Highlands of Ecuador
If you’re short on time it doesn’t mean your cultural experience in Ecuador shouldn’t be colossal. This eight-day tour mixes exciting stuff like cities listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, lively markets, and natural wonders like Cotopaxi volcano, so you get to soak in impressive cityscapes as well as sweeping vistas like a well-travelled, insightful sponge.
Otavalo Handicrafts Market visit. Cotopaxi volcano stay. Cotopaxi National Park visit. Devil’s Nose train excursion. Orientation walk of Cuenca. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Wander Quito and colonial cities, marvel at an active volcano, shop at the Otavalo Market, ride the famous Devil’s Nose train.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Please note that some trips could be a combination of multiple G Adventure tours. You should expect some group members to join or leave the tour between tour segments.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a large part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Local bus, plane, private vehicle.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (5 nts), rustic mountain lodge (2 nts).
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
The Quito International Airport is approximately one hour outside of the city centre where your joining hotel is located. There are a number of routes the driver may take depending on time of day and traffic, however, the route often seems long and indirect. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by organizing a taxi at the desk within the airport (approximately $30 USD). Private transfers generally cost more as the cars will need to drive from Quito, to the airport, and return. Immediately after the customs and immigration area, as you head to the exits, you will find a taxi stand. We strongly recommend you pay for the car at set rates from the taxi stand and therefore won’t need to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport facilities, where the situation tends to get more chaotic with many drivers vying for few clients. The taxis outside the airport area do not belong to the Taxi Airport Union and may charge higher fares.
There is also a shuttle available with the bus company Aeroservicios. Aeroservicios charges 8 USD to board a bus which will take you from the new airport to the old airport. The buses are new, comfortable, and often include wifi. From the old airport, a taxi to get to your hotel would generally cost $5 USD depending on the distance and location.
If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour if desired.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610
From within Ecuador: 022 506 610
After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000
From within Ecuador: 0999 506 000
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
Remember that although near the Equator, the higher altitude on some parts of the trip make for cool evenings and you will need a warm sweater or pullover. It’s best to layer clothes rather than bring a heavy parka so that you can take layers off. This is especially true on the Inca Trail, at which time warmer clothing is essential.
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
- Please note that by February 2nd 2018, it will be mandatory for every traveler to show proof of insurance (covering medical, accident, death) to the immigration authority at the airport or border crossing into Ecuador. This insurance must cover the traveler for their entire length of stay in the country.
If you do not carry proof of insurance and/or an insurance assistance card that satisfies this requirement, it is possible that your entrance into Ecuador could be denied.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Please see the itinerary for information on optional activities and estimated pricing.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: SEHE, ID: 24790
Day 1 Quito
There are no planned activities before an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Quito/Otavalo (1B)
Explore the largest handicraft market in South America, Otavalo market. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables.
Otavalo Handicrafts Market Visit
Local bus (2.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Otavalo/Cotopaxi (1B)
Travel by bus to Cotopaxi National Park. In the afternoon, opt to explore the area or mountain bike with views of Cotopaxi Volcano. Spend the night in a mountain lodge near the national park.
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Cotopaxi/Alausí (1B)
In the morning, visit Cotopaxi National Park before continuing on to Alausi.
Cotopaxi National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (4.50 hour(s))
Day 5 Alausí/Cuenca (1B)
Board a train for an included excursion bound for the Devil’s Nose, enjoy the ride on the switchbacks carved into the mountainside. After, head to Cuenca and marvel at its colonial architecture.
Devil’s Nose Excursion
Local bus (3.00 hour(s))
Day 6 Cuenca (1B)
Explore the city’s sights, including cobblestoned streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shaded plazas, and museums.
Day 7 Cuenca/Quito (1B)
Fly back to Quito and enjoy the night in this historical city.
Plane (1.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Quito (1B)
We recommend booking pre or post nights in Quito for additional time to explore. The optional activities may require additional time, speak to your CEO for assistance booking these activities on trip.