Our 15 days of adventure on this Ecuador tour are well-spent on this thrill-ride of a tour, as we explore the rural and urban charms of one of South America's most rewarding destinations.
From the frenetic pace and man-made aesthetic beauty of the capital city of Quito, we make headway for the tranquility and natural splendour of one of the world's few remaining untouched wilderness regions; the Amazon rainforest.
We keep a vigilant eye for colourful flora and teeming fauna as we explore the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle and see things from a different perspective when we embark on a short canoe-trip to explore inaccessible areas.
Along the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes', a striking passage that snugly rests between the major cordillera ranges, we admire the contrast between the equatorial lushness in the valley and the snow-crested peaks of the surrounding mountains and we get our fill of historic sites of interest when we visit the colonial "White City" of Ibarra and the UNESCO-designated urban centres of Quito.
Our browsing in local marketplaces gives us valuable insight to the country's contemporary culture and the lifestyles of its people.
Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.
Select a date below to reserve your spot:
This tour will replace tour code EQ8 from 2019 onward
Optional Single Supplement: $910 USD (number of singles limited).
Breakfast and dinner daily (hotels and restaurants); all meals in teh Amazon. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing, and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving/departing on tour dates and for any Land & Air customer arriving early/departing late and booking their extra accommodation through us.
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuity, most lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), departure taxes, domestic and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs, shopping, and locally paid departure taxes.
Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered throughout the year. The cool and dry season runs from May to October; outside of this time you will encounter warmer and perhaps rainy/misty conditions in the highlands but serious heat & humidity are only a consideration in the Amazon.
Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have some full bus days, road travel is not particularly arduous as there are plenty of stops of interest. Roads are in good condition though winding on some stretches.
Baggage handling service is usually in Ecuador though you should be independent with your luggage, especially at airports.
Our difficulty rating of "Level 2" reflects the generally ambitious nature of our program, which features full days of travel and sightseeing, plenty of walking at sites that may be quite large and feature uneven/cobbled surfaces, stairs, heat, and some remote locations. You must also be prepared for short walks to dinner when we dine outside hotels, and to be fully-independent with your luggage in the event that porters are not available. While we don’t include any strenuous activities such as extended hiking or cycling, you must be steady on your feet and able to fully manage yourself and your belongings. And as always on any of our tours, if you rely heavily on a cane or any other mobility device, this tour would not be suitable for you.
Though most people are not seriously affected by altitude as we do not surpass 3000m/10,000 ft on this trip, we require that all participants submit a “Self-Assessment” form confirming their suitability for this journey. We suggest that you preview this form, which includes more detail regarding what you can expect on tour, by clicking the “Resources” tab at the top of this page.
Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.
Well-located, heated/air-conditioned (except Amazon), mid-range (3- star) hotels with en suite toilet and bath throughout. The Amazon lodge is a little more rustic, but still very nicely appointed. Porter service is usually in Ecuador though you should be independent with your luggage, especially at airports. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.
Staff and Support
Tour Leader, local guides, local driver.
Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader
This tour is part of a series that can be upgraded to make for a longer trip. For more options, please refer to tour code/s:
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 1 Acivity Level: 1 Tour Style: Cultural
This 19-day Ecuador tour is an adventure that takes us into the Amazon Basin and amid the Galapagos Islands, two destinations that are so different both from each other and from any other location on the globe, they seem to belong to other worlds.
Professional tour guides lead us on a cruise through the Amazon where we have an opportunity to witness a land that is alive with a massive array of plant and animal species.
A flock of multi-coloured birds scattering in flight above our heads is just as much of an exotic sight as the many unique flowers that blanket the ground.
Some of the surreal land structures of the Galapagos will make us feel as though we momentarily stepped off the face of the Earth and into a land of imagination.
The crystal-clear waters seem to match the quality of the flawless beaches that radiate in the sun.
We're then off to see the ancient ruins of the Ingapica in the Canar Valley. The most important and intriguing structure is the Temple of the Sun because of the lack of mortar used in its stonework.
Experience the past meeting the present as we take a walk along the narrow cobblestone streets of Cuenca, once the site of an Inca settlement.
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 2 Acivity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
For a comprehensive overview of the diversity and splendour of nature in South America, this thrilling Ecuador & Peru tour is definitely the one to opt for.
For an adventure-packed 30 days, we travel through three unique destinations across this magnificent continent and bear witness to sights that even the most vivid imagination could not do justice to.
On a tour marked by superlatives that have to be seen to be believed, we begin our adventure by drifting down the longest river in the world with the world's largest and most abundant rainforest as a backdrop.
