Handcrafting adventures in Ecuador and Peru since 1979
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Group tours

On-going group tours throughout the year!

Take advantage of traveling with a group and sharing your experience, and expenditures, with other congenial guests. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance. Day tours depart from specific meeting points and we will advise which is the closest to your hotel. For overnight tours you will be picked up right from your hotel.


Tours departing from Quito


Colonial Quito, daily – USD 36

We start with a panoramic route through modern Quito, its commercial sector, shopping malls and La Mariscal neighborhood where most hotels are located. We continue towards the Colonial district to visit some of its main attractions: El Panecillo (entrance fee included), an awesome viewpoint 1000 feet (300 meters) above the city to marvel at the magnificent layout of this World Cultural Heritage Site; moreover, if the day is clear, some of the snowcapped volcanoes may be seen in the distance; bustling San Francisco Square and the unusual gothic-style La Basilica church; Plaza Grande (Independence Square) where guards in traditional attire look over the "Ecuadorian White House". Walking through the colonial streets we’ll come upon the Cathedral and La Compañía Church, one of the artistic wonders of the world, for you will not believe your eyes at its gold interiors! Note: Nominal church entrance fees are not included.
San Francisco Square<br />
San Francisco Square
Basilica Chapel<br />
Basilica Chapel
LAST MINUTE OFFER!
Quito & Equator, daily – USD 35


We start with a panoramic route through modern Quito, its commercial sector, shopping malls and La Mariscal neighborhood where most of hotels are located. We continue towards the Colonial district to some of its main attractions: El Panecillo (entrance included), an awesome viewpoint 1,000 feet (300 meters) above the city to marvel at the magnificent layout of this World Cultural Heritage Site; moreover, if the day is clear, some of the snowcapped volcanoes may be seen in the distance; bustling San Francisco Square and the unusual gothic-style La Basilica church; Plaza Grande (Independence Square) where guards in traditional attire look over the "Ecuadorian White House". Walking through the colonial streets we’ll come upon the Cathedral and La Compañía Church, one of the artistic wonders of the world, for you will not be able to believe your eyes at its gold interiors! (Church fees not included). We will then continue north to the emblematic Equatorial Monument (entrance fee included) that unites the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at latitude zero! It was built to pay tribute to an 18th century French Expedition that determined the true shape of our planet, a geoid, as well as the precise location of the equator. At the end, optional visit to either Intiñan, an interactive museum straddling latitude zero, or the Ethnographic Museum (nominal entrance fees not included).

*Reservations must be made 24 hours or less before departure.
Pululahua Crater<br />
Pululahua Crater
Latitud zero<br />
Latitud zero
Papallacta Thermal Springs, Wednesdays – USD 68

Morning departure from Quito, up and over the eastern Andes for an enjoyable journey of about an hour and a half following The Cinnamon Route, the same one that the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana took in 1542, when he crossed the Cordillera in his quest for rare spices and gold, only to come upon the great Amazon River! Upon your arrival, you’ll discover your spirit of adventure hiking through part of the Loreto – Papallacta River along remnants of primary forest and grasslands. Here you will marvel at different species of orchids and bromeliads clinging to trees and moistened by cascades along the route, inhaling the crisp mountain air, where the warm winds from the Amazon jungle and the cold breezes of the Andes meet to form the exuberant cloud forest habitat and the upper paramo life zone from where potable fresh water originates! There is even more to learn about the fauna and flora of the high mountain forest at the on-site Interpretation Center. After the trek, get ready for a rewarding experience, soaking your bones in the crystal-clear hot springs in one of the many pools at Termas Papallacta, equipped with water jets, whirlpool tubs and air bubbles. All this is possible within the resort area, where you can enjoy a wholesome lunch. And to further complement your visit, try an optional aromatherapy massage, body treatments or facials. Return to Quito in the late afternoon. Lunch is not included.
Andean bromeliad<br />
Andean bromeliad
Papallacta spa retreat<br />
Papallacta spa retreat
LAST MINUTE OFFER!
Otavalo Native Market, Tuesdays or Saturdays – USD 45


