Arrive in Guayaquil. Meet and greet with your bilingual guide; then transfer to the Wyndham Hotel. Two nights, double occupancy, including breakfast, hotel tax and service charge.
Today begins with a scenic 45-minute drive along the Guayaquil-Chongon Highway, admiring the rich green vegetation, tropical fruits plantations, and local dairy and produce farms. We arrive at El Castillo Hacienda, a Cocoa Plantation with an artisans chocolate factory, where you will have the opportunity to sample pure homemade chocolate.
The hacienda is owned by a local Ecuadorian family, devoted to the sustainable agricultural development of the plantation, they have received a Rainforest Alliance Certificate. The family delimited an area of 30 hectares (hs) of dry tropical forest, where they have conducted research with the support of Pro Bosque Foundation to identify certain species of flora and fauna (including an extended variety of birds) native to this coastal region. In addition, they also have 20 hs of Teak trees, and nearly 100 hs. of cocoa plantation.
Since the early 20th century, Ecuadorian cocoa has been very famous and popular in Europe. Here at Hacienda El Castillo, we will learn about the entire production of chocolate, starting with a visit to the plantation, the harvesting, drying and fermentation process, and finally, the chocolate factory. Lunch will be served in a cozy, luxurious hacienda house. After a little hammock siesta time, we return to Guayaquil.
This morning we will explore the city of Guayaquil with a 3-hour tour highlighting the best of the “Pacific Pearl” as this city gets its nickname. Afterwards, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Quito. Upon arrival (approximately 2:00 PM) to the new airport in Quito (Tababela), you will be taken to a local restaurant where lunch will be served and then you will travel to Papallacta Thermal Springs.
The Papallacta River crosses both the property as well as the high section of the valley, and offers a spectacular view of the Antisana Volcano. In this beautiful area, we offer walks along the nature trails to appreciate the local flora and fauna. With more than 160 different species of birds, this area is a treasure for ornithologists. Following the walk, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the Hot Springs of Papallacta, whose thermal waters emerge from deep geological layers through fissures up to the surface. Dinner will be served on site.
Enjoy a full day adventure tour with the best of the Pacari Chocolate route. An incredible experience awaits you in Archidona, where the jungle tour begins with a visit to the Santa Rita community and our Agro Tourism Project. The Agro Tourism Project was developed by Pacari Chocolate in an attempt to create a sustainable development policy within the community of Santa Rita. The objective of this project is to promote an economical benefit in this underprivileged community by purchasing their cacao for use in the Pacari chocolate brand. We strongly believe that this incentive will build the economy in the Santa Rita area by providing knowledgeable and enjoyable tourism, as well as creating a unique blend of the best tasting organic chocolate in the world, chocolate that has earned a strong name in the world, great recognition and many awards.
After breakfast we will depart for Archidona to visit the Jumandy Caverns. On this expedition (apx. 2 hours) deep into the earth we discover geologic mysteries and enjoy the wonderful rock formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. Petro glyphs can be found just outside the cave, as well as ancestral traces of the native cultures that inhabited for thousands of years what is now known as the Sacred Valley of the Anaconda.
Afterwards we will visit the Santa Rita community to learn about the Agro Tourism Project and where the Pacari cacao comes from. We will spend a pleasant and relaxing afternoon within the community learning how the cacao is produced to create the exquisite and unique taste of the Pacari Chocolate. After lunch, you will go to Huasquila Lodge for two nights.
After breakfast you will be provided with rubber boots and start a 3-hour hike in the jungle. Walking through open areas, then onto primary forest, we reach a 15 meter-high waterfall where we can refresh ourselves. Continuing through the jungle, we will learn about the unique plants and animals that inhabit this ecosystem. Keeping in mind that it is important to be very quiet and always aware of our surroundings, we may have the opportunity to see colorful tropical birds, chichickos (small monkeys) or other wildlife. Along the way, you may taste some local delicacies such as the famous lemon ants (yes, that’s right, ants!) and be delighted by the refreshing taste of the sour cane - similar to sugar cane, but juicy, refreshing and very interesting. Your guide will give you an introduction to medicinal plants and their uses and will show you how to weave a shigra (typical bag) from plant leaves, or how to make traps for fishing out of a single plant. We may also enter a cave and enjoy a medicinal mud bath. On our return to the lodge, enjoy refreshing cold tea made from Amazon plants and lunch. After lunch, enjoy a well-deserved siesta before the afternoon activity.
