Ecuador

Due South tour from Quito to Cuenca 4 days/3 nights

Due South 4 days/3 nights, daily, except Wednesday, from Quito to Cuenca Includes accommodation and all meals (fixed menus)

salasacas

Information

Air ticket not included

Quality Experiences in Rural Ecuador

Metropolitan Touring Ecuador is proud to present “Due South”, quality experiences for active travelers seeking excursion options in the countryside off the main roads to explore natural reserves and community projects of the people of rural Ecuador with overnights at remote lodges and haciendas.

These innovative excursions are in line with the company’s commitment to work very closely with the local people, offer comfort, service and be respectful to the environment and local cultures, while at the same time offering active soft adventure travel.

Discover and better understand the Andean region with exceptional evergreen landscapes, archaeological sites, segments of the legendary Inca Road and insights into the inner nature and way of life of its people.

Day by Day

Quito- Indian Market-Cotopaxi National Park - Salasaca Community

Hacienda Leito Early departure from Quito by motorcar to the south, with a short stop to visit one of the colorful Indian markets of the area, Sangolqui market and town, a great introduction to the Andean way of life. Then continue to visit the Cotopaxi National Park, an ecological sanctuary of 88,920 acres, around the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, which rises 5897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level.

The entrance to the park is up a **dirt road for approximately one and a half hours to reach the habitat of the Andean paramo or moorlands, its unique flora and fauna; a variety of high-altitude birdlife can be observed around Limpiopungo Lagoon and, occasionally, wild horses.

On clear days, the Cotopaxi Volcano is the magnificent backdrop. Lunch is offered at one of the local restaurants in this lovely environment. Continue south, along valleys and mountains covered by multicolored fields, to reach the Salasaca Community, one of the most important indigenous groups in this area, who have preserved their dress and traditions, based on agriculture and tapestry weaving -with symbols and designs passed down from generation to generation in the last 500 years.

They are very well organized for the development of their community. Arrive to Patate town and continue through magnificent landscapes offering bird-eye views of the region, a gateway to the Llanganates National Park. For hundreds of years the Llanganatis have attracted treasure hunters, since legend claims that the treasures of the last Inca King Atahualpa were hidden here after he was captured by the Spanish conquerors, which adds to the magic and mystery of this location. Dinner and overnight at Hacienda Leito.

Patate-Baños - Avenue of the Cascades - Riobamba

After breakfast, depart towards Baños (Baths), on a **eco- road for approximately one hour/fourty five minutes, this road promises to offer spectacular views of Baños and its surroundings. Baños is located at the foot of Tungurahua Volcano, the source of the thermal springs that give it its name.

Baños, a very popular destination in Ecuador, is known as the gateway to the Amazon Rainforest; follow a road along the Route of the Waterfalls and experience the full force of the water at El Pailón del Diablo (the Devil's Cauldron) on a mid-difficulty trail down to the river, among lush tropical vegetation and orchids, for an impressive view (and sound) of this waterfall, among the ten largest in the world.

An awesome vision from the hanging bridge right at the foot of the cascade. Lunch at one of the gorgeous hostelries near Baños and then a short walk to visit this inviting village. Start a very scenic drive up the mountains, on the Route Ambato-Guaranda, to Riobamba along the old "Royal Road" that linked Guayaquil and Quito, the solitude and beauty of the Andean paramo will definitely take your breath away. (please do not forget or bring your raincoat poncho) Arrival in the late afternoon, dinner and overnight in Riobamba.

Guamote - Alausí - El Tambo Coyoctor - Posada de Ingapirca

After a hearty breakfast, we will devote this day to the local communities and their initiatives as part of the sustainable development in the region. We will depart towards Guamote, for a short visit to Inti Sisa Foundation, a community project and Educational Center for Adults' Development and Sustainability - if Thursday, visit the colorful Indian Market at Guamote something we can´t miss!

Continue on to Alausí and southbound towards the Inca ruins of El Tambo Coyoctor, located right on the route of the Royal Road of the Incas or Qhapac Ñan, a segment of which is still seen, and along which guests can still stroll and perhaps visualize in their minds the chasquis or runners, carrying messages on knotted strings called quipus, at full speed in relay from one end of the Inca Empire to the other.

Tambo Coyoctor is a massive rock outcrop, carved to form baths, showers and water channels believed to have been used in purification rituals before ceremonies of magic-religious significance. Visit the on-site interpretation center, run by the Community of El Tambo. Late afternoon arrival to Posada de Ingapirca for dinner and overnight. With the best location, near to the Ingapirca Ruins, this rustic posada offers accommodation at the small hacienda house, with the best views of the Ingapirca valley and the closest proximity to the archeological site.

Ingapirca Inca Ruins - Sightseing the city of Cuenca - end at the airport

After breakfast, time to leisurely explore the Ingapirca Archaeological Complex and its on-site museum. Sun-worshippers built this stone fortress on a promontory high above the Cañar valley, at an altitude of 10,595 feet (3,230 meters) above sea level, with several trapezoidal doorways and stone walls perfectly fit together, without mortar, typical of the Inca construction.

There is an elliptical platform, known as the Temple of the Sun used for religious and ceremonial purposes, the barracks, the stone "Inca Face" and zoomorphic carvings. Continue due south to Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city. The beauty of its landscape combined with the harmony between old and modern architecture, prompted UNESCO to name Cuenca a World Cultural Heritage Site.

