A Deep Exploration into Ecuador
Amazonian Community and the Culture of the Otavalo
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- All accommodation
- Full Board at Sani Lodge, B&B at the others
- All domestic flights
- All private ground transfers
At a glance
Delve into Ecuador’s unique and diverse culture on this wonderful nine-day trip across it’s green lands and have a profound encounter with the country’s incredible spirit.
From two nights exploring the opulent and UNESCO-protected capital of Quito, you’ll be flown deep into the Amazon for three nights at the pioneering Sani Lodge. Surrounded by overwhelming biodiversity, explore the rainforest and meet the local community, taking to the river on canoes and seeing the forest come alive at night on nocturnal hikes.
Then its three nights in the cultural epicentre of the country, the Otavalo Region, to stay on a working farm and colonial hacienda spending your days horse riding to visiting local workshops and markets, the pre-Incan pyramids and even getting involved in regional events.
Example Trip Itinerary
Private transfer from Quito airport to your hotel
Accommodation in Quito
- 31 rooms
- Room upgrade will be provided subject to availability
- Box of Pacari chocolates upon arrival
Resembling something you are more likely see on a street corner of some Parisian arrondissement, the white neoclassical façades of the recently renovated Gangotena mansion stands majestically from the south western corner of Quito’s UNESCO-protected Plaza San Francisco. Removed you may think, but the hotel sits quite comfortably in this characteristically Old World part of town, and being conveniently positioned at the colonial and cultural heart of Quito its thirty-one rooms have magnificent views over the square and surrounding monuments. Inside the décor is elegantly traditional, but is kept quite minimal for a contemporary twist. Downstairs is the lobby, complete with marble floors, velvet Chesterfields, and peppered with the odd antique, as is the dining room, bar and conservatory central patio. Then via the spiral stairs (or lift) are the rooms that feature all the contemporary amenities matched to the more modern soft furnishings, but the high ceilings, mouldings, wall murals and marbled bathrooms nod loyally to the mansion’s past and the opulence of a bygone era.
- Spa (gym, sauna, massage)
- Wine Cellar
A relatively new addition to the hotel scene in Quito, the Plaza Grande is not lacking in history. Set in a beautifully converted Belle Epoque mansion of one of the city’s founding fathers. The hotel is set in a prime spot in the beautiful old town on the Plaza de la Independencia. Fitting to the setting and history of the building the hotel is decorated in luxurious and opulent style with heavy drapes, tapestries and artwork adorning the walls. As well as the traditional fittings, rooms are appointed with all of the modern amenities that one might expect from a hotel of this calibre, with 42 inch flat screen televisions, jacuzzis and sound-proofed windows installed in all the rooms. Service is excellent and the hotel has several restaurants and a well-stocked wine cellar.
- 30 suites
- Plasma TV
- Sky Bar
One of the newest hotels in Quito, Le Parc is a welcome boutique addition to the city. A modern, design hotel with beautiful rooms, real character and excellent service and facilities. Rooms are very spacious indeed, with large modern bathrooms and a cohesive, modern and comfortable design concept making this a unique hotel in Quito against the more traditional alternatives. Rooms come with all modern features that one would expect in a luxury hotel with L’Occitane spa products and flat screen televisions. The hotel also has a couple of great bars including a rooftop bar with great views across the city. Though it is located some distance from the old town, this is a small price to pay for such a stylish and good value hotel.
- 21 rooms, 11 suites
Patio Andaluz is just steps away from the main square of Quito’s UNESCO-protected colonial quarter and many of the attractions can be reached on foot. The hotel has been built in a converted old building set around a central patio ensuring that there is plenty of light in the day and spacious communal areas. A protected historic building converted to a hotel, every room is slightly different. Some of the larger suites have windows onto the front and are spaced over two levels with a connecting spiral staircase. Other smaller rooms have limited window space with light coming from the well-lit internal area of the hotel. Decoration is in the period style and the rooms are quite spacious and comfortable. Dining is in the central patio and the restaurant is among the better ones in the area. Staff are friendly and very helpful making this one of our favorite hotels in the historic area.
Enjoy Ecuador's capital, the first ever UNESCO World Heritage city. You'll have our list of recommendations as well as private guides on hand to enjoy the best of this historical city and contemporary hub. We can arrange a number of private, interest-led tours to booking fine restaurants for you. Talk to your travel designer about how you would like to spend your time here.
This brings alive the capital’s historic quarter, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, to go beyond the mere ‘bricks and mortar’ and allow guests to get a true feel for quiteños and the lives that make it such a fascinating place.
The first part of the tour includes a neighbourhood walk in the company of a local guide who will share their first-hand insights into the history, livelihoods, traditions, stories, beliefs and cuisine of their city. Experience the lively market of San Francisco and wander down to the restored and revitalised street of La Ronda, meeting artisans at work and find out more about the art of chocolate-making from a Swiss-Ecuadorian confectioner family.
A lunch of Ecuadorian specialities is served inside the elegant Casa Gangotena hotel dining room. The afternoon is divided between a visit to the Casa del Alabado archaeological museum and a trip up to one of the city’s viewpoints to fully appreciate its Andean setting from on high.
