi Lodge||Yaku Suite||5|
|Zuleta||Hacienda Zuleta||Junior Suite||5|
Hotels will be confirmed at time of booking
|No in Party||2-3 Guests||4-5 Guests||6+ Guests|
Rates are minimum per person sharing a room and may change without notice.
Rates may change depending on the date of travel.
These programs can be customized for individuals and for groups
Changes to this program may be requested by phone (1855-55-TOURS) or using the web FIT Quote Request
We also be glad to add the necessary airfare from your gateway so you take advantage of our special discounted leisure fares
You may add or remove;
o Trip days
o Cities and sites
· Other options
o The program was designed with private services, however, we may substitute shared sightseeing where available
o If you prefer deluxe services we may operate this program including private driver, private guide and concierge service.
Once we have designed the program the way you want we'll give you a quote within 2 business days.
Prices are minimum for low season. Please call for other periods
Tour Code: EC04UIO21PU
· Lunches and dinners can be arranged for individuals, families and groups at top restaurants or any restaurant requested by you.
· We can revise the itinerary to spend more time and provide more depth in those areas that you are interested on.
· Any other changes to the itinerary will be accommodated depending on the facilities available in the area.
· Car can be upgraded upon request
· If you wish to use these programs for your group or as the basis for a customized journey please either call us (1-855-55-TOURS or use the web Group Quote Request.
· In either case our specialists will work with to refine all the details and they will get you a quote with 2 business days. Quotes may be obtained for the air and land portions of just for the lad journey.
· Booking both air and land with us will represent savings for you because of our buying power and longtime relationship with the airlines.
We will also may have the choice between regular fares and special leisure fares not available to the public.