Photos courtesy of SCOTT ARVICKSON

About the Andean Region

People who have never visited Ecuador often picture it as a land of steamy jungles astride the Equator, bordered by the Pacific Ocean.  They are unaware that a large area is Andean Sierra, dominated by a range of 35 towering volcanoes, eight of which are considered potentially active and are always snow-capped mountains.


When visiting this region, the tourist will be amazed observing the highland landscapes, its breath taking valleys, tiny villages lost in the Andes and the famous indigenous markets.


The cultures of the highlands are by no means the oldest, but they are the most visited and known.  Many communities still maintain their cultural manifestations through dress, language (Quichua) and festivities. 


Inca Holidays suggests the following program which would take you to the essence of Ecuador:  markets, villages, volcanoes, old churches, haciendas, typical food, and the best views guaranteed! 


Please notice we will be pleased to custom design it if required to suit your specific interests.

Day Tours from Quito
Charming Haciendas of Ecuador

Ecuador is a country with a rich colonial past. In colonial times, the mountainous countryside was divided up among rich landowners who usually built a hacienda, a sort of rural mansion, as a place to live and oversee the work done on their lands. The system was in place for centuries, and the Ecuadorean countryside is dotted with old haciendas, many of them converted into hotels and guest homes. 

The area to the north of Quito, near Otavalo, is particularly known for excellent converted haciendas. The spacious rooms, beautiful gardens, and centuries of history have proved irresistible to thousands of visitors every year. The best of them have not lost their rural charm: they still feel like a home, and friendly staff members make guests comfortable.

While the area north of Quito near Otavalo is known for its haciendas, the scene to the south, towards Tungurahua and Chimborazo, is equally as beautiful. From volcano vistas to first-class facilities the haciendas stretching across the central Andes are certainly worth the trip.

We encourage travelers to make a point of visiting at least one hacienda while in Ecuador, as each is unique and memorable, and the value for the money is quite good.

Ecuadorean haciendas have much in common. Most of the haciendas offer horseback riding, mountain biking, and gardens where their guests can wander and relax. Most also have an on-site restaurant. Many of them plan and host special events such as conferences and weddings.

 HACIENDAS TOUR – Itinerary at a glance

Day 01:  Welcome transfer – Overnight at boutique hotel

Day 02:  Visit to Equator and transfer to Cotacachi + Cuicocha lake.  Overnight 400 year old Hacienda Cusin

Day 03:   Visit to the indigenous market + transfer to Hacienda Zuleta

Day 04:    Leisure morning and Zuleta + return to Quito. Overnight

Day 05:    Visit to Cotopaxi National Park + Overnight Inca Hacienda San Augustin del Callo

Day 06    Transfer to Hacienda Manteles in the Patate valley

Day 07    Transfer to Riobamba + Overnight Hacienda La Andaluza

Day 08    Transfer to Quilotoa Volcano crater lake + return to Quito (or Nono).

                End of services.

Program includes private transportation, guidance, all meals, entrance fees, accommodation, local taxes. 

*Overnight on Day 08 is not included.

Community Tourism:


These tours explore the historical and cultural heritage of our amazing country. We present you a tray of options and invite you to immerse yourself in a world that shines with the sun.

Community tourism strengthens the identity of the communities and ensures a sustainable development keeping a balance between social, environmental and economic.

Inca Holidays praises the great job done by the following local communities. We can tailor-made a whole program to include all of them, or you can choose to visit one or two.

Adventure in the Heart of Ecuador: BAÑOS

The idyllically set town of Baños  has long been popular with Ecuadorians and foreigners alike.

Baños  is famous for some of them are fed by thermal springs from the base of the active Tungurahua volcano. Baños’ elevation gives it an agreeable climate, and the surroundings are green and attractive. The town is also the gateway town into the jungle via Puyo and Misahualli.

East of Baños, the road drops spectacularly, and there are exceptional views of the upper Amazon Basin stretching before you. In the town itself, there are more attractions: the sugar cane candy makers, the tagua jewelry makers, an interesting Basilica, a small museum, its nightlife and restaurants with local and international cuisine.

Among the activities that are popular in town are cable car rides, canopy, trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking, river rafting, etc.


Itinerary at a glance

Day 01:  Transfer from Quito via Avenue of Volcanoes to Baños.  Hike +

              + Overnight

Day 02:  Avenue of Waterfalls, hiking tour or biking tour + Overnight

Day 03:  Leisure morning for an array of activities available in the area

              + return to Quito.

Fascinating Cuenca and its surroundings
La Travesía: the best of Nono and the highlands

This soft adventure explores Ecuadorian highlands and valleys, showing off why Ecuador is by no means small in cultural and natural diversity.

We enjoy an array of activities to discover the beauty of the mountainous countryside, the charm of its people, the delicious gastronomy of each region and the hospitality of the posadas, haciendas or country houses chosen for overnights.

Get your camera and your soul ready to take with you beautiful vistas of the paramo highlands, the color of the fruits and vegetables, the smiles of our people, the whites of snow-capped volcanoes, the greens of our valleys and the peaceful sunsets. 




Day 1:  Arrival – Transfer to the colonial village of Nono. 3 overnights at           

            beautiful Villa Doris country guest house.

Day 2:  Ecoroute of the Hummingbird day tour + gastronomic experience

Day 3: Otavalo indigenous market + visit to community project in the Andes

Day 4:  Yanacocha Reserve + departure to Quito.  Overnight at an art-boutique Hotel

Day 5:  Transfer via the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Baños.

            Overnight at an old  Jesuits monastery coverted into a resort & spa.

Day 6:  Hike and enjoy the Avenue of Waterfalls + Baños attractions

Day 7:  Leisure time for hot springs or spa facilities + transfer to Riobamba

Day 8:  Transfer to Cuenca + visit to Ingapirca archeological site

Day 9:  City tour in Cuenca + surroundings

Day 10: El Cajas National Park and transfer by car to Guayaquil airport.


Program includes transportation, guidance, accommodation with breakfast, lunches or box lunches, entrance fees and local taxes.