To visit either the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon Rainforest you have to travel from Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador's two traveling hubs. This usually means that you will have some free time in between international and local connecting flights. We recommend you take advantage of this to explore the diversity of Ecuador. There are a wide menu of additional tours we can help you set up prior, between, or after visiting the Galapagos and Amazon Rainforest. We suggest a few options below. For more information and travel advice contact us.
Quito's colonial district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quito's old town is the best preserved and least altered in Latin America. After a restoration process that started in the late 90's, Quito's colonial houses, squares, local markets, churches, museums and friendly environment provide an excellent opportunity for a half-day, or a full-day's walking tour. For more information and travel advice on these and other cultural tours contact us.
There are a number of Andean lodges along the Avenue of Volcanoes, a 325 km. long valley between the two major mountain ranges in Ecuador. We can recommend several overland expeditions ranging between 1 and 3 days to visit mountain lodges located in spectacular settings near snow covered active volcanoes. For more information and travel advice on these and other Andean adventures contact us.
Ecuador has reactivated its old train system and has converted it into an interesting travel opportunity. A train ride from Quito to the Boliche Preserve is another 1-day travel option if you are looking for Andean landscapes. There are other multi-day train riding opportunities along the Avenue of Volcanoes if you want to visit the Devil's Nose, Ingapirca Inca ruins, and Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city. For more information and travel advice on train adventures and itineraries contact us.
Otavalo MarketIndigenous markets
Otavalo is an indigenous town located 2-hours north of Quito that has become one of Ecuador's tourism destinations. The Otavalo Indigenous market is located in the center of town, where you can find high quality local goods for modest prices. This is one of our most popular requests, and it provides an excellent option for 1- and 2-day activities. For more information and travel advice on this and other community ecotourism tours contact us.
Ecuador Colonial Haciendas
Some of the most important estates from the colonial time, known as "Haciendas" used for agriculture and cattle ranching, have been converted into tourism operations. There are a wide number of them, mostly located along the Avenue of Volcanoes in the Andes valleys. We recommend some of them for 1- and 2-day travel programs since they are located near some of Ecuador's most important natural and cultural attractions. For more information and travel advice on these and other Andean adventures contact us.
Ecuador CLoud Forest
The cloudforest is the montane tropical and subtropical forest located in the eastern and western slopes of the Andes ridges. They are characterized by dense forest covered with mosses, and depending on the season, by a low-level cloud cover. Quito has pristine cloudforest areas within a 2-hour drive, where we recommend a few options for day trips, as well as 2- and 3- day tours to beautiful ecolodges. For more information and travel advice on Cloudforest tours including birdwatching contact us.
Mountain BikingActive Adventures & Sports
If you are looking for adventures and sports, there are a several possibilities we can recommend including kayaking, rafting, trekking, camping, horseback riding, and mountain biking. These are interesting choices if you have a day or two and are looking for active tours near Quito or Guayaquil. For more information and travel advice on active adventures and sports contact us.
Machalilla National Park is Ecuador's most important coastal tourism destination. Particularly known for whale watching, this national park offers pristine beaches, an island where many different species of marine birds nest, snorkeling and diving opportunities, cultural and archeological sites, and the option of hiking or horseback riding in tropical forest. It is an excellent choice if you are looking for a 3-day itinerary (recommended during the whale-watching season, from June through early November). You can visit Machalilla from Guayaquil (overland) or Quito (local flight). For more information and travel advice on marine and coastal activities contact us.
Papallacta Hot Springs
Papallacta Hot Springs and Resort, located 1-hour away from Quito, is one of our preferred options for travelers looking for relaxation and nature. Located next to the Cayambe Coca National Park, and surrounded by Andean landscapes, these hot springs are the perfect 1-day option if you are looking for a leisure activity without having to drive a long distance to get there from Quito. For more information and travel advice on Spas contact us.