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.
Spend the day exploring this charming colonial town. Visit major places of interest such as the Tomebamba River and the old and new Cathedral in this lovely city.
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.
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.
$115 single supplement