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 Culture and Nature in the Ecuadorian Andes

Culture and Nature in the Ecuadorian Andes

This tour, focusing on culture and nature in the Ecuadorian Andes, offers you an encounter with one of the most culturally and biologically diverse regions of the planet. Prices from US$1,107
Andean Culture & Nature Andean Culture & Nature Andean Culture & Nature

Andean Culture & Nature

This tour, focusing on culture and nature in the Ecuadorian Andes, offers you an encounter with one of the most culturally, naturally and biologically diverse regions of the planet, yet with no comprise to your comfort and style.

Whether visiting a condor reserve (hopefully to catch a glimpse of numbers of these majestic birds), or horseback riding through a vast and untarnished valley, or while hiking along the flank of a towering volcano that ascends miles above sea level, it will be difficult not to be moved by the sheer beauty of this natural environment.

To complement this contact with nature during your "Culture and Nature in the Ecuadorian Andes" vacation, you will also visit traditional communities, historic colonial towns with spacious plazas, and lively colorful market places.

For a “Culture and Nature in the Ecuadorian Andes” getaway that’s gratifyingly “off the beaten path,” Ecuador awaits.

Itinerary: Andean Culture & Nature

Day 1:

Quitsato and Imbabura

Departing from Quito, travelling north along the Pan-American Highway, we will travel to a local bakery the small village of Calderón to learn about the tradition of creating bread dough figures.  We will continue to Cayambe Valley, where the equator crosses the highway; on a clear day we will have a spectacular view of the Cayambe Volcano in the distance. We’ll also have the option of visiting Quitsato, an interesting solar clock that was created to provide a unique, innovative view of the equator.

From there we will continue on to the province of Imbabura and Hacienda Cusín, a restored 17th-century estate located near San Pablo Lake.

After checking in we’re off to visit a neighboring rose plantation and learn about this booming (and blooming!) industry. We will return to the hacienda for lunch. 

After a short rest we will have the option of a light horseback ride to enjoy the scenic countryside.  Back at the hacienda, dinner and the cozy fireplace await. Overnight at Hacienda Cusín. (-/L/D)

Day 2:

Imbabura Volcano and Zuleta Community

After breakfast we will start our half-day hike towards the eastern flank of the Imbabura Volcano crossing fertile farmlands on old cobblestoned roads and various trails to reach the Angochahua Valley pass, at 10,000 feet (3,050 meters) above sea level.  To get the most out of our time, a box lunch will be served along the way. After the pass, we will descend into the valley to reach the community of Zuleta, well known for its elaborate embroidery. Here we can visit a local workshop and learn about this handicraft tradition.

Afterwards, we will continue on to Hacienda Zuleta, a 4,000-acre (1,600-hectare) colonial working farm that has belonged to the family of Galo Plaza Lasso (a former president of Ecuador) for more than 100 years.  Each day the hacienda produces 10,000 liters (3,000 gallons) of milk, which is used to make the well-known variety of Zuleta brand cheese.

Enjoy a magnificent dinner and comfortable night’s rest at Hacienda Zuleta. (B/L/D)

Day 3:

Condor Huasi Project

Today we will have the opportunity to see the majestic Andean condor.  The Condor Huasi Project, located on the grounds of Hacienda Zuleta, was created to support the reintroduction of captive Andean condors back into the wild.  For local communities, it also includes an educational element focusing on the conservation of the paramo (high-altitude grasslands).

We will return to the house for lunch and then have time in the afternoon to explore the farm and dairy operation with our guide before dinner.  Overnight at Hacienda Zuleta. (B/L/D)

Day 4:

Otavalo Market and Traditional Cuisine

Today the main focus is national cuisine, and there’s no better time to visit a market than early in the morning. We will make our way to Otavalo to visit the largest, most famous indigenous market in Latin America where vendors proudly offer a stunning variety of food, handicrafts and other products.

While at the market our guide will help us choose the ingredients we need to prepare a delicious lunch back at the hacienda where our hosts will give us a cooking lesson to teach us to create a delicious, typical Andean meal.

After lunch we will have more free time to explore the hacienda before returning to Quito later in the afternoon. (B/L/-)

 (B= Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)

2013 Price: Andean Culture & Nature

Persons Price per person
10 - 15 US$1,107
2 US$1,567
3 US$1,363
4 - 9 US$1,251

Single Supplement: 30% Surcharge

The package includes

  • Private English-speaking guide
  • Spanish-speaking drivers, with A/C vehicles
  • All meals as detailed on the program
  • Accommodation in selected properties
  • Daily visits, excursions and activities
  • Bottled water

This excursion is a private basis tour; however, it might include certain shared or group visits at some locations.

The package does not include:

  • Beverages
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Personal expenses

For languages other than English (Chinese, French, German, Italian or Japanese), please ask about the additional costs of guided tours in these languages.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The itinerary could be modified due to regulations from the National Parks administration, restoration of certain areas at haciendas or colonial houses, or due toforce majeure events.

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Call us at the following numbers:

Toll-free number:
US/Canada: 00-1-866-978-7398
UK: 080-8189-0438
Ecuador: 1800-SURTREK

Ecuador: 593-2-250-0660

Or visit us in our office in Quito - Ecuador:

SURTREK - Tour Operator
Reina Victoria N24-151 and Calama
Casillero del Diablo Building
Quito, Ecuador

"Quito Day Tours" offer plenty of options – from day trips around the capital city to the Otavalo Indigenous Market, Papallacta Hot Springs, Mindo cloud forest, Cotopaxi Volcano, a helicopter tour, a "Wine and Roses" tour, a "Foodie" culinary tour, horseback riding programs, and tours that focus on mountain biking, hot air ballooning, birdwatching and more!

Surtrek can recommend a good selection of fine quality Quito hotels for you, from luxury boutique hotels to international chains – all at the very best prices! Our "Quito Hotels" site offers you not only the best accommodations in town, but also the best packages and prices.

During the Spanish colonial epoch, the Ecuadorian Andes were divided into large estates, each with their own “hacienda” (country estate or ranch). A number of these still exiting haciendas continue in that rich architectural tradition with their structures having been renovated into boutique hotels in amazing settings.

Surtrek Tour Operator • Reina Victoria N24-151 and Calama, Casillero del Diablo Building • Quito, Ecuador

Toll free • U.S./Canada: 1-866-978-7398 - UK: 080-8189-0438

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