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This 8-day cultural tour shows you Ecuador’s highlights, the best places to visit in this magical Andean country.
We get close to the conical, snow-capped peaks of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo and swoop down through the Cajas National Park to sea level.
We take the breathtaking Devil’s Nose train ride, negotiating a series of switchbacks, plus many museums and spectacular vistas in between.
Enjoy bartering at authentic Andean markets and perhaps order a true Panama hat in Cuenca.
The friendly Ecuadorian people show you their country as you enjoy at our comfy, handpicked hotels en route.
We start in the UNESCO city of Quito, visit national parks and take in the Inca ruins at Ingapirca.
We reach the colonial city of Cuenca, home of the Panama hat and handicrafts of every kind, before heading to Guayaquil.
Your journey begins with a visit to the capital of Ecuador. It is located at 2,850m/9,350ft above sea level, at the slopes of the Pichincha volcano and nestled in a green Andean valley. Quito, one of the oldest cities in South America, is also one of the few cities that has preserved numerous monuments and artistic treasures of the Spanish colonial period.
The colonial centre of the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978.
We begin the tour with a walk through the narrow streets to visit some of America’s oldest and most beautiful churches such as El Sagrario and La Compañia and the famous plazas of Santo Domingo, La Merced and San Francisco. We continue to “El Panecillo” hill, to meet the winged virgin and enjoy a fascinating view of Quito. Then we will stop for lunch at the restaurant El Tianguez.
In the afternoon we will drive to the famous Equator Monument “Middle of the World”, which is located in a dry valley on the northern outskirts of Quito. Here we visit the Museo del Sitio Inti Nan, which was built by a private anthropological foundation next to the official equator monument.
This beautiful solar museum has exhibits of different indigenous culture and their traditional way of life, and of course, we’ll see the monument that marks the equatorial line.
Exiting Quito and heading south towards the Cotopaxi province, our first stop is the indigenous market of Pujili, a riot of smell and colours.
We continue through winding roads that pass the most beautiful landscapes of the Ecuadorian Andes, to reach the picturesque volcanic crater that is Lake Quilotoa.
From the crater rim it’s possible to walk down to the turquoise lake shores, a hike worth making. No need to worry about the way back, because there are horses and mules to help with the ascent (not included in tour price).
We have a boxed lunch to help recover our strength while enjoying one the unique magic and beauty of this crater lagoon.
After this visit we will drive to the traditional hacienda La Cienega to have dinner and spend the night.
In the morning we drive to the Cotopaxi National Park to do a short hike at the foot of this snow-capped colossus and discover its diverse flora and fauna.
We walk to Limpiopungo lagoon ,which is located at an altitude of 3,800m/12,467ft.
We descend and then visit one of the many rose plantations that have made Ecuadorian roses famous all over the world. Here we see the different kinds of roses and learn about the whole production process.
We have lunch before continuing to Baños, the lively pilgrimage town with its famous thermal springs and its beautiful cathedral.
In the town of Baños, located at an altitude of 1,800m/5,906ft, a pleasant climate prevails. It is recommended to visit the beautiful Cathedral and enjoy the extraordinary scenery before starting with our day’s planned adventure: “The route of the waterfalls”, which runs along the Pastaza River Gorge.
The highlight of this route is located by Rio Verde, where we take a short walk through the cloud forest to reach the thundering waterfall known as “Pailon del Diablo” (Devil’s cauldron).
In the afternoon, our tour continues to the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo (6,310m/20,702ft), where we are greeted by a desert-like landscape and herds of shy vicuñas. From here it is possible to walk to the Edward Whymper shelter that offers a great view from its altitude at 5,000m/16,404ft.
We depart early in the morning through picturesque landscapes and small villages to reach Alausí´s train station, where we hop on board one of the most famous train rides in the world.
The ‘Devils Nose’ as it is known, is an unforgettable train ride down an almost sheer rockface; the train makes switchbacks all the way down the cliff and then back up again.
After this, we enjoy a boxed lunch on our way to the next highlight: the Ingapirca archeological complex, the largest Inca site in Ecuador. We learn about the Inca and Cañari cultures by touring through the beautiful temples and fortifications.
In the late afternoon we continue to Cuenca, where we stay at Hotel Casa del Aguila or Hotel Santa Lucia.
After breakfast we start our tour of the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
The promenade along the Rio Tomebamba, the imposing new Cathedral and the daily flower market are just a few of highlights that this city has to offer.
