Highlander Otavalo & across the Andes to Cuenca

Highlander Otavalo & across the Andes to Cuenca

Day 1: Quito–Otavalo-Peguche-Ibarra–Magdalena
2 hours from Quito The Otavalo Craft Market is the most famous and picturesque in South America. Markets are meeting places for shopping, bargaining and chatter while people of the region exchange local produce, utensils, pots, and pans or textiles.

Peguche village with traditional looms or Andean wind instruments workshop.

Panoramiv view of Ibarra.

Through a marvelous Andean setting we head into the indigenous community of Magdalena. The scene displays wide array of crops which resemble a colorful patchwork on the eastern foothills of Imbabura volcano. The skillful people are known to produce outstanding embroidery.

Community members demonstrate local planting techniques, including the materials and animals used to farm a variety of products including potatoes, quinoa, lupin, corn, beans, wheat and other vegetables depending on their harvesting seasons.

Includes lunch, dinner and accommodation at Karanki Magdalena Community.



Day 2: Magdalena–Cotopaxi National Park 

Learn about their everyday activities such morning cow milking, shepherding and in season ox plowing.  Travel south into the valley Cayambe, and from there further south for some three-hour drive and visit Cotopaxi National Park.  Cotopaxi (5,897 m)is the highest active volcano in the world. Despite the altitude, the Park is home to numerous birds and varied of flora. Northeast lies Rumiñahui (4,557 m) and between the two mountains the plains of Limpiopungo lagoon.

Included breakfast, entrance to Cotopaxi Park, lunch and accommodation.
Day 3: Chimborazo Reserve–Riobamba
Departing south for some three-hour drive to Riobamba passing cities like Latacunga and Ambato along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to reach the foothills over the western flank of the highest volcano in Ecuador, the snow-capped Chimborazo(at 20,702 pies, 6,310 m. above sea level).The reserve is devoted to the production of vicuna and shows the beauty of the Andes in full splendor. In the afternoon, we drive for around two hours to Riobamba and upon arrival take a panoramic visit touching the main plazas and churches.

Included breakfast, entrance Chimborazo Reserve & Accommodation.

Day 4: Riobamba–Alausí–IngapircaRuins–Cuenca
From Riobamba we’ll go south to Alausí, along the way see via la Balbanera, the first Spanish church built in the country. In Alausí, we will take a spectacular train ride through the Devil’s Nose, a true feat in railway engineering of the early twentieth century.

We continue south for some two-hour drive to visit the Incan Archaeological site of Ingapirca, which means "Wall of the Inca" and it is the most important Incan relics in Ecuador. This citadel was built in the fifteenth century on an ancient route that connected Quito to Cuzco. 

Included breakfast, train ticket, box lunch & accommodation.

Day 5: Cuenca
Cuenca World Heritage Site. It is a city of facades dated from the last five centuries which have been kept intact due to the unique privilege of being the only city on the Ecuadorian Andes which has not been hit by major quakes.

The Cathedral, Main Square, the flower market, San Francisco and Santo Domingo churches and the Central Bank Museum with permanent archeological, anthropological, colonial and republican art collections. Monastery of the Immaculate Conception, cloister built between 1628 and 1729. The cloister contains an unusual collection of religious art.

Panama hat factory where a wide variety of goods made from “toquilla” fiber like bags, dolls and of course literally thousand possible hat styles, colors, and prices. At the end, we shall have a panoramic look of the city from Turi viewpoint. Return to your hotel or transfer to the airport.

Included breakfast, entrance Banco Central and Conceptas museums

Highlander Otavalo & across the Andes to Cuenca