Ecuador's Heritage: A Cultural and Culinary Exploration Uncover South America

Ecuador Vacations Cultural and Culinary Exploration

14 Days Similar tours from £3190

    A Cultural and Culinary Exploration

    From the moment you land in Quito, you'll be immersed in the sensory tapestry of Ecuador. The cool mountain air will invigorate you, and the rich aroma of Ecuadorian coffee will awaken your senses. Throughout the trip, you'll savour a diverse array of flavours, from mouthwatering empanadas to traditional Andean feasts, creating a culinary journey like no other.

    As you travel through Ecuador's diverse landscapes, you'll not only see the breathtaking beauty but also feel it. Whether you're exploring indigenous markets or hiking through lush cloud forests, the experiences will leave an indelible mark. Your will meet local communities, immerse yourself in their traditions, and gain a profound understanding of Ecuador's diverse heritage. 

    This journey isn't just about visiting places; it's about discovering the soul of Ecuador and forging connections with its people.


    Gastronomy, Local Culture, Adventure

    Tour Highlights

    Culinary Delights in Quito: Explore the diverse flavours of Ecuador through a gastronomic journey enhancing your appreciation for local cuisine and broadening your culinary horizons.

    Cumbayá's Artistic Village Experience: Engage in ceramics and embroidery workshops, explore local artisanal shops, and taste Ecuadorian chocolate and coffee.

    → Guamote Community Immersion: Dive into indigenous culture, witness traditional living, support local livelihoods in an eco-friendly way, and enjoy authentic cultural encounters.

    → Maquipucuna Biodiversity Adventure: Connect with nature and gain a heightened awareness of Ecuador's remarkable biodiversity, fostering an appreciation for conservation efforts.

    → Cuenca's Colonial Gem: Uncover UNESCO World Heritage Treasures and immerse yourself in a captivating journey through the city's historical and architectural marvels.

    Tour Itinerary and Essentials

    • Detailed Itinerary Show All

      • Day 1 Welcome To Ecuador

        Welcome to Ecuador, a land of endless wonders! Your journey begins with a friendly welcome at Quito International Airport, where we'll pick you up and take you to your comfy hotel in the heart of Quito.

        Quito, our first stop, is a city that feels like stepping into a storybook. Cobblestone streets, colourful colonial buildings, and a rich history await you.

        Overnight: Hotel Casona 1914

      • Day 2 Quito Culinary Journey

        Join us for a delightful day of flavours and culture in Quito! We'll pick you up from your hotel in the morning to kick off your Gastronomic Quito Tour. Our first stop is a Coffee Lab in the Mariscal area, where you'll discover the world of Ecuadorian coffee and enjoy its diverse varieties.

        Next, we'll head to Quito's Historical Center. But first, we'll make a quick stop at a local restaurant to savour a delicious "empanada." As you explore the historic streets, take in the city's rich heritage.

        Lunch will be a treat for your taste buds, featuring a traditional Andean meal. In the afternoon, immerse yourself in Quito's sweet traditions, from "rapiñada" to "pristiños" and "quesadillas."

        To wrap up this unforgettable experience, we'll visit a traditional "Fonda" where you can enjoy local beer, the famous "chica," and other regional cocktails. Get ready to explore Quito through its delectable dishes and drinks, and savour the unique blend of history and cuisine in this vibrant city.

        Overnight: Hotel Casona 1914
        Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

      • Day 3 Otavalo and Beyond: A Cultural Odyssey

         Prepare to embark on a captivating journey to Otavalo, the vibrant heart of Ecuador's artisanal and cultural treasures. Nestled beneath the towering Imbabura Volcano, this enchanting city, located in the Imbabura Province, boasts a rich indigenous heritage that will leave you spellbound.

        Explore the renowned indigenous market, a treasure trove of handicrafts and textiles. Immerse yourself in the culture as you visit the Condor Park, home to majestic birds, and bask in the breathtaking beauty of San Pablo Lake, reflecting the imposing Imbabura Volcano.

        Discover the enchanting Peguche Waterfall, steeped in local legends and mystic waters. Near the falls, engage in weaving workshops, partake in local music, and relish a typical indigenous feast, all in the warm embrace of a local home.