The tour also includes a visit to a workshop and museum of the famous Panama hat.
The afternoon is left free for you to explore this charming and historical city on your own.
After breakfast, we head to the west to cross El Cajas National Park.
This reserve, although it is mostly above the tree line, has an astounding variety of plant and animal life. In addition to rugged ridges and deeply incised, box-shaped valleys, there are nearly 240 different-sized lagoons.
We drive to an altitude of almost 4,200m/13,780ft above sea level.
After this our route starts descending to the coastal region, passing through beautiful and changing landscapes as the altitude drops and the vegetation grows in size and variety.
We drive through extensive cocoa, bananas, rice, and sugar cane plantations to enter the bustling metropolis of Guayaquil, the largest city in the country.
Once there, we head to our hotel and then take a city tour in Ecuador’s main port.
This city is best explored on foot. We start at Parque Bolivar, then onto Plaza de Administración, the Moorish Clock Tower and finally the “Malecón 2000” and the artistic district of Las Peñas, with its spectacular panoramic view of the Guayas river and its green mangrove belt.
After the tour we gather in the evening for a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant.
End of our services with a transfer out, and/or onward travel.
7 nights in double room with breakfast, meals as per itinerary, English speaking guide / driver (2 people) or guide and driver (+4 people), private transportation, visits and excursions described in the program.
Soft and alcoholic beverages, meals not described on the program, other services not described on the program, tips and personal expenses, flights.
We use 2-3* hotels in town with private bathrooms.
Upgrades available at extra cost – please ask.
Tour leader throughout the tour, a local, bilingual Ecuadorian guide with many years’ experience.
You may also meet local guides with specialist knowledge at certain points e.g. on the Devil’s Nose train ride.
Our local drivers and support staff have worked with us for many years.
Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please ask us for more information.
Breakfasts at hotels will feature teas, coffees and juices to drink, plus cereals, fruit, eggs, toast and jams etc.
While out on tours, we either supply a packed lunch of sandwiches, snacks, soup, fruit etc, or we eat at a local restaurant. These are often buffet style with soups, rice, pasta, potatoes and then puddings/fruit.
Evenings are often free for you to choose to eat in a local restaurant or at the accommodation, depending on where we are.
Bigger towns have international and local Ecuadorian options.
Thistrip is open to people of good mobility and health. We build in acclimatisation and any walks aim to be 2-3 hours maximum. You can sit any out that you wish.
We grade this as an ‘easy’ trip but there is high altitude and some walking in open countryside to be aware of.
Ecuador is the second smallest South American country, and one of the most varied.
It comprises three main geographical areas: the coast, highlands and Amazon plus is home to the Galapagos Islands.
Because of its relatively compact size, it makes a great holiday destination as you can move from highlight to highlight fairly easily and rapidly.
Landscapes vary from the drier south to the more humid north.
The Highlands, or sierra, encompass two Andean Cordilleras (the Central and Western), which run north to south through the country. Ecuador’s largest volcano is Chimborazo (6,310m) whose summit, because of its proximity to the equator, is the closest point on earth to the sun. Several of Ecuador’s volcanoes are still active, and it’s a great area for trekking.
Descending the steep, east-facing slopes of the eastern Cordillera, one passes through a transition zone comprising dense cloud forest and humid high jungle, before entering the Amazon lowlands.
This mainly primary rainforest covers a third of the country, accounts for 5% of the population and stretches across Ecuador, from its Colombian to its Peruvian borders.
The Galapagos Islands are simply unique. Lying 600 miles off the mainland, the archipelago comprises the summits of gigantic equatorial volcanoes.
The flora and fauna of the Galapagos, long separated from their continental cousins, have evolved differently. Charles Darwin used his observations there to develop his theory of Evolution.
Ecuador lies between latitudes 4º south and 2º north. Overall, climate varies according to time of year, altitude and region.
In the Ecuadorian highlands, there is little temperature variation by season as temperature depends largely on altitude.
In Quito, shade temperatures range from 6 to 10ºC in the morning and from 19 to 23ºC in the afternoon, with cool nights. In the lower basins between mountains, it gets significantly warmer.
Rainfall depends on whether an area lies closer to the eastern or western Andes. To the west, June-Sept is the dry period and Oct-May the wet (with often a short, dry spell in Dec or Jan).