Exotic species of flora and fauna, vibrant in colour and iridescent in beauty, line our course and when we once again take to land, we make route for the Avenue of the Volcanoes, a stretch of snow-crested peaks, mystical brooks and small villages with terraced farmland.
Exploration of the bustling capital city, Quito, makes for a pleasing contrast to our subsequent departure for the uninhabited natural wonderlands of the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago that has remained untouched for millennia and which has thereby managed to cultivate a special environment brimming with unique ecosystems and extraordinary diversity and abundance of wildlife.
Nowhere else on the planet offers such rewarding opportunities to get up-close and personal with countless species of land- and marine- animals that have never learned to fear the presence of Man; the magic of the Galapagos never fails to spellbind.
From here, it's on to Peru's capital, Lima, to venture through ancient underground catacombs and tour majestic palaces, beautiful cathedrals and museums rich with Incan and pre-Incan relics treasures.
As we journey through the Urubamba Valley, also known as the 'Sacred Valley of the Incas', we admire one of the most scenic drives on our trip and stop off to explore Inca ruins and cave tombs before we reach the bewildering 'Lost City of the Incas' at Machu Picchu.
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 3 Acivity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
Lima, or 'The City of the Kings' as it was dubbed by Spanish conquistadors, is a city that enjoys world-renowned fame for its abundant attractions and makes for a fitting introduction to our Peru, Bolivia & Ecuador Tour through these three highly rewarding South American countries.
Lima, once the richest and most important city in the Americas, is home to some Peru's best museums, fascinating underground catacombs, striking architecture and historic sites by the dozen and we take a couple of days to explore the area before travelling to 'The Sacred Valley of the Incas' to view spectacular scenery and magnificent relics dating from thousands of years ago.
The Incas were the most dominant of South American ancient civilizations, with an empire that at the height of its existence ruled over upwards of a million individuals and spanned a territory from Ecuador to Chile; an area greater than the dominion achieved by any peoples in the history of the Americas.
We travel to the mysterious site of Machu Picchu, 'The Lost City of the Incas,' which is today one of the most famous ancient sites in the world, and wonder as to its past significance as we explore magnificent temples, stone palaces and gargantuan crumbling towers.
A scenic rail journey that snakes past deep valleys, snow-capped peaks and potato and grain fields takes us to the Cuzco region and then it's on towards Bolivia, stopping off in small traditional villages to find out about rural life in Peru.
The Bolivia leg of the tour finds us investigating Inca and pre-Inca sites, admiring colonial churches, cathedrals and flower gardens, and casting off on a boat to experience traditional Bolivian lifestyles on picturesque islands.
We see alpacas and llamas on the way to Tiahuanaco, a place that was once the home of a now-disappeared civilization (the Tiahuanaco), and we check out colourful markets, where locals barter for potions, herbs and folk remedies used to ward off evil spirits.
Crossing into Ecuador, we ramble in lush virgin rainforest in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle, gaze in awe at perfectly-conical volcanoes along the magnificent 'Avenue of the Volcanoes', replenish ourselves in world-famous hot springs and tour fascinating colonial centres of churches and white-washed, red-tiled buildings.
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 3 Acivity Level: 1 Tour Style: Cultural
Pristine tropical jungle, exotic flora and teeming fauna serve as the most picturesque introduction to South America, as we begin our 36-day Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia tour through four remarkable destinations by exploring the tributaries of the mightiest river on the planet alongside the Amazonian rainforests of Ecuador.
Monkeys chatter from the riverbanks, colourful birds glide from tree to tree and butterflies flit over climbing vines as our nature guide teaches us about the unimaginable biodiversity of this spectacular region, before we set ashore for exploration of trails on foot.
Travelling through weaving-villages and red-tiled, whitewashed colonial towns, we head for the 'Avenue of Volcanoes' to follow in the footsteps of its discoverer, German scientist Alexander von Humboldt, where we come across snow-capped summits, mystical brooks, hot springs, terraced farmlands and exceptional haciendas that date from the 16th century.
In the capital, Quito, we tour palaces and beautiful religious buildings - like La Compania church which enjoys worldwide fame for its ornate facade and solid gold altars - in the UNESCO-protected Spanish colonial centre and we straddle two hemispheres at the equator line monument known as 'the middle of the world'.
Setting off for the natural paradise of the Galapagos Islands, we head to a veritable modern-day Garden of Eden that boasts a wider range of biodiversity and a natural splendour more striking than any location on the planet and a destination which has changed little since the times of Charles Darwin.
A tour in the Galapagos Islands is not just a typical sightseeing trip; it's an interactive journey wherein the countless species of wildlife are as curious about you as you are about them and travellers have the unique opportunity to get up-close and personal with nature.
Crossing into Peru, we set down in Lima, a city founded in 1535 that was once the most important Spanish city during the colonial era.
