Day 1. Bogota Arrival
Today you arrive in Bogota. Our team will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing, there are no more activities planned and you can take the time to rest and explore Bogota on foot.
Day 2. Bogotá – Zipaquira - Villa de Leyva
In the morning we drive toward Villa Leyva in the department of Boyaca. On our way we will stop at Zipaquira and visit the Cathedral of salt.This cathedral is a replica of the original which has been built in 1951.
We continue to Villa de Leyva. This town is considered one of Colombia’s finest colonial villages. It was declared a national monument in 1954.
Base on remain time we will visit the town by foot.
Day 3. Villa de Leyva – Bogotá – Neiva – San Agustín
Early in the morning we return to Bogota for the flight to Neiva.
Our team will wait for you at the airport then we will drive to San Agustin along the Magdalena river which crosses the country from south to north on the road trip we can enjoy the great landscapes of the Andean mountains. The evening in San Agustin is free.
Day 4. San Agustín
In the morning we visit the San Agustín Archeological Park which was declared a World Heritage Site declared by the UNESCO in 1995. In the San Agustín Archeological Park we find the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America amist a wild, spectacular landscape. Gods and mythical animals are skilfully represented in styles ranging from abstract to realist. These works of art display the creativity and imagination of a northern Andean culture that flourished from the 1st to the 8th century. After lunch we visit the wonderful Colombian massif and the strait of the Magadalena River where a spectacular rocky gorge forces the river to pass through only 2.2m/7.2ft. We return to the hotel and the evening is free.
Day 5. San Agustín – Popayan
After breakfast we leave San Agustin and drive to Popayan also called the "White City" because of its buildings made of lime. The rest of the day is free to discover the city by yourself.
Day 6. Popayan – Cocora valley
In the morning we will drive to the Cocora valley and appreciate the coffee región.
On the road, you will stop to a village and discover the aboriginal culture (traditions, craft...).
Day 7. Cocora valley
Today will continue our discovery of the valley and coffe region. We will drive in the green valley in typical small jeep and later go for a walk among the wax palm tree.After lunch we will visit a “Finca” (coffee plantation) and we learn a lot of things about coffee from harvesting to roasting and producing. Finally you will be able to have drink a cup of coffee produced on site.
After this very nice visit and learning we will drive to the village of Salento and discover the typical building architecture made with bamboo and called Guadua.
We will return to the hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 8. Cocora valley – Bogota
We will appreciate our last day in the Cocora Valley and visit a beautiful property from where we will walk for few hours to discover the nature, flora and faune
After lunch we will return to the hotel and head to Bogota. 5 hours will be necessary to reach Bogota.
Day 9. Bogota
After breakfast we will visit of Bogota and we will walk along the Jiménez Avenue to the foot of Cerro Monserrate. This mountain has a nice overlook on the city. We will take the cable car to get to the top of Cerro Monserrate. From there we will enjoy the spectacular view on the city. Later we will visit Santuario de Monserrate church on the top of the mountain and the gorgeous gardens.
We will continue our visit to the centre of La Candelaria and appreciate the historic buildings. We walk through La Plaza de Chorro de Quevedo where the city has been established in 1538
From Candelaria neighbourhood we will go to the block of Banco de la republica and visit the Botero Collection an impressive collection from Botero but also Botero own collection of renowned artist masterpieces like Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Renoir, and Max Ernst.After this impressive visit we carry on forwards to Plaza Bolívar where stand El Capitolio Nacional, the household of Colombian congress, the Bogota city hall, The Palace of Justice, Edificio Liévano, and Catedral la Primaria.
To end our tour we will visit The Gold Museum.
- The Gold museum displays one of the most dazzling collection in South America. It brings together around 34.000 pieces of goldsmith work, considered as the world´s largest pre-Colombian collection of its kind. Those artifacts come from different civilizations : Quimbayas, Taironas, Muiscas or Tolimas.
Note 2 : the order of visits may vary depending on the weekday (The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays. Botero Museum is closed on Tuesdays).
Day 10. Bogota – Quito
We will leave early for Lima airport to go to Quito. Upon your arrival our team will be waiting for you to accompany you to the hotel.
Note: Rooms are available from mid-day. For those arriving on morning flights, an early check-in can be arranged with a fee.
Day 11. Quito City Tour of Quito and the Equatorial line
Today we go for a tour of Quito. The historic centre of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered, and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas and was one of the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. We walk through the Main Plaza, visit the Government Palace, the Cathedral and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries. The tour continues to the north of Quito where we have lunch in a local restaurant with delicious typical dishes before we visit the Equatorial line, known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), and some of the museums. Archaeological evidence indicates both pre-Incan and Inca civilizations recognized and worshiped the path of the equator as the marker of the equinox. Late in the afternoon we return to the hotel and the evening is free.