The best period to visit Quito and trek and climb volcanoes such as Cotopaxi is the west Andean dry season of June-Sept and Dec/Jan. This is also Ecuador’s high season. During the Oct-May wet season, most rainfall is in the afternoons.
To the east, Oct to Feb are dry and Mar-Sept are wet. Overall, the southern highlands are drier than the northern highlands.
On the Pacific coast, rainfall becomes less from north to south. The coast can be enjoyed year-round, although from June-Sept mornings are often grey with the garua mists.
Jan-May is the hottest and rainiest time of year.
In Ecuador’s Amazonian region, rain can fall at any time, but Dec-March is usually the driest season and Mar-Sept is usually the wettest period.
The Galapagos Islands
Galapagos can be visited at any time of year.
The warm season is Jan-Jun, bringing calm, warm waters (around 70°F) and sunny days (72-9°F or 22-32°C), February and March being the hottest and sunniest months with blue skies and sunshine.
The islands receive slightly more rainfall during these months, occasional heavy bursts in the afternoon. Great for snorkelling and you can spend a lot of time in the water without wetsuits, with great, clear waters.
The dry ‘garua’ season is Jun-Dec an it’s a great time for marine life. August and September are the coolest when you may need a jacket in the evenings and the sea can be choppy and temperature drops around 15-24ºC on average.
There can be mist on the islands in the mornings (garua) which usually burns off by midday leaving overcast skies or a sunny afternoon.
Sea temperatures may drop to 60°F- 72°F (15-22°C) during this time and snorkellers will want a wet suit for prolonged periods in the sea.
You will also need a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining validity.
British nationals do not need a visa for Ecuador.
Non UK residents please check with the Ecuadorian embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
ALL visitors to Ecuador and Galapagos must have valid health and medical insurance to cover their entire stay. Inability to show a valid policy on arrival at customs will lead to a refusal of entry.
We strongly suggest that everyone planning to travel to Ecuador visits their local doctor/travel clinic prior to departure for the latest vaccination information.
For people travelling to the Amazon/coast and regions below 1,500m (excluding Galapagos, which is malaria free):
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
Ecuador has an incredibly local and varied set of weather systems, which means you need to be prepared for almost every eventuality.
When planning for these changeable climatic conditions you will encounter across Ecuador, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.
The sun is very strong throughout the country, so good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital.
It can also get very cold at night time especially in the mountains and in cities like Quito. Jumpers, fleeces and warms hats – which you can buy there – are also essential.
It can rain at any time, so always have a poncho/waterproof jacket handy.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
Below is a more detailed guide.
Detailed kit list
Official name: Republic of Ecuador
Country population: 15,000,000
Capital city: Quito (2.51 million)
Largest cities: Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Machala
Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua
Latitude/Longitude: 2º S, 77º 30 W
Official currency: US dollar
Major industries: bananas, shrimp, oil, gold, roses
Time zone: GMT-5 (Galapagos GMT-6)
Being at altitude, especially in the tropics, is usually a pleasure as it isn’t so hot, there are few insects and the air is clear.
However, when gaining altitude, air pressure drops and the amount of oxygen reaching the lungs is reduced. Although we build plenty of acclimatisation time into our itineraries, certain ill-effects are possible. Nevertheless, all of these can be minimised or prevented if care is taken.
On reaching heights above 2,500m (approx. 8,200 ft), especially when ascent has been straight from sea level, heart pounding, mild headache and shortness of breath are normal, especially on exertion.
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a syndrome known locally as soroche, whose symptoms can include of bad headache, dizziness and nausea).
To avoid AMS, you should:
February/March ( weekend before Ash Wednesday)
Colourful parades and throwing water.
Location: Guaranda and country wide.
March or April
Festival: Semana Santa/Holy Week
Gran Poder Parade
End of September and 5th November
Festival: Mama Negra
Religious street parade with “Mama Negra” – man dressed garishly as a woman
Festival: Dia de los Difuntos/ Day of the Dead
Visits to cemeteries and “feasts” at the graves of loved ones.
Location: Otavalo area, Calderon and country wide.
Festival: Paseo del Niño / Baby Jesus parade
Children parade the streets on horseback accompanied by families.
Andean Trails can book all your international and domestic flights for this trip and for UK passengers; we have full ATOL bonding and can book flights with most airlines.
International flight prices are variable and usually can only be guaranteed at the time of booking. If you would like to upgrade to business or first class, or even arrive at an earlier date/depart at a later date we can also arrange this for you.
