An Ecuador Vacation

Ecuador Cloudforest
Experiencing South America the Patagonian way just about a year ago, this group decided to take another trip, this time to Ecuador. Having had such an unforgettable first adventure, their group only grew when they began to plan their second excursion. In January this group of twelve adventurers packed their bags and embarked on a well-rounded, active and culture filled Ecuador vacation

Their Ecuador vacation included excursions in Ecuador’s cloudforest, a trip to a local butterfly farm, a visit to the Otavalo Market, horseback riding in Cotopaxi National Park and breathtaking scenic stops as well, including the Antisana and Cotopaxi Volcanoes. After getting their fill of mainland Ecuador half of the group traveled west to the Galapagos Islands. Here they blissfully island hopped aboard one of the Galapagos Islands’ most comfortable cruises, the MV Eclipse. 

Ecuador Vacation      Ecuador Vacation Birdwatching Traveling to Ecuador Ecuador Vacation Scenery Ecuador Group Vacation

Thank you to Eric Janus for sending us the group’s breathtaking photos! Below is a detailed look at their travels to Ecuador.  

Private Group Ecuador Vacation 

Day 1: Quito, Ecuador

Upon your evening arrival in Quito you will be met by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken to your accommodations centrally located in Quito’s historic district.

Day 2: Quito – Mindo Cloudforest

In the morning you will be met at your hotel lobby and you will head out towards the cloudforest. En route visit the ethnographic museum or Intinan at the Middle of the World. Enjoy a naturalist guided hike before lunch and settle in to your peaceful accommodations set in the cloudforest. Enjoy the afternoon exploring this unique wilderness and its abundant flora and fauna.

Day 3: Mindo Cloudforest

Continue enjoying your stay in the cloudforest. Enjoy a full day hike and visit to a butterfly farm. During your hike you will be on the lookout particularly for the vast quantity of hummingbird species that the area is known for.

  • B, L, D – Bellavista Cloudforest Hosteria or similar

Day 4: Mindo Cloudforest – Otavalo

Enjoy the morning at your leisure or enjoy a short hike. Departing late morning you will head towards the Avenue of the Volcanoes. En route enjoy a delicious lunch at a historic hacienda, as well as visiting a rose plantation. Arriving to the Otavalo countryside in the late afternoon you will check in to your accommodations in a renovated hacienda.

Day 5: Otavalo

Otavalo Market Ecuador locals

Today you will visit the Otavalo Market, the biggest and most important indigenous market in all Latin America. The colorful main handicraft and textile market spills into the streets from the central Plaza de Ponchos, the colorful produce market impresses by sheer number, and the cacophony of the animal market is to the outskirts of town. The friendly Otavalenos are more than happy to talk about their crafts and traditions. From there visit the small town Cotacachi, known for its leather goods, and also visit the village San Antonio de Ibarra known for its woodworkers.

  • B – Hacienda Cusin or similar

Day 6: Otavalo – Cotopaxi

Following breakfast at the hacienda, you will set out into the surrounding countryside. Arrive to the active volcanic crater lake of Cuicocha taking a leisurely hike around the rim of the crater while spotting unique flora, myriad humming bird species and other birds and wildlife. Enjoy a picnic while hiking. Following the hike you will make the drive to the Cotopaxi Volcano.

Day 7: Antisana Volcano

Today you will go to the nearby and more off-the-beaten-path volcano of Antisana where you will hike and explore this landscape that sharply contrasts the cloud forest from which you just came. Enjoy a traditional highland lunch and spot wildlife. Following your day on Antisana you will return to Cotopaxi.

  • B, box L – Hotel Santa Ana or similar

Day 8: Cotopaxi Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding in Ecuador

Following breakfast you will embark on a half-day horseback ride in the Cotopaxi National Park on the volcano. After your ride you will return to the hacienda before setting out for Quito where you will spend a relaxing evening.

  • B, box L – El Relicario del Carmen or similar

Day 9: Cotopaxi – Quito – Galapagos

You will be picked up and taken to the airport in accordance with your onward flight to Galpagos. Upon arrival to the Galapagos you will be met by a representative of the Eclipse vessel and taken to their ship after completing registration with the national park authorities. Enjoy lunch after checking in to your cabin before a dry landing at North Seymour Island. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and briefing before dinner.

Day 10 – 14: Galapagos

Enjoy exquisite scenery and Galapagos Islands activities aboard the MV Eclipse. Visit the following link to view excursion details for this cruise in the Galapagos Islands. On January 16 enjoy your last morning in the Galapagos before being taken to the airport in Baltra for your flight back to Quito. Upon arrival to Quito you will be met by a Knowmad representative and taken to your accommodations in Quito. 

Day 15: Quito

Head out with your guide to explore Quito following breakfast. Explore the historic Basilica before taking in the architecture of the Calle de Siete Cruces (street of the Seven Crosses), which was an Incan route to their center of worship, and consequently the avenue most transformed by conquering Christians and reflective of their architectural influence. The seven crosses erected were an effort to convert indigenous peoples. Walking along the avenue takes you to the Plaza de la Independencia where you visit one of the oldest cathedrals in South America: La Catedral de Quito where a plaque marks the spot where a former president was killed. Stop in at the Metropolitan Cultural Center and visit the Plaza de San Francisco and its church, which was the Tiaguez, or main market place, dating back to pre-Incan times. The church’s museum houses thousands of Latin American art which reflect the mix of indigenous and European styles.

Enjoy a delicious lunch at Plaza Grande, visit a typical sweet shop, and enjoy great people watching. Continue along historic Bolivar Street and La Ronda, said to be the first street built in Quito and a haven for artists and poets. Here you can visit artisan families, one specializing in candles for religious processions and another of hatmakers.

Following your day in Quito you will be taken to the airport to check in and await your evening departure home.

Day 16: Arrive Home  


What an incredible journey! Are you interested in traveling to Ecuador? What destinations are on your wish list? 

Nos Vemos, Lisa

South America Travel - Lisa KellenbergerLisa is the Media Manager at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012 and is continually planning her next adventure. Read Lisa’s biography and more about the Knowmad team