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Ecuador - Route of the Incas
2016 Rates 1 2 3 4-8
5 day / 4 night
Private Tour
$2503 $1794 $1406 $1165

Not Included: Cuenca-Quito air (appx $120US)  
All rates are per person, in US dollars and subject to change at any time

Travel the Route of the Incas  from Quito to Cuenca through the magnificent Avenue of the Volcanoes in the Andes of Ecuador. Stay in an historically delightful hacienda at the base of Cotopaxi - one of the world's highest active volcanoes (and enjoy some of the best pisco sours in the country). 

Cotopaxi Volcano, Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador,Iinti Travel and Tours
© Jeff Waugh

Cuenca
is a UNESCO

World Heritage Site

 

This tour offers volcanoes, hotsprings, haciendas and indigenous markets as you travel through the amazingly beautiful central Andean highlands of Ecuador. We visit Inga Pirca - Ecuador's most impressive Incan ruins and the newly proclaimed World Heritage Site of Cuenca with it's colonial atmosphere and pre-Incan ruins!

Route of the Incas
5 Day Itinerary - Any day departures

Day 1. Leaving Quito, drive south along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to the Cotopaxi National Park, home to the world’s highest active volcano at 5897 m (19347 ft). Here we can spot the Andean Teal, the Andean Coot, the Ecuadorian Hillstar endemic to Ecuador and the giant Andean Condor, with its 3m wingspan. Observe the low growing vegetation and typical plants of the Paramo and spectacular scenery. Depending on weather conditions and group interests, hike up to the snow line at approximately 5000 m (16400 ft).

We spend the night at an Hacienda in the area.

Day 2. Morning visit to an Indigenous market then on to the cloud forests of Baños. Accommodation at a hotel on the outskirts of Riobamba.

Hacienda La Cienaga, Cotopaxi, Ecuador, Inti Travel and Tours
© Jeff Waugh
La Cienaga Hacienda

Day 3. Train Ride along Devil’s Nose

One of Ecuador’s special attractions is the highland railway, dubbed ‘the most difficult railway in the world’ because of a near vertical wall of rock. The solution was to carve a series of tight zig-zags out of the rock, which allows the train to go backward and forwards so as to climb 800 m (2624 ft). Built at the turn of last century, it took over 35 years to complete. Sitting in the carriage, one captures the beauty of the typical Ecuadorian highlands and scenery and the patchwork of fields rising up the slopes of the Andes, while appreciating this great engineering feat.

At 6 a.m. board the train. Travel through the Andean countryside; enjoying the ride through spectacular mountain scenery, while observing indigenous people at work in the patchwork of fields perched along the steep mountain face. The train ride ends in the picturesque town of Alausi around noon. We continue on to the Incan ruins of Ingapirca, with the finest example of Incan stonework in Ecuador. Lunch at the ruins. Continue on to Cuenca, considered by many Ecuadorians to be the most beautiful city in the country. (B)

Accommodation at one of Cuenca’s colonial hotels.

Day 4. During this tour we have the opportunity to enjoy Cuenca’s scenic countryside, stopping off in villages where artisans have been creating for generations. In San Bartolome we meet craftsmen making handmade guitars with the most amazing wood inlay. We visit Chordeleg famous for ceramic pottery, silver and gold filigree jewelry, in Gualaceo one can stroll around the local market learning about the local fruit, maybe taste a typical dish. In Bulcay, a family dedicated to keeping alive the dying craft of pre-Columbian Ikat weaving, will show us how these intricate patterns are created, dyed and woven.

During this tour one can observe people weaving Panama hats and other straw items.

Lunch at a local Hacienda. (B/L)

Accommodation at one of Cuenca’s colonial hotels.

Day 5. AM visit Colonial Cuenca. The Old Town is best visited on foot. Our tour takes you along the cobblestone streets admiring the historic buildings, hanging balconies, carved wooden doors, the craft fair and colourful flower market, the main plaza with the Old Cathedral, which has been converted to the “Museum for Religious Art”, and the magnificent blue-domed Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. See silversmiths at work and handicrafts of almost every kind. We end the tour with a visit to the “Panama Hat” factory. (B)

Afternoon flight to Quito or Guayaquil (not included)

Cathedral, Cuenca, Ecuador, Inti Travel and Tours
© Jeff Waugh
Cathedral in Cuenca

Inga Pirca Archaeological site, Canar, Ecuador, Inti Travel and Tours
© Jeff Waugh
Inga Pirca Archaeological Site near Cuenca, Ecuador

INCLUDES: DOES NOT INCLUDE: YOU SHOULD BRING:
  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Entrance fees to museums
  • Breakfast & Lunch
  • English-speaking guide

 

  • International or local air
  • Dinners
  • Tips
  • Anything else not mentioned

 

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Day Pack
  • Water bottle
  • Hat
  • Personal clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Binoculars

Reservations

Gate of the Sun © Inti Travel and Tours, Box 1586, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L 1B5
Phone 1-403-760-3565 / Fax 1-403-760-3566