Edible Ecuador | from $8,695.00 USD per person

Posted by Liz · in Ecuador

Edible Ecuador | from $8,695.00 USD per person

Posted by Liz · in Ecuador

A 14 day journey to nourish the soul! Contact us today if you would like to book this once-in-a-lifetime experience in Ecuador!

Sitting on the equator between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador may be the smallest Andean nation but it’s packed with the most startling contrasts of scenery. With its astounding biodiversity, impressive historical legacy, stunning colonial architecture, bustling highland markets and diverse mix of people – blacks, whites, indigenous and mestizo – it’s easy to see why this friendly and exotic destination is regarded as a microcosm of South America. During this journey, you will explore the culinary highlights from the highlands to the rain forests, and of course, to the Galapagos. You will also spend several days in an indigenous community in the Amazon, volunteering with Free the Children in their efforts to help children break the cycle of poverty.

This 14 day itinerary includes:

* Maximum 12 people

* Luxury transportation, including airport pick up & drop off

*10 nights in 4 and 5 star accommodations

* 3 day culinary tour in and around Quito

* 4 days in Amazon (with culinary classes)

* 5 days in the Galapagos

* Tour of indigenous markets

* 3 days of volunteering at Free the Children

* Breakfast lunch and dinner every day

* 4 night stay at incomparable Finch Bay Hotel

* Transportation and internal flights

* Two bilingual guides

Airfare to and from Ecuador, park entrance fees at the Galapagos ($110 USD) and individual activities (eg: massages) in each city are not included. We can help you get the best flight deals to Quito!

From $8,695 USD per person, double occupancy or $10,570 USD per person, single occupancy

Day One: Arrive Quito

Upon your arrival in Quito, a Travelteerism host will be waiting in the arrivals area. It is a long flight from North America, and you will likely be quite tired. The good news is that you wont be jet lagged if you’re coming from the North! After collecting your luggage, you will be transferred to your hotel and give assistance with check in.

Stay at Casona de La Ronda, or similar

Day Two: Mitad del Mundo, Otovalo Market & Bizcochos

After an early breakfast, you will depart from Quito to Otavalo where you’ll stop at the famous “Mitad del Mundo” (Half of the Earth), where you can quite literally have one foot on either hemisphere. Then, you will visit one of the largest indigenous textile markets in the country in Otovalo. Then you’ll proceed to Molino San Juan, an ancient mill converted to museum/restaurant, where a local chef will walk us through a “hands on” program on how to prepare an Ecuadorian lunch, as well as the traditions behind each preparation. After lunch, you’ll head back to Quito via Cayambe, a small town traditionally known for its rose plantations as well as bizcochos and queso de hoja: a type of savory biscuit accompanied by a very delicate milk cheese, both very traditional foods of the area. You'll stop at one of the typical shops to taste these delightful treats.

Stay at Casona de La Ronda, or similar

Day Three: Market Visit and Traditional Cooking Class

Your day begins with a visit to the newly renovated Santa Clara Municipal Market to see and learn about the seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices and assortments of grains and seeds. Then, you’ll travel to Quinta Tres Marias where a local chef will teach you how to make three different traditional Ecuadorian soups: Ajiaco (potatoes, eggs and milk-based soup with avocado and chochos, a typically Andean legume full of nutrients); Mote Pata, a traditional recipe from the city of Cuenca (delicate pork broth scented with cumin and oregano); and Biche de Pescado, a precious coastal gift from the province of Manabi (peanut-based soup with local fish, yucca, plantain, maize, cilantro and spices. For dessert, you will experience helado de paila, an artisanal ice cream made with copper bowls and salt.

Stay at Casona de La Ronda, or similar

Day Four: Historic Quito and Closed Door Dining

This will be a full day of cultural attractions in 500-year-old Centro Historico in Quito, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site, visiting churches, colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. Lunch will be served in a traditional restaurant followed by a visit to La Ronda Boulevard to learn old arts and crafts and taste traditional canelazos and different types of sweets known as colaciones. You will finish our day with a beautifully prepared dinner at a local chef’s apartment located in one of the oldest streets of the neighbourhood. This is a closed-door restaurant concept with a fixed-set menu that promises to impress its guests. Dinner includes a complimentary chocolate testing with top quality Ecuadorian chocolate brands. (eg. Pacari, Kallari, Republica del Cacao).