Departure from Quito on the Pan American Highway to the northern Andes region. Brief stop at Calderón, famous for its handcrafted masapan bread-dolls. Continue through the town of Guayllabamba to savor its typical chirimoya or custard apple fruit, unlike anything you may have tried before. At Guachalá you will cross the equator into the Northern Hemisphere, with Mt Cayambe in the distance, the only snowcapped in the world that straddles latitude zero and almost 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above sea level. At the town of Cayambe we will have a chance to try Ecuadorian bizcochos – oven-baked biscuits served with cheese and/or brown sugar spread. Next is a visit to a rose plantation to witness the whole process of this important Ecuadorian export, known for the longest rose stems in the world. Before arriving to the Otavalo region we will stop at Mira Lago for a breath-taking view of iconic San Pablo Lake. Once in Otavalo, we do not only enjoy a great variety of handcrafted items, but also the best opportunities to take photos of the natives, dressed in bursting colors and quite amicable to your camera. We then continue to nearby Cotacachi where you can purchase the best in leatherworks and at incredibly low prices. We return to Quito via a different route to enjoy even more of the farmlands over impressive topography. Lunch is not included.

*Reservations must be made 24 hours or less before departure.
Cultural interaction<br />
Cultural interaction
Happy shoppers<br />
Happy shoppers
Otavalo Native Market & Andean Highlands (2 days / 1 night), departs Saturdays – USD 640

Departure from Quito on the Pan American Highway to the northern Andes region. At Guachalá you will cross the equator into the Northern Hemisphere, with Mt Cayambe in the distance, the only snowcapped in the world that straddles latitude zero and almost 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above sea level. At the town of Cayambe we will have a chance to try Ecuadorian bizcochos – oven-baked biscuits served with cheese and/or brown sugar spread. Next is a visit to a rose plantation to witness the whole process of this important Ecuadorian export, known for the longest rose stem in the world. Once in Otavalo, we do not only enjoy a great variety of handcrafted items, but also the best opportunities to take photos of the natives, dressed in bursting colors and quite amicable to your camera. After lunch, we continue to nearby Cotacachi where you can purchase the best in leatherworks and at incredibly low prices. Dinner and accommodation. The following day enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading to visit a musical instrument workshop where you can experience the making of Andean flutes and hear them play. Lunch on your own at a lovely traditional restaurant. In the afternoon, we return to Quito via a different route to enjoy even more of the farmlands over impressive topography.
Colonial hacienda<br />
Colonial hacienda
Indigenous parade<br />
Indigenous parade
LAST MINUTE OFFER!
Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Crater Lake, Thursdays – USD $50

Departure towards the Cotopaxi National Park, on the Eastern Cordillera, arriving to the lower slopes of this striking active volcano whose summit, at 19,347 feet above sea level, makes it the world’s second highest. Evidently, since 1738, it has erupted more than 50 times, contributing to the fertility and splendor of its nearby farmlands. Visit to the on-site museum, Limpiopungo Lagoon with its emblematic birdlife, plus a trek in the Chuquiragua Forest in the paramo life zone at almost 14,000 feet above sea level, from where spectacular views of the Andean Sierras are possible. Without a doubt, Cotopaxi boasts one of the most perfect volcanic cones on the planet.

We then drive up the slopes of the Western Cordillera towards Quilotoa Crater Lake, formed by a volcanic mega-explosion some 800 years ago. Today, its 2-mile wide caldera harbors an impressive lake 825 feet deep, with subaquatic fumaroles and thermal springs at almost 13,000 feet above sea level. We will enjoy a short trek to witness the different geological eras that give testimony to seven eruptions, when the lake already boasted its characteristic turquoise color. Weather-permitting, this will be an exceptional adventure through the best of the Ecuadorian Andes. There will be free time for lunch (not included). Does not include access to Quilotoa Lookout (USD 2.00) or tips.

