Have a look at our thematic travels in Ecuador & Galápagos
 

Total immersion in Ecuador… authentic people, cultural events and picturesque landscapes!

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Fernando feeling about this tour

Ecuador is the ideal country for photography enthusiasts. A typical destination for the omnipresent indigenous population, Ecuador offers four regions with landscapes as different as extraordinary. Between the Andes, the Amazon, the mainland Pacific coast, and the famous Galapagos Islands, Ecuador offers the possibility of organizing remarkable trips.

ITK voyage has created this private trip in Ecuador intended specially for experienced photographers. Indeed, this 16-day program will allow you to stay in the heart of the three mainland regions of Ecuador accompanied by a passionate guide.

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Thanks to unique Ecuadorian events like the famous Corn and Yamor festivals, you will have the opportunity to mingle with the Ecuadorian local people. The accommodations during the stay are carefully chosen, and you will enjoy the magnificent dawns and sunsets, the sumptuous lights that impressive volcanoes hide behind, the immense Pacific Ocean, and the mystical Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. Total immersion and with days designed for photography enthusiasts, you will end your stay with exceptional shots in hand. Even if we recommend this trip to Ecuador to photography enthusiasts, we can also adapt it to travelers who are looking for a cultural trip to Ecuador without necessarily knowing the constraints imposed on photographers to get the best shots.

Physical Difficulty

Culture and Visits

Nature and Activities

Recommended for

Tour highlights :

Optimal for photographers stay in Ecuador with local festivals and incredible landscapes.
Entirely private trip in the Andes
– 4 days in the primary Amazon rainforest, in the heart of the Cuyabeno reserve
– Visit Quito, a colonial city classified as a UNESCO heritage.
– Visits to Cuenca, a colonial city classified as a UNESCO heritage site and among the most beautiful on the continent.
– 2 nights on the Pacific coast to observe humpback whales.
– 2 nights in an Indian community.

Indicative route :

Explore in more detail :

Day by day :

Day 1 – August 30: Arrival to Quito, Ecuador

With your private driver, transfer to one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Quito. The terrace offers a unique point city view! You show there in the evening – or at sunset depending on your time of arrival – to take the best possible shots.

Day 2 – August 31: Quito visit (Panecillo and Santa Clara market)

After sunrise, a short transfer to Itchimbia hill where you will enjoy a new perspective of the city and its historic center at sunrise.
Return to the hotel for breakfast. Then, you will set off to meet the colonial city of Quito, Caras, and Incas capital, UNESCO World Heritage classified. Planned visits: Compañia de Jesus, La Merced, and San Francisco churches, Plaza Grande Independence Square, Quito Cathedral, and La Ronda Street.
Lunch at the local Santa Clara market.
At sunset, short transfer to El Panecillo hill where you will once again enjoy a breath-taking view of the capital.

Day 3 – September 1: Quito > Cayambe (rose garden) > Peguche > San Clemente community

In the early morning, you will enjoy a beautiful sunrise from the hotel terrace where the historic center extends below and the Pancillo stands proud in front of you.
Then, visit Quitsato. This place marks the equatorial line location.
After another short transfer, you will reach a rose garden. Ecuador is indeed famous for roses exportation to all over the world. Lunch at the rose garden.
In the afternoon, you will also stop at Peguche village to observe local artisans at a site. the waterfall of the same name is sacred to the indigenous population.
Finally, you will arrive in the San Clemente community where you can take part in various daily activities planned by the family. We recommend that you help prepare dinner.

Day 4 – September 2: San Clemente community (El Chota valley)

In the midst of the Indian land, the Chota Valley has been largely populated by descendants from Africa since the 17th century, when the Jesuits and Mercedaries brought them as slaves for mining and sugarcane work. Even today, this community is present and it is not uncommon to meet Mina, Minda, Anangonó, etc … first names of African origin.
In the morning, you will reach the Chota Valley. The land is agricultural; you will observe many mangoes, tunas (fruit of a prickly pear cactus) among other crop plantations.
Meeting and lunch with the community.
In the afternoon, you will continue your exceptional exchange alongside your Quichuas hosts. You will discover San Clemente, its people, its artisans, the workers in the fields, its culture, and the farms of guinea pigs – called “cuy” in Ecuador -, which they eat daily.

