Historical Sites

Culture & Nature Experience

Adventurous Activities

Discover Quito’s Magical Culture and Iconic History

Get ready to explore the heart of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and marvel at its colonial architecture, vibrant markets, and delicious cuisine. This 6-day tour promises an unforgettable adventure filled with stunning landscapes, rich culture, and exciting activities. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the city’s most iconic sites such as the Basílica del Voto Nacional and the Church and Monastery of San Francisco.

But the adventure doesn’t end there. You’ll also venture out of the city to explore the nearby wonders such as the Otavalo Market, famous for its colorful textiles and handmade crafts, and the breathtaking Cotopaxi National Park, where you’ll hike up to the base camp of the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano.

Throughout your multi-day Ecuador holiday, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn about the customs and traditions of the Andean people. You’ll taste local delicacies, meet friendly locals, and experience the beauty of Ecuador’s diverse landscape.

So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through Quito and its nearby wonders!

Why Choose This Ecuador Tour?

Explore the historic center of Quito, including El Panecillo Hill, the neo-Gothic church Basílica del Voto Nacional, Independence Square, La Compañía de Jesús church, and San Francisco Square

Choose between a visit to the Cloud Forest town of Mindo, where you can observe hundreds of butterflies up close, take a tarabita or canopy ride, and learn how chocolate bars are made at a chocolate factory, OR visit the Otavalo Market, where you can shop for textiles, art, and other handicraft souvenirs

Hike up to the refuge of Cotopaxi volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, and ride down to Limpiopungo Lake by mountain bike

Travel to Quilotoa Lagoon and witness the breathtaking views of the surrounding Andean landscape

Click the Tabs for More Information

Accommodation & Tour Details

Travel Package Details

Hotel Examples

Prices per Traveler per Service Category

* 2 travelers: double accommodation
** 3 or more travelers: triple or double accommodations

Accommodation location

Quito (4 nights) and Machachi (1 night), Andean highlands


Duration

6 days / 5 nights


Availability

Year-round. If your preference is to visit Otavalo Market it is best to start your trip on a Sunday, in case your preference is to visit Mindo, your trip should start on a Wednesday.


Number of guests

The Quito city tour is private. Shared tours are with a maximum of 20 guests.


Included

  • Private airport transfers in Quito on day 1 and 6 (Airport – Hotel – Airport)
  • 4 nights in Quito including breakfast
  • Private city tour of Quito and the equator line
  • Shared tours as mentioned in the itinerary
    → Day tour to Mindo OR Otavalo including lunch
    → Tour to Cotoapxi National Park including lunch, mountain bike, and helmet
    → Tour to Quilotoa including lunch
  • Bilingual guide on all tours (English/Spanish)
  • 1 night in a hotel in the Cotopaxi region including breakfast

Not included

  • Any additional meals and beverages
  • Entrance fees to optional attractions (e.g. zip line in Mindo $20, butterfly garden $9)
  • Transportation to and from the meeting points (taxi would be approx. $2 per way)
  • Tips
  • Any services not previously specified as included
  • VAT for Ecuadorian travelers

What to bring

The weather in the Andes can change quickly, always be prepared for wind, rain, and sun. It is best to dress in layers. Pack warm clothing, good hiking shoes, a rainproof windbreaker, sun protection, snacks, a reusable water bottle, and cash in small bills.


Tour staff

Bilingual guide (English/Spanish), private guide for transfers and Quito city tour, shared guide for the other tours.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome to Ecuador

Our guide will pick you up from Quito airport and take you to your hotel.
Accommodation in Quito (2850 meters / 9350 feet).

Meals included: none


Day 2 – Quito City Tour

At 9 AM, our guide will pick you up at your hotel to take you to the historic center of Quito. To get an overview of the city, you’ll first visit El Panecillo Hill (3000 m / 9900 ft), where the statue of the virgin of Quito is waiting for you. Its convenient location in the center of the city offers you one of the best views of the old town and newer city parts to the north and south.

Afterwards, you’ll go down to explore the historic center of Quito more closely. First, you’ll examine the neo-Gothic church Basílica del Voto Nacional and notice its special gargoyles that represent the Ecuadorian animal kingdom. Then you will walk around Independence Square – the heart of Quito, which is surrounded by the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the City Hall.

You’ll continue on to Sagrario Church and after that, visit the interior of la Compañía de Jesús church which is completely covered by gold leaves. You will proceed to San Francisco Square to admire the church and convent of St. Francis and learn about its legends.