*Reservations must be made 24 hours or less before departure.
Cotopaxi Volcano<br />
Cotopaxi Volcano
Llama siesta time<br />
Llama siesta time
Cotopaxi Volcano National Park (2 days / 1 night), departs Thursdays – USD 556

Early in the morning we depart by bus to the impressive foothills leading to Cotopaxi, an active volcano 19,300 feet (5,897 meters) above sea level, and boasting the most perfect volcanic cone. During our stay, we will visit its on-site museum for a comprehensive overview of the region’s natural history, shortly before reaching Limpiopungo Lagoon, a haven for waterfowl. Afterwards we will continue by vehicle to 14,850 feet (4,500 meters) above sea level to the tundra life zone from where we enjoy an expansive view of the Andes Mountains. We return to the main highway and continue to the indigenous market at Saquisili, one of the most authentic in Ecuador, to enjoy al of its color and handcraft bargains, plus awesome photo opportunities. Our journey continues to a typical hacienda to learn about farm life in the Andes and where you can enjoy lunch. Dinner and overnight. The next day after breakfast, you will enjoy a zip-line adventure over the exuberant forest canopy at the Santa Rita Hacienda. After an enjoyably delicious homemade soup cooked with organic ingredients from the hacienda grounds (main course not included), we will backtrack to Quito.
Chuquiragua insignis<br />
Chuquiragua insignis
Returning from the market<br />
Returning from the market
Baños Cloud Forest Gateway (2 days / 1 night), departs Wednesdays – USD 497

Departure from Quito south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes with chances to see one of these colossal summits from the highway. We then go off the main road and up to the brim of Quilotoa Lagoon, a sunken caldera with emerald-green waters and striking surroundings. We journey east and down 3,000 feet (900 meters) to the town of Baños, under the shadow of mighty Mt. Tungurahua, an intermittently active volcano. We enjoy our lunch, followed by an excursion around town, as well as an ecological adventure tour (optional entrance fees) along the Pastaza River Canyon. Dinner on your own. Overnight lodging. Next day, after a hearty breakfast, you can choose between the following 3 optional activities: rafting / canopy / riding bike-motorcycle-4wheel-buggies or jeeps. Free time to have lunch on your own (exclusive benefits for specific restaurants applies with payment made directly by passengers). Afternoon departure back to Quito. Note: From Baños, trip extensions are available to continue towards Riobamba as part of the "Avenue of the Volcanoes & Cuenca" or "Amazon" programs. Optional activities and entrances fees must be paid directly by visitors.
Quilotoa lagoon<br />
Quilotoa lagoon
Andean smoker<br />
Andean smoker
Quito to Cuenca Via the Avenue of Volcanoes (3 days / 2 nights), departs Thursdays – USD 739

Departure from Quito south through the Avenue of Volcanoes as was coined by the famous German naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt in 1802, accented by breathtaking Andean landscapes. Needless to say, this route is a haven for the avid photographer. We will also make a stop at the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park. After a welcome lunch, we continue our sojourn to Riobamba, in the shadow of Mt Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest summit at 21,000 feet (6,310 meters) above sea level, gleaming in the distance. We will enjoy overnighting at a regional hacienda and partaking of a delicious homemade dinner. The next day, after a hearty breakfast, we depart early in the morning to the train station located in the remote town of Alausí. From here we will experience the world-renowned Devil’s Nose train ride, down and up an impressive precipice, conquering an altitude of 1,000 feet (300 meters) on just three switchbacks. This was indeed an engineering feat for the early 1900s to this day. The whole ride takes about 2 hours, with box lunch in hand. We continue south and then east, off the main road to the quiet village of Ingapirca and its archaeological site. This is the largest ancient complex yet to be uncovered in Ecuador, with remains not only of the Inca culture, but also the earlier Cañari civilization, dating back as early as the 8th century (nominal entrance fee to the complex is not included). We then proceed to Ecuador’s second World Cultural Heritage Site, Cuenca, to spend the night. Dinner on your own. The following day, after breakfast, we enjoy a morning comprehensive excursion through the city of Cuenca, highlighted by its colonial streets and squares of exquisite architectural beauty. Lunch on your own. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight back to Quito (air ticket is not included).
The King s Palace<br />
The King's Palace
Colonial Architecture<br />
Colonial Architecture
Quito to Cuenca Via the Avenue of Volcanoes (4 days / 3 nights), departs Thursdays – USD 806

