Arrive in the ancient Incan city of Quito (the first city to be declared a World Heritage site in 1978), where you are greeted and taken to your 4* hotel for the night. The tour starts in Colonial Quito, including Plaza Grande and the botanical gardens, full of exotic plant species, including many varieties of orchids.
Try to balance an egg on the equator at the Solar Museum or find out which direction water drains on the equator. (want to take a guess?)
We'll head north for a full day at Antisana Volcano for wildlife watching, including condors, and an easy hike around the lake before we enjoy our picnic lunch in the shadow of the 19,000 ft summit. A comfortable colonial hacienda will be your home base while shopping the famous Otavalo market. Visits to nearby villages will afford you the opportunity to sample the local cuisine, including guinea pig, for those adventurous eaters and the unique music, weavers and healers of the indigenous culture. Next is a relaxing overnight in a superior resort with many thermal pools and (optional) massage. Finally back in Quito, you'll have the chance to ride the cable car for a birdseye view of the city before your departure.
Day 1 Arrival in Quito
Day 2 Quito & Botanical Garden (BL)
Day 3 Full day Antisana Volcano– bird-watching and hiking (BL)
Day 4 Quito / Otavalo Market – Calderón, San Pablo lake, Quitsato and Peguche weaving co-op (BLD)
Day 5 Otavalo markets, Cotacachi and Cuicocha (BLD)
Day 6 Otavalo / Thermal springs spa (BLD)
Day 7 Spa / Quito (BL)
Day 8 Cable car / Evening flight back home (B)
Day 9 Arrival in home country