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Colombia and Ecuador Explorer

Overview

Two inspiring South American countries ... one amazing trip!

Begin your adventure in the bustling capital of Colombia Bogota, where the charming cobbled streets and red roofed buildings may surprise you! Enjoy a city tour visiting some highlights of this city that has such a complex and interesting history. Heading out of the city, you will also visit the incredible Salt Cathedral that will take your breath away!

Explore the beautiful Colonial towns of Villa de Leyva and Cartagena where you can stroll through the charming streets in the pleasant climate and really soak in the atmosphere of this incredible country. Enjoy some typical local cuisine before flying over the border to Ecuador.

One of the most beautiful cities in South America, Quito has so much to see and is a real treat for visitors. After some time spent in the atmospheric capital, head into the Andean Cloud Forest to an ecolodge like no other! Mashpi lodge has been named one of the world's 'Most fascinating hotels'. Get back to nature by exploring the canopy overhead, spot rare and beautiful wildlife and spend 3 nights in this slice of luxury surrounded by nature!

Want to extend your stay at Mashpi? Just get in touch!

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival - Bogota
Upon arrival at the International Airport El Dorado, you will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel.

Day 2: Bogota
This morning you embark on a city tour of Bogota. The tour starts with an early morning visit to the Paloquemao’s Market (one of the largest and most important markets in the country). You will have the opportunity to taste some exotic fruits and local treats. Next, you will visit the famous and well preserved historical colonial quarter of La Candelaria, with its splendid colonial architecture. See Plaza de Bolivar, the heart of Bogotá, with magnificent structures including: the Cathedral, the Congress Palace, the Cardinal’s Palace, the colonial churches of El Sagrario and San Agustin, the Independence House, the Palace of Justice and the City Hall.
Continuing to the east, on top of the beautiful forested mountains, you will find “Cerro de Monserrate”. This mountain has an incredible white church located at the top, from where you will get a great view of the city. Next visit the “Museo del Oro”, the most important gold museum in the world. The tour ends with a visit to the “Museo de Botero”, housed in a renovated colonial mansion.

Day 3: Bogota - Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral - Villa De Leyva
Your day begins by travelling to the small town of Zipaquirá, where you experience the extraordinary architecture of the salt cathedral. Visit the sites of ‘The Stations of the Cross’ and ‘Three naves’, sculpted from the salt mines these incredible works are eerily illuminated under the Halite Mountains. The next stop is at the town of Sutatausa. In the town centre is the colonial church of Sutatausa - here you can admire the excellently preserved wall paintings made by an anonymous artist during the XVII century. Next visit Neighboring town Raquira, famous for its pottery, colorful buildings and colony of artisans. A short drive from Raquira is Monasterio La Candelaria - the first convent built in Latin America, there will be a short tour of the convent before setting off for Villa de Leyva in the late afternoon.

Day 4: Villa De Leyva – Cartagena
The morning is dedicated to a walking tour of Villa de Leyva. The town has kept its grand colonial charm boasting fine examples of excellently preserved colonial architecture. Enjoy the quiet surroundings and solitude of its streets and the easygoing life of its friendly inhabitants. After the tour, you’ll head to the airport and take a short flight to Cartagena where you check into your hotel for the evening.

Day 5: Cartagena
Today, go on a guided tour of beautiful Cartagena. Visit the “Castillo de San Felipe”. This impressive castle was built by the Spaniards in the 1600s and it is the greatest and strongest fortress ever built in a Spanish colony.You then take a walk through “Las Bóvedas”. These fascinating 23 vaults within the city walls were used by the Spanish as storerooms, and later on, they became jail cells. Nowadays, they are used as crafts markets where you can find local handicrafts. In the afternoon, you have the chance to taste some of the local flavors of the city and learn about its culture. Featuring seven authentic food stops with different delicious tastings, you get to escape the crowds and taste the best of what the city has to offer before heading back to your hotel for the evening.

Day 6: Cartagena - Quito
A guide will take you to the Rafael Núñez Airport where you fly to Quito, Ecuador. On arrival in Quito, you will be met by a guide who will show you to your hotel.

