Fly to Latin America's most impressive capital. Perched just 12 miles north from the middle of the world, Quito is a UNESCO city, famed for having the best-preserved historic centre in Latin America. Buzzing with brightly dressed women, its central plaza offers up an exotic introduction to the country.
The city's crown jewel is its Old Town. Here you’ll find colonial monuments and architectural treasures, as well as museums, cathedrals and Baroque architecture. Local life continues amongst 17th-century facades, picturesque plazas and magnificent art-filled churches. A hike to the top of Panecillo Hill offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Don your bargaining hat as you head to the busy town of Otavalo today. It’s home to a large indigenous population and one of the most important markets in the Andes. For thousands of years, traders have come to sell their dizzying array of textiles. Bargain for weavings and tapestries, before heading off to the song-filled home of a traditional musician in the village of Peguche.
A short flight takes you to Cuenca, one of Ecuador's prettiest cities. Explore bustling flower markets and impressive monuments and marvel at the trademark skyline of massive rotundas and soaring steeples. With a marvellously alive handicraft tradition, this is the place to pick up your Panama hat, and other handcrafted treats.
The quaint village of Gualaceo is a craft-shoppers paradise, located in a lush valley with winding walkways that maze around the riverfront. The villages of Paute, situated on the bank of the river, known for its potters, weavers and embroiderers, are also waiting for you on a relaxing day trip from Cuenca. Check out how the indigo-dyed cotton shawls, known as patos, are made.
Enjoy rugged landscapes and fresh mountain air in El Cajas National Park. Jagged rocks and a wild, dramatic landscape are sure to impress. This trekker's paradise is full of glacial lakes, roaring waterfalls and trippy rock formations. You may even see llamas and the more elusive spectacled bears and jaguars. Soak it all in during a leisurely stroll and then hop back in the car to continue to Guayaquil.
You leave the cultural delights of Quito behind this morning to fly to Baltra Island: your hop off point to a startling showcase of biodiversity. The Galapagos are an isolated group of wild and wildlife-laden volcanic islands, known as Darwin’s laboratory. Prepare to be wowed by the playful, distinctly un-camera-shy, residents of this iconic archipelago.
Cruising the famous waters is undoubtedly the best way to discover Galapagos. The 13 volcanic islands that make up the Galapagos are populated by extraordinary creatures, some of which are found nowhere else on our planet. Every day offers a different island, bay or cove to explore and species to discover. Take a stroll across the moon-like landscape and watch huge tortoises trundle across your path.
All adventures must come to an end and as you swap the sea for the air, your head will be filled with the mysteries of the islands. You’ll fly to Guayaquil for a last Ecuadorian dinner before preparing for your flight home tomorrow.
Spend the last hours of your adventure in Guayaquil. Here you can stroll along the seafront, stretch your legs in the Botanical Gardens or explore Barrio Las Petas and its old wooden houses, before your evening flight home.