Meet back at the social area to depart for the Animal Rescue Center. Here, we will see large mammals and macaws of the Amazon that we would not have seen on our jungle walk. This is a 2-hour leisurely walk (no rubber boots needed!).
Depart Huasquila for Baños, driving through the Avenue of the Waterfalls. This day you will explore the surroundings of Baños, an area rich in waterfalls and lush vegetation. Your guide will follow the main highway along the “Avenue of the Waterfalls” where you will enjoy the majestic view of the countryside. A few kilometers outside of Baños you will find El “Pailon del Diablo” (the Devil’s Cauldron), considered the top attraction of this natural area. One night at Luna Runtun Spa Hotel (double occupancy).
Today we will visit a balsa woodcraft shop and also a Tagua (vegetable ivory) craft shop, where we will see local artisans working their handicrafts.
We will arrive for lunch at La Casa del Perez, a local adobe house built by an artist and his wife. This incredible adobe house is not only their home, but also an art studio and gallery as well as a restaurant. Mrs. Perez will take you around her house, she will explain the various types of art surrounding you. Everything in the house is for sale, so keep your eye out for your next keepsake! After taking your time browsing through the incredible collection of art, you will be served a traditional lunch. After lunch, you will visit a rose plantation.
Roses are one of the most important agricultural exports Ecuador has, and here, you will learn about the processes of growing, harvesting, and shipping roses! After this exciting tour, head north through the Avenue of volcanoes to Quito!
In the evening, you will visit a local Quiteños house where you will have the time to enjoy with a local family and have a Chocolate Tasting, you can learn all about the production of great chocolate. After tasting four single origin chocolate bars, one special edition chocolate bar and five dark chocolate flavored bars, you will understand why Ecuador grows and produces the finest cacao in the world!.
Your guide will take you to the boutique Hotel Casa San Marcos for two nights, a hotel located in the heart of the Old Colonial district of Quito.
After breakfast, you will head to the Iñaquito Market to begin your cooking tour. Here you will explore the vibrant market, its people and of course it’s great variety of fresh products. You will also learn the local names of fruits and vegetables, how to negotiate prices and how to obtain a “Yapa” (to add a free item to your purchase).
Having completed the Tour of the Market, you will drive to EL DORADO Restaurant, one of the most recognized restaurants, located in the modern district of Quito, where you will participate in an interactive cooking class in which the Head Chef and owner teaches you how to prepare a few traditional Ecuadorian dishes. After testing your skills in the kitchen, you will be offered a great tasting menu of food and wine pairings with detailed explanations by the chef.
After lunch, you will head into the historical section of the city for a tour. Starting in Santo Domingo Plaza you will walk through one of the oldest streets in the town, “La Ronda Street,” where you will see how the colonial houses were built and how the Quiteños lived in the 17th century. Your walk takes you through the city museum to San Francisco Plaza, making a quick stop to try the typical sweets of Quito. San Francisco is the oldest church in Quito and it is full of history and legends.
Next, you will visit La Merced church, constructed in the arabesque and baroque styles of architecture. Finally, a visit to the main square, where the presidential palace, the main cathedral and some other important buildings can be appreciated.
La Compañía de Jesus church is one of the most beautiful churches in South America, or perhaps, in the world. Our visit to this beautiful church is private, after 7:00 pm, your guide will take you to a private and exclusive visit of the church, it will be open only for you and you will be able to see and learn everything about art and the history of this massive building. Your guide will take you then to your hotel.
A private transfer will take you to the Quito airport in time for your international flight home.
End of our services.
Following services and hotels rates are net
Total for services (Prices per person in USD per total nights / Double Room / Breakfasts and taxes are included)
9 Days Program-2016
- Contact us for prices