Typically, you fly to a country’s capital city and then overnight there or make a connecting flight (if available) to your next destination.
Please contact us for flight advice especially if you do make a connection on the same day. It is important to purchase a through ticket and not separate tickets for connections, so that you are covered for any delays. Passengers with separate tickets that are delayed run the risk of having to buy an entirely new ticket to continue their journeys.
Please note all airline schedules are subject to change and are out of our control.
Almost all flight tickets are now e-tickets. Any that are not will be handed to you on arrival in South America – this is most common for flights on smaller planes in Amazon areas such as Guyana/Bolivia.
The final travel instructions we send you some 2-3 weeks before departure will list the latest flight times, flight numbers etc as well as list your e-ticket numbers and booking reference code (6 characters i.e. GB75RK). This is what you will need to check in with.
How do I check in?
Depending on the airline, we can reserve some seats for you at the time of booking your international flights with us.
If we cannot reserve seats at the time of booking, you have to wait for online check in to open (usually 24-72 hours before departure).
To check in online you will need to go to the website of the airline you are travelling with, and have your e-ticket number/booking reference to hand. Click check in online, enter your details, and choose your seat.
Some flights will allocate seats at the check in desk at the airport and some may not allocate seats at all.
Help flying via the USA (ESTA form).
The United States (USA) has an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which all travellers to and via the USA must complete BEFORE travel to/via its airports and shores.
More information can be found on their ESTA website.
Passengers who have not completed the form will be denied boarding.
Before you begin this application, make sure that you have a valid passport and credit card available.
This application will only accept the following credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club).
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
In large cities such as Quito and Guayaquil, you should guard against bag snatching, bag slashing and pick-pocketing.
Highway robbery should also be guarded against. We strongly recommend you take the following precautions:
On the coast
Ceviche de pescado Raw marinated fish, served with tostado (roasted maize).
Ceviche Popular everywhere, is best on the coast.
Ceviche de mariscos Marinated shellfish. Most varieties of shellfish ceviche – e.g. camaron (prawn) and langostino (king prawn) – are cooked before being marinated. The exception is ceviche de conchas (clams) which is marinated raw.
Langosta Lobster (Increasingly endangered, but is still fished illegally).
Empanada de verde Ground plantain pasty filled with meat, cheese or shrimp.
Sopa de bola de verde Plantain dumpling soup
Encocadas Dishes prepared with coconut milk. Can be shrimp, fish etc.
Patacones Fried plantain chips
In the Highlands
Locro de papas Potato and cheese soup.
Mote Burst maize.
Caldo de patas Cow-hoof soup (with mote).
Llapingachos Fried potato and cheese patties.
Empanada de morocho Ground maize shell filled with meat.
Sancocho de yuca Vegetable soup with manioc.
Cuy Guinea pig
Fritada/Chicharron Fried pork
Hornado Roast pork
Humita Ground maize meal wrapped in maize leaf and steamed (sweet or savoury).
Quimbolito Similar to humita, but made from maize flour and steamed in a banana leaf (sweet or savoury).
Jugos Fruit juices are very good, including naranjilla, maracuya (passion fruit), tomate de arbol (tree tomato – like a sweet tomato) and piña (pineapple).
Aguardiente Unmatured rum (Cristal is nice). Also known as paico, trago and trago de caña.
Cerveza Lager-type beer is very popular. Several brands, including Pilsener and Club.
Currency & Money Exchange
Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency.
Take small denomination, unmarked and undamaged bills, 1s, 5s, 10s and 20s being the best. You will find it hard to use 50s, and 100s are seldom accepted anywhere.
ATM debit/credit cards are now widely used in major restaurants, hotels and shops (with fees), and there are ATM (‘hole-in-the-wall’) machines widely available in towns and cities.
Don’t forget to read our Guide to Tipping in Ecuador, too.
Eating and drinking
Ecuador has a wide variety of food and drink to enjoy.
There are a few top end restaurants in Quito, where you can easily spend more than USD 100pp on food and wine.
Prices vary greatly, below is a rough guide to what you can expect to pay in Ecuador.
Beer/soft drink: USD 2
Menu del dia: USD 3-5
Coffee: USD 1
Tourist style restaurant
Beer/soft drink: USD 2-3
Main dish: USD 10 upwards
Coffee: USD 2
Tipping is entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received.
This is a rough guideline:
Ecuador uses 120 volts, with a frequency of 60 Hz.
