Ecuador - Cotopaxi


Contact Us

for advice & booking

01306 888799


Choose a month and let us help you decide where to go.

Travel Trust Association

Other Tours

Galápagos - Isabela II

9 or 11 days including a Galápagos cruise aboard the 40-passenger Isabela II [more]

Spirit of the Andes


Spirit of the Andes

Ecuador Holidays - Cuenca Cathedral

QuitoCasona de la Ronda
3 nights
Hacienda Leito
1 night
Hacienda Abraspungo
1 night
Hotel Carvallo
1 night
Casona de la Ronda
1 night

Click on the name of the hotel for details

8 days from £1366

excluding international flights

Immerse yourself in the Andean World, starting in Ecuador's atmospheric colonial capital Quito, and then travelling along the spectacular 'Avenue of the Volcanoes' to Cuenca.  This journey will give you insight into the history, spirituality, flavours, customs, traditions and legends of the Andean region.  A highlight of the trip is the descent on the zig-zag switchbacks of the world-famous 'Devil's Nose' Railway.

Why not combine this Andean experiece with one of our Galapagos holidays or a cruise through the Amazon Rainforest?

DAY 1 – Arrival in Quito.

On arrival in Quito you will be met by a representative of World Discovery outside immigration and customs. You will then be taken by private car direct to your hotel. Recommended flight from London: KLM from London Heathrow via Amsterdam (see below). If you are travelling from a country other than the UK we would be happy to give you guidance on your flight options.

DAYS 2 AND 3 – Quito.

Two days at leisure in Quito, Ecuador's elegant capital, located high in the Andes at 2,850m/9,115ft.  There is a wide choice of optional excursions which we can prebook for you.  The best introduction to this UNESCO World Heritage city is the Quito and the Middle of the World tour, which combines a guided walk through the old city with a visit to the Equatorial Monument to the north of the city.  Side trips from Quito include visits to the colourful Otavalo Market, famous for its traditional weavings, wood carving and leather goods, or to the Bellavista Cloud Forest, a paradise for birdwatchers.
Meals included: Full breakfast. 

 Ecuador Holidays - CotopaxiDAY 4 – The 'Avenue of the Volcanoes'.  Cotopaxi National Park.

Your 'Spirit of the Andes' 4 day group tour begins today with a journey south along the Pan American Highway.  This spectacular route was dubbed the 'Avenue of the Volcanoes' by the 19th century German explorer Alexander von Humboldt, and on a clear day the views are breathtaking.  The Cotopaxi National Park entrance is reached after about 90 minutes, after which you will follow a dirt road for approximately an hour.  On arrival you will be given an introductory briefing about the habitat of the Andean 'paramo' (moorlands), its flora and fauna.  Cotopaxi Volcano towers above at 5,897m (19,347ft).  At the foot of the volcano, not far from the National Park, is a charming hacienda where you will have lunch.  Spend some time at the hacienda, including a stroll through its rose plantation, with many varieties and colours, ready for export.  From here, descend towards the town of Patate, to spend the night at a 300-year old hacienda hidden among the mountains.
Meals included: Full breakfast, lunch, dinner.

 Ecuador Holidays - Devil's CauldronDAY 5 – Baños.  Riobamba.

After breakfast, take a spectacular route along the gorge of the Pastaza River to the town of Baños ('baths'), located at the foot of Tungurahua Volcano, from where the thermal waters that gave the town its name emerge.  Drive along the Route of the Cascades to El Pailón del Diablo (the Devil's Cauldron - pictured left), an impressive waterfall surrounded by subtropical vegetation and orchids.  Lunch is served at a local hacienda or inn and in the afternoon you will enjoy a short stroll through the centre of Baños before continuing south to Riobamba, a pleasant town beneath the imposing snow-capped mass of Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest mountain (6,310m/20,700ft).  Overnight in Riobamba.
Meals included: Full breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 6 - 'Devil's Nose' Railway.  Ingapirca.  Cuenca.