Today it is home to upwards of one-third of the country's population and gives travellers valuable insights into contemporary culture and lifestyles in Peru.
We stop in for exploration in Cuzco, the archaeological capital of the Americas and ancient capital of the Inca Empire, before travelling through spectacular countryside by train to the 'Lost City of the Incas' at Machu Picchu, where we gaze at intricately carved temples, pyramids and winding stone staircases.
After a short boat trip to experience the rural lifestyles of islanders, we make headway for Bolivia, where we spend the final four days of our tour.
Mingling with the locals in traditional villages with bustling colourful markets featuring stalls selling anything from herbal potions to folk remedies to guard against evil spirits and at folk music performances allows us to appreciate fully Bolivian culture and our museum-visits teach us about the country's remarkable pre-Columbian history.
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 3 Acivity Level: 1 Tour Style: Cultural
Home to more than one-third of the country's population, Lima is the must-see commercial and cultural hub of Peru and we take the initial couple of days of our incredible 35-day Peru, Bolivia & Ecuador Tour through South America to appreciate its many bounties.
We discover the secrets of the ancient Incas by making our way along the 'Sacred Valley of the Incas,' where we see centuries-old cave tombs carved into the valley walls, and by strolling amid the ruins of the 'Lost City of the Incas' at the remarkable Machu Picchu.
To this day, relatively little is known about this highly advanced and influential ancient civilization and as we travel through majestic landscapes of snow-tipped mountains, spectacular ridges and plunging valleys by road, rail and sea, we come face-to-face with the mysteries of the past, pondering for ourselves the unexplained riddles left behind by the great peoples of old, and see how legacies from the days of yore live on in the customs and bloodlines of their descendants.
Crossing the border into Bolivia, we head for Copacabana to find a destination that has held religious significance for hundreds of years, beginning with the Incas.
Magnificent cathedrals, colourful mosques and sites whose importance incorporate a fusion of Catholic and pagan beliefs line our route as we set off for the largest lake on the continent - Lake Titicaca - where cleverly terraced slopes contain numerous traditional villages and ruins of the great Inca Empire that reveal ancient secrets.
Touched little by the commercialization wrought by mass tourism, Bolivia is a country reminiscent of the world as it was hundreds of years ago, where traditional dress is worn by locals in lively markets and bartering for goods such as potions and herbal folk remedies to ward off evil spirits is commonplace.
In Ecuador, we get closer to nature with a trip down one of the remote tributaries of the mighty Amazon River and ramble through thick Ecuadorian jungle teeming with exotic wildlife, before making our way along the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes' for some of the most dramatic volcanic sceneries in South America.
We explore the UNESCO-protected colonial centre of the capital city, Quito, and the beautiful palace, the famous San Francisco Church and the Virgin of the Apocalypse monument, before wandering through pristine cloud forests, labyrinths and chambers in crumbling Inca temples and quaint parks and romantic plazas of perhaps the most beautiful of Ecuadorian cities; Cuenca.
Mother Nature's most splendid works are on display as we cast off on a short cruise through the Galapagos Islands, an incredible, world-famous destination whose diversity of flora and fauna knows no rival and whose natural surroundings have changed little since the days of Charles Darwin.
Tour Overview Countries Visited: 3 Acivity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
Our South America tour packages are truly bucket list experiences and this tour features a number of iconic sights including a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines, the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu, the dense greenery of the Amazon and a Galapagos cruise.
Beyond those obvious highlights, the 35-day jaunt offers much for the discerning traveller. Whether it's perusing intricate weaving at a Peruvian market stall, learning about local customs in Bolivia (home to the continent's largest percentage of indigenous peoples) or marveling at the lofty peaks of the Ecuadorean Andes, this trio of South American countries will not disappoint.
Like many of our South America tour packages, we begin in Peru's capital, Lima. A sophisticated city with ever present nods to a civilization that dates back millennia, it's home to the famous Plaza de Armas surrounded by the impressive Archbishop's Palace. Also included in a day long tour is the Larco Museum -- featuring a treasure trove of pre-Columbian history and a world famous erotic archaeological collection -- and the trendy area of Miraflores with cliff top views of the Pacific Ocean.
A bus ride to Nazca is prelude to a flight over the 2,000 year old Nazca Lines. In some circles the elaborate figures, comprised of geometric lines and shapes, are believed to have extraterrestrial origins. Another separate day trip from Lima takes travellers to the Ballestas Islands where you will be greeted by seabirds and often schools of dolphins.
A spectacularly scenic drive follows, to the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo, a tantalizing taste of what's to come: the "lost" city of Machu Picchu high in The Andes. Named one of the New Sevens Wonders of the World, this ancient citadel is notable for its huge blocks wondrously fused without mortar. Among features at the site, that dates back to 1450 before its abandonment a century later, is The Temple of the Sun and the enigmatic Temple of the Three Windows.
