a journey by rail and road through this culturally-rich country with jungle wildlife, volcanos and colonial gems
This 14 day overland trip takes in the highlights of Ecuador’s mainland, from the beautiful colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca, the countryside of the northern sierra, along the renowned ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’, the ‘Devil’s Nose’ train journey and to the verdant Amazon jungle.
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Days 1-2: Arrive in Quito where you will spend your first two nights, giving you plenty of time to acclimatise and to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Days 3-5: Fly to Coca and take a motorised boat to a remote jungle lodge which will be your home for the next three nights. Skilled guides lead shared activities in the forest, including jungle walks, night-time canoe trips, and early morning bird-watching.
Northern Sierra: crafts and markets
Days 6-7: Fly back to Quito, from where you will be driven north for two nights near Otavalo. The town itself is famous for its markets, and the nearby villages of Cotacachi and San Antonio well known for their traditional handicrafts. Other possible activities include riding, walking and mountain biking.
Days 8-9: Head south along Humboldt's ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’, visiting the high lakes and remote steppe of the national park that surround Cotopaxi volcano.
Days 10-14: Journey south to Riobamba where you overnight, ready for the early start for the Devil’s Nose train from Alausi, a series of dramatic switchbacks, the following morning. You continue south by car through verdant countryside, visting the small but well-preserved Inca site of Ingapirca. Finally you will arrive at the beautiful colonial university city of Cuenca where you spend two nights. The city is rich in culture and has some beautiful buildings, whilst the climate is pleasantly spring-like year round. On your final day visit Cajas National Park, stopping for a short hike, before descending to the port city of Guayaquil for onward connections (alternatively you could fly back to Quito).
In the following section you will see our suggested options for possible accommodation.
The estimated flight cost included in this itinerary (assuming international flights from the UK plus any internal flights that are necessary) is 900 per person.
Standard - £4,900
- Hacienda Cusin - close to Otavalo, steeped in history, and with lovely gardens.
- Hacienda El Porvenir - a traditional Andean hacienda with cosy rooms on the edge of Cotopaxi National Park.
- Hotel Santa Lucía - a delightful small hotel in central Cuenca.
- Napo Wildlife Centre - a lovely lodge set on the south bank of the Napo river in one of Ecuador's more protected rainforest areas.
- Patio Andaluz - a colonial hotel with large rooms, ideally place for exploring Quito's historic old town.
Price and validity notes
We have tried to give you as accurate an idea of prices as possible, including meals where appropriate (but not when there are good local options so you don't pay for a meal that you might not want), accommodation, transfers, and any tours we have included.
All prices are per person based on two people sharing a room and are intended as a guide (local high or low seasons can cause some variation). All prices were correct when published but may vary with exchange rate fluctuations, fuel surcharges, or changes in the general economic situation.