“You put your left foot in; you put your left foot out; you put your left foot in; and you shake it all about...” How about doing the hokey pokey in Ecuador, and when you put your left foot in, you can put it in the Northern Hemisphere while your right foot stays in the Southern Hemisphere? How many of your friends can say they’ve straddled the middle of the world? Now you can, and Monograms makes it easy! On this 9-day vacation, we’ve arranged your hotel reservations, daily buffet breakfast (plus 4 lunches and 3 dinners), sightseeing, and transportation between cities. Plus, your Local Host® will travel with you throughout the vacation to help ensure your vacation is everything you want it to be.When you arrive in Quito, your Local Host will greet you with a warm welcome and present you with materials to help you get settled. The next day, after your included breakfast, Monograms will pick you up at your hotel for your private, guided sightseeing with a local expert—someone who knows the inside stories and fascinating history of this city. Your sightseeing will include San Francisco Square, the Virgen de Quito angel statue in Panecillo, and a visit to a bustling Ecuadorian market. The next day, your Local Host will take you to Otavalo and its famous Indian Market, where locals sell their handicrafts. You’ll also visit with Ecuadorian children at a school in the tranquil town of Peguche. Then you’re off to Baños, passing first through Cotopaxi National Park, with one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, and visiting a Rose Plantation. In Baños, surrounded by majestic mountains, you’ll have the opportunity to relax in some of the hot springs, which are heated by the nearby volcanoes, and visit the striking waterfalls. In Riobamba, enjoy the peace and beauty at the base of Ecuador’s highest volcano, Chimborazo. Here, you’ll experience a vacation highlight: an unforgettable train journey over the Devil’s Nose, passing through small mountain villages and zigzagging as it ascends and descends a steep mountain. The views are spectacular! Speaking of spectacular, we will also take you to the Ingapirca Ruins, the largest Incan ruins in Ecuador, where you’ll see the sun temple (1450-1480) and learn about the Incas’ beliefs and culture.In Cuenca, we’ll pick you up at your hotel for guided sightseeing that includes the must-see sights: the historical buildings, the main square, and the flower market. Plus, we’ve arranged for you to visit a Panama hat factory and pottery studio, so you can learn more about the local people. Finally, escorted by your Local Host, you’ll visit a Cacao Plantation and travel to the coastal town of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. Be sure to ask your Local Host for suggestions on where to get local specialties. And did we mention we’ve included the train journey to Devil’s Nose in your package? Between the sightseeing we’ve included, hotels we have booked, and the private transportation and guide we’ve arranged, the only thing left for you to do is sit back and enjoy. Add the time and hassles saved and the comfort of knowing you’ll have a Local Host with you throughout the vacation, and you’ve got yourself a once-in-a-lifetime vacation opportunity!
As outlined in the day-by-day itinerary
Buffet breakfast daily; 4 lunches; 3 three-course dinners
Day 1 ARRIVE IN QUITO, ECUADOR.
Welcome to one of the smallest yet most biodiverse countries in South America. Ecuador offers a panorama of scenery and climates—from the Pacific Coast to the rainforest and the Amazon to the high slopes of the Andes. Upon arrival in Quito, you will be met by your Local Host, who will help you get acquainted with this fascinating city near the equatorial line
Day 2 QUITO.
Your included PRIVATE CITY TOUR showcases the Old Town, where colonial history still permeates the air, surrounded by beautiful architecture, and religious and cultural sites. One of the highlights is a visit to San Francisco Square, where you will see the La Compañía church, which has the most ornate and richly sculptured façade and interior. Afterward, visit the Old Town’s famous hill, Panecillo or “Little Bread,” where you will see the Virgen de Quito angel statue. Finish off your tour at a bustling Ecuadorian market Breakfast
Day 3 QUITO. EXCURSION TO OTAVALO.
Today, experience the traditional ways of the Otavalo people. With your Local Host, visit Otavalo’s famous INDIAN MARKET, full of textiles, clothes, vegetables, and much more. Enjoy the drive here, as it passes the often snowcapped Cayambe Volcano. The Ecuadorian Line runs directly through the glacier of the immense volcano, which is the highest worldwide point on the Ecuadorian Line. Next, visit a local SCHOOL in Peguche to visit with Ecuadorian children. Enjoy lunch at a local hacienda before returning to Quito BreakfastLunch
Day 4 QUITO–COTAPAXI–BAÑOS.
Journey south with your Local Host, passing the Avenue of the Volcanoes to visit COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK, a highland zone protected since 1975. On a walk near Lake Limpiopungo, you will have the chance to learn about the typical vegetation and fauna found in the area. Enjoy breathtaking views of Cotapaxi Volcano, rising more than 19,000 feet. Next, visit a ROSE PLANTATION, where you can observe the cultivation and harvest of this important export and witness the exceptional beauty of the Ecuadorian rose. Continue to Baños, known for its famous hot springs that give the area its name. Relax in the mild mountain climate at one of the HOT SPRINGS at your hotel BreakfastLunch Dinner
Day 5 BAÑOS–RIOBAMBA.
You’ll have time this morning to view some of Baños’ impressive waterfalls before heading to Riobamba in the shadow of Ecuador’s highest volcano, Chimborazo, surpassing 20,000 feet in altitude Breakfast Dinner
Day 6 RIOBAMBA–CUENCA.
An unforgettable TRAIN TRIP takes you over the almost-vertical wall of rock called the Devil’s Nose. This engineering marvel allows the train to transit a zigzag path cut into the mountainside that ascends and descends more than 3,000 feet. Continue to Cuenca with your Local Host, stopping at the INGAPIRCA RUINS, Ecuador’s most important monument of pre-Spanish culture. The ruins are located on a grass-covered hill once used as a sun-worshiping temple. Even before the construction of the Sun Temple (1450-1480), this place held important spiritual significance for the Incas. On a walk through the ruins, learn about Inca beliefs, rituals, and how they built the puma-shaped temple BreakfastLunch Dinner
Day 7 CUENCA.
Enjoy a PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR of Cuenca, the third-largest city in Ecuador and considered one of the most beautiful. See the historical buildings along the Tomebamba River, the Todos los Santos ruins, the flower market, and the main square with the old and new cathedral. Afterward, visit a PANAMA HAT FACTORY and a POTTERY STUDIO, where you can learn more about the work of the local people BreakfastLunch
Day 8 CUENCA–GUAYAQUIL.
Transfer with your Local Host to the coastal town of Guayaquil, stopping along the way to visit a CACAO PLANTATION. Learn about the cultivation of the cacao fruit, harvesting, and the processing of this important industry for Ecuador. On to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest and most industrial city and the key to Ecuador’s trade center. The rest of your day is at leisure to explore the city Breakfast
Day 9 GUAYAQUIL.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.