After lunch, you will travel almost 30 kilometers (19 miles) north to Mitad del Mundo – Middle of the World. Here, you’ll visit the interactive Inti Ñan Museum where you’ll learn about different Ecuadorian cultures and experience through different experiments what it is like to be at the equator. Later you will stop at the historical monument that symbolizes the French Geodesic Mission during the 18th century and its contribution to world history.

Return to your hotel in Quito.

Meals included: Breakfast


Day 3 – Cloud Forest Town Mindo OR Otavalo Market

On Day 3 you you will have the possibility to choose one of two exciting tour options. Click on each option below to read about the day’s activities that will be in store for you!

Meet your guide and the rest of the group at a meeting point close to your hotel at 7 AM. You’ll travel north and then west for about 2 hours until arriving at Mindo town (1250 m / 4100 ft). While Mindo is still part of the Andean region, its climate and ecosystem are very different to the ones in Quito. It lies in a transitional area and features abundant vegetation (cloud forest). You will visit the butterfly farm to observe hundreds of butterflies up close and even watch some emerge from the chrysalis. Afterwards you’ll walk to a waterfall and have the opportunity to take a tarabita or canopy ride (zip line).

After lunch, you’ll head to the chocolate factory where your guide will explain and show you the process of how a chocolate bar is made from cacao beans.

Return to Quito.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch


Meet your guide and the rest of the group at a meeting point close to your hotel at 7 AM. You’ll travel north towards Otavalo town (2530 m / 8300 ft) for about two hours. Otavalo is home to a world-famous handicrafts market where the locals sell textiles, art, and other handicraft souvenirs. Many Otavaleños still wear the traditional clothing of the Otavalo ethnic group.

On the way to Otavalo, you’ll make a first stop in the town of Cayambe to try the local specialty “bizcochos” and for an optional visit to the solar clock on the equator. Shortly before arriving in Otavalo, you’ll make a second stop at a viewpoint of San Pablo Lake, which lies at the foot of Imbabura volcano. In Otavalo itself, you’ll have two hours of free time to shop for souvenirs or just stroll around and watch the market life.

Afterwards you continue to Laguna Cuicocha – a beautiful lake that was formed inside a caldera. The lake’s name translates to “guinea pig lake” and derives from the islets in the lake. After lunch, you’ll visit Cotacachi town, which is famous for its leather goods.

Return to Quito.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch


Day 4 – Cotopaxi National Park

Meet your guide and the rest of the group at a meeting point close to your hotel at 7 AM. You will travel south along the Avenue of Volcanoes to the Cotopaxi National Park. You’ll stop at Limpiopungo Lake which lies at the foot of Cotopaxi volcano. Here, your guide will tell you about the national park’s flora and fauna and you’ll have the chance to take pictures of the majestic Cotopaxi volcano. You will continue to the parking lot at 4600 meters (15,100 ft) and from there you’ll hike up to the refuge of the volcano (4800 m / 15,800 ft). After hiking back down to the parking lot, you’ll have the option of riding down to Limpiopungo Lake by mountain bike. You will then head out of the national park again and have lunch at a local restaurant. Instead of returning all the way to Quito, you stay in a hotel in an Andean village south of Quito.

Accommodation in Machachi.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch


Day 5 – Quilotoa Lagoon

After breakfast, you’ll travel south on the Panamerican highway and enjoy the view of the surrounding Andean landscape. After almost an hour, you will leave the highway and continue west through various indigenous villages. You’ll stop at a traditional indigenous market to see how the locals negotiate. Then continue to Quilotoa from where you will walk down to the shore of the beautiful Quilotoa Lagoon. The lagoon lies inside a volcanic crater and is a great photo motif because of its emerald-green water. You can either hike the crater up again or rent a mule to return to the car. After lunch, you’ll visit the Tigua community of farmers and painters who are known for their bright paintings of the Andean life. At the end of the tour, your guide takes you back to Quito.

Accommodation in Quito.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch


Day 6 – Goodbye Ecuador

Your driver will pick you up and take you to the airport at a suitable time for you to catch your flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Additional Information

The specific hotel and the order of the tours will be confirmed at booking.

The itinerary is subject to change for operational reasons.

If you want to visit Otavalo market, it is best to start this tour on a Sunday.

If you want to visit the cloud forest town Mindo, it is best to start this tour on a Wednesday.

Midland Travel recommends all passengers to have travel insurance that includes personal medical insurance and trip cancellation.

If you have any food restrictions, special health requirements, or needs, please let us know in advance.

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Being in good physical condition is required for some activities, like the hike to Cotopaxi mountain refuge. You can always stay behind in the car, if you do not feel up to any of the activities.

There are no refunds for activities, tours, or other services that you do not take.

The weather in the Andes can change quickly, always be prepared for wind, rain, and sun. It is best to dress in layers.

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