Ecuador holiday, small group tour

“Discover Amazonian wildlife, colonial cities, the ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’ and a wealth of cultural treasures on this small group tour of Ecuador.”


Quito | Church of San Francisco | Plaza de la Independencia | Quitsato Equator monument | Visit Peguche, an indigenous village | Otavalo Market | Laguna Cuicocha | Cotopaxi National Park | Avenue of the Volcanoes | Thermal hot pools Spa & Resort | Explore the Amazon by canoe and with native guides | Alto Pununo | Avenue of Waterfalls | Banos | Chimborazo Forest Reserve | Devil’s Nose train | Ingapirca | Cuenca | Tour of a Panama hat factory | Guayaquil | Parque de las Iguanas | Option to visit Galapagos Islands

Description of Ecuador holiday, small group tour

Journey through the Ecuadorean Andes from Quito to Guayaquil on a 16-day small group tour that immerses you in the region’s astonishing culture and history. From UNESCO World Heritage Sites to indigenous markets and villages, thermal resorts to Panama hat factories, and of course the mysterious Amazon rainforest, this is a fast-moving, ambitious tour that will captivate you from start to finish.

You’ll pass the Quitsato Equator monument – ‘the middle of the world’; wander the famous and colourful Otalavo Market, the perfect place to pick up your souvenirs; watch a performance of Andean pan pipe music in a local Indian community, and explore the Amazon by canoe with an indigenous guide for a fascinating introduction to traditional medicines. You will soak up the minerals and the scenery combined at a thermal resort 3300m above sea level, taste fermented ‘chicha’ in an indigenous village, and enjoy a factory tour to learn about the production process behind one of Ecuador’s best-known exports: the Panama hat.

Cotopaxi National Park, home to the world’s highest active volcano, is a jaw-dropping destination to spend a few days, but it’s closely rivaled by the famous train journey to Sibambe on the way to Cuenca, aboard the ‘Devil’s Nose’ train- this triumph of railway engineering sees the track drop 800m into a deep gorge, an incredibly exciting journey.

Cuenca, which has produced some of Ecuador’s greatest intellectuals, artists, poets and writers, is sure to be a cultural highlight before you reach the culmination of the tour in Guayaquil. This, of course, is the gateway to the spectacular Galapagos Islands, and if you’d like to arrange an extension of your tour to see the islands and their unique flora and fauna, it’s easily done.

Expect to be wowed at every stage of this sensational Ecuador holiday.

Travel Team

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Check dates, prices & availability

18 Sep 2021
including UK flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 18 Sep 2021 departure
09 Oct 2021
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Click here to enquire about or book the 09 Oct 2021 departure
02 Apr 2022
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03 Sep 2022
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17 Sep 2022
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08 Oct 2022
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.


"In Ecuador you will be accompanied by our local staff, which is the best way to learn about the local culture and customs, as well as generating local employment through our business. In 2009 our Ecuadorian Tour Leader Diego Torres was crowned overall best tour leader at the prestigious “Wanderlust Paul Morrison Guide Awards”, thanks to his encyclopaedic knowledge, great empathy with his groups and his passionate concern for developing tourism in Ecuador in a sustainable and responsible way. Diego donated his £5,000 bursary prize to the charity Proyecto DCR that gives vulnerable street kids in the capital Quito the chance to get an education. Diego is still a big supporter of this charity: “It’s such a worthwhile project because it gives the children the potential to take charge of their futures. Instead of having to beg on the streets they can have a life with more dignity”, and during your tours to Ecuador he'll tell you about their latest initiatives.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

The Impacts of this Trip

Throughout Ecuador, we strive to work with hotels that are responsibly operated. The lodge that we use in the Misahualli section of the Amazon jungle is a great example of this. They only use biodegradable products and low-energy lightbulbs, and save rainwater for use. They employ local people in the communities and purchase all food and building items locally. "


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