After an early breakfast depart by road through an astonishing Andean landscape of bridging ravines and river gorges, passing indian villages and cultivated fields, to reach the small town of Alausí, where you will board the 'Spirit of the Andes' train.  In recent years a great effort has been made to restore the 100-year old train to its former glory and romance; stations have been renewed, rails and sleepers replaced, engines and classic coaches renovated, with much of the project involving the local communities along the route.  The highlight of your journey is the thrilling 800m/2,630ft descent on the zigzag cuttings of the 'Devil's Nose'.  At the bottom one finds the newly renovated Station of Sibambe.  Here there is time to visit the local 'Condor Puñuna' museum built and run by the Nizag community, see the display of local handcrafts, fruit and medicinal plants and try the local coffee.  The train whistle calls guests back on board for the return to Alausí, where a light snack is served before you continue south by road to visit the Inca Fortress of Ingapirca.  After a late lunch nearby, head further south to reach Cuenca in the early evening.
Meals included: Full breakfast, lunch, dinner.

 Ecuador Holidays - Cuenca marketDAY 7 - Cuenca.  Fly back to Quito.

The pleasant colonial city of Cuenca has been awarded World Heritage status.  This morning your sightseeing begins in the Plaza of San Sebastian, a colourful artisans' market, where excellent handicrafts are sold.  Afterwards, enjoy a visit to the Museum of Modern Art before continuing to the flower market (pictured) at the small plaza in front of the carved stone entrance to the church of El Carmen de la Asunción.  From here, take a stroll to the main square, surrounded by the imposing blue-domed Cathedral, the Court of Justice, the Municipal Palace, the Governor's Palace and the Church of El Sagrario.  Lunch is at one of Cuenca's fine restaurants.  In the afternoon make a short visit to a ceramics handcraft shop before observing the process of making the famous Panama Hats from high-quality toquilla straw.  Continue to the airport for your flight back to Quito*.  Private transfer to your Quito hotel.
Meals included: Full breakfast, lunch.

* If you are taking one of our Galapagos cruises after the 'Spirit of the Andes' tour, we can arrange for you to fly from Cuenca to the coastal city of Guayaquil, rather than back to Quito, as this will give you a shorter flight to the islands next day.

DAY 8 – Depart.

Private transfer to Quito Airport for your departure flight.
Meals included: Full breakfast.


International Flights

We recommend the daily services of KLM from London Heathrow to Quito via Amsterdam. Current timings (subject to possible change) are as follows:
Heathrow/Amsterdam. Depart at 06.00; arrive Amsterdam at 09.00
Amsterdam/Quito.  Depart at 09.55; arrive Quito at 14.35
Quito/Amsterdam.  Depart at 15.55; arrive Amsterdam at 13.05 (next day)
Amsterdam/Heathrow. Depart at 14.40; arrive Heathrow at 15.00
KLM also operate flights from several regional airports in the UK to connect with the Amsterdam/Quito flights.  Other options (with generally longer flight timings, but sometimes lower fares) are LAN Airlines via Madrid, or several airlines connecting via the USA.


Ecuador Holidays: Spirit of the Andes (Reference: WDGL004)
2018 Departures
Price per person based on a minimum of two persons travelling together:

Departures on Saturdays


All year*£1366
Tour on a private basis**

* Supplements will be applicable during the Easter, Christmas and New Year periods. 

** It is possible to take the 'Spirit of the Andes' tour (days 4 to 7) on a private basis, with your own driver and guide, with departures on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays throughout the year.  Arrangements in Quito are also on a private basis.

Single Room Supplement on request.

The price includes:

  • Scheduled domestic flight from Cuenca to Quito , including local airport taxes.
  • Hotel accommodation as listed above in twin-bedded or double rooms with private facilities.
  • 7 full breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners as shown in the itinerary.
  • Private transfers in Quito with English-speaking driver.  For the 3 night/4 day 'Spirit of the Andes' tour (Days 4 to 7) you will join other passengers with shared driver and English-speaking guide (see note beneath the price grid about doing the tour portion on a private basis).
  • All sightseeing as shown (unless indicated as ‘optional’), including entrance fees.

Not included in the price:

  • International flights (see our recommendation above). We are happy to discuss the flights with you and give you further guidance.
  • Optional sightseeing. It is recommended that the optional excursions in Quito are booked prior to arrival in Ecuador.  Please ask for up to date prices.
  • International airport taxes.
  • Tipping. We will be pleased to give guidance in this often sensitive matter.

A deposit of £250* per person is required at the time of booking. The balance of the price for your Ecuador holiday must be paid at least 3 months before your departure date.

* If you add on a Galapagos cruise the deposit will be £500 per person.

More Information

Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands - At World Discovery we offer bespoke it... [more]