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We partner with ethical organizations that are off the beaten path providing the opportunity for meaningful exchange with local communities and farms.   In the cloud forest, learn the cocoa bean to bar process and farm at Mashpi Artisanal Chocolate farm. In the highlands, learn to cook local cuisine and work alongside Paqocha helping reintroduce alpacas to their native lands.  Hike through natural and remote locations untouched by tourism, watch hummingbirds from your window, horseback ride back country roads with expansive views and walk among the alpacas. Through this epic journey you will experience everything Ecuador has to offer from the different landscapes, the rural communities, the amazing food and all the adventure in between.

[B, L, D indicates whether Breakfast, Lunch and/or Dinner is provided each day.]

FULL ITINERARY:

DAY 1: Arrival To Quito

You will be met at the airport by our guide and driver and be transferred to our hotel for the night.

Hotel: Cultura Manor                                                                                                                       

DAY 2: Quito Exploration

After a lovely breakfast at Cultura Manor, we'll meet up for introductions and a city adventure. Quito is split into modern and colonial zones. Discover its history, museums, food and art on a meandering walking tour. You'll need today to acclimate to the altitude, so drink plenty of water! Dinner is at one of the Quito's hippest restaurants, overlooking the city. (B,L,D)

Hotel: Cultura Manor                                                                              
 

DAY 3: Mashpi Chocolate Farm

Finally, chocolate! Today we head out to Mashpi Artisanal Chocolate Farm, owned and operated by a small Ecuadorian family whom we love. Here, we'll meet the farmers, Alejandro and, tour the farm, taste and learn all about the chocolate experience- bean to bar. We will eat and overnight at a jungle farm surrounded by the sounds and sights of this incredible area. (B,L,D) 

Hotel: Pabilino Farm                                                                                                   
 

DAY 4: Mashpi Chocolate Farm: Become the Farmer!

We head back to the Mashpi to do whatever needs to be done from harvesting to separating beans. We'll be rolling up our sleeves and digging into a good day's work while consuming some of the best chocolate in the world! Afterwards, we'll head to the quaint village of Mindo to explore more of the Cloud Forest.  (B,L) Dinner on own.

Hotel: Casa de Piedras                                      

DAY 5: Mindo

Today we'll explore more of the incredible beauty that the Cloud Forest has to offer. We'll visit the famed Butterfly House and lunch in the gardens. In the afternoon you can choose from a variety of activities, such as tubing or a canopy tour, for an additional cost. (B,L)  Dinner on own.                                                                                                             

Hotel: Casa de Piedras
 

DAY 6: Cayambe

We’ll hit the road early and head up to the gorgeous region of Cayambe, stopping along the way to taste local fruits and vegetables. After checking in and eating lunch at our new home, we'll venture out to meet local women farmers and learn about agave harvesting, which is very popular in this region. (B,L,D) 

Hotel: Hosteria Papagayo

DAY 7: Local Cuisine and Cooking

Cookbook writer, chef and nutrition expert Michelle O. Fried has been living in Ecuador for over a decade. Visiting the local farmers market with her is a true treat, and an amazing way to learn about Ecuador’s produce and cuisine! We'll bring our bounty back to Michelle's beautiful kitchen, where she'll teach a hands-on cooking class. We'll enjoy our delicious creation for the traditional Ecuadorian, large mid-day meal. (B,L,D) 

Hotel: Hosteria Papagayo

DAY 8: Otavalo Market & Homestay

We head north to Otavalo, stopping at Ecuador's largest artisanal market. After shopping and lunch you will be meeting the leader of the Runa Tupari Foundation, which helps rural indigenous communities develop sustainable tourism. From there, you and your roommate will make your way to the home of your host family. Accommodations are in small cabins close to the main house where privacy is ensured and interaction encouraged. The afternoon is spent with our host families, harvesting plants, feeding animals, hanging out with locals or helping cook dinner. (B,D) Lunch on own.

Hotel: Homestay

DAY 9: Cotocachi

After breakfast, we bid farewell to our host families and head out to the small town of Cotocachi. We'll all take the morning to explore the shops, known for leather goods and handicrafts, each at our own pace. (B,L,D) 

Hotel: Las Palmeras

DAY 10: Choose Your Adventure

This area is full of outdoor activities, the most famous being hiking around the crater of Lake Cuicocha. If that's not for you, simply enjoy the epic scenery... it's breathtaking. For an additional cost, you can book a horseback ride or mountain bike tour. (B,L,D) 

Hotel: Las Palmeras

DAY 11: Volcano Chimborazo

On our one, longer drive of the trip, we cross the backbone of Ecuador, riding along the beautiful Pan-American highway. The mountains, volcanoes and vistas are straight out of a dream and well worth the journey. We'll climb steadily to an incredible 14,000 feet! (B,L,D) 

Hotel: Chimborazo Base Camp

DAY 12: Alpaca Communities

After breakfast, we head to the highland communities outside Riobamba. Felipe, the owner of Paqocha- a business dedicated to bringing alpacas back to Ecuador- will be meeting us. We'll visit these communities, see alpacas and meet the women who shear, clean, and spin the gorgeous alpaca fleece. (B,L,D) 

Hotel: Chimborazo Base Camp

DAY 13: Baños

We hit the road early to have more time at the spa! Heading north to Baños, we'll land at a cliff-side spa where you’ll have a full afternoon and evening to zen out overlooking the town and mountains. There are lots of other adventure activities in the area if soaking isn’t your thing. There are also massages and treatments for an additional fee if you wish to indulge. (B,L,D)

Hotel: Luna Runtun

DAY 14: Spa-Airport

Take advantage of having the full day to relax in this luxurious place. After this epic journey you will appreciate it! We'll have a final late lunch all together before heading out to the airport at 5pm. (B,L)

DEPARTURES:

June 27-July 10, 2019. 8+ available double rooms w/ shared bath