Day 7: Quito
Today Head North to the land of the Otavalos and South America's most famous Indian fair along the Panamerican Highway. Travel through dramatic mountainous scenery to the textile market for a handicraft tour. Enjoy visiting the many stalls full of traditional crafts from all over Ecuador - ponchos, scarves, blankets, wall hangings, woven belts (fajas), hats, handbags and much more. Here Otavaleños barter in silence, a marked contrast to the raucous noise of other markets; take your time to negotiate the best bargains! Continue to Peguche, an Indian village very near Otavalo that is home to the artisans who do impressive weaving in their homes. Here, learn about their culture and everyday life. Lunch is served at one of the charming country inns or haciendas of the area.

Day 8: Quito - Mashpi Lodge
In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and travel around three hours to Mashpi lodge which is situated in the breath-taking evergreen wilds of the Andes’ western slope. On arrival at Mashpi Lodge you may wish to take part in some activities or just relax and enjoy the facilities and spectacular surroundings of this incredible lodge which has been named one of the world's 'most fascinating hotels'!

Day 9: Mashpi Lodge
At the lodge, you have the opportunity to explore the beautiful cloud forest that surrounds Mashpi and make the most of what the lodge has to offer. This is the perfect place to get away from it all, immersing yourself in the natural surroundings. During your time there, you can choose from the various activities on offer. For example: The ‘sky bike’ and observation tower taking you right up into the canopy, the Napa trial – a beautiful walk through the forest that is great for birdwatching, the pre-breakfast nature watch– sit out on the balcony of the hotel in the early morning and enjoy the many species that come to feed on insects and fruits at nearby trees. The expert guides on site will help you spot what’s around! For those interested in learning more about the Ecuadorian cloud forest, nightly lectures are offered that briefly outline the different scientific research projects taking place at Mashpi and will include footage from hidden camera traps, a great display of the astounding diversity that thrives inside the forest.

Day 10: Mashpi Lodge
You have the whole day again today to enjoy the activities of the forest. Make the most of your fantastic surroundings and facilities!

Day 11: Mashpi Lodge
You have the whole day again today to explore the endless wonders that the cloud forest has to offer.

Day 12: Mashpi Lodge - Quito
You still have one last full morning´s visit to one of the activities at Mashpi. Late in the morning you can freshen-up, eat lunch and then drive back to Quito. Arrive at your hotel and relax for the evening or explore the city a little more.

Day 13: Departure
Transfer to the airport for your onward travel.

Want to extend your stay at Mashpi? Just get in touch!

Map

Essentials

Included:
  • Accommodation
  • Daily breakfast
  • Ground transport
  • Excursions/Activities mentioned in the itinerary (unless otherwise stated)
  • Bilingual guides
  • National Park, Natural reserves or museum entrance fees (Unless otherwise stated)
  • Not Included:
  • International flights
  • Internal flights (if applicable)
  • Airport taxes (if applicable)
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips & personal expenses
  • Essentials

    Are you wondering about flights, deposits and other bits and pieces? Here are a few items of essential information that could help with the planning of your trip with Tango Tours. If you have any questions please just contact us.

    International Flights
    Getting to Colombia and Ecuador is straightforward from most areas of the world, but you may find that the choice is bewildering, or you’re not sure about the easiest route. Tango Tours are experienced in planning flights both to Latin America and between Latin American countries - we are very happy to advise you on the different choices available. Because prices tend to increase closer to your departure date, we advise that you buy your international flight tickets as soon as you have made a decision about your tour. As an ATOL bonded tour operator, we can assist in your purchase of international flights. In fact, your entire tour can be protected under our ATOL licence by booking your international flight with us. Please note that flight tickets are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.

    Internal Flights
    As with international flights, Tango Tours' friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to book your internal flights for you if required. For some itineraries, you need to arrive at a particular destination at a required time/date therefore, it is vital that you book the correct flights and times of arrival. Our ATOL licence will protect your whole tour if your internal flights are purchased through us. Please note that flights are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.

    Payments
    To confirm your booking with Tango Tours, we require a payment of 20% of the ground-based arrangements and 100% of all flights. The remaining balance of your tour is then payable 10 weeks prior to departure. For any bookings made within these 10 weeks, the full amount is payable.

    Accommodation
    Let us know what standard of accommodation you require for your tour - we offer a range of standards to suit your requirements. These are subject to availability.

    Activities
    We provide brief activity/excursion information in the itinerary. If you would like more in-depth details regarding any included activity/excursion then contact us! Please note: itineraries may be subject to change.