This holiday, immerse yourself in all things Latin and wonderful. Visit ancient, colonial cities sitting smack in the middle of the bustling 21st century. Stroll around their cobblestone streets, dropping by 16th century cathedrals, 17th century citadels or hip, modern-day bars and restaurants. Stay at gorgeous coffee farms and delve deep into how coffee is made. Or visit gorgeous botanical gardens and national parks and enjoy stunning views of volcanoes and crater lakes. Taste ‘biscocho’, ‘hornado’, ‘mote pillo’ and other equally exotic sounding local delicacies or if you’re not feeling too adventurous, simply soak in the incredibly warm and friendly atmosphere.
13 Nights/14 Days
Bogota, Armenia, Cartagena, Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Riobamba, Cuenca, Guayaquil
Upon arrival in Bogota, you’re welcomed by your bilingual guide who helps you transfer to your hotel. Overnight at the selected hotel.
Your holiday begins with a half-day city tour of the sophisticated Columbian capital. Starting with a walk to Bogotá’s main square, the Plaza de Bolívar, you enter Candelaria, the historic and carefully preserved, epicenter of the city. Walk the cobblestone streets bustling with restaurants, hotels and bars housed in centuries-old colonial buildings. Visit the San Francisco Church and follow it up by a stop at the world-famous Museo Del Oro and gawk at the 30,000 pre-Columbian gold artifacts on display. Wind the day down with a cable car ride to the summit of Monserrate hill and drink in stunning views of the whole city and the savannah beyond. Overnight at the selected hotel.
This morning, leave for the airport to take a flight to Armenia. Upon arrival, head to an authentic coffee-growing farm located near Armenia where you spend two nights. This afternoon, dive deep into Armenia’s coffee-growing culture with a fascinating introduction to the technical and practical aspects of coffee cultivation and production. Later, visit Armenia’s gorgeous botanical garden famed for its impressive butterfly raising. Overnight at the selected hotel.
Today, you enjoy a full-day excursion to the picturesque Cocora Valley. Surrounded by misty green hills, its breathtaking landscapes can be explored on horseback or on foot. In a country abounding with natural beauty, this region is one of the most striking. Here you’ll find the impressive ‘Palma de Cera’ (wax palm), the Colombian national tree and one of the tallest varieties of palm trees in the world. On your way back to Armenia, visit Salento a quaint and ancient little town in the middle of the coffee growing landscape. Overnight at the selected hotel.
In the morning, head back to Armenia from where you board a flight to Cartagena (via Bogotá). Your local guide welcomes you and helps you transfer to the hotel. The rest of your day is at leisure. Overnight at the selected hotel.
Today, take a half-day tour of Cartagena and discover why it has the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin at its highest point, the Convent of La Popa, and take in outstanding views of the well-preserved city. Continueto the Castillo de San Felipe, the formidable, 17th century fortress with its mystery-laden, complex system of tunnels, and listen to stories from its colourful past. At the base of the castle is the monument of Zapatos Viejos, the ‘Old Shoes’, a tribute to local poet Louis Carlos Lopez, one of South America’s most respected writers. Take the requisite dozen selfies. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, wandering about the old town, admiring its beautiful colonial architecture and soaking in its quintessentially Caribbean vibe. Overnight at the selected hotel.
During the course of this morning, you transfer to the airport and fly via Bogotá to Quito.Upon arrival at the Tababela airport in Quito, you head to your hotel, a journey which typically takes about an hour. On a clear day you’ll be able to observe the intricate Andean geography in the valleys surrounding Quito. Enjoy the scenic ride. After checking-in at the hotel, you freshen up and head out on a city tour.A UNESCO world heritage site since 1978, Quito is ripe with contrasts. Surrounded by mountains and valleys at 2,850 meters above sea level, the old city merges seamlessly with the 21st century. You begin the tour by visiting the heights of barrio de Guápulo. Stand at the look-out platform and take in the magnificent views. On a clear day you’ll be able to see the barrio’s 17thcentury church, and the road that once carried the Spanish Conquistadors towards the Amazon. The tour continues to the Centro Histórico (Historic Center), where the impressive Neo-Gothic Basilica towers over the skyline, and down the narrow streets lined with old multicolored houses, before arriving at the Plaza Grande. From here, you continue towards the Compañía church, a stunning example of the influence of Baroque architecture in Quito, before heading to the Plaza de San Francisco. Each of these attractions, houses work of art from the 16th, 17th and 18thcenturies, making up a significant part of Quito’s cultural and historical legacy. The tour ends at the top of Panecillo hill where you can find the enormous and iconic metal sculpture, the Virgin of Quito, as well as fabulous views of the city. Overnight at the selected hotel.
Early this morning, you head out on the road to Imbabura province. Along your way, you pass through the green Guayllabamba valley to reach Cayambe, where on a cloudless day, you can enjoy incredible views of the volcano. Stop by Cayambe village to taste the delicious biscochos, a type of crispy bread that is still baked in traditional wood stoves, before continuing towards the viewpoint at San Pablo Lake. Situated at the foot of Imbabura volcano, this is a stunning site for photos. Your next stop is the Plaza de los Ponchos at Otavalo’s market, famed across Ecuador for its exquisite traditional handicrafts. Shop for beautiful, hand-spun fabrics made from natural fibers. Or simply walk through the market enjoying its bustle and colour. Your tour continues towards Cotacachi, an area known for producing and selling excellent leather goods as well as for the famed volcanic Cuicocha Lake in the Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserve. Take off on ahike along marked trails or on a boat trip around the islets on the volcanic crater lake. Enjoy the breathtaking, natural beauty. Overnight at the selected hotel.