Not to be outdone, Cuzco is home to many of the most important Inca sites and the tour takes advantage with visits to the complex of Sacsayhuaman (with stonework so perfect not even moss can grow!) and the town site attractions of San Blas Church and its cathedral that houses a trove of paintings from the Cuzco School of Art. Combined, the architecture, food, music and handicrafts ensure Cuzco has retained an aura of untouched colonialism.
Not forgetting to purchase a sweater or hat made of the luxurious alpaca wool the region is famous for, continue to the shores of placid Lake Titicaca, with stops at Pucara, the Temple of Wiracocha and a baroque church along the way. The lake itself straddles the Peruvian/Bolivian border and is the world's highest navigable body of water. While there take a boat tour to the fascinating floating islands of Los Uros, constructed from multitudinous layers of tortota reeds.
Crossing into Bolivia enjoy a walking tour of Copacabana before a day's boat exploration of Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca where terraced slopes are dotted with numerous ruins and tiny traditional villages.
In La Paz, located 3,300 metres above sea level, immerse yourself in the nosily contradictions of a city where boutique hotels jostle alongside Gothic spires for your attention. Perhaps most famous for its many markets, overseen by colourfully dressed merchants garbed in traditional petticoats and bowlers hats, La Paz is sure to delight.
A flight to Ecuador follows ahead of nearly four days exploration in the Amazon Rainforest. Famed for its vastness and unparalleled biodiversity, the Amazon spans nine separate nations and contains an estimated 390 billion trees comprised of 16,000 different species and is something you truly must include in your South America tour packages. Embarking from the Napo Cultural Centre, canoe down river to accommodations at Kichwa Ecolodge where visitors are welcomed with a lunch and traditional drinks.
A parrot clay lick, walk to an observation tower and visit to the interpretive centre Kuri Muyu are featured the following day with plenty of opportunity to view the incredible numbers of bird and animal species that include howler monkeys and toucans. A separate evening canoe trip is designed to bring visitors up close and personal with alligators. Before your departure flight to Quito, share in an early morning ritual of traditional customs practiced by the Kichwa natives.
Beautiful and steeped in history, Quito is the capital of Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Must sees here include a number of 16th and 17th century churches and the gigantic winged statue, Virgin of the Apocalypse.
North of Quito, the Otavalo Valley region is home to a tradition of weaving that forms the basis of the local economy and that's followed by a visit to the Avenue of Volcanoes located in a national park. En route to Banos, famous for its hot spring baths, stops are scheduled at Cotopaxi volcano and Pillaro where there's time to visit a traditional mask workshop. A brief walk to one of the nations most spectacular waterfalls, The Devil's Bowl, follows before boarding the Devil's Nose, on the Trans-Andean railroad, a truly remarkable feat of engineering.
A walking tour of Cuenca reveals the charms inherent in Ecuador's most important colonial city. While in town visit a Panama hat factory, the Archaeological Complex of Ingapirca and Museo del Banco Central.
Ornithologists won't want to miss the birding opportunities in Cajas National Park, in particular, the rare Andean Condor which is sometimes spotted soaring high above.
With wildlife that hasn't learned to be afraid of humans, the tour ends with a bang during the final days spent cruising the Galapagos Islands, another must-see destination in our South America tour packages. Almost entirely preserved as sanctuary, and with many species found nowhere else on earth, the collection of islands has gained near mythological status for its diversity and beauty.
With opportunities to snorkel and wildlife interactions that you're unlikely to experience any where else (including tortoises, sea lions, iguanas and many more). The Galapagos Islands are easily ranked among the most coveted travel experiences on the planet.
*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.
The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.
The lodge is located in the Cuyabeno Reserve in north-East Ecuador. Cuyabeno Lodge is directly ... the “Laguna Grande” right where you can find lots of wildlife and spectacular sunsets. The lodge’s unique location offers the perfect combination of seclusion and quick access to the highlights of the reserve.
Discover the Napo Cultural Center which offers modern accommodations, first-class services, and direct contact with the Kichwa Community. ... our traditional cuisine and share ancestral rites like the Wayusada Ceremony or the Kichwa Catamaran which emulates our trade routes along the river. This is sure to be an unforgettable experience!
At La Ciénega, the cozy warmth of a nice throwback colonial ambiance meets refined decor and modern amenities to bring maximum comfort and relaxation. Our design-driven accommodations feature stone fireplaces, large windows, and elegant upholstery.
Currently, Itza opens its doors in the heart of the city, with its memory intact and brighter than ever.