The majestic capital of Ecuador lies at approximately 2,850 metres (9,400ft) above sea level, surrounded by snow capped mountains and volcanoes of the high sierra. Visit Quito and see the architecture of its colonial buildings. Experience the ‘Chiva Express’. Ascend the Devil’s Nose and travel to the famous Inca ruins of Ingapirca. Visit the city of Cuenca, Ecuador’s most beautiful city. See its old and modern architecture and its colourful markets.
Suggested Itinerary: Quito, Riobamba, The Devil’s Nose and Cuenca : 6 days/5 nights
Day 1: Quito
Arrive Quito and transfer to your hotel for a 2 night stay. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 2: Quito City tour and The Middle of the Earth
This morning will commence with a guided tour to the fascinating city of Quito, where you can take a walk through the cobbled streets of the old town. Visit the San Augustine Convent, and see the colonial buildings in the main square, the ‘Plaza de la Independencia’. Following the city tour, you will visit the equatorial monument which marks the middle of the earth. Here you can stand astride the equator with one foot in each hemisphere.
Day 3: Quito - Riobamba
Today will begin with you taking a ride on a bus with metal wheels, running along rail tracks! This is ‘The Chiva Express’. You may ride on the roof and enjoy the stunning views of the Andes. The route takes you through the avenue of volcanoes, with a visit to an Indian market. After lunch you will travel towards Mount Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador. In the evening you will stay in a hotel in the Riobamba valley.
Day 4: The Devil’s Nose and Cuenca
After breakfast, you will re-board the Chiva Express for a breathtaking ride through remote villages and superb scenery before arriving at a huge rock wall which is ‘The Devil’s Nose’. (The Chiva Express somehow makes its way to the top!). Then it’s downhill to the village of Alausi where you will then travel by road to the Inca ruins of Ingapirca. After lunch you will continue to the village of Cuenca, where you will spend the night.
Day 5: Half day tour of Cuenca
Take a tour of the beautiful city of Cuenca. This provincial city is the third largest in Ecuador, and a World Heritage Site. See the cobbled streets, museums and colourful markets. Visit the house of temperance where alcoholics were shut inside thick walls in an effort to cure them. In the main square, see the Blue Domed Cathedral and the Governor’s palace and visit Todos los Santos Ruins, where you can find the rough layers of the Canari building, with its mortarless stonework of the Incas.
Day 6: Cuenca to Quito
Morning at leisure in Cuenca. After lunch, visit the shop where Panama hats are produced. Then you will be transferred to the airport to meet your flight to Quito.
Quito & Highlands Tours - Overview
Full and half day tours available from Quito. To read more about featured tours, please follow the link in the "Tours" box, below right
Scenic Tour of Quito & Centre of the World
Take in the many sights and pleasures of beautiful Quito in this half day tour. Includes the chance to stand with one foot in each hemisphere at the "Centre of the World"!
Otavalo Handcraft Tour
Visit the textile market of Otavalo, passing by wonderful, dramatic scenery on the way. Visit also the Indian town of Peguche where you can visit the artisans responsible for the beautiful traditional weaving. Lunch at a traditional hacienda is included in this full day tour...
Panoramic Quito by night & dinner
Enjoy the old colonial Quito under the sparkling city lights. Enjoy a panoramic view over the city at night from the surrounding hills before settling down for a leisurely dinner at one of Quito's finest restaurants...
Scenic Cuenca Tour
Take a full day tour to explore Ecuador's most beautiful city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural site.