Departure from Quito south through the Avenue of Volcanoes as was coined by the famous German naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt in 1802, accented by breathtaking Andean landscapes. Needless to say, this route is a haven for the avid photographer. We will also make a stop at the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park. After a welcome lunch, we continue our sojourn to Riobamba, in the shadow of Mt Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest summit at 21,000 feet (6,310 meters) above sea level, gleaming in the distance. We will enjoy overnighting at a regional hacienda and partaking of a delicious homemade dinner. The next day, after a hearty breakfast, we depart early in the morning to the train station located in the remote town of Alausí. From here we will experience the world-renowned Devil’s Nose train ride, down and up an impressive precipice, conquering an altitude of 1,000 feet (300 meters) in just three switchbacks. This was indeed an engineering feat for the early 1900s to this day. The whole ride takes about 2 hours, with box lunch in hand. We continue south and then west, off the main road to the quiet village of Ingapirca and its archaeological site. This is the largest ancient complex yet to be uncovered in Ecuador, with remains not only of the Inca culture, but also the earlier Cañari civilization, dating back as early as the 8th century (nominal entrance fee to the complex is not included). We then proceed to Ecuador’s second World Cultural Heritage Site, Cuenca, to spend the night. Dinner on your own. The following day, after breakfast, we enjoy a morning comprehensive excursion through the city of Cuenca, highlighted by its colonial streets and squares of exquisite architectural beauty. Lunch on your own. The afternoon is set aside to enjoy more of Cuenca at your own pace. Overnight. Dinner on your own. The last day, enjoy breakfast and then take any optional tour departing from Cuenca to the countryside and more. Lunch on your own. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight back to Quito (air ticket is not included).
Andean train<br />
Andean train
Under the shadow of Chimborazo<br />
Under the shadow of Chimborazo

                                                                                                                                                             Andes


Tours departing from Cuenca


Cuenca City Tour, Tuesdays to Saturdays – USD 30

This excursion will start out from Plaza San Sebastián, located on the western colonial border of town. Then visit the Modern Arts Museum where many contemporary paintings and sculptures are displayed. We will walk through the downtown historical area towards the San Francisco flower market, the House of Culture, the Abdón Calderón Park – Cuenca’s most important gathering place, and a view of the Old Cathedral from the outside. We will go inside the so-called New Cathedral, whose enormous lava domes dominate the town from the distance, to feast your eyes on its marble and gold interiors. Our next stop is at Homero Ortega Panama Hat Factory to observe how these world-famous hats are finished before being shipped the abroad. Undoubtedly, this handcraft is Ecuador’s most renowned export product, aside from its roses, coffee, chocolate and banana produce. The Barranco lookout is next, with its colonial style terraced houses located above the banks of the Tomebamba River. Also we will also observe the broken bridge and finally visit Turi, a hill that dominates the town, for a panoramic view of the whole city of Cuenca, before returning to your hotel.
Cuenca s Cathedral<br />
Cuenca's Cathedral
Toquilla hat<br />
Toquilla hat
Ingapirca Archaeological Complex, Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays – USD 55

The archeological site of Ingapirca is located 80 km (50 miles) north of Cuenca. En route, we visit the Virgin del Rocío, the church in Biblián that is perched on a high hill dominating the countryside (on Wednesdays). Its architecture displays a marked gothic style influence from the beginning of the 20th century. We will continue our trip with a visit to an indigenous family’s home. Here we observe the actual weaving of the Panama hat, providing a major source of income for the locals, and perhaps Ecuador’s most famous export – moreover, here you can purchase these hats for a fraction of what you would pay back home. We finally reach the archeological site of Ingapirca to observe each one of the buildings that comprise this exquisite complex, composed not only of Incan walls, but also the earlier Cañari civilization. The on-site museum will give you a comprehensive idea of why such structures were built in the first place in this apparently remote location. After lunch, we backtrack to the city of Cuenca. IMPORTANT: The native market in Cañar is held only on Sundays, known for the great amount of indigenous people who sell their products, as well as its colorful countryside. *We reserve the right to add or delete visits to the ruins (entrance fee not included) for any unforeseen circumstance, in which case other sites would be substituted.
Ingapirca walls<br />
Ingapirca walls
Ingapirca complex<br />
Ingapirca complex
Gualaceo & Chordeleg Countryside, Fridays or Sundays – USD 55

