Cultural Immersion: Ecuador & Peru

This trip will take you to the most relevant places in the history of Ecuador and Peru.

Note:
– Please check with one of our trusted travel advisors for children and solo traveller prices.

23 Days
3+ Age
  • Destination

  • Included

    24/7 Assistance
    English Speaking Guides
    Services as described
  • Not Included

    Domestic Flights
    International Flights
    Personal Expenses
    Services not described
    Tips
    Travel insurance
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Day 1: Hello Quito

Your Culture Immersion trip starts today. You will be picked up at Quito’s International Airport and taken to your hotel, which is located in the historic center of Quito. You will be welcomed with a delicious dinner in your hotel, and depending on your arrival time, you could even walk around the biggest historic center in South America. Meals included: Dinner Hotel: Illa Experience Hotel - subject to availability Type of service: Private
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Day 2: Quito From The Clouds

Because we know you are probably tired from your long flight from yesterday, you will have time to sleep late and have a delicious breakfast; maybe walk around the center. Just before noon, your private guide will pick you up to take you explore the city, but in a unique way, you will go around the highest viewpoints around Quito to show you the city from a different perspective. Keep your camera ready! You will go on the Teleferiqo (Cable Car), to la Virgen del Panecillo, and you will close the day with the magnificent evening view of Quito while enjoying a nice drink. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Illa Experience Hotel - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 3: Cultural Quito

Today you will explore the cultural corners of Quito. You will visit the Basilica del Voto Nacional, The Independence Square, The Street of the Seven Crosses, The Alabado Museum, among other incredible cultural places around town that will provide a very clear perspective on the history and culture of Ecuador. For lunch, you will enjoy a fantastic cooking class. The chef will take you to a local food market where you will get the ingredients to prepare your traditional Ecuadorian dishes. You will cook traditional plates of Quito: Locro Quiteño, Encocado and a Chocolate soup, dishes that you can replicate back home to show your new cooking skills to your friends and family. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Illa Experience Hotel - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 4: Visit to Otavalo

Today you will be picked up from your hotel and start driving north to Quitsato solar clock, located in the Cayambe canton. This cultural site was built to measure the solstices and equinoxes, in pre-Hispanic times, also considered the "other middle of the world", since the equator line crosses this place in the middle of the Cayambe mountain's summit. You will also have a stop to take a cup of Ecuadorian coffee or chocolate with some “Bizcochos” (Biscuits); which are made in the wood oven with an incomparable flavor. Your next stop is Otavalo. Located in the Imbabura province, Otavalo is known as the province of the lakes. Then we arrive at the biggest and most important indigenous handicraft market in South America. Your guide will walk you through the history of the indigenous communities of the area, talking about their traditions and costumes. Later on, you will go to Cotacachi. There we will find another craft market specialized in leather products. Your last stop of the day is the Cuicocha Lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano in the Cordillera Occidental of the Ecuadorian Andes. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Illa Experience Hotel - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 5: Visit to Quilotoa Crater Lake - Riobamba

You will be picked up from your hotel and start driving south to Quilotoa Crater Lake. Your first stop will be the Shalala viewpoint, that allows you to contemplate the beauty of nature from 3900 meters above sea level. The crater of the dormant volcano forms a bowl that collects the azure waters of the lagoon. Its color is due to the accumulation of sulfur. Legend has it that a long time ago the circular caldera located in the center of the volcano, arose between the surface of the lagoon together with a god named Quilotoa. He was considered the king of the eruptions of all volcanoes because he destroyed everything in his path. Your guide will share more details of this amazing legend. Afterwards you will visit the colourful town of Tigua. This beautiful little town is known for its handicrafts that are manufactured by the community of the same name. The paintings bear geometric and figurative forms, typical of the pre-Columbian and colonial times respectively. The traces expose the passage of time, which is an important element of the Andean worldview. There are masks made of pine wood and paintings created on sheepskin, which tell experiences of everyday life. After a very busy day, you will continue driving south to Riobamba, considered the first city to be established in what is modern-day Ecuador. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Abraspungo Hacienda - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 6: Exploring Riobamba