Day 5 – September 3: San Clemente > Cuicocha lake> Otavalo

This morning you will first reach the magnificent Cuicocha Lake. After a walk of about 45 minutes, you will enjoy an extraordinary lake and its surrounding panorama.
Retracing your steps, you will stop at the Cotacachi village, famous for its leather shops.
Then, after another short transfer, you will visit the famous and colorful Otavalo Market.
Finally, Otavalo city and its region host each year a most original festival, combining a fermented drink (chicha) made from 7 varieties of corn of pre-Inca origin, called Yamor, and the religious faith of a people united in their diversity. This celebration full of joy was born in 1953 and marked a celebration to thank the María de Monserrat virgin, religious patron of Otavalo, as well as to Pasha Mama (“Mother Earth in Kichwa”) for allowing good harvests.
It will be an opportunity to admire magnificent parades, traditional dances, concerts, and folk music in contact with the locals. The Miss Otavalo (Reina de Otavalo) election also takes place during this week, and a swim across the San Pablo Lake is organized for the bravest. Dinner on your own in Otavalo and overnight in a magnificent hacienda located on the shores of the San Pablo lake.

Day 6 – September 4 : Otavalo > Sangolqui (Paseo del Chagra) > Cotopaxi

Early in the morning, a stone’s throw from the hacienda, you can station yourself on the San Pablo lagoon shores. This will be the moment to take some beautiful landscapes or local workers’ pictures.
Return to the hacienda for breakfast and transfer to Sangolqui where the Corn Festival (also called Paseo del Chagra) is celebrated. Each year, around 2000 chagras from different cantons come together. In the morning, chagras accompanied by folk floats parade the streets of the small town while the population is sprayed with carnival foam. As a sign of respect, traders offer a glass of alcohol to passing riders.
In the afternoon, a wooden 3-floor popular arena is mounted. The locals gathered in the stands to watch the show. Many people who enter and leave the structure freely try to approach the wrestling bulls who watch the movements. The riskier the game, the more the spectators applaud! Note that the bulls are not mistreated in any way during this show.
Night in a typical hacienda located in Cotopaxi National Park heart. At nightfall, the volcano opposite the hacienda marks a perfect time to take great photos. You will have a warm and friendly evening.

Day 7 – September 5 : Cotopaxi National Park> Chimborazo

You will be in Cotopaxi National Park heart, where the highest active volcano in the world is located: Cotopaxi, whose summit rises to 5896m in altitude.
In the afternoon, you will continue your journey to the Chimborazo reserve which is home to Ecuador’s highest volcano -Chimborazo- with its 6270m. You will be accommodated at the Colossus of the Andes foot in a superb mountain lodge. Again, it will be a magical moment to take beautiful shots at nightfall.

Day 8 – September 6 : Chimborazo reserve > Salinas de Guaranda > Guayaquil

At daybreak, the llamas and alpacas that graze around the hacienda will come at the foot of the volcano. If time permits, the photo is worth the detour!
Then, you will reach the heart of the Chimborazo Reserve where you will observe lunar landscapes made of sand, earth, and stones, and numerous vicuñas (called in Ecuador “vicuñas”) in total freedom.
Then, transfer to Salinas de Guaranda. Here, a community economy was set up. Chocolate and cheese are specially designed and sold there throughout Ecuador.
Transfer to Guayaquil.

Day 9 – September 7 : Guayaquil > Puerto Lopez (Spondylus Route)

You will leave this morning for the Pacific coast of Ecuador. You will follow the Spondylus road which offers the most beautiful landscapes of the Ecuadorian Pacific coast.
Famous for the humpback whales that you can observe between June and September, this small village, where you can see fishermen coming up the beach all day long, has a charm that will not leave you indifferent.

