and Ecuador are brimming with fascinating destinations and sights.
There are attractions for adventure seekers, archeology fanatics and
lovers of culture and the arts. The only limit is the amount of time
you have to visit them all. The following are some of the most
popular extensions on trips to Machu
Picchu or the Galapagos Islands.
jungle tours: Highly respected Amazon lodges are within easy
reach of Cusco (Peru) and Quito (Ecuador), making the Amazon one of
the most popular extensions to trips to either Machu Picchu or the
Galapagos Islands. There is a wide range of Amazon jungle lodges
which offer professionally guided forays into the jungle to spot
wildlife and learn about the rainforest ecosystem. The lodges are
for the most part fairly rustic, with more of an emphasis on
ecotourism and appreciating the nature than on creature comforts.
Among the lodges we work with are Posada Amazonas, the Tambopata
Research Center, Manu Wildlife Center, Sacha Lodge, the Napo Wildlife
Center, and Kapawi Lodge. For those who would prefer a more
“luxurious” experience, there are also some lodges, such as
Reserva Amazonica near Puerto Maldonado, and some luxury river
cruises from Iquitos, that provide more deluxe accommodations while
in the jungle.
and Lake Titicaca: This vast, sapphire lake situated right at the
ceiling of the Andes is renowned for its stunning vistas, dramatic
sunsets and the traditional ways of life among the local communities.
It’s an important place in Andean mythology: the lake is the
legendary birthplace of the Inca civilization, said to have
originated when the creator God Viracocha emerged from its crystal
waters. Tours visit the islands from the lakeside town of Puno or
from other communities, such as Llachon, from where we offer day and
overnight kayaking excursions to the Taquile and Amantani Islands.
Homestays are also possible on these islands, staying in rustic
accommodations and getting an opportunity to enjoy the serenity of
the islands at night and get a closer look at the traditional culture
of the islands.
National Park and the Ecuadorian Highlands: Cotopaxi Volcano
National Park is Ecuador’s most famous national park after the
Galapagos. Cotopaxi is the second highest peak in Ecuador, and one
of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Adventure seeking
visitors come to climb its snow-capped peaks, trek around the
mountain or take mountain biking tours along its downhill tracks.
Others choose to relax at many of the nearby haciendas which offer
beautiful views and a calm atmosphere. We offer day trips to
Cotopaxi but more highly recommend spending a night at one of the
historic haciendas near the National Park, such as San Agustin de
Callo or Hato Verde. Spreading out the driving over two days helps
you enjoy the place more and gives you the chance to get more views
of the mountain itself, which during the day can often be fully or
partially covered in clouds. If you have a few days, we recommend
spending a couple nights near Cotopaxi and a couple nights up near
Otavalo, Ecuador’s most famous market town. Otavalo is much better
appreciated at a slower pace and not as a day trip (when it can seem
like there’s a lot of driving).
An old mountain city in Ecuador’s southern Andes, Cuenca is a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its colonial era
architecture. The city is particularly well known for its religious
buildings, including the Old and New Cathedrals, two monasteries and
countless churches. It’s also a vibrant modern city in many
respects, with excellent restaurants and small hotels, a cosmopolitan
feel, and a very diverse population. Nearly everyone who visits
Cuenca ends up captivated by the place.