Start the day with your guide and drive north towards "La Mitad del Mundo" (The Middle of the World) in the village of San Antonio, about 22 Km. north of Quito. Here we'll visit the trapezium stone monument, which is built on the Equator, and the excellent Museo Etnográfico and Inti-Ñan.
In the afternoon, take the Quito Teleferico, an aerial cable-car up the slope of the Pichincha Volcano. This opportunity at 13,400 feet above sea level provides the best vantage points of Quito as well as the surrounding Avenue of the Volcanoes, including Cotopaxi Volcano, the second highest peak in Ecuador.
Return to Quito in the evening to the Hotel Plaza Grande, a historic and luxurious hotel in Quito's Old Town and our home for the next two nights. The evening is free for dinner, and arrangements can be made for dinner reservations.
In the morning, we will drive north to visit "El mirador de Guápulo" (view point), from where we can admire its church and Quito's nearby valleys. We'll then return to Quito's colonial center - one of the world's cultural heritage sites, where we can see many historical buildings; including churches, museums and monuments. From here we'll continue to El Panecillo - the small, rounded hill which dominates the Old Town. From its summit we'll see marvelous views of the whole city stretching out below and of the surrounding volcanoes. Looking down, we will see the preparations for the Easter procession of Good Friday which leaves from the Church of San Francisco.
Return to the Hotel Plaza Grande to take advantage of its balconies that overlook the procession route and the Plaza de la Independencia. The procession begins at midday to honor the hour which Pontious Pilate condemned Jesus to death. It is estimated that around 90,000 people participate in the procession with tens of thousands of spectators lining the streets in Quito's Old Town. We will be fortunate to watch from the Hotel Plaza Grande's balconies this cultural spectacle with the purple-clad and hooded cucurochos accompanying symbols representing Jesus and the Virgin Mary through the streets of Quito. Penitents complete with crowns of real thorns and carrying crosses represent Jesus' suffering.
As the procession winds down, return with your guide to the Old Town to further explore and to take in this unique cultural event. The evening is free to enjoy Quito's restaurants and nightlife.
Continue to your next destination, such as the Galapagos, the Amazon, the Ecuadorian highlands, or into Peru to Machu Picchu, or return home on your international flight.
$575 single supplement
The trip starts on the Thursday before Easter.