Ecuador-Bolivia-Argentina 21 days ECUBOAR21

Day 1. Quito arrival
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 for a fee.

Day 2. 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 3. 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 4. 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 5. 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 6. 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 7. 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 8. Quito - La Paz (3663m/12.020ft) Arrival
According to the time of your flight you are transferred to the airport. Upon arrival at the international airport of Lima our team will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel Today you arrive in La Paz. Flying into La Paz is always an experience; if you arrive at night you can admire the lights of the city between the mountains or during the day you might get a view of the Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world. Once arrived in the International Airport of El Alto, which is also the highest commercial airport in the world, 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 acclimatize to the altitude and explore La Paz on foot.

Day 9. La Paz - Chacaltaya (5300m/17.390ft) – Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley)
After breakfast, we leave to visit Chacaltaya – the highest ski run in the world (now closed due to lack of snow) – only a 1-hour drive from La Paz. From where the car drops us off we only have to climb approx. 200m/656ft to reach the top, from where we have a wonderful view of a big part of the Cordillera Royal in particular the Nevado Illimani, the Huayna Potosi and the Condoriri. We can also observe the Altiplano and the Lake Titicaca and if the weather permits we can also see the clouds over the Yungas (semi tropical part of Bolivia) as well as the volcanoes Sajama (highest summit in Bolivia – 6542m/21,463ft), Parinacota and Pomerata. After lunch (not included) we descend to visit the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) in the southern part of La Paz. Because the area is composed of clay rather than rock, erosion has worn away large parts of the mountain  creating impressive formations, that offer us a lunar landscape. We return to the centre around 15h30 and the rest of the day is free.

Day 10. La Paz – Copacabana – Sun Island (Isla del Sol) – La Paz
We leave early in the morning for our day tour at the Lake Titicaca. Upon arrival in Copacabana we visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana which is a 16th century church that houses the image the patron saint of Bolivia. The church attracts thousands of local tourists throughout the year and it remains one of the two principal sacred places both for indigenous people and Catholics. After lunch we leave by boat to visit the famous Sun Island (Isla del Sol). We visit the Inca Staircase, the Inca Fountain as well as the ruins of the Palacio de Pilkokaina (“place where the birds rest”). This construction is characterised by its walls and doors that are particularly well conserved. We return to Copacabana where our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to La Paz.

Day 11. La Paz - Uyuni – Colchani – Salar de Uyuni – Incahuasi – Cueva de las Galaxias – San Pedro de Quemez
In the morning, you are transferred from your hotel (La Paz centre) to the airport in El Alto for your flight to Uyuni. During the short flight, you can observe the Altiplano and if the weather permits you’ll have a great view of the different lakes and salt flats of the region. You are picked up from the airport and after a short stop in Uyuni we start our tour. The first visit will be the locomotive cemetery, the result of an abandoned project to build a big network of trains out of Uyuni. From here we continue to Colchani which is a small village situated on the edge of the Salar and who’s inhabitants live from salt exploitation. In Colchani we discover how salt is processed manually and we visit the small salt boutique. We now enter the famous Salar de Uyuni; the biggest salt desert in the world with acreage of 10.582km²/4.086mi2. One of the particularities of the Uyuni Salt Flat is that it contains a reserve of 9 million tonnes of Lithium which represents 40% of world production. We head to the Island Incahuasi, a geological formation that is a remnant of petrified coral and is covered with giant cactus that can get up to 12m/39.37ft high. From the top of the island we have a wonderful 360° view of the Salar de Uyuni. After lunch our journey continues in the direction of San Pedro de Quemez and we have the possibility to visit the “Cueva de las Galaxias” which is a strange phenomenon of fossil algae which reminds us that the ocean was present here all the way to Oruro. In the adjacent cave, we can observe the Chullpares which are Inca funerary remains. We climb to the viewpoint from where we have a great view of the desert and if we take a closer look we can also observe the fossil coral that once were part of a coral barrier. After this impressive visit, we continue to San Pedro de Quemez situated at the doors of the Lipez desert. We arrive at San Pedro de Quemez around 16h00 and the evening is free.

*Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 12. San Pedro de Quemez – Salar de Chiguana – Ollagüe Volcano – Siloli Desert – Ruta de las Joyas Alto Andinas (Lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiar Khota, Honda y Ramaditas) – Stone Tree – Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa – Ojo de Perdiz
We continue our tour of south Bolivia and from San Pedro de Quemez we pass the Uyuni – Ollagüe railway before crossing the Salar de Chiguana. We observe the still active volcano Ollagüe and even from far we can see its fumarole. We follow the famous Jewel Route which is composed of the Lagunas Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiar Khota, Honda and Ramadita. Today we also visit the Stone Tree (please refrain from climbing on the rock) planted in the middle of the Siloli desert and at the end of the day we enter the Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa and we arrive at the Laguna Colorada (coloured lake). The name is because of the red colour that is caused by microscopic shellfish and a variety of algae which thrive in the salt water which is the principal nutriment of the rose-coloured flamingos that live in this area. Due to climate changes (lack of rain) and the high evaporation of the Altiplanic basin the water level of the regions Lagunas is reduced rapidly, which year after year unfortunately also reduces the population of the flamingos. Mid-afternoon we leave to get installed in our hotel Ojo de Perdiz and the evening is free. *

* Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 13. Ojo de Perdiz - Laguna Colorada – Geyser de Sol de Mañana – Polques Thermal Spring – Dali Desert – Laguna Verde – Licancahur (5971m/19.590ft) – Villamar – Valle de Rocas – San Cristóbal – Uyuni
We leave the Laguna Colorada to go even deeper into the Reserva Nacional de la Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa. We visit the boiling geysers of Sol de Mañana which is an impressive geothermal field with pits of boiling mud and strong smells of sulphur. Our tour continues in the direction of the thermal bath of Polques, a natural source of hot water where we can go for a swim. We continue through the South Lipez and we observe the “Damas del Desierto” which are enormous rocks planted in this barren landscape and carved by wind and weather over the years. We also cross the Dali Desert, which was named in reverence to the Catalan artist because of the resemblance of the landscape with the unreal yet natural colours, to the masters’ work. We continue to the Laguna Verde and Blanca at the foot of the Licancahur, one of the most southern points in Bolivia. The Laguna Verde gets its green colour from the high concentration of lead, arsenic sulphur and calcium. From the Laguna Verde we start our drive back north. We pass by the small village Villamar which seems lost in the middle of the gigantic Lipez desert before passing by the biggest mining project in Bolivian history at San Cristóbal. We arrive around 18h00 in Uyuni where we spend the night.

* Depending on the season and the weather, the itinerary will change and there are some sights which are not always accessible!

Day 14. Uyuni – Tupiza
After breakfast we will drive to the colorful valley of Tupiza. It will take around 6h00 to reach Tupiza will cross the Cordillera de las Chichas and on the road, we will stop for lunch. Once in Tupiza the rest of the day will be free.

Day 15. Tupiza
The valley of Tupiza is very colorful with reddish ochre bland earth. We will find also a very friendly community « los chicheños ». Today we will have 5 kinds of activity of your choice to propose:

Discovery by foot: we’ll walk few kilometers around Tupiza

Horseback riding: a small expedition Tupiceña style around 15 kilometers.

4wd tour: discover the surrounding a drive a bit further and see a little bit more

Mountain biking: the sporty way to discover Tupiza and have a rush of adrenaline

Butch Cassidy and Sundance road: we will follow the last road of the bandit toward Huaca Huañusca.

Day 16. Tupiza – Villazón – Humahuaca
We leave Tupiza to reach the Argentian border Villazón/La Quiaca. After the migration and custom control, we will drive toward Humahuaca. Once in Humahuaca we will drive to the nice colorful mountain surrounding Humahuaca and appreciate de landscape.

Day 17. Humahuaca – Purmamarca – Salta
After breakfast we will drive through Tilcara and discover the salt flat of « Salinas Grandes » the biggest salt flat in the West of Argentina. We continue our trip and pass by San Antonio de los Cobres before reaching the nice valley of Salta.

Day 18. Option 1: Salta – Cachi – Molinos – Cafayate / Option 2: Salta – Iguazu
Option 1 first day: Salta – Cachi – Molinos – Cafayate
Early in the morning, we leave to drive to the small village of Cachi. From Salta the road offers a nice landscape composed with forests, canyons « Quebradas », rivers and high mountains. The road goes through « La cuesta del Obispo » and up to 3348 m where we can appreciate a full view on the valley. Then we continue on la « Recta de Tin Tin », ancient road use by the Incas et goes to the national park « Los Cardones » where we can observe the Mountain Cachi 6380 m. Cachi village is located at the bottom of this mountain and we will visit and discover the church classified National Historic Monument. We will be also able to walk around Cachi or visit the Cachi historic museum. Later we will drive on the R.N 40 and visit Colte the handcraft road and the village of Seclantás, Molinos, San Carlos located in the « Quebrada de las Flechas » and its wonderful landscape. We will spend the night in Cafayate famous for its white wine Torrontes.

