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The Ecuadorian Coast

Take this excellent opportunity to explore a beautiful stretch of Ecuador’s coastline. In just seven days get a feel for coastal life, see some of the areas of outstanding natural beauty and delve into the delicious cuisine provided by the Pacific before ascending the Andean Cordillera to Quito, the Ecuadorian capital in the middle of the Andes


Itinerary:
Day 01 Guayaquil:
In the morning your guide will pick you up from your hotel and start a city tour visiting the Seminario Park, a very popular meeting point for young Ecuadorian people and also for lovers. Furthermore this little park is well-known for its land iguanas which laze about in the trees, catching the sun. We will visit the Cathedral, built in classical gothic style and then we move on to Guayaquil’s famous wide, tree-lined waterfront, “el Malecon”, that runs alongside the river Guayas. Next stop will be the historic local government buildings, the “Palacio Municipal” and then the “Palacio de Gobernacion” (the Government Palace). Right in front of this palace is the Moorish clock tower “La Torre Morisca”, which was constructed in 1843, and with a little effort climbing its steep stairs, we can enjoy the views across the city. La Rotonda, another historic monument, is a statue that marks the meeting between Simon Bolivar and Jose San Martin in 1822. The old district of Las Peñas, a vestige of old Guayaquil to the north end of the Malecon, is a picturesque neighbourhood built on the Cerro Santa Ana hill on the edge of the river. Climbing another steep stairway amid the brightly painted wooden houses, you will gain a different perspective of Ecuador’s largest city. After the walk you will leave Guayaquil and drive along the “Ruta del Sol” (The route of the Sun) along the coastal highway north to Puerto Lopez. (3* Hotels are located in Puerto Lopez, 4* and 5* accommodation outside town – please note that typical accommodation at the coast is less comfortable as in the bigger cities!) L/D
Day 02 Machalilla National Park:
The Machalilla National Park extends over 55000 hectares and is concerned with preserving marine ecosystems as well as the dry tropical forest and archeological sites on shore. After breakfast you will drive along the coastal road to Agua Blanca. This little village has an archaeological museum explaining the excavation of the Manteño site, which is about a half-hour walk through tropical dry forest away. After the visit you will continue to the nearby beach - Los Frailes, said to be the most beautiful beach of the Ecuadorian coast. Later you have the chance to explore the pleasant little fishing town Puerto Lopez. This pleasant little fishing town (population 14000) is beautifully set in a horseshoe bay, with a broad sweep of beach enclosed by headlands to the North and South. It’s interesting to watch the arrival of the local fishermen in the morning and evening – the fish are gutted on the spot and the air is full of wheeling frigate birds trying to grab the scraps. B/L/D
Day 03 Isla de la Plata:
After breakfast you will board a small yacht in the fishing village of Puerto Lopez which takes you to the amazing Isla de la Plata in the Pacific Ocean. The name (Silver Island) derives from the local legend that Sir Francis Drake buried some treasure here – also it is said to be Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The island is part of the Machalilla National park and sea lions and blue-footed boobies are amongst the main characters to be viewed. You can also observe frigate birds, red-footed and masked boobies, waved albatross and tropicbirds among others. After a walk around the island’s guided trail there will be time to explore beneath the ocean whilst snorkelling. In the afternoon you will return to Puerto López.
From mid-June to mid-October humpback whales can often be sighted on the journey to and from the island. B/L/D
Day 04 Montechristi - Manta:
In the morning you will continue your travel along the ‘route of the sun’ further north to Montechristi. The quiet town of Montecristi (population 16000) is set on the lower slopes of an imposing hill. Montecristi is famed for the production of Panama hats, the best quality of which, the "Superfinos", when turned upside down should hold water! Forover 100 years, most people have been ignoring the fact that the Panama hat actually comes from Ecuador. The error is due to the workers constructing the Panama Canal, who discovered these hats were the most convenient to protect them against the glaring sun, and since then, they named the hats after the place of purchase, and not for their place of origin. The hat is made out of a plant called "Carludovica Palmata", which grows in the western hills of Guayaquil. These plants are boiled, then dried and finally taken to the weaving centers where it takes up to three months to manufacture the finest of these hats. Later you drive to the city of Manta. Ecuador’s second port after Guayaquil is an important commercial centre, with a large fishing fleet and port. The centre of the town, built on a hill, has conserved some of the older wooden buildings to create a rather bizarre architectural assemblage. It is a busy, lively town (population 185.000) that sweeps around a bay filled with all sorts of boats. The constant breeze makes it pleasant to walk along the sea front or stop for a drink at one of the many small bars along the Malecon (promenade). B/L
Day 05 Bahia de Caraquez:
Today you follow the coastal road; pass through charming little fishing villages before you reach Bahia de Caraquez. Set on the southern shore at the seaward end of the Chone estuary, Bahía is a friendly, relaxed town (population 20.000). Later you visit the Isla Corazón (Heart Island) near Bahía de Caráquez, in the estuary formed by the Chone and Carrizal rivers. Isla Corazón is protected, as a part of 400ha mangrove forest; it is a perfect place to see the forest and the large colony of frigate birds. You drive to the village of Puerto Porto Velo from where a short Canoe ride takes you to the Island, where a raised boardwalk has been built. The boardwalk weaves through the different species of Mangrove to a lookout tower. After returning to the beginning of the boardwalk you continue by canoe on a channel through the mangroves, from one side of the island to the other. There is a huge colony of mainly frigate birds, herons, ibis cormorants, American oystercatcher and many migratory birds. The frigate birds however are the highlight, especially during the mating season when they show a very colorful display of their inflated throat sacks. In the afternoon you explore the city, visit the modern Museo Bahia de Caraquez, which provides a good introduction into the area’s indigenous history and walk up the Mirador La Cruz, a lookout giving good views over the town. B/L
Day 06 From the Coast to the Andes:
In the early morning we will pick you up at your hotel and you will start a long drive from the coast through the Pacific Lowlands to Quito. You will pass Pedernales, a small but lively tropical town at the coast, as well as El Carmen and Santo Domingo in the lowlands before you start to ascend the Andean slopes. In the late afternoon you will reach Quito, the capital of Ecuador. After a short rest at your hotel you will get to explore this big city and learn something about its turbulent history. This city tour covers the major colonial churches and monasteries in Quito such as La Catedral, La Compañia and San Francisco. Visit Independence Plaza flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Continue to the Church of San Francisco, one of the greatest religious buildings in South America. Its impressive façade and atrium lead to an opulent gold interior, a Baroque influence with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. You visit the historic colonial quarter of Quito, resplendent with its churches, gilded altars and religious sculptures and paintings dating from the 17th; 18th and 19th centuries. B/L
Day 07 Transfer out or extension (Galapagos):
According to your travel plans we will accompany you to the airport to take your international flight or a flight to the Galapagos Islands). Gladly we also help you with any desired individual extension. B