Stay at Casona de La Ronda, or similar

Day Five: Into the Amazon Basin

Today you will travel to the Amazon to spend the next 4 days volunteering and learning about Amazon cuisine with Free the Children, a Canadian and American NGO that helps children break the cycle of poverty. Get your camera ready; this journey is one for the books! En route from Quito you will climb to heavenly elevations in the highlands, with awe-inspiring views of snow-capped volcanoes in this active geological area. Winding down mountain roads towards the Amazon basin brings tremendous change in your surroundings, as you descend into the lush cloud forest, home to rare wild orchids and the largest number of bird species in the world. Get comfortable – this trip will take approximately 7 hours.

Jungle Cruise River Expedition

Hop aboard for a quick, 20 minute outboard motor canoe ride up the Rio Napo, an Amazon River tributary situated in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Feel the cool breeze on your face and watch the vibrantly coloured birds fly above as your driver and cultural expert gives you an insider’s view of Amazon River culture.

Minga Lodge Arrival and Orientation

Alli shamushca capay – welcome! Step off the boat at Minga Lodge just in time to take in your first spectacular Amazonian sunset over the Rio Napo. Your lush tropical surroundings will be glowing pink and orange as you snack on local treats like plantain chips and yucca fritters, washed down with a glass of chilled guayusa tea.

Explore Minga Lodge, tucked into the jungle overlooking the river, and follow a Me to We team member along winding pathways and raised walkways to your cottage nestled into the natural hillside environment.

Meet with the team to learn about Free The Children’s unique Adopt a Village (AAV) model and how it works within the unique local environment. Free The Children developed the AAV model, which relies on five key pillars to break the cycle of poverty and achieve long-term community development: Quality primary education, health care services, alternative income projects, safe/clean drinking water and sanitation systems, and agriculture/food security.

Spanish Class

In this playful, educational and optional group session, you will learn key Spanish phrases that will help to foster your connection with new friends in the community. Challenge your senses with blindfolded taste tests and other interactive teaching tools, then partner up and practice your greetings with a fellow traveler.

Day Six: Volunteer and Indigenous Farming

Rainforest Excursion

Rise and shine! Before breakfast, explore the trails of a nearby 300 hectare forest reserve, where you will get your first taste of exploring the Amazon rainforest. Journey onwards and hike deep into primary and secondary rainforest, where, if you are lucky, you may see a myriad of flora and fauna, including toucan, Long- tailed Potoos, gargantuan cebo trees and countless species of insects, spiders and snakes.

Volunteering in the Community

As the community develops, priorities and tasks will shift, creating new opportunities all the time. Grab a friend, some new tools, and try your hand at something new – be it digging a well, laying the foundation for a health center, or whatever else the community may need most that day.

A Day in the Life

There’s no better way to understand the ways of local people than by walking a mile in their shoes. Roll up your sleeves and join a local farmer to help carry out some of their daily activities, such as planting seeds, fetching water from the river and harvesting crops. You will even have the opportunity to taste some homegrown fruits of Ecuador.

Day Seven: Volunteer and Amazon Kitchens

Volunteering in the Community

Continue the work you started and try changing roles and building new skills – meeting new locals and learning about the unique needs of their community.

Kichwa in the Kitchen

After a visit to the local market where you will have the opportunity to pick out some ingredients, join our jungle guides for a traditional cooking lesson. Here you will transform exotic and unusual local ingredients into delicious traditional dishes like fish wrapped in palm leaves. Enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch!

Braided & Beaded: Alternative Income Initiatives in the Amazon

Sit with a group of skilled female artisans to learn how they generate income through traditional jewelry making. From sourcing to production, every step towards creating these uniquely Ecuadorian red, black and white jewelry is local, with many pieces made from nuts and seeds collected in the rainforest. Local women also produce more modern loom beaded bracelets and items featuring traditional South American motifs.

Day Eight: Volunteer and Chocolate Making

Volunteering in the Community

Continue the momentum on the build site. As you work, remember to take many water breaks and chat with the community members working alongside you.

A Sweet Trip to the Cacao Farm

The production of cacao represents one of the main sources of income for the region’s farmers. Meet with a cacao farmer who supplies beans to a French chocolatier, then sweeten your afternoon as you learn how to make chocolate from scratch using cocoa beans back at the lodge.