        Customise your Otavalo experience with the guidance of our destination expert. While you may not be able to explore all these wonders in a single day, we'll ensure your visit is tailored to your preferences. 

        Overnight: Breakfast & Lunch
        Meal Plan: Ilatoa Lodge

      • Day 4 Cumbayá Cultural Journey

        Discover the captivating village of Cumbayá, where culture and nature harmoniously intertwine. Visit the local Cumbayá church, a historic gem showcasing splendid architecture and religious art. 

        Next to the church lies a charming park, inviting you for a leisurely walk among lush greenery and vibrant flowers. As you wander, explore local shops, each brimming with unique, handcrafted items, artisanal goods, and traditional treasures.

        Then, delight your senses with a coffee and chocolate tasting at Pacari, a renowned Ecuadorian chocolatier known for fair trade practices. Experience the rich, distinct flavours of Ecuadorian chocolate and savour a cup of freshly brewed coffee that will leave your taste buds spellbound.

        Following this, unlock your artistic talents with a ceramics or embroidery workshop guided by skilled local artisans. Immerse yourself in Ecuador's artistry and heritage as you craft your own masterpiece, discovering the intricacies of these traditional techniques.

        After the creative session, enjoy a well-earned lunch break with a basket of delectable Ecuadorian delights. Savour local delicacies and traditional treats amidst Cumbayá's picturesque surroundings.

        As the day winds down, embark on a sunset walk along the scenic Chaquiñan Trail. Then, cap off the day with a scoop of Ecuadorian traditional ice cream, selecting from a tempting array of flavours.

        Overnight: Ilatoa Lodge
        Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

      • Day 5 Quito to Mindo, Enchanting Landscapes

        Your journey from Quito to Mindo is a scenic delight. Over the course of approximately 2 hours, you'll be treated to breathtaking landscapes that will leave you in awe.

        Welcome to the Maquipucuna Reserve, the nearest untouched rainforest to Quito. This private haven encompasses more than 14,000 acres of pristine cloud forests, nestled within the heart of the Chocó Andean Corridor, recognised as one of the world's top three biodiversity hotspots. 

        Upon your arrival, you'll receive a warm welcome and be equipped with rubber boots, preparing you for an introductory trek along one of the diverse trails within the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest.

        Overnight: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
        Meal Plan: Maquipucuna Lodge

      • Day 6 Adventure at Maquipucuna Reserve

        Embark on the Humedal trail, where you'll delve deeper into the world of plants and observe a variety of bird species as you follow the ancient pre-Inca trail once used by the Yumbos. Your journey leads to the Yumbo waterfall and a refreshing swimming hole, offering a delightful opportunity to take a dip.

        Following a satisfying lunch, your adventure continues with visits to the coffee orchard, the orchid garden, and the organic garden, where you'll discover the secrets of these natural wonders.

        Alternatively, after breakfast, you can opt for a half-day or full-day tour, exploring the exhilarating Ziplines, the fascinating Tulipe archaeological site, or the captivating Mindo butterfly garden. For those seeking a touch of mystery, an optional guided night hike is also available to complete your day of adventure.

        Overnight: Maquipucuna Lodge
        Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

      • Day 7  Farewell to Maquipucuna

        In the early morning, before breakfast, you have the option to indulge in some birdwatching. Following this, your choices for exploration abound. You can tackle more challenging trails, embark on an expedition into the Cloud Forest with a packed lunch, refresh yourself with a dip by the waterfall, and conclude your visit.

        Then you will continue your journey to Quito. 

        Overnight: Hotel Ikala Quito
        Meal Plan: Breakfast

      • Day 8 Cotopaxi National Park Exploration

        Departing from Quito, you'll journey south along the picturesque Avenue of the Volcanoes, passing Corazon, Illinizas North, Ilinizas South, Pasochoa, and Rumiñahui on your way to Cotopaxi. 

        After reaching the national park entrance, a 45-minute drive leads you to the tranquil Limpiopungo Lagoon, offering stunning views of both Rumiñahui and Cotopaxi volcanoes.

        A gentle 1-hour hike around the lagoon allows you to witness the breathtaking reflection of Cotopaxi in the water and explore the unique paramo flora and fauna. From Limpiopungo lagoon, you'll ascend to the Cotopaxi refuge, a base for mountaineers before their climbs. 