B: Breakfast / L: Lunch / D: Dinner


Contact Ecuador Travel

Prices 2017 per person (minimum 02 people):

3* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1476,-
Single room supplement: US$ 221,-

4* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1663,-
Single room supplement: US$ 263,-

5* Hotels in a double room: US$ 2079,-
Single room supplement: US$ 643,-

(NB: Where no 5* hotel accommodation is available, accommodation will be in the best available rooms in 4* hotels – please note that outside the bigger cities typical coastal accommodation is less comfortable but provides a certain traditional style)

Prices include: All transfers in private transportation, excursions and overland tours as mentioned in the program, accommodation based on double rooms in hotels & resorts of the chosen category, meals according to the itinerary description (B: breakfast, L: Lunch/Box Lunch D: Dinner), entrance fees, bilingual guide (Spanish/English – other languages upon request) during the round trip.

Not included in the price: Beverages, extra charge for single rooms, international airport tax (Quito ca. US$ 43 / Guayaquil ca. US$ 28), personal equipment and items, tips, travel insurance and luggage, anything not mentioned in the program.

Please note that the category-stars given for the accommodations are estimated as local categories do not fit international standards. Local categories are in all cases equal or higher then the ones given above.

NB: Please read all itineraries as a guide only. All routes and programs can change without notice due to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and the wildlife encountered during the travel. Flexibility is the key to the success of any tour. Nevertheless the safety and the interest of our passengers is always our first priority.


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