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 for today and you can take the time to rest.
In the morning we drive toward Villa Leyva in the department of Boyaca Northeast of Bogota. On our way we will stop at Zipaquira town where the Nobel price Gabriel Garcia Marquez studied in the 40s and we visit the Cathedral of salt, an underground Salt Cathedral, carved in a vast salt mine, which is a replica of the original which has been built in 1951. We continue to Villa de Leyva known for its whitewashed colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and the great Plaza Mayor. This town is considered one of Colombia’s finest colonial villages. It was declared a national monument in 1954.
The morning is free and before noon we return to Bogota for the flight to Neiva also known as Capital of the Magdalena River. Located in the department of Huila. It lies between the Central and Eastern Cordillera, in a plain on the eastern margin of the Magdalena River, in the valley of the same name, crossed by the Las Ceibas River and the Oro River. Our team will wait for you at the airport then we will drive to Villaviaje close the Tatacoa desert.
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.
We leave San Agustin to reach Popoyan by car. After 4:00 drive we will discover the whitewashed colonial buildings of this city known for its popular processions during Holy Week and 17th century architecture. After lunch we will discover the city.
We continue our roadtrip to reach Salento which is located 6:00 drive away from Popayan in the coffee region in the department of Quindío. This town retained more of its traditional colonial architecture than almost any other town in the coffee region, along with a peacuefully way of life which make the Cocora valley among the most popular destinations in Colombia. We will arrive in the afternoon and the rest of the day will be free.
As a transportation today we use a jeep willis (traditional vehicles used in the coffee area). Then we discover the Cocora Valley by foot and we gently hike for 2 or 3 hours in the valley before pausing in a traditional Finca for lunch and rest. In the afternoon we visit a coffee Finca close to Salento and learn about manufacturing process and tasting. After this tasty visit we return to Salento
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. We will drive directly to the airport to flight to Quito.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to your time of departure* you are transferred from the hotel to the airport. 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 South America cannot be held responsible for any changes in itinerary and sights not visited as a result.