        Overnight: Hacienda Santa Ana
        Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

      • Day 9 Guamote Community Exploration

        Guamote a unique and culturally rich village, predominantly inhabited by indigenous people. Your accommodation will be in a community-friendly hotel, offering an authentic experience.

        Guamote canton stands as the epitome of tradition in Ecuador, with a staggering 95% of its population belonging to indigenous communities, a striking contrast to the national average of 25%.

        During your visit, you'll have the opportunity to explore community projects and small mountain villages. You'll even have a chance to visit an indigenous family and witness their authentic "choza" housing, providing a glimpse into the mountain-dwelling way of life. If you're feeling adventurous, you can opt to walk back to Guamote, which takes around 1.5 hours. This day promises an immersive experience into the heart of Ecuador's indigenous culture.

        Overnight: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
        Meal Plan: Inti Sisa Guesthouse

      • Day 10 From Guamote to Cuenca: Heritage, Ruins, and Andean Flavours

        As the morning sun rises, embark on a southward journey from Guamote. Your first stop takes you to Alausi, where you'll visit the train museum and a lookout point that offers panoramic views of the Andes, once traversed by the famous Devil's Train.

        Your next stop is Ingapirca, the largest known archaeological site featuring Inca ruins in Ecuador. Among the remarkable structures, the Temple of the Sun stands out as the most significant, inviting you to step back in time and explore the fascinating history of the Incas.

        Later that day, Immerse yourself in the traditional Andean way of cooking, alongside local experts. This culinary adventure not only tantalises your taste buds but also offers an opportunity to connect with the culture and culinary traditions of the region.

        Overnight: Posada Ingapirca
        Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

      • Day 11 From Ingapirca to Cuenca: A Colonial Gem

        Cuenca boasts a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and your adventure kicks off with a Cuenca city tour. You'll uncover the city's most captivating highlights and immerse yourself in its charming atmosphere. As you explore, you'll be enchanted by the historical and architectural wonders that have earned Cuenca its well-deserved reputation.

        Overnight: Hotel Victoria
        Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

      • Day 12 Journey from Cuenca to Guayaquil with Hacienda La Danesa Experience

        Your day begins with a pick-up in Cuenca as you make your way to Guayaquil. Along the way, you'll enjoy an extended stop at Hacienda La Danesa in Naranjito. This operational farm provides the perfect setting for a delightful lunch and engaging farm-style activities.

        Choose to o tubing, hiking, biking, or horseback riding, immersing yourself in the serene beauty of the countryside. Afterwards, savour a delicious local lunch that perfectly complements your day of adventure.

        Overnight: Hotel Casa García
        Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

      • Day 13 A Journey into Winemaking

        After a hearty breakfast, you'll embark on a journey to one of the region's most renowned vineyards. Arriving at Viñedo Dos Hemisferios, you'll delve into the vineyard's captivating history and vision.

        Your day unfolds with a guided tour of the vineyard, where you'll witness the remarkable journey of turning the impossible into reality, from sowing and harvesting grapes to crafting exceptional wines.

        Next, a visit to the winemaking facility offers a behind-the-scenes look at the entire winemaking process, unveiling the artistry that goes into each bottle.

        The tour culminates at Gran Samán, where you'll indulge in a wine-tasting experience. Sip on a selection of exquisite wines, including Bruma Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay, Enigma, Travesía Cabernet Sauvignon, and Paradoja wines, paired with delectable snacks. 

        Overnight: Hotel Casa García
        Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch

      • Day 14 Departure from Guayaquil

        A transfer will be arranged to transport you from your hotel to Guayaquil Airport swiftly. The journey is short, taking approximately 15 minutes, ensuring a smooth and convenient transition for your departure.

        Meal Plan: Breakfast

      Accommodations Show All

    • What's Included

      • 13 nights' accommodation 
      • Private ground transportation 
      • Meals as defined in the itinerary
      • Local English-speaking tour guide
      • Domestic flights
      • Activities mentioned in the itinerary
      • Entrance fees mentioned in the itinerary 

      What's not Included

      • International flights
      • Meals not listed in the itinerary
      • Tips and other discretionary expense


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