Day 12. The Otavalo colourful market and Cuicocha Lake
After breakfast your guide will be waiting for you in the hotel lobby to take you on a visit to one of the most prosperous communities the country, the Otavalo where you will find the famous Ponchos’ Market. Here you can find colourful handicrafts like rugs, clothes, Panama hats, pictures, jewellery, etc. The tour continues to the Hacienda Pinsaquí, one of the most beautiful haciendas in the country, where a delicious lunch will be served. In the afternoon you visit the Cuicocha Lake in Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve and on the way you will stop in Cotacachi town known for its famous leather handicrafts. The Cuicocha Lake lies inside the crater of an active volcano surrounded by flora and fauna. This place is considered as a sacred lake and used by the native people to celebrate traditional rituals to purify and clean their souls. Late afternoon we return to Quito where the evening is free.
Day 13. Quito – Antisana Reserve – Cotopaxi
After breakfast your guide will be waiting for you in order to depart to the east range of the Andes at the Antisana Ecological Reserve, where you will admire the beautiful Lake Mica and the majestic Antisana Volcano (5758m/18.886.24ft). This reserve is considered a hot spot for bird watching, and we can find the Carunculated Caracara known as Caracara Curiquingue here. This bird is famous because of its movements and characteristics and in the local festivities people will dress up in Caracaras costumes. The Antisana Ecological Reserve is also one of the best places to spot the Andean Condor in its natural habitat. After a delicious box lunch we depart to Cotopaxi Province where you overnight in one of the incredible haciendas located close to the National Park.
Day 14. Saquisili Market - Quilotoa Lake – Baños
Early in the morning after breakfast we leave to the Quilotoa Lake. On our way we stop at the Saquisilí market, this is one of the biggest indigenous markets in the Ecuadorian highlands, the colorful blend of textiles, heaping piles of produce, and local people in traditional Andean clothes is really interesting. We also stop in Tigua, a small town, where you can find amazing handicrafts made by animal skins and beautiful and colourful masks that represent some local animals. Upon arrival at the Quilotoa Lake we can walk down from the border of the crater to arrive at the lake (depending on weather conditions). You have time to visit the area and for the return you have the possibility to hire a mule. After a delicious box lunch we continue to Baños where you get installed in a new Hacienda. After dinner at the Hacienda the evening is free.
Day 15. The Waterfall Avenue – Riobamba
After breakfast we visit the town of Baños where you can see how people extract a delicious juice from the sugar cane, production of melcochas, and you can buy beautiful handicrafts made by balsa and tagua. We visit the famous waterfall route where you can see beautiful waterfalls like the Manto de la Novia waterfall, where you will cross the Pastaza river by a rustic lift, hanging more than 200m/656ft above the river, Pailon del Diablo, Agoyán and others. After this visit your guide will drive you a local restaurant where a delicious lunch will be waiting for you. In the afternoon we continue to the Chimborazo province where you will overnight.
Day 16. Riobamba – Cuenca; Devil’s Nose train – Ingapirca – Cuenca
Early in the morning, after breakfast your guide will drive you to the Alausí train station located 2 hours south of Riobamba, where you will take the train that goes to the famous Devil's nose. Work on Ecuador’s first railway, which would link the coastal city of Guayaquil with the capital, Quito, in the highlands was achieved in 1908. The greatest obstacle, which prompted the line to be dubbed “the most difficult railway in the world”, was met 130km east of Guayaquil at a near-vertical wall of rock, known as El Nariz del Diablo (The Devil’s Nose). The ingenious engineering solution was to carve a series of tight zigzags out of the rock, which allowed the train to climb 800m at a gradient of 1-in-18 by going forwards then backwards up the tracks. Currently, only the 12-km stretch from Alausí to Pistishi (usually advertised as Sibambe) at the end of the Devil’s Nose descent, is open, which is the trip you will be taking. The tour offers stunning views of Chimborazo and Carihuairazo and a thrilling descent down the Devil’s Nose itself. At the end of your train adventure, your guide will be waiting for you in Alausí town from where you will continue with your trip to the Ingapirca ruins. The Ingapirca archaeological site is the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador. The most significant building is the temple of the sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock. The building is constructed in the Inca way without mortar in most of the complex. The stones were carefully chiselled and fashioned to fit together perfectly. The temple of the sun was positioned so that on the solstices, at exactly the right time of day, sunlight would fall through the centre of the doorway of the small chamber at the top of the temple. Most of this chamber has fallen down. After our visit we continue to Cuenca where the evening is free.