Your guide will pick you up after breakfast to start exploring the city. You will walk to Loma de Quito, enjoy great views on Chimborazo, Carihuairazo and other snow capped volcanoes. You will continue to old town, visit Plaza Roja (authentic textile market on Wednesday and Saturday), visit religious art museum Convento de la Concepción. You will walk to Parque Maldonado, visit Cathedral and Museo de la Ciudad, learn about the manufacture of horse saddles and zamarro pants in a “talaberteria”. You will close this tour with the highlight of the day, the dish that puts Riobamba in the gastronomic map, the fabulous “Hornado” (roast pig) from La Merced Market. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Abraspungo Hacienda - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 7: Ancestors Trail

Today you will leave Riobamba at 9.00 and drive south into the highlands, to the village of Tzalaron. On Fridays you will be able to visit here a small, but very authentic market. This is a great opportunity to learn about the traditional Andean produce and the customs of the colorfully dressed indigenous people. Just outside the village you will start our 4-hour hike in the mountains. With clear weather you will enjoy excellent views of Tungurahua, Altar and Chimborazo volcanoes. You will pass small indigenous communities and traditional farms with crops like quinoa, fava beans, wheat, oat and corn. With some luck you can see hummingbirds and other birds. You will finish this hike at the Colta Lake, which is the largest lake of Chimborazo with an estimated length of 2,5 km. In the nearby village we visit Balbanera, built by the Spaniards in 1534 as the first catholic church of Ecuador. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Abraspungo Hacienda - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 8: Guamote

Today your driver will pick you up from the hacienda to continue driving south to Guamote. The architecture of this beautiful town and of its indigenous communities, maintain characteristics that unite the past with the present. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the locals and shown to your room. You can explore the town in your free time. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Inti Sisa Art Guest House - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 9: Andes Experience

There are different experiences available depending on the day. All of them will provide an enriching experience allowing you to learn more about the local culture. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Inti Sisa Art Guest House - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 10: Full-Day Hiking Tour in Alausí

After a delicious breakfast in Inti Sisa, you will leave with one of the guides by car to the town of Alausí, about 45 minutes away. Along the way to Augustina, born and raised in this region, speaks passionately about local customs and legends mixed with fun anecdotes. You will continue walking to Nizag (it is also possible to continue by car). Nizag is a small Indigena village where time seems to have stood still. Although it's located high in the Andes, there is a nice and warm microclimate that allows the inhabitants of Nizag to grow all kinds of fruit like avocados, limes and even bananas. Finally, you will visit the viewpoint of Tolte, about a 10-minute drive away, where you can enjoy the view of the famous Devil's Nose Mountain as a nice ending of the day. After this it is time to return to Inti Sisa and reflect on a beautiful day by the fire with a nice canelazo. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Inti Sisa Art Guest House - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 11: Cuenca

Your journey will take you farther south to Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca. Cuenca is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and charming cities in the country. With its cobblestone streets, old-world cathedrals, colonial parks and urban rivers, Cuenca will charm you, for sure. Your Cuenca experience begins with a visit to the main local market in the historical center of Cuenca. You will learn about Andean products and how to order products in the market. Then you will go to the old town to your chef’s kitchen, where you will learn how to cook the menu of your choice. After the class you will sit down and enjoy the food you have prepared. After enjoying a delicious lunch, you will get ready to explore the beautiful city of Cuenca. You will visit the picturesque and traditional highlights of the city. You will also visit the famous Toquilla Straw Hat Factory, where you can see the making of the finest hats. Finally, you will arrive at the “Mirador de Turi” where the landscape of a valley is full of red roofs and blue domes framed by imposing mountains. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Cruz del Vado Hotel - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 12: Full Day Gualaceo & Chordeleg Handicraft Villages