Private transfer to Quito airport
Flight from Quito to Coca
After your cooking class enjoy a walking tour of the city's Botanic Gardens. This exotic 137-hectare garden, with over 8000 plant species, was designed by order of the Prince Regent Dom João (later to become Dom João VI) in 1808. Your guide will show you many of the gardens' highlights including the row of palms (planted when the garden first opened), the Amazonas section, the lake containing the huge Vitória Régia water lilies and the enclosed orquidário , home to 600 species of orchids.
After the tour, return to your hotel to freshen up for dinner.
- Accommodation for 38 in cabins
- Nearby fully catered campsite
- Restaurant and bar
- Observation tower
Focusing supporting the local community and protecting its biodiverse surroundings, Sani is an ecolodge set in 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) of beautiful rainforest between two of the most diverse ecological reserves on the planet. Make yourself at home in a rustic, yet spacious cabin, offering an intimate experience of the Amazon rainforest. Up to 38 guests can be accommodated in thatched-roofed cabanas and family-sized cabins, which are all screened to keep insects out and have eco-friendly solar lights. Warm fabrics and rich wood panels made for an inviting place to relax as you take in the sounds of the jungle. The more adventurous can stay at the camping site, an hour away from the lodge. Together with local guides, guests make their way to the site in canoes. Tents are on platforms with thatched roofs to provide a little extra shelter, and all meals are prepared on site by a chef. Twitchers will have a field day as there are some 550 species identified in the area. It is estimated that on a 4-day trip you may come across around 120 of these, while real enthusiasts may even hit the 250 mark. These flit between 1500 species of tree along with 1000 types of butterfly and 13 monkey species. From the top of the 37m high tree tower, get an awe-inspiring view of the region, before heading out at dusk to explore Oxbow Lake – home to the endangered black caiman. Night time is when the forest truly comes alive, with night hikes to discover an astounding world of insects and animals. Take time to visit the Sani community and the Kichwa people and let them show you how their traditions still shape their lives today.
Spend your days at Sani Lodge exploring this incredible corner of the Amazon, one of the most biodiverse places on earth with 550 species of bird, 1500 species of tree, 1000 types of butterfly and 13 monkey species found within in its 40,000 hectare reserve. Hike through the forest, take to the water to spot caiman, visit macaw clay licks and meet the local Sani community to learn about their environmentally sustainable lifestyle.
Flight from Coca to Quito
Accommodation in Otavalo
- 17 rooms
Our favourite hacienda accommodation in Ecuador. This 17th century property was formerly the residence of a much-loved president and remains in his family to this day. The illustrious history of the property shines through in every room, many decorated with antiques dating back to the original owners. The libraries and communal areas are replete with photographs, paintings and exotic furniture, many made as gifts from abroad to the former president. Far from being a museum piece the hacienda is still very active with more than 2,000 hectares of pastureland; mainly used for cattle and horses (the stables have around 100 horses) as well as a trout farm. The estate produces its own cheese onsite and there is also an interesting program for the rehabiliation of Condors. The surrounding countryside and nearby village are beautifully picturesque and relaxing. There are fifteen well-appointed rooms and service is helpful and friendly. A great deal of care is taken to ensure that you make the most of the wonderful surrounds and there are a number of activities possible including horse-riding, mountain biking, hiking, birdwatching and visits to the local community with its own weaving workshops. The hotel is located some distance from the Otavalo Market itself (just over an hour) so it makes most sense to make the visit to the market on the journey to (or from) Quito.
Depart from Quito and pass through beautiful valleys and fields by Cayambe volcano (5790m/18,997 feet) into the Northern Andes. En route, visit hacienda La Compañía, one of the oldest haciendas in the area and still a private property. Then continue to the Indian market of Otavalo; hundreds of years old and famous throughout the Andes for its handcrafts, textiles and tapestries. Visit the food, fruits, vegetables and craft markets. After lunch here, drive to the 17th century Hacienda Zuleta, one of our favourite places in Ecuador, to check in to your room.
Accompanied by your own private guide, explore the beautiful Hacienda Zuleta and the surrounding area. Make the day your own with a choice of activities, from two-hour horse rides, to hikes, cultural tours to Otavalo, and visits to a condor conservation projects, Zuleta’s cheese factory and organic hardens. Other activities, such as extended horse rides, cooking lessons and mountain biking can also be added to the day at an extra cost.
Head to the Cuicocha crater lake to enjoy a short hike near the lake. Then isit The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, a non-governmental, non-profit agency that sponsors projects conceived to improve overall living standards of the community of Zuleta and outlying areas within the province of Imbabura through education, conservation and socioeconomic development programs. The foundation has gained recognition thanks to its promotional work for the region’s weaving industry, one of the most important craftworks in the country and an important piece of Ecuador’s culture.
Depart Zuleta in the morning and take a back country road up to San Marcos Lagoon, which is located in the middle of the primary forest of the Cayambe-Coca Natural Reserve at over 3,400 meters above sea level (11,155 feet). Especially beautiful when the mist covers part of the lake, it is an incredibly peaceful place. Enjoy a hike in this amazing environment discovering the great diversity of flora and fauna found here before a picnic lunch in the reserve and returning to Quito.
Get in Touch
A Deep Exploration into Ecuador
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.