Explore cities and scenic nature as you travel to Lima from Quito

Traverse the heart of Ecuador on this tour from Quito through to the south-lying Peruvian capital. Witness the crashing waterfalls, steaming hot-springs and wild llamas of the Andes as you wander through the wilder mountains, then counter-balance it all with exploration of UNESCO Heritage-listed cities that perfectly mix old with new. Take in Quito, Banos, Cuenca and Lima as you hunt for volcanoes in the country and pisco sours in the cities on a South American adventure to remember.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Lima, Peru
Country
Ecuador
Style
Basix
Code
GGBE
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • With its colonial architecture, plazas, churches and colourful local life, there's a reason Quito's Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site

  • Cueuna boasts colonial streets and buildings to wander, juxtaposed with El Cajas NP’s stunning landscapes to hike around – it’s the perfect mix of city and nature

  • Hunt volcanoes, hot springs or waterfalls in Banos, sitting a stone’s throw away from plenty of interesting nature spots

  • Head out on a city tour of Lima visiting Miraflores and downtown, and join the Peruvian nightlife in the neighbourhood of Barranco

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a lot of travel on local buses, including some long stints (8 hours from Banos to Cuenca; 6 hours from Cuenca to Tumbes), and conditions can be fairly basic. Bus travel can be tiring, but it’s also a great opportunity to relax, rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy the scenery.

  • We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers.

  • It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into Quito a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

Itinerary

Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

After this important meeting, join your leader on a walking tour of the historic centre of Quito. Stroll through Plaza Grande (main square) and by the Archbishop's Palace. From here, walk about 800 metres uphill to reach the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Time permitting, you may wish to spend more time exploring this church and its views from the top towers. Finally, walk to La Ronda Street and pass by La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) and San Francisco churches. At the end of the walk, your leader will recommend a local restaurant on La Ronda Street for an optional group dinner.

Quito is located 2,800 metres above sea level, where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender or fitness. Please refer to the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes for important information about altitude sickness before and during your trip.

Optional Activities in Quito:
Quito is an incredible city with loads to see and do. This trip doesn’t include much time in Quito, so a few extra days to explore it is recommended. Great activities are available through our local office – just email quitodaytours@peakdmc.com before departing or, once you’re in Quito, give our office a call +593 9 94014877 and they will happily assist you.
Urban Adventures: If you are interested in any of the Urban Adventures listed you will need to contact Urban Adventures directly. Contact information for Quito can be found here: http://www.urbanadventures.com/contact-us

City Tour & The Equator Line, an in-depth half-day city tour, including a trip to the equator line to see how it feels to be in the middle of the world, literally. If you’re short on time You can choose to do just the city tour or Equator line (we’ve listed separate prices below)

Otavalo Market, a full day tour of the biggest Indian market in South America in the northern town of Otavalo, full of local handicrafts to take home for your friends, and the Cotacachi leather market.

Cotopaxi Volcano, for something more active, head out to the 5,897 metre high Cotopaxi Volcano – drop by the National Park museum, then hike for around 2 hours and visit the picturesque Limpiopungo Lagoon.

Quilotoa Lagoon, if you’re into lagoons, maybe take a full day trip to the stunning Quilotoa Lagoon. Early in the morning, drive 3 hours south through the local communities and Andes views of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Then hike (2 hours return) to the beautiful Quilotoa volcano crater lagoon, before returning to Quito. Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.

Cloud Forest, maybe get in touch with the region’s incredible nature with a shared services trip to the Cloud Forest – take a guided hike through a reserve on the edge of the Choco Bio-region, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, and get acquainted with the exuberant vegetation, bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment.

Papallacta-Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.

Please note, the prices listed below include entrance fees, however these are paid separately by you during the tour. Some tours require a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
(Please note prices listed are subject to change)


Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Quito - Leader Led Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

If you wish to take part multiple of the optional activities mentioned above you will need to book additional accommodation either before or after the tour as there won't be much spare time during the tour.
Today will be an early start, as the group will be on the move by 7 am. Catch a local bus from Quito Central Station to Tena, which will take around five hours. There’s no toilet on-board, but the bus will stop for one toilet break during the journey. From Tena, travel by private vehicle to Misahualli and then by boat to your lodge for the next two nights - arriving by approximately 1.30 pm just in time for lunch.

In the afternoon, your local hosts will introduce you to the local community and take you on a walk around the farm. Use this opportunity to try some fresh fruit and, if you’re feeling brave, tree worms. Finish the afternoon making chocolate dessert from scratch. With the help of the host, you’ll roast, grind and conch chocolate beans into your own chocolate sauce.