Your day begins with a trip to the scenic village of San Bartolomé, famous for its guitar making. There are several workshops along the main road. You will visit one of the workshops, as well as the central park and its church. On the way you will see women, the famous Cholas Cuencanas, weaving the toquilla straw hats while walking or waiting for the bus. You will arrive at the Chordeleg canton, where gold, silver, filigree, wood, ceramics and handicrafts, among others, are worked. Next, you will visit the typical food market of the Gualaceo canton, where you can optionally try the delicious Chancho Hornado. A dish made from baked pork accompanied by llapingachos (potatoes) and salad. In addition, you will have the opportunity to taste the typical drink of this place, the rosero accompanied by a quesadilla. Finally, you will arrive at a workshop of “Chales” or “Macanas” , a typical dress of the “Chola Cuencana”. The artisans will explain the process of elaboration of these famous and unique fabrics. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Cruz del Vado Hotel - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 13: Pottery Class – Basketwork in San Joaquin – Industrial Fátima, Cocoa Processor

You will visit the Rotary Plaza, famous for its different handicrafts such as basketry, wooden furniture and ceramics. You will attend the workshop of Mr. Ivan Encalada, who is a well-known Cuenca potter who welcomes you in his colonial style house full of patios, backyards and gardens. He will teach you basic techniques for shaping clay and making decorative pieces that vary depending on your individual tastes and interests. Afterwards you will go to San Joaquin, one of the rural parishes of Cuenca where you will be able to appreciate the art of basket making. The artisans will explain the whole process of elaboration, from the moment they get the raw material to the final product. Finally, on the way back to the city center you will visit Industrial Fátima, Cocoa Processing Plant, where you will visit their facilities and you will be able to see the whole process through which the cocoa passes to finally become chocolate. At the end you will have a tasting of the final product. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Cruz del Vado Hotel - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 14: Guayaquil

After your breakfast, your driver will take you to the Pearl of the Pacific. Upon arrival, you will have a short tour around the city to explore its major highlights. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Hotel del Parque - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 15: Peru

Today you will be driven to the airport to board your international flight to Lima. Upon arrival at the “Ciudad de los Reyes” (City of the Kings), you will be welcomed and driven to your hotel. You will have time to explore the city by yourself. Meals included: Breakfast Hotel: InnSide Miraflores - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 16: Flight to Cusco & transfer to the Sacred Valley

Today you will be driven to the airport to board your flight to Cusco. Upon landing at Cusco airport, you will be taken in private transportation towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Because of its lower elevation (2,870 m or 9,415 ft) and its peaceful atmosphere, this valley is the perfect place to enjoy your first days in Cusco. Depending on how you are feeling, you can stop at Pisac village. This is a delightful little Andean town that has a very interesting street market. It's a great place to get an initial feeling of local culture. We don't want to do too much on our first day in the area, it is best to acclimatize first. Meals included: Breakfast Hotel: Tierra Viva Valle Sagrado - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 17: Maras Salt Mines & Circular Terraces of Moray

This morning, you will set off on tour to visit some of the Sacred Valley's most impressive sites. First, you reach Moray, one of the most unusual Inca sites consisting of circular terraces built upon a natural depression. It seems to have been an agricultural experimental station used to adapt crops to different temperatures. Second, you will visit Maras, an impressive salt-extraction complex consisting of thousands of small terraces. Locals have been collecting and selling the salt at the markets of the region since before the Inca times. Afterward, you will continue driving along the Vilcanota river till reaching Paraqay, one of our favorite restaurants in the valley not only because of the delicious meals but also part of a beautiful project that gives young people in the Sacred Valley the opportunity to enroll in the Arariwa cooking school in Urubamba. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Tierra Viva Valle Sagrado - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 18: Ollantaytambo Fortress - Andean Pachamanca & Train to Aguas Calientes