Day 17. Cuenca City Tour – Quito
After breakfast your guide will be waiting for you in the hotel lobby ready for your visit of the town. You will walk through magnificent churches, beautiful old buildings with wrought iron balconies and carved wooden doors, flower and handicrafts markets, art galleries, workshops and all the wonders that Cuenca, with its colonial style and pleasant atmosphere, offers to its visitors. You will also ride along the Tomebamba River admiring the ancient houses perched on the riverbank above. Also you can visit some modern neighbourhoods and enjoy of a panoramic view of the city from the vantage point of Turi. After the tour your guide will drive you to a local restaurant where you will enjoy of a delicious typical lunch. Late in the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport in order to catch your flight back to Quito. At Quito’s airport your driver will meet you and transfer to your hotel and the evening is free.
Day 18. Quito – Yanacocha – Mindo
After breakfast your guide will pick you up from your hotel for the departure to the Yanacocha Reserve located in the high cloud forest on the volcano Pichincha in 3444m/11.300ft. We travel to the northwest of Quito, crossing the west slope of the Andes range on the old Nono – Mindo road. The Yanacocha reserve protects 964 ha of elfin Polylepis forest which is home to many hummingbirds including a very scarce and endemic specie the Black Breasted Puffleg. We have time to walk on the trails of this reserve to learn about the flora and fauna of the area and to enjoy of the incredible landscapes; while you continue with your trip you will see other species such as bar bellied woodpecker, masked flowerpiercer, glossy flowerpiercer, shinning sunbeam, great saphirewing, barred fruiteater, hooded and scarlet-bellied mountain-tanagers, giant conebill, pearled treerunner etc. In the afternoon we continue to Mindo where you get installed in the hotel and the evening is free.
Day 19. Mindo – Quito
Early in the morning you will visit the famous Paz de las Aves Refuge where you will have the opportunity to observe the famous cock of the rock lek, four species of Antpittas, the Giant Antpitta, the Moustached Antpitta, Ochre bellied and the Yellow Breasted Antpitta. You visit the feeding station to see black chinned and blue winged mountain tanagers, toucan barbet, dusky piha, sickle winged guan, crimson rumped toucanet, etc. After this morning visit you return to the main house for a typical regional breakfast before heading off to find a ocellated tapaculo being fed with worms, yellow vented woodpecker, powerful woodpecker, crimson mantled woodpecker, orange breasted fruiteater etc. You return to the lodge for lunch and in the afternoon you can go for a walk on the trails of this private reserve. Late afternoon you will be transferred back to Quito where the evening is free.
Day 20. Quito Departure*
According to your time of departure you are transferred from the hotel to the airport in Quito. For international flights it is recommended to arrive at the airport 3 hours before scheduled departure. End of our services.
Important: Itinerary can change because of weather or social conditions and some sights are not always accessible – Lipiko Tours cannot be held responsible for any changes in itinerary and sights not visited as a result.
Porterage: Your luggage will be transported either by plane, car, boat, and bus. You will have to carry the personal belongings (camera, water, etc.) which you need during the day.
Service: For group above 4 people you will be accompanied by a tour leader in the chosen language. His role is to make sure that everything goes smoothly during the tour and that each individual and the group as a whole are safe. Don’t hesitate to ask him if you are unsure of anything and, very important, to follow his advice.
Included in the price:
- Water, air and land transfers as indicated in the program
- Accommodation in hotel/hostel in double rooms, Ecolodge, shelter, home stay, camping, bus and plane as indicated in the program.
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- The assistance of specialized local English speaking guides, their fees and expenses
- The assistance of our local teams; driver(s) and logistics department (24/7)
- Visits as outlined in the program
Not included in the price:
- Entrance fees to sites visited, national parks and museums as indicated in the program (allow for approx. 1500 Argentine Peso (Argentian national currency) per person – in Brazil (allow for approx. 150 Brazilian Real (Brazilian national currency) per person – this is an estimate and actual prices may vary)
- Meals not mentioned, drinks, tips, individual equipment, everything not mentioned in “included in the price” and all personal expenses
- Individual obligatory personal travel insurance (this could be included with your credit card – please check with your credit card provider)
- The supplement for a single room: 390 USD (subject to availability, must be reserved and paid upon reservation). Attention; no single room available for the nights with accommodation in shelter, home stay and camping.
- Possible visa expenses
- International flights