We head towards the northwestern side of the city of Cuenca to visit San Bartolomé, a little town clinging to the Andes mountain range, with an amazing view of the Santa Bárbara River Valley. This town is famous for guitar artisans – a most important musical instrument for Ecuador’s fiestas and serenades. Next is Chordeleg, known for its ceramic art, as well as gold and silver jewelry, that include the best in filigree work made from extremely fine gold and silver threads. Shopping is at its best, where you will actually see how these handcrafts are made before purchasing them. A walk around its central plaza it great for photography. We later continue to Gualaceo to visit two important markets known for their variety of produce, as well as natives dressed in bursting colors. After a stop for lunch, we visit a textile shop at Bullcay to feast our eyes on the ancient back-strap weaving technique that has survived for centuries. This art form uses the actual body of the weaver to produce the tension in the warp, while threading the designs into the fabric horizontally. The warp incorporates the Hispanic ikat technique (also known as tie dye) to incorporate multi-colored designs into the weaving. The end product is shawls and ponchos hard to pass up. We return to Cuenca in the afternoon. Lunch included.
Ikat backstrap weaving<br />
Ikat backstrap weaving
Gualaceo market<br />
Gualaceo market
Yunguilla Valley & Girón Waterfall, Tuesdays or Saturdays – USD 50

We head south to Portete, a historical site that commemorates the final triumph of the native militia over the Spanish armies at the Battle of Tarqui. On to a beautiful waterfall known as El Chorro de Girón, for a 45-minute hike to the lower part of the cascading falls. Next is the Valley of Yunguilla, located in the subtropics, where we can observe a traditional sugar cane plantation and sugar extraction ranch. The by-product is much sought after, for it is the traditional hard liquor and brown sugar blocks. Enjoy lunch before returning to Cuenca.
Yunguilla Valley<br />
Yunguilla Valley
Girón Waterfall<br />
Girón Waterfall
Cajas Andean National Park, daily – USD 50

Cajas is a national park located on the northwestern side of the city of Cuenca, consisting in wetlands of glacial origin with more than 200 lakes and lagoons. Our visit will start on the lower part of the park called Llaviuco, just 30 minutes from Cuenca. We will hike at an easy pace for about one hour at an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) above sea level. We will a fork known as Tres Cruces which forms the Continental Divide between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans at an altitude of 4,135 meters (13,566 feet). A short walk will grant us the opportunity to observe all the splendor of this unique Andean ecosystem. For here we go downhill for our major hike at an altitude of 3,900 meters (12,795 feet) for approximately three hours. The difficulty at this point is moderate and your personable guide will assist you in finding out your best pace. On the trail we will visit a rare primary forest with its endemic vegetation. After lunch we will gradually backtrack to Cuenca. IMPORTANT: We recommend taking warm clothes, a bottle of water and some snacks. Also, we reserve our right to change the order of activities or deleting certain sites due to weather conditions or by order from Cajas National Park System, or for any unforeseen circumstance, in which case other sites would be substituted.
Cajas National Park<br />
Cajas National Park
Llama family<br />
Llama family

                                                                                                                                                             Andes


Tours departing from Guayaquil


Guayaquil city tour, daily – USD 33

Traveling along the main streets and avenues of the city, we will visit the Simón Bolívar Park, the Guayaquil embankment, La Rotonda with the statues of Simon Bolivar and San Martin that commemorates their historic, as well as enigmatic, meeting in 1830, right after the Independence wars. Next is the colonial neighborhood of Las Peñas, where we can admire the magnificent wooden architecture, where every house is a true work of art for its originality and local taste. From here we can enjoy a panoramic view of Guayaquil and the Guayas River.
La Rotonda monument<br />
La Rotonda monument
Las Peñas neighborhood<br />
Las Peñas neighborhood
Historic Park (Parque Histórico), Wednesdays to Sundays – USD 33

Visit the famous historical park that allows you to relive Guayaquil’s past history and traditions with an array of characters dressed in typical garb and highlighted by the old colonial architecture. Entrance fee not included.
Colonial moorish tower<br />
Colonial moorish tower
Park wildlife<br />
Park wildlife

                      Pacific Coast
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