Day 1: Horseback Riding and Chagras (Quito – Machachi – Aloag)
Departing to the south we travel for about one hour from Quito before descending into the valley of Machachi, a green area covered mainly by dairy farms, before arriving to Hacienda La Alegría, a great place to be introduced to the spirit of the Andean haciendas and to learn about a local farm operation. We will visit the grounds and then get suited for an approximately two-hour horseback ride along old cobblestone roads and trails leading toa viewpoint which overlooks the entire valley and where we can see the majestic mount La Viudita. The panoramic views give us a great opportunity to take photos. We then return to Hacienda Alegría to enjoy a typical Andean lunch hosted by the hacienda’s owners.
An exciting feature of this hacienda is its newly inaugurated bullring where, after lunch, we’re in for an impressive demonstration by the local Chagras (Andean cowboys), where they will show us their amazing riding and roping skills. Overnight at the hacienda of your choice.* ** (-/L/D)
* Enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the grounds followed by a nice homemade
dinner and recovering night’s sleep at Hacienda La Alegría.
* * Depart to the south to reach Hacienda San Agustín de Callo, a unique property built on the remains of an imperial Inca fortress on the western edge of Cotopaxi National Park. You’ll have time to adjust to the altitude walking on the grounds or simply relax by the fireplace. Dinner will be hosted by the owners. Overnight at San Agustín.
** Luxury option
Day 2: Local Market in Latacunga and Avenue of the Volcanoes (Latacunga – Patate)
Today will be devoted to cultural interaction and a connection with local daily life. After breakfast we depart for Latacunga, a city where we will visit a colorful market to discover friendly faces and a great variety of fruits and vegetables. This is a fantastic experience and chance to learn about local produce and traditions. After a pleasant walk in the market we will travel to a nearby village to learn about the interesting handicraft skills of local artisans. Colorful ceramics and paintings are typical here so we will visit some workshops to give us a chance to buy directly from the actual craftsmen and artists. Lunch will be served in an artisan’s home.
After lunch we will continue south along the Avenue of the Volcanoes until we reach Hacienda Manteles where we will enjoy a typical Andean hacienda dinner and get a restful night’s sleep. Overnight in Manteles. (B/L/D)
Day 3: Baños and Pastaza River Canyon (Patate – Baños)
Today after breakfast we will explore Baños de Agua Santa, locally known as “Baños,” a well-known, picturesque town that sits at the base of the active Tungurahua Volcano. Baños is known for its village-like atmosphere and offers a variety of outdoor adventure activities to its visitors including climbing, zip-lines and mountain biking. While exploring the town we will enjoy lunch at local restaurant. Later we will take an exciting drive through the Pastaza River Canyon, also called the “Route of the Waterfalls,” one of the most popular destinations in Ecuador. This magical refuge is home to more than 60 spectacular waterfalls, hanging bridges and many ecological trails to explore – a paradise like no other.
After enjoying the beautiful scenery, we will return to Hacienda Manteles to enjoy the cozy fireplace and dinner. Overnight in Manteles. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Chimborazo and Ceramics Workshop (Ambato – Lasso)
After breakfast we will travel back to the heart of the mountains to circle the base of the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest in the Ecuadorian Andes, that provides for spectacular views and a good chance to see vicuñas grazing free on the extensive gravel plains. A picnic lunch will be catered by Hacienda Manteles. As we head back north toward the province of Cotopaxi, we will make a stop at an indigenous ceramics workshop.
Afterwards we continue on to Hacienda La Ciénega, a 300-year-old country mansion converted into a hotel some years ago. In the main building’s architecture one can clearly see four periods of Ecuadorian history as the house was built in stages over hundreds of years. We can explore the grounds of this magnificent estate before a nice dinner. Overnight at La Ciénega. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Horseback Riding Excursion (Cotopaxi – Sangolquí – Quito)
After breakfast we will travel in the direction of the Cotopaxi National Park to reach Hacienda El Porvenir where, after getting suited with riding chaps, ponchos and good hats, we will have an exhilarating horseback riding excursion over the extensive meadows at the base of the Rumiñahui Volcano.
After the ride we will return to the hacienda for lunch. Later we begin our return trip to Quito stopping on the way at Hacienda La Carriona, another old property that has almost been absorbed by the growing city, to enjoy a traditional cup of coffee and homemade bread before the last leg of our journey. (B/L/-)
Included: Private English speaking guide and driver with A/C vehicles, all meals as detailed on the program, accommodation in selected properties, visits, excursions daily bottled water and activities. This excursion is a private basis tour however it might include certain shared or group visits on some locations.
Not Included: Beverages, tips or personal expenses. For other languages than English (German, Italian or French) please ask for the surcharge.
IMPORTANT NOTE The itinerary could be modified due to regulations from National Parks, restoration of certain areas at haciendas or colonial houses or force majeure events.