Quito Tours and Excursions , Ecuador

Looking for something to do in Quito and the surrounding highlands? A city tour? Day trip to the Equator? Day trip to Otavalo or Cotopaxi National Park? We have a great list of short tours and excursions to choose from.

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 Half-day Quito city tour

Today set off with your private guide for a drive around one of the most charming cities in Latin America, declared a “Patrimony of Humanity” by the UNESCO (1978). Enjoy the colonial center of Quito: Independence Square, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Richest Church of America - La Compañia (dating from 1605) with its breathtaking golden altars, The San Francisco Square and Church and the arts and crafts gallery of Tianguez

Time allowing, a visit to the stone-carved facade of Ecuador’s House of Congress depicting scenes from Ecuadorian history.

The tour ends with a trip to the Panecillo Hill, which commands a striking view of Quito, the surrounding valley and the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

 Full-day Quito and the Equator

This morning, set off with your private guide for a drive around one of the most charming cities in Latin America, declared a “Patrimony of Humanity” by the UNESCO (1978). Enjoy the colonial center of Quito: Independence Square, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Richest Church of America - La Compañia (dating from 1605) with its breathtaking golden altars, The San Francisco Square and Church and the arts and crafts gallery of Tianguez.

In the north part of the city visit the stone carved facade of Ecuador’s House of Congress depicting scenes from Ecuadorian history.

The tour includes a trip to the Panecillo Hill, which commands a striking view of Quito, the surrounding valley and the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Continue to the Equator, latitude 0 0' 0". You can put one foot in the southern hemisphere and the other in the northern hemisphere. This part of the tour includes a visit to the Ethnic Museum, the city in the middle of the world, the Puluhua Volcano crater. A stop will be made at a typical restaurant, where you may have lunch (not included). Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

 Otavalo Market Day Trip

Pickup at your hotel this morning for a scenic ride through the Ecuadorian Highlands to Otavalo. Along the way, your first stop is at the village of Calderón where you may buy small figurines and ornaments made from colorfully painted bread dough. Your second stop is at a small monument of the equator, then visit the renowned Otavalo Indian Market, one of the most colorful natives markets in South America, industrious makers of the handicrafts for which Ecuador is famous. Here you will find a bustling market full of weavings, hand-woven textiles, wood carvings and many others handicrafts.

You'll have plenty of opportunities to bargain for your purchases, you will also be fascinated to see the food and produce that is traded among the Otavaleños themselves. You will visit too the Cotacachi Town (he Leather Town) where very fine leather goods are made and you may buy leather jackets, handbags, suitcases, wallets and clothing. Lunch in a very nice place near the San Pablo Lake or in a comfortable old hacienda. Afternoon return to your hotel in Quito.

 Cotopaxi Volcano Day Trip

Early morning departure from your hotel for a privately-guided day trip to the “highest active snowcapped volcano on earth”, (19,314 ft.) located 37 miles south of Quito. It was the first national park declared in continental Ecuador. You will explore the Andean paramo, (over 11,152 ft.), the Limpiopungo lagoon at the foot of two volcanoes (Cotopaxi and Rumiñahui) and you may have the opportunity to watch highland birds, including, if you are lucky, the Andean Condor. Weather permitting, you may hike up to the snowline at over 14,000 ft. Lunch is included at a typical hacienda along with a visit to a local Indian market. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon

 Nono-Mindo Cloud Forest

Depart early this morning from your hotel for a private drive to the northwest of Quito. The drive continues along the old Nono-Mindo dirt road, rarely used by locals, toward the upper part of Bellavista, leading to the western slopes of the Pichincha Volcano. You’ll have the chance to observe tanagers, hummingbirds and other species.

As you continue down the Andean slope you will feel the humid warm weather and observe more and more sub-tropical fauna and flora, including giant tree ferns and leafs. You can observe a multitude of birds, including hundreds of hummingbirds and many others like the plate-billed mountain toucan, Andean cock-of-the rock, lyre-tailed nightjar, Trogon or the Toucan Barbet, Zamarrito Pechinegro hummingbird (the bird of Quito City) which live in this unique cloud forest eco-system. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. You will return to Quito in the late afternoon.

 Papallacta Hot Springs

Pick up from your hotel and set off through the Andes for Papallacta Hot Springs and Spa, located about 40 miles from Quito. Enjoy a full day in this scenic place, with plenty of time for walking, birdwatching, photography, or simply relaxing in the hot springs and enjoying the landscape.

 Pasochoa Volcano and Forest

Quito hotel pickup and departure through the valley of Los Chillos to a reserve where you will find the collapsed caldron of a volcano and the intact forest that remains inside. Both are contained in the Pasochoas Wildlife Refuge. From its discovery, the area has been appraised as a natural treasure for having maintained untouched species of native Andean flora and fauna that today can be found only here.

The wildlife reserve offers excellent hiking opportunities. You may choose walks from 30minutes to 6 hours (if you want to climb the mountain). A typical walk of 2 hours stops in many places along the way to observe flora and fauna.

This excellent conservation area, free of threats, has given rise to a series of migratory species that have taken root in the refuge and made it their home, as in the case of many tanagers, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Lunch will be served at a comfortable old hacienda (or box lunch during the hike). Late afternoon return to Quito.

 Rafting

We offer river rafting trips to several rivers throughout Ecuador. Regardless of the river, you will be in the care of reputable rafting companies and their experienced guides. Classes range from II to V depending on the river, rainfall and river levels. Rivers include:

West slopes of the Andes – Toachi, Blanco, Upper Blanco and others.

East slopes and Amazonia – Jatunyacu, Jondachi, Misahualli and Quijos (where the 2006 world championship took place).

Early morning departure from your hotel for a 2 to 4-hour drive. After an orientation and safety talk, you'll set off downriver on your rafting adventure. The rivers follow impressive canyons which are densely forested, offering a wonderful setting for this thrilling rafting adventure. A picnic lunch is served along the riverbank. You'll take out in the late afternoon and return to Quito.

 Saquisili or Pujili Market Day Excursion

Depart your hotel this morning and head south, and up, into the Andes mountains. En route to Saquisili (or Pujilí), you'll pass the highest active volcano on earth, Cotopaxi.

Saquisili (or Pujili) is a traditional Indian market where food, vegetables and other staples from the surrounding mountainside are traded and bartered. You'll have the opportunity to bargain with locals for native handicrafts, including ceramic, woolen sweaters, ponchos and rugs.

Lunch is included at a typical hacienda, before returning to your Quito hotel in the late afternoon.

 

Quito Tours and Excursions

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