A comprehensive tour of the city includes lunch at one of local restaurants and a visit to the Museum of the Central Bank (not open on Sundays), ending at the airport in time to take the flight to Quito or Guayaquil at night. Guests can also stay additional days in Cuenca and continue overland via El Cajas National Park to Guayaquil or on to Loja the next day or simple enjoy Cuenca World Cultural Heritage city and surroundings adding more days here.

Travel Facts

Dress in layers:

  • T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat) and rain protection.
  • Sun protection (SPF 40) even if the day is cloudy.
  • Raincoat poncho for Day 2 is suggested.
  • Hat or cap,  Good walking shoes.
  • Please bring  mosquito repellent.   

Altitude range in the Andes:

  • 2,550 meters (7,750 feet) to 3,900 meters (11,000 feet)

Average Temperature in the Andes:

  • Day 10° to 25° C / 50° to 77° F.
  • Night 6° to 10° C / 43° to 50° F.

**Eco- Route: This is the name given to the old roads that, back in time, led to the main cities of Ecuador, and now offer exceptional rides through rural countryside, natural areas and historical towns along Ecuador. These ancient back roads, offer minimal traffic and the unique opportunity of a meaningful contact with nature and with the locals along the way. Although this roads are mainly dirt secondary roads, they are open to the public for tourist activities such as nature walks, nature interpretation, bird watching, and photography, among the most important. Please bear in mind that as per the configuration of the roads (dirt) they will be operational subject to local weather conditions and under the criteria of the guide, who will determine and make the decision whether to use them or not, after an evaluation of the circumstances locally.

Overview of the Haciendas, country inns and Mountain Lodges

This is a mid-size cozy mountain lodge, with a spectacular setting, right in the boundaries of the Llanganates National Park. A great place to relax among the exuberant vegetation, the murmur of the wind and the warmth of the fireplaces. Rooms face the Llanganates or beautiful gardens and patios, and have private facilities. Hacienda Leito is renown for its extraordinary hospitality.

Hacienda Leito has 24 double/twin standard rooms and four Family Suites. It also has SPA facilities (pool, Jacuzzi, massage room ) under request, and not included in the given price of the program. Please ask your account executive for further information and details.

For over 300 years Hacienda Leito has witnessed countless events, from legends of the Jesuit Order of Saint Ignatius -who were expelled from the country during Colonial times by the Spanish King Charles III, and later, the opulence of the Spanish Captains and their families, appointed as Commendatores by the Spanish crown. Embrace the countless nights and dreams of those in search of the treasures of the Incas in the mysterious Llanganatis Mountains, their stories narrated in the books by famous Pool Williams and Eugenie Brunner.

Accommodation at Hacienda Leito is included in the given price.

Please ask your account executive for supplement for this property if you wish to upgrade. This is a 16-room tastefully decorated hacienda, near the Valley of Patate, surrounded by 500 acres of montane forest, between the Sangay National Park and the Llanganatis (meaning beautiful) Mountain Range. Not included in the given price, please ask your account executive about the supplement for accommodation at Manteles.

The wonderful Hacienda Abraspungo is located at 2,754 metres above sea level and is surrounded by the magnificence of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is named after a glacial valley which is situated between the Chimborazo Volcano and Carihuairazo, in the exact centre of Ecuador.

Hacienda Abraspungo, with its comfortable, charming and high level installations offers a personalized service in the ideal spot to enjoy the peace and beauty of the Andes. The architectural style found here offers the best of traditional colonial design often used in the ancestral mansions and haciendas of Ecuador.

The Hacienda is adorned with old photographs and illustrations of Andean landscapes, which today constitutes as a testimony to eras gone by. The antiques on display in the social areas give a colonial flavour as well as a feel for the pre-Colombian cultures of the region. The visitor can truly appreciate the richness of the natural resources offered by the Chimborazo Province and Ecuador in general. Each room takes its name from one of the mountains of Ecuador.

That mountain is shown in the photographs displayed within the interior design in the room. The owner's commitment is to create a working environment which allows sustainable growth, enhancing positive image and generating an overall feeling of trust between the working force, the clients, and the community, aiming to become a point of reference within the tourist industry of Ecuador and the city of Riobamba.

Abraspungo offers 42 comfortable rooms which incorporate modern interior design elements within the framework of traditional, colonial architecture. Distributed in distinct wings of the hacienda you can find beautiful singles, doubles, triples and suites, each furnished and equipped to satisfy our client's needs. Each room enjoys direct access to the magnificent gardens and the distinct social areas located here within.

Cozy and simple accommodations, Ingapirca Inn is located in the most beautiful and mysterious region where the most famous archaeological monument of Ecuador is located (The Ingapirca ruins) that has been populated by cañaris and incas centuries ago.

Ingapirca Inn is a surprisingly attractive converted 200 year-old hacienda: it features 23 cozy but still rustic rooms with private baths and hot water. Rooms are decorated with brightly painted and woven crafts amid colonial antiques. All rooms are carpeted, have an electric heater and fireplace.

This property has suitable infrastructure for providing clients with the best attention within its location and category, they specialize in serving delicious typical dishes to guest. Ingapirca Inn offers 23 rooms fully furnished to accommodate 70 guests max. (9 simple or matrimonial rooms, 10 double rooms, 2 triple rooms, 2 suites).

Room carpeted wall to wall

Private bathroom with hot water

Heating Night tables.

Reading lamps

Wardrobes

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