Most cameras, phones and computers are dual or multi voltage and probably won’t need a convertor – please check before leaving.
Some items you may bring, such as hairdryers, may need a convertor. They may short if you use them without the correct convertor.
Ecuador and Galapagos boats mainly use two-pin, flat-pronged Type A plugs and some sockets take Type B plugs.
Type A plug
Type B plug
The international code for Ecuador is +593.
Regions have dialling codes, with a 0 prefix.
Ecuador’s landlines have 7 digits, and to call landline-landline in the same city, simply dial the 7 digits.
If calling landline to another regional landline/city, start with a 0 then the regional code.
If using your own mobile phone to call a landline, dial the country code, the regional/city code without the 0, and then the number, e.g. for Quito (code: 02), dial +593 2 1234567.
Mobiles have 8 digits, and start with 09 to make a total of 10 digits;
If you are dialling Ecuador mobile to mobile, simply dial the full number, including the 09.
If using your own mobile phone to call an Ecuadorian mobile, dial the country code, then omit the 0 of 09, then the 8 remaining digits e.g. +593 9 1234-5678.
Almost all unlocked phones will work in Ecuador with a local SIM, however – check with your provider before arrival if your phone will work.
Roaming charges may be high – again, best to check.
Most hotels, cafes, restaurants and airports offer free and generally good Wi-Fi. There are some locoturios – internet cafes – offering cheap and good internet in most towns and cities.
Head to the official postal service, Correos del Ecuador.
Learning a few words of Spanish can really ingratiate you with the locals you’ll encounter, adding to the enjoyment of your holiday.
Below are some basics to get you started.
Good morning Buenos días
How are you? ¿Cómo estás?
Good afternoon Buenas tardes
Good bye Adiós
Most frequently asked questions (theirs):
Where are you (plural) from? ¿De dónde eres (son)?
What time is it? ¿Qué hora es?
Where have you come from? ¿De dónde vienes?
Give me (frequent, unwelcome question) Dáme / regálame
Most frequent questions (yours):
How much is it? ¿Cuánto vale?
What is this place called? ¿Cómo se llama este lugar?
What’s your name? ¿Cómo te llamas?
Do you have a map? ¿Tienes un mapa?
In the street / places:
Where can I find a currency exchange? ¿Dónde encuentro una casa de cambio?
Where is there a cash machine? ¿Dónde hay un cajero automatico?
Where is the underground/subway station? ¿Dónde esta la estacion de metro/subte(Buenos Aires)?
Where can I find a taxi? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?
Where can I find a Supermarket? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un supermercado?
Where is the hospital? ¿Dónde esta el hospital?
Where can I find a restaurant? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un restaurante?
In the hotel:
What floor am I on? ¿En qué piso estoy?
Where are the elevators/lifts? ¿Dónde están los ascensores?
How do I access the Internet? ¿Cómo puedo acceder a Internet?
How do I call for room service? ¿Cómo llamo para el servicio de habitación?
How do I call down to the front desk? ¿Cómo llamo a la recepción?
In the restaurant:
A table for two/four please Una mesa para dos/cuatro, porfavor
I would like to drink… Me gustaria tomar….
May I see a menu? Puedo ver la carta/menu?
I would like to order.. Me gustaria pedir…
Can you bring me the check/bill please. Me trae la cuenta por favor
I need help. Necesito ayuda.
I have lost my passport. He perdido mi pasaporte.
Someone stole my money. Alguien robó mi dinero
I have been robbed. Me han robado
I need to call the police. Necesito llamar a la policía
I need to call the (country) Embassy Necesito llamar a la embajada de (country)
Andean Trails believes in Responsible Travel and actively supports several community projects.
Please see Our Advice and Our Ethos for more, and learn about the Projects We Support.
We operate the Inca Trail, our treks and tours with local firms.
We make sure that on our tours and Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages.
With the Inca Trail, We provide free life insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for all trekking staff as well as foam mats, sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided the staff with trekking shoes. We ensure our porters carry a maximum of only 20kg. We offer them backpacks and they generally use back supports.
Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.
Our additional support helps the Huchuy Yachaq project which supports children and families in one of the poorest communities in the district of Cusco.
Responsible Tourism – Code of Conduct:
All our activities are governed by our respect for the environment and the people who live in it. We aim to make a positive impact both in the UK and in the Andean countries we work in (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).
We agree with the principals of sustainable development and specifically promote environmentally aware tourism in the Andean countries, in order to preserve the heritage of the people who live there and to help protect their environment.