Day 10 – September 8 : Puerto López (Isla de la Plata)

Before your visit, get up early to reach the main beach where the fishermen display their catches to the local’s delight who can enjoy their daily breakfast.
Then, visit the Isla de la Plata island considered in Ecuador to be the “Galapagos of the poor” where you will observe large frigates and the blue-footed boobies.

Day 11 – September 9 : Puerto López (whale watching) > Pile (montecristi) > Quito

This morning, departure by boat in search of whales with the aim of taking the best possible shot.
Then, transfer to Pile located in the Montescriti region. Pile is indeed the cradle of the first fine woven hats in the world, hence the name of origin Montecristi.
Arrive at Manta airport and flight to Quito.

Day 12 – September 10 : Quito > Lago Agrio > Amazon rainforest (Cuyabeno reserve)

Flight of about 40 minutes, to the Lago Agrio town. Ground transfer from the airport to the Cuyabeno river bridge where you will board a motorized canoe to reach the lodge located in the Cuyabeno Reserve heart.
In the late afternoon, a night walk in search of insects and reptiles.

Day 13 – September 11 : Amazon rainforest (Cuayebno reserve)

In the morning, you will go by canoe in search of freshwater birds and dolphins. In the morning, and especially at sunrise, is indeed one of the best times to observe animals.
Then, trek accessible to all to discover the Amazon rainforest and its extraordinary flora and fauna.
In the afternoon, you will go canoeing down the Cuyabeno River in search of monkeys and birds that you have not yet observed.
A canoe trip at the end of the day is planned to enjoy the superb sunset lights over the lagoon.

Day 14 – September 12 : Amazon rainforest (Cuyabeno reserve)

In the morning, you will go by canoe on the Cuyabeno River. Here again, you will be able to observe the incredible Amazon mammals and birds.
Then, meeting with a Siona community to learn about local customs and traditions.
At the end of the afternoon, you can swim in the middle of the lagoon and you will observe a new superb sunset.
After dinner, you will go for a short night walk in search of caimans, insects, and nocturnal birds.

Day 15 – September 13 : Amazon rainforest (Cuyabeno reserve) > Lago Agrio > Quito

Return transfer to Lago Agrio airport where you will catch your flight back to Quito.

Day 16 – September 14 : departure from Quito

Transfer to Quito airport for your return international flight.

B: Breakfast
L: Luch
D: Dinner

Guidance

ANDES

Excursions and private transportation with your local Spanish-speaking private guide (Kia Sportage type vehicle). The guide Fernando is passionate about photography but will not be fully bilingual. Despite everything, he has very good notions of our language. Despite his shortcomings in the French language, we favor his profile because you share the same passion

AMAZONIE

Transport and collective visits (10 people maximum). Bilingual Spanish/English local naturalist guide. Optional: possibility of an English-speaking guide.

PACIFIQUE COAST

Your private guide present in the Andes will accompany you during the visits.

Equipment

Clothing :

-1 or 2 light walking trousers
-1 or 2 warm walking trousers
-1 sweater / cardigan for the evenings
-2 Fleece jackets
-1 breathable warm jacket (gore tex type)
-1 waterproof jacket (type kway)
– light t-shirts
– hike shoes
– casual shoes
-1 pair of flip flops, sandals
-1 hat and scarf
– cap
– suitable camera

Additional :

-1 water bottle
– sunglasses
– solar cream
– hiking bag (between 25 to 45L)
– hike sticks
– normal camera + waterproof
– backpack
– swimsuit
– repellent (preferably stick)
– binoculars

Accommodation
Mix of “comfort”, “superior” and “luxury” type accommodation
“Comfort” option: comfortable charming accommodation type 2/3 * with simple, clean rooms offering good quality service.

“Superior” option : superior accommodation type 3/4 * offering personalized and quality service. The rooms are spacious and very tasteful.

“Luxury” option: top-of-the-range type 5 * accommodation offering impeccable and quality service. The rooms, cabins, and tents are superb and spacious.

Observations

– Transfers and visits times are indicative.
– For every not included meal, foresee between $5 -popular- and $50 -gourmet- per person.
– Tips: we recommend between $ 10 and $ 20 per worked day for a guide, and between $ 5 and $ 10 per worked day for a driver.