Fly to Cuenca on this fascinating 5 day extension to the highlands of Ecuador. Begin your tour in charming colonial Cuenca. Travel to such sites as Ingapirca, Riobamba, Tomebamba River, Cotopaxi National Park, and the thrilling Nariz del Diablo train ride before returning to Quito.
Day 1 : Quito to Cuenca Day 2 : Explore Cuenca Day 3 : Ingapirca Day 4 : Cotopaxi National Park Day 5 : Cotopaxi National Park
Fly to Cuenca where your guide will meet you at the airport to explore one of Ecuador's charming colonial centers, rich in history and with a strong flavor of the colonial past. Considered the most colonial city in all the Americas, red clay rooftops stretch throughout the city and baroque churches seem to stand on every corner.
Drive north towards the fortress of Ingapirca, a major pre-colonial Inca site that dates back to the 15th century, the first Inca City in Ecuador. We'll also visit the chapel of "La Virgen del Rocio" in Biblian.
This morning, we'll do a thrilling train ride over the Naríz del Diablo (Devil´s Nose) to Sibambe and back to Alausí and on to Guamote. After the train ride, drive north toward the magnificent snow-capped Cotopaxi - the earth's highest active volcano (19347ft/5897m). Overnight at Hacienda La Cienega, one of Ecuador's oldest colonial haciendas. Situated near the slopes of the majestic Cotopaxi volcano and its National Park, this mansion has been the scene of important happenings in the scientific and social history of the country.
Day 5 Cotopaxi National Park
Visit Cotopaxi National Park to try and catch a glimpse of the Andean Condor. After lunch in the Limpiopungo valley, we'll ascend to El Parqueadero. From this point we'll hike for about an hour to El Refugio, the volcano's refuge lodge. A short walk from here will take us to the nearest glacier. Return to Quito late in the afternoon.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
When to Go
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.