Day Nine: Back to Quito

Today, you will say goodbye to the Amazon and its amazing people and way of life. You will begin the first leg of our journey as we entered Minga – by boat. Expect about a 2 hour boat river ride towards Coca, where we will board our flight back to Quito. The picture to your left may be one of your last visual memories of this incredible place.

Stay at Casona de La Ronda, or similar

Day Ten: To the Galapagos

Upon arrival, you will be met by the Finch Bay Hotel’s naturalist guide and accompanied directly to the hotel’s yacht where you will have lunch on board, while the yacht sails to North Seymour Island.

North Seymour was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit among the ledges and rocks. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stand just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom.

This island is teaming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Further along, the rocky shore is interspersed with white sand, while large flocks of pelicans mass for a dive-bomb feeding-frenzy, painting a tableau from ages long past for us. The trail turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site in the Galapagos of the “magnificent frigate bird.” These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter (6-foot) wingspans, and males, with puffed up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks.

After the visit, the yacht sails to Itabaca channel, from where you cross by bus faster over Santa Cruz Island to reach the south shore (42 km by bus is shorter and faster, than 50 km by boat), where the Finch Bay Hotel is located.

Day Eleven: Highlands of Santa Cruz and Coffee Cooperative

After a relaxed breakfast, you will leave Academy Bay by bus 15 km up to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. From there a short drive across the farming area will lead us to El Manzanillo, a site recently opened to visitors at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve.

Manzanillo is on the natural path tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. Year round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-coloured pond (impressively colored by surface red pond-weeds). The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker finches, mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit.

After lunch, you will visit a small cooperative, where coffee, sugar cane and cocoa beans are grown, harvested and prepared – all organic and sustainable. We have the chance to taste the products while learning about the artisanal way to burn island spirits! We then return to the Finch Bay Hotel to enjoy the its pool and beach.

Day Twelve: Santa Fe and Ceviche Class

Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the archipelago. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted, and you can see where underwater lava once cooled off.

A wet landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right to be Beach Master, while smaller males masquerade as females and make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes.

The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name, with tree-sized trunks! Our goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana, native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in color with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs.

An indigenous species of rice rat also inhabits the thickets, and lucky hikers can spot harmless Galápagos snakes. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay, a great snorkeling opportunity with diverse marine life.

In the afternoon, the Finch Bay Hotel will host a special ceviche making course, made from local fish caught that very day.

Day Thirteen: Divine Bay and Charles Darwin Research Station

This is the magic of Galápagos: a short distance away from Academy Bay and the bustle of Puerto Ayora, lies the quiet and wildlife-rich Divine Bay. Every morning, hundreds of herons cross Divine Bay on their daily foraging trips, to return before sunset to perch amid the trees. Noddy terns use the natural burrows in the cliffs for nesting, while Galápagos brown pelicans prefer the evergreen mangroves, under the watchful eye of non-breeding blue footed boobies perched along the cliffs. Beneath the sea, sea turtles graze on sea weed, hundreds of reef fish species swim about the lava crevices, and young reef sharks and rays employ the brackish streams as havens from large predators while they mature.

You can explore this lovely cove by boat while more adventurous guests could take the tandem, sit-on-top kayaks straight from the hotel’s beachfront. The morning’s visit includes snorkeling on a calm, but active, sector of the cove. This is next to a wooden dock we use to explore Punta Estrada. A dry landing and a short walk (0.5 km) will lead us to the south shore of the island, to a small beach called “Playa de los Perros” (Dog Beach). This is a great place to see intertidal organisms and learn about marine iguanas in their nesting sites. Also, there’s a nearby natural terrace from where young white tipped reef sharks can be observed from above as they swim about the lava crevices.

After the morning visit you return to the Finch Bay Hotel for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise breeding program, with time to enjoy the town, or the hotel’s facilities.

Day Fourteen: Return Home

After breakfast you will leave the Finch Bay Hotel and stop at the Twin Pit Craters, a geological depression where Scalesia trees, ferns, mosses and orchids can be seen. You will then fly back to the mainland, in time to catch your evening flights home.

This is a sample itinerary of what we can create for a trip top Ecuador, if it sounds like something you are interested in just get in touch for more information! Click "Contact us" above or call and ask to speak to an Adventure Travel Specialist at 604.736.7447

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