Arrival at Quito and transfer to your hotel. You will be welcomed with delicious fresh fruit juice and a glass of champagne.
Your night’s lodging is at the Plaza Grande, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Colonial downtown Quito.
Today, you are going to find out the reason why UNESCO declared Quito a World Heritage site. If you like Colonial religious architecture and art, then this is the perfect excursion for you. Your first stop is at San Agustin Church and Convent.
This beautiful, 17th century church and adjoining convent is one of the highest examples of Quito architecture and art. Inside are altars, retables, and gold leafed columns, not to mention paintings and sculptures from some of the most famous artists, mostly indigenous or mestizos, who were the authors of the entire array of unique art, under the direction of Spanish, Flemish, and Italian priests.
When you enter the central patio, a very traditional Spanish Colonial architectural element, you will be amazed at the sequence of incredible Quito School paintings on the walls, a style that superbly blended the best of European Baroque with Native American concepts, colors, and representations. Likewise, you will visit the convent’s chapterhouse, marveling at its magnificent gold leafed altar and the stupendous sculpture of the crucifixion. This room holds particular significance in the history of Ecuador since the country’s Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence from Spain here in 1809.
The second church you will stop by is Santo Domingo, filled not only with a variety of priceless Quito Colonial artworks, but also with a deep sense of piety you can actually feel from the faithful who come to this old church to pray.
The afternoon excursion is to the Museum of Archeology, where you will learn something of the ancient civilizations that thrived in Ecuador, and there is a private conference on “Colonial Art in Ecuador” scheduled for the night. Afterwards, it’s back to the Plaza Grande for a good night’s rest.
Your first stop will be the Quitsato Project, in Cayambe, right on the Equator. Here, you can learn the importance of the “Middle of the World” through star gazing and its relationship to certain archeological sites. Next, you move on to visit the community of Peguche. The people there are famous for making ponchos, tapestries, and other hand-made items, and you will learn about and get to see the process of their making. Lunch will be served at one of the local ranches. In the afternoon, you will be dropped off at the Hostería La Mirage, your hotel for the night, whose owners have created a haven of local flavors, luxury, and pleasure. Many of its guest rooms come equipped with a fireplace and grand picture windows that face the breathtaking Andean countryside and hotel’s grounds. We highly recommend you take advantage of any of the numerous beauty treatments offered at the spa.
Your journey from the northern to the central section of the Andes will be through the region that Alexander Von Humboldt aptly named the “Volcano Alley”. It is a corridor of valley after valley, all verdant green with the tan patches of wheat fields and serene farmland, yet flanking these to the east and west is a row of gigantic conical volcanoes and towering snow covered mountains. Two of these volcanoes are the Mount Antisana and Mount Cotopaxi. The entire spectacle is situated in a natural region called a paramo (grasslands), extremely peaceful, quiet, and overcharged with spectacular mountain panoramas. We have planned lunch at either one of the local ranches or inns. Afterwards, you will return to Quito for a private lecture on your next destination: “Galapagos, a constantly changing natural laboratory”.
Lodgings in Quito will be at Hacienda Rumiloma, a lovely spot at the top of the mountain.
You will be driven from the hotel to the Quito Airport and your flight
to the Galapagos Islands.
This extraordinary group of 14 large islands and more than 60 small islands and islets sits 1000 kilometers off the Ecuadorian coast in the Pacific Ocean, forming the second largest marine reserve in the world. The islands are a real living laboratory and the planet’s most spectacular showcase of evolution.
The convergence of cold and warm ocean currents, the volcanic and geological structure of the islands, and their isolation in the middle of the ocean has turned them into a site of extraordinary biodiversity where several unique species can be found, for example the famous marine iguanas, Galapagos tortoises, and the 13 varieties of Darwin’s finches that are living examples of biological adaptation. After visiting this place for a few weeks in 1835 Charles Darwin was inspired to write his book, “The Origin of the Species”, which laid out the theory of evolution. Since then, the islands have become a Mecca for scientific research and discovery of the secrets of nature. In 1959, the islands were granted complete protection by the Ecuadorian government as the country’s first and most important national park, and it was the first natural area on the planet to be declared by UNESCO world heritage in 1978. The result is that the Galapagos are now one of the most famous and fascinating nature tourism destinations the world over due to their rich background and exceptional uniqueness. During your 7 night stay at the islands, you will enjoy this natural paradise, the so-called showcase of evolution.
You will arrive in the city of Guayaquil and taken from the airport to the hotel. You will be treated to a panoramic view of the city, Ecuador’s most important port.
Your lodgings will be at a luxury hotel.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for you international flight.
This itinerary includes:
- Two private conferences while in Ecuador.
- Express hotel registration.
- Special welcome at each one of the hotels.
- Personalized service during your stay.