In the UK we use recycled paper where possible, recycle what we can and attempt to keep waste to an absolute minimum.
Throughout South America we work together with local people, paying them a fair price, and putting money into the local economy. We do this by using local agents, local trek staff and experienced and qualified local mountain and cultural guides who have an in-depth knowledge of their own country. Our porters on the Inca Trail are fairly paid, carry a maximum load of 20kg and are supplied with tents and food. In other areas we use donkeys or horses to carry loads.
We use locally owned services such as hotels and restaurants, wherever possible. We buy fresh local produce for all of our treks from markets in each departure town. We use public transport whenever possible and feasible.
We have ongoing contact with the teams that we work with and also with local families in the areas we trek through, developing relationships with them and donating goods such as clothes and shoes to their communities, through appropriate local agencies. We also support local Peruvian charities, specifically NIÑOS in Cusco, and CARE in the Huaraz area, plus Huchuy Yachaq.
If you have any suitable (warm) clothes and shoes that you would like to donate to Peruvian children please take them with you and give them to your tour leader, who will ensure they go to a suitable organization.
When out on tour we encourage learning about the countries we travel in, the local culture of the teams we work with and the areas we pass through. Our guides hold informal talks with groups to inform about and discuss with them all aspects of local life. This helps understanding of the area and appreciation of the people who live there.
Our group sizes are kept to a maximum of 16 people, and we encourage smaller groups where possible. This minimises the negative impact we make on the local people, the wildlife and the environment, and increases the quality time spent in contact with the local people and environment.
When trekking we adhere to a responsible tourism code of practice and are also involved in ongoing training of our trek staff.
A full Health and Safety document will be sent to you at the time of booking and before you travel.
You can also read it on our website, or contact us for more information.
It is a condition of booking any of our holidays that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for trip cancellation (by you), activities involved and destination. This cover should include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue.
We work with Travel Nomads, who offer insurance solutions to people in more than 140 countries across the world.
Should you decide not to purchase this insurance, you must provide us with details of your alternative insurance with or before your final payment.
Many of our tours travel through remote areas.
We believe our clients should be aware that the remoteness of some of our tours so very special could also cause certain problems.
Thus, whilst we endeavour to minimise the chances of anything unexpected happening, it has to be noted that no itinerary can or should be rigidly adhered to.
This is the very nature of adventure travel and we expect our clients to be prepared for delays and slight alterations in our programmed events.
Also, shared tours may include travellers from all over the world whose native language is not English.
25th Jul 2020 From - $1590 / £1272
08th Aug 2020 From - $1590 / £1272
19th Sep 2020 From - $1590 / £1272
10th Oct 2020 From - $1590 / £1272
24th Oct 2020 From - $1590 / £1272
07th Nov 2020 From - $1590 / £1272
What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $2,325 / £1,860 per person
Dates: From March 2018 to December 2018
Capacity: 16 per person
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Prices From $1,655 / £1,324 per person
Dates: From October 2019 to December 2020
Prices From $3,540 / £2,832 per person
Dates: From January 2020 to June 2020
Prices From $5,040 / £4,032 per person
Select an available date to view pricing and information for that particular trip.
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A. Gihan, UK, 2011
» Tailor Made Ecuador
Our guide (Santiago Mata) was a strong positive factor — knowledgable and very helpful, but not intrusive; flexible and anticipatory of any problems that might have been encountered.
Accommodations were fine — some more interesting than others, but all more than adequate. We spent relatively little time in the hotels and generally stayed in each only one night, so cannot give a critical evaluation, but overall, they were all fine. Food was also fine. We ate “local” foods as much as possible, generally with our guide’s advice, and had several very nice meals in the more urban areas. Overall organization worked our just fine for us.
E, Ehrenfeld, USA, 2015
» Ecuador Highlights 8-Day Holiday
Which animal might you adopt?
#Galapagos #conservation twitter.com/galapagossip/statu…
14th June, 2020 6:21 pm
THE NORTH OF PERU The north of Peru is brimming with treasures and it is much less travelled than the southern hot spots of Cusco and Machu Picchu. Northern Peru travel never fails to surprise and impress, it is a fascinating part of this wonderful country well worth exploring. There is masses to see and do here so I would recommend a good amount of time. If you can I would dedicate a week as a minimum and ideally two weeks to a tour to the north of Peru. Have a read of “Our Travel Guide to Northern …
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