Today, you head out on the Pan Americana highway to visit the Cotopaxi National Park. The route is beautiful, varied and peppered with gorgeously scenic plantations along the way. In the park, at about 5,897 meters above sea level,you discover Cotopaxi, one of South America’s most famous volcanoes. Although it has been three centuries since its last eruption, this is still an active volcano. The first stop in your tour of the park is the shimmering Limpiopungo Lake. Take a stroll around the lake, explore the unique parama landscape characterized by bushes, mosses and lichens and keep an eye out for Andean gulls, mountain ducks and other native species of birds. From here, depending on your level of physical fitness, you can hike to the Refugio José Rivas, a cozy little refuge at the foot of the glaciers. Overnight at the selected hotel.
After breakfast this morning, your trip continues to Baños de Agua Santa, a small town between mountains,which offers some excellent adventure sports. In Banos, visit the Pailon Del Diablo waterfall, rightly called the Devil’s Cauldron, this is a truly powerful force of nature. Later, take a cable car or a ‘tarabita’ and cross the canyon. Be wowed by the stunning views. The tour continues to San Pedro de Riobamba, a city brimming with history and culture. Known as the cradle of the Ecuadorian nationality, Riobamba offers all the comforts of a big city whilst surrounded by a breathtaking landscape full of volcanoes like the Chimborazo, the Tungurahua and the Altar. Enjoy Riobamba’s versatile architecture, visit its neoclassic town hall and its baroque style cathedral.Dive deep into its exciting culinary scene. Don’t miss trying the traditional ‘hornado’, pork baked in the oven with eucalyptus wood and served with fresh fruit juice with ice cubes obtained from the glacier of the Chimborazovolcano. Overnight at the selected hotel.
Early this morning, you leave Riobamba and head to the village of Alausi, to take the train to the Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose) one of the most famous attractions in Ecuador. This railway line is known as having been one of the most difficult in the world to construct, due to the area’s steep and complex mountain geography. Your guide waits for you at the end of the ride to accompany you to Ingapirca where you find the most important ruins of the Cañari and Incan civilizations. At the end of the day, you head to your welcoming lodgings in Cuenca. Overnight at the selected hotel.
Declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, Cuenca is a magnificent fusion of colonial and republican culture and architecture, all effortlessly blended into the modern living of the 21st century. Spend the day admiring its beautifully preserved ancient buildings, or visit one of its many museums for a fascinating dose of history. Later, stop by a traditional handicraft factory and see how the famous Panama Hat is made.And once you’ve worked up an appetite with all that sightseeing, drop by one of its authentic restaurants to try some of the famous ‘mote pillo’, a delectable dish made up of corn, pork fat and eggs. For the more adventurous there’s also the guinea pig, which is something of a local specialty in some parts of the Andes.
After breakfast, you head to Guayaquil passing through the magnificent birthplace of the Cuencas rivers, the El Cajas National Park. Enjoy the high altitudes and the stunning views. Continue the journey till you reach Guayaquil. Overnight at the selected hotel.
The financial center and the main port of Ecuador, Guayaquil throbs and bustles withlife and activity.Stroll down the Malecon 2000, its famous waterside boardwalk or explore the 400-year-old ‘Las Peñas’ neighborhood. The cannons overlooking the river at the Plaza Colon are a reminder of Guayaquil’s intriguing history, when the city suffered a pirate invasion. Pop into stylish boutiques and trendy restaurants, enjoy the neighbourhood’s bohemian vibe.
Transfer to airport flight back home. Tour Concludes!
BOGOTÁ - ARMENIA (COFFEE REGION)
ARMENIA (COFFEE REGION)
ARMENIA (COFFEE REGION) - CARTAGENA
CARTAGENA - BOGOTÁ - QUITO
QUITO – OTAVALO
OTAVALO - COTOPAXI
BAÑOS – RIOBAMBA
RIOBAMBA - ALAUSI - INGAPIRCA - CUENCA
CUENCA - GUAYAQUIL
A preview of the wonder that awaits you.
Head – Products, Contracting & Operations
Hello there, I am Sunita. I have over 23 years of experience in Travel and Tourism, spanning across Marketing, Tour Planning and Operations, having worked at major travel brands like SOTC, Kesari Tours, Cox & Kings and Thomas Cook. I also happen to be a multi-country expert personally having traveled to almost every continent on the map. With rich know-how on travel and tourism, I am the best-placed expert you could possibly find in this part of the country. I love traveling and talking about it, making me a good friend, guide and the go-to person if you want to design an outstanding experience. At Awakeful we operate on a philosophy that travel today is not just about covering every possible place on the map or keeping your Instagram popping with images, but about going to places that enthrall you, give you an experience that will touch every sense of yours, engaging with the locals, dining with them, seeing what they love and how they celebrate, to fill you up with an Awakeful experience. This, I promise will bring you back as an enlightened person and not just a tired, home-longing tourist. It’s an honest promise that we want to make and live by. One, that will want you to see places from the lens of an Awakeful Experience. I bring honesty, delight and country expertise to the Awakeful table and it will surely brighten your day. Cheers, Sunita.
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