Notes: Accommodation at the lodge is basic and it consists of a bed and linen. Bathroom facilities are shared and showers are refreshingly cold.
Accommodation
  • Community Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Amazon Jungle: The main focus of this Amazon stay is to learn about the local indigenous people and their way of living.While you'll may be able to see a number of small animals (butterflies, spiders and some monkeys), it's unlikely you will see an array of wildlife.
In the morning after breakfast, travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The trek is relatively easy and, depending on the group’s pace, should take around three to four hours. During the hike, visit a protected private reserve in the secondary rainforest. This is also a great opportunity to spot insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Throughout the walk, you’ll come to understand the importance of the jungle to the local community as your guide provides in-depth knowledge and history. After the walk we'll eat a packed lunch on the banks of the Arajuno River. Next you’ll have the opportunity to go tubing down the River. The water currents are not particularly strong however it’s part of our safety policy for all passengers to wear a life jacket if you wish to take part in this activity. The activity will last approximately 1 hour, we will then get back on board the Canoe and travel back to the Amazon lodge (approximately 1.5 hrs ) Once we get back to the lodge we have time to shower and freshen up for dinner. After dinner we’ll head out on a night jungle walk!




Accommodation
  • Community Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Breakfast will be served at around 7 am today in the lodge. Afterwards, travel back to Tena the same way you arrived and then catch a local bus to Banos (approximately three hours). You should arrive into the city of Banos around midday, with the rest of the day free to do as you wish. Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, perhaps use your free time soaking in the city's natural baths or go for a hike to the powerful falls of Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Banos has traditionally been known as the outdoor centre of Ecuador with a number of popular high risk activities being offered to foreign and national tourists alike. The safety of our travellers and staff is our first priority. As such, we at Intrepid have gone through our due processes and assessed local suppliers and their safety standards in Banos. Unfortunately, to date none of the local operators in the area have been able to pass Intrepid minimum safety standards. As a consequence, we have instructed local leaders to share with you our safety concerns, discourage travellers from taking these type of activities at this destination and strictly forbid them from helping travellers arrange these activities at this location. Fortunately, Banos has plenty more to offer than high risk activities and we are confident that you will have a great time exploring the area under the guidance of our knowledgeable local leaders
Today, you'll have a full day to explore Banos and take advantage of some of the optional activities. Perhaps rise early to watch the sunrise over the mountains near to the hot springs. After breakfast, venture to Nuestra Senora del Agua Santa (Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water) and see the intricate murals that depict numerous stories about the virgin. If you have time, stroll around the local artisan markets to pick up a memento of the city. If your trip falls on the weekend or during the holidays, be prepared for carnival-like festivities that take place all over Banos.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a local bus to Riobamba (approximately 3 hours), where you’ll swap buses and head south to Cuenca (approximately 5 hours). Is Cuenca the best-looking city in Ecuador? Probably, with UNESCO sticking it on their list of things they love. There are loads of impressive 500-year-old churches and colonial buildings, made out of marble and decorated with stunning woodwork and ironwork. It’s the country’s third largest city but still has a small town and Old World air, and it’s great for just wandering around and exploring. Think you can pull off a Panama hat? Well Cuenca is the home of the famous headwear, and if there’s time you could visit a factory and pick up one that fits perfectly. Cuenca is also a university town, so all the students give it a buzzing nightlife, and there are some good bars and restaurants to choose from. Add in an evening stroll around the Plaza and you’ve got the perfect end to your first day in Cuenca.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Meet up with your leader this morning and get to know Cuenca better with an orientation walk. Trundle along cobblestone streets and check out colonial parks, buzzing markets, and stop by the monumental cathedral at the centre. La Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción took 100 years to finish, and its blue and white domes are a real standout. The rest of the day is free to explore Cuenca and the surrounding area. If you’re feeling cultural, maybe head to the Museo Pumapungo, which features an impressive range of artistic, historical, cultural, and ethnological exhibits (including a collection of real shrunken heads from the Shuar civilisation – for the strong stomached only!). Otherwise, maybe get out of town to El Cajas National Park, home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. 70,000 acres shelter everything from cloud forest to rocky lunar landscapes, but it's the lakes (more than 200 of them) scattered among jagged peaks that are its best-known image. Feel the solitude while hiking or trout fishing. Look out for the reintroduced wild llamas that roam around, as well as elusive spectacled bears, pumas and tigrillos. There are also hummingbirds, toucans and Andean condors flying about the park. El Cajas is a simple one-hour bus ride from Cuenca. Once there, pay the entrance fee, hire a native guide and start hiking around the beautiful lakes. Tonight you might want to get to bed early, in preparation for a very early start early tomorrow morning.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuenca - Leader Led Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At approximately 3 am, begin by taking a taxi to the bus station in Cuenca, then a public bus south-east towards the coast and town of Huanquillas (approximately 5-6 hours). After crossing the border into Peru, make your way to the Umbes airport before flying to Lima, capital of Peru. Touch down and meet your new leader before heading to your hotel in Miraflores which sits conveniently by the
beach. In the afternoon, embark on an orientation walk through Miraflores, passing the arty markets, shops, restaurants and bars before enjoying an evening at your leisure. Enjoy a free evening with the group, perhaps saying farewell over a pisco sour and a delicious ceviche.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader led orientation walk of Miraflores
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You've reached the end of your adventure. There are no activities planned for today and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time. If you feel like you didn’t have much time in Lima at the start of your trip, perhaps stay on for a few extra days to see more of the city. We’ll be happy to assist with booking accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Local bus, Private vehicle, Taxi, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Quito - Leader Led Orientation Walk
  • Cuenca - Leader Led Orientation walk
  • Lima - Leader led orientation walk of Miraflores

Dates & availability

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Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.