Option 2 first day: Salta – Iguazu
We leave the hotel and be transferred to the airport of Salta to flight to National Park of Foz de Iguazu. Once arrived our team will pick you up to drive to the hotel.

This park was created in 1934 and measure 55.000 hectares. There are 275 falls from 30 to 80 meters high. An ecologic train and 3 stations have been built in purpose to preserve the environment of each tour. The lower tour (1700m) has 8 belvederes on a terrace which allow a direct contact with the vegetation and the waterfalls.

The higher tour (1200m) which cross from the top part of the waterfalls Dos Hermanas, Chico, Ramírez, Bossetti, Adán y Eva, Bernabé Méndez, and finish in Mbigua and got 6 belvederes where we can appreciate the rainbow formed by the San Martin, Escondido, Dos Mosqueteros, Rivadavia and Tres Mosqueteros waterfalls. We continue toward Puerto Canoas 3 kilometers away from the Iguazu river bank where the third terrace start, from there we the best view on the most impressive waterfalls: La garganta del diablo. In the center of the waterfall there is the island of San Martin where we can walk, 650 meters and 172 steps to access the different panoramas views. We will be able to appreciate the different panoramas like this one use in the movie Mission (1986) take precisely from this spot. We will walk also on the green path (600m), and observe the animal and plants. After this nice and impressive visit, we will go back to the hotel where the rest of the days is free.

Day 19. Cafayate – Quebrada de las Conchas - Salta / Iguazu Brazilian side
Option 1 second day: Cafayate – Quebrada de las Conchas – Salta
Today we will discover the impressive and marvelous « Quebrada de las Conchas » where we will enjoy the sight of several geologic phenomenon. We will go back to the hotel in Salta at the end of the afternoon.

Option 2 second day: Iguazu Brazilian side
After breakfast we will visit the Iguazu Waterfall Brazilian side. We will discover through the bridge and miradors the Floriano et Teodora da Fonseca waterfalls and finish our visit with the San Martin waterfalls with a complete view on the waterfalls and on San Martin Island. The rest of the day is free.

Day 20. Salta – Buenos aires / Iguazu – Buenos Aires
Option 1 third day: Salta – Buenos Aires
In the morning we will leave the hotel and be transferred to the airport of Salta and flight to Buenos Aires. Once arrived at Buenos Aires airport our team will pick you up and drive you to the hotel. After a short break we will visit the city.

Buenos Aires is a 4 Million cosmopolitan city and the biggest of Argentina with a nice mix of European and South American culture and architecture.

We will start the visit with the Avenida 9 de Julio, the largest avenue in the world. Will pass by the Teatro Colon and the Plaza de Mayo where we can observe La casa del Gobierno, el Cabildo and the Cathedral.

At the end of the afternoon we visit la Boca area and the street « El Caminito » the artist and bohemian spot in town. Then we will go back to the hotel.

Option 2 third days: Iguazu – Buenos Aires
In the morning we will leave the hotel and be transferred to the airport of Iguazu and flight to Buenos Aires. Once arrived at Buenos Aires airport our team will pick you up and drive you to the hotel. After a short break we will visit the city.

Buenos Aires is a 4 Million cosmopolitan city and the biggest of Argentina with a nice mix of European and South American culture and architecture.

We will start the visit with the Avenida 9 de Julio, the largest avenue in the world. Will pass by the Teatro Colon and the Plaza de Mayo where we can observe La casa del Gobierno, el Cabildo et la Cathedral.

At the end of the afternoon we visit la Boca area and the street « El Caminito » the artist and bohemian spot in town. Then we will go back to the hotel.

Day 21. Buenos Aires departure*
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 Tours cannot be held responsible for any changes in itinerary and sights not visited as a result. 

 

 

 

General information:
Highlights: Quito, Antisana Reserve, Cotopaxi, Riobamba, Cuenca, La Paz, Chacaltaya, Copacabana, Sun Island, Salar de Uyuni, South Lipez, Laguna Colorada, Laguna Verde, Tupiza, Purmamarca, Salta, Buenos Aires.

Support Team: English speaking tour leader for the entire tour for groups of 4 people or more. For smaller groups it is possible to book this tour without a tour leader. Instead you would have guided visits with a local guide in chosen language. Please contact us directly to receive a personalized quote.

Departure guaranteed: Group Tour: from 4 people. Individual Tour: from 2 people 

Accommodation: 21 nights in hotel.

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

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