Today, after breakfast, you will visit the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, an impressive Inca complex that protected this area of incursions from the Amazon Basin. Next, you will experience a traditional culinary experience called Pachamanca, which in Quechua means Earth Pot. This is a traditional cooking technique where the food is prepared underground using preheated stones and leaves to separate the food from the soil. The main ingredients are Andean tubers such as potato, sweet potato, oca, mashua, as well as beef, chicken, or lamb along with Andean aromatic Herbs to give it a distinctive flavor. In the afternoon, you will head to the Ollantaytambo train station to board the train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town). Upon arriving in Aguas Calientes, reception and assistance to your hotel. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Casa Andina Machu Picchu - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 19: Machu Picchu & Return to Cusco

Today is the big day! Early in the morning, you will take a 20-minutes bus up the steep zigzagging road to Machu Picchu Citadel, located on an impressive mountain setting. You will have a 3-hour guided excursion so you can have a better understanding of Machu Picchu and the Incas culture. Your guide will be happy to answer all the questions you may have. Afterwards, you'll return to Aguas Calientes, where you will have free time to enjoy lunch before boarding your return train back to Ollantaytambo. Upon arriving, your private transport will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Cusco. Notes: ● Be sure to be at the train station 30minutes before your train departure ● Please don't forget to bring your passport with you, since it will be required when entering Machu Picchu. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch Hotel: Casa Andina Premium Cusco - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 20: Cusco Walking City Tour

Today, you will embark on a four-hour walking city tour which will take you not only through the most touristic sites in Cusco such as the Main Square, Cathedral and Koricancha (Temple of the Sun); but also along ancient streets, local markets, and old neighborhoods to discover the magic of Cusco. The rest of the day is free for you to wander around by yourself. Meals included: Breakfast Hotel: Casa Andina Premium Cusco - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 21: Flight to Lima & Afternoon at Leisure

Today, you will have some free time to take a last walk around Cusco's shops and markets. Then, at the coordinated time, you will head to Cusco's airport to board your flight to Lima. You will be welcomed Lima and take you in a private shuttle to your hotel located in the heart of Miraflores. The afternoon will be free so you can enjoy this pretty seaside district on your own. You can stroll along the parks overlooking the ocean or try some ceviche in one of Lima's top restaurants. If you wish, you can head to Barranco to admire examples of Lima's old architecture and visit interesting local galleries such as las Pallas and Dedalo. As you are interested in culture and history, we recommend the Amano Museum and prehispanic pyramids of Huaca Pucllana, both within walking distance in Miraflores. Of course, we will be providing you with maps and plenty of tips for you to make the most of your time in Lima! Meals included: Breakfast Hotel: InnSide Miraflores - subject to availability Type of service: Private  
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Day 22: Nazca Lines & Drive to Paracas

Today, you leave Lima early in the morning, towards Paracas, located 3 hours south of Lima. You will first drive to Pisco airfield and board a modern Cessna Caravan aircraft to fly over the enigmatic Nazca Lines and the new discoveries of Palpa Lines. During the flight, you will observe the mysterious zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, geometric shapes perfectly crafted in the desert. Afterwards, you will make a short drive to your hotel located at the shores of the Paracas Bay. The rest of the afternoon is free, so you can join a nautical activity, relax at the oceanfront pool, taste a delicious Pisco cocktail, pamper yourself at the Spa or walk along the Bay. Meals included: Breakfast Hotel: Hacienda Paracas - subject to availability Type of service: Private / Shared overflight to the Nazca Lines  
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Day 23: Ballestas Islands, Paracas National Reserve & Farewell

Today at 8:00, you will go to the hotel's pier and board the fully equipped speedboats towards the Ballestas Islands, also known as the little Galapagos because of their great variety of wildlife. You will be sailing around the islands to try and spot the sea lions, penguins and various other bird species that live here. On route, you will observe The Chandelier, an enigmatic figure that you can only see from the sea. Afterwards, you will drive to the nearby Paracas National Reserve, one of Peru's most important reserves. Here, you can visit the park's visitor center or drive along the Reserve to the cliff-top lookouts from where you will be able to admire the vastness of the ocean and desert. You can have lunch (not included) in the tiny fishing village of Lagunillas before you get ready for your return drive to Lima. Meals included: Breakfast Type of service: Private / Shared boat to the